Wine 101: Pairing Food and Wine and Does It Really Matter?

With Thanksgiving soon upon us, we often get a flurry of questions about wine pairings! So many flavors, sweet and savory come into the mix! Adding wine can make the majority of us feel out of our element. So we are breaking down the basics of pairing food and wine for you today, keeping it simple and straight forward, so you don’s break a sweat.

Pair by Intensity

We tend to throw around words like “full bodied” when we talk about wine with out really knowing what it is referring to. Think of a glass of wine like a glass of milk. Full bodied = Whole Milk or Cream. Light in body = skim. It refers to the fullness and intensity that the wine . So when you add in food, make sure that one doesn’t overpower the other. Pair a robust wine with a meal that showcases robust flavors. Crisp and lighter wines, tend to pair well with lighter dishes.

Sometimes Opposites Attract

Think yin and yang when it comes to pairing spicy or savory dishes. A slightly sweeter wine is the perfect balance. Alsatian Pinot Gris or a German Riesling can be the perfect partner to spicy Thai or Indian food - even if you don’t typically drink sweeter wine. It’s all about the balance.

Acid is Your Friend

Yeah, we know. Acid just doesn’t sound appealing, right? Oh but when it comes to matching food and wine, acid is what brings it all together! Wines with acid are great with foods higher in fat content. If you don’t have that acid, the wine will taste dull and flabby. Acid in wine is that little extra spunk that makes the food flavors pop.

Red Vs White Debate

Lots of debating going on in Uptown this week with the Democratic National Debate happening at Otterbein!

The red vs white wine debate should be a lot less heated. White wines (crisp, light whites, dry Rose or bubbles) tend to pair well with contrasting dishes. Heartier red wines tend to pair better with dishes that are similar in style. All in all, the most important thing is that you enjoy a wine you like, and keep an open mind. While you may be a tried and true red wine lover, be open to trying out a white or bubbly with your next meal. It can really open up a new world of wine for your palate.


Why Should I Join a Local Wine Club?

So here is the thing guys. I am a small business owner, and wine lover. But I am also a working mom of three. When I had my last baby, someone suggested that I try Shipt (the online grocery delivery service tied to Meijer and Target). I felt ridiculous utilizing a service like this; I mean surely I was still capable of going to the grocery store myself, right? However they offered a deal to try it and I took the bait, and let me tell ya. Having food and diapers delivered to my door was nothing short of a God send.

Well I have had friends home with kiddos and my first thought was, what would be the thing they would love the most ending up on their doorstep? Pretty sure the answer is always WINE!

Enter, Meza Wine Club!

There are so many benefits to joining Meza’s Monthly Wine Club (and if you don’t live in the greater Columbus area, I highly encourage you to reach out to a locally owned wine shop in your area to inquire about their wine club offerings. Here is why:

  • Choosing to join a wine club that is run by a local wine shop means you will be drinking quality fruit. Wine buyers and small business owners are passionate about what is poured into your glass! I am the wine buyer and my focus is always on finding our wine club members interesting and exciting new selections.

  • Meza Wine Club offers delivery as an option! Lots of our customers enjoy picking up their monthly wine club packs so they can use that opportunity to come in and shop or drink some wine. However, the delivery option Meza offers is great for those who are busy and won’t make it in. Literally, wine appears on your door step each month!

  • We offer tons of great perks for wine club members in house! Everything from not paying a corking fee on bottles to discounts on food. Thursdays are member nights, where all members can come by and enjoy $5 glasses of wine and half off their food tab!

There are so many great wines to try and the variety is endless! Meza delivers free of charge in Westerville, and for a small monthly fee in the Greater Columbus area. If you don’t live in the area, I highly recommend that you find a local wine shop and inquire about a wine club membership. You won’t be sorry when you are drinking amazing wine and having it expertly selected for you.

Are you sitting there thinking “Why haven’t I joined Meza wine club yet?” Check out the link below and get started today!


10 Years In...Reflections and Learnings on Running a Small Business

I can't say I know it all, because  starting your own business is a never ending process of learning and improving. It has been a long learning curve folks..... but after ten years, I have a few solid take aways (and so much more discovery yet to do).

1.       Follow your Gut.

This is the number one thing that I have come to realize is key when starting and operating your business. There are a lot of analytics my husband likes to look at with the business (this goes right in line with what he does for a living) and it’s a huge asset to be able to look at actual numbers when tracking sales and trends. But when you are starting a business and you are in that shop day in and day out, you also build up a keen sense of what works, what doesn’t and what “feels right”. Following that gut instinct has always served me well, and that goes for what does not work as well as what does.


2.       Keep a consistent brand image / voice.

I think that lots of small businesses struggle here. We sure did for a while. You want to make sure you are treating your small business as a timeless, all star brand (even when it’s still tiny and it feels like no one knows you or cares). Using key elements in your logo, shop feel, packaging, advertising messages, social media posts etc... that all have the same feel of authenticity to your brand is what will give you staying power and recognition. We have had many (many) trials and errors while getting Meza established, but once we found our footing it was focusing on consistency that has been huge. We did a major website overhaul a few years ago (because there is so much available now to business owners that wasn’t available when we got stared!) that allows you to have control of your website design and aesthetic. Having that connection between the in-store vibe and our website vibe has really tied things together.

