Shark Week Shenanigans
July of each year means…. Shark Week! You’ve had enough time to recover from the 4th of July and school will be back in session soon. We know you’re looking for the perfect excuse to host a party in that summer stretch between 4th of July and Labor Day.
So, why not host a Shark Week party and combine your love of wine and all things sharks? The wines covered in this shark party blog have Maritime or Mediterranean influences, with wine styles ranging from fine sparkling to refreshing whites to intense reds. We’ve also thrown in a few fun discoveries like Tasmanian sparkling wines and popular favorites like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.
Last, we’ll cover wine accessories - from shark wine glasses to shark cheese platters to nautical - to make your Shark Week celebration fun and with a hint of beachy elegance, perfect for summer parties!
When is Shark Week 2019?
Shark Week 2019 runs from July 28 to August 4 on the Discovery Channel. Now in its 31st year, the Discovery Channel annual tradition of week-long programming featuring at least 20 hours of new shark-themed programming each year.
Coastal Wines Perfect for Sharky Celebrations
Wines in coastal regions typically have Maritime or Mediterranean climates.
Maritime climates don’t experience a lot of change in temperatures. They also don’t have rainfall in just one season - the rainfall is spread throughout the growing season. As a result, the growing season can go for quite some time into the autumn, with grape harvests well into October for Northern Hemisphere grapes. Cooler temps often mean that wines from these regions are lower in alcohol, higher in acidity, and more restrained in fruit aromas and tastes, as these grapes often struggle to reach physiological maturity before harvest.
Mediterranean climates also don’t have a lot of temperature fluctuations, except in summer months. These months can be warm and dry - quite often hot. With long, hot growing seasons, wines from these regions can be higher in alcohol and lower in acidity with fruit forward aromas and tastes as the grapes have an increased likelihood of reaching physiological maturity before harvest.
Why not celebrate Shark Week by selecting party wines from lands close to famous shark-infested waters? Read on for our favorite selections.
Shark Week Wines
Sonoma Coast AVA
This American Viticulture Area is home to some of California’s best cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. One will also find some Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. With around 2000 acres of vineyards, there are actually few wineries in the Sonoma Coast AVA. The fruit is typically purchased and then conveyed to wineries in Sonoma Valley or elsewhere for vinification and bottling.
Sonoma Coast has a Mediterranean climate with Maritime influences. Also, there’s quite a lot of diversity in soil types and the topography of the region lends itself to many microclimates. As a result, there’s not a “typical” Sonoma Coast style. When exploring the Sonoma Coast wines, we rely on up-to-date information from local wine bottle shop owners in selecting these cool climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
In addition to vineyards, Sonoma Coast is also home to dairy herds and over 30 artisan cheese producers. Check out this guide for selecting some Sonoma cheeses for your Shark Week cheese plate!
Just off the Sonoma Coast, in the cool salty waters, find the Red Triangle. This region is where about 40% of great white shark attacks occur in the United States (yikes!). One could imagine that these sharks are on the prowl for a crisp Chardonnay to pair with some Bodega Bay oysters, however these magnificent creatures are more likely the search for tasty marine animals that frequent the area (as well as the occasional unaware San Francisco day-tripping surfer).
Tasmania, with its Maritime climate, is a recognized producer of sparkling wines as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tasmania is home to over 200 wineries, many of them small and independently owned. Tasmania produces less than 1% of wines coming from Australia, however it has a very good reputation as a producer of fine sparkling wines. These sparkling wines are exported in small quantities and are available at various on-line wine retailers and by special order at many independent wine bottle shops.
While there are over 140 shark species in Australia waters, most don’t pose a danger to swimmers with the exception of great whites, bronze whalers, and the rare tiger and bull shark. For those wanting to learn more about the history of sharks in Tasmania, the book White Pointer South is regarded as one of the best illustrated books on sharks. It has detailed information about sharks and a history of shark and man together in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sauvignon Blanc is quite popular these days. In fact, its popularity has led to the doubling of vineyard production between 2003 and 2010, with Sauvignon Blanc making up more than 50% of new plantings.
