Tuesday, December 15, 2015

AWS Holiday Party Reservations

JANUARY 9,2016


Please RSVP with
your entree choice to:

Or you may reply to  412-657-0777

Mail your check, payable to AWS to:

Dr. Dennis Trumble

1302 Arch St.

Pittsburgh, PA  15212

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Warm and Personal Holiday Greetings from your Board!

Dear Friend,

Greetings from the echoes of what some folks like to call “Black Friday”–a day on which so many of us cash those early Christmas bonuses.   Anyway, since our treasury was a little depleted, your Board Members decided to make all our own gifts this year.  It was getting a little boring having the champagne dinner at Le Mont (as we usually do with the treasury money) anyway.  It’s been so much fun bonding as we create treasures from the old tinfoil, unused building materials, and scraps of wine cases. We did, however, want to update you on the accomplishments of your elected Board Members this past year, so:

Bev, the Potentate of Programs, has recently taken to expressing herself through poetry during her therapy sessions free time, so we’ll let her start us off with holiday poem:

“Season’s greetings and fleeting meetings, with the ones we love, on earth and above.
Let’s spread our cheer o’er many climes, during these wonderful and happy times—
Alright, that’s it, enough of this crap. The in-laws are here, so much for my nap.
I spilled my wine, that’s just my luck, “But Mom, it’s Christmas!” Yeah? Who gives a f—

It’s a work in progress. . .

Dennis realized the one thing that he hadn’t finished from his bucket list, besides remodeling the bathroom, was to become a professional basketball player.  So he began training in late May, bought several hundred dollars’ worth of supplements down at GNC, more Ace bandages than Florence Nightingale would know what to do with, got a membership to Club Julian, and proceeded to burn himself raw on their newest tanning bed.  After he got out of the trauma ward, he vowed that sports had not seen the last of him.  As far as I can determine, this means he spends Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday nights avoiding Kathleen by dodging behind the big screen down at The James Street Tavern.

Guess who finally got called to Jury Duty after throwing herself on the mercy of the court? Kathleen was selected, with “a jury of her peers,” to serve on a trial that started December 1st. That is why this letter is getting to you so late. She was doing her civic duty, and trying to earn enough money to treat Dennis to some steaks on the Barbie at Outback Steakhouse.

The night before her jury duty, Kathleen did some brushing up by skimming the Declaration of Independence, the amendments to the Constitution, and contemplated the historic court cases like Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. the Board of Education. Finally, she perused the Emancipation Proclamation for good measure. She wanted to be prepared for whatever might be asked during her tenure as a juror.

This summer, Tim hiked the entire circumference of each of the Finger Lakes in his Birkenstocks while carrying three Haitian orphans on his back. In September, he invented a fuel injection system that will allow cars to get 500 miles per gallon. But most impressive of all, after years of intensive training, he finally learned how to put down the toilet seat.

Brittany started the year by designing an entire line of swimwear for cats. In March she achieved enlightenment and went to Tibet to have a glass of banana wine with the Dalai Lama.  In October, movie studios went into a bidding frenzy for the rights to her best-selling, coming-of-age/mystery/fantasy/thriller tome, “Planet of the Grapes.”

This past year, Marie received national recognition for watching every Christmas movie broadcast by the Hallmark Channel in 2015. In addition, she single handedly saved Amazon from financial ruin with her online purchases.

As many of you know, Marie is a great lover of cultural treasures and is always on the lookout for artifacts that can potentially unlock the mysteries of our ancestors, and that might also match the earth-toned color scheme of her guest house. In April of 2015, she unearthed the lost Anasazi City of Lukachukai with a band of Navajo pot hunters. Like you, I assumed lost cities were confined to ocean floors and 19th century jungles, but this massive, century-old cliff dwelling is a testament to the few undiscovered wonders still hidden in the world.  The clay walls didn’t stand a chance against Marie’s new axe (purchased on Amazon, I might add).  She came away with as many ochre colored skulls as she could carry!

The summer was fairly inconsequential for Terry and Pat. Terry won a handful of journalism awards, lost funding for his research project on determining the five best kinds of monkeys and finally got those drapes that Pat had been wanting. He also fought a cow, but that’s a story for another time.

