2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Winos

Happy Holidays Winos!

We know how hard it can be to find creative presents this time of year. What do you get for that wino who already has everything? Let your fave wine bloggers help you out. Here’s our 2017 wino gift guide to help with all your holiday shopping! (Click the word links for buying options!)


Wino T-shirts from Francesca’s!

Burgundy Labeled Bottle Umbrella

Wine bottle umbrellas from Vinrella 

 I%27m Real Holiday Red Wine Face Mask  Unwined Red Wine 10 In 1 Leave-In Spray

Wine/Grape health benefit beauty products from TonyMoly and HASK sold at ULTA

Sonoma Mulled Zin...Sonoma Cabernet Iced...Sonoma Rosé...Sonoma Chardonnay...Organic Milk Thistle...

Sonoma Wine Teas for the season and Milk Thistle Tea to CLEANSE THE LIVER from Republic of Tea

Wine Folly’s Guide to Wine Book

Wine Tools:

Kristen’s Favorite adjustable wine aerator from HOST

Cat Wine Bottle Opener

Rose Gold Cat Wine Opener from Kohls

Emergency Kit Wine Stain Remover

Emergency Wine Stain Remover sold by True

Simpkins Hangover Drops 200g Tin - 3 Pack

Simpkins Hangover Sweet Drops from the UK! Sold as an import on Ebay


Adorable wine stopper sets from Modcloth.com 


Fall Harvest Wine Fest

DISCOUNT tickets to Boston Wicked Wine Fest from Groupon. Selling Fast!

Winc: Four Bottles of Wine Customized to Your Palate with Shipping from Winc (56% Off)

DISCOUNT on your first WINC home delivery wine club from Groupon.


Rhino Wineo double bottle tote bag from Red and Wolf Paper Co.

Insulated Tote Papaya by Blush

Concealed wine totes! Secretly holds up to 3L wine bag (boxed wine) in the bottom! Sold by True


Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays Winos!! Stay Thirsty!


Feature Image credit: ‘Happy 2013, World’ created by Asral

CA Fire Relief- How you can help!


Hey Wineos,

Our renowned wine capitals Napa and Sonoma have been hit with terrible wild fires that have displaced families and damaged many of the wineries we all love. For detailed information about which wineries were affected and which counties have been burned please read here.

In latest news, the majority of the fires have been contained for the time being. Many organizations in the area are looking for donations to help rebuild wine country and support the families.

Image result for love in the air is thicker than the smoke

So how can you help?

The Winemakers and Sommeliers For California Wildfire Relief group is hosting fundraising events, taking donations, and taking donated quality vintage wine bottles to use as auction items for funds.

The American Red Cross is taking applications for volunteers to help bring aid to the area as well as donations on their website. Donations can be directed to all general disaster relief which covers the CA fires, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Maria. You can choose which disaster you want to donate to.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is also taking monetary donations and food donations if you live locally. The money goes to help feeding the displaced families.

Gloria Ferrer winery in Sonoma is doing a special where $1 from every purchase goes towards the fire relief. Check out their website for fundraising events or shop online to make a difference. Every bottle counts!

Scribe Winery in Sonoma County has opened a pre-sale for their special edition Pinot Noir where the proceeds from the sales will go to local aid forces. The wine will ship on November 1st and this limited edition bottle costs $32 dollars. We here at half-past just purchased a bottle and will be reviewing it soon for you!

2017 Nouveau of Pinot Noir Presale // Ships Nov 1st

For even more ways to help like donating to the local firefighters in the area or clothing donations check out PBS.org

Please do your part to help support the vineyards and the people that work hard to provide you with USA made wine every day. #CAwinestrong

Stay Wine Strong and Cheers

Feature Image Credit – Santa Cruise Mountains Winegrowers Association

Love in the Air Image Credit – Two-Way Breaking News NPR

Pinor Noir Wine Bottle Image Credit – Scribe Winery 



Wine for a Dime

Price of wine getting you down lately?

We know your wine hobby can be expensive and vineyard visits seem more like a dream than tangible reality. So we’ve gathered some wallet saving tips for your wine lifestyle.

