You have uncovered an archive of completely useless old news
blurbs. You should be very proud. This page has old Breaking News! articles
prior to 2003. Some of this crap is not even dated!!! Some
of the links could be broken. If so, don't bother informing
me. I don't care.
don't know why you are here but remember, except for all the stuff I
plagiarized from other sources, this is all original content and if you
use any of it, you owe me like $6. I have people tracking this
Washington Golf Monthly is a lavish publication, featuring golf course
reviews and golf articles oriented around the Mid-Atlantic states. The
September 2000 issue has 136 pages. You can receive this magazine free
of charge. Yes, that's right, free! There's no catch. Because the
average golfer generally has a high household income and spends the big
bucks, this magazine is funded by advertisers.
get your free subscription, you must call: 800-318-4653 between 8am and
5pm Eastern time.
the September issue has an article entitled, "Red, White, and
Greens", which tours vineyards in Virginia and nearby golf courses.
That's a trip that sounds like it's right up the wino alley.
down the hatches, winos, the plague is among us. No, not that
crusty rash which WinoBob has been trying to shake, this plague is
threatening the very heart of our passion, the vineyards of Northern
plague is Pierce's disease, a bacterium which destroys a vine's ability
to transport water from the roots to the fruit, thus killing the vine.
The bacterium is carried by a voracious little insect known as the
glassy-winged sharpshooter which is making its way up the coast
from southern California towards the wine Holy Land in the north.
Its just a matter of time before this virulent little pest threatens to
destroy the multi-billion dollar wine industry in California.
more info on this very serious subject, see the October 15 issue of the
Benefit or Horrible Mutation?
August 31 issue of the Wine Spectator features an article in the
"Wine and Health" section entitled Wine May Increase Bone
Mass in Elderly Women.
this a good thing? Do we really need more massive bony old women?
I don't think so, Tim.
I think we need to investigate this phenomenon more thoroughly.
The article states that drinking one to three glasses of wine per day is
"associated with a significant increase in upper thigh/hip bone
mineral density." I don't know about you, but the women in my
family already have plenty of upper hip/thigh density. I've been
drinking one to three glasses of wine per day for a long time and, while
I've added quite a bit of mass, it's mostly in the midsection and it's
certainly not bony.
is it with these old women? What would happen if we were to give
their wine to our Olympic athletes? Is wine a banned substance at
the Olympic games? These are the kinds of riveting questions that
the Wine Spectator doesn't address. These are the questions that
we winos need answered! Get on the ball, Wine Spectator!
you've been following What's New! recently, you are probably
questioning my sanity (or my sobriety).
check this out. Mega-retailer, WalMart, is teaming up with jug
wine pioneers, Ernie and Julie Gallo (aka the brothers Gallo), to market
a WalMart house brand wine called Alcott Ridge Vineyards.
WalMart plans to sell this wine-like beverage substance at stores in the
U.S. and overseas. Production will be limited to only 1.21 giga-boxes
per month. No wonder the rest of the world laughs at U.S. wines.
OWEC is alive and well!
an obvious defensive posturing, the ultra-premium wine producer, Caymus
Vineyards, recently launched their own website. (See related
article, Winery of the Month) The word on the street is that
in retaliation against WalMart, Caymus plans to sell discount clothing
and cheap plastic deck furniture via the web site. Just a rumor...
Wine Spectator just released it's annual TOP 100 List in the December
31st issue. (Wait, today is only the 4th of December. How
does that happen?) Anyway, within days after the release of
this issue, wino-wannabe's will start crowding the aisles of wine stores
with the Spectator's pull-out list in hand, trying to buy up whatever
made the list. Wine stores, feeling that the chum has been
released, start jacking up prices and wait for the feeding frenzy to
in mind that this past year saw the release of the '97 California Cabs,
the '97 Tuscans, and the '98 Southern Rhone's, all of which were spectacular.
Keep in mind also, that I have not yet completely stocked my cellar full
of these beauties.
what's a real wino to do? STAY AWAY!!! DON'T BUY ANYTHING THAT'S
ON THE TOP 100 LIST! That will show those opportunistic, price-
gouging stores that we won't take it anymore. To further refine
the expression of our discontent, stay away from any store that sells
wine in the Morris County, New Jersey area, especially along Route 10!
And if you see a slightly gray wino with a mustache buying up these gems
without any competition, ignore him. He's on a mission from God.
there someone in your life that is constantly whining? (Other than
WinoBob). You know, the old "Why don't you spend more time with
your family?", or "Why do you spend so much time on that goofy
website?" You've heard it all before.
now there's a gift item for the whiner in your life. Give
them the gift of a bottle of wine with a unique "whinelabel".
