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Interesting facts about our canine friends:

> Based on an average life span of 11 years, the cost of owning a dog is $13,350.

> Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting. Dogs and wolves yawn as a sign of contentment.

> Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears. Unfortunately, the likes of bulldogs and pitbulls only have 10, due to their breeding. Therefore, these dogs easily get misinterpreted by other dogs and often get into fights.

> A dog’s whiskers are touch-sensitive hairs called vibrissae. They are found on the muzzle, above the eyes and below the jaws, and can actually sense tiny changes in airflow.

> A dog’s sense of smell is one of the keenest in nature. If a pot of stew was cooking on a stove, a human would smell the stew, while the dog could smell the beef, carrots, peas, potatoes, spices, and all the other individual ingredients in the stew. In fact, if you unfolded and laid out the delicate membranes from inside a dogs nose, the membranes would be larger than the dog itself.

> Dogs may not have as many taste buds as we do (they have about 1,700 on their tongues, while we humans have about 9,000), but that doesn’t mean they’re not discriminating eaters. They have over 200 million scent receptors in their noses (we have only 5 million) so it’s important that their food smells good and tastes good.

> Giving dogs chocolate could be fatal for them, because theobromine, an ingredient of chocolate, stimulates the central nervous system and cardiac muscle. About 1.1 kg of milk chocolate or just 146 g of cooking chocolate (which has more theobromine per gram) could kill a 22 kg dog.

> Researchers studying what dogs like to eat have found that the appetite of pet dogs is affected by the taste, texture and smell of the food, and also by the owners’ food preferences, their perception of their pet, and the physical environment in which the dog is eating.


> The common belief that dogs are color blind is false. Dogs can see color, but it is not as vivid a color scheme as we see. They distinguish between blue, yellow, and gray, but probably do not see red and green. This is much like our vision at twilight.

> Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.

> Don’t smile at any dog that you feel may be dangerous. To him, you would be baring your teeth at a sign of aggression.

sources: www.comedy-zone.net, www.i-pets.com

photos: www.webshots.com, www.dailypuppy.com

I have always been intrigued about wine & the wine connoisseurs. We watch in the movies how they swirl their wine glasses and savor that very distinct aroma of a particular wine. Just by a glimpse of a bottle, they know precisely the wine maker, year, etc… When I pass by wines stores (which are scant here), I always imagine myself opening the door and walking inside, striding towards the wine racks and knowing exactly what I’m looking for…(sigh) too bad because when it comes to wines, I’m a complete blunder! I really have lesser than minimal knowledge about wines (except for that red wine that made me drunk last Christmas Eve)..

So here, to the wine newbies like me, read and digest because you can never tell when you’ll be getting into situations where you’ll be thanking I have posted this. :P

Popular wine types

  • Red Wine ColorsRed: Red wine is made from red, or black, grapes. Unlike white wine, when winemakers ferment red wine, they use the skin of the grapes. This allows the tannins from the grapes to enter the wine and gives red wine its dark color.There are many different types of red wine. Some, such as varietals, use only one grape variety, such as Zinfandel. Others use a blend of two or more grapes, such as a Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend.Red wines run the gamut, from the smooth and velvety Pinot Noir to the full-flavored, intense and spicy Shiraz. If you’re a beginner, you might want to opt for a mellower red and work your way up to the more intense styles and blends.
  • Rosé: Like red wine, rosé wine (also known as blush wine) is produced from red black or black grapes. However, it is only allowed contact with the skins for a short period of time. This gives the wine the slight color of a red (more like a pink) but a taste more similar to a white.
  • Sparkling: Many people confuse sparkling wine with champagne. However, sparkling wine isn’t produced from champagne grapes (those grapes are grown only in Champagne, France). In order to produce sparkling wines, winemakers add a yeast and sugar solution to dry table wine. Then, the wine is resealed in order to go through a second fermentation process.
  • White: Contrary to popular belief, white wine can be made from either red or white grapes. The reason the wine remains white or golden is that the skins are not used in the fermentation process.White wine styles vary from very dry to super sweet and are typically served chilled. Chardonnays have been popular in recent years and offer savory, smoky and/or vanilla characteristics. If you’re looking for something sweeter, try a Riesling or a Pinot Gris.

