Olive Oil Fraud: How To Ensure That What You’re Tasting Is Authentic And ‘Extra Virgin’

The next time you reach for that bottle of extra-virgin Italian olive oil in your cupboard, be aware that it’s probably not extra-virgin, it may not be from Italy and — here’s the shocker — investigations reveal that it may not even be 100 percent olive oil.

Here’s what occurs regularly on the open market: Spanish and North African olive oil is shipped to Italy, cut with soybean oil and beta carotene, and nefariously mislabeled. The adulterated oil is shipped around the world, to countries such as the United States, where it’s estimate that 70 percent of the olive oil offered for sale is doctored. That’s according to The New York Times, who in January of 2014 furthered the investigation after a string of shocking revelations over the past few years.

Journalist Tom Mueller first broke the story in the New Yorker in 2008, and even wrote a book on the subject. “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil” studies how the once symbol of purity has become deeply corrupt. Mueller has become an expert on olive oil and olive oil fraud — and the book tells a story of globalization, deception and crime from ancient times to the present, and is a powerful indictment of today’s lax protections against fake and even toxic food products brought into the United States.

The reports have inspired olive oil lovers to try to avoid getting duped in the future. But how can you tell if your olive oil is fake or real, extra-virgin or extra-tainted?

The University of California at Davis has conducted a series of studies on the topic of olive oil sold in California, and it can be read at http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/research/files/report041211finalreduced.pdf.

In short, the college found that domestic olive oil from single producers or co-ops was always real. In the foreign oil market, it helped to buy from growers who bottle their oil directly for retail sale.

So consumers who want pure olive oil can buy from a single-family farm or small co-op of growers. That’s because almost all olive oil fraud happens with the middle men — the people who buy olive oil in bulk from individual farmers and collect it in bulk to sell to corporate buyers, who mix, sort and sell it to grocery stores.

holman olive oil

When it comes to domestic oil, California is one of the leading olive oil producing states. In order to give consumers some piece of mind when it comes to purchasing real extra virgin product, the California Olive Oil Council has implemented a seal certification program. This program ensures that every bottle with the certification seal is 100 percent authentic.

It’s North America’s only quality control program that actually exceeds the strict international standards for true extra virgin olive oils. For an olive oil to be seal certified, it needs to adhere to strict guidelines:

  • All olive oil must be mechanically extracted without the use of chemicals or excessive heat.
  • There must be less than .5 percent free oleic acid in the oil itself.
  • Must pass a blind taste test, performed by a certified tasting panel, to ensure positive taste elements and no defects.

If you want an absolutely definitive test done on your store-bought olive oil, you can send in a sample to UC Davis’ Olive Oil Center. They will perform the same testing on your sample that they performed in their original study. For information visit olivecenter.ucdavis.edu.

Or you can develop your own taste test. Real olive oil — the good stuff — will be powerful and peppery and it will catch in your throat. You may actually cough, ad your eyes may water. But these are in fact good indications that what you’re tasting is authentic. It is also full of the reasons, especially flavor and health, that we’re drawn to olive oil in the first place.

Modern Wedding Parties Bend Gender Roles, Leading To “Best Woman” And “Man Of Honor”

Tradition dictates that a “best man” supports the groom and a “maid or matron of honor” supports the bride during a couple’s journey to becoming husband and wife. But in this modern age where gender roles become blurred and tolerance rules our thoughts and actions, more and more wedding parties feature simply “best people.”

 In recent years many more brides and grooms are being accompanied by opposite members of sex — all to make way for something that suits their day.

Leah Ingram, author of “The Balanced Bride: Preparing Your Mind, Body and Spirit for Your Wedding and Beyond,” said the opposite-sex attendant trend has a lot to do with the fact that today’s brides and grooms are older than in previous generations.

“People are out on their own, out of college, living and working and making their own friendships,” she said.

In these modern times, non-romantic friendships between men and women occur quite frequently. Under those circumstances it only makes sense to have your best friend at your side — regardless of gender.

