Spring Cleaning: A Clearance of Vinous Notes…

Now that the season not only has arrived, but actually is beginning to feel like Spring, it’s time for my annual ritual at Vinesse World Headquarters. That’s right: Spring cleaning.

Through the weeks and months, literally hundreds of news releases, interesting observations by “wine people,” statistical summaries and so on cross my desk. I manage to work a good number of them into these daily blogs. The rest go into a pile next to a sign labeled, “Future.”

Well, for some of those notes, the future is now. The rest suffer the greatest ignominy of Spring cleaning; they are dispatched to the dumpster.

So, without further ado, here is a clearance of notes, quotes, stats and facts that have been gathering dust on your humble blogger’s desk…

  • The City Council of Chicago, which in early 2009 outlawed foie gras from restaurant menus, has voted to ban any type of dish made with duck or goose meat, effective Jan. 1, 2014. In a joint announcement, the owners of Napa Valley’s Duckhorn Vineyards and Goosecross Cellars said that the Council’s decision was “for the birds,” and immediately dispatched their Midwest sales representatives to remove all Duckhorn and Goosecross bottles from restaurant cellars in the city. In a separate media release, the executive director of the Almond Board of California—a strong proponent of Duck Almondine on restaurant menus—called the Chicago Council’s decision “nuts.”
  • After years of litigation, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has been given the green light to construct a train line that will run directly from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to the Napa Opera House (NOH) in downtown Napa. Much of the route will run through a tunnel to be constructed at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. The mostly express route — to be called the Wine Country Express—will include stops and new stations at the Sloat Garden Center (SGC), which sells an array of grapevine varieties for home gardens, and Alcatraz (A) island. Also planned is an extension of the Napa Valley Wine Train (NVWT) line to the Napa Opera House (NOH) to connect Wine Country Express travelers with destinations up valley.
  • Last year’s disastrous harvest season throughout Russia has resulted in a severe shortage of grains and potatoes, the main ingredients in the country’s signature adult beverage, vodka. Stockpiles were depleted over the winter, prompting Russia President Vladimir Putin to take bold steps to assure “that our people stay warm next winter, particularly in Siberia,” where temperatures average between minus-10 and minus-50 degrees Fahrenheit. “The Russian people need alcohol to warm their bodies in winter,” Putin said through an interpreter. “With very little vodka available this coming year, I have entered into an agreement for Russia to purchase the entire 2013 production of Charles Shaw wines.” The bottles will not bear the Charles Shaw label, however. Putin has arranged for labels that will feature his image and the wording, “2-Ruble Vlady.”
  • Much has been written about the “Mediterranean diet,” which includes many fatty foods, yet results in a lower rate of heart disease than is experienced in other parts of the world. The consumption of red wine, which is rich in antioxidants, has been cited as the key mitigating factor in disease prevention. Still, doctors recommend eating lean cuts of meat whenever possible. With that in mind, the Mediterranean Diet Board has added a new dish to its list of “approved lean meats”: polar bear meat. More and more polar bears have been arriving on Mediterranean beaches, transported on large pieces of ice that were sliced off the arctic ice sheet due to global warming. “Polar bear meat provides us with vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids,” said a spokesperson for the Mediterranean Diet Board. “These fatty acids help to reduce the risk of heart disease.” Polar bear meat will soon be found on Paris restaurant menus under the heading, “ours blanc,” and Red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) is the suggested wine pairing partner.
  • Government leaders in Cyprus have offered to pay off the island country’s debilitating debt with 1 million cases of indigenous wines—Xynisteri, Ofthalmo, Oeillade and Maratheftiko—along with three cases of Shiraz. Members of the European Union Finance and Planning Commission, which consists mostly of French and Italian delegates—declined the offer.
  • Reacting to charges and lawsuits that its beverages are causing dangerous heart palpitations in children, one drink-maker soon will release a new product: High Energy Rojo. The drink will be made with the company’s original recipe, to which a small amount of premium Spanish red wine will be added “to provide a more calming experience for children.” Reports indicate that High Energy Rojo will be produced in three sizes, although only the small and medium sizes will be available in New York City.

We conclude our annual Spring cleaning with this sincere wish: Happy April 1st!

I’m guessing you had this April Fools Day blog figured out by “2-Ruble Vlady”… maybe even sooner. But here’s a legitimate April 1st news item—we think…

The 3 Fools winery in Oregon, located between Corvallis and Monmouth, will stage its 5th annual April Fools Day Wine Release Party today from 5 to 8 p.m.

According to the winery’s website, “We will feed you, wine you, and treat your ears to some sweet live music from Wild Hog in the Woods.”

Sounds like a great evening, as Wild Hog in the Woods is a noted stringband that has delighted music lovers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Only one problem: Nowhere on the band’s website could we find a listing for the 3 Fools gig. So… is this yet another April Fools hoax?

If you’re in the area, I think it’s worth taking a chance. And if the band does appear, be sure to request “Slippin’ Raisins,” a song that describes the woes of a wet raisin harvest.

What could be more appropriate for a winery located in rainy Oregon?

Posted in Editor's Journal
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