6 Top Wine Accessories for Serving and Preserving Your Favorite Bottle

A collage of wine accessories including insulated wine tumblers, a wine sleeve, wine glasses and the Coravin Pivot.
Some of my favorite wine accessories to serve and preserve wine. (Photo by itswinebyme)

There are only so many bottles of wine you can drink, purchase, and keep in your collection. So if you’re a devoted fan like me, there must be other things to spend your money on to enhance this hobby, right? While the number of wine books I own are starting to rival the bottle totals, I’m a bit more discerning with which accessories are truly necessary for enjoying the wine.

My tastes in products more or less mimic how I like my wine: elegant in design, minimal intervention, and not too fussy! (Ok, for the wine, some fussiness can be worth it!)  Mostly I look for accessories that make serving and preserving bottles easier, while elevating the experience, and seamlessly fitting into the occasion.

If you’re looking to complement your wine drinking, these are some of my favorite wine accessories.

(Please note if you make any purchases using the links in this post, I may receive a small commission. But I promise, every recommendation here is something I found helpful in my wine journey and thought you might, too).  

Le Creuset Wine Cooler Sleeve

Le Creuset wine sleeves in black on two separate bottles, and a burgundy sleeve on a single bottle.
The Le Creuset Wine Cooler Sleeve will keep your wine bottles chilled. (Photo by Le Creuset)

There are many wine chillers you can keep in your freezer, and when you’re ready, wrap around the bottle to keep your wine cool after taking it out of the refrigerator. But what I like about the Le Creuset Wine Cooler Sleeve (besides that it comes in a pretty burgundy color), is that it does so with grace and doesn’t make your bottle look like it’s wearing a pool floatie. It blends in nicely on your formal dining room table, or on the living room coffee table as you binge your favorite streaming shows. Plus, it’s easy to slip on—fitting both standard-size and sparkling bottles. (Get the Le Creuset Wine Cooler Sleeve at Amazon).

Coravin Pivot

A closeup of the Coravin pivot wine preservation system, which includes a bottle stopper.
The Coravin Pivot preserves wine for up to four weeks. (Photo by itswinebyme)

I know, I know, it’s blasphemy to have leftover wine, and worse to know you’re not going to finish a bottle before even opening it. But sadly, there are too many times I’m only in the mood for a single glass. That’s where the Coravin comes in. The preservation system will keep your wine drinkable for much longer than a couple of days after the cork is popped. And while their original product—which costs upwards of hundreds of dollars—feels out of reach to an average wine drinker, the introduction of the Coravin Pivot makes preserving wine much more affordable. In the year since I’ve had the Pivot (you can read my original review here), I’ve reached for this method far more times than the original Coravin model, which is designed to preserve your bottles for much longer. (Get the Coravin Pivot at Amazon).

Rabbit Wine Stoppers

Four Rabbit Wine Stoppers and one cork on a marble table.
I always keep Rabbit Wine Stoppers around to recork my bottles. (Photo by Rabbit)

Have some unexpected leftover wine or don’t want to hassle with a more formal preservation system, then these Rabbit Wine Stoppers are my absolute go-to for recorking a bottle of wine. The three ridges fit snuggly in the bottle’s neck to prevent any unneeded oxygen from seeping through. Plus, the stoppers are super lightweight. I often pop a few in my purse if I’m bringing multiple bottles of wine to a dinner party so they’re easy to close back up if there’s any lingering leftovers. (Get a set of 4 Rabbit Wine Stoppers at Amazon).

Made In Wine Glasses

Red wine is poured into Made In's red wine glasses.
The Made In Red Wine glasses look elegant on the table, and provide a sturdy vessel to swirl and sniff. (Photos by Made In)

Recommending a good wine glass is tough. My collection ranges from $4 Crate and Barrel glasses to $60 Zalto Universal wine glasses. Depending on your needs, I could recommend both. And there’s nothing wrong with just wanting a beautifully designed glass that brings a smile to your face and does nothing to enhance the wine. But last year, I had the opportunity to try out these Made In Red Wine Glasses and I’ve been super pleased with them ever since. The modern design is both attractive and functional—each glass is sturdy and provides plenty of room for the aroma to reach your nose as you swirl and sniff. Plus, the glasses performed beautifully in my dishwasher without scratching or breaking. While there’s more noticeable weight to these glasses than the high-end Zaltos, the taller design with a nearly flat bottom gives them a contemporary look without compromising on how the wine tastes inside. (Get a set of 4 Made In Red Wine Glasses at Amazon).

