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Low Histamine Wines May Takeaway Your Wine Headache

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

We get a lot of customers that come in and tell us they get a headache from drinking wine. Usually red wine. 

What causes this headache? It's a complex topic and even the experts don't seem to know for sure. Many in the know do have plenty of doubts that it is the sulfites that most sufferers assume is the culprit. Anecdotally, white wines tend to have more added sulfites than red, yet reds are more likely to trigger headaches. 

The evidence points towards some compound(s) in the skins of red grapes. Some are starting to believe that histamines can be to blame.

When Sebastiano Ramello's mother was diagnosed with a histamine intolerance he sought out to make a wine lower in histamines. Fortunately, he's from the Piedmont area in Italy where two of the most common grapes there, Barbera & Dolcetto already tend to be low in the compound. This is the starting point, then Sebastiano ensures to keep the wine low in histamines throughout the winemaking process. His wines have a tenth of the amount of histamine that you would find in a regular bottle of wine. 

We now carry his Barbera (always available to ship, sometimes we run out in store. Email to ensure availability before stopping by). 

Veglio Michelino e Figli Barbera d'Alba DOC 2012

Again, it's a complex topic and there is no way to guarantee that a particular wine will not give you a headache. Hopefully, this will work for you. 

(Nothing in this post is intended as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional)

Pieropan Soave

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

I've been in love with the often neglected wines of Soave for nearly a decade now. Soave, the area in Italy's Veneto region produces some of the country's best white wines. There's a misperception in the US that they're just simple jug wines because of the popularity of the mass-market version a few decades ago from Bolla. 

Sadly (for the quality producer) they have trouble selling their wines at the price they deserve. That's not so sad for us the consumer who wins. 

The winery Pieropan is considered one of (if not, THE) top producer of Soave. Their single vineyard crus often rank as some of Italy's greatest white wines. 'La Rocca' is made 100% with the principle grape of Soave Garganega and sees a year in barrel which is not typical for Soave. The cru Calvarino includes 30% Trebbiano di Soave in the blend and does not see any oak.

Their entry-level Soave is consistently a best buy for under $15. The 2016 vintage that we now have in stock commemorates their 50th vintage. The style for the 2016 is really unique from what I've experienced in the past. It's a bit brighter, more aromatic and slightly less mineral than usual. Perfect for warm weather dining outdoors. 

Here are the wines that we currently have available from this benchmark producer:

Pieropan Soave DOC 2016 $13.99

Pieropan Soave Classico Calvarino 2015 $27.99

Pieropan 'La Rocca' Soave Classico DOC 2013 $29.99

Pieropan 'La Rocca' Soave 2014 $29.99

Our Top Selling Wines Online This Month

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

This month we've seen a huge spike in online wine sales. December is typically a wine shop's best month of the year by far but we've far surpassed that busy month. Much of the growth is coming from key wines that we've been adding to our inventory. Here's the top sellers that people are snatching up this month.

Turley Juvenile Zinfandel 2015 $24.99 

Each year we try to get our hands on as much Turley as possible. We're usually quite fortunate with the amount that we do receive. Most of the Turley wines are kept for their club members and for restaurant wine lists. When we get in their Old Vines and Juvenile Zinfandels we typically have them to sell for a few months and then they're gone until the following year. The Old Vines went particularly fast this year and we should have Juvenile around for another month or so. It's drinking great right now so be sure to take advantage while we have it. 

Caymus Red Schooner Voyage 3 $39.99 (Voyage 4 arriving next week)

This is an interesting project from Caymus. They select premium Malbec grapes in Argentina and then put them on a ship to California keeping them cool with a special process. The grapes arrive to Caymus and they make the wine just as they would their famous Cabernet. Forty bucks is a great price on this wine, you're more likely to find it for fifty or more. I personally enjoyed it more than the last vintage of Caymus I had. 

Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014 $39.99 (15% off on the purchase of 6 or more bottles)

Quilt is Joe Wagner's (of the family behind Caymus) first foray into Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is very much in the style of modern day Caymus: ripe fruit, round & plush with low acid. If this is your style then this wine is for you. It's incredible how much of this stuff we've sold in the past several months. 

Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll 2013 $39.99 (save 10% on the purchase of 6 or more bottles) 

Trefethen has been turning out classic Napa Cabernet year after year for many decades. The winery is currently sold out of the excellent 2013 vintage but we'll still have it available for a bit longer. The price that we're able to sell it at is substantially less than what you would pay from the winery, $60. Another great discovery we've found is their Dragon's Tooth Red Blend which is 45% Malbec, 35% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet. It's a beast of a wine that's been creeping towards our best seller list. 

The Wines of Joe Wagner

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

Joe Wagner is the wiz-kid that created the monster brand Meiomi Pinot Noir and sold it to Constellation Brands for $315 million. That included no vineyards, no winery, basically just the brand. Incredible feat. 

Joe is not just sitting around living the good life, he's been cranking out a bunch of new wines which are sure to be followup hits. The name of his new company is called Copper Cane Wines & Provisions. So far the provisions are cigars and women's swimsuits. Who knows what they'll get into next. 

One of the best selling wines for us so far has been Quilt Napa Valley Cabernet ($39.99 or 15% off on purchase of 6 or more bottles). Keep in mind that Joe comes from the family behind Caymus so he know a thing or two about Cabernet Sauvignon even though his primary focus has been Pinot Noir in the past. It's ripe, plush, fruit-forward and ready to drink upon release without decanting much like the original Caymus (by the way, have you tried the Malbec from Caymus yet?). 