Variations in Types of Wine

Within all the basic categories of wine, there are many wine varieties. However, don’t let this confuse you. Here are a few tips that will help you on your next trip to the wine store:

  1. Wine can be made from a variety of grapes or from a single type of grape. When looking at names of wines, remember that some wines, known as varietals, are named after the principal grape in their composition. Other wines are named after the region in which the grapes were grown.
  2. The climate of the region in which the grapes were grown will have an impact on the dryness or sweetness of the wine.
  3. While the grapes used in the wine will have a large impact on the taste of the wine, the winemaker can also influence its taste during the vinification (winemaking) process.

Wine Glasses

Different types of wine require unique glassware to enhance the properties of the particular wine. As a result, having the proper wine glasses for the type of wine that you are planning on drinking is an important part of fully enjoying that specific wine. Here is an outline of the glassware specific to each type of wine:

  • Champagnes: served in flutes (or in traditional champagne wine glasses if you have antique wine glasses) so that you can enjoy watching the bubbles.

  • Dessert wines: served in short, small wine glasses so that too much isn’t poured. Because dessert wines tend to be more intense than other types of wines, they need to be sipped and savored in smaller amounts.

  • Red wine: served in bigger, rounder wine glasses with wider mouths so that the wine can aerate more easily and the drinker can enjoy the aroma.

  • White wine: served in a narrower, taller glass with a smaller mouth to help keep it chilled.

Etiquette for Wine

Wine etiquette at restaurants can be confusing. At fine restaurants, the wine list typically arrives first. This can be an intimidating showing of unfamiliar names mixed with a few well-recognized terms. Unless you choose to enjoy a glass of wine prior to your meal, it’s best to figure out what you want to eat before choosing your wine.

Once you’ve decided on the menu courses, consult with the server or wine steward, unless you already have favorite selections in mind. He will be more than happy to help you select a bottle to complement your food.

Etiquette for Wine Tasting

Here are the proper steps for tasting wine once it arrives at your table:

  1. The server will arrive with the bottle, first presenting the label for inspection. Do read the label briefly and verify that it is indeed the correct vintage.
  2. The server will uncork the bottle. Some people like to check the cork for signs of spoilage. If the wine has turned, the cork will produce an off odor.
  3. The waiter will pour a small glass of wine for the person who ordered it. The person will note the color of the wine, smell it, looking for any foul odor, and taste it to ensure that it hasn’t spoiled.
  4. Once the person says that the wine is good, the server will pour glasses for the rest of the table.

Wine Etiquette: Tipping

Some controversy surrounds wine tipping etiquette. You may think that a higher-priced bottle requires the same tip as a less-pricey choice. Wine tipping etiquette, however, states that if you’re able to afford expensive wine, you should include the requisite gratuity based on the entire cost of the bottle.

Generally, you should tip between 10 percent and 20 percent per bottle, depending on the service you receive.

Wine Etiquette for Home

Wine etiquette continues at home as well. When serving, it’s important to have the right tools on hand to make an artful presentation for your guests. You’ll find an amazing array of foil cutters and sophisticated openers at any kitchen or wine store.

For proper etiquette, you should also serve your wine in the proper glasses. You can buy glasses for serving white, red, champagne and specialty wines.

Etiquette for Opening Wine

It’s always a good idea to practice opening wine if you aren’t familiar with the process. You don’t want to have to ask one of your guests for help because you can’t uncork the bottle. Here are the basic steps for opening wine with a waiter’s pull:

  1. Start with the bottle on a flat surface that puts the neck of the bottle at elbow height.
  2. Remove the metallic wrapper around the neck by using the blade of the opener.
  3. Making sure that the corkscrew is perpendicular to the surface you are working on, twist the corkscrew evenly into the center until the majority of the screw is buried.
  4. Hook the metal lever over the rim of the bottle and pull up. The cork should easily slide out.