3.       It is great to have extensions of your original products but don’t veer too far off from your core.

There are lots of ways you can extend your brand beyond the main concept. Regardless of what other avenues or product extensions you are exploring, make sure they still tie into your core business. We sell wine and we sell experience. Additional products that we carry, like tee shirts and accessories all need to enhance the business of wine. They need to make sense with wine! It really is exciting to create your own assortment and to capture all the possibilities, but I really believe the key is to always be true to your core.

4.       Hire people who will always represent you as well as you would represent your own business

This one is tricky – customers love to see a familiar face when shopping small and often, they want to see your face. It is such a great compliment when they do, however, you can’t be there all the time. A lot of the running of the business is the behind the scenes work and you have to have ample time carved out for planning and strategy so that your business can continue to grow. Having a staff in place that provides that same level of authenticity, excitement, and care for your business and the customers is key. They will be your greatest assets. I get asked often why we have so many employees and the answer is because they all have careers and kids and lives and Meza is their “side hustle”. While it can make scheduling tricky, it’s a huge win for us. We have a staff of hard working, intelligent, caring people who have so much respect for what we do. They are our life line and when they are in the shop, and while you have to wear lots of hats when you own a business, that doesn’t mean you will be great at everything. So find people who are!  I suck at building spreadsheets; but luckily we have some pretty amazing people on our team that rock at them! Being able to tap into their individual skills has been so amazing and just enhances the business.

5.       Utilize every free marketing tool you can to connect with customers

When I got started in this game, it was still early in the arena of social media marketing for your business. Having outlets like Facebook and Instagram where I can connect with customers, engage in real time conversation and study the analytics behind ads almost instantly is incredible. How the hell did we do it before? While you want to put out continuous content, it takes some practice in figuring out what you want to post, what you want to pay for and how to be consistent. The most important thing about engaging with customers via social media, from what I have learned, is always be authentic. Be authentic in your words, in your photos and in how you respond to people. People are drawn to knowing the “real” behind the brand (myself included, I love stalking all my fav local business accounts!) and you have a great platform to be able to talk to customers in a very real way. While there is so much you can do that won’t cost you a dime, there are times when putting a dollar amount behind a post or ad on social media will reach more people and with the targeting and analytics you can really create content that will reach the right customer base.

6.       Create an experience.

There is no shortage of places to buy wine. Every grocery store now has an expanded wine section. Costco and Trader Joes are not hurting in that department either. Getting people to make that extra stop in their routine can be tricky; I am a mama and I know that a lot can come down to convenience.  How the customer “experiences” your shop will determine if they will come to you in the future or go for convenience of a big box retailer. Previously my career was in visual merchandising and that is something I have loved carrying over into the shop. We spend a lot of time thinking about how the shop aesthetic will draw in customers and engage them. We focus on ton on personalized services. We talk a lot about how we can create an environment where people just want to come back……and while you may not win over everyone when time or convenience is a concern, you will win over a lot of people who are brand loyal and who love what you offer.

7.       Community giving/involvement.

One of the best aspects of running our business is that it has put us in the position to be able to give back to our community and to important causes in a bigger way than we could as a family. Meza is able to provide a platform and space for fundraising and for hosting charitable organizations. Of course we cannot make a large monetary donation to every cause, but we have been able to donate to local schools and churches via donation of gift cards to our wine tasting events, and the benefit is two-fold. We have been able to help organizations raise money, while getting new people in the door to check out Meza.  Whatever you can do to leverage your business and give back can be so beneficial. You are constantly getting your name out there and forming partners within your community. It has truly been one of the greatest experiences of the past ten years – finally getting to a spot where we are able to give back to causes that mean a lot to us, in a bigger way.

8.       Keep things fresh and new!

We have been known to make lots of physical changes to the shop in the beginning and a lot of that was adaptation as our business model changed from more retail to more on premise (wine bar). Now, ten years in, we are refreshing the shop, adding in new elements and re painting. We  rotate stock and display seasonally and I think that these small changes really signify a fresh appeal to customers. I love following other shops and brands and seeing what is new and exciting, it gives me motivation to keep checking back so I am in the loop! Same thing applies to our own business and how you never quite stop putting more into it.

9.       If a product line / advertisement / partnership doesn’t work with your brand, do not feel like you have to include it under your umbrella.

I have struggled with this at times. You want someone else to succeed at their business as much as you want to succeed at yours, but forcing a partnership that doesn’t make sense is just not right for anyone. Staying true to your business model is not saying you don’t support someone else’s dream. In fact I think its giving them more of an opportunity to find a better fit that will highlight their product the right way.

10.   Find enjoyment and passion in all aspects of running your business.

Of course, I am passionate about wine. I love learning about it, tasting all kinds of wine and trying to find new wines I know our customers will love, but when you run a small business, the majority of your time is spent doing other things like scheduling, marketing, staffing, social media posting, and over all maintenance. Somehow that leaves very little time for focusing on wine. I have also always had a love and passion for retail and branding, and through this experience I have found that I am extremely passionate about small business and the impact of revitalized uptown/downtown areas on a community.

And along the way, I try to find enjoyment in some of the things that aren’t quite as inspirational, like scheduling and bathroom cleaning.

National Drink Wine Day

One of the best days of the year is coming up ... National Drink Wine day (February 18). Now, if you take your wine drinking as seriously as I do, you will probably treat this as a national holiday and come to Meza Wine Shop to celebrate with all your local wino's. 

If you are still unsure as to whether you want to take the time to celebrate this national holiday, which is a weird concept because of course you do, let me explain the reasons why drinking wine is better for you than other beers or spirits. 

