Etty Lewensztain is the owner of Plonk Wine Merchants, an online shop focused on small-production, artisanal and altogether great cheap wine. The food- and wine- obsessed Los Angeles native cut her teeth in the wine biz running a marketing campaign to promote Chilean wine in the United States, and is certified by the esteemed Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the American Sommelier Association. Plonk Wine Merchants specializes in hidden gems from around the globe and every bottle in the store is priced below $30. Follow Plonk Wine Merchants on Twitter @ PlonkOnline.

Photo by 46137. What would you pair with pork tenderloin?

Rules are meant to be broken, right? So why is it that we tend to hold on to hard and fast rules when it comes to drinking wine? Historically speaking, wine was reserved for the upper echelons of society, a tipple meant exclusively for the wealthy and culturally aloof. Well, lucky for us non-wealthy, non-highfalutin’ wine lovers, times have changed—and so have the pretentious and long-ingrained rules that dictate the way we think about and drink wine.

Do you always pair red wine with meat? Do you only cook with wine that’s good enough to actually drink? If you’re nodding “yes” to these questions, then read on to learn about four old-school wine rules that are absolutely rubbish! (more…)

Posted by on July 5th, 2011

Photo by Stephanie L. Smith

Editor’s Note: Asian cuisine is often overlooked when it comes to wine pairing suggestions, and that’s something we’d love to change. If you love wine and enjoy spicy Asian cuisines–especially Thai, Indian, Vietnamese or Korean–then you’re in the right place!

Here are Etty’s top tips for pairing wines with some of your favorite spicy Asian cuisines, along with a couple of classic pairing suggestions. Our favorite tip: temper heat with sweet! (more…)

Posted by on June 14th, 2011

Photo by Fermented Thoughts

It is an innately human tendency to gravitate toward the familiar in the hopes of finding comfort and consistency. This tendency applies to all types of behavior, including the wines we choose to drink. Guess what? Comfort and consistency can get—how do I put this mildly?–stale. Wine should be about adventure and discovery and should transport you, albeit virtually, to a romantic, idyllic place where vineyards extend for miles and all that’s important in life is the pleasure of the moment. So if you’re ready to get out of your white wine rut and try something new, you’re in the right place! (more…)

Posted by on June 7th, 2011

Photo by Apokolokyntosis

Editor’s Note: Who hasn’t been overwhelmed when presented by a huge wine list at a restaurant? In this video, Etty Lewensztain guides you through the process of navigating a wine list and choosing a wine step by step, giving lots of memorable tips and practical advice for ordering a great wine to accompany your meal.

If you’re ready to ditch the tired “white with fish, red with meat” rule and learn how to tackle a wine list like a pro, you’re in the right place. (more…)

Posted by on May 20th, 2011

Photo by tibchris

Some grapes go by one name and one name only. Take chardonnay, for instance. Whether the grape is grown in Burgundy, its old-school spiritual home, or in California, its adopted home in the new world, it always bears the same moniker: chardonnay. Unfortunately, the wine world is not always so user-friendly, which can present a major challenge for wine novices trying to get a handle on things like appellations, grape varieties, tannins, acidity and so forth.

Many of the world’s grape varieties actually have two, three or even four different names, depending on the grape’s country of origin and its particular clone, or genetic variation. In addition to having different names, each variant will also express itself differently in terms of flavors, textures and aromas, depending on where it’s grown. Grenache from the Côtes du Rhône in the south of France, for example, can taste drastically different than Cannonau from the Italian island of Sardinia, even though they are both technically grenache.


Posted by on May 16th, 2011

Photo by jamuraa

Editor’s Note: You love drinking wine (we do, too!). So don’t you hate it when you open up a bottle and aren’t quite sure whether the wine has gone bad or whether it’s just not your cup of tea?

Most wine drinkers have heard the term “corked” used to describe a wine that is no longer drinkable, but did you know that cork taint is only one of several common flaws that can ruin a wine? In her last video, Etty Lewensztain offered tips on how to taste wine like a pro. Now Etty’s sharing three simple steps to help you determine whether a wine has been tainted. From overoxidation to refermentation, we’ve got you covered. Now all you need is a backup bottle of wine! (more…)

Posted by on April 22nd, 2011


Photo by gemsling

Variety is a real virtue. Imagine if you had to watch the same movie over and over again, listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, or eat the same tuna sandwich for lunch until the day you die. Seems like torture, right?

Wine works in the exact same way, but for some bizarre reason, people seem to have a very difficult time getting out of their wine ruts. I constantly hear people stereotyping themselves as a “chardonnay person” or a “cabernet drinker.” I also know someone who literally buys case after case of the same exact Sancerre year in and year out.

If this sounds anything like you, then it’s time to branch out, tap your inner curiosity, and delve into the endless, and I mean endless, variety of incredible wines available to us here in the United States.


Posted by on March 30th, 2011

Photo by chispita_666

Editor’s Note: Etty Lewensztain first made her mark on The Menuism Blog last fall with the debut of her monthly column, featuring practical tips to help wine lovers enhance their wine drinking experiences. Now we’d like to welcome you to the first installment of Etty’s new monthly video series, which is–you guessed it!–all about vino. (more…)

Posted by on March 18th, 2011

Photo by Jenny Downing

The temperature at which you serve a wine can drastically change its aromas and flavors. This might seem like an overly geeky piece of wine minutia that you’d rather not pay attention to, but serving temperature can play a big role in how your wine performs in the glass, or how it “drinks,” as the pros say.

Generally speaking, cold temperatures will emphasize a wine’s tannins and acidity, while minimizing the wine’s aromas and fruit flavors. Warm temperatures, on the other hand, will play down a wine’s tannins and acidity while amping up the wine’s aromatics. Warm temperatures can also accentuate a wine’s alcohol content and make the wine appear “hotter” or higher in alcohol than it actually is.


Posted by on February 23rd, 2011

Photo by roblisameehan

People tend to stash expensive bottles of Bordeaux in their cellars to age but would never think to do the same with a $13 bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Ever wonder why?

The answer lies in this very basic formula that makes certain wines cellar-worthy or suitable for long-term aging: Tannins + Acid + Fruit.

The Rule of Three

When brought together in perfect balance, these three core elements will equip a wine with everything it needs to evolve beautifully over time, maintaining its structure, its freshness, its overall integrity in the bottle, and bringing about that je ne sais quoi that you can only really get from aged wines.


Posted by on February 2nd, 2011

Dave Jensen

Dave Jensen
Craft Beer

David R. Chan

David R. Chan
Chinese Restaurant

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich
Fast Food

Justin Chen

Justin Chen
Menuism Co-Founder

John Li

John Li
Menuism Co-Founder

Kim Kohatsu

Kim Kohatsu
Managing Editor