Review and Giveaway: SKIL iXO Vivo Wine Bottle Opener

skil ixo vivo kitI’m not one to swoon over the romance of drinking wine, but even I find that de-corking your bottles with a power drill is a little nutty.

SKIL, unhappy to dominate the world of DIY construction and IKEA desk-building projects, is entering the wine world in the only way it knows how, by offering a tiny power drill with a corkscrew attachment.

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Win a Trip to Scotland, Courtesy of Jura Whisky

This just in from our pals at Jura. A week in Scotland, why not?

Jura single malt whisky, in partnership with Olympus, is launching an online photography competition (www.jurawhisky.com/communityspirit) to find images from across the world that best embody the theme of ‘community spirit’.

Three budding amateur photographers are being offered the chance to win an unforgettable trip to the island of Jura, off Scotland’s dramatic West Coast. The island is famed for its small and close-knit community of less than 200, united by the island they love and the warmth of its people. The walls of the Distillery Visitor Centre are adorned with photos of Diurachs (the Gaelic name for the people of Jura) past and present, who have all played their part in contributing to the island’s famous community spirit.

To experience Jura’s island life for themselves, amateur photographers are invited to submit photographs that best tell a story of community spirit. These images could include photos of groups or individuals that evoke the spirit of the neighbourhood in which they live, or even photos of festivals and events that conjure the character of a particular place.

Each one of the three winners and their partners will enjoy a week’s all-expenses stay in the exclusive Jura Lodge and a VIP tour of the Jura distillery and island. The winners will also receive an Olympus PEN E-PL3 camera to create a lasting memento of their visit to Jura, and a photography workshop on the island from award-winning photographer David Nightingale (www.chromasia.com).

To enter, applicants must upload a photo that captures community spirit onto an e-postcard template along with a description in 50 words or less of why that picture tells a story of community spirit. Jura will assess a shortlist of the very best ‘postcards’ and pick three lucky winners – one from North America, one from the UK and a third from the rest of the world.

The competition, which can be found by visiting www.jurawhisky.com/communityspirit, opens today (Monday, 11 June) and will run for eight weeks, closing on Friday, 3 August.

Entrants are encouraged to share their e-postcards with friends and family. Every week for eight weeks, Jura will be awarding an Olympus VG-170 camera and a bottle of Jura 16 year old to the photo which receives the most public votes during the course of that week.

Seminar and Pairing: German Wine + Asian Food = Love

When you eat sushi, Chinese food, or pad thai, what’s your drink of choice? If you’re like most: Beer, maybe sake, if you’re feeling adventurous. Why not wine? The general dearth of wine options on most Asian food beverage lists is a good reason, but a more common one is that consumers just have no idea what wines to drink with Asian food. This food runs from ultra-spicy (General Tso’s chicken) to ultra-delicate (toro sushi), with some cuisines giving a taste of each during the meal.

Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee recently came to San Francisco to show us that pairing wine with Asian flavors isn’t just possible, it can be fantastic. And she turned to the country that makes the most inspired, common, and – if you think about – strange natural pairing with Asian food: Germany.

Lee led our group through a four-course meal at SF’s Ame restaurant, each paired with two different (and often wildly contrasting) wines, to see what we thought worked and what didn’t. A snapper carpaccio with two gelees, umami soy and lemon sea salt, was a great dish – and the soy gelee worked surprisingly wonderfully with 2009 Friedrich Becker Pinot Noir from the Pfalz region of Germany. I was less enamored with a 2010 Castell Silvaner when paired with the lemon gelee, which handily overpowered the wine.

Up next was a tuna tartare with slow cocked egg, dashi broth, and a smattering of bitter greens. Here, the reds didn’t pan out – a 2006 Furst Pinot Noir was too earthy and shallow, unflattering with the bitter components of the dish. A 2003 Fritz Haag Auslese Riesling was however a phenomenal match. Sweet wine? Yes, but at age 9 it had mellowed and caramelized, offering enough acid to keep up with complex dish.

Finally, a lobster dish in coconut curry broth. Here both wines – a 2010 Spatlese Riesling from Selbach-Oster and a 2010 Riesling from Leitz – worked well, but for different reasons. The Spatlese, though young, didn’t bomb the dish with sugar, tempering the mild heat in the curry, while the crispness of the Leitz Riesling was a natural pairing with the dish. It didn’t have the acid I would have liked but any Riesling probably could have done the job. (Alas I had to skip the last dish due to time constraints.)

That leads us into Lee’s general pairing tips – which were presented in a booklet created with the Deutsches Weininstitut – which, as you might expect, are heavy on the use of Riesling. All German whites get a shout-out or two for almost every region from India to Japan, but Lee also recommends German reds with Northern Chinese food, Sekt (sparkling wine) with Singaporean food, and even Pinot Noir with sushi and Indian curry.