Since it snowed last night in Butler, Terry got up early and made a sled with old barn wood and a glue gun. He hand painted it in gold leaf, got out his loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves. Then to make the sled complete, he made a white horse to pull it from DNA that he had just sitting around in Pat’s craft room.

Not to brag or anything, but Thom finally achieved Diamond status on his Hilton Honors card, thanks to the AWS National Convention. Do you know what that means? It means that he get a free bottle of water on check in, sometimes two. You’re jealous, aren’t you? Frequently he gets a parking spot under a street light and perhaps best of all; he might get a Toblerone candy bar. Perks, my Friends! Perks!

Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah, and/ or whatever alternative Holiday you may choose to observe,

Your Board

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

More Than You Ever Needed To Know


It’s the Holiday Season, and our thoughts always turn to wine.  The question is which wine.  If we’re looking for the most versatile, then there’s only one answer.  Champagne’s effervescence cleanses the palate, it makes food more enjoyable, and more importantly, it is more effective than tequila when you’re trying to impress a date. Champagne is arguably one of the greatest discoveries that happened to mankind. And, like most great things, Champagne was discovered by accident.  Here are some more items about The Bubbly that don’t even come up on Jeopardy.


The British were the first to see the tendency of wines from the Champagne region to sparkle, and they tried to understand the reason behind those tiny bubbles. Due to the use of coal-fueled ovens, the English glassmakers produced stronger, more durable glass bottles than the French. English bottling and corking skills were far superior to those in France so wine was often transported to England in wooden wine barrels where merchant houses would then bottle the wine for sale.
During the winters of the Champagne region, temperatures would drop so low that the fermentation process was prematurely halted leaving some residual sugar and dormant yeast. When the wine was shipped to and bottled in England, the fermentation process would restart when the weather warmed and the wine would begin to build pressure from carbon dioxide gas. When the wine was opened, it would be bubbly. In 1662, the English scientist Christopher Merret presented a paper detailing how the presence of sugar in a wine led to it eventually sparkling and that by adding sugar to a wine before bottling it, nearly any wine could be made to sparkle. This is one of the first known accounts of understanding the process of sparkling wine and even suggests that British merchants were producing “sparkling Champagne” before the French Champenois were deliberately making it.


Dom Pérignon was originally asked by his superiors at the Abbey of Hautvillers to get rid of the bubbles since the pressure in the bottles caused many of them to burst in the cellar. As sparkling wine production increased in the early 18th century, cellar workers (especially the riddlers, or remueurs in French) had to wear a heavy iron mask to prevent injury from spontaneously bursting bottles. The disturbance caused by one bottle exploding could cause a chain reaction, which would cause wine cellars to lose 20% to 90% of their inventory this way.


Effervescence has been observed in wine throughout history and has been noted by Ancient Greek and Roman writers but the cause of this mysterious appearance of bubbles wasn’t understood. Over time it’s been attributed to phases of the moon and both good and evil spirits. It was considered a wine fault in early Champagne winemaking. The mysterious circumstance surrounding the then unknown process of fermentation and carbonic gas caused some critics to call the sparkling creations “The Devil’s Wine”.


Champagne has been an integral part of sports celebration since Moët & Chandon started offering their Champagne to the winners of Formula 1 Grand Prix events. At the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, winner Dan Gurney started the tradition of drivers spraying the crowd and each other.


Champagne is usually served in a Champagne flute, whose characteristics include a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl, thin sides and an etched bottom.
The Champagne coupe or Champagne saucer is a shallow, broad bowled, stemmed glass, commonly used at wedding receptions, often stacked in layers to build a champagne tower. Champagne is continuously poured into the top glass, trickling down to fill every glass below. Legend has it that the shape of the glass was designed using a mold of French Queen Marie Antoinette’s left breast as a birthday present to her husband, Louis XVI. As much as we would love for this to be true, this is almost certainly false. The glass was designed especially for champagne in England in 1663, preceding them by almost a century.

Not to be outdone, however, Moët Hennessy Champagne brand Dom Pérignon released a glass modelled after supermodel Claudia Schiffer’s breasts back in 2008. Both Schiffer and Lagerfeld (the photographer of note) had a long association with Dom Perignon, the former appearing in a series of ever more suggestive ads for the brand. In 2007, the pair hosted a series of lavish parties for the launch of the Oenothèque 1993, the house’s top bottling. The glass, which sold as a package with a bottle of 1995 Oenothèque, cost $3,150!  Check for one on eBay!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We just received this note.  We thought that you'd enjoy seeing it.