Hydro Flask Wine Bottle

A person pours wine from a turquoise Hydro Flask Bottle into a matching tumbler.
The Hydro Flask Wine Bottle holds 750ml of liquid, making it perfect for traveling. (Photo by Hydro Flask)

As more meetups with friends this year have been held held outside, the more I’ve been using my Hydro Flask Wine Bottle. The company, best known for creating insulated bottles to keep your water cool on hikes and outdoor adventures, created a slimmer version that will hold exactly 750ml of liquid, which is perfect for any wine bottle! It takes the worry out accidentally breaking a glass bottle while on the go, while keeping the liquid inside from warming up. Often when I use it, it’s at least an hour between the time I poured the wine into the Hydro Flask and reopened it for a drink. Not only does the wine stay chilled, but with just the right amount of oxygen inside its neck, it unexpectedly gives the wine a nice decant. (Get the Hydro Flask Wine Bottle at Amazon).

Yeti Wine Tumblers

The Yeti wine tumbler in purple, and the  profile of a woman drinking a blue Yeti wine tumbler.
The Yeti Win Tumblers are perfect for the beach, a campfire, or any outdoor wine drinking. (Photos by Yeti)

Yes, Hydro Flask makes their own tumblers, which are probably just as great as this next recommendation, but I picked up the Yeti Wine Tumblers earlier this summer and I’m in love. The insulated stemless tumblers keep my rosé cool, and I don’t have to worry about any breakage if it falls from a picnic table. The lip is not too thick, so it doesn’t distract from tasting the actual wine. There’s even a lid which I found useful in protecting my wine from any annoying bugs trying to dive bomb into the glass. (Get the Yeti Wine Tumblers at Amazon).

Early August Wine Reads

All you need to stay informed is Google and a glass of wine!

It’s true, “what I’m reading posts” are some of the easiest blog posts to put together and have been around since blogs were first created. But the combination of helping people discover new things and be more informed about what’s happening in the wine world, is what It’s Wine By Me is all about.

Besides, when friends ask me, ‘How do you know so much about wine,’ it all comes back to poking around the Internet and staying on top of what others are reporting. So, here’s what’s currently crossing my radar.

Harvest News

While California celebrates the start of Harvest 2022, more worrisome eyes are focused on the wildfires south of Bordeaux.

Women in Wine

Remember the Instagram uproar over D.C.’s women in wine? Some local publications took notice, too. Plus, some additional headlines worthy of your attention.

D.C.’s Women Sommeliers

A flurry of Instagram stories lit up my feed early this week after The Washington Post’s food critic failed to name any of the city’s female sommeliers during his weekly live chat.

The questioner even suggested there were only just a few. But the reality is there are an abundance of women in top wine positions across the Washington.  And just as Tom Sietsema asked in his reply, a list of D.C. Women in Wine curated by local industry women quickly emerged. Nearly 80 names as of this writing are included.

A screenshot from Tom Sietsema’s Q&A discussing women somms.

The tone of the Instagram posts ranged from outrage to opportunities to thank and uplift those who have been pivotal to opening doors for others in the industry.

And this illustrates why approaching wine and women is complicated. The perception of the lack of women in wine far outweighs the reality of what the community looks like.

Following these women, however, might be a good place to start: D.C. Women in Wine.

Jumping Back Into It’s Wine By Me

This post is purely to acknowledge that life got in the way of updating this site. But fortunately, my love and passion for wine never wavered. I continued to write, to learn, and drink merrily with friends. But after a handful of years that included a move to Boston, a pandemic, and then a move back to Washington, D.C., I’m excited to refocus on this space.

I’ve always touted wine in conversations as a wonderful lens to understand the world, and certainly in the years since I last checked-in, that statement only rings louder. But it’s still a luxury good that’s purpose is to bring people together, to make people happy. I hope this space will find a way to balance those aspects.

