How to Elevate Your Wine Experience with PLUM
Well, now that the BIG TEXAS FREEZE of 2021 is over, and I’ve survived to tell the tale to my grandchildren someday, I can get back to what I love – great design. I’m super excited to share with you today how to elevate your wine experience with PLUM wine. Not simply elevate it, but skyrocket it to where you won’t remember life without PLUM. Learn all about the sexy, award-winning PLUM wine dispenser and how the Official Launch of their new Heroes Design Council – and a bottle of top-notch vino – got me through Austin’s record-shattering BIG FREEZE.
Disclaimer – This post is a paid sponsorship by PLUM wine. As one of ten Modenus’ DesignHounds covering PLUM at the Virtual Kitchen and Bath Show, I also received a hand-blown Zalto wine glass and a bottle of Alessio 2016 red wine from PerUs.
IN VINO VERITAS
The simple truth, is that PLUM is the most amazing, sleek automatic wine preservation and dispensing appliance on the market. In fact, PLUM is the “first-ever appliance to automatically preserve, chill, and serve any bottle, by the glass.” Check out their rave reviews HERE.
MOVE OVER ESPRESSO MACHINE, THERE’S A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Measuring only 21″ wide and 24″ deep, this innovative and sophisticated appliance holds two bottles of wine and preserves them at the optimal temperature for 90 days. PLUM is like your own personal Sommelier, serving up the perfect glass of wine – red, white, or both – any time, any day.
But what’s cool about drinking a glass of wine with PLUM, is you can elevate your wine experience by enjoying it with friends and family, or by yourself, in the comforts of your own home. You don’t have to go very far for a glass of your favorite wine. It’s just a button away. Okay, you might have to get up off the sofa and go push the button. Just depends on whether you put it on your kitchen counter or right next to your bedside. (Ha! Trust me, there’s a Design Hound planning to do this. Can you guess who?)
MEET THE DESIGNHOUNDS
DesignHounds, a Modenus platform, is a network of influential interior, kitchen and bath designers, architects, and remodelers who create original content to reach and impact their clients, peers, and design-savvy online audiences. I am one of hundreds, so it has been a real honor being selected as a DesignHound to cover PLUM during the national Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). While, we weren’t able to see PLUM’S booth (or any brand’s booths) due to conference tech glitches, we were able to listen to many different panel discussions through the NKBA conference site and came away from the tradeshow truly inspired.
Please follow this fantastic group’s Instagram accounts to learn each DesignHound’s perspective on PLUM –
SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT.
Some parts of our job as DesignHounds are really tough. Like having to wait almost an entire week to uncork and drink one of the most amazing red wines I’ve ever tasted in my life!! Below are the delicate hand-blown Zalto wine glass and a bottle of vintage Alessio 2016 red wine (not available to the public) courtesy of PERUS on our portable bar cart in our newly remodeled kitchen. Looks like the perfect corner for a future PLUM, don’t you think?
HOW THE PLUM LAUNCH AND THE BIG TEXAS FREEZE MET
After KBIS, we were invited to celebrate, via Zoom, the launch of the exclusive PLUM Wine Heroes Design Council last Wednesday, the 17th. I was so looking forward to attending this event, learning all about the wine, seeing my fellow DesignHounds, and meeting those selected for the PLUM’s inaugural Heroes Design Council.
I almost didn’t make it.
THE BIG FREEZE OF ’21
The arctic snowstorm hit Austin on Valentine’s Day. Then an ice storm on top of that was expected on Wed, the 17th, the launch event day. It was clear by 2 a.m. Monday morning, when the power went off and did not come back on in 40 minutes (like they said, rolling blackouts), we needed to hunker down for the long hall.
I not only feared that I, my husband David, and our Airbnb guest could freeze to death (depending on how long this lasted) but that our pipes might burst. Boy, would that be a mess, and sadly, many Texans are dealing with that aftermath right now. And yes, we had an Airbnb guest arrive for a month to his dream city, only to say while shivering “Austin is like living in the Dark Ages.” Not the best introduction to Austin, but I have to say he was a real trooper.