As usual, it’s celebrities who tend to kickstart trends. When musician Jamie Hince got hitched to supermodel Kate Moss in 2011, he chose his bandmate Alison Mosshart as his “best woman” instead of having a best man.

But eliminating strict gender roles actually gained traction in 2001 when Peggy Post updated her great-grandmother-in-law’s wedding etiquette book to include protocol for opposite-sex attendants.

As one can imagine, the name “best woman” can cause a bit of friction among couples. Who else can be called “best woman” but the bride herself? And does a bride-to-be really want a woman planning her future husband’s bachelor party? Probably not. Similarly, a potential groom may not find it entirely comfortable having a “man of honor” on the other side of the aisle, someone who is helping with the lingerie shower.

Most modern couples simply say: Get over it! But if you feel you must explain, in the program the groom’s friend can be listed as “The Best Wo-Man.” When it’s time to announce the bridal party, the DJ can something like: “Here is the maid of honor, ‘Diane,’ being escorted, not by the best man, but the ‘best woman,’ Todd’s childhood friend, Ms. Melanie Jones.” She can also be referred to as “best friend of honor to the groom.” And when a bride has a maid of honor who is male, he is usually referred to as “man of honor to the bride” or “best friend of honor to the bride. 

So what are the clothing rules for these friends-era weddings? Do “bridesmen” wear hot pink suits if the bridesmaids’ dresses are pink? Do “groomswomen” wear tuxedos?

Post says opposite-sex attendants should try to blend in with the rest of the party.

A man on the woman’s side can wear a tuxedo. A woman on the man’s side can wear a dress that matches the bridesmaids’ dresses. Or perhaps she would feel more comfortable in a pantsuit or a dress that matches the men’s clothing.

If you decide to have opposite gender attendants, you should ensure that your photographer is fully briefed so that the man of honor or the best woman gets included in the right groups in the wedding pictures, or that they don’t get left out altogether. A traditional photographer may easily overlook this, so pointing it out may become necessary.




Don’t Throw Away Those Used Wine Bottles — Repurpose Them Into Works Of Art!

For the first time since someone figured out how to ferment grapes, the United States has unseated France as the world’s leader in wine consumption by volume.

Each year Americans down nearly 30 million hectoliters of wine, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine.

That amounts to nearly 4 billion bottles of wine (roughly 13 bottles per average American), with many of those vessels being tossed.

But wine bottles have such a great shape, heft and sparkle that it almost seems a pity to just get rid of them with the week’s recycling (or worse, to have them littering our landscape). It’s easy and fun to repurpose wine bottles in a variety of ways — and we’re not talking about re-creating those kitschy Chianti bottles candles from the 1970s.

Here are some quick and crafty tips on how to re-purpose your used wine bottles.

  • Keep plants hydrated: To make a slow-drip irrigator, drill a ¼-inch hole through a cork and stopper and secure it to a water-filled bottle. Press the whole thing neck-first into well-hydrated soil next to a plant or plants.
  • Stop tall boots from sagging: Tuck bottles into the shafts of footwear like cowboy boots so that they’ll stay upright in a closet or mudroom.
  • Soap dispenser. Outfitted with a pump or drizzle top, a wine bottle can be a decorative replacement for an ugly plastic bottle.
  • Prop up you books: Fill a bottle (especially one that holds special meaning) with sand for a keepsake that doubles as a bookend.
  • Make a festive light display: Feed a 50-light string into a hole drilled into a bottle’s side (use a ¾-inch tile bit, then enlarge and smooth out the hole with a conical grinding stone).
  • Edge garden beds or paths: Stockpile empties until spring. Then excavate an 8-inch-deep trench and bury bottles neck-first, leaving exposed bottoms to glint in the sun.
  • Make your own hurricane lamps: Remove bottoms of bottles by using some glass-cutting tools to fashion “covers” to place over tea lights. To create this decorative project split the glass along a carefully placed fault line using thermal shock. Make a deep etching with a glass-cutter around the bottom of the bottle. Then pour very hot water over the etching before immediately placing in ice bath. Sand the sharp edges of the bottle, then use a polishing cloth for a smoother edge.
  • Create a water bottle: Using the method described above, cut the top off of a particularly decorative bottle. Once edges are smoothed, the bottle can be used at the dinner table to replenish water glasses.
  • Homemade candle: Forget the Chianti bottle. Take the label off a bottle by soaking it in warm, soapy water, then stick a long candle in the top. Kitschy? Perhaps. But effective nonetheless.