A couple guys in Florida came up with the idea for whinelabels
and, while they say there is no venture capital behind the company
(sound familiar, Bob?), they have applied for and received a trademark
on the word WHINE! So, obviously, there are lawyers involved.
Whinelabels.com is an
interesting, fun site with an unusual wine-related product. Their
current whinelabel product offering centers around politicians and
college sports teams but they are willing to add to their lineup and
will even consider new whinelabel suggestions. If they like your
idea, they may send you a freebie. (I can't make commitments on
their behalf because, as I mentioned previously, there are
can visit them at whinelabels.com. Don't forget to tell them that
WinoStuff sent you. (The lawyers may go easy on us if we drive
some traffic to their site.)
Put down your pencils,
winos, time is up. The big event has come to a close. The
deadline for entry intoWinoBob's gala book give-away extravaganza has
come and gone. No more entries will be accepted. Hey, you
snooze, you lose!
Now comes the hard part.
The team of winos here at WinoStuff must wade through the mountain of
entries, carefully reviewing each submission for technical content,
grammar, wine relevance, humor, and oh... say... any cash which may have
inadvertently accompanied an entry to ensure "total
impartiality" on the part of the judges. It could happen.
Stay tuned to these pages
for the announcement of the big winner. It may take us a few days to
determine the actual winner. One of the judges, WinoBob is
presently in a severe funk. It seems that his team, the New York
Giants had, shall we say, oh... a bad day yesterday. WinoBob was
last seen drowning his sorrows at a local watering hole, crying into a
Reidel of '98 Chateauneuf du Pape.
was waiting for one of my many kids to finish up one of their many
extracurricular activities recently when another dad (who just happens
to be in the wine business) informed me of the very high quality of the
2000 vintage in Bordeaux. Apparently, Robert Parker is comparing
the 2000 vintage to that of '82. Now, correct me if I'm
wrong, but the '82 Bordeaux is generally considered to have been excellent!
I immediately thought of two things:
There goes the whole NASDAQ/Bordeaux conspiracy theory, and
I must inform all you winos of this breaking news.
verify the validity of this report, I checked with some of my French
technogeek counterparts who, after immediately surrendering, confirmed
that 2000 should be "a good year for ze wines."
there it is! Real Breaking News! Now you can go out and pick
up some first growth futures or invest in some wine stocks or do
whatever you do when you get a hot tip. Me? I'll probably just
drink more wine.
Y2K in CA!
The Wine Spectator
reports that the 2000 vintage in California set a record in terms of
quantity. In a 3/9/2001
article, Jacob Gaffney writes that the Cal Crush (no, not an XFL team)
was 3.3 million tons. That’s
a lot of grapes. Red wine
grapes made up 1.8 million tons according to a report from the
California Agricultural Statistics Service (CASS), a subsidiary of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ideal
weather conditions, along with 32,000 new acres of production,
contributed to the record.
largest single varietal produced was Chardonnay, making up about 16.5%
of all grapes crushed. But, get this, another white grape, French
Colombard, came in second with 11 percent of the crush total! Who the
hell drinks French Colombard? What the hell is
French Colombard? Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
rounded out the top five with 10 percent, 9 percent and 8 percent of the
grapes crushed, respectively.
WinoBob, I've searched
through this site's entire wine tasting history. No, French
Colombard. What seems to be the problem?
my rant a few months ago about big mega- corporations buying up small,
independent wineries and the resulting decline in the quality of the
product? No? NO?? Here,
refresh your memory. Well now, its happened again.
This time, the zin- meister, Ravenswood Winery, is the victim.
It’s a sad day in the wine world.
this instance, the acquiring company is Constellation Brands Inc.
Constellation Brands! What
kind of name is that for a winery? Rumors put the sale price in the $150
million dollar range. Un-named
sources say that the deal was initially set at $100 million.
Ravenswood was then named Winery of the Month on WinoStuff.com
(February, 2001), thus elevating the brand recognition and the resulting
I figure our cut should be about $25 mil.
What do you think, Wally?
I’m hoping that the braintrust at Constellation recognizes that
Ravenswood makes a hell of a product right now.
Don’t go tinkering with the “No Wimpy Wines” philosophy.
Don't blend in grapes from all over the western hemisphere.
And DON’T put it in a box!
el Queso Grande!
yourselves, winos, the MAN is stepping down.
