Eto Saves Your Vino

I look at a lot of Kickstarter campaigns, and every once in a while I come across something that is not only useful but something I would actually use. Eto is one of those Kickstarter items. I’m in.

Eto is a beautifully designed wine decanter with an innovative preservation system that keeps wine preserved for at least 12 days, ensuring you never waste a drop of that precious nectar again. The decanter solves a simple problem, keeping air away for the wine which causes it to oxidize and begin to take on a vinegar taste. Approximately 13,208,600 gallons of wine go down the sink every year for this very reason, and Eto wants to stop that from happening.

The creator Tom Cotton, is a Welsh London-based product designer, with nearly 20 years experience in bringing products from concept to market. Backers were able to pre-orderEto (Welsh for “Again”) on Kickstarter for $75.00 on the Kickstarter site but it looks like the goal has been reached so  financial it will be available to buy for $100.00 around the end of the year.

The design of this is simple and elegant and the best part is it fulfills what good industrial design is supposed to do. It solves a problem, and it does it in a beautiful well thought out way.


Summer Rosé,

The first day of summer is tomorrow, so keeping up with this weeks build up to summer theme I have created a poster of 10 rosés that you can drink now. None of them will break the bank and all of them are good choices for a hot summer afternoon. The list of wines is from Guyot’s rosé picks for 2013.

Prices range from 10 bucks to around 28. The rating scale from Guyot is pretty simple. 13-14/20 is a Good wine, 15-16/20 is a very good wine, 17-18/20 is excellent, anything above is outstanding.

In years past rosés have gotten a bad wrap, especially in the United States. These 10 will change any perception you have about the quality of rosé wines, and hopefully get you drinking rosés if you haven’t started already.


Shooting Analog, and Drinking Wine.

Back in December I bought a 35-year-old Olympus OM2 35mm film camera and a bunch of lenses on eBay. I shot a single roll of film to test out the meter, shutter, and body for typical things like light leaks and exposure accuracy. After shooting my first roll of film in about 15 years, I took it in for developing and promptly forgot about it for 3 months. Today, I was at Crick and remembered to pick up the disc and check out the images I shot back in December. So how’d the camera do? better than I expected, considering there were a number of adult libations consumed while testing it out.

The images below are the result of an evening of good friends, dinner, wine, the holidays, and an impending winter storm.

004_3 013_12 034_33 018_17 010_9 014_13 011_10 012_11 002_1

That Wine is STACT.

Wine racks are one of those things that haven’t really changed much over the decades. Most racks consist of boxes stacked together at 45 or 90 degree angles big enough to hold a bottle on it’s side. So when I saw STACT on Kick starter this morning I have to say I was just a wee bit happy.

STACT designed by Eric Pfeiffer is a modular wine storage system that is made from aircraft-grade anodized aluminum and premium wood veneers. The system is modular, and scalable to grow with your ever expanding collection of fine French Bordeaux’s.

Each STACT panel comes with pre-installed anchors for a secure mount to the wall via the included F-brackets. The system allows you to mix and match six finishes which include walnut, white oak, zebrano, piano black, pure white, and electric orange.

Right now STACT is going into production with delivery scheduled for November. For more information go to the STACT Kickstarter Page.

“With a modern aesthetic in mind, STACT is crafted from high quality aircraft-grade aluminum and premium wood veneers, with a high-end appeal previously found only in modern wine cellars, avant-garde restaurants, and wine bars. The patent-pending versatile and space efficient modular design is infinitely expandable and customizable, a cinch to assemble, and seamlessly integrates into any space or décor.”


Stranger & Stranger Does it Again

When it comes to packaging for wine, beer, and spirits, no one does it better than Stranger & Stranger. I have posted about their work before but this new series of wine packages for Safeway and Truett-Hurst is absolutely fantastic.

The bright colorful paper wrappers are sure to grab the attention of any shopper in the aisle, and the packaging truly stands out from typical wine labels that can vanish on a 20 foot shelf of glass. The price range on the wine runs from 12 to 50 bucks, and since there is no Safeway here in the Kansas City metro area, I might be taking a road trip to pick some of these up.