Used For Everything From Wigs To Violin Bows, Horsehair Has Been A Valuable Commodity For Thousands Of Years

Most people expressed shock when it was reported that a suspect in western Pennsylvania cut the manes and tails from three horses at the Henderson Equestrian Complex north of Pittsburgh — absconding with the hair.

State police conducted a search for the illicit barber because the crime is all too commonplace in this day and age. There is a high demand for horsehair and it has become a coveted commodity for creating faux manes and tails for show horses, for use in brushes (notably fine-art paint brushes), wigs, hat bands, jewelry, pottery, upholstery stuffing and even high-end violin bows. Horsehair is also used to create a hard-wearing fabric called haircloth, and for horsehair plaster, a wall covering material formerly used in the construction industry and now found only in older buildings.

While horses can grow back their tails and manes to full length, it takes years.

Horsehair is the long, coarse hair growing on the manes and tails of horses. It can be very stiff or very fine and flexible; mane hair is generally softer and shorter than tail hair. The texture of horsehair differs among breeds and the management of the horse, including natural conditions such as diet or climate, can affect the feel and strength of the hair.

 Horsehair is a protein fiber that absorbs water slowly, but can be dyed or colored effectively using traditional dyes. Horsehair fabrics are woven with wefts of tail hair from live horses , along with cotton or silk warps. Horsehair fabrics are sought for their luster, durability and care properties. Horsehair is a very good insulator and also has a natural oil and rigid structure that allows the strands to be woven tightly while remaining waterproof and warm.

 Many historians believe that Spaniards in the 8th century were the first to use horsehair as a textile. The first documented use occurred in the 9th century in Switzerland where the Swiss used horsehair in the woven plans for the monastic compound St. Gall Abbey.

For thousands of years, fishing lines were made of plaited horsehair. It was commonly used in the 19th century as covering fabric for furniture. It was almost always the fiber used in popular shaving brushes. It was also common in hats and women’s undergarments. It also was used in hairdos to create the “Gibson Girl” look — or used to fashion wigs.

 The shutdown of many slaughterhouses across the United States may have led to a horsehair shortage — and could have led to the Pennsylvania thievery. But cheap horsehair in bulk is still available from other countries. 

 Manufacturers typically purchase it in bulk from suppliers in China, a country that is rumored to obtain the hair from slaughterhouses. Groups supporting humane treatment of animals do not advocate buying horsehair for that reason, so make sure that if you do it comes from ethical sources.

In the meantime, a few horses in Pennsylvania will be without their tail hair, something critical for them during fly season. Owners will undoubtedly use insect repellent to help their horses effectively swat — and may even resort to using tail extensions (yet another use for horsehair).

Olive Oil Poaching Leads To Silky, Luxurious And Incredibly Tasty Fish

Poaching is a classic French method in which a chef gently cooks something (usually fish) in a liquid over low heat. Traditionally, that liquid is a light broth, known as a court bouillon. If done correctly the finished fish comes out delicious, light and flaky.

The Italians took that method a step forward, substituting extra virgin olive oil as the liquid, and it’s the foundation for an entirely different way of cooking. This is not deep-frying. Submerging a sturdy fillet of fish such as halibut or tuna into a bath of warm olive oil and then cooking it in the oven at a low temperature is to many a revelation. The fish comes out of the bath with a remarkably tender, silky texture — with a pure seafood flavor that’s hard to achieve with any other cooking method. It’s moist, but never watery, and any residual oil is not burnt or acrid, but rather light, sweet and slightly peppery.

OilPoachedFish2Not only does this method lead to alternative taste and texture, it provides chefs with an additional use for olive oil — one of the healthiest oils on the planet given that it’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and vital polyphenols.