An industry leader and a legend in his own time, the MAN is
moving into retirement. No,
I’m not talking about Wino Bob. I’m talking about a man of
even greater stature within the wine industry.
I’m talking about Robert Mondavi.
88-year-old founder of The Robert Mondavi Co., makers of everything from
affordable bulk wine to ultrapremium brands such as Opus One and Luce,
has turned over company operations to his sons, Michael and Tim, who
have been pretty much running the business for the last few years.
Robert, aka the Big Cheese of Wine, plans to relax and work on
the launch of The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts in Napa
man has been a pioneer in the globalization of wine production, a topic
that I have spoken out against on several occasions.
The Big Cheese, however, did it right.
He partnered with prestigious winemakers around the world to
produce some of the world’s best premium wines, albeit at premium
prices. He also produced a
lot of cheap" wine,
but I suppose you have to pay the bills.
wish you well, Robert.
had an interesting conversation with my 3 kids at the breakfast table
this morning. I asked them
if they knew what is the significance of Memorial Day.
My youngest daughter said, “It’s Uncle Wally’s birthday.”
My middle daughter said, “Is it the day we remember the
Orioles?” And The Boy,
who is a straight-A student and a fine techno-dweeb in his own right,
said “It’s the day we honor all the people who fought for our
country.” Interesting. I wonder how many different responses you would get if you
asked a hundred other average Americans.
it is WinoWally’s birthday (Happy B-day, Wal), and while the
O’s may be struggling, those are not the reasons for the national
holiday. And although
nerd-boy was close, Memorial Day is not the day we honor all military
veterans. No, today is the day we remember all those brave Americans
who gave their LIVES so that we can live in peace, with freedom and
OK, so what’s the
relevance to wine? Just
this. When you are choosing
a beverage to accompany your BBQ today, have a big AMERICAN wine.
A massive Napa cab or big Zin.
No wimpy import wines. It’s
only one day per year. It’s
the least you can do.
is a culinary web site, Chef-of-the-Month.com, that is currently
listing the Top 100 this-and-that as determined by their faithful
readership. One of the categories that they list is the Top 100
Wine Web Sites.
was checking Chef-of-the-Month the other day (even though I hate to
cook) and I noticed that Wineloverspage.com (hosted by world famous wine
guy and Honorary Wino, Robin Garr) is ranked number 1!!! While
Robin's site certainly deserves the numero uno spot, WinoStuff was
languishing somewhere around #67. Number 67!!! What's that
all about? We have to fix this obvious oversight! Number
67?? Damn! I think we're rated behind wine.com and they
don't even exist anymore!
loyal winos, here's your assignment. Click on this link http://chef-of-the-month.com
and rate your favorite wine site (WinoStuff, you morons!). If we
all pull together on this, we CAN make a difference. The wine
world needs us! WinoBob's liver transplant surgeon needs us.
So place your vote now.
are you waiting for? GO!!! Geez... I gotta get a new job...
Loyal WinoStuff followers know
that we are dedicated to bringing you the best in news, humor, reviews,
and wine-related updates. To
date, however, we’ve been a bit deficient in bringing you actual stuff.
All that is about to change.
Wino Wally, in his tireless search for cool new gadgets, found an
artist who hand-paints glassware.
Gayle, the artist and proprietor
of Just for Fun, sells her glassware in shops around the Rehobeth Beach,
Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland area. After stringent
negotiations with Wino Wally, Gayle has agreed to make WinoStuff their
exclusive web advertiser. (We would be their merchandiser, too,
but we recognize that you don't really want WinoBob anywhere near your
credit card number).
If you are interested in
hand-painted glassware (glassware made in USA and painted in USA), call
Gayle at 410-352-5709. Tell her that you saw the ad on WinoStuff
and that made all the difference. All glassware featured goes for
$15/glass, a 25% discount from the standard retail price.
Winos John and Wally
Guy on the Run!
Bob's idol (or his enabler,
as Bob's shrink likes to say), Joe the Wine Guy, has bolted from Bacchus!
Officially, Joe left "to pursue the perfect grape."
Insiders, however, tell us that Joe was really forced out for allowing
WinoBob to actually live in the restaurant.
Up until Joe's departure,
you could find WinoBob, perched on his favorite barstool, just about
every night of the week. Casual observers came to think of Bob as
the "Norm" of the wine bar. However, WinoBob's
obsessions ran much deeper. Bob had actually pitched a small
tent near the wine room and was often seen foraging for scraps behind
the bar. It seems that Bob had become like a wild animal in the
wine room, attacking waiters and patrons who strayed too close to the
Rhone section. It was as though Bob was defending his young.