The brand that's likely to get him as close to his Meiomi success is Elouan Pinot Noir ($17.99) from Oregon. This is billed as a California winemaker's take on Oregon Pinot Noir. Joe didn't confine himself to just Willamette Valley to make this wine, it also includes grapes from the warmer Umpqua and Rouge areas. While this label also has a Native American sounding name (it's actually Breton and means good light) and is also a blend of three areas, it is not as sweet as Meiomi has become over the years (and not just after the new corporate ownership). 

Another future hit is Boen Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($23.99). Much like his smashingly popular Belle Glos 'Dairyman' Pinot Noir (also RRV) it has generous fruit, beautiful spice and a silky mouthfeel. We also have Belle Glos 'Las Alturas' Pinot Noir available at a great price and can special order the Clark & Telephone vineyard as well.  

Other wines that we don't carry yet but probably will in the near future from him are Steorra Russian River Valley sparkling wine, Beran Zinfandels and Carne Humana red and white blends.

If you'd like to special order any of these wines please email me at I'll be sure to get you the best prices available. Please reach out if there is anything else I can do. Thanks for reading. 

Newsletter Archive 1/27/2017

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

What's up party people!

Hope you're well and looking forward to a crazy or peaceful weekend. I'm going for the latter.

We're open today until 8:00. Gasparilla Saturday we're open 11AM to 6PM. Yup, one hour early for anyone who wants to pre-game...Or post-game depending what you're getting into. There should be no issue getting to this side of town - you might want to avoid Bayshore. Don't worry about any parking issues, I'm guarding the lot like the grumpy old man I am. Debauchery will be kept to a minimum in the store. I promise not to be drunk before 4:00...Maybe 2. Can't make any promises for my wife.

So we're still pouring that Maple Bacon Coffee Porter from Funky Buddha. I want to be sure we have enough to serve here so no more growler fills are available. If you happen to come into the store tomorrow to buy something and are looking for a growler fill as well, I may be able to accommodate depending on supply. Please don't call asking if we can fill growlers simply because we don't have a phone. Anyone have something I can use to scrape our phone number off the front door? I'm serious.

After 5:00 tonight we have wine or beer flights paired with chocolate available.

The chocolates are from Raaka out of Brooklyn and you get 3 pieces of each of these flavors: Bourbon Barrel Aged, Ghost Pepper (it's not that bad) and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 3 dark beers (2oz pours) they're paired with are Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, Omnipollo 'Selassie' and Prairie Christmas Bomb! If the MBCP kicks the substitution will be FB So Excited, I'm Scared. The cost for the beer and chocolate flight is $12.

If you prefer to do the wine and chocolate flight the 3 wines are Elouan Pinot Noir (Oregon), Amado Sur Malbec and Volunteer Cabernet. Same chocolates. The cost for that flight is $18. All the wines are also available to purchase by the glass. Stop by anytime today if you'd just like to taste the 3 reds.

The Elouan is made by Joe Wagner, the Caymus wiz-kid who sold Meiomi (just the stinkin' label) for $315 mil. He's been reinvesting some of that money into new brands that are growing fast and we're beginning to carry all of them. The name of his parent company is Copper Cane and I'm working on putting a tasting together of those wines (including some Belle Glos) in the near future. The other two that we carry from him are Quilt Napa Valley Cabernet and Boen Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. If you like Belle Glos Dairyman, the Boen has some similarities. By the way we're down to our last 3 bottles of 2014 Dairyman. 2015 Las Alturas will be here on Monday.

The Amado Sur Malbec is the best Malbec I've found for under $15 recently. It scored 93 points with wack job critic James Suckling.

We're down to the last case or so of the 2012 Volunteer Napa Valley Cabernet available to us. It's a steal at $25. The winery simply can't hold that price while keeping the fruit from Napa so changes are coming. Sorry to see it go. Speaking of good value California Cabernet, that B.R. Cohn Silver Label at $17.99 was popular at the tasting last week. Still have some in store right now and more coming next week.


So we had 4 customers come in today just to purchase something called FitVine. It's supposedly supposed (do not question my grasp of the English language) to be cleaner wine or something like that. Whatever the case, I'm just happy to carry something that brings that many people into the store. There are times when we don't have 4 customers all day (not because of you, dear reader, I know you shop here weekly). My point is that when I see brands that have a lot of buzz online and not much distribution my curiosity is peaked. Hence, next week we will start carrying bottles of Mimosa and Sangria. Never thought we'd carry Sangria. Never thought I'd do a lot of things. Sample for yourself next Wednesday. The brand is called Miami Cocktail Co and the reviews online look great. Probably a few days too late cause that's just what you may need this Sunday. In other news, catch me working the midnight to 3AM shift on 7th Avenue in Ybor Saturdays.

Make that five Fitvine customers today, another just came in. We only have 1 bottle of Cabernet left until Tuesday. Chardonnay is still here. I'm totally going to get my ass kicked by some female cross-fitter this weekend.

Look for other new wine arrivals next week. Not sure what's coming as far as beer yet. Next Friday Mike with Opici will be pouring wines and acting crazy like the good ol' times. Jessica will be out of town so it will be just us two obnoxious Long-Islanders.