First off, drinking wine can be a confidence booster. Wine is seen as sophisticated and refined and when you are drinking wine you can start to exude some of those traits. Instead of bringing a six pack on your next romantic date night, try a bottle (or two) of wine from Meza Wine Shop. 

Wine generally just tastes better. You can refute all you want, but with all the wine varietals out there you cannot say that all wine tastes the same and that you do not like any of them. I can confidently say (mostly because I am drinking wine right now) that you have not tried all of the thousands of wine varietals. If you have, then I am sorry and we should be friends.

Have you ever had a cheese plate with a glass of wine? If not, you are missing out on an amazing experience... an experience that you definitely cannot have with tequila (or any other spirit for that matter). Wine definitely tastes better than that pale ale or vodka soda that you are drinking, so why don't you put down the drink and pick up a glass of wine.  

Just in case you do not know what cheese to pair with your wine, let Meza Wine Shop help. Meza offers an amazing deal every Saturday night where you can get two glasses (of a value of $9 and under) and one cheese plate for $20.

See you at Meza on Saturday, February 18 for the best day out of the year and do not forget about ordering one of our many cheese plates.


Hannah Clark

How to Avoid a Complicated Relationship Between You and Wine This Valentine's Day

Whether you are single, in a relationship, married, or marked as “it’s complicated” on Facebook, you definitely do not want to miss out on any of the wines Meza is offering this Valentine’s Day season.  Ranging from pink bubbles, dark and luscious reds, white wines from exotic countries, and high-end champagnes, Meza has all of your wine needs when it comes to your Valentine’s/Galentine's Day festivities.

Here are my favorite wine picks for this Valentine’s Day season …

Desiderio Jeio Rose – $13.99

It does not get any more Valentine’s Day-ie than a bubbly rose. This rose has nice, soft fruits with a smooth finish. This is the perfect wine to share or drink by yourself with some salty popcorn while curling up and watching a movie.

Baby Blue – $29.99

Having a romantic night in and looking for dark, gorgeous wine? Look no further; the Baby Blue red blend will be the perfect wine for you and your date. This wine has aromas of vanilla, with tasting notes of dark fruits and milk chocolate.

Bedrock Evangelho – $44.99

With bright flavors of coffee and light fruits, such as raspberry, and a creamy finish this wine will go perfectly with a light pasta meal. Stock up on this wine before it’s gone and you’re left wine-less with a whiney date ruining your Valentine’s Day plans.

Tora Bay Sauvignon Blanc – $13.99

If you are looking for wine that is on the lighter side and in a unique region… look no further. This Sauvignon Blanc, from New Zealand, has amazing aromatics with a nice balance of acidity. Try pairing this wine some nice melted Brie and crackers.

Pierre Peters Champagne – $64.99

In the words of Bruce Benedict this Champagne is “like biting into the best piece of French Bread you could imagine”. This Champagne consists of Chardonnay grapes, making the wine crisp, elegant, and the perfect way to begin your celebrations.

If you cannot seem to decide on one of my wine picks, I would highly suggest coming into Meza this Friday (February 10) for our Valentine’s Day tasting. This wine tasting will feature chocolate pairing with various reds, whites, and delicious bubbles. You definitely do not want to miss out on this amazing Meza opportunity.

See you this Friday my fellow wino’s!


Hannah Clark

Decoding A Wine Label


With language barriers, hundreds of wine varietals, and various vineyards within a wine region, reading a wine label can be difficult. Typically, a wine bottle will have one specific focal point that tells you a little bit about what you are going to drink. To make things simpler, let’s break down the three basic categories on how to understand and skim a wine label so that you are more prepared for your next wine-shopping spree. A wine bottle will usually have one of the three following aspects on the label…

(1)  Wine type or varietal

(2)  Region

(3)  Wine name

Currently, Meza has some amazing wines on our glass pour list that can help you with wine label presentation. I have included the pictures of the wines and their tasting notes so that the next time you stop into Meza you are more than prepared to have a glass.

(1)  Allamand Malbec


As you can see by the label, this wine specifies that it is a Malbec, which falls under category one.

What makes this wine so amazing are the notes of plum and blackberry and hints of smoke. This wine has little to no tannins but has an intriguing finish that will make you wishing you had more.  

(2)  Roux Pere & Fils (Chardonnay)


This wine label falls under category two, meaning that the wine label specifies what region it originated. Macon-Villages is an appellation from southern Burgundy (France).

Currently, this wine is one of my favorite whites that we have at the shop. Although you would not know this from looking at the label, the grape is Chardonnay. This Chardonnay has notes of lemon zest with a smooth, fuller finish. Since this Chardonnay is from France, the wine is not oaky but has a slight buttery finish.

(3)  Baci Dolci


Baci Dolci, which means Sweet Kiss, is the name of the wine (category three).

If you like sweet, refreshing red wines, this will be the perfect wine for you. This wine has a bit of effervescence, which makes it light and enjoyable. The wine has hints of raspberry and lighter red fruits, with a nose of rose pedals. If you are looking for something different and on the lighter side, I would definitely suggest trying this sweet red.


                        Hannah Clark

Wine Inspired Bridal Showers Make Throwing A Shower Stress Free

Bridal showers can be super intimidating when you are the one in charge of making it a memorable and fun occasion for everyone attending. We happen to be pretty well versed in entertaining groups of soon to be new family members and friends and making the occasion fun and easy. Our motto is that if there is wine involved, its sure to be a good time!