Poor Joe, unable to
extricate the wild wino from the establishment, had no choice but to
disengage from the restaurant in hopes that Bob would eventually
wander off in search of another wine bar.
Joe, wherever you are,
relax, enjoy, and drink more wine. And keep in touch!!!
The buzzards will be
picking through the remains of wine.com as AuctioNet
has announced that it has been chosen to auction off the
"liquid" assets of the now defunct internet wine retailer.
This two-day auction will be conducted at the Napa Valley Airport on
September 15th and 16th.
note boasts a long list of big name Frog wines and "a vast
selection of everyday wines, Reidel crystal wine glasses and over $2
million in select gift packages." Let's see... eVineyard.com
paid $10mil for the wine.com name and didn't get any of the wine??
No wonder "dot com" now elicits images of "engineer geek
- business idiot". (Hmmm... I resemble that remark...)
A couple of quotes on the
AuctioNet site caught my attention. "This one-in- lifetime
event should not be missed!" One-in-lifetime? And,
"No one under the age of 21, including infants and toddlers, will
be admitted." Well, so much for the family vacation. It
seems ironic that you can't actually bid on the assets of this internet
casualty over the internet!
Anyway, if your
interested, check out the auction info, but don't be surprised if the
auctioneer suffers the same problem that wine.com did. THEY
CAN'T SHIP TO YOUR STATE!!! I'm telling you, I gotta move...
Not to be outdone by
Walmart's recent entrée into the wine retail business, the brain trust
at 7-Eleven has determined that the American wine-consuming public is
just dazed enough to purchase wine bearing the ubiquitous 7-Eleven logo.
Now, next to the familiar oldsmobuicks from Mondavi, K-J, Beringer,
etc., "the Sev" will market its own house brand of wines under
the Taillan name. No, I'm not making this up. You can't make this
stuff up. To answer everyone's first question, the 7-Eleven logo is
imprinted on the cork, which means that this beverage is not
sold in a box! However, in keeping with the "Big Gulp"
tradition of selling all beverages in containers large enough to house
the homeless, the Taillan varietals are available only in double
METHUSELAH's. (OK, I made that up.)
"What wine do you
serve with beef jerky?" Or, "Hmmm… They have the
February vintage of Taillan. That was a very good month!" Or here's
one, "Taillan, the Wine that made Thailand famous!" Go
ahead. Just get them all out of your system. OK? Feel better now?
Well, don't get too comfy. It's just a matter of time before Exxon-Mobil
jumps into the wine game. They already have the distribution network. Be
prepared to hear, "Uhhh… just give me ten bucks worth of
the regular Merlot and check under the hood…"
is our might that makes us a target. It is our freedom that makes
thoughts and our prayers are with the families of the victims of the
recent terrorist attacks here in the U.S.
September 12, 2001
a Professional Wino!
Tuesday, October 2, 2001 Wall Street Journal classifieds, there
is an ad for a Wine Business Team Leader. The ad reads as
follows: "Fleming Packaging Corporation is seeking a professional
to lead its Napa
based wine sales organization. Fleming, through its plants in Napa,
Peoria, Orlando, and Mexico City, is the leading supplier of premium
labels and packaging products to the wine and spirits industry as well
as a growing participant in the food and beverage industries."
The ideal candidate should have the usual requirements: a solid
background in sales management, ability to develop and implement sales
and marketing business
plans, develop and maintain strong relationships, drive cross-functional
value-chain initiatives, provide leadership to all sales and operational
employees, blah, blah, blah. If you notice, sobriety is not mentioned as
a prerequisite, so this position could be ideal for our own WinoBob.
If you are interested and meet the necessary requirements, send
your resume to Bob Pyburn, FP Label Company, 601 Airpark Road, Napa, CA
94558, or email Bob at email@example.com,
or fax 707-258-3924.
Tell Bob you saw this ad on WinoStuff.com and suggest that he place all
of his classifieds here instead of the Journal.
WinoJohn: Create a Classified Ads page.)
No, not Rolls Royce.
The management of noted zinmeister, Rabbit Ridge Winery, copped a deal
with the ATF recently. It seems that RR broke a few rules.
Here's the AP story:
Calif. (AP) - Rabbit Ridge Vineyards has agreed to pay $810,000 to
resolve federal charges that it misled consumers with its wine bottle
settlement with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was the
largest ever for a California winery, ATF spokeswoman Marti McKee said
came after a six-month investigation when ATF agents found
"significant violations'' at the winery from 1994 to 2000, McKee
to the ATF charges, the winery mislabeled more than 17,000 cases of wine
with erroneous vintage dates, geographical information and brand names.
