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10 at-home, date-night pairings to heat up cold nights

Posted by Idaho Wine Commission on Jan 27, 2021

These stay-at-home date night ideas are so good, you may never leave the house again.

1. Cook a meal together

There are meals. And then there are dinners. Dinners are the ones you save for really special occasions. But when special occasions are few and far between, you make your own. So, pick your favorite dish, choose something you both want to try, or let COILED Wines do the choosing for you. Their Virtual Valentine's Day with COILED Wines is a cook-from-home event, featuring Chef Aaron and Winemaker Leslie Preston, and includes three courses and three bottles of wine. Reservations are required, so sign up fast. Likewise, Telaya Wine Company offers Virtual Telaya Bites, which focus on the art of pairing great wine with great food and feature local Chefs collaborating with Telaya’s winemaking team. When it comes to romance, food and wine are just... *chef's kiss*

2. Plan your next vacation

One thing the pandemic has made painfully clear, being locked away at home is no fun. We miss traveling! As we scroll through the pics of our past adventures, it's easy to mourn the plans and places put on hold. But, it won't be this way forever. So, why not start dreaming and planning now? For this, a number of Idaho wineries spirit us away to other lands. Like Pend d'Oreille Winery whose roots and old-world winemaking traditions stretch all the way back to Burgundy France. Likewise, there's Ste. Chapelle Winery named after La Sainte Chapelle in Paris and built by King Louis IX in the 13th century.

3. Go backyard camping

Don't fear the cold. Embrace it. With the right tent, a couple of sleeping bags, and a few bottles by your side, your backyard can be your own private campground. And for this outdoor adventure, we recommend not wine, but cider! Meriwether Cider Company– named for the great adventurer Meriwether Clark, who absolutely knew a thing or two about camping – offers a flavorful array of flagship and seasonal ciders. Their newest creation, Vinous Cider, the delicious result of a collaboration with Potter Wines, is a refreshing mix of apple and grape juice fermented together — blending the best parts of wine and cider into one drink. Just imagine sitting in front of a crackling fire, under a sky full of stars, snuggled close together for extra warmth. And best yet... a fully functioning bathroom only steps away!

4. DIY, but together

After spending so much time at home, one thing is clear. There's a lot of work to do! All those little projects that were so easy to push off before, are now glaringly obvious. Whether it's a quick coat of paint or a complete room renovation, as the saying goes: many hands make light work. And a few glasses of the good stuff don't hurt either. No matter what project is on your honey-do list, we have a single recommendation: Jovinea Cellars 2018 Handyman. Representing the five fingers on a handyman's hand, this blend is made from five beautiful varietals with bright, deep undertones of fruit, complex earth, toast, raspberries and baking spice.

5. Have your own bake-off

Ready. Set. Bake! It's time to decide once and for all who's the best baker in your home. Pick your recipe, grab your utensils and don't forget the wine. (For you, not your confection.) This challenge is perfect for exploring the world of dessert and ice wines. And you can't go wrong with Koenig Vineyards, whose 2019 Ice Wine Riesling is made from grapes picked and pressed while frozen at the peak of winter. The resulting juice is very concentrated, decidedly sweet and best served chilled in small glasses as a special dessert by itself, or with a simple arrangement of cheese, nuts and fresh fruit. You may not be able to bake, but at the very least, you'll have a dessert wine as a back-up.

6. Let's paint it out

If your bake-off ended in a draw, take the competition to another arena. And by arena, we mean canvas to get your Picasso on. Pick a portrait to emulate. Or, better yet, create a still life of items inside your own home and try to artistically recreate it. Wine, cheese and grapes is a classical subject for many painters over the ages. For inspiration, turn to Split Rail Winery, whose wine labels are little masterpieces all on their own. With names like Swamp Donkey, Horned Beast and Laser Fox, the gang at Split Rail remind us all it's okay to paint outside the lines.

7. Start a game night

With so many of us working from home, it's easy to forget to make time for fun and games too. Any night can be game night. And what you play can be anything. Plug into your gaming system one week. Then go analog the next with classic board games. Cards are always a favorite. Or create your own! (Hallway bowling, anyone? All you need are some red Solo cups and a ball.) Family-owned and operated Indian Creek Winery truly believes in the old adage "Work hard. Play hard." The Stowe family has been working hard since 1982 to craft premium wines from the best grapes in the heart of Idaho’s Snake River Valley. And now they're enjoying the fruits of their labor. As should you. Start with their famous blend, Star Garnet. Loser buys.

8. Break a sweat

A quarantine side-effect for many of us is feeling a little more doughy around the middle. If you and your mate have been wanting to shed a few extra pounds, a little exercise is a great way to boost your energy and even your love life. And there's a lot you can do right at home: Online yoga, lifting weights, walking outdoors, biking and more. And with all those calories you've burned, you can feel less guilty about uncorking that next bottle. And after we kill that day's fitness goal, we like something light and crips — like Cinder Wines 2019 Laissez-Faire White, a Sauvignon Blanc fermented to emphasize crisp, fresh fruit styles for everyday drinking. You know, no big deal.

9. Create your own film fest

Who needs Cannes when you have Netflix? Yes, from Tiger King to Bridgerton and beyond, we've all pretty much streamed all there is to watch. But that's not the point. It's the conversation around the curation of your favorite classic flicks and new releases that bring us together. And while you're in the grouping groove, Clearwater Canyon Cellars Customizable Birch 3-Bottle Box lets you decide what to sip once you're ready to lower the lights and let the movie magic begin. Just don't forget to silence your phone.

10. Do your own wine tasting

If exploring wines is your favorite thing to do together, this one's a no-brainer. Try a handful of bottles you've never had before and discover a new favorite. This one comes with options: sign up for a tasting club, play sommelier and select a few bottles of your own or just check our pre-curated Taste Idaho Gold: Valentine's Edition. It's a half-case filled with 2020's Gold Medal-winning Idaho wines at 10% off the retail price. Not only do you save, but each purchase also supports Idaho Wineries. If you want to make it like a double-date, set up a Zoom call with your favorite couple. Swirl your glasses, see if you can detect tasting notes, or simply determine which vino is your favorite.

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Topics: Support Local Wine, Idaho Wine Events, Local Cider, Wine Gifts

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