Thank you again for the very generous donation to the animals at the Western PA Humane Society! The support of the American Wine Society – Pittsburgh Chapter means the world to our shelter pets, and we could not continue our 141 year tradition without the generosity of people like you. We know Pearl had a fabulous time at the event! Here she is with Thom –

Thank you so much again!!!!

Allison Caldwell
Development Associate
Western PA Humane Society
1101 Western Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15233
412.321.4625 (Extension 315)
Join Team WPHS for the 2016 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon!
Pittsburgh Marathon

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vegan Wine

What! Isn't All Wine Vegan?

Recently, we’ve been asked if our wine is “vegan”.  What is a vegan wine? Are all wines vegan or not? If not, then why not? And how can I find vegan friendly wines?

Why Not All Wines Are Vegan (or Even Vegetarian)
As we all know, wine is made from grapes. Essentially wine is fermented grape juice. Yeasts, either natural or cultured, convert the grape juice sugars into alcohol. So far this all seems to be vegan friendly.
The reason that all wines are not vegan or even vegetarian friendly has to do with how the wine is clarified and a process called ‘fining’. All young wines are hazy and contain tiny molecules such as proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are all natural, and in no way harmful. However, we wine drinkers like our wines to be clear and bright.
Most wines, if left long enough, will stabilize and fine without any assistance. However, traditionally producers have used a variety of aids called ‘fining agents’ to help the process along. Fining agents help precipitate out these haze inducing molecules. Essentially, the fining agent acts like a magnet attracting the molecules around it. They coagulate around the fining agent, creating fewer but larger particles, which can then be more easily removed.
Traditionally the most commonly used fining agents were casein (milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein). These fining agents are known as processing aids. They are not additives to the wine, as they are precipitated out along with the haze. None of the fining agent remains in the finished wine.
Fining with casein and albumin is usually acceptable by most vegetarians but all four are off limits for vegans. But there is good news. Today many winemakers use clay based fining agents such as bentonite, which are particularly efficient at fining out unwanted proteins. Activated charcoal is another vegan and vegetarian friendly agent that is also used.
In addition, the move to more natural winemaking methods, allowing nature to take its course, means more vegan and vegetarian friendly wines will be in the market.  An increasing number of wine producers around the globe are electing not to fine or filter their wines. Such wines usually mention on the label ‘not fined and/or not filtered’.
Apart from mentioning whether it has been fined or filtered, wine labels typically do not indicate whether the wine is suitable for vegans or vegetarians, or what fining agents were used. There has been much lobbying to change the US wine labeling laws to include ingredient listing, but so far it isn’t compulsory.

How To Tell If a Wine Is Vegan or Vegetarian Friendly
So, if the ingredients are not listed how is a vegan wine drinker to know whether a wine is vegan friendly? It’s not easy. If you call around to a few State Stores and ask if they have any vegan friendly wines you will be met with a ‘what do you mean?’ But don’t give up. There is help.
Websites don’t typically allow you to search even for organic or biodynamic. As natural winemaking gains more market, perhaps we’ll see progress in this approach. A very good online resource for finding which alcohol is vegan is a site called Barnivore (www.barnivore.com), which is a database of user submitted brands. They have an app for looking up info on the go.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Holiday Wine

Holiday Wine

Food, Spice & Wine

 Often the holidays reunite more than friends and family. In many homes, holiday feasts are a mixture of well meant, but completely mismatched dishes prepared with love for the sake of tradition. Beautiful and meaningful to be sure, but challenging when it comes to wine pairing. Add to the challenge our natural tendency to bring out the good stuff to celebrate special occasions and it is easy to see how the best intentions can go wrong.
The best idea, then, is to match variety with variety and serve several different food friendly wines. These are considered safe bets as they shoot more-or-less straight up the middle.
Food Friendly Favorites

