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Jaw Dropping Gifts: 2017 Wine Gift Giving Guide

2017 Wine Gift Giving Guide:  Jaw Dropping Gifts


“What do you want for Christmas?” are the six words that always stop me in my tracks.  Not because I am a scrooge or I do not like exchanging gifts.  On the contrary, I love the holidays and giving gifts to friends and family.  I love the look of joy and the smiles a perfectly selected gift brings.  Well then, why does “What do you want for Christmas?” bring on temporary paralyze?  It is stuff.  The thought of having more stuff.  I don’t want more stuff.  Stuff adds clutter to my overly generous furnished home.  I prefer to give experiences to people.  Something they hopefully enjoy doing, which will create lasting memories.  The jaw dropping gifts list is composed of items or experiences that will create memories for your wine lover.


Wine Stocking Stuffers and Small Presents


photo credit: Tasha Dooley

WineCream is homemade ice cream and wine.  The WineCream creators did the impossible.  They made dessert better.  They improved everyone’s frozen dessert by adding wine.  Located in Baltimore City, WineCream has a tasting room where you witness their unique process of making the ice cream and delight in tasting their fruity wine ice cream.  You can schedule private tastings.  Your visit includes a tour of the historical industrial building, ice demonstration and a tasting. They have seasonal flavors like Apple Pie, Caramel Pie and Peach Cobbler.  You taste between 4 and 6 ice creams.   If you not interested in the onsite tasting, WineCream does ship locally.  $15 for tasting fees,  $14.99 pint of ice cream (Shipping not included) purchased online WineCream


Make Your Own Wine

While sipping a glass of Pinot Noir do you ever say to yourself, “I could make this”?  We found a place that allows you to get your wish. The Urban Winery (Silver Spring, MD) offers wine making classes.   Here is your chance to show off your inner winemaker.  You can geek out over the whole wine making experience.  The wine classes are small… you and 5 of your favorite people are the average size group.   It is a two part experience.  During your first visit, you select the varietal and make the wine with the resident winemaker.  About 10 – 14 weeks later, you go back to The Urban Winery to bottle, cork and label your wine. When it is all said and done, you make approximately six gallons or 3 cases of wine.  Call or email The Urban Winery to book your event $500 – $700 per group


photo credit: Urban Winery

29 Bottle Wine Cooler

A couple years ago my brother gave me a wine chiller refrigerator for Christmas.  He immediately became my favorite brother. (By the way, he is my only sibling).  It has the dual temperature settings for white and red wines.  It is conveniently stored in my basement where I cellar my wine. The chiller’s compressor cycles, as a result it can be a little loud and expends a lot of energy are the only draw backs.  I heard similar concerns expressed by other chiller owners.  So, when NewAir contacted me about testing their 29-Bottle Black Stainless Wine Cooler, I had reservations.  How could this be different then my current wine frig?   In the name of wine, I gave it a try.

photo credit: NewAir


Immediately, I noticed NewAir 29 wine bottle cooler is a fourth slimmer than mine. Interesting.  It holds the same number of bottles, but it is slimmer.  The cooler is a sleek black stainless-steel model. It is perfect for people who do not have a lot of space, but need to accommodate at least two cases of wine. It has similar functionality, like dual temperature controls and adjustable wood rack trays, as in my current one.  However, it is noticeably quieter. I did not hear the compressor cycling. NewAir is energy efficient.  An unexpected surprise, was the lock.  I can secure the cooler. This feature is great for people with kids and keeping wine in the “right” hands.  I hope I do not lock myself out.  I look forward to filling my new wine cooler and the new experiences each wine bottle will bring.  The nice people at NewAir is offering a discount to Vino 301 followers.  Use code VINO for 20% off the NewAir AWR-290DB-B Black Stainless Wine Cooler when you are purchasing online.  $829.95 NewAir.com


Wine & Cheese Tour

Wine and cheese tourCheese frequently comes to mind when you think of serving wine.  So why not have cheese during your wine tour?  Vino 301 is offering a Wine and Cheese tour in 2018.  Your adventure begins with a cheese and wine pairing, where Romano’s finest wines will be paired with P.A. Bowen Farmstead (Brandywine, MD) award-winning raw milk artisan cheeses.  Romano Vineyard and Winery produces handcrafted award-winning wines from their estate grown grapes and grapes from custom growers.   PA Bowen make award-winning raw milk artisan cheeses, and we are a pasture-based sustainable farm.   Your next destination will take you to one of southern Prince George’s County local vineyards (Robin Hill Farm & Vineyards, JaneMark Winery &Vineyard, or Gemeny Winery & Vineyard). $115 per person.  Wine & Cheese Tour

You Booked a Wine Tour, What’s Next?