As I attempt to relaunch this site, here are a few things I’ve been mulling over:

  • Wine and Politics – When I jumped into the wine world it was pure escapism from the rest of the world. I avoided certain wine bars I would have otherwise made my home because of their outspoken activism (even when I fully-supported their positions). But if wine is a lens to understand the world, I would be doing a disservice to stick with my avoidance behavior. Too many of the world’s troubles impact everything from those in the industry to the grapes on the vine. And while I still prefer to focus on the fun and beauty of wine, there are important stories to be told at this intersection.
  • Women and Wine – I’ve always said if I ever went after a Masters in Wine, my dissertation would be focused on why serious wine is never marketed to women. But in the past few years, the marketing question is more centered on the generational differences than that between the sexes. The increase of more women sommeliers and industry professionals is also slightly shedding some of those “wine-for-book club” stereotypes. The topic of women and wine has always been a complicated subject to nail down as women have been an integral part of the wine world for centuries. But from an enthusiast perspective, why am I still often one of the few women at a table when invited to a serious wine dinner?
  • Climate and Wine – We know this isn’t a new conversation, but it’s the single biggest global issue impacting wine. In the past few years however, there’s a shift about thinking beyond what’s happening in the vineyard and what makes its way into the glass. The industry is looking at the consumer impact as well (and of course, countless consumers are demanding changes). Packaging questions and shipping questions, for example. It’s not just whether wildfires are going to impact a vintage, but what can wineries, winemakers do to mitigate a more sustainable future.

So I’m pulling It’s Wine By Me out of the cellar, dusting it off and hoping to explore these topics and more. Pour yourself a glass of something you love, and thank you for joining me here!

Refocusing on Wine Labels

I have to admit, somewhere along this wine journey of mine, wine labels have become a bit like white noise once I pop the bottle. Sure, I’ll snap a pic for Instagram or Delectable, but I’ve been more concerned with what’s inside the bottle. But a few things over the summer reminded me that these labels deserve a significant pause—if not for the time spent in creating and marketing them, but for the joy of discovery they help to impart.

The first is a fascinating innovation that’s changing the way those in the bottle business can market their wares, but the second is a bit of whimsical happenstance, so I’ll start there.

Labels Invoke an Artistic Past

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed I’ve recently moved from Washington, D.C. to Boston where I’m soon learning that there’s a fascinating and evolving wine culture up here. (Which also explains why I haven’t written in this blog since February —so my apologies for the delay). That also means, that when I’m not exploring wine, or focused on my day job (which thankfully still lets me write about wine), I’m exploring my new home state. Recently, that led me to the beautiful Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, famous for an unsolved art heist in the 1990s. On my way out of the museum, a room caught my eye: It was empty except for a stunning work of a woman dancing across the horizontal canvas. I couldn’t stop looking at it. And after taking a few iPhone pics, decided I should continue on my way.

Later that evening, after posting about my adventure on Instagram, a fellow wine-lover I follow commented that the piece of artwork was the label of an Edmunds St. John bottle. (If you don’t know ESJ, please read this great Esther Mobley profile and seek out his wines). Lo and behold, and not even 10 seconds later, I was able to pull the bottle out of my own wine cellar. Had I seen this artwork before? Of course, but I remembered the bottle for its producer, not its label.

Edmunds St. John’s El Jaleo wine bottle on the left, and the original painting on the right.

It’s a funny coincidence, and one I like to think the universe may have played a part in because honestly, the only artwork I snapped pictures of were of a missing Rembrandt and this John Singer Sanger’s El Jaleo painted in 1882. But more importantly, it’s a nice tap on the shoulder to keep paying attention to the label. In this case, it’s illustrating ESJ’s first Spanish blend.

Label Innovations

However, if you’re in the wine business and trying to introduce yourself to the vast majority of the wine-drinking public, your label is everything. You’re probably shaking your head and dismissing my white noise comment above.  But I agree, to discount the creativity and purposefulness that goes into labels is foolish. My first realization came after discovering a coffee-table book called 99 Bottles of Wine on the giveaway pile when I worked at NPR. The book showcases the bottles designed by CF Napa Brand Design. But next to each photograph is a page-long description of how the label was conceived.

So, when I was asked to write a marketing story for SevenFifty Daily on how to take the perfect bottle shot, the importance of the label came back into focus. While much of the story discusses hiring a professional, the lighting and consistency of your photographs, one bit of ingenious trickery caught me off guard.

It’s a company called Outshinery and it was founded by Laurie Millotte, a Burgundy-born graphic designer who moved to Vancouver so she could see the Pacific Ocean (I may need to reevaluate how I choose to move in the future, especially as cooler weather and gray skies are starting to arrive here in Boston). After designing wine labels and realizing the difficulty in getting quality brand assets for her clients to sell their wares, she knew there had to be a better way—especially one that would allow her to work with clients all over the world and not be tied down to waiting for shipments of wine to cross international borders). And while watching one of the Jurassic Park movies, she had her “aha” moment: Why not use the magic of Hollywood and apply it to the alcohol business. If technology can make a dinosaur interact with the people and the rest of the physical world around us, why can’t there be a way to do the same with bottles, she told me.