Image result for groupon wine

1) Groupon

Groupon is a great way to get tastings, bulk wine orders, wine gifts, and vineyard visits on the cheap! We personally have used this website to visit many local places for half the price. Use this for sangria at your local paint night, discounts on local event tickets, and even custom made wine bottles. Sign up now to get 20% your first groupon order.

Image result for local wine events images

2) Localwineevents.com

This website specializes in wine education AND wine fun. Not only does it list events and festivals near you, but it lists wine getaways in places like Europe and California. Their newsletter lets you know ASAP about early bird ticket sales and fun wine facts/trivia. This is the same website that we used to discover Wine Riot Boston; you might remember our review from a previous post.

Image result for whole foods wine

3) Superstore Newsletters

This next tip may sound lame at first, but we swear your wallet will thank you later. Join the email list or mailing account of your local packies, wine superstores, and local small wine shops. The packies and superstores often have special sales or wholesale discounts, but the smaller shops tend to host cheap and intimate wine events where you may even get to meet a winemaker and get the inside scoop. This may flood your email a bit, so maybe make an easy gmail or yahoo account for all your wine info needs (or send them all to your Promotions folder).

Image result for WINC wine club

4) Join a Wine Club

Wine clubs are a great way to get different bottles each month without having to spend a lot of money. Some local shops may have their own clubs but many online vendors have bottles that get shipped directly to your house. Some of the cheaper online clubs include Tasting RoomWINC, Cellars Wine Club, and for more options/reviews check out this article from Urbantastebud. For local options, look to the newsletters from option #3 to see if any stores near you offer a monthly club. Local shops would take out your shipping costs completely so we recommend checking around first.


5) Tasting Events

Nearly every liquor and wine shop has tasting events on the weekends so swing through quickly as you go about your day to see what they are pouring. 9 times out of 10 there’s a discount on the wines being served or even a case discount. This way you know you like the wine before you buy and you snagged a deal that day. Worse case scenario, you go home with a bottle of your favorite wine instead of what they offered you.


Feature Image Credit: Dave Dugdale

Superstore Image Credit: Hip2Save.com

Holiday Wine and Cheese Pairing Guide

We know the major holiday season is on its way, with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all falling on the same week this year. Don’t panic: we have created an easy cheese and snack pairing guide to help you this season!

White Wine:

**Quick Tip:

Acidic wines ⇒ fresh cheese

full body wine ⇒ hard, chewy, bloomy cheese

sweet wines ⇒ strong or spicy cheese.


Prosecco or Champagne ⇒ Asiago, Parmesan, Camembert


Light, Acidic, Floral:

Sauvignon Blanc ⇒ Goat cheese, Chevre, Mozzarella,

Riesling (dry) ⇒ fondue, creamy blue cheese

Pinot Grigio/Gris ⇒Ricotta, feta, burrata

Medium to Full Body:

Chardonnay ⇒ Brie, Humbolt Fog, funky cow’s milk cheeses

Humbolt Fog

Viognier ⇒ Comte, Farmer’s cheese, Baked Brie

Semillon ⇒ Cheddar or Gruyere


Gewurtstraminer ⇒ cream cheese, goat cheese herb roule

Chenin Blanc⇒ Triple Cream, swiss, gruyere

Triple Cream

Moscato/ Muscadet⇒ aged cheddar, gorgonzola

Riesling (sweet) ⇒ creamy blue cheese

Red Wine:

Light body:

Gamay ⇒ Munster, swiss, gruyere

Pinot Noir ⇒ Mahon or manchego

Medium Body:

Cabernet sauvignon ⇒  sharp cheddar , Havarti

Sharp/aged cheddar

Merlot ⇒ gouda

Zinfandal ⇒  pepper jack, smoked cheeses

Heavy body:

Malbec ⇒ spiced cheese, aged manchego

Syrah/Shiraz ⇒ truffle cheese, asiago, parmesan

Truffle cheese and Mahon


What else do I buy?

The ultimate match made in heaven is cheese and fresh grapes. It’s a good idea to have bunches of grapes around for any cheese platter. As for other wingmen, try fruit jams, honey, and lots of different crackers. Heating up cheeses like for baked brie is guaranteed to please. You may even want to make two.