Meza is great as a mingling space, which is exactly what you want guests at a shower to do as they are getting to know each other. We offer private wine tastings as an option for a shower activity, or we can assist you in chosing wines to serve by the bottle to guests. You can leave the wine up to us - we pull together crowd pleasing wine offerings, everything from reds and whites to bubbles and even a mimosa bar!

Decorations may be brought in but we think simple is best- a few simple centerpieces or a pretty banner may do the trick.  The two larger tables may be used for seating but we have also had guests utilize those for gifts or for group crafts (we also host baby showers and onesie decorating is a great way to get people engaged with out having to do a traditional baby shower game).

When it comes to gifts, lots of people feel like gift giving straight from the registry is easy and the way to ensure your bride is getting everything she was hoping for. However some of us like to add a personal touch. For the couple that loves wine, adding bottles to a "wine registry" for guests to chose from is  a great way to get them started with a nice wine collection. Or we can help you chose a special bottle that would be perfect to open on an anniversary. 

With spring on the horizon, there are lots of weddings popping up on the calendar! Make the shower portion of the festivities as low stress as possible and give Meza a call. Leave the planning (and the wine) to us!  When there is good wine and everyone is at ease, your guests are sure to have a good time!


Wine Products Every Wine Lover Should Own

I will admit it, I am a huge wine-o and there are just some wine products that I just could not go without. Once you try these products, you will know why...

Wine stain remover

I cannot express this enough, wine stain remover will save you from being yelled at by your mom because you just spilled red wine on her carpet. I have spilled wine on myself, on the comforter of my bed, on my friends white jeans, and multiple carpets and somehow wine stain remover has gotten out the toughest of stains. I carry a wine stain remover pen wherever I go and I make sure to keep a spray bottle of remover in my house at all times. Most removers are not expensive and come in handy when you least expect a spill. 

Two-staged wine opener

I feel like this goes without saying, but as a general announcement, everyone who drinks wine or has a friend who enjoys the occasional glass should have a two-staged corkscrew somewhere in their household. I say two-staged because it is much easier to open a bottle than with a single stage opener.  Have you ever cracked a cork? Say goodbye to the cracked cork problem and get a two stage opener. These wine openers are also very easy to throw into your purse or back pocket. Now, you will never be caught in the unfortunate situation where you have no way of opening your wine. There is nothing worse than having a bottle of wine and no wine opener (#firstworldproblems).

Please, everyone, get a two-staged wine opener.


Red and white wine glass

As a brief overview, for those who may not know, red wine glasses have a larger bowl than white wine glasses. The larger glass allows for the red wine to properly breathe and create stronger aromas. On the contrary, a white wine does not need to breathe as much and is not as poignant, which is why a smaller, slightly skinnier glass is suitable. Clearly, both of these glasses are a necessity when it comes to the art of wine drinking so be sure to drink up in the proper wine glasses. The experience will be that much better!


- A wine preserver (or as I call them "wine saviors") 

 Before I get into why this is a necessity, there are two main types of wine preservers:

1.       A vacuum pump with a stopper

2.       Argon gas (which is what Meza uses)

I have used both and have found both to be just as effective. 

Now I can typically finish a bottle the night that I open it (you know, with "help"), but on some (rare) occasions I have opened a bottle and do not feel the need for more than one glass. In this situation it really helps to have a wine preserver. The preserver helps keep the wine flavorful for longer so that I do not have to waste any wine (which is highly frowned upon). 

As a general note, red and full-bodied white wine can only stay good for the next 3-5 days while corked. Eventually, these wines will become oxidized and the flavor of the wine will begin to diminish. If you don't want to be sad and left with only oxidized wine I suggest you take my advice, you will not regret it. 

 -A Wine Rack

If you do not have a wine rack, then I am just not quite sure where you are storing your wine. Yes, you could just store your wine on any counter, but if you are anything like me, a counter is fair game for things being knocked over and spilled because you are as clumsy as can be. Storing your wine horizontally also has its benefits for the cork. While storing your wine, it is best to keep the cork a little wet so that drying does not become a problem. A dried cork can pose problems for the taste and longevity of the wine. If you have no idea as where to place your wine rack, I would suggest in a dark cool spot, such as your basement. This ensures that the wine will last longer, because there is no chance of UV or heat damage and your red wines will be at the perfect temperature. Overall, a wine rack ensures that your wine is stored safely and properly, while making it a classy addition to your home.

Wine charms
For all the germaphobes out there, here is your chance to make sure that you never drink out of someone else’s wine glass again! Honestly, I think wine charms are just something fun that can give your wine glass some zest but they do help you keep track of which is glass is your glass. This comes in handy when you do not know which wine glass is yours and your sister, who is battling a cold of some kind but insists she is not contagious (although, she probably is). So cheers to you healthy people! Bottoms up.  



 Hannah Clark

Vanguard Wines Mini Portfolio Show - Wine Club Member Featured Event

We had a great weekend at the shop, largely in part to our wine club special event on Saturday! For those that are regulars, you know we typically do tastings on Friday nights, but we wanted to offer something special with a focus on our wine club members. It was such a fun time and the line up was amazing, so it is absolutely something we will repeat!

As wine professionals we get invited to trade shows put on by our various distributors to taste the wines in their portfolios. This is a big part of how we decide what we sell at the shop!