And that’s what Outshinery does. Using 3-D technology, CGI (computer-generated images), and a dash of scientific calculations, she’s created a virtual studio that can create and then photograph a virtual bottle from any direction. Not only do the finished products look incredibly true to life (“It still looks real,” she assured me. “It’s just executed by a computer.”), but she can animate them for fun social media campaigns like this Mikkeller Brewers Instagram.

Wineries (or breweries) can even have their images printed long before the bottles come off the production line. As long as the winery has a digital version of the label available and knows which shape and color bottle they’re using, the images can be created—either against a white background that can be used on a tech sheet, or placed in a real photograph for lifestyle images.

Before and after bottle shots using Outshinery
Traditional photographs on the left, and Outshinery’s bottle images on the right.

For the wine industry, which likes to harken back to its history, it’s fun to see new technology easing some of the business responsibilities and the fascinating innovations coming from creative people like Laurie Millotte.

Laurie recently hosted a webinar for 150 wineries to discuss the importance of getting the right images and how her business can help. Lucky for us, she’s posted it online, which you can watch here.

More Details on New Alcohol Tax Laws


Taxes. It’s a dreaded topic, often filled with thoughts of dollar signs flying out the window, procrastination and eye-rolls. It’s certainly not the fun side to writing about wine. But after reporting on the new alcohol-specific tax legislation that was added to the larger tax overhaul bill, this time, it’s a topic with plenty of interesting things to talk about.

Thanks to my editors at SevenFifty Daily, I was able to write a comprehensive report that I hope will be informative and useful to industry professionals, but there were some tidbits I had to leave on the cutting-room floor.

And that’s where this space comes in. For those seeking a bit more behind-the-scenes details about the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform legislation, here’s some of that additional reporting. (Note: If you haven’t read my piece yet, go read that first … I’ll wait).

After interviews with Michael Kaiser of WineAmerica, Bob Pease of the Brewers Association and Mark Shilling of the American Craft Spirits Association, it was clear the purpose of the federal excise tax cuts was reinvestment back into the industry. Yet as consumers, it’s easy for us to hear “less taxes”, and hope (and maybe pray) that those savings will fall into our pockets. But that’s not quite the case as Kaiser clarifies:

The whole point of a tax credit like this is that the money is going to be back into their business. In some other articles that have been written about this bill, there’s been a narrative that now wineries, brewers and distillers are going to lower the cost of their product because they’re paying less taxes, but in reality our member companies and the other commodity companies are going to refold it back into their businesses.”

These new tax laws didn’t appear out of the blue. Lobbyists have been working for close to a decade to lower federal excise taxes and it’s one of the few times members of the wine, beer and spirits industries banded together in support of a common goal.

In January 2017, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was introduced with strong bipartisan support. The stand-alone bill called for the tax rates and credits to be permanent changes, but when lawmakers decided to fold it into their gigantic tax overhaul at the end of the year, that permanency was reduced to only two years.

Another casualty was the amount of time the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) had to implement the changes. Instead of a year, they only got about 10 days. The Tax Cuts and Job Act was passed on Dec. 22, 2017 and became law on Jan. 1, 2018, which given the holiday season, only gave the regulatory agency that administers the laws about four full work days (provided none of its staff was on vacation).

This, not surprisingly, has caused some confusion.

Scott Rosenbaum, a spirits specialist at T. Edward Wines and Spirits, described a “disconnect,” when he tried to do his job at the start of the year.

“As an importer, I had [spirits] crossing the border on [Jan. 2] which should have had the new tax rate applied, and we were charged the old tax rate and told that we could file for a refund because they hadn’t put it into play yet even though it went into action,” he told me while I was researching the SevenFifty Daily story.

Kaiser of WineAmerica, who was among the lobbyists fighting for the bill’s passage, wrote in an explainer piece to wineries that he doesn’t expect the TTB to finalize its written rules and regulations until early spring. But he assures businesses that if they are still paying the old rates, the savings will be retroactive back to the beginning of the year.

So, what’s next? The lobbyists all told me they’re committed to fighting for reauthorization and making the new tax rates permanent like it was intended. They’re also working to help smooth out its implementation.

“In the permanent version of this bill, there was some actual language that would have required Congress to appropriate some more money for TTB to implement this,” Kaiser says. “And so separate from this, we’re working to get more money for them through the appropriations process.”

