$50 off $200 at Wine.com with code HAPPYHOUR

Friday, July 27, 2018

If you took advantage of the recent [but now expired] Wine.com $10 off $50 promo, you may have stockpiled Wine .com gift cards and/or statement credits waiting for a good coupon code to come along.

A good one popped up today in the form of $50 off $200 with HAPPYHOUR

25% off (plus the 20% savings with the AmEx offer) is pretty good. We've seen promo codes as high as 30% (for example JULYNEW30) but those tend to be for new customers only, so they don't work well when you want to use the code with an existing StewardShip account.

Portal payouts seem relatively strong at the moment with eBates at 9.5% cashback.

Not up for fiddling with portals? I'm a Wine .com affiliate if you'd be up for using my link to start your savings adventure by clicking on the image below:


Fine print:

*One-time use per customer. Order must be placed by 7/29/2019. The $50 discount is given for a single order with a minimum of $200 excluding shipping and tax. Items with pricing ending in .97 are excluded and will not count toward the minimum required. Discount does not apply to corporate orders, gift certificates, StewardShip membership fees, select Champagne brands, Riedel glassware, fine and rare wine, and all bottles 3.0 liters or larger. No other promotion codes, coupon codes or corporate discounts may be applied to order.


Breaking: Duckhorn Acquires Kosta Browne

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Just got this from Duckhorn's PR firm. Thoughts to follow...

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. – July 17, 2018 – Duckhorn Wine Company, which includes Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx, Goldeneye, Migration, Decoy, Canvasback and Calera, announced today that it will acquire iconic California Pinot Noir winery Kosta Browne. Founded in 1997, Kosta Browne is recognized as one of the wine industry’s great success stories, making some of the New World’s most sought-after Pinot Noirs. The Kosta Browne sale will include the company, the winery, all assets and inventory, as well as 170 acres of vineyards through ownership or long-term leases that include Cerise Vineyard in the Anderson Valley, and prized sections of Keefer Ranch Vineyard in the Russian River Valley and Gap’s Crown Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. The Kosta Browne team will remain with the winery, including CEO Scott Becker and acclaimed winemaker Nico Cueva. 

“This is a huge win for both Duckhorn Wine Company and Kosta Browne,” said Alex Ryan, president and CEO of Duckhorn Wine Company. “Fine wine lovers have an insatiable demand for luxury Pinot Noir, and Kosta Browne’s wines are among America’s most coveted.”

Kosta Browne was founded by Dan Kosta and Michael Browne, with Chris Costello joining the partnership in 2001. In the years since, Kosta Browne has created a globally renowned portfolio of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along with a groundbreaking direct-to-consumer program. In addition to 170 acres of premium estate vineyards, Kosta Browne has established partnerships with many of California’s most legendary growers from Anderson Valley to the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. In 2012, Kosta Browne built a state-of-the-art custom winemaking facility in Sebastopol, California. This summer, they will unveil The Gallery, a hospitality space overlooking the winery where Kosta Browne will provide a rich and immersive tasting experience for its members. 

“As a lover of good wines and good investments, I have particularly enjoyed working with Scott Becker, our dynamic CEO, and his talented team on the relentless pursuit of quality at Kosta Browne,” said John Childs, chairman of J.W. Childs Associates, which currently owns Kosta Browne. “Every action, whether the purchase of Cerise or our proprietary bottling line, was taken to advance the quality of Kosta Browne wines. We have made great strides and are pleased that Duckhorn will continue this journey, as their reputation for excellence suggests. Kosta Browne will be right at home among Duckhorn’s stable of benchmark American wines.”

Kosta Browne has earned a place on Wine Spectator’s annual list of the world’s “Top 100 Wines” seven times since 2005, including “Wine of the Year” in 2011. The 2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Three Palms Merlot was named Wine Spectator’s 2017 “Wine of the Year,” so with this acquisition Duckhorn Wine Company will become the only American wine company in this century with two “Wine of the Year” winners in its portfolio. 

“What Michael, Dan and Chris created at Kosta Browne is nothing short of remarkable,” added Ryan. “It has been exciting to see the founders rewarded for their years of hard work and tireless pursuit of excellence. Their vision and values will inspire everything we do.” 

The purchase of Kosta Browne will not include CIRQ, which was founded, and continues to be owned, by Michael Browne. The sale is expected to close next month. 