We wanted to bring a similar experience to our customers by letting you try a bigger selection of wines in various styles and price points, from all over the world, so we brought in Matt Conner from Vanguard Distribution to pour and educate! He featured 15 wines ranging from bubbles to Barbaresco to Brown Zin! We opened this event to the public ($25/person) but were able to offer a special price to our wine club members of $15/person. They got to taste some amazing, small production, truly special wines for $1 per pour. 

It was a great time and we can't wait to host another special Saturday event again in the near future! Follow us on FB and IG to get updates on our upcoming events! Interested in joining us and starting your own wine club adventure? Call us today to sign up and get started!



The Job of a Wine Buyer - Value Showdown

As a small business, one of the perks of my job is that I don't have the big "corporate hand" guiding my decisions, in particular when it comes to what we carry on our shelves. We can do whatever fits our brand and makes the most sense for our shop and our customers. 

We pride ourselves on carrying wine that isn't uber mass marketed ( you can find a lot of the wines we carry at other stores near us but you probably won't see giant displays and iron ponies and other crazy fanfare around them). It's our job to take the wines that don't have a huge marketing budget behind them, taste, find the best wine for the money, and tell their "story" to you. It's our job to be their billboard or fancy display. 

In an effort to shake things up a bit and really take a stand for value, we have decided on a new value challenge! Over the next two weeks I am going to be tasting (i know, i know....its a tough job but someone has to do it), many wines in the $7 - $14 range. We will be stripping our value racks clean and launching a whole new program of value wines that fit the bill. 

Criteria will be wines that deliver flavor, are varietally correct (meaning they taste like what they are suppose to taste like), and hold up after they are opened. Wines that WOW! Because we could all use a few extra dollars in our pockets and we all want to drink wine - am I right?? We will make our selections and our entire staff will taste and become familiarized with these wines to better serve you. You won'f find that to be the case in any big box stores I can assure you. 

We will unveil our new line up of value wines Oct 1! Stay tuned! In the mean time.... I need to get to tasting. 



Those Are Some Good Legs! ( a blog with some thoughts for those who conisder themselves not very knowledgable about wine)

One of the best things about working in a specialty wine shop is helping customers find the perfect wine. One of the benefits of Meza Wine Shop is that we always have at least 20 different wines by the glass and they change every few weeks. Our staff is knowledgeable in each wine and has different tasting notes, aromatic descriptions and preferences for our menu. One of the sayings we hear the most from customers is: “I know nothing about wine!!”

My response is always: FALSE! There is a TON we can learn about wine on first glance, first sniff, and first sip. After all, that’s how we all at Meza have learned: practice, practice, practice! (And by practice I mean drink a lot of wine). We all had to start at the beginning. So, if you find yourself a little lost sitting next to your friends at the bar who use words like “aromatic,” “balanced,” and “malolactic fermentation,” here are some tips to expand the way you experience wine:

1.       Check out how the wine looks. Hold up a piece of white paper behind it to notice if it’s a lemon yellow or a straw yellow, or maybe a deep purple as opposed to a rusty red. Have you ever heard anyone talk about how wine has good legs? It’s a real thing. Legs refer to the trails of wine that trickle down the side of a glass when you swirl it. If it has strong, long legs (which we all love, am I right?) it could signify a better quality wine, or, it could mean that there are some tensions happening between the water and alcohol in the wine. Ethanol is involved and there’s even some fancy science words to go with it, but if you notice legs, mention ‘em. Whatever you see happening in your glass, make note of it.

2.       What does the wine smell like? Most people start to struggle here. I often hear people say, “It smells like grapes.” Or, “I smell wine.” They get discouraged because they think they can’t go any further, when I want to say, “HEY! You can smell that it’s wine! BRAVO!” For real. That’s something. Don’t get down on yourself. Start somewhere! Does the aroma remind you of a color? A season? A place? A food? With each smell, take yourself one step further. If it reminds you of a food, which one? A grape? What kind, green, purple? Push yourself to think just one step further.

3.       What does the wine taste like? Hint: whatever you smell and taste… you’re not wrong. A wine expert at a tasting once said to me, “Canned green peas. That’s all I’m getting from this glass.” I laughed, took a sip and thought, “Huh. You’re right. Canned peas.” Sometimes we hear the weirdest descriptions, but usually, whatever someone smells/tastes is genuinely what they smell and taste. Don’t feel overwhelmed; if you can think of only one palatable description, that’s okay! It’s one more than most wine sippers.

4. Lastly, I’m going to give you a little secret of mine. When I’m tasting wine, I imagine myself walking through the produce section of a grocery store. Do I taste: grape, cherry, strawberry, peach, apricot, green pepper? I picture myself outside. Do I taste: fresh cut grass, barn yard, straw, mineral, rock, salt? I have to envision myself being somewhere where these things are out in the open. As soon as I transport my imagination outside of the bar, I can come up with tastes almost instantly. 

We all have to start at the beginning… and becoming an expert at wine tasting is WAY more fun to practice than practicing for a marathon run or something (no offense, runners). The only way to become an expert is to practice, be open to learning and have fun with it. So crack open a new bottle, start taking some notes and enjoy the experience. Cheers!

Should I Join a Wine Club?

There’s a lot of talk these days about wine clubs.  Wineries have them, wine shops have them and you can even join online wine club services that promise to deliver “amazing wines” to your doorstep for the “low, low price of $XX per month”!  I have some expertise in wine clubs as I have been a member at a dozen or more wineries and now I am a member of the Meza Wine Shop Wine Club!