However, soon, I also realized with no power, no computer, I would have to miss the PLUM Launch Party. I was so disappointed.
Oh, and did I mention my phone died and I had to get a new one all set up Saturday because the storm was coming Sunday? Transferring 13,000 images and 600 videos (please don’t ask how I had THAT much data on my old Note 5?!?) is not for the faint of heart. It took all day!
Below is our street looking out from our front porch. You can no longer see the sidewalk or street for that matter. Yes, to northerners, it looks like “What’s the big deal? You got 6 inches of snow!” But what you don’t see, is it’s about to get a layer of ice on top of that, and Texas is not equipped for this kind of extreme weather PLUS lose power for days AND have the temperature drop to 11 degrees.
By Tuesday, I realized, if I set up my email on my new phone and download the Zoom App, maybe, just maybe, I could keep my battery charged long enough to hop on the call on my phone in our car. Fingers crossed. That is frozen fingers.
But then, because we and our guest were running the car all day to charge our phones and stay warm (thank you Subaru for bun warmers) we were almost out of gas. And, it was not yet safe to drive on the ice-crusted streets.
Oh my, what is a designer to do?? We solve problems and that’s what I put my mind to figuring out how I was going to elevate my wine experience by getting on this important Zoom call.
NOTE: This is all playing out in the back of my mind, while I’m trying to stay warm in a home with no power in the middle of an arctic freeze, plus be sure our guest is fed and kept warm too.
FACT: Did you know that when you’re cold, really cold, your brain slows down and you can become very confused? No wonder I couldn’t think clearly.
Thankfully on Wednesday, our Airbnb guest ventured out with me to search for a gas station with gas. I then quickly set up my email and Zoom on my phone, grabbed the bottle of wine and fragile glass and traipsed my way through the snow to the heated car (above) to see if I had enough battery to hop on the Zoom call.
Phew!! I made it just in time! That was C-R-A-Z-Y!! But I was on my way to elevating my wine experience with friends and great wine.
I was THRILLED to be able to join the Official PLUM Launch event! Especially since we were going to drink this very special wine and discuss how PLUM totally elevates your wine experience. It soon became the highlight of my entire four days with no heat.
THE ZOOM CALL YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Below was the entire group on the call. Sadly, one member, Veronica Solomon and Special Guest, Ronda Carman, couldn’t make it because they too were dealing with the BIG TEXAS FREEZE and their cars were frozen shut.
Do you see me (bottom right) all bundled up with my face barely peaking out of my sweater and hat?
It was such a memorable evening! I was all by myself in the car with 20 other fellow DesignHounds, PLUM’s President Andreas Hansen, Veronika Miller, the Mama Bear of the DesignHounds, and PerUs wine executives, while trying to juggle a fragile wine glass and a heavy bottle of vino between my legs. Not an easy task. As I mentioned, it’s a tough job. I had to drink wine, refill my glass, hold my phone while it’s charging, and listen to the sommelier explain all the nuances of the wine.
But, as you can see, I managed. And since I was alone in the car and the wine was making me feel super warm, I thought ‘What the heck! I deserve to enjoy several glasses of wine in this arctic freeze.’
I confess, I indulged half the bottle all by myself and it was sooooo good. Truly a fantastic and memorable wine!
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LET THE SNOW…I MEAN SHOW BEGIN
The invitation-only PLUM wine launch event was divided into 3 segments –
- PLUM Automatic Wine Dispenser and preservation education
- History of PerUs wine and wine tasting with a sommelier
- Meet and toast to the inaugural PLUM WINE Heroes Design Council and discuss how ways we can celebrate every day with wine
PART I – PLUM WINE EDUCATION –
with President Andreas Hansen. (I took a bunch of screenshots during the event, so that’s why these images are blurry.)
PLUM IS THE BIGGEST INNOVATION SINCE THE MICROWAVE –
says Andreas Hansen (above).