The Marlborough region of New Zealand is home base to the style of Sauvignon Blanc that put New Zealand on the map. This style of Sauvingnon Blanc is known for its strong grassy, herbal aromas, as well as those of gooseberry and lemongrass.
Since winemaking is fairly new in New Zealand, this region was able to implement many of the most modern viticulture and winemaking techniques. One of these innovations is the use of screwcaps. The use of screwcaps for these wines enables the pure flavors and aromas of these wines to be transported thousands of miles to their raving fans (plus, they’re convenient for wine consumers!).
Most of New Zealand’s wine regions are within 80 miles of the ocean and the climate is Maritime. These oceans are home to over 70 shark species including Shark Week favorite, the Mako Shark.
Wine has been produced in Spain since at least Roman times. Spanish wines are increasing in popularity here in the United States due to their lower price point (value) and a growing interest in younger generations of Americans wanting to try grape varieties indigenous to Spain. Since the mid-1980s, a lot of money has been invested in Spain to bring modern viticulture and winemaking practices to the region.
Two regions of Spain for American wine lovers to explore are the Rias Baixas in Northwest Spain and the Priorato in Northeast Spain. These regions have Maritime and Mediterranean climates, respectively.
“Green” Rias Baixas is home to Albarino, which is growing in popularity in the USA as a wine to drink with mild fish and shellfish.
At the other end of the spectrum are the wines from Priorat. The Priorat is a rugged hilly region of Northeast Spain where significant investment has been made in the past 30 years. These dark colored wines, made typically from Grenache, Carinena, and Cabernet Sauvignon possess high levels of alcohol and tanin and have raisin-like aromas and flavors.
In the Mediterranean, there are almost 50 species of sharks. The species dangerous to humans inlcude the tiger shark, the bull shark, and the great white shark. While there are a large number of species, the shark population in the Mediterranean Sea around Spain is quite small due to over-fishing.
Shark Week Party Accessories
If you’re going to have a Shark Week party, you may as well go all out! Check out these shark themed entertaining accessories.
Shark Wine Glasses
At KnowWines, we prefer a thin-rimmed crystal universal wineglass. However, we’re not above tasteful nautical decor for Shark Week! Note that you may want to avoid stemless glasses, as Shark Week is in the hottest part of summer - stemless wine glasses held in the hand typically raise the temperature of a wine quickly, which can make many wines taste flabby.
We like these Made in USA shark bait wine glasses as they have discreet etching and the bowl is a nice shape. Alternatively, one could use these glasses for serving sangrias or water.
Shark Wine Glass Markers
Already have glassware and looking for just a little something for your shark-themed event? Consider these Shark Wine Glass Markers so that guests can tell their wine glasses apart as the afternoon or evening progresses.
Shark Attack Snack Bowl
This fun and festive snack bowl holds 20 ounces of your favorite shark week snacks.
Shark Glass Bottle Stopper
This handmade glass shark bottle stopper makes a nice hostess gift for Shark Week parties.
Shark Wine Bottle Holder
The perfect hostess gift for Shark Week Fin-atics and fun for displaying at your own party, too!
Shark Salt and Pepper Shakers
Looking to add a little bite to a shark-themed party? Here you go:
Shark Week Cheese and Fruit Platter
This beachy-elegant cheese platter can be used time and again.
Have a Jaw-some Shark Party
We love the idea of a Shark Week-Themed wine party. After all, why not learn more about wines from coastal regions while also learning about sharks?
So, if you are looking for a mid-summer excuse to throw a shark themed party, we hope you enjoyed our shark-themed accessory recommendations.
And just so you’re extra prepared, here’s more from KnowWines on how to throw an amazing wine party.
We hope you have a great Shark Week!