Food friendly white wines for the holidays include Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, and reds include Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Chianti and Rioja. This isn't a definitive list, but its somewhere to start. As always, let your palette be your guide.
Thanksgiving was originally a time to celebrate the end of a successful harvest, but now it’s the beginning of the long holiday season. Generally the menu at Thanksgiving is full of fresh vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, and of course the Thanksgiving turkey. Many of these foods are heavy and rich and represent a warm break from the cold.
To cut the richness of many of these foods, try a sparkling white wine like Champagne - not just for its suitability, but also for the sense of occasion.
Lighter bodied whites are solid choices for turkey and ham, because they won't overpower the mild taste of the white and light meat.
If you prefer a red, a bright Beaujolais will complement the milder dishes, while its fruity tones will stand up to the more intense.  Cabernet Franc is another lighter bodied red that has a touch of pepper and darker fruit tones that will go well with the darker turkey meat. They pair beautifully in fact, so if you want to bring out the good stuff, Cabernet Franc is an excellent place to start - or finish, whatever the case may be.

While turkey is relatively wine friendly it’s the heavier, often times orphan side dishes that present a challenge. Grandma's candied yams with whipped and toasted marshmallow topping for example. These dishes need a rich, bold wine to hold its own. Ideally, it should be one with solid acidity and strong fruit tones. Red Burgundy, Shiraz and Riesling will stand up to most holiday side dishes.
Pinot Noir pairs well with many foods, including turkey and ham. The earthiness of the wine picks up on the earthy undertones of the food, and Pinot's jammy residue complements both meats.
Ham and other classic holiday dishes, pair extremely well with fruit. Ham is generally rich and salty, possibly smoky, so choose a low acid, low tannin wine to pair.
Consider medium bodied reds with cherries, blackberries and soft tannins. The fruit in medium bodied reds will complement the double smoked baked hams. A heavy red will overpower the ham's flavor, while a wine that is too acidic will take away from the sweetness of the ham. Off dry Rieslings pair well with ham and its smoky sweet flavors, and its acidity will cut through the richness.
Other versatile wines to have on hand during the holidays include Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay. These varieties do well during appetizer time or during wine and cheese round the fire time. Although I’m not a fan, white Zinfandel is a good single varietal crowd pleaser.
Quady Winery in Madera California makes Essensia from Orange Muscat grapes. Quady makes only dessert wines and Essencia is certainly one of those. Wine Enthusiast recommends serving it with cheesecake. “Drink it with cheesecake and go to heaven” they said and then they gave it 93 points.  I agree. There are flavors of apricot, honey and golden raisin, but I find a strong taste of orange. While it’s definitely sweet, it’s not cloying and the wine has an excellent balance of acid to fruit.  This would be an excellent wine to include at holiday dinner gatherings.  I like it with pumpkin or sweet potato pie.
The Final Result?
 The hands down favorite for the holidays of course, is Champagne, the one and only.  It goes with everything, everyone and every occasion - happiness in a glass.

Monday, November 16, 2015

How to Read a Wine Label

How to Read a Wine Label

Let’s imagine that you're in the Fine Wine and Spirits Store and you want to buy a wine that you haven’t tried yet. You have nothing to go by other than the label. Will the label tell you anything you should know?

Many people wonder what they should look for on a wine bottle, and there are whole books written about how to read a wine label.  In a sea of wine labels, are there certain things to look for across the board, or country to country? Here’s what to look for and what to ignore. There are a million caveats and exceptions, but here's some general advice:


This is actually the first thing to read. You don't need to have a vintage chart in your pocket or care whether 2010 was a better year in the Chianti Classico region than 2012. The vast majority of wines at the store are meant to be consumed right away, so you want to make sure the wine isn't too old, particularly if you're buying it expecting lively, fresh fruitiness. You will routinely see five year old Pinot Grigio and two year old Beaujolais Nouveau at stores, for example.  As soon as you see that kind of age on wines like those, you know that you can skip them and move on (and possibly not shop there again).

Alcohol content

Too many wines today have too much alcohol, which leaves them unbalanced. Sure, there are some classic wines with fairly high alcohol levels, but many of today's regular table wines (Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Zinfandel) have levels at 15% or above. Some of those might be terrific, but if you had nothing else to go on, you should look for alcohol content at about 14% and below.