Federal agents also found more than 28,000 cases of wine that had no
records to back up the information on their labels.
pretty unusual that we take (settlement) offers this big,'' McKee said.
"But for the period of records that we examined, we found problems
in just about everything we looked at.''
agreeing to the settlement, the winery does not admit any wrongdoing,
and the payment closes the ATF investigation.
For RR's response to
these allegations, click
Dead or Alive
In an apparent response
to America's worldwide crackdown on terrorism, the French have announced
a "worldwide crackdown on bad burgundies." The
Wine Spectator reports that several "leading Burgundy trade
organizations have decided to crack down on inferior winemakers
and hunt down their wines wherever they are sold."
(Those French are so bold!) The project, code named Enduring
Frogdom, aims to identify poor-quality Burgundy producers
and pressure them to improve their products, or risk losing their
Burgundy AOC status. (Click
here for the full story.)
To achieve their goal,
the Burgundy trade groups have earmarked more than $500,000 a year to
buy 3,000 to 4,000 bottles of Burgundy wines in retail shops,
supermarkets and restaurants in America, Europe and Asia. The
wines will be shipped back to Burgundy, where experts will check their
quality. Hmmm..., let's see..., they will pay about $150 a pop for
BAD BURGUNDY! That should scare those bad producers.
The concept of cutting off the money flow seems lost on the French.
In a related story, upon
hearing that the Taliban are surrendering their strongholds, the French
announced that they are ready to send troops to Afghanistan.
Unnamed sources quote French military personnel as saying, "If
there is a surrender taking place, ze French will be there!"
Well, this was the week
that we dread all year. This was the week that the retail wine
business gets turned on its ear. Legions of drone winos are set
loose on wine shops across the country, blindly following the
instructions from the queen bee. Yes, this was the week that
Marvelous Marvin released his list of the Top 100 Wines of The
Marvelous Marvin and his
band of merry Spectators have given instructions to the troops.
"Go forth and buy up everything on this list!" And so it
goes. Blue haired ladies and neophytes alike are walking the
aisles of wine shops across the country, looking for that bottle of Numero
Uno to give as a gift to Hubby or to the boss. It's a sad day
for the rest of us.
This year, Marv named 40
French wines to the top 100. Only 1 was from Burgundy. (Marv
obviously read last weeks Breaking News
about the Bad Burgundy crackdown!) I don't mind that 40 frogs are
on the list. With a few exceptions, they're not worth the money.
Let the spectators clear them off the shelves. 19 of the top 100
are from Italy. Well deserved, my Italian friends, you guys are
making some great juice. Fully 73% of the wines to make the
"Big List" are reds, mostly of the massive variety.
(Marv don't like no stinkin' girlie wines.)
Check out this month's
Spectator to read all the hoopla.
the night before Christmas,
and down in the cellar
I had hidden a wine that I knew to be stellar.
The glassware was arranged on the table with care,
Awaiting the nectar that soon would be there.
Boy was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of J. Lo danced in his head;
And the wife in her jammies, and I in my sweats,
were checking the gift list and totaling our debts.
When down in the basement
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the LazyBoy to see what was the matter.
Away to the wine cellar I flew like a flash,
It seemed as though someone was into my stash.
leaped down the steps and raced toward the racks
My heart was pounding, adrenalin to the max!
When, who to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a familiar old wino, quite full of “cheer”!
Chuckling to himself, so lively and jolly,
I knew in a moment it must be WinoWally.
An impromptu wine tasting was the reason he came
His speech a bit slurred, he recounted by name;
"The cabernet, the chianti, the syrah, and barolo!
A room full of big reds and I’m drinking solo!
A taste from each rack, a nip from each bin,
I didn’t even know Stag’s Leap made a zin!”
As dry winos that before the big tasting sigh,
When they meet with a bottle they are yearning to try,
So up to the living room the brothers-in-law flew
Glasses in hand and perhaps a bottle or two.
And then in a twinkling we heard on the roof
A faint voice pleading, “Save some Chateauneuf!”
Pilot in his hand, Wally was turning around
when down the chimney WinoBob came with a bound.
He was dressed all in black, trimmed in black satin,
He’d attended a dinner party, apparently in Manhattan;
A travel bag of Riedels he had in his hand,
And he looked like a rock star in search of a band.
eyes – how bloodshot! Red as rasberry
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth full of teeth stained dark red,
His wire rimmed glasses sat crooked on his head;
The stump of a cork he held tight in his teeth,
And dozens more strung around his neck like a wreath;
He had a thin face, no body fat to speak of,
Alcohol is what this stick figure did reek of .