One of the remarkable things about the poaching technique is that the timing is virtually foolproof. Twenty-five minutes is the magic number for perfectly cooked seafood every time. Chefs will let the fish sit at room temperature for about an hour before poaching because cold fish from the refrigerator will lover the temperature of the oil dramatically.  The best doneness indicator is the appearance of white droplets of albumin (protein) on the outside of the fish. Or you can make a small cut in the fish with a paring knife to visually check for doneness.

There are three keys to perfect olive oil poaching. First, make sure that the fish you choose is rich in flavor and firm in texture, and is cut into at least 1-inch thick fillets. Choose a straight-sided sauté pan or saucepan that will hold the fish in a single layer to the pieces don’t overlap. Finally, be sure to use extra-virgin olive oil for poaching, because its rich flavor will penetrate the fish. In the interest of cost, do not use high-end finishing oils, but rather good-quality extra virgin oil.

Normally you will use between 4 and 6 cups of oil to poach the fish. Be sure to save the oil in order to extend it into a few more poaching sessions. Let it cool to room temperature and strain it through a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Following are the steps to poach fish in olive oil:

  • Step 1: Remove the fish from the refrigerator, season it, and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
  • Step 2: Heat the oil over low heat just until it reaches 120 degrees. Use a candy or instant-read thermometer to monitor the oil’s temperature.
  • Step 3: Immediately transfer the pan with the fish to the oven, and poach for exactly 25 minutes. When plating the fish, drizzle with a little of the poaching oil, and spritz with lemon juice.


More And More Brides And Grooms Make It Their Pet Project To Incorporate Furry Friends Into The Ceremony

A wedding is a family affair, and it’s safe to say that no one should be excluded — but how about those furry, four-legged family members?

Modern brides and grooms have extended their wedding guest lists to include treasured pets that are weaved into the ceremony in a variety of creative ways. The trend has become a natural progression of dressing down the ceremony by making it more fun and accessible to all.

If you can’t imagine walking down the aisle without your precious pup, favored feline or maybe even your beloved bird, there are plenty of ways to make this a reality without turning your ceremony into a zoo.

As fun and creative as it sounds, including your pet in the wedding does require some thoughtful planning.


Consider the following:

  • Weddings can be stressful and overwhelming for a pet that does not adapt well to new environments or is uncomfortable around strangers. Be sure your pet has the demeanor and patience required to participate.
  • Decide what part of the ceremony you would like your pet to attend. It’s prudent to involve your dog or other pet friend in the ceremony but not the reception, as receptions tend to be full of noise and stress.
  • Be sure to check with the wedding venue to make sure that pets are allowed.
  • Based on the role your pet is playing in the ceremony, start preparing early for the tasks it will be required to perform.
  • Designate a handler that will be with your pet at all times throughout the ceremony.

The biggest decision is determining what role your pet will play in the ceremony. Following are some ideas that can be pulled off with minimal planning and effort:

  • Use your pet to propose. Hanging a “will you marry me?” sign around your dog’s neck, for example, will set the stage for what’s to come. Or tie an engagement ring tightly to your cat’s collar and let your beloved find it on her own.
  • Let them star in your save-the-date cards or engagement photos. Including your pet in these photos gives recipients a peek into your personalities, and tells them more about your “family.”
  • Give your pet a special job, such as a sign holder, or as a prop at the photo booth.
  • Let them be the flower girl escort, or the ring bearer. Having the flower girl walking your leashed pet down the aisle can really make a fun statement. For especially well-trained pets, securing the ring on a special collar can be a cute way to retrieve it when the Officiant asks for it.
  • Have your dog stand in for the flower girl. You can dress them accordingly with an adorable top hat or flower crown — making a picture-perfect wedding moment.
  • Forget the bouquet and carry your pet down the aisle.
  • Let them stroll down the aisle before you.
  • Have them by your side during the ceremony.
  • Equestrian brides can ride their horse to the reception, the gown artfully draped on either side.