Critter labels

 In the past few years, there has been a profusion of inexpensive wines with cute animals on the labels. These wines are generally less attractive than the labels. Of course, some good wines happen to have animals on the labels, consider Stag's Leap, Iron Horse from California, or the famous Fattoria Due Cane, for instance. When it comes to less expensive wines, however, the cute animal seems to be the main point of the wine. An amusing tale about the animal is often a clue that this is not as amusing a wine as the story.


The more specific that this information is, the better. A wine that says it's from Napa is probably a better bet than a wine that simply says it's from California. It's the same way all over the world. Unfortunately, this will also probably be reflected in the price, so this might not tell you much about value. There are fabled vineyards around the world, plots of land famous for producing high quality grapes. If you care enough to know a few of these, they might help you make an educated guess about quality.

Estate bottled

This means the people who made the wine also had a hand in growing the grapes on their own land. Generally, you will find this a good sign.


On American wines, this doesn't mean anything, so ignore it. There are various rules around the world concerning words like Reserva, but there's no guarantee it means anything in other parts of the world. Unless you know something about the rules concerning, say, Rioja, where it has genuine significance, don't worry about it.

Old vines or vieilles vignes

Theoretically, older vines produce fewer, but more flavorful, grapes, but the problem is that no one has defined what an "old vine" is, so anyone can put this on the label. Again, ignore it.

A phone number

This will require some extra time, because we're talking about tiny type on the back of a label, but you'd be surprised how many small production wines these days include a phone number on the back and an invitation to call the winery. You will find that this is a sign of a highly personal winery. It's amazing how often the winemaker or winery owner answers the phone.

Details, details, details

There used to be a wine, Hanns Kornell's Sehr Trocken, one of a handful of sparkling wines made at his California winery. On the back label was a hand printed date of when the wine was "disgorged," when the sediment in the neck of a bottle of bubbly was removed and the temporary cap replaced by a real cork. On the front of each bottle was this notation: "Naturally fermented in this bottle," which is a big deal because that's the way real Champagne is made, with the final fermentation taking place in the bottle and not in a huge tank.

Some wineries, like Forge Cellars in the Finger Lakes, still give information like that, including the dates when the grapes were harvested and the wine bottled. Details like these make the point that these things mattered to the winemaker and that he or she understands that they have meaning for the consumer, too. They add to the feeling of the wine's authenticity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pour it Forward

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Three Blind Moose, Four Emus, Funky Llamas.

A menagerie of critter labels for wine has emerged recently.  All hope to emulate the success of a certain Yellow Tailed marsupial. Over the past few years, these wines earned $605 million in sales, and average of 77 new animal labels launched since 2003 more than doubled those of their non-critter rivals, according to AC Nielsen. So, it seems, what's on the label does make a difference.  Join us for a tasting of these “Critter Wines” to benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.  We will sample a variety of wines each with an animal prominently featured on the label.
The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society has been helping pets and people since 1874.  Their mission is to provide the most comprehensive, compassionate and humane services to enhance the lives of companion animals for families and the community, and to educate and prevent the cruelty of all animals in our region.

As more shelters become “limited access”, people have no other choice than to surrender their pets to an open-door shelter that will never turn away a pet in need.   Because of the stigma that open-door shelters have, many people choose to make donations to limited access shelters, when in fact, it’s the open-door shelters that need the money more. The Western PA Humane Society helps over 10,000 animals each and every year.  That’s a lot of mouths to feed!

We will be accepting donations for the Humane Society during the tasting. Cash or checks are preferred. We will also be welcoming a representative from the organization, with a special guest!  Our raffle at this tasting will be a bit of a competition to see if we have more cat fanciers or dog lovers.  There will be two raffle wines, and you may choose whichever you prefer to cast your vote.  Of course, you may vote MANY more times than once!


The cost for members is $20.  The cost for guests is $25.

Please reply before November 13 to:  

Or you may reply to  412-657-0777.

Mail your check, payable to AWS to:
Dr. Dennis Trumble
1302 Arch St.
Pittsburgh, PA  15212

Don’t forget to visit the website for directions, useful tips, and recipes!

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Mystery of Decanting Wine

Decanting Wine

Are you confused about the notion of decanting wine?  Are you wondering if you should do it, when you should do it, or how you should do it?  We're here to help.