So how do you decide if joining a wine club is right for you? Ask yourself a few questions, do a little research and even ask the wine club membership manager some questions (that is, if you can get access to him/her).

Start with these questions:

Do I like to try new wines?

Would I like to have an expert wine buyer pick out wines for me?

Do I want wines from just one winery, or do I want to try all sorts of wineries options?

What do I get for my money if I do join a wine club?

Are there extra perks that come with joining the club that I can’t get otherwise?

How do I get my wines and how often do I get them?

Can I get these wines in my state if I don’t join the wine club?

What are the membership terms?  Do I have to join for a whole year and is there a penalty to cancel?


If you like trying new wines and would like to have an expert wine buyer select wines for you, consider joining a wine club at your local wine shop.  Check to see how often you get wines, if you can have them delivered and the length of time you have to commit. Also reach out to the membership manager at the wine shop and ask if there are additional perks you get for being a member.  (Note: Meza Wine Club delivers if you live in the 43081 or 43082 zip codes and has 4, 6 and 12 month membership options. Meza Wine Club also offers special perks to members such as discounts on cheese plates and special members’ only tastings! Just ask our customers!) Also ask if you can customize the club offering to fit your preferences.  In some cases, local shops may be able to accommodate your requests.

If you have a favorite winery and you can’t get their wines in your state, consider joining their wine club. The shipping can be pricey and some wineries can’t ship to all states, but it is a great option if you have a winery you just love and they can ship to you! If it is a local winery and you are thinking of joining their club, ask yourself what you are getting for the membership that makes it worth it if you can just stop by the winery and pick up the same wines you are getting in the club at any time. 

As for the online Wine Club services, you most likely won’t know who is picking out your wines and you probably can’t call up the membership manager and make special requests.   What you will get is inexpensive wines, probably mass produced, delivered to your doorstep. This might be the right fit for you and if so, consider it. But your local wine shop would always be happy to assist you and put a face and personality to the person picking out your wines!



Back to School Seasonal Wine Selections

I just took my daughter to school for her first day. It doesn't feel like summer is over but its certainly heading that way. We do have to get back to some structure and routine, but I am not ready to let go of summer just yet, which means I plan to grill out and enjoy nights around the fire pit and eating dinner on the deck as much as I can.

My wine drinking is as seasonal as my wardrobe. When its warm I crave crisp, bright whites. But after drinking white and rose all summer, I start wanting wines with a bit more weight to them. Bigger, richer whites and soft, easy to drink reds. I know tons of people that drink red wine all year round, and good for them - "you do you"as they say...but the thought of a big heavy glass of Cab in August is just not my jam. Right now I am craving the soft, juicy reds with lighter tannins and soft hints of spice, or creamy Chards and the round fruit of a Viognier. 

So for those that like to drink with the seasons along with me, here are a few of my end of summer, transitional wines that are striking a cord with me. 

H & M Hofer Zweigelt $18

I love this wine! Comes in the same pop top - 1 liter bottle as our favorite Gruner and it is the perfect transition wine for end of summer. Great with grilled foods or bbq sauce - its juicy and plush with some savory notes. 

Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir $13

I am kind of wowed by this great value Pinot from France! It is just the right balance of fruity and earthy and just a killer everyday value!!

Talley Chardonnay $25

Pretty much my favorite Chardonnay in house. I love this balanced style and while it is not big and oaky it has the weight and richness that I love along with good acid.

Batasiolo Gavi $16

Italian white wines are my love language. This Gavi is so pretty - fruit forward with hints of citrus and stone fruit and almond. 

Next time you start getting sad about the ending of another summer season, snag a bottle of one of these delicious wines and fire up the grill for dinner. Kick back and relax - kids are finally back in school!

Cheers! Tatjana

Want more ideas on what to drink? Follow mezawineshop on IG for posts on whats new on the shelves and what our staff is drinking!

So Many Wines.....How Do We Chose?

Customers are always amazed when I tell them that all of the wines on the shelves at Meza are hand-picked by shop owner/wine buyer, Tatjana Brown.  How is she able to do that?? Sounds like a fun but daunting task.  One way she is able to do it is by attending portfolio shows put on by our distributors and that is just what she did today. (Staff members are pretty lucky because we get to go along and taste and learn as well!)

Most of the Meza family attended the Vanguard Wines 2016 Annual Portfolio Tasting where there were 82 tables of wines to taste.  Most tables had a minimum of 2-3 wines and some had as many as 10 wines.  Yep, that is a lot of wine! So how do we choose wines that we want to bring in and share with our customers?

Upon arrival we get a book with all of the wines listed by table.  There is a description of the winery and all of the wines listed including prices.  We typically try to taste new wines, ones that we don’t currently have on the shelf.  If there are employees attending who haven’t tasted a certain wine that we do carry and then Tatjana encourages us to taste those wines so we are better able to describe and recommend them to you!  We all take notes and compare them after the show with the wines that rise to the top making it onto the shelves.  It is a great way to also find special wines for wine club, holiday tastings and other special occasions.

We tasted wines from all over the world including Spain, France, Italy, Argentina, California and Oregon.  Do you want to do your own version of a portfolio tasting?  Join one of Meza's four monthly wine club tiers. 