Of course, you can’t define an entire country by one style of food, and wine pairing recommendations can’t be pinned down based on a gastronomic stereotype, either. Lee’s book is a great reminder of that, and should serve as a reminder that one size doesn’t fit all in the wine and food world – and that one needn’t resort to Sapporo just because it’s sushi night.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Sapporo.

Update: Congrats to our five contest winners, who will each be getting a copy of the book!

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Win 2 Tickets to Whiskies of the World 2012 in San Francisco!

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you like whiskey, and if you like whiskey, you need to be at Whiskies of the World, where you can sample dozens of whiskeys in a single night, enjoy dinner, smoke a cigar, listen to some bagpipes, and live to tell the tale the next day.

We’ve got two (general admission) tickets to the March 31 event (6-9 pm), held at the San Francisco waterfront. All you need to do is email us your name, address, and written assurances that you are both over 21 and will actually be able to attend the event. We don’t want these tickets — a $240 value — to go to waste! Winner selected on February 29, 2012.

13th Annual Whiskies of the World Expo & Artisanal Spirits Fest

The Whiskies of the World Expo gathers the world’s most fascinating distilled spirits along with their makers and ambassadors to give its guests an opportunity to sample, learn and experience a night of delicious spirited fun. By popular demand, the 13th Expo will be back on the San Francisco Belle Yacht (docked) with its three ballroom-size tasting decks, and an open roof Whisky & Cigar Pairing deck. Come on March 31 to enjoy a full buffet dinner; meeting and learning from the world’s spirits producers; a live Pipe and Drum Concert; whisky mixology; artisanal food pairings with exclusive whiskies; live jazz and more. Learn, celebrate, experience!

For More Details: www.WhiskiesOfTheWorld.com

The fine print: Contests and giveaways are open only to readers age 21 and up with a U.S. mailing address. One prize per person per giveaway. We reserve the right to cancel any giveaway at our sole discretion. We are not responsible for lost, misdirected, or late entries. Not open to employees/contributors or immediate family members of Drinkhacker or Null Media employees/contributors, its affiliates, or advertising/promotion agencies and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents. This offer is void wherever prohibited or restricted by national, state, or any governmental laws. We are not responsible for late, lost, or damaged prize packages. We do not use your mailing address for any other purpose than sending prizes; addresses are not kept on file. One entry per contestant — your entry is good for the length of each giveaway. Duplicate entries will disqualify the entrant.

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Sandeman Launches Port-Based Cocktail Contest

Now you’re cooking… with Port!

Our friends at Sandeman are throwing a contest to see who can devise the best-tasting cocktail using Port as part of the recipe. Don’t grimace: Port has historically been a major cocktail ingredient, and only in recent years has it fallen out of favor as harder spirits have reigned. Yet, Port often makes for a really delicious part of a mixed drink. A resurgence is long overdue.

Got an idea for a Port-tail of your own? Head on over to Sandeman’s Facebook page and submit it. You could win a five-day trip to Portugal for you and a guest! Contest ends June 15, so get mixin’!

 

Win a Deck of Remy Martin 1738 “Gentleman’s” Cards

We’ll be reviewing Remy’s new Cognac, 1738, in the near future, but in the meantime we have five decks of cards inspired by the new spirit, called “The Gentleman’s Deck.” The standard set of playing cards are each emblazoned on the front with a different tidbit of wisdom for the aspiring gentleman. Example: “Honesty: A gentleman knows that lying only leads to shame.” Cards with cocktail recipes, how to keep jeans looking good, and how to shine shoes are also included.

Fun stuff, and we have five decks to give away… UPDATE: Winners have been selected and notified. Thanks for entering!

The fine print: Contests and giveaways are open only to readers age 21 and up with a U.S. mailing address. One prize per person per giveaway. We reserve the right to cancel any giveaway at our sole discretion. We are not responsible for lost, misdirected, or late entries. Not open to employees/contributors or immediate family members of Drinkhacker or Null Media employees/contributors, its affiliates, or advertising/promotion agencies and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents. This offer is void wherever prohibited or restricted by national, state, or any governmental laws. We are not responsible for late, lost, or damaged prize packages. We do not use your mailing address for any other purpose than sending prizes; addresses are not kept on file. One entry per contestant — your entry is good for the length of each giveaway. Duplicate entries will disqualify the entrant.

Win Tickets: 2011 Whiskies of the World Expo & Artisanal Spirits Fest San Francisco (March 26, 2011)

The pipes, the pipes are calling, and that can only mean that Whiskies of the World is nigh.

This years WoW in San Francisco returns to the San Francisco Belle, an old timey yacht anchored at the docks of the Bay.