Some may think decanting to be a bit pretentious or elitist.  The process can appear that way, especially if done in a restaurant setting, with a flurry of activity, using exotic vessels.  But decanting is really just pouring fermented grape juice from a bottle to another container. There is nothing mysterious here, folk.

There are two practical reasons to decant:

• If the wine is young, decanting allows it to breathe and open up, so that it may be closer to its peak when you serve it.

• If the wine is more mature, decanting allows you to catch any sediment that's accumulated in the bottle over the years before it shows up in your glass.

So how does one decant?  With a young bottle, just pour the contents into your decanter, or whatever other clear vessel you're using.  Younger wines should have little to no sediment.  You're just giving the wine some air.  There's no magic timeframe on how long to decant, either.  Whatever time you have available is your likely answer.  A few hours should be plenty for most bottles.  When you're done having the wine sit, you can pour it back in its bottle for easy serving. (That's called double decanting)  Wow.

Decanting an older wine is a bit more involved.  Since the purpose is to eliminate sediment, we're going to slowly pour the wine into your decanter.  You'll need some light to allow you to see the sediment as it reaches the neck of the bottle.  You want to stop or be very careful at that point to keep the wine in the decanter pure.  You'll likely have a small amount of wine left in the bottle with a mouthful of sediment.  Pour the remaining liquid into a glass.  You may be able to filter out most of the remaining sediment by swirling the glass.  Or not.  If you know someone who loves sediment, give the glass to them.

Some folks use a Vinturi filtering device to pour the wine through on its way to the decanter.  That will give the juice some additional aeration, and certainly can't hurt.  You can occasionally swirl the decanter itself to give the wine a bit more air.

We've read recently about folk using blenders to aerate wine.  I haven't done that.  I’m not going to do that.  Why not?  First, there's the problem of finding our blender.  Then there's the thought of what else has been blended with it, and how well it may have been cleaned afterward.
Let's discuss decanters themselves for a moment.  Some of these objects are pompous, ridiculous, and ludicrous and probably a lot of other words ending in "ous".  All you really need is a clear vessel.  A glass pitcher will do.  Some people are fond of using scientific beakers.  They're very functional, and a lot more effective and cost efficient than an exotic decanter.

We hope to have taken some of the mystery out of decanting for you.  Try decanting a young wine for an hour or so before serving it sometime soon, and see if it adds to your enjoyment.  And if you plan to pop the cork from an older Cabernet, decant it on the front end to avoid a Heimlich maneuver later.  Cin cin, either way!

Don't forget about the nominations of Board Members

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Five Things You Don't Need To Know About Wine


Studying wine is a lot less fun than drinking it, but some people feel guilty about their ignorance of its seemingly infinite details. Thankfully, a lot of the things wine geeks obsess about don't really matter to normal humans. Here are five fewer things to worry about when you pull your next cork.
Perfect pairings
The next time you're fretting about whether to drink Riesling or Gewürztraminer with your Thai takeout, keep in mind that awful pairings (Cabernet and asparagus) and transcendent pairings (Sauternes and foie gras) are rare. Here's a simple pairing guide: Most combinations of wine and food are enjoyable.
The year it was made
Weather in winemaking regions affects the way wine tastes, but not as much as who makes it. A bottle from a good vintage by a bad winemaker will pale in comparison to one made in a not so great year by a winemaker who gives a damn. So find producers you like and stay with them. 
Which grapes are in the wine
It's not always clear what those grapes are, anyway. In the U.S., wines labeled as a certain grape (like Cabernet Sauvignon) can legally contain up to 25 percent of any other grape (like Merlot, or Moscato, or Malvasia Nera). In some of the world's great old vineyards, which were planted way before genetic testing allowed scientists to determine which grapes were which, the winemakers may not even be 100 percent sure about the varietals. Also, grapes can produce a wide range of flavors.  A rich, buttery Chardonnay from California doesn't taste anything like an unoaked Chardonnay from Chablis. Just relax.
Its score on the 100-point scale
C’mon, Man.
How much it costs
There are plenty of bad $100 wines. And there are plenty of great $100 wines that, in the wrong context, are going to taste worse than some $10 wines. On a 95 degree summer day, would you rather be drinking a pricey room temperature Zinfandel or a cheap and crisp, cold Vinho Verde from Portugal? And don't think this is only true for inexperienced palates. When sommeliers finish their shifts at fancy restaurants, where they've spent the last 8 hours tasting the supposedly brilliant and complex wines ordered by high rollers, the last thing they crave is $3,000 Bordeaux. Most of them drink beer. 