He was skinny and lean, a right sickly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the glasses; then turned with a jerk,
lifting our glasses, “Cheers” we all chimed,
Waving good-bye, up the chimney Bob climbed;
He jumped from the roof, landing soft in the grass
Lucky for him, stick figures have no mass.
But I heard him exclaim, as I climbed into bed,
"MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A BIG RED!"
Holidays from the crew at WinoStuff
Foster's Group, those Aussie beer and wine loons, have announced the
release of the world's first DIET WINES! Yes, that's right, diet
wine! What has the wine world come to?
Cellarmaster division is marketing a line of lite wines under the
Swaying Willow brand and they are reporting that these
wines are selling like hot cakes in England. (Do they even have
hot cakes in Australia?) It seems that British women are lining up
to buy these wines which are purported to have only one third the
calories of real... uhhh... regular wine.
be outdone, the other Aussie mega-wine merchant, BRL Hardy, is also
pushing a line of low-alcohol wines targeted again at the female wine
drinking population. Their line of Wicked Wines
includes catchy names like "Greed", "Envy",
"Flirt" and "Lust". Thus far,
"Lust" seems to be the best selling of the four.
question is, "What happens to a certain unnamed stick figure (OK,
WinoBob) if he starts drinking nothing but diet wine?" I'm
afraid the results could be disastrous. If he gets any thinner,
he'll be invisible! Worse yet, what happens if the cult wine
producers follow suit? Screaming Eaglet? Diet Harlan?
Opus One Calorie?
is too much. I may have to switch to scotch...
A few years back, Clos
Pegase winery owner, Jan Shrem, wanted to feature the 1943 painting Bedecked
Nude on the label of his 1988 Cabernet Sauvignon Hommage
Artists Series Reserve. The brain trust at BATF objected, saying the
painting of a nude male was indecent. (I have to agree with the
BATF here. Who really wants to see male nakedness?)
The BATF denied label approval, so Shrem released the 1988 Hommage with
the lower portions of the painting deleted. (Amazingly, well known
wino stick figure, WinoBob also had his lower portions deleted, but
that's another story!) Later, the ATF relented and approved the use of
To mark the 10th
anniversary of the big brouhaha, Clos Pegase has released a "Full
Monty" version of Bedecked Nude on its 1998 Hommage. The
controversial label is shown below.
an article in the Spec
All In The Genes
late December, we decided to name 2002 as the Year of the Zinfandel.
With patriotic spirit at never-before-seen levels in the wake of
the 9/11 terrorist attacks, what better way to show our jingoism than to
spend a year honoring “America’s Varietal”.
Now, through the miracles of modern science, we find that
America’s grape isn’t even American. It’s Yugoslavian! Damn,
Zin’s an immigrant just like the rest of us.
seems that Dr. Carole Meredith, professor of enology and viticulture at
UC Davis, while poking around in some Zin DNA (don’t ask me why),
discovered that our much beloved Zinfandel is identical to a Croatian
grape called Crljenik Kasteljanski. Let’s see Ravenswood market that!
winos have long believed that Zin is related to the Primitivo grape of
southern Italy. Doc
Meredith’s research shows that these two grapes are actually identical
wisdom holds that we exported the zin grape to Italy sometime in the
it’s origins, this is the Year of the Zinfandel!!! So relax, enjoy,
and have a nice glass of Crljenik Kasteljanski.
winemaker, Charles F. Wagner, died this past week at his home in
Rutherford, CA. He was 89.
Charlie Wagner was the
founder and the driving force behind Caymus Vineyards in Napa
Valley. He was known as a
hard working farmer and a talented and passionate winemaker.
His Cabernet Sauvignon Special Select was twice selected as the
Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year.
The Special Select is one of a handful of wines that define the
category of California Cult Wines.
Charlie is survived by
his wife, Lorna, his son and partner, Chuck, two daughters and numerous
heartfelt sympathies go out to the Wagner family.
here for the article from Wine Spectator.
February 23, 2002
Call To Arms!
Well maybe not an actual
call to arms. (I could probably get arrested for
that!) More like a call to pens. Or keyboards.
Whatever it takes.
Anyway, WinoWally, being
the wine-deprived civil activist, is calling all Maryland winos to take
a stand. Get involved. Take some action. Help Wally in
his fight for the right to have wine shipped to the palatial Wally
Estate from outside of the state of Maryland. (Maryland is one of
those states that has made the interstate shipment of wine a felony!)