In the Expo’s own words:

The Whiskies of the World Expo gathers the world’s most fascinating distilled spirits along with their makers and ambassadors to give its guests an opportunity to sample, learn and experience a night of delicious spirited fun. By popular demand, the 12th Expo will be back to San Francisco Belle Yacht (docked) with its three ballroom-size tasting decks, and an open roof Whisky & Cigar Pairing deck. Come on March 26th to enjoy a full buffet dinner; meeting and learning from the world’s spirits producers; creators and experts; a live Pipe and Drum Concert; mixology demonstrations, Celtic craft  and whisky gear booths, artisanal food pairings with exclusive whiskies;  live music and more. Learn, celebrate, experience! Details: WhiskiesOfTheWorld.com

Did we mention we have two pairs of tickets (4 tickets total) to give away? (Retail value: $220 per pair.) All you have to do to win them is tell us that you want to go! Drop a line to contest@drinkhacker.com and provide the following information: Your name, complete mailing address, and email contact information. You must be a U.S. resident and 21 years old to win.

We’ll pick two winners at random (two tickets per winner) on March 10, 2010. Winners will be notified by email, and tickets will be mailed to you shortly thereafter. Please don’t enter if you aren’t certain you can be in San Francisco on March 26th. Travel and lodging are not included in the giveaway!

Good luck, and I hope to see you there!

The fine print: Contests and giveaways are open only to readers age 21 and up with a U.S. mailing address. One prize per person per giveaway. We reserve the right to cancel any giveaway at our sole discretion. We are not responsible for lost, misdirected, or late entries. Not open to employees/contributors or immediate family members of Drinkhacker employees/contributors, its affiliates, or advertising/promotion agencies and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents. This offer is void wherever prohibited or restricted by national, state, or any governmental laws. We are not responsible for late, lost, or damaged prize packages. We do not use your mailing address for any other purpose than sending prizes; addresses are not kept on file. One entry per contestant — your entry is good for the length of each giveaway. Duplicate entries will disqualify the entrant.

Homebrew For You: 300 Kits to Give Away

Ever want to make your own beer but didn’t know how to get started? Smithwick’s, for its 300th anniversary, is giving away 300 home brew kits — you really just need to provide the bottles. I’ve got one still sadly lingering in my garage (vote in the comments on what kind of beer I should brew) but am looking forward to getting Drinkhacker’s first beer going soon.

Check out the contest page on Facebook here! (Warning: limited state eligibility.)

Contest: Van Gogh Vodka Throws a Party at Your Place

Our friends at Van Gogh Vodka have a contest going on that you might want to check out. Here are the details! Enter here!

Van Gogh Vodka is hosting Van Gogh BLUE’s Cocktails & Confessions Contest on Facebook for the chance to win the ultimate ‘ladies’ night in’ package which includes 25 friends, a $500 AmEx card, and celebrity chef Jon Ashton in the kitchen cooking for everyone. Here are the details:

• Adults (21 years of age and older), can register to win the ultimate girls’ night in Van Gogh BLUE’s Cocktails & Confessions Contest.

• Chef Jon Ashton will fly to the winner’s home with his sous chef and cook dinner for the winner plus 25 friends. In addition, the winner will receive an AmEx card for $500.

• VG BLUE’s Cocktails & Confessions contest runs from now through December 3, 2010.

• To participate in the contest you must first visit and like Van Gogh BLUE’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/VanGoghBLUE).

• Once that is completed, click the “contest” tab to enter.

• Here’s the fun part, fill in a cheeky “gab lib” cocktail confession story (this is like doing mad libs) about you and your friends. The ‘story’ created will be judged on originality, humor and creativity.

The lucky winner can get creative with the prize and use it for a simple girls’ night in (what better way to bond?) or why not use the evening to celebrate a special occasion … after all, the evening is on Van Gogh BLUE.

20 Free Tickets to April 29th Wines of Chile Tasting in San Francisco

Like Chile? Like wine? How about wine from Chile?

If you’re in San Francisco — or can be here on Thursday, April 29 — we’ve got a deal for you! Twenty free tickets to the Wines of Chile Grand Tasting event, which runs from 6:30 to 9pm at Dogpatch Studios, 991 Tennessee Street, in San Francisco.

Complementary parking is even available!

More event details can be found here.

Chilean wine is undergoing a massive renaissance and transformation of late. This is your chance to experience the new heights of the wines of Chile during an unforgettable evening of discovery at the Wines of Chile Grand Tasting event, the largest collection of Chilean wines in one place you’re likely to ever encounter. Enjoy wines from fifty of Chile’s top vineyards, great Chilean food, and music. Andalé!

Tickets are all gone — thanks for your interest!