Having been in quarantine for a few days and already starting to get a bit antsy, we’ve compiled a list of activities we’ve been up to that could be of interest to y’all! We’ve broken them down into our more practical examples, if you’re looking to broaden your natural wine knowledge while at home, as well as some fun and personal ones from each of us in case they resonate with you!
We’ve been lucky that most of our work is already online, so our day-to-day hasn’t changed all that much other than not being able to freely go out to the park, yoga studio, and all the lovely local businesses we love to support. Below are some of my favorite activities that have kept me sane through the first 4 days.
Wine Tasting Blinds
Whether you’ve never done a blind tasting before, or are an experienced somm, blind tasting is an excellent way to kill a few hours while using your brain and drinking wine. What could be better?! The gist of it is that you pour 2-6 wines that are good expressions of their grape for a partner and write down which is which. Have them go through the tasting using a deductive sheet, the WSET or CMS ones both work, and walk through each of the wines to come to their own conclusions about what it is.
I love to bake and it’s pretty hard here in Spain to find what we need to make our American delicacies (no Crisco?!). Luckily we’ve stockpiled on some of the necessities at the American store. Here is my hit list of items I’ll be baking while locked in:
Kardemummabullar - I find these better than their cinnamon counterparts! Take a LOT of time but they also make so many you can also freeze them.
Cherry Pie - I have my own recipe that I make adjustments to, but this one is pretty close!
Movies to Watch
As you’ll see, Nic has us on LOTR at the moment, but I’m excited to queue up some of my favorite musicals to bring my spirits back up over the next few weeks. RENT, Phantom of the Opera, Moulin Rouge, Frozen, Mama Mia, ask me how far I get next week lol. This is honestly an area we need help with so let us know what we should be watching!
Books to Read
I try to have one educational, motivational, and fun book all going at the same time on my Kindle so that I can read based on my mood. Right now I have two educational books going with For the Love of Wine from Alice Feiring and a physical book I couldn’t get on Kindle about wine and climate change. For motivation I’m in the middle of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and am really enjoying it. It’s incredibly positive but you also don’t feel bad leaving it for awhile and picking it back up. My fun book for the last month+ has been Edward Rutherford’s Russka. Because it was on Kindle I didn’t realize it was 1000+ pages, but as a historical fiction lover, it’s been worth the time to read it! I loved his book Dublin and my favorite book is Pillars of the Earth, so if you like that genre, Ken Follet and Edward Rutherford won’t steer you wrong!
This is a funny section I doubt Nic will participate in, but I enjoy pinning and have been using this time to create boards around going zero waste, recipes, and natural self-care routines. Other areas I haven't explored yet but want to are ways to fix up Nic’s family cottage in Sweden we’re going to this summer that doesn’t have water or electricity.
Favorite Wines While on Lockdown
We’re lucky to have lots of wines we can drink from both our own wines, samples of potential producers, and lots of lovely local shops that we frequent. Depending on how I’m feeling, this is how our wine has gone:
Need a pick-me-up? Poke and bubbles party! Whether local cava or one of our cremants, when I’m feeling down I love to order in a fresh poke bowl, pop some bubbles, and have what Nic calls my “personal party”
Day Drinking? Are you in the middle of your weekend with nowhere to be and ready for a dance party? Can confirm from Nic’s sister that the orange sylvaner will do the trick to keep your glou glou day dreams going! Other options would include fun roses, or anything from our glou glou box.
Pizza Party? We started the LOTR series with Feints and some pizza napolitana. It was an excellent combo.
Contemplating Life? Just watched Parasite on Netflix and feeling pensive? Same, in those moments I’ve turned to Le vin de ma cocotte and some beautifully oaked Riojas and Priorat wines.
First things first: having Norman here is an absolute lifesaver for me, as someone that goes stir crazy realllllllly quickly if I don’t have some kind of physical activity to do. We really aren’t supposed to be leaving the apartment except to get groceries or walk the dog, and the grocery store is right outside our door so getting out with the dog for an hour or so has been great.
I’m a big home cook, probably stemming back to my back-of-house restaurant days. It’s a great way to pass the time, relax, get off the screens, and create something. I don’t have a ton of recipes, but if I am looking for inspiration regarding something new the first place I almost always go is Serious Eat. I’m also trying to be more resourceful with the whole “don’t let anything go to waste” thing, so, for example, we roasted a chicken two nights ago (#teamspatchcock), then yesterday I used the bones to make a stock that went into a potato leek soup. Some other stuff I’m making is NY-style pizza (3-day cold ferment dough recipe), smashed burgers, various salads, and Holly also bought an octopus that apparently I have to figure out how to cook as well.
Movies to Watch
If you’re stuck inside for an extended period of time, you obviously have to start by watching through the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. We’ve also been watching a show called Dark on Netflix that’s been quite good.
Books to Read
I am ALL IN on pandemic/end of the world/holyshitwhatshappening style books right now (as is only fitting IMO! I also listen to a lot of audiobooks, so I’m going to divide this into two different lists:
The Stand - Stephen King
Invincible: The Story of Arsenal’s Unbeaten Season - Amy Lawrence
Adventures on the Wine Route - Stephen King
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea - Barbara Demick
World War Z - Max Brooks
Born a Crime - Trevor Noah
Shoe Dog - Phil Knight
Bad Blood - John Carryou
Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain
Favorite Wines While on Lockdown
Whiskey! Bulleit Rye or Redbreast 15 yr for me. Otherwise, the wine will still depend on the meal, but I’m back into those light, lovely, easy-drinking reds. Think Feints, Valpolicella, Piranha. My absolute favorite wine that we are stocking right now is definitely Moretto by Aldo Viola!
Natural Wine Education
If you’ve been looking for the right time to dive into natural wine but are always too busy, this is a great time to stock up your Amazon cart with great books, listen to those podcasts you’ve been meaning to get around to, and generally just drink wine!
Instead of re-listing all of our recommendations, I’ve linked below to all our resources you can check out.
Natural Wine Groups
This is a difficult time and one of great humanity and solidarity. We’ve loved seeing all of our neighbors, the police and taxis clap and honk through the streets at 8pm every night to thank all the health-care workers for everything they’re doing. While it’s difficult to stay home, it is made much easier after thinking about the implications of what happens if we don’t.
We hope these tips and activities are useful to you and we’re only on day 4, so check on us in a few and please send us back some new recommendations of things to do! If this is helpful we can keep the list updated and circulating.