With WinoWally traveling all over these United States, visiting the
finest restaurants, wineries, and wine shops, he cannot be expected to
carry his new found treasures back to Maryland in his luggage! The
airlines won't let him carry it on. He needs to have it shipped!
What's the big deal? I don't get it! We ALL need to get
here to read a letter that Wally received from the good people at
Free the Grapes! It tells how all Marylanders can help Wally get
wine shipped to his house so that he can review it.
Do it for Wally. Do
it for yourself. DO IT FOR ME, DAMN IT!!! (Remember, I visit
eVineyard, Inc., the big
internet wine retailer that bought the wine.com URL for
the fire sale price of only $10 million, announced the appointment of a
new head honcho, Peter S. Ekman. Mr. Ekman was named President and
CEO of the nation's premier wine e-tailer on March 7, 2002.
Previously, Mr. Ekman held the position of Managing Director and Vice
President of the Global Wine, Liquor and Tobacco Division at the
multinational expensive-stuff conglomerate, Louis Vuitton: Moet Hennessy
(LVMH). (WinoBob, take note: I want to be the "Managing
Director and Vice President of the Global Wine, Liquor and Tobacco
Division" at WinoStuff!)
If you recall, wine.com
was criticized by analysts and experts throughout the industry
(including yours truly) for blowing through hundreds of millions of
dollars in VC funding before filing for bankruptcy in 2001.
eVineyards was at the front of the line to buy up the URL and other
"goodwill" for only $10 mil.
I would like to make a
suggestion to the new commander. Mr. Ekman, the best way to look
good in your new role is to make your predecessors look bad.
They blew, ...uhhh spent... $10 million on a web site name.
I think I know where you can get another highly regarded website URL,
one that caters to Wino's and Stuff, for half
of what wine.com cost. We'll throw in the goodwill for free!
Drop me a line...
land of fruits and nuts...
The California wine
industry is faced with a plague of biblical proportions and the
governor is sitting on the political fence. During a recent
state-wide conference call, California's Governor Gray Davis refused to
take a stand on the single most important issue facing the wine biz in
CA, the fight against the glassy-winged sharpshooter. During the
call, "The Gov" would not express his opinion on what the
state needs to do to battle the dreaded Pierce's disease. (The
glassy- winged sharpshooter spreads Pierce's Disease which kills
grapevines by choking their ability to feed.)
Instead, Governor Davis
let his ace underling, state Agriculture Secretary Bill Lyons, answer
the questions. Lyons was also somewhat non-committal, expounding on the
use of parasitic wasps to fight the sharpshooter rather than the
use of pesticides. Parasitic wasps? PARASITIC WASPS??
Oh, that's a good plan! What happens if the
wasps and the sharpshooters.., you know..., mate??? We'd
have a bunch of mutant insects, madder than hell, menacing the vines and
the vintners! Get stung by one of those buggers and it
could affect your ability to feed!!! Geez...
Perhaps we (he) should
rethink this plan. Why not just make use of the technology
at hand? In this case, chemical technology! Spray
those little bastards! Spray them right into oblivion!
When contacted at his
swank governor pad, Davis stated for the record, "Dude.
Lighten up. It's like, you know, an election year?"
March 24, 2002
Spec buys 'Stuff!
The wine industry was
shaken to its core today when the giant print and web publishing
concern, The Wine Spectator, announced that it had successfully executed
a hostile takeover of the lowly internet startup, WinoStuff.com.
The terms of the takeover were not disclosed but sources close to the
deal indicate that The Spec paid well over $200 million for the highly
sought after "WinoStuff.com" URL. It is reported that
"Marvelous Marvin" Shanken, CEO of the Spec, desperately
wanted the URL and was willing to "go to any length" to secure
ownership of the web address. Marv stated in a press release that
"if a lame-ass bankrupt company like wine.com is worth $10 million,
a well run enterprise like WinoStuff, one that is not losing
millions of investor dollars in these difficult times, is certainly
worth a couple hundred mil.
In a statement released
by the new Chief Misinformation Officer, WinoBob, The Spec reports that
they will take a one time charge against earnings during the current
fiscal quarter in order to fund a "Detoxification and Liver
Transplant" project that Bob has been studying for the past few
years. Furthermore, the new EVP and Chief Technogadgetry
Officer, WinoWally, hinted at the new direction the magazine would be
taking. "You know, there just isn't enough golf coverage in
the current Spectator. I think we can address that little
deficiency with the Master's coming up soon..."