Sure, including a pet in your ceremony or reception may take a little extra work and planning, but you’ll be pleased to have included your animal pal in the long run. Remember to include them in some formal and not-so-formal wedding photos because years from now those images will be considered picture-perfect wedding moments.

Wine Ice Cream Could Be The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

You’ve had a miserable day. You want to go home, kick off your shoes and make no decisions — except maybe one: Wine or ice cream? Tough call. The alcohol in a glass of wine can certainly numb us to a cruel world, while a bowl of ice cream comforts with its fat and sugar.

But now, thanks to a century-old dairy in upstate New York, we can have both — in the same bowl (or glass).

Mercer’s Dairy in Boonville, N.Y., has come out with its own line of wine-infused ice cream that contains 5 percent alcohol by volume. This is not “wine flavored” ice cream, but real wine blended into eight different cream concoctions: Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet, Peach White Zinfandel, Port, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, Riesling, Spice and Strawberry Sparkling.

As it turns out, we have Hillary Clinton to thank for this spectacular merger of two vices. When then-U.S. Senator Clinton put the grape growers next to the ice cream makers at a Washington D.C., showcase of New York farm products in 2003, wheels started turning. Mercer’s owner Roxiana Hurlburt became inspired by the sight of guests adding Mercer’s Dairy ice cream to wine glasses from a neighboring booth. She took her time (nearly a decade) perfecting the formula, which was especially difficult because higher alcohol concentrations prevent ice cream from freezing. Settling on 5 percent alcohol, she then had to jump the hurdles put down by state lawmakers before she could make the blending legal.

Though Mercer’s first created the recipe in 2006 and began selling it in 2007, it has recently become more than just an upstate New York secret. In December Jimmy Fallon mentioned the dessert in his opening monologue, and the product was a secret ingredient on the Food Network show “Chopped” last month.
Admittedly, this isn’t the first time someone has thought to combine alcohol with dessert. However, this is the first truly alcoholic ice cream to hit stores. While the brand Ciao Bella offers 
alcoholic sorbet (and the Internet holds plenty of DIY recipes to make alcoholic ice cream), Mercer’s is the first to package and sell ice cream reserved only for those over the age of 21.

The wine ice cream contains 300 calories and 14 grams of fat per half-cup serving. Mercer’s ships it by the pint, half gallon, five-quart pail, or three-gallon tub, depending on how hungry — or thirsty — we are.

Find out more, or place an order, at www.mercerswineicecream.com

To make your own wine ice cream at home, try this recipe:

 Red Wine Ice Cream

(Serves 8)

2 bottles full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups sugar
9 yolks
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Steps: Pour wine into a large pot and bring to a simmer. Add cinnamon sticks and peppercorns. Simmer until the wine is reduced to 1 cup (it should take about 1 hour).

  In a large pan, bring the milk, cream and half of the sugar to a boil and turn off heat. In a bowl, whisk together yolks and remaining sugar. Temper the yolks into the boiling milk by gradually whisking about 1 cup of milk into the yolks and adding this back into the pot with the remaining milk. Stir in the salt and the vanilla. Whisk in the reduced wine. Set pan over a bowl full of ice to cool. Pour the chilled ice cream base through a fine mesh strainer. Process the base in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.

Yoga Devotees Combining Core Elements Of The Ancient Discipline Into The Equestrian World

Interest in yoga is growing nearly as fast as the love of horseback riding, so the melding of the ancient spiritual and ascetic discipline into the equestrian world is logical.

Yoga involves breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, and is widely practiced for health and relaxation. Introducing these core elements to equestrians makes sense because they are similar in what is needed to create a workable equine-rider partnership.

When riders learn how to tune into their bodies it makes them more aware of the physical and emotional cues they are sending to their horse. Learning how to control those cues will make anyone a better rider and horseman. And riders will also be building balance, strength, and flexibility, along with finding a fun and relaxing way to spend time on their horse.  

Equestrians may work yoga into their world in three ways: practicing traditional yoga on a mat to become a stronger, more connected rider; developing a program of poses to try atop the horse; or even with the horse as an active participant.