One more thing worth mentioning, or perhaps asking: Why did this bipartisan-supported bill get wrapped into an extremely divisive piece of legislation?

Without getting lost in the intricacies of how Congress does business, one answer might lie in the act’s impact. Mere weeks after tax bill was signed into law, there’s evidence that small drinks businesses are already hiring for newly-created positions — many of which are manufacturing jobs, which the Trump administration has been promising.

Pease, of the Brewers Association, says his industry has always been a source for manufacturing jobs, often in urban environments. 

And as Meredith Meyer Grelli, co-owner of Wigle Whiskey, noted when I spoke to her last week: “Being in Pittsburgh, getting back manufacturing jobs has been the rallying cry for decades and it’s sort of interesting that in some ways it’s happening through alcohol.”

Wine Gadgets from #CES2018


I’m starting a new day job shortly that will move me into the consumer technology space, so with the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show making headlines in Las Vegas this week, it had me thinking: What kind of crazy wine gadgets are being touted and might be entering the market?

As many wine experts have expressed (for example, see this interview I did with with Jon Bonné about his new book, “The New Wine Rules”), these fancy tools aren’t necessarily helpful to your wine and are often more show than function.

But that doesn’t make me stop wondering! So, here are a few of the gadgets I found on a google search of wine and CES 2018:

* This modular wine shelving for your cellar: Caveasy One (via  AndroidHeadlines).

* This new aerator for your wine bottle: Aveine (via The Verge).

* And there’s now a connected (automated) version of the Coravin (via CNET).

(For those following this topic more closely, did I miss anything?)

Does anyone really need new technology for a product that has been produced and enjoyed for centuries upon centuries? Probably not. But it’s still fun to think about and any time wine can enter a wider conversation in the world, it gives us some fun teachable moments.

Three #Winestagram Accounts to Follow


Of all the social networks, Instagram is by far my favorite way to learn about wine — and probably more importantly, the people in wine. It can be super fun to ogle at bottle shots (I’m certainly guilty of posting many of those) or follow winemakers during harvest, but it’s the accounts that teach me a little something or show off a creative way to look at wine, that I really appreciate. Here are  three of the accounts I’m currently crushing on. Leave me a comment with the accounts that make you happy.


Beautiful photography and profiles of winemakers.


An artist takes tasting notes from mobile app Delectable and turns them into funny often literal cartoon sketches.


Curious about the women who get their hands dirty in the business? This account introduces you to them.

Too Much Wine in Your House? Throw a Clear the Cellar Party

Clearing the cellar meant we opened a lot of wine! (Photo by Berg Atkinson)

When you enjoy wine and start to acquire or collect it, it’s easy to fill up your space pretty quickly. And if you’re like me, you often save a bottle or two to share with specific people, or a specific occasion. But then those opportunities don’t quite come the way you imagined, or a bottle gets pushed to the back and you forget about it or your tastes start to change and all of a sudden your favorite wine is just meh.

Chances are, that’s happening to your friends, too. So now that shipping season is here (the few months a year when the weather won’t ruin the wine on the back of a delivery truck because it’s too hot or too cold), it’s not unthinkable to admit that you may have gotten a bit carried away and now have nowhere to put your wine, unless you like making cardboard box towers in your living room.

tower of wine boxes
Too many boxes full of wine with no place to put it. (Photo by itswinebyme.)

To combat this purely first-world problem, some friends decided to throw a Clear the Cellar Party and invited about a dozen (plus or minus) wino-s to bring a random assortment of wines they wanted to get rid of, but didn’t necessarily just want to pour them down the drain.

We had close to 100 bottles of wine open and probably another 20 that we failed to uncork. The results were nothing short of epic, not so much because the wines were amazing — in fact, many turned out to be just so-so (and there was at least a case of undrinkable wine) yet the diversity of wines and curiosity it provoked made the tasting that much more fun.

Not to mention, there was an absence of stress that often comes with wanting to impress others with the bottles you brought. So, what’s usually a gathering of fun, super laid-back people, was even more relaxed. That translated to more laughs, more fun and an evening to remember.

Want to throw a similar party for your friends? Here are some tips based on what contributed to our success:

* Give guests several weeks notice so they can really dive into their cellars and pull the bottles they want to bring (or maybe locate bottles they are curious about trying — we really had no definition of what “clearing the cellar” should mean).

* Find the right kind of space to throw the party. This is not an event to combine with a restaurant or seated meal. Somebody’s home or backyard will do. My friends reserved the community room in their condo building, pushed several long folding tables together, and it was perfect.

