Ready to wine down and chill? Return here each Friday to find food, movie, wine and music recommendations that are paired in a theme. Read on for an easy, no-recipe-required fabulous dinner paired with an affordable wine, some music, and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.

The dog days of summer

Remember those? They’re gone! Yes, up here in the northeast, we did have a couple of days of 90°F sunshine earlier this week but the dog days of summer are officially over. That said, I am an autumn, pumpkin spice, knee-high boots, and funky scarves kinda gal so this is my season. May it never end …

Chilling couch-side

We’re no longer sipping straight from the box, poolside, but we can certainly enjoy some wine down and chill time from our sofas. Do you say sofa, couch or chesterfield? Which word you use gives away where you were raised. Look it up!

Today’s suggestion is a Traminette by Working Dog Winery. They have lovely grounds, encourage you to bring your well-behaved furbabies and feature live music every Saturday all year round. This is the time of year to go! Pack a picnic, pick up a bottle in their tasting room and head into the vineyard. Divine!

Traminette is a cousin of the noble grape, the German Gewurztraminer so it has a slight whiff of spice but the apricots will be the first thing that you smell and taste. This varietal resulted from a hybrid cross conducted by some researchers at Cornell University in the 1960s to make the grape more weather tolerant and to better resist fungus. Who knows what else those researchers were experimenting with back in the ‘60s but the resulting hearty white grape is picked late in the mid-season to amplify its sweetness!

I heart science

In my line of work, I meet interesting and innovative people all the time. You wouldn’t think straddling science and wine would lead you to cool peeps, but, au contraire! Indeed, there are many. One such person is Ãlvaro Diez, a Spanish physicist who is currently doing his Masters in Physics simulations in Warsaw — mathematical and computational modeling of physical phenomena to be exact. A former intern at CERN, the European center for nuclear research, he’s now part of The Omni Calculator Project. To say that Diez is “smart” is an understatement.

What makes him interesting is that he teamed up with Tibor Pal, Dominick, and a few other physicists earlier this summer to solve a problem that we all have. The team put math and science to good use and had some fun along the way. These scientists are my kinda nerds!

A wine down and chill calculator

They took some Hungarian white wines up into the mountains of Poland (because, of course, wine helps physics make sense – wink!) to noodle on an interesting wine down and chill problem. Literally. These brainiacs built a calculator that is designed to tell you how long you should chill your beverage. They’ve buried the “scary math bits” with a behind-the-scenes analysis that is based on weather conditions, seasonal effects, the size, and type of beverage you’re consuming plus a whole bunch of other parameters. Then, they put a simple front end on the calculator to make it easy for the rest of us to wine down and chill. Find it here.

Although they’ve cleverly masked the equations to make the math seem less daunting, Diez wanted to communicate a message that I wholeheartedly agree with. “Dip into science, it’s not all scary or hard. Use science to help you make smarter decisions and don’t be afraid to apply math in unexpected ways.” What’s even more exciting is that they’re working on a hot beverage calculator – just in time for the winter.

 Maikai ham in just 3 steps

Today’s dish is easy to prepare and a sweet pairing for our wine down and chill bottle selection. My mom made this frequently while we were growing up and we all loved it. I’m sure that you will, too!

ONE – pick your protein. A ham steak is ideal but an extra-firm tofu “steak” slice also works. Grill it up! While you’re at it, grill up some slices of fresh pineapple.

TWO – steam some basmati rice.

THREE – combine rice, ham, and pineapple with a liberal pouring of Lawry’s Hawaiian Marinade so that the dish is flavored, but not soupy.

The Secret Life of Pets

I was going to suggest watching A Dog’s Purpose but I barely made it through the movie. Yes, the dog dies. But not just once. Oh no, the people behind this movie want you to watch a dog die five times. Yes, the dog is reincarnated each time but how much dog death can a person handle in one movie?!

Instead, I’m suggesting The Secret Life of Pets: the original, not the sequel. It’s perfect for a wine down and chill session on your couch. It’s funny. And silly. Plus it sparks the connection that you never really know what’s going on in someone’s life. This is the PSA to suggest that you always be kind and be the first to smile at someone. What it also makes me think about is how scientists, like Diez, can seem outwardly nerdy and inaccessible to the rest of us with their studies of nuclear physics. Yet, they do have secret lives and do fun stuff like hiking mountains, drinking wine – and using math to solve everyday problems. Now that’s thinking!

Finally. It’s time. Let’s wine down and chill.

Cheers!