If you are considering wowing your guests with your wine knowledge or you are a novice hoping to, then Michelle Lentz is the person to consult with any wine-related questions.
As the founder of Wine-Girl.net, Lentz knows many of the secrets of the grape. As she launches her newest wine-related venture — private tastings for parties and events — Lentz took a few minutes to sit down and chat with Cincy Chic about her passion for wine.
Cincy Chic: What is your background with wine? How did you come to be involved/in love with wine?
Lentz: I’ve always loved wine. I love the process that a grape goes through to become wine. Wine is always changing — from growing to aging, even exposure to air in your glass. It’s very much a living, dynamic thing, and I’m drawn to that. I’ve gotten to know several of the local vintners, explored their vineyards and even helped harvest the grapes.
Cincy Chic: Why did you launch your blog, Wine-Girl.net?
Lentz: I already had a personal blog and had started to post my tasting notes to that. It made them much easier to search. As I started blogging more and more about wine and the wine world, I decided to launch a wine-focused blog.
Cincy Chic: What’s a common question people ask you?
Lentz:“Where are there wineries around here?” I have several maps available on my blog. One map is of all the local wineries, of which there are many in nearby Kentucky and Indiana, as well as throughout greater Cincinnati. My other map displays all of the local wine tastings that I know of — I’d love for my readers to let me know about all the ones I’m missing.
Cincy Chic: Would you consider wine as your career?
Lentz: Right now, wine has become sort of a part-time job. I write a regular column “The Wine Academy” for Taste Magazine, and I’m offering in-home tastings for parties. However, I still have to support myself with a “real” job in instructional design and training. Someday, though, I hope to work in wine full-time. It’s certainly a goal.
Lentz: My client will throw a party and I’ll work with her on what wines she’d like to serve. She would then purchase the wine and I give a personalized tasting session to her guests, offering information about the wine and providing tasting notes. I also do packages for holiday parties and bachelorette/girls night parties.
Cincy Chic: What’s the biggest misconception about wine?
Lentz: I think people are often intimidated by wine. People forget that wine is a grape, and a vineyard is a farm. Also, I think people need to trust their instincts more. If you like it, then it is a good wine for you.
Cincy Chic: Do you have a few good rules of thumb as to how to pair wine and food?
Lentz: There’s the old rule of whites with white meat and reds with red. However, I like to encourage people to explore and try new things. For example, try a German Riesling with spicy Asian food. Even if you end up with a mismatched pairing, you learned something new in the process.
Cincy Chic: Best cheap bottle? Best expensive bottle?
Lentz: My favorite inexpensive bottle of wine at the moment is the 2006 Garnacha del Fuego. It’s a grenache from Spain that retails for around $6.99. For a high-priced splurge, we recently had a bottle of 2001 Fay Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa.
Cincy Chic: How do you get red wine stains out of clothes, carpet?
Lentz: I was harvesting grapes today at local vineyard Harmony Hill and my T-shirt is saturated with crushed Cabernet Franc grapes. I highly recommend either Wine Out or Wine Away, which are available at most wine shops. I’ve removed red wine from just about everything. I love white furniture — my house is filled with it — so I really depend on Wine Out. I wish I could buy it by the gallon!
And just for Cincy Chic readers, Lentz has posted a list of Economical Holiday Entertaining tips on her blog. Visit the site for great insider secrets on how to be the hostess with the most-ess this holiday season.
Editor’s Note: Check out more of Lentz’s recommendations in this week’s bonus recipe article.