She was referring to those handheld devices and the grubby styluses we are handed to sign for our packages on those scratched-up little screens that don’t really register our signatures — after how many people have clutched them with their potentially germ-infested hands during deliveries through the day?
Carriers such as UPS and FedEx have amended their signature requirements for certain deliveries, including alcoholic beverages. They want to protect their delivery drivers, after all. If a signature is required, the delivery person is supposed to ring or knock, then stand back and verify that an adult receives the package. Most of us are obviously over 21, and we’re home now for the duration, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Conceivably, a driver might ask to see your ID through a window, but that would have to be a really persnickety driver.
Those folks exist, however. We’ve all been self-isolating, so deliveries to my house have been easy. Driver leaves the package, rings our bell and returns to the truck. We open our door, wave to the driver and yell “Thank you” as she drives away. One day, however, a FedEx driver put the package down, rang the doorbell and waited. My wife was gardening in the front yard, and as she approached, he called out, “Do you live here?” When she replied in the affirmative, he said, loudly, “I need an adult, because this has ALCOHOL!” My wife, lovely as she is, is obviously an adult. When she assured him he could leave the package, he stalked away from the door and right toward her. He was not wearing a mask, and she, not having anticipated needing one in the garden, jumped away to maintain social distance.
So yes, delivery is a potential problem from the standpoint of social distance and hygiene. But it should be manageable. For the time being, at least, most of us are home. FedEx and UPS are good about sending email alerts about impending deliveries. When the bell rings or you hear a knock on the door, respond promptly, look, wave and pick up your package. A big “Thank you!” to the driver will probably go a long way, too. Then, disinfect your doorbell.
And don’t let these concerns stop you from supporting the wineries that need our help now more than ever.
After I wrote in February about ways to preserve unfinished wine, Jay in Chevy Chase wrote to share his own solution. “Pour your remaining wine into smaller bottles and close those,” he said.
“The individual-serving-size bottles served on international air flights are good for this purpose,” he explained. (Remember, the column ran before we were all afraid to leave our homes.)
“The bottles are mostly plastic but occasionally even glass. The ones I have are a quarter the capacity of a regular bottle, so pretty much ideal for a quarter or half bottle,” Jay said. “With very little air exposure, there is less need to put reds in the refrigerator, and their small size and screw-top closures make it easy to find space for them in the fridge.”
Jay pointed to an additional benefit: “Used containers essentially cost nothing,” he said.
Of course, his method requires organizational skills some wine lovers may not have at the end of a pleasant evening.
“Perhaps the only downside is forgetting which wines went into each bottle, but you can always leave the small bottles next to the original one,” he wrote. “That is, if your partner doesn’t mind the use of counter space.”
Keep your Sharpies handy.
Another reader, Deborah, suggested freezing leftover wine. “When I want to use wine in a recipe when I cook, I pull it out of the freezer and wait the five minutes it takes the wine to defrost enough to use,” she wrote. “It helps if you freeze it in small sizes that you would use in cooking.”
That’s a great idea — freeze leftover wine in an old-fashioned ice cube tray, then pop those cubes into a zip-top bag to store in the freezer. An ice cube of wine may not be ideal for deglazing a pan after frying up a pork chop, but it can add flavor and acidity to a sauce or a soup.
Please keep those questions and ideas coming!
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