What Happens on A Vino 301 Wine Tour

So you booked a wine tour, what is next?  After the initial excitement subsides, you may have questions about what to expect on the tour.   We put together some tips and information about going on a wine tour for you.  Regardless if this is  first time taking a wine tour or visiting Maryland vineyards, hopefully these tips are helpful to assist you to prepare for your wine tour.


Expect to have fun

You are with family, friends, and possibly new friends, who expect to have a good time on your tour.  Our tour guides, also known as Tour Ambassadors, expect you to have a good time too.   We believe in meeting or exceeding your expectations, so expect to have a good time.


Tasting fees are included

The tasting fees are what the vineyards and wineries charges to try the wines.  At least six types of wines are included in the tasting flights.  The tasting room staff will pour between one and two ounce of wine for each wine. Your Vino 301 registration will always include your tasting fees.  You do not have to pay for this during your tour. The only costs you will have on the tour is when you purchase a glass of wine or a bottle of wine.


Wine Tours

WUSA9 Great Day Washington hosts Chris and Markette chat with Leslie about Maryland Wine Tours. View Video


Receive a souvenir wine glass

You will receive a souvenir wine glass from us as a small gesture of gratitude.  You can use the glass during your trip if you bring beverages for the drive.   The vineyards and wineries provide tasting glasses, so you do not have to bring your Vino 301 glass in the tasting room.

In addition to your Vino 301 glass, you may receive a souvenir glass with your wine tasting. Your Tour Ambassador will inform you if the wine glass is included with the tasting.   You can purchase the winery’s glass if it is not a part of the tasting.


Water, water, and more water…stay hydrated

Dehydration is the number one reason why you get a hangover.   To help to avoid this, we provide bottle water during the tour.  Our Tour Ambassadors will encourage you to drink water during the tour. You should try to drink water for every glass of wine you have.



Snacks for the ride

Chips, popcorn, pretzels, and all sorts of snacks are available to you to munch on during your trip.  We invite you to enjoy them.  However, it does not make a meal.   The tours are between five and six hours long.  It is a long day of great wine tasting.  It is an even  longer day of great wine tasting on an empty stomach.  You are welcomed to bring your own picnic lunch or purchase lunch from us.  We offer lunch options or cheese plates.

A few vineyards  prohibit outside food. In many cases,  those vineyards have food to purchase. We can inform you which vineyards have food restrictions.


Keep it causal, dress for the setting

Vineyards are beautiful and romantic.  They are also working farms. Expect unpaved roads, fields, rocks, gravel and dirt.  Your wine tasting will take place indoors or in a covered pavilion.  However, the vineyard tour will occur outside.  Wear clothing you do not mind a little dirt or mud getting on it.


Touring the vineyard

Not all vineyards and wineries offer a vineyard tour.   Vino 301 wine tours are organized to include at least one vineyard tour among the 2 or 3 venues you will visit.  We try to make sure you are able to take a tour if it is available.  Depending upon how many vineyards you are scheduled to visit, there may not be time in the schedule to conduct the vineyard tour.   Your Tour Ambassador will advise you if a vineyard tour is not included.


Details, details… Your confirmation states the pick up time, location and vineyards

You will receive a second email confirmation the day before your tour.  Your confirmation states your Tour Ambassador’s name, pick up location and the places you are visiting.


Taxes and gratuity

It is not mandatory but welcomed to tip the tasting room servers.  They do accept tips. Your tour does not include taxes.  Your tour does include a gratuity for the Tour Ambassador and driver.  You pay the gratuity when you register for your tour.

Now you are ready to take a Vino 301 wine tour!  For more tips, view this video.  Leslie discusses taking a wine tour on WUSA9 Great Day Washington.

Win A Wine Tour: Escape To Maryland’s Wine Country

Win a wine tour to Maryland’s wine country. Upload a your favorite vineyard picture on Twitter or Instagram from December 2 – January 1, 2016. Add ‪#‎ilovevino301‬ @vino301 to your post. Share everywhere – the most likes win.  Winners selected weekly.


Wine A Wine Tour to Maryland's Wine Country

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