RSSAuthor Archive for Nick Antonaccio

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Treading the Delicate Politics of Restaurant Corkage Fees

Restaurant wine lists, crafted by today’s wine-focused chefs and highly educated sommeliers, can be the epitome of the overall experience at a restaurant. Many restaurants painstakingly pair food and wine offerings and invest significantly in well-stocked wine cellars. However, when celebrating a special occasion or trying to impress a potential business client, a diner may […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Dilemma of the Sulfite-Allergic Wine Consumer

“Contains sulfites.” This government-mandated label appears on every bottle of wine sold in the United States. “I’m allergic to sulfites.” “Every time I drink white wine I get a headache.” These plaintive cries are on the lips of many wine drinkers in the United States. And so the debate over the effects of sulfites continues […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: An Anecdotal Discussion of Capitalism and the Wine Industry

Much has been written about the one-percenters in America as the polarization of wealth in our nation continues to get wider. However, this division of wealth is not a recent phenomenon. The one-percenters have dominated America’s social, financial and economic landscape ever since the days of the Founding Fathers. As the United States evolved from […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: A Toast to the Origins of the Celebratory Toast

“Cheers!” “Salud!” “Santé!” “Prost!” “L’chaim!” “Nostrovia!” Whatever the language, whatever the occasion, raising one’s glass of wine in celebration always seems a most appropriate gesture. The toast is invariably interpreted as “Good Health!” regardless of the occasion. Typically offered by the host of an event and followed by multiple responses, this tradition has changed little […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Unintended Consequences of Living With Nature

In past columns, I’ve extolled the virtues of winemakers intent on producing unadulterated wines made from grapes that are untouched by industrial science. This trend to produce wines in a manner most is in line with nature’s influence, not man’s. Natural wines can be expected to be more representative of the qualities and characteristics of […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Living Vicariously for the Seemingly Right Reasons

The offerings on restaurant food menus and wine lists in the 21st century have seen a wave of unprecedented changes. Ingredients, individually and in combination, are enticing and pleasing diners with novel and sophisticated tasting experiences. Similarly, wine lists are broader and deeper, to accompany the new flavor combinations on food menus. There is a […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The High Cost of a Fine Meal at a Renowned Restaurant

Wine lists, in the hands of a skilled and customer-focused sommelier, can be the epitome of the overall experience at a restaurant. When curated with the food menu in mind, they can be the cornerstone of an exceptional dining experience at a top restaurant. They can also reflect the high prices at which many restaurants […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: A Guided Tour of the Evolving Restaurant Beverage List

Remember the wine lists of the 20th century? It was as if an invisible hand crafted the lists of every Italian neighborhood restaurant, every French bistro and every steakhouse. This monotonous uniformity fit the moment in Americans’ wine education. Offer them what they were comfortable with; don’t undermine their selections with wines contrary to their […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Beware the Many Faces of Media Hyperbole

In this age of instant news, instant data availability and instant gratification, I am suspect of most information that crosses the screens of my multiple electronic devices. So much of the rhetoric on the internet, upon investigation, is ultimately opinion, not fact. It is increasingly difficult to discern between the two. To make matters worse, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Presenting The Unique Wine Palate of Americans

Americans drink more wine than any other nation. And most of the wine we consume is produced in the United States. So what wines do we prefer? Is there a national preference for certain styles of wines over others? Do we tend to consume wines produced from a select few grapes or are our palates […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Bordeaux: Pleasure for the Elite or Staple for The Bourgeois?

Bordeaux. Wait. Stop. Don’t turn this page. I know the word Bordeaux can elicit very mixed emotions – and facial expressions – every time it’s uttered or printed on a page. The wine world at large has done such a good job in promoting the mystique and elusiveness of high-end Bordeaux wines that the general […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Rationale Behind A Wine Snob’s Thought Process

When I was younger I drank wine to be sociable, to be used as a prop for an engaging conversation, either with the other sex or with friends seeking to engage the other sex. And of course when I was even younger, I drank for the sake of getting a buzz at the lowest cost. […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Predictable Yet Nuanced American Wine Palate

What are Americans drinking? How much are Americans drinking? These are subjects I’ve explored on numerous occasions with readers. And each year the dynamics change. As the availability of international wines increases in the United States, and as Americans’ palates and wallets expand, the breadth and depth of wine sales has steadily evolved over the […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Creating a New Experience When Tasting Wine and Chocolate

What began as an analytical approach to comparing the processing of grapes and cacao beans to their logical end-product of wine and chocolate, has stirred more interest than I expected. In recent columns, I’ve focused on the similarities in the life cycles of wine and chocolate, from raw ingredients to finished product. In the growing, […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: A Primer on Enjoying Fine Wine and Fine Chocolate

This past weekend, as I sat at my keyboard contemplating the 396th column of You Heard It through the Grapevine, an urge struck me to indulge in one of the topics I had previously focused on. So it is that I am sitting here this Sunday evening, with a glass of red wine at hand […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Benefits/Pitfalls of Having Your Own Wine Cellar