Don't forget about the nominations of Board Members

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Please take a few moments to read the list of duties below, and make a nomination for board positions. In order to give nominees time to respond, we will close the nomination process on November 4. 

You may nominate any AWS Pittsburgh Chapter member for any board position.

The Duties of the Chairperson

1.      Meeting Facilitator
a.      Create agenda
b.      Preside at board meetings
c.       Communicate Board decisions to membership
2.      Oversee Committees
a.      Strategic planning of all committees
b.      Ensure that all activities meet the Association guidelines
3.      Community Relations
a.      As the primary public figure, the chair represents the Association
b.      Must be comfortable networking with other organizations
4.      Internal Mediation
a.      Resolve issues arising within the Association
b.      Find common ground to solve difficulties
5.      Blogspot Posting
a.      Regular posting of “Notes From the Chair”, “Wine Tips” and “Recipes” to update membership on events, tastings, and other news concerning the Chapter
6.      Relay communications from AWS National to appropriate parties
a.      Include communications from RVP

The Duties of the Vice Chairperson
1.      Wine Procurement
a.      Obtain list of required wines from speaker
b.      Purchase and store wines until the meeting
c.       Bring to meetings ready to pour (e.g. cooled whites)

2.      Manage wine-related items (bottle openers, pourers, blind-tasting bags, etc.)
a.      Clean after use
b.      Store
c.       Bring to meetings

3.      Wine Pouring
a.      Determine the correct number of bottles to open based on attendance
b.      Determine size of pours based on attendance, number of bottles available and number of wines being tasted
c.       Pour wines in correct order, as specified by speaker
4.      Update tasting notes on website after tasting
a.      Post the tasting notes (which wines were tasted, who were the hosts, what food was served, etc.)
5.      ‘Manage’ leftover wine
a.      Drink it up! Open bottles are yours to take home and enjoy!
b.      Keep the unopened bottles that didn’t sell for future use as auction items for fund raising.

The Duties of the Secretary
1.      Take notes during meetings/tastings
2.      Present report during meetings/tasting re: minutes; business matters
3.      Send a welcome email explaining the use of the website and how to enroll for email updates

The Duties of the Treasurer
4.      Keep records of monthly revenues and expenditures
5.      Present report during business meetings re: income, expenditures, and balance
6.      Maintain checking account
a.             Make deposits
b.Write checks
c.              Track balance & verify with bank statements
7.      Pay all bills in a timely manner (< 1 month from date of receipt)
a.             Reimbursement of purchases for monthly
b.Payment of rental fees and permits
c.              Catering for special events
d.Speaker fees/gifts
e.              AWS Education Fund

The Duties of the Program Chair

1.      Plan and coordinate the 8 events per year
a.      6 regular meetings, including National Tasting and 2 special events
                                                              i.      Nationality dinner (May or October) and Winter dinner (restaurant January)
2.      Advise Vice Chair of wines to be procured and served
3.      Choose a presenter for each event
a.      Checklist for presentations
4.      Choose hosts for each meeting
a.      Advise hosts of wines being served, number of attendees
b.      Provide input for table decorations and other sundries
5.      Provide wine costs to Chapter Chair three weeks prior to tasting

The Duties of the Membership Director
1.      Maintain list of current members
2.      Maintain record of guests and guests that become members
3.      Prepare name badges for monthly meetings
4.      Present report during business meetings re: membership levels & new members
5.      Cross-check lists of national and chapter members to ensure all Pittsburgh chapter members have also paid national dues (for insurance purposes)
The Duties of the Procurement Director
1.      Procure and maintain ample supply of wine glasses for tastings
a.      Manage distribution of wine glasses and carry bags to members
b.      Provide spare wineglasses for tastings
c.       Keep record of glasses out for cleaning or on loan
2.       Maintain supply of serving items, plates, napkins, table covers for tastings

Please click on the link below to make your nominations.