If you still have no idea or can’t track down some of the cheeses we listed, trust the quick note above! Simply pick a cheese that can handle the intensity of the wine. Mild cheeses will taste like nothing next to a strong wine.

Good luck and get cheesy!



A Broke Girl’s Guide to Revamping Cheap Wine


Alcohol is expensive, and you can’t always guess if you’ll love a wine or not until after you’ve paid for it and had a glass. And if you’re dedicating your entire splurge fund to this weekend’s bottle, you can’t just dump it out if it’s not the right taste for you. So what do you do with the wine that just doesn’t cut it?

Don’t worry – we got you! Here’s a few cheap tricks to help spice up that free bottle from a friend, or the one with the misleading label, that isn’t a stand up kind of wine.



Sparklers – Mix me with Soda!

Try grabbing a soda, like Sprite or raspberry ginger-ale and mixing in with your wine. This works great with super acidic wines. Who doesn’t like bubbles?

Mulled wine – Spice it up!

Throw the wine on the stove with spices like cinnamon sticks and cloves and add some orange peels. Next, let is simmer on low for a half hour on the stove to infuse the flavors. Most of us don’t have cinna sticks on hand, so stock up on a cheap bottle of ‘mulling spices’ from the grocery store!

Flavor your Dinner – Throw that wine in a frying pan!

Luckily even bad wine is GREAT for cooking. Leave the bottle out on the counter with a wine stopper and just add it to your pan as you cook dinner that week. Wine sauce works with literally everything. Wine will ‘deglaze’ a pan, which means it prevents things for sticking and makes a sauce out of the meat or veggie juices. Check out some pinterest recipes to get inspiration or get creative and just go for it!

Wine Slushies – Frosé that bad boy.

Grab some ice, fruit, the wine, and a shot or two of harder alcohol. Blend, taste, and adjust the flavor as you like. BOOM: wine slushies. Try some apple cider wine slushies for the fall!


Make a cocktail!

Buy some flavored nips or use whatever you have lying around and bring your wine to the cocktail lab. It’s fun discovering new drinks while just experimenting in the kitchen with juices, simple syrup, and maybe some fireball?

Bake with it! – wait what?

No really! Pour some red wine into brownie mix or add that white wine to some melting cheese for fondue. The recipes are all over the internet don’t worry!

Frozen Floats – Pop those bubbles

So you may have seen our facebook post about gelato, bubbly mosato, and some strawberries, if you didn’t, go find it because it’s delicious. Go crazy with the combinations! Take the stone dry champagne and sweeten it up with sherbet and fresh fruit!


Finally, the Classic: Make Sangria

Sangria was literally invented by the Spanish to use old wine and turned into the most famous party drink. Sometimes the classics are the best way to go when all else fails so check out our Sangria 101 post for some beginner tips!

We hope these tips help you to better afford your wineo lifestyle and maybe help you invent the next drink of choice!



Feature Image credit  – Robbie McConnell

New Girl GIF image credit – eonline.com

Blender GIF image credit – popkey

Poehler/Fey GIF image credit – cookiesandsangria.com

Cinco de Wineo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Now we know this holiday is mainly for our tequila lovers and margarita mamas – but we have a few fun ideas to help us wineos get into the party.

DIY Mexican Fiesta

  1. Sangria Margaritas! 


Courtesy of CHRISTINA LANE at Dessertfortwo.com

Get the recipe here!

2) White Wine Margaritas 


Recipe from Tammilee at Tammileetips.com

Get it here!

3) Champagne Ritas! 


Courtesy of Tracey at thekitchenismyplayground.com

Get the recipe here! 

Mayo Munchies!

OKAY in Kristen’s humble opinion EVERY celebration needs some kind of dip so here’s our fav go-to wine munchie dip


1) Kristen’s Easy Taco Dip 

1 bar of Philadelphia brand cream cheese

1 can of black pitted olives (cut the olives in half)

1 jar of medium “On the Border Cantina Style” salsa

1 bag of shredded mexican blend cheese

*optional 1 can of refried beans

In a baking dish, spread the cream cheese into an even layer on the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Then simply layer the beans, salsa, cheese and finally olives in that order. Then heat the dip in the over @ 375 F until the cheese melts. GRAB the Tortilla chips because this dip goes FAST

2) Spiced Mexican Brownies! 