It was love at first sight for Andreas, and he quickly left a company to become the President of PLUM. He is a fantastic, super friendly, engaging young man. He shared his personal story about how he and his fiance, one preferring red, the other white, “could never agree on what to open. So we end up not opening anything, everyone’s unhappy and the situation is awkward.”
PLUM solved this soon-to-be marital dilemma.
With the sleek, stainless steel, Automatic PLUM Wine Dispenser holding and preserving two bottles of wine, they each could have the wine they enjoy the most and savor the moment any time they wanted. That’s what’s so unique about the brand and how PLUM elevates your wine experience to the fullest. If you have some favorite bottles of wine you know you are not going to drink in one sitting, it preserves the wine perfectly for up to three months.
In 2020, at the largest tradeshow, the Kitchen and Bath (KBIS), PLUM won the prestigious Best of KBIS Award and the Design Bites Award, which is a coveted award, kind of like Best in Show.
Andreas’ enthusiasm for PLUM is absolutely contagious! He said, “Open the PLUM, drop in the wine, and the magic happens.” And it appears to be as simple as that!
HOW TO USE THE PLUM
- Select wine – choose two bottles of white to place into the PLUM (can be red and white, or two of the same)
- Close the door – PLUM takes a picture of the label of the wine and instantly identifies all the correct data – name, region, grape, description, correct temp to store it, and more
- Wine bottles opened – a motorized needle pierces any type of bottle closure
- Wine preservation – argon gas is inserted into the wine bottles to preserve them for 3 months
- Serve the perfect glass of wine – set the pour to either 2 or 5 ounces and push the button to fill your glass (or as Veronika said, you can always push the 5 oz twice, then you get 10 ounces!)
Below is a handy fact sheet that gives you all the specific technological features that help PLUM do its magic.
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PLUM’S NEW INTEGRATION KIT
In 2021, PLUM launched the new Integration Kit. This means you as consumers, designers, and wine enthusiasts have choices.
YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES FOR INSTALLATION –
- PLUM Countertop
- PLUM Integrated
Should you opt for a PLUM Integrated, your interior designer can help you make the decision to install it into existing or new cabinetry and what trim kit to order. Or, as you’ll soon see below, you can take your time and move it from room to room before you commit to a more permanent location.
Pick a spot in the kitchen or your living room and try it out. It’s super user-friendly.
Don’t want PLUM on your countertop? No problem, as you can order a trim kit in two finishes and have it seamlessly installed into existing or new cabinetry, like in these modern kitchens below.
And for the piece de resistance – have your PLUM right in the middle of your wall cabinetry with an oven on the right and your espresso machine on the left. How sweet is this modern take?
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PART II – HISTORY OF PERUS WINE
with PerUs Global Director of Marketing and Sales, Katy Akurtbek, and wine tasting sommelier, Leigh Weissman.
Above is Katy is sharing the history of PerUs wine company and the story behind the label. The company was started by two friends and their love of wine and they created an App that uses a key to access one’s membership. Thus the unique design of the key label.
PerUs wine is produced from two very small lots at the Tench Vinyard in Napa Valley and specializes in Bordeaux varietals, as they speak to the heart of the brand. Its name means “For Us” and wine is only available through a membership system and wines are allocated as they are produced.
NOTE: There’s a waitlist, so if you want to try the Alessio wine (which I highly recommend) you’d better get on the list quickly. Register for the waitlist HERE.
The Alessio 2016 wine, shipped ahead of the event to each of us, is a very special, expensive wine, that is not even available to its membership. It is the fourth vintage wine the brand has made. Russell Bevins, from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, is PerUs winemaker. And he is an artist, a master at layering the flavors of different grapes so beautifully to get the perfect wine. And let me tell you, Alessio IS the perfect wine! To be honest, I had never tasted a wine rich with flavor and a perfect blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
I love what Katy says about enhancing the wine experience with PerUs:
To celebrate life with our wine, that’s what’s important. It’s about connection and wine is this amazing common thread. Whether you know somebody or not, if you’re sitting there you’re going to enjoy a glass of wine together. It creates this conversation amongst two strangers and that’s exactly how and why the wine company started. – Katy Akurtbek, PerUs
IT BREATHS, IT POPS, IT BLOOMS –
says PerUs Sommelier Leigh Weissman.
