So You Wanna Be A Wine Hack…?



I’m worried about you, gentle reader.  Yes, you; the happy-go-lucky, earnest, lapdog-like wine aficionado who stumbled across this web site looking for practical advice on ‘Top Syrahs Under $20’.  Joke’s on you, by the way:  I learned very early in my pretend-career as a wine expert to always put ‘Top Syrahs Under $20’ in my internet search engine tags no matter what topic I am writing about.

In any case, I know exactly what you are up to.  I know this because on the same page as I enter ‘search engine tags’ (‘Pretty Little Liars uncensored sex tape’ is pretty effective, too) I can also track the number of hits that an individual column receives, and I actually read your hate mail, and every time I get all catty and rude and trash other wine writers or silly wine ideas, I suddenly get a million shares and ‘likes’ and comments.

Clipboard helenAnd every time I actually write about top syrahs under twenty dollars?  Zero, zip, śūnya, nulla.  It’s like the Helen Keller cut of Silence Of The Lambs.

And when I really go out on an intellectual limb and write something like ‘You’re A Good Manic, Stillman Brown’—which, let’s face it, modesty aside, is pretty much the Toccata and Fugue in D minor of wine writing—I’m lucky if I can get Stillman Brown to read it.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that I’d rather have readers than friends, and life is too short for empathy, discretion or tact, so here you go, on an expensive sterling platter with gadrooned borders:  Complete mockery of a ludicrous article I just read on Buzzfeed called…

‘11 Wine Hacks Every Twentysomething Should Know’

Feel free to read it first to see if I’m going off-base here.


Gentle Critique, Starting With The Title…

Clipboard plinyI have no intention of looking up the word ‘wine hack’ to see if it has a meaning other than the one I am familiar with:  Which is, wine bloggers struggling for column inches, word counts and unique perspective about a subject that Pliny the Elder pretty much exhausted in 70 AD.  Why?  Because I am assuming that, based on some of the ‘hacks’ the article mentions, the piece was written by a European, and for all I know, you honkey-crackers across the pond have your own version of Urban Dictionary.  So be it—but in that case, why use the all-American run-on buzzword ‘twentysomething’, which we invented to tag team that perfectly awful sitcom ‘Thirtysomething’? 

Say, Europe:  Don’t use our airspace, our territorial waters or our catchphrases, okay?  If you need a word to describe your mewling, simpering youth, ‘Eurodouchenozzles’ is quite adequate, thank you.

Anyway, if you wasted the time actually reading the article, you will see that it is a list of eleven wine ‘tips’ that should (apparently) be in the mental bag-o-tricks of this particular generation.

I’ll lay them out in order and add commentary only where I feel it is absolutely required:


1. Filter cork pieces out of wine by pouring it through a coffee filter first.

Dear twentysomethings: Other than violating the inviolable maxim that you never, ever use coffee paraphernalia with wine, a larger truth looms: If you are so inept with a wine key that you are pulverizing corks, you probably want to consider switching to screw caps, bag-in-the-boxes or beer.

original-kraft-macaroni-and-cheese2. A lot of cheeses are better paired with white wines, not reds.

This is the first indication that this piece was written by a European.  A few snooty San Franciscans and Manhattanites aside, cheese is an American afterthought—something you put on a burger, on a Ritz cracker, in a obligatory bring-to-family-pot-lucks casserole or over a pot of desperation macaroni in college.  The color of the wine you serve with it, which you can’t afford anyway, is irrelevant.

3. Don’t have a corkscrew? A hammer and nail — or a screw, screwdriver, and a pair of pliers — could help you out.

Good one, twentysomethings.  You have already demonstrated your childlike inability to handle a corkscrew, so might as well use some dangerous alternative tool to force your way inside an adult beverage, huh?  Although, I’d like a demonstration of the hammer-and-nail technique, which, unless you are threatening to nail your sommelier’s tongue to the table unless he opens your wine, seems unlikely to do more than make a huge mess.

Room for one more?

Room for one more?

4. Keep your white wine cool without diluting it by throwing in a few frozen grapes.

Seriously?  Need I?  Okay, then, twentysomethings:  If you have an apparatus to freeze grapes, you already have a way to keep your white wine cool.

5. When hosting a party, put out rubber bracelets for people to put around their glasses to prevent confusion.

rubber roomIf you are throwing parties with guests who are so confused that they can’t keep track of their wine glasses, chances are they won’t be able to read the bracelets, and, in any case, don’t really care whose glasses they end up with.  Next stop for you: The rubber room, and whatever bracelet you receive upon admittance.

HEY KOOLAID AND I LOVE JIM JONES6. Neutralize red wine stains with table salt and white wine.

I see a level of insanity in pouring out white wine after you’ve Exxon Valdez’d the red wine, but I’d be curious if anybody could explain the scientific principal—other than placebo psychosomatics—behind this, because it makes no sense.  An interwebs search indicates that salt is ‘also good for Kool-aid stains’, but since you’d have to drink the Koolaid before you’d believe it could work, the technique fails on impact.

7. Need to chill your wine in a hurry? Wrap a linen towel around it and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes.

I’ll sign off on this one, twentysomethings.  And add to it:  If you need to roast your wine in a hurry, put it under the broiler for 15 minutes.

boone8. If you (somehow) have leftover white wine, add a splash to a simple pasta dish to add some depth to the flavor.

There’s a unique concept, huh?  Adding wine to a sauce to improve the flavor.  Must say, Buzzfeed, you are a trailblazer on a par with Dan’l Boone.  Can’t wait for your piece on what to do with the leftover salt after you sop up the red wine.

9. If you have leftover red, save it to make amazing desserts like a blueberry red wine sorbet.

Of course, once you’ve bought the blueberries and the sorbet maker, you’re probably ready for more wine.  That said, the blueberries will make a delightful sorbet even without the wine you just drank.

brian3310. If you’re packing a bottle of wine for a trip, insert it into a pool floatie to protect it.

A pool floatie?  You mean, like Brian Jones?

11. Or get a special wine carrier for your bicycle so you can travel in style with your favorite bottle.

Hey, windmill-wankers; how about a sippy-cup filled with Château Branaire-Ducru for the rear deck?

Hey, windmill-wankers; how about a sippy-cup filled with Château Branaire-Ducru for the rear deck?

Final nod to the strange lifestyle in Europe, where twentysomethings apparently ride bicycles that are not carbon-fiber-framed off-road monsters that do not accommodate ‘wine carriers’.

Here in the land of the brave and home of the free, or however that song goes, we require four-stroke, many-cylindered engines to travel in anything that could vaguely be defined as ‘style’.

However, I will happily look into marketing a chic wine-glass holder for your training wheels if you like, twentysomethings.


That’s it, kind and patient readers.  Let the nastygrams fly; I could use the hit-count.  A free cheap syrah to whoever eviscerates me first.



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6 Responses to So You Wanna Be A Wine Hack…?

  1. Tom says:

    I tried removing red wine stains with white wine. No better than using water.

  2. intoxreport says:

    I never heard back from Heloise when I asked for tips on removing the stench of decaying flesh from the trunk of a car, so I never bothered her with the red wine stain question. Who knows?

  3. brincs says:

    Excellent post. Another for wine hacks. If there is too much alcohol in the wine add some lemonade to it. Only joking of course 🙂

  4. Tony! says:

    Chris, I think you’ll like this if you haven’t seen it already:

  5. Great post, Chris. #8 made me laugh out loud.

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