We had an idea. Instead of putting more wines on the shelf with a label, grape variety and country on it, we thought about why someone might be buying that particular wine. Then we wrapped the bottle in paper covered with recipes, pictures and stuff relating to whatever that occasion might be.

Rain Man, Matilda Sundén Ringnér, for Skruf Glasbruk

Every once in a while I stumble on something that forces me to take a second look.  Rain Man is a hand blown glass decanter from Swedish glass works Skruf.

The simple and elegant design is function first, form second. The circular disc that allows the wine to pass through maximizes aeration helping the wine to open and breathe, and helps to strain any sediment before reaching the glass.

Rain Man, was designed by Swedish designer, Matilda Sundén Ringnér, for Skruf Glasbruk. Rain Man runs about $50.00, and is available here.  I think it’s time to head home and open that bottle of Opus One I have been saving.

iPhone App of the Week, Liberty School “Wine DJ”

Hope Family Wines, a family wine producer with over 30 years of growing experience in Paso Robles, CA, is inviting consumers to drink to a new beat. Today, 72andSunny announced the launch of a breakthrough new retail marketing effort for Hope’s Liberty School label.

The program includes integrated in-store signage and “bottle-neckers” (a fancy name for bottle hang tags) that direct consumers to the “Wine DJ,” the first iPhone application built for the retail wine industry. The application builds a playlist of “Music to Match Your Spirits,” based on the mood and setting in which Liberty School wines will be consumed, The iPhone application is a free download via Apple’s iTunes, or the app store on your iPhone.

Users access specific playlists that correspond with their mood by using a set of sliders which range from “Candle Light” to “Strobe Light” to “Flying Solo” or “Entourage.” The application then generates a custom playlist with music sourced from Music presented in the playlist also has a direct link to the iTunes music store for in app purchasing.

The application is designed to promote Liberty School wines and  comes bundled with extensive information about the wine, including technical information and tasting notes, and a map showing the nearest retailers that carry the wines. Hope Family is a champion of the anti-snob approach to drinking wine and they were eager to embrace new technology and non-traditional marketing methods to get its wines in front of Millennial audiences. The iPhone offered the perfect opportunity for them to do just that.

The Wine DJ app offers something original, fun and valuable to our customers,” says Hope. “Who hasn’t wondered what wine to open on a date, or what music to play at a dinner party? The Wine DJ app facilitates any music and wine scenario, and will hopefully attract new wine drinkers to discover the Hope Family brands in the process,” he adds.

With the launch of the Wine DJ, Hope Family Wines is asserting its role as an innovative vintner by combining technology, music and affordable wines in a creative retail program geared toward the Millennial generation. According to the Wine Market Council, a non-profit association for the wine industry, the Millennial generation encompasses over 70 million people (born 1977-1998), which adds on average 5% more new adults to the U.S. population per year than did Generation X (Generation X totals just 44 million). Hope hired cutting-edge Los Angeles-based strategy, design and creative advertising agency 72andSunny to create and design the iPhone app, which will be supported by a shelf-talker and bottle necker that promote the app, which will change the way a wine communicates in the shopping aisle.

“Everyone wants to market to this group and every year, their buying power becomes more and more influential,” says Hope. “I believe the best way for Hope Family Wines to reach the younger generation is to embrace the world they live in, which is increasingly dominated by mobile products like the iPhone,” he adds.

The WINE DJ Liberty School iPhone app is compatible with several wines within the Hope Family Wines portfolio: Liberty School, Candor, and Treana. Liberty School produces a Cabernet Sauvignon ($12), Syrah ($12), and Chardonnay ($12). Treana Red ($50) is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and Treana White ($25) is a blend of Marsanne and Viognier. The multi-vintage Candor label produces a Merlot and Zinfandel ($18). Under the Austin Hope label, Hope Family Wines sells limited-production Grenache and Syrah ($42).