Cheers! Yvonne



No Small Wine Shop Near By? Making the Most of Shopping for Wine at Big Box Stores

Recently I got back from our family vacation in South Carolina, and the last night we spent at a family members house as a half way resting point. It was a welcome stop to regroup (they had a pool so the kids could burn up some energy swimming), and we could relax, eat, and of course drink some wine! Being that this was the end of our trip we had run out of the wine we had brought with us and our only options in the area were Target or Walmart. To be super honest I haven't bought wine in either of those places simply because we have the shop..... but also because whenever we are out of town we love to frequent other local wine shops to see what they can get in and what they are loving at the moment. But as they say, when in Rome! So off we went to pick up what was seriously some of the best sushi I have ever had, and then to Target to check out their selection!

I will always recommend to anyone I know that they find a locally owned wine shop to buy wine when they can. You will get the most personalized attention and wine expertise there hands down! Or to head to Whole Foods or even Trader Joes for a wider selection. But Target has a LOT of wine so why would I think they have more to chose from in these places? I guess first and foremost its about the wide span of the selection and what all it encompasses. 

Sure there are a ton of  big brand California wines on the shelves almost anywhere. But what I like to look for when I am watching my wallet are wines from areas like Portugal or Spain, where I can get more bang for my buck (meaning more of a serious wine for an equivalent price point or lower). Grocery stores tend to have a few off beat selections when it comes to wine but you wont see those stacked to the high heavens. You may see a whole shelf of California Cab from one particular winery - but only one little bottle placement of a dry French rosé. Those are always the wines that I gravitate towards. There may be less marketing behind the wine but you may find a better wine in flavor. 

Lots of places dont have specialty retail shops or small local wine shops. If I am in Charleston, one of my first stops is always Goat. Sheep. Cow. This small cheese and wine retail shop always has a unique selection and while I tend to chose the wines myself based on what I have not had before, I also love getting the suggestions of their knowledgable staff. 

Don't have a little wine shop near by? I would head to a specialty grocer like Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Whole Foods will typically have someone who is very well versed in wine working in that department that can offer some great assistance. We love Trader Joes but keep in mind there is a whole world of wine in there besides there ever famous Charles Shaw (aka Two Buck Chuck) They tend to have some more unique selections from various countries that give you more value. Look for South American, Portuguese or Italian wines and ask an associate for help. 

No such places around? I had some options at Target....but I veered away from the wines that seemed to take up the most space with their "brand" and went to grab some of the lone soldiers on the shelves. We saw Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc /Viognier - an easy drinking, fruit forward white blend (there was only one slot on the shelves dedicated to this wine) as well as a Rosé from Chapoutier and Alamos Malbec (from Catena winery in Argentina). 

There are options everywhere - we just want to make sure that if you can't find a great shop in your area that will answer your questions and assist you in choosing wines that best fit your palate and your budget that you are able to seek out the best options amongst the crowded shelves. And always when in doubt - check out whats local? Maybe there are some great small breweries near by or maybe the area you are visiting is know for its local cider. Enjoying some of "what they do best" is almost always a great way go. 

Cheers!  Tatjana


We’re (not) screwed

Just the other day I had a customer come up to me and request a bottle of wine that had light tannins and flavors of red fruit. As I gave her my best suggestion, which was a bottle of Lola Pinot Noir, she seemed to be a bit uneasy. She was somewhat taken by surprise at the fact that the bottle I suggested was a screw top, instead of the classic cork. In this day and age where there is so much technology behind the winemaking process, I was shocked that this was still an ongoing debate.

As I proceeded to tell her that a bottle having a screw top or cork does not matter anymore, she shook her head in disbelief and went on to find another bottle with her specifications. Since this incident, I have obligated myself to spread the word about corks versus screw tops … and the fact is, it does not matter!

Now, answer this honestly, how often do you take wine home for long-term aging? Well if you do this at all, I applaud you for your self-restraint, but most of us take the bottle home to drink within the week or so. Because we open the bottle, almost immediately, the concern of screw top versus cork should not be an issue.

You may be asking ‘Hannah, how can you be so certain?’, well other than the fact that my parents and coworkers have taught me a majority of what I know about wine, I have done my research. So lets think about the pros and cons of screw tops and corks …


Screw tops:


            Easier and more affordable to make

            Has a tight seal, which inhibits the ability of oxidation

            Easier to open

No danger of cork taint


            Has not been efficiently tested for long-term aged wines

            Less traditional



            Proven to be better for aged wines

            Allows the wine to breathe because of the small pores

            Widely and historically more popular



            Bad for the environment

Has the chance of forming TCA (trichloroanisole) … the “musty” flavor and smell that taints the bottle

Allows for the wine to breath, which may increase the chance of cork taint


If you find yourself in the position where you are wondering if you should you opt for the cork versus the screw top wine bottle, stop yourself and instead consider flavors, regions, and aromas. To those who still are not sold on screw tops, you are missing out on some fabulous wine!



Don't Judge A Bottle By Its Price

Written by Yvonne Rayburn

I will admit with full transparency that at times, I can be a price snob.  I will often judge a bottle by the price on the label without ever tasting it.  This isn’t something I am proud of and it is certainly not how Tatjana has trained me to be! But, it still happens. Last week I was reminded that this is not the best practice and I could be missing out on some really great wines by not trying some great, lower priced values! (Especially if they have been selected for the shelves at Meza).