Above is a screenshot of Andreas Hansen, President of PLUM, Modenus’ CEO, Veronika Miller, and Leigh Weissman, the PerUs Sommelier for the Wine Tasting portion of the event. And me. Note my pursed lips are because I just took a heavenly sip of the Alessio wine!
Thank God for Leigh! We were finally able to start drinking the Alessio 2016 wine we’d all been dying to try. The wine tasting was not only delicious but I learned a great deal. Despite the fact that my brother and sister-in-law have a small Texas vineyard, I’m a wine novice. It was all very fascinating to me and has rekindled my love of red wine. The last time I had a good bottle of wine was in 2015 in Italy, but the Alessio……now, that’s in a whole different category of “enhancing the wine experience” altogether! I have never tasted a more perfect wine, and I am not kidding!
Leigh really explained in great detail the complexity of the wine to help illustrate how the aroma and flavors hit you and she then guided us through the wine tasting process.
Leigh divided the wine experience into 3 categories.
- Visual Presence
First, she walked us through how the wine looked. Alessio is 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Savignon, and 25% Cabernet Franc. What that means is that it looked very dense because the Cabernet grapes are thick-skinned and dark purple. As we tilted the glass, a dark ruby color emerged.
Next up, was the aroma. She instructed us to tilt the glass and really get our nose into the glass so we could breathe in the rich aroma
Lastly, was tasting it. She asked us to not “overthink it” but tell us the very first descriptive words that come to mind. Several said “Black Cherry”. Leigh said the Black Cherry is unique to the Allesio 2016 wine and explained how that fruity taste balanced with rich chocolate and even a hint of black pepper.
She also explained that the heat in your chest is the warmth from the Cabernet. Good thing, right? It definitely was warming me up in the car for sure!
Andreas Hansen, President of PLUM chimed in, “I love Deborah sitting in her car at sub-zero temperatures. [Drinking a glass of Alessio] is the best way to warm up!”
You can say that again Andreas!
The last and very intriguing point Leigh made was, “The best thing about our wines, is we love to serve them at a nice cooler temperature.” And PLUM regulates that perfectly to the winemaker’s specifications. I also learned that red wines do NOT need to be served at room temperature, as many people believe.
PART III – WINE HEROES DESIGN COUNCIL AND DISCUSSION
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!
At the conclusion of the event, and the reason for this wonderful Launch event altogether is we met and heard from the members of the inaugural PLUM Wine Heroes Design Council. Each had already received a PLUM appliance and was experiencing it for the first time.
It was great fun to see some designer friends I already knew and particularly to hear their thoughts about their new PLUM. Below I share fun and informative quotes from a few on the council.
As explained in the above graphic, this is a dynamo “dedicated team of experts” that is going to be sharing more information about PLUM as they dive into the experience. I can’t wait to see what insights the Design Council will share in the coming months.
Each Design Council member received a PLUM welcome kit with the appliance, two wine glasses, and a bottle of the same wine we were drinking, the fabulous Alessio 2016.
Plum Wine Heroe Kerrie Kelly (below left) and her husband Vinny Catalano who popped his head in, were very enthusiastic about their new PLUM Wine Dispenser.
The Plum brings another layer to experiencing wine. If you have a more expensive wine you’d like to savor over a longer period of time or just want to enjoy a bottle glass by glass, it provides the ability to do so. No longer does the open bottle need to sit on the kitchen countertop saying “drink me, drink me”. – Kerrie Kelly
Plum Wine Heroe Sheri Bruneau (above) was equally enthusiastic with her own fun story of how she and her husband moved their PLUM from the basement to the kitchen.
As the only Canadian in the group, this is a huge honour and I am truly humbled to be part of such an amazing group. When we first received our Plum, we placed it in our basement bar area. We thought we’d get some exercise while grabbing a glass of one. But after a day or two, we knew the basement bar was not going to be the perfect spot for this unit.