The popularity of yoga has led to a more specialized approach for sports enthusiasts, notably in tennis, running and horseback riding. Whether you ride to compete or simply for pleasure, your balance and comfort in the saddle can be improved by practicing a few yoga postures and simple breathing techniques.

Good posture is essential while horseback riding. In the saddle, the back should be straight but not stiff, and there should be a natural curvature in the lower spine. Downward Facing Dog is central to many styles of yoga because it elongates the spine, which encourages good posture. To begin, come to your hands and knees on a yoga mat. Bring your hands forward about 3 to 4 inches, tuck your toes under and press your hips toward the ceiling, bringing the body into a V-shape. As you press your hands firmly into the mat and work on moving your heels toward the floor (they may not reach in the beginning), you should feel your back muscles and hamstrings stretch and lengthen. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths and then return to hands and knees. Repeat this exercise at least five times to increase suppleness in the spine.

Horseback riding also puts a lot of strain on the hip flexors. Regular stretching will make riding more comfortable, and it will also allow a deeper seating position. Equestrians can practice Bound Angle Pose to open and stretch the hips. To move into this posture, sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your bent knees to gently fall out to the sides. Do not force the stretch, but rather, let gravity take over as your knees move toward the floor. If you want a deeper stretch you can slowly fold your upper body forward over the soles of your feet. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, remembering to focus on your breath.

Many people can practice yoga on a nice soft mat laid out on a floor that doesn’t move. Not many have the balance, strength and confidence to perform those same poses atop a half-ton animal. It is the ultimate test of a rider’s skills and abilities, and there is no way better to truly connect with nature — and your horse.

 These poses target the entire body, with an emphasis on the legs, hips, shoulders, and back. The horse not only makes for a fun four-legged companion, but it also challenges you to remain focused and present. If your mind begins to wander, you risk tumbling to the ground.

It is advisable to research this practice carefully, hire a qualified instructor, and to always have a “spotter” nearby. Always use a calm, trustworthy horse and proceed slowly as your confidence builds.

Among the more fascinating forms of the yoga-equestrian union is practiced in The Doma India School in San Luis, Argentina. The school was founded by father and son Oscar and Cristobal Scarpati and works under the philosophy that respectful and non-violent horse-taming can establish a meaningful bond between man and steed.

The Scarpati family considers horses to be sacred, and applies and develops their concepts on wild, traumatized or nervous horses tamed by manipulating them into yoga poses.

A video of a wrangler performing yoga-esque poses atop a strapping steed went viral on the Internet earlier this year. See this unusual concept here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuiItttvwKE.




Ongoing Fascination With Kate And William’s Royal Wedding Affects 2015 Wedding Trends

On April 29, 2011, a global audience of more than 300 million watched Kate Middleton join the royal family of England by marrying Prince William. The grand day became a bank holiday in the United Kingdom, with the government declaring April 29 St. Catherine’s Day.

The interest and excitement of that royal wedding has not waned. Princess Kate grows in popularity every day, and along with the large audience for the PBS drama “Downton Abbey,” brides cannot get enough of sweet English details to incorporate into their weddings.

From garden soirées to glamorous balls, details with an English feel are trending for 2015. Those in the know predict an influx of stylish details that bring to mind garden parties and dining al fresco. In this scenario tables are uncovered or simply adorned with a vintage lace cloth. Lush garlands get turned into runners and loosely styled floral centerpieces hang from above. Garden roses become a beautiful accent and are reminiscent of a lovely afternoon tea.

And, of course, no British wedding is complete without Pimm’s, the tasty liqueur made from gin and a secret blend of herbs. Pimm’s-based cocktails served in a famous Pimm’s No. 1 cup will lend a certain cachet to any celebration.