If you can’t uncork your wine, consider buying screw-cap bottles. Screw caps continue to gain popularity, eliminating some of the necessary wine opening skills. Many fine wines even come with screw caps.

Wine Etiquette: Giving Wine as a Gift

Presenting a wine gift is not usually as simple as picking up a bottle on the way to someone’s home. If you’re dining with old friends, you’ll already have an idea of their wine preferences. However, when meeting with new acquaintances or selecting wine for peers and bosses, it becomes more complicated. A good rule of thumb is to pick a mild wine that isn’t too bold. You might even choose to pick one of your favorites.

When giving wine as a gift, etiquette dictates the process. Spend too little on the wine and you might insult someone. Pay too much, however, and you risk looking pretentious. To be on the safe side, buy a wine that is priced in the middle range.

Wine gift baskets are also appropriate, depending on the occasion and the person receiving the gift. At most wine stores, you’ll find an array of luxury bags and baskets for presenting your wine. You can fill these with wine as well as with wine accessories. You might even want to throw in some cheese and crackers to complement the bottle.

If you are bringing wine to a dinner party, don’t pre-chill the bottle unless you are responsible for bringing the wine. If you pre-chill the bottle, the host may feel required to serve it.

Wine Etiquette: Serving Wine

The etiquette of serving wine is fairly straightforward. Use the correct glasses and have the wine at its ideal temperature. In general, chill red for 10 to 20 minutes. (Though not a popular idea, chilling red wine actually exaggerates the tannins and gives the wine more taste.) Give white wines a 20-minute rest before pulling the cork.

Vintage red wines sometimes require several hours of decanting to allow the sediment to settle and the aromas to reach their full bouquets. At bottling, white wines are by nature ready to drink.

How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

A wine tasting party is a wonderful way to explore different varieties and have a fun get-together. Hosting a wine tasting party is often as easy as asking each guest to bring their favorite brand or varietal. For larger gatherings, it’s wise to limit selections to three to five wine types.

In order to plan for the right appetizers and food, you may want to target a specific wine region, such as France’s Bordeaux region, or even limit the choices to specific reds or whites.

A successful wine tasting party includes the right selection of cheeses, breads, crackers, vegetables and fruits. You can also elect to serve heavier dinner fare. For instance, big bold reds could go with a hearty beef course, or whites could pair well with a selection of grilled poultry or fish.

Many companies are getting in on the act of assisting with wine tasting parties. For a set price, they’ll bring in a selection of wines and can even provide the food. Some companies will even waive their fees to the host if the guests purchase a certain number of bottles during the party. Your local wine store may also offer in-home tastings for a fee.

articles from www.itswine.com

photos from www.sparklingstemware.com

This is a new category in my blog where I will be writing about things I never knew before.. :) If you can ask some of my friends, they’d tell you out straight of what a nerd I was and I am. This section can be filled with any facts, trivias, tidbits, etc. etc.. haha Hopefully, it will feed us with cool and interesting info and be of some use to all HK blog readers..

I will just post “IDKT #” in the title to hint that this an I -Didn’t - Know- That… entry. :)

Guys, feel free to comment or if you wish to add more, no one’s stopping you.
So for the first IDKT, I didn’t know that…. the first Starbucks Coffee Shop is in Pike Place, Seattle,Washington, USA. It opened in 1971 and it’s still open today! Nice piece of info for all Starbucks coffee lovers out there..

photo from kubiskyfam of webshots.com

photo from mixqp4 of webshots.com

This is, i think, an original picture of the first Starbucks Coffee in its earliest days.

Photo from vitalenvy of webshots.com

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