Grab this recipe from Anna at Garnishwithlemon.com

3) Angel Food Cake Churro Bites! 


Check out the recipe here!

Wineo Tips!

  • Stereotypically Mexican food is known for its kick of spices so to combat that party in your mouth grab a sweet wine! (Wait what?) No really! Sweet wines like Moscato, Late harvest wines, German Riesling, California Roses, Lambrusco, or even Prosecco go GREAT with spicy foods.


  • Cheesy and rich foods are also the center of attention at any party. To wipe those flavors off your palate don’t forget that an acidic or tart wine would be your savior! Reach for that Sauv Blanc, pinot gris, or even a young pinot noir!


  • Mexico Represent! Jump into the adventure and try some Mexican grown wines with grape varieties like Tempranillo and Nebbiolo! (These grapes are also grown in other countries too) Look for Baja wine country or Guadalupe Valley on the labels. Check out Wine Enthusiast’s article all about the Mexican Wine Revolution!! 


Bottoms up wineos!!





Winescopes -Pick wine by your sign





You just got back after an exhausting day at work, and the last thing you need is a night out surrounded by even more obnoxious strangers. You’re independent by nature, and don’t mind the idea of a night-in with Netflix and a tall glass of wine. Try a smooth, soft white that can soothe your nerves after a long day!

We recommend: A Chenin Blanc or Semillon



Perfect combination for a Pisces: a nice venting session with a bottle of sweet, fruity wine! Get together your drinking buds, because you’ll want to share your stories and bottles tonight. We recommend fellow water signs, Scorpio and Cancer, for your drinking company. 

We recommend: A sweet red from a local vineyard, or a fruity Zinfandel 



You need a wine to match your feisty spirit! You don’t have time for pale whites and sweet reds. You need a bold and bright wine that can hold its own against your spicy personality! Bring in friends with equal gusto, like Leo and Sagittarius, and get your drink on!

We recommend: A Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec



You’re not about the wines with the fanciest labels and highest awards. You just want a good, affordable wine that gets the job done. Find a common brand wine in your favorite varietal, and stick to that; there’s no shame in keeping it simple!

We recommend: Common, affordable (yet tasty!) brands like Robert Mondavi. Perhaps a Gamay or a Pinot Gris.



We know what you’re thinking. We’re going to tell you to go for a Merlot/Cab Sav blend to encapsulate the image of the twins. But we know you better than that, Gemini! What you need is a soft wine with a light flavor to please your pallet. The last thing you need is a complicated wine that will confuse your taste buds!

We recommend: A fresh, chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or classic Pinot Noir



Cancer, we know you don’t want to go out and slam back the cocktails tonight. It’s time to settle in to your favorite spot on the couch, pull up a cozy blanket, and sip your favorite red. You’ll do best with a warm, comforting red or – if you’re feeling adventurous – a sweet white wine. If you want to be social, we’d recommend sticking with your fellow water signs (Pisces and Scorpio). They’ll be up to your relaxing night in!

We recommend: An Argentinian Merlot or an Italian Moscato



You’re bubbling with personality, so your wine should, too! Embrace your desire for charm and pzazz, and go for that bubbly wine! If we know you as well as we think we do, then you won’t want to be drinking alone. Invite your friends Aries and Sagittarius to share that bubbly or, if you’re looking something that’ll give you that warm and fuzzy feeling you love, a nice spicy red!

We recommend: A Prosecco or South African Shiraz



You don’t want your wines to mess around. You want direct labels that tell you what your wine is about – extra points if it’s organic or local! Keep it in your budget, and stick to the fresh, earthy and crisp wines.

We recommend: A nice Sauvignon Blanc or an oaked Chardonnay



You love the outdoors, and you want your wine to respect that. Why not check out the organic wines section of your local specialty grocer? If you’re not looking for anything fancy, stick to the sweet, gentle wines with floral aromas. And don’t forget to invite Gemini and Aquarius! They’ll be your perfect drinking buddies.

We recommend: Gewurztraminer or German Riesling



You’re the toughest of the water signs, and so if your pallet! Pisces and Cancer might be sipping the fruity wines, but you should be sure to mix up the night with a bolder wine with intense, rich flavors. Try dark reds, and make sure that the varietal matches the region! You want the best of the best.