Since PLUM can fit into a 24″ wide cabinet, I decided to reconfigure our cleaning cabinet to make room for Sammy (yes – that is what I have called my Plum. Sammy, the Sommelier). And yes, I opted for the Plum over my brooms. Wise choice wouldn’t you say? (Read Sheri’s Plum blog post Here.)
We have really enjoyed the Plum experience of drinking wine (without worrying about opening up an expensive bottle to feel like we have to drink it all in one sitting). By placing it in our kitchen, we now have the personal experience of using Plum in our daily living. When it comes to educating my clients about Plum, I will certainly be using our experience of having it in two different areas in our home. – Sheri Bruneau
WHAT MORE PLUM HEROES HAD TO SAY ABOUT THEIR NEW APPLIANCE AND WINE
Voila! I have PLUM in my office – Sarah Durnez
There are only 4 rooms in our home and 3 closets, so I made this one (behind me) into our china and wine cabinet, a “winenet” – Shannon Ggem.
This is the most expensive wine I’ve ever had in my life and it is FANTASTIC! – Michael Kaestner
Michael has his PLUM right on top of his wine refrigerator. PLUM is the new toy in our home – Michael Kaestner
I’m not a huge wine drinker but this thing (PLUM) has changed my life – I feel grown! – Arianne Bellizaire
Ode to Plum, a poem written for Valentine’s Day by Kimberly Kerl’s husband; catch it on her Instagram.
I‘m a proud owner of PLUM, not quite a year now. PLUM has taught me a lot about enjoyment…about savoring life through wine, food, beauty and design. – Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus and DesignHounds.
HOW TO CELEBRATE LIFE EVERY DAY WITH PLUM
In the times we’re living in right now, we all are spending our workdays, family days, and even our gym workouts and cocktail hours at home. So why not elevate your wine experience, and life, every day, with PLUM. You have several choices of rooms to install your PLUM –
- Living room
- Dining room
- Outdoor patio
But that’s just the home. In addition, PLUM is fantastic for design showrooms, event centers, and hotels.
Veronika Miller lead the final portion of the PLUM Heroes Design Council Launch by sharing some of the thoughts of our very special guest, Ronda Carman, the acclaimed fabric designer and author of Entertaining at Home (since she was detained by the Texas Freeze and couldn’t join the call) on how to celebrate life every day with very simple messages –
- If you’re having 3 meals a day at home, why not make them all memorable?
- Take out the good china and light the candles, don’t wait for a special occasion.
- Enjoy every last square foot of your home, don’t save a room like a guest room or formal dining room for a special occasion.
- Now’s the time to turn these rooms into spaces you actually live in.
Veronika also shared some of the questions Guest Ronda Carman was going to ask the group for discussion.
- How has your approach to design changed in the past year?
- How have your designs evolved?
- What are you seeing your clients asking more for?
Here’s the gorgeous cover of Ronda’s popular Entertaining at Homebook. I’m looking forward to ordering a copy for the spring.
Since this is already a long post, I’m going to try to summarize some of the key points the members of the PLUM Heroes Design Council and the Design Hounds made during the discussion.
With all of us at home for almost a year now, what Ronda says above, and these comments below, are some really important things about everyday life we all should think about and take action on. And they highlight the changes our country is going through, how life and our homes may look very different, and serve us differently, in the future.
20 DESIGN TRENDS FOR 2021
Designers agreed on a lot of points influenced by the Pandemic and how our lives and homes have changed as a result. (I’m paraphrasing here) –
- Our approaches to design are generally the same, listening to our clients and understanding their “why”, trying to help them prepare their homes for future “gatherings”.
- We’re seeing a “deeper appreciation for design” and a “blurring of the lines between indoor and outdoor.” Now it’s changed to where we want to bring the indoors out.
- We’re getting callbacks from previous clients to design a home gym and bar, things they never thought they needed.
- “The Pandemic has fundamentally changed our behavior.” We as designers and our clients are enjoying the experience of being home and want to make that an amazing experience.