So here’s how the story goes…I was sitting at the bar enjoying a glass of Mauritson Cabernet when a couple of friends that I hadn’t seen for a while stopped in.  We started talking about a wonderful wine that we had shared the last time we were all together, the Kobalt. Our conversation continued around wine and travels. Then my friend said, “Hey, I have a great bottle of wine that I would like you to try.  I just ordered a case of it and I would be happy to open a bottle to share”.  He didn’t show me the bottle or offer any price information, he just asked me to try it.

At first sniff, I didn’t care for the nose, but he said it would “blow off” (which I must admit, it did). I sipped the wine and determined that I really liked it and in fact, would consider buying a bottle.  He asked what I would pay for it and I said $40. He smiled and told me in fact, the price was $10!  I was in absolute shock! Should I have been? Not at all. 

That is what Meza is all about actually…unique, affordable wines.  Affordable is different for everyone but I was once again reminded not to judge a wine by the price. Drink what you love and love what you drink, whatever that may be but don’t forget to try new things sometimes.

What was the mystery $10 wine you ask? Veleta Cabernet Roble from Spain.

Meza Gives Back: Pelotonia 2016, Wine + Fundraising

As business owners, a lot of what we do stems from passion.  We are super passionate about wine and retail - but our passion has really come to extend to community and how we can help people by using Meza as a platform. 

In recent years, we have become committed to fight the battle against cancer. We have seen countless  members of our community and our circle of family and friends affected by this horrific disease and we want it to stop! One way that Jason and I work towards this goal is by riding in Pelotonia. This is a seriously awesome, grass roots bike ride that happens in Columbus in August, and all of the money raised from this ride goes directly to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

We are lucky through Jason's employer to have our funds matched and love being part of this experience. Last year was my first year riding and I cannot say enough about how moving and powerful it was to see so many people fighting to reach one goal: END CANCER. The ride boasts over 7,000 riders, not to mention countless people who are there to assist, to provide food and first aid and support. 

There is always more we can do. Each year we host a fundraiser to support our friends the Rizek family to raise money for Pelotonia - and 100% of the proceeds from this tasting event goes directly to the cause! Its always been a great success and the support goes beyond the tasting - many of you have donated amazing prizes such as gift cards, massages, yoga classes, gift baskets and more for additional fundraising through raffle and silent auction. The donation may seem small, but the impact is big. Our event this year is on July 9th at 4pm and is open to the public! $25 dollars gets you a tasting of 5 wines or 2 full glasses of wine.

In 2015, Meza was able to donate $6,000 to cancer research. This is where our passion lies. 

What cause are you passionate about? We offer the opportunity for any organization to host a fundraiser wine tasting at the shop. If you have interest about learning more on how you can help your favorite organization and raise money in a fun and easy way, give us a call or e mail us at Interested in learning more about Pelotonia and how you can become involved? Check out the link below.

We hope to see you at the shop July 9 or at the finish line in August! Cheers! - Tatjana



Our Favorite Glass Pour Selections for the Month

Hey Meza Friends! We’ve got some really exciting new wines coming up on our glass pour list. Any time we are open, you can come on in and enjoy some delicious red, white, rosé or bubbles by the glass!

Here are a few we’re offering on our new list.

1. Poseidon Chardonnay
        This chardonnay is my staff pick from every bottle we have in the shop! It is one of the richest, boldest, creamiest chardonnay’s I’ve ever tasted. A little honeysuckle and citrus up front, with caramel, toast, buttered popcorn and oak that overtake your pallet. Incredibly delicious!

2. Mongris Pinot Grigio
        This pinot grigio is a summer must have for these crazy hot midwestern days. It’s tart with beautiful acidity and the nearby Alps in Collio DOC make this wine full of peach, lemon and cream on the pallet. We know people will be sweeping this wine up!

3. Mauritson Cabernet Sauvignon
        When you’re in the mood for a big, bold red, this wine is for you. It’s full bodied and even a little spicy. It offers bing cherry and dark berry fruit which are complemented by cedar, cigar box, cocoa powder and baking spices.

We offer about 20 different wines by the glass all the time, so we hope to see you in soon to try some of these listed above, plus some of our other new finds that are too great to spoil. Every Monday we offer $2 off each glass pour and be sure to stop in during our happy hour from 4-6pm every week day for yummy specials.

Until next time,
Enjoy the sunshine and wine!

The Last Thing You Should be Stressing Over is What Wine to Drink. Let Meza Help You Keep it Simple...

Thank goodness for Meza Wine Club, especially after packing for vacation! I just had to make decision after decision. What clothes do I pack? How many pairs of sandals? Healthy snacks or junk food? Do I really need 2 phone chargers???  I am on decision OVERLOAD.

Luckily I am part of the Discovery Club at Meza wine shop, so one decision is made for me today. As a wine lover I enjoy trying new wines but can get very intimated or overwhelmed by all the different wines staring back at me. Every month Meza Wine Shop picks 2 great bottles for me at a reasonable price. Decision made.

Now that I am all packed and the sun is shining, it is time to get into this month’s Discovery wine, Spotlight on Scarpetta Wines.


Scarpetta Pinot Grigio is crisp and dry. There are notes of lavender, honey, pear, flowers and minerals. I am so excited to drink this on the patio and enjoy the afternoon.

Scarpetta Barbera has hints of berries and plums. It is a medium bodied red with low tannins and bright acidity. This sounds like I will be enjoying this bottle on vacation while pairing it with pizza or pasta.


It’s time to head to the patio with my Scarpetta Pinot Grigio. The perfect ending to a decision filled day.  Thankyou Meza Wine Shop!!!!