We recommend: An English Claret or Australian Shiraz



The world is your oyster, so find the pearls of the wine world! Try out wines from countries you don’t associate with wine, or different varietals your drinking friends (Aries and Leo) don’t usually bring to your wine nights.

We recommend: Worldly unique wines like Austrian Gruner Veltliner or Portuguese Tempranillo.



You’re in charge of picking out a wine for your family dinner, and you always want to please the ones you love! Keep it strong and classic, Capricorn: you value tradition, so a French wine or a table wine would work perfectly for you.

We recommend: Classic French GSM blend or the white French Marsanne Blend


Feature image credit Stephen Cruickshank

8 Reasons to Drink Today



Today Feb. 18th 2016 is National Drink Wine Day!!!

Now run to the nearest liquor store, vineyard, classy wine selling establishment, Whole Foods, or to your secret stash and pop a cork!

There are PLENTY of good reasons to have a glass of wine today. In celebration, in memorium, inside me just because, regardless of whatever reason(s) you choose for today, half-past wants to share a few great reasons with you.


1) Wine is HEALTHY for you! (wait whaa?)

NO REALLY. Kristen’s wine class all had to write research papers on the multiple health benefits of wine. Here’s a few fun facts she found.

Wine contains an antioxidant compound called Reservatrol. It’s found in primarily red wine because this compound is found in grape skins. It is a promising compound that has been linked to preventing heart disease, anti-inflammatory effects, anti-viral, and can help prevent cancer. The American Hearth Association still suggests one glass of red wine a day. (Web MD)

Don’t forget the power of Sangria either! Did we mention our friends at Mija?


Mija Sangria is GOOD for you and tastes AMAZING even for your friends who aren’t quite into wine yet. Check out the details that we found on the website: “Mija Sangria is packed with antioxidants – 3 times as many as a glass of red wine – from super fruits like pomegranate, açaí and blood orange. ” 

That’s right folks! This healthy and fabulous sangria can be found at Whole Foods and Wegmans so grab it for tonight!

2) CHEERS to YOU today!

Half Past KNOWS that too many of you are running around not taking the time to celebrate yourself. Raise a glass today just for YOU. We bet that you have accomplished more than you think, probably conquered some demons, maybe are in process of getting somewhere great, or even just survived the day. Who cares! Glasses up to all of you. #selflove.



3) Company is coming…. get the glasses out!

The Half Past ladies are personally having a movie night to celebrate tonight with wine pairing snacks and chocolates. That means company! Who are you with tonight? Chilling with the parents, maybe a significant other, your best friends, working late with some coworkers, you and the dog? If we count correctly that’s more than one person so you OBVIOUSLY need some wine to go around. Spread the love!


4) Sip away the work day

Wine does a great job at helping us forget about our stressful work day or just a stressful day in general. Grab something smooth or maybe a bubbly to get your mood going in a different direction. You conquered today! Take one from Frozen and LET IT GO.


5) Get your game up!

So sometimes a glass or two gives you that confidence you didn’t have 5 minutes ago. That’s fine. We all need a little push to help us talk to that cutie at the other end of the bar. Or maybe you just want some help being a little more like yourself (you know that person you are inside)  Raise ’em up! Go get them!


6) Can’t stop on the clock!

Okay maybe you are a normal person who does have the time to let loose on a Thursday. Which is most people anyways. At least multitask? Work it and celebrate at the same time! One glass won’t stop your work flow especially when you drink it slow. So break time is wine time. Grab a glass to keep you sane for the rest of day.


7) Wine pairs well with everything.. literally.

We don’t care what you are eating or doing tonight for plans. We know there’s a wine that pairs well with it. Check out our post about pairing wine with comfort foods … or with food in general….  As proof that wine goes will with everything, here’s a wine that obviously paired well with Beyonce



 8) No mixers or chasers required.

You need to have a glass tonight to celebrate the fact that wine is ready to drink straight out the bottle. No juice chasers or margarita mixes needed here which means you save money!  Instead of wasting money on juices, coconut cremes, sodas, or little Hawaiian umbrellas, you can save that cash to buy another wonderful bottle of wine. Wine that’s beautiful on it own needs to be tasted. SOON.parttumblr_nj04o19xCw1ql5yr7o1_500

So party hard, winos, whatever your occasion!