So. many. bottles. (Photo by itswinebyme.)

* When the wines arrive, don’t try to organize the bottles too much.  Loosely group them in order from light whites to deep, dark, brooding purple. Don’t push the tables against the wall. Having space to walk on either side of the table meant there was never any crowding.

* Plastic utility buckets make wonderful spit and dump buckets. Our host was diligent about dumping the buckets when they were about halfway full, too. That insured no splashing and no accidental spilling. (Oh, and come to grips, you’re going to dump a lot of wine, and that’s perfectly okay! In fact, it’s the responsible thing to do.)


* Food. You need food to ensure your friends don’t over indulge. We had two big plates of cheese and charcuterie to snack on right away. Then, later on in the evening, some other goodies were served: pulled pork, a chicken dish, brisket and a bunch of sides and salads. We did everything pot-luck style. There was room to sit and eat, but it wasn’t a seated dinner.

* Find a corner of shame. It’s inevitable, there will be some duds. And it will be sad. So once a couple people have tasted the offending the wine and agreed, we banished the wine to a far corner of the room. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to see these bottles here — especially the ones with significant age. But it allowed us to pay our respects, and helped others decide what not to taste.

The beginning of what became the “corner of shame.” Many more bottles joined this group before the night was over. (Photo by itswinebyme.)

Be really fabulous hosts. I can’t thank our hosts enough for all the hard work they put into planning and keeping things running smoothly throughout the night.

Natural Discoveries at Raw Wine New York

Some of the delicious producers who shared their wines at the Raw Wine Fair.

What happens when you put 145 wine producers from all over the world inside a Brooklyn warehouse who all share common winemaking (and growing) values? You get 145 different points of view, often with wild flavors and textures to match. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the Raw Wine Fair. And neither would the hundreds of wine professionals, industry insiders and enthusiasts who eagerly made their way from table to table, tasting a handful of wines from each producer, using the well-placed spit buckets and overwhelming the winemakers who were proudly pouring and answering questions.

The calm before the storm as people begin to arrive for the second day of Raw Wine.

When I interviewed Raw’s founder Isabelle Legeron about a week before the fair, she told me, “Growers have felt very confident to showcase their wines with us because they knew it wouldn’t be an event where people would be getting  rowdy and drunk. They’d be appreciating the wine.”

She was exactly right. Those attending Raw weren’t hogging the stations, or elbowing each other to get in. At busier spots, people patiently waited their turn. Often times, if you approached a crowded table and just motioned your glass nearby, someone would let you in.

These kinds of events are full of discovery and it is not uncommon to discuss with other strangers which producers they find interesting. Toward the end of my time on the first day, I wound up chatting with someone from Boston who took me on a mini-tour of his favorite producers — all of whom I had missed during my own rounds.

Here are a few of my discoveries (and observations) from the two-day natural wine fête:

* As others have said about natural wine — there’s a lot of really beautiful wines. There’s also plenty of not-so-great natural wines in the world. But then again with taste as the ultimate subjective experience, take those words with a shaker full of salt.

* This was a good reminder to throw what I think I know about wine out the window. For example, there were some beautiful wines from Chile — usually a region I shy away from (just personal taste preferences), whereas I was disappointed by what I tasted from Northern Rhone (usually one of my favorite regions).

* It’s possible to grow grapes, and make age-worthy wine in Texas. Unfortunately if you want any of the wine, the only choice you have is to visit the winemaker’s tasting room.

* Fun celebrity sighting: Aziz Ansari. Not completely a surprise as he’s already noted for enjoying natural wine, but as a “Master of None” fan, it was a bit of a thrill to see him up close.

* The power of spitting during an event like this can’t be stressed enough. It’s the only way to actually enjoy all of the wines and be able to leave standing straight and in one piece. Taking breaks to get a bite to eat helps not just with keeping you from getting drunk, but also with palate fatigue.

* I wish I remembered my Spanish, or knew French, Italian, German or any other language. For those producers who didn’t speak English well, it would have been wonderful to converse with them in their language. You could see in their eyes and from the genuine smiles on their faces the love they had for their craft, and it would have been wonderful to indulge in more conversation with them.

So now the fun begins — trying to find these wines in the wild via retailers or restaurant wine lists. Until then, I can at least remind myself of how much excitement and happiness surrounded me in this Instagram I accidentally photobombed while leaving the Gut Oggau tasting table.