There are a number of issues to consider when purchasing and opening a bottle of wine. Foremost is what wine to purchase that is drinkable within my timetable for consumption? There are several decision points I consider. If I’m purchasing for a friendly gathering of friends, I’ll select wines that I know they will enjoy: […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Comparing the Production of Fine Wine to Fine Chocolate

The natural and scientific components of winemaking are similar to the production of numerous other products. These products share the core processes and procedures of winemaking, but digress at some point in their unique lifecycles. The end results bear the imprint of the winemaking process but are distinct unto themselves. Last week I focused on […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Surprising Similarities of Wine and Coffee Production

There are numerous parallels to winemaking in the natural world, as man has endeavored to extend winemaking techniques to other agricultural harvests. The end results bear the imprint of the winemaking process but are distinct unto themselves. Cheese, bread, yogurt, chocolate and beer production share certain critical steps of winemaking (fermentation and yeast addition). So […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: An Exploration Into Changing Wines Into Spirits

The process of making wine, with its natural life cycle of fruit-producing grapevines to fermented juice to bottled wine, has been carried on for millennia. For all of the modern technology and techniques, it remains an ancient art best expressed as a simple, natural process. There are numerous parallels to winemaking in the natural world […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The California Drought’s Effect on the Wine Industry

Did you happen to see the photos on the front page of The New York Times last week depicting the effects of the four-year-long California drought? The photos accompanied the report that Gov. Jerry Brown had mandated water use reductions for the first time in California’s history. His executive order imposed a 25 percent usage […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Finger Pointing At California Wines: You Get What You Pay For

Which end of the wine budget spectrum do you find yourself in discussions with friends or family? “Why do you spend so much on a bottle of wine? My $8 bottle of wine is just as good as your $25 bottle – and it’s much more consistent every year than your higher-priced wine that seems […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine:The Trials and Travails of Start-up Winery Owners

Wine is big business in the United States and the lure and attraction of being part of its potential success and heady prestige is enticing to many. Some desire their own winery for the love of the land, or the love of crafting their own artisanal juice of the Gods, or for the prestige and […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: The Wines Consumed by Christians From Ancient to Modern Times

Last week, I attempted to follow the history and antecedent practices leading to today’s Christian celebration of the Eucharist, the celebration of Christ’s Last Supper. This week I address the two questions left unanswered: 1) What wine did Christ likely consume during his life on earth and 2) what type of wine do we consume […]

Grapevine: A Brief History of Wine's Role and Influence in Christianity

Grapevine: A Brief History of Wine’s Role and Influence in Christianity

As a Roman Catholic — and a wine writer — I haven’t given much thought to the wine that is consumed at Mass during the sacrament of the Eucharist. Shame on me. I first began thinking about wine in the context of my column while I was chatting with our parish priest a few years […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Local Importer is Your Personal Wine Consultant

Last week I introduced readers to “artisanal importers” who have a passion for particular styles or regions and vigorously pursue the wines that express their passions. A particular artisanal importer’s name on a wine’s back label can compel you to purchase a wine with certainty, not with the usual element of chance. This week I […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Artisanal Importers Can Tantalize Our Discerning Palates

Having sought out new wines for several decades now, I’ve found that I prefer particular styles of wine and specific wine regions. This has certainly helped steer me in the right direction when I’m perusing the numerous offerings at my local wine shops. Certainly, the new round of wine apps, a number of which I […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: An Exercise in Matching Wine and Oscar Nominations

The 87th Academy Awards show airs this Sunday. This is my sixth year of presenting the Best Picture nominees and creating hypothetical pairings of wine with the top contenders. I’ve distilled my list to five of the eight nominees. “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” This dark comedy praises and mocks Hollywood and Broadway […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Let’s Lift One as We Celebrate Presidents’ Day Weekend

In the spirit of the upcoming Presidents’ Day weekend — and in my insatiable search to relate events around me to a wine-centricity – I contemplated this week’s column. Seeking references to any imbibing habits by our first and 16th leaders, I found the landscape highly polarized. George Washington brewed his own beer, of which […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Navigating the App Stores for Digital Wine Experts

Have you recently encountered any of these situations? “Waiter, may I see the wine list?” Waiter: “Here you are sir/madam.” He or she hands you an iPad. The iPad, or other brand of tablet/phablet, is slowly gaining traction in restaurants and wine bars as a replacement for wine lists produced on paper. In many cases […]

Nick Antonaccio

Grapevine: Analyzing This Year’s Super Bowl From a Culinary Perspective

Super Bowl Sunday brings together friends and family to indulge in the biggest junk food day of the year. Once a year we indulge guilt-free in those waist-widening, artery-clogging foods we try to fastidiously avoid all year. And what better way to wash down those calories and fat than with your favorite beverage. But what […]