Some other wedding trends to look for in 2015:

panetone en plein air

  • Pantone Inc. has announced the theme for top color picks for spring 2015 weddings and it’s En Plein Air, which means “in the open air.” Think gentle and soft muted hues. Aquamarine will be present everywhere next wedding season. This color is cool and ethereal, and is said to reduce stress (something every bridal couple needs). Other colors include: Scuba Blue, playful and reminiscent of a tropical ocean; Lucite Green, cool and refreshing, yet light in tone; and Toasted Almond, representing warmth.
  • Wedding dresses will feature off-the-shoulder tops. This look is romantic and timeless. You will see variations from one-shoulder to draped sleeves on both sides, creating a very soft and Bohemian look.
  • Thanks to celebrity brides like Blake Lively and Lauren Conrad, yellow gold and rose gold are creeping their way back into engagement ring stores (and on the hands of more and more brides).
  • Move over gold and silver, because copper decor is popping up more than ever before. From centerpieces to invitation typefaces, brides want to give off vintage vibes, so expect to see more of this metal.
  • Lighting has always been one of the most important factors for a gorgeous wedding, since it has the power to enhance, create focus and set the. This year’s brides will look to fairy lights, pin-spot lighting, brilliantly lit up initials or soft romantic twinkle lights.
  • More and more brides are now embracing the idea of the wearable flower crown. Depending on the theme, the crowns can be made from pretty delicate flowers such as gypsophila, or fuller blooms such as roses and hydrangeas for more impact.
  • When it comes to the cake, couples will revisit classic designs. Another trend will be to skip the elaborate dessert and sweet table and serve cake as the actual dessert.

What’s In A Name? That Which We Call A Rosé By Any Other Name Would Never Taste Sweet…

holman ranch rose of pinot

Whether you call it rosé, rosato or rosado, it’s without a doubt the most beautiful, refreshing wine in the world.

Rosé is French for pink, and rosato and rosado mean “pinkish” it Italian and Spanish, respectively. Those three countries lead the way when it comes producing to quality rosé — and the people drink a considerable amount of it, especially on hot summer days.

The United States is starting to appear on the rosé radar (rosé exports from France to the U.S. have grown at double-digit rates each year since 2003). This is remarkable considering the country is battling decades of bad press following the long production of sweet bulk wine called White Zinfandel (much of it dispenses from a square box).

Today, California winemakers especially are producing quality dry rosés, made with an eye toward balance and character. The results are elegant, refreshing (with low alcohol) and delicious. Grapes used include Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Pinot Noir, among others. Rosé is a quintessential food wine and, while great in the summer, is truly enjoyable 12 months out of the year.

Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, Calif., makes a Rosé of Pinot Noir it calls Blushing Bride. It embraces the spirit of warm weather wine, all while staying true to the tenets of the classic bistro tradition. It features a bright nose with a subtle hint of wildflowers jumping out of the glass, and its lengthy palate and juicy overtones finish off the all-estate selection.

 The thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lends Pinot to producing mostly lightly colored, medium bodied low tannin wines. When young, wines made from Pinot tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. The wine’s color is frequently much lighter than that of other red wines, due to the grapes’ lower skin anthocyanin (coloring matter).

Creating fine blush wines is not easy, although some producers simply combine red wine and white wine and call it a day. It’s more complex than that.

Almost all grapes produce juice that is clear when they are crushed, so the red (or rosé) color comes from pigments in the crushed grape skins.

 To say that all rosés are “pink” is an over-simplification of the process. In the Provence region of France (known for its outstanding rosé), there is an official system of grading the color of rosé: Cantaloupe, Peach, Groseille, Grapefruit, Mango and Mandarin. As you might guess, the color spectrum for rosé wines ranges from light pink to dark pink to a pinkish-orange hue.

 The most authentic and delicious way to make rosé is through the Saignee (sen-YAY, or “bled”) method, the practice of “bleeding off” lightly tinted juice after a brief maceration with the grapes. Since wine’s color comes from the skins, the longer you “steep” the grape, the darker and more tannic the rosé.

  This method was originally used to intensify the remaining batch of red wine but wineries soon found that following fermentation, the slightly tinted wine had a bright, acidic and bone dry deliciousness.

Rosé emerged as possessing the drinkability of a dry white wine, with some of the color and characteristics of a red wine. Meeting in the middle proved to be a popular, and profitable, decision. And, today, more and more wine drinkers are “blushing” at the thought of it.


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