Pair my wine! The Newbie’s Guide to Food Pairing

If we may quote the great Kevin Zraly here, “There’s only one rule when it comes to matching wine and food: the best wine to pair with your meal is whatever you like. No matter what!”

Wine has a couple functions when it comes to food pairings:

  1. To enhance the flavor of the food that you are eating
  2. To cleanse your palate in between bites or after a flavorful course
  3. To automatically increase your perceived “classiness” at the next dinner party you go to (don’t act like you don’t feel like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when you pick up that glass)

If you know what wine you like, then go for it! If you need a little help picking out a wine to go with a meal for other people (for whom you DON’T know their wine preferences), here are some basic pairing rules and guidelines.

Cut the Cream

Remember that acidic and crisp wines (usually white) like a German Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot gris (grigio), and some Gewurtztraminers can cut through heavy rich/fatty and creamy dishes. They help cleanse the palate from cheeses and heavy starch dishes. Grab that white wine that makes you pucker for that alfredo sauce pasta pairing! *p.s. bubbles are great palate cleansers too, try a bubbly!**

Don’t Bore Me

If you have a very flavorful meal like spicy Indian dishes, paella, Mediterranean lamb dishes, goulash, or even your Chipotle burrito make sure to pair it with an equally expressive wine. A simple, thin, and soft wine will come up flat compared to the meal. It will taste like watered down grape juice and bore your guests (plus you). Try to stick to full-bodied wines like Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Barolo. Get some spicy red Zinfandel to dance with your Mexican feast.

Red loves Red

The darker the meat, the darker the wine. Trying to pair your favorite Moscato with that juicy sirloin isn’t really going to work unless your palate is trained to taste Moscato no matter what you eat. However, as a general rule, lighter proteins like fish, chicken, beans, shellfish, and veal pair best with a range of white wines. Darker proteins like duck, steak, pork, lamb, and any game meats like venison and rabbit go with red wines.

Houston, we have a problem

Like most things in life, there is an exception to every rule. Some foods can successfully pair with White and Red at the same time. These crossover foods are duck, salmon, tuna, and roasted chicken. These foods pair well with “crossover wines.” These are wines with similar body that help white wine drinkers switch to red and vice versa.

Chardonnay = Pinot Noir

This is probably the most famous crossover pairing. If you like one then you are likely to enjoy the other (only after finding the right producer and vintage for you, of course).

Saucy is Bossy

Don’t fall for that menu trick where you see swordfish and you’re like “oh yay, so now I need a glass of white wine” then you read the fine print and the fish is blackened with jerk seasonings smothered in a Jamaican spice sauce. Think again my friends. Order a glass of light red wine instead. The sauces are the bosses! Forget the protein! If the seasonings are strong then so is the wine.

Opposites Attract

We’ve heard that sweet and spicy are a match made in heaven. Wanna try it out? Next time you are feeling spicy foods try pairing it with a sweet California rose, a sugary Moscato, or a White Zinfandel. Let us know what happens!

The Comfort Zone – Safe Picks

So what if you have absolutely no idea after all of these tips? RELAX Kevin Zraly has got you covered. This experienced wine expert has a list of safe picks that go well with “virtually any dish.”

  1. Rose wines
  2. White Zinfandel
  3. Sparkling wines/Champagne
  4. German Riesling
  5. Pinot Grigio
  6. Sauvignon Blanc/Fume Blanc
  7. Chianti Classico
  8. Merlot
  9. Pinot Noir

I still need help! SOS!

Don’t worry! We have trusted references to share.

Pick up a copy of Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World complete wine coursebook. It will teach you everything you need to know about wine EVER.

Is that too intense? Try the amazingly user-friendly book – Wine Folly: the essential guide to wine OR use their website to search any information that you need fast. This is Kristen’s personal favorite wine blog out there!

Need a dummy’s guide to wine? That actually exists! 

Don’t worry we promise it’s easier than you think.


Stay tuned for a more posts about pairing wines with dessert and with specific cheeses!