- Clients are “inching their way into new spaces”. It’s a shift from the Pandemic that has opened up a “powerful remodeling market” in design.
- Installing a PLUM really helps our clients slow down and enjoy the everyday moments of life, relaxing by themselves, or with family and friends, over a glass of wine.
- “We’ve gotten better at being home”, some say. “We used to run away from home to some extent. Now we’re learning to love and live with what we have.”
- Designers and their clients are really enjoying being in their kitchens and learning new recipes.
- We’re seeing a big demand for kitchen remodeling from our clients. Some are even “installing pizza ovens.”
- Interior Designer Jana Donohoe completely redesigned her basement into a gym with a Peloton and then also remodeled her outdoor living space. Designers are seeing more clients request similar spaces.
- The Pandemic has definitely changed the way we think about our spaces and we’re seeing our design businesses evolve into adding more essential spaces like in-home entertainment rooms, home offices, gyms, and bars.
- PLUM is perfect for these areas, as it’s so easy to incorporate PLUM into custom cabinetry, or simply place it on the counter or tabletop.
- Designers also really appreciate the advanced technology with PLUM. How it’s hidden in plain sight in the mini bar, aligning with the design concept of “designing to disappear”.
- With PLUM being so modern and sleek, it can quickly change a sitting space into an entertaining space. Designers are able to easily help their clients redirect their lifestyles. It’s becoming “critical to people’s mental wellness.”
- We’ve seen our clients experience a “deeply engrained lifestyle change” and this translates into how they live in their homes.
- The open concept isn’t necessarily going away, but clients are “demarcating their spaces”. More walls are going back up, as we’re seeing a demand for more flexibility where spaces can serve more than one purpose. Almost a “separate togetherness”.
- There’s a trend toward a “revival of the home” with enhanced sound systems.
- Definitely seeing the trend to add more touches of luxury to the home, “the kind of luxuries we used to go to other places for”, but now we’re “designing home spaces to be that for our clients.”
- Since PLUM is small and compact, it’s an “everyday luxury without commitment” and it doesn’t take over an entire area. PLUM allows our clients to try it in different locations to find the “perfect spot before you build it in.”
- We’re definitely seeing the trend where “homes are becoming very central to a healthy living experience for people” and their families.
HOW YOU CAN GET IN ON THE ACTION
PLUM has also launched a brand new “Full-bodied Program for the Design Trade.” If you are an interior designer, remodeler, builder or architect you can apply for the program HERE to learn more.
If you’re a homeowner, reach out to me or your interior designer, and we can help you purchase, and install, a PLUM for your home or office.
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To conclude this epic-long post (since when have you known me to write a brief post?), my husband David and I finished off the Alessio 2016 bottle with one of his delicious Italian meals. You can see how the label is splashed with wine as I tried to pour it in the wine glass in the car while holding my phone.
Now, have you decided where you’re going to install your new PLUM dispenser? Let me know if you need one and I’ll be happy to help. There is such a high demand for PLUM that they are currently out of stock, but will be shipping again in March. See details HERE.
It’s been so much fun sharing this cutting-edge appliance with you. I am super excited about it and can’t wait to see one in everyone’s home. PLUM Automatic Wine Dispenser and Preservation appliance is the best thing since sliced bread. (Is that still an expression, or am I dating myself?)
Either way, I know you too will soon fall in love with PLUM and I am confident it will seriously enhance your wine experience. It is a technological feat and the perfect luxury for the wine lovers in your home, especially when we’re all stuck at home right now. So, start your holiday shopping list early!
Till next time, when it’s all about the 13th Annual Austin Modern Home Tour coming up Saturday, March 6th, please stay safe and warm. XO PG
P.S. Here’s a link of organizations to help out Texans recovering from the TEXAS FREEZE, as many are still suffering and it will take a long time for busted pipes in homes and schools to be fixed. Thank you for all you can do!
NOTE: This blog post is sponsored by PLUM. All professional product images and facts are courtesy of PLUM. The screenshots, snow, and food photos are by me; opinions are my own,