About Duckhorn Wine Company
Duckhorn Wine Company has helped set the standard for American fine wine for four decades. Founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn with the launch of Duckhorn Vineyards in 1976, the Duckhorn portfolio has evolved to include Goldeneye, Paraduxx, Migration, Decoy, Canvasback and Calera, each with its own dedicated winemaker. With 700 acres of acclaimed estate vineyards, along with grapes from the finest growers, each winery has its own focused winegrowing program from which to make its wines. Duckhorn Wine Company wines are available throughout the United States, on five continents, and in over 50 countries. For more information, visit Duckhorn.com. 

About Kosta Browne
Located in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, Kosta Browne is a trusted authority on California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They produce appellation and single-vineyard wines from the most coveted cool-climate vineyards across the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations. A commitment to quality, stewardship of the land, and customer relationships have made Kosta Browne an industry-leading producer of inspiring wines that transcend their origins and represent California on a global stage. For more information, visit KostaBrowne.com.


On Hazy, Juicy New England IPAs

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tree House Julius IPA
I've written before about beer's inherent summer advantage. Summer is indeed upon us and in an effort to stay current in beverage trends I've been exploring New England IPAs.

They're hazy visually, they're juicy on the nose and on the palate, have shades of a tropical smoothie, and are high in alcohol. They sell for $5 a can in 4-pack 16 ounce cans if you can get a hold of them.

Purists hate them and consumers can't get enough of them. Parallels with high alcohol fruit bomb wines are abundant: Both are absolutely delicious.

See: 10 Reasons Why Brewers and Drinkers Hate on Hazy IPA

I went to an end of season little league gathering and was fortunate to have a friend bring some cans of the legendary Heady Topper from Vermont along with some cans of Trillium.

Trillium Scaled Up Double IPA
My goodness, was that can of Trillium eye-opening and delicious.

There's something about experiencing something for the first time that can never be replicated. The setting. The can from a brewery so raw the label is a sticker on a generic can. The flavor profile perfectly fit the occasion. Amazing and outstanding.

We headed over to Trillium's facility in Canton the first chance we got. It's a great scene, full of energy and lively but not so crowded and inconvenient as to leave us empty handed.

We bought some cans, had a taste from beers they were pouring on tap, got a bite from a food truck and were on our way.
Trillium's Brewery in Canton, MA
Trillium's beers are, for my taste, absolutely terrific. They seem to gain favor with Boston-area enthusiasts who are fed up with the hassle associated with procuring Tree House from their facility an hour away in the center of Massachusetts.

I haven't made it out there yet but my father-in-law was kind enough to pick some up for me on his way home to Connecticut a few weeks back. This gave me a chance to try Tree House's signature American IPA: Julius.

What strikes me most about Tree House Julius is how utterly devoid of harshness it is. Any of the rough edges one might associate with beer have been sandblasted off. What's left is a beverage that's mouth-filling, satisfying and thick.

The opacity is evident - almost like an orange juice with calcium added.
Tree House Julius IPA
As I was thinking about whether this trend is the wave of the future -or- the next ZIMA I couldn't help but think about how 95% of the beer on retailer shelves are not this.

Until I went over to a nearby grocery store and found this Samuel Adams New England IPA. Hazy & Juicy! In a 16 ounce can!

I couldn't help but think about the guys over at Sam Adams having a meeting. Shaking their heads in dismay at what these upstart brewers were doing in their back yard. And saying "We can do this. Easy."

The packaging and product are strikingly similar to Tree House Julius.
Sam Adams New England IPA: Hazy & Juicy
I had a taste of these two beers side by side and they're about what you'd expect from looking at them. You can tell from the pictures how much denser and opaque the Julius is than the Sam Adams. That conveys to the nose and mouthfeel.

Ironically, if Sam Adams is known for "rounding the edges off" in their stylistic interpretations, I found Julius to be a "rounder" beer. The Sam tastes more like a regular beer. The Julius is a thing unto itself.

Sam's New England IPA is a good proxy for the style. A viable window into what New England Hazy IPA is about and a heck of a lot cheaper and more widely available. At $8.99 for a 4-pack this is a terrific slightly more upscale beer to have in your cooler for a summer party than Sam Summer Ale, a personal favorite.

You know, beers are a funny thing. Unlike wine where the final product is mostly driven by terroir and the winemaker's hand, beer is driven by regional stylistic brewer preferences.

But that doesn't make these beers any less interesting to me.

It's fascinating how beverage preferences change over time. And if you're up for trying new things I'd encourage you to seek out some juicy, hazy New England IPAs.

Check 'em out:

Trillium Brewing Company
110 Shawmut Road, Canton MA 02021

Tree House Brewing Company
129 Sturbridge Road, Charlton, MA

Sam Adams
30 Germania St, Boston, MA 02130



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