As for me, I'll be
enjoying a nice bottle of wine while I surf the net looking for that
elusive red car and waiting for the check to clear. ;^)
April 1, 2002
was a report on the newswire this week about an
investigation by French officials into claims that the great chateaux of
Bordeaux routinely rejuvenate bottles of their very old vintages by
adding small amounts of new juice. (I can just see
Chief Inspector Clouseau fumbling around for evidence in the caves of
Petrus...) This investigation results from claims by Belgian
wine merchant, Khaled Rouabah, that adding younger wine to bottles of
the old stuff is a normal part of the process of reconditioning ancient
vintages. (You should be aware that Mr. Rouabah has been charged
with fraud over the attempted sale of 360 bottles of what was purported
to be vintage 1900 Lafite and Margaux. These wines were later
found not to be genuine.)
Technically, under the
strict Bordeaux wine laws, very old vintages may be kept in condition by
periodically replacing the cork and adding a small amount of wine of
the same vintage to compensate for evaporation.
Well, I don't know about
you winos, but I find all this to be very, very troubling. When I
blow thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on a single
bottle of 19th century first growth Frog wine, I expect to get old wine!
Dammit, I expect to get old cork! What is going on here
(there)? What kind of frog fraud is this? If you take a 1900
Lafite and add 2% 2000 Lafite, does it average out to be a 1902 Lafite?
I'm not sure, but that's it! I'm not buying anymore ancient
Bordeaux until they offer a satisfactory explanation for this whole
April 7, 2002
Anniversary to "the Wife"!
on Free Trade!
I am very pleased to
report that we are making some progress on the home front. The
Coalition for Free Trade reports that in two separate cases in one week,
a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a state’s prohibitions
against interstate, direct-to-consumer wine shipments are
unconstitutional. Now, winos in Virginia and North Carolina can
legally have wine shipped directly to their home without facing felony
charges. It's about time.
Founded in 1997, the
Coalition for Free Trade is a non-profit legal foundation whose goal is
to legalize direct-to-consumer shipments of wine from out-of-state
wineries and retailers. The foundation operates solely on
voluntary contributions from members of the American wine industry and
consumers. These funds support litigation in numerous states where
petitioners (largely consumers and wineries, together) have the goal of
removing discriminatory trade barriers that prohibit of-age consumers
from receiving wine for personal enjoyment directly from out-of-state
wineries and retailers.
Why do I care so much
about this issue. Besides being a staunch advocate of less
government and free market trade policies, I finally got my name on a
cult wine mailing list and I CAN'T HAVE THE DAMN WINE SHIPPED TO MY
HOUSE! Ahhhh!!!! My head is going to explode!
So, wake up, winos.
Write a letter. Make a phone call. Hook me up with some
interstate wine smuggling operation. Do SOMETHING to fight the
injustice! Do it now before I lose my allocation!!!
April 14, 2002
The Canandaigua Wine
Company announced recently that their Arbor Mist brand of
"wine with fruit"* is now available in unbreakable plastic 375
ml single-serving bottles. Serious "wine with fruit"
lovers already know that Arbor Mist is available in four flavors --
Blackberry Merlot, Exotic Fruits White Zinfandel, Peach Chardonnay and
Strawberry White Zinfandel. Arbor Mist sold over 40 million liters
of this stuff last year!
The introduction of this
exciting new package marks the first time that "wine with
fruit" beverages have been available for sale in plastic bottles in
the U.S. Before introducing the new packaging, Arbor Mist
conducted "extensive testing" to develop a product that not
only "looks great, but also maintains the product's great
The company further
reports that "Arbor Mist's recyclable single-serving bottles are
perfect for the beach or poolside, golf courses, hotels, resorts,
concerts, sporting events and other venues where plastic is preferable
You know, Wally, this is
exactly what we've been missing. Picture this... There we
are, it's a warm summer afternoon. We're enjoying a little golf at
the luxurious WinoWally Golf and Beach Resort. We fire up a fine
Cuban. What could we possibly be missing? Just one thing...
A great tasting "wine with fruit" beverage, conveniently
packaged in a great looking plastic container. It doesn't get much
better than that...
April 27, 2002
* Industry jargon meaning
Pans 2001 Bordeaux!
Arguably the world's most
influential wine critic, Robert Parker has advised wine investors to
pass on the 2001 lineup from Bordeaux. (We argue that Bob
Parker isn't even the most influential wine critic named
"Bob"!) "This is not a vintage that will draw
interest from speculators, and it is hard to imagine these wines will be
significantly more expensive a year and a half from now when they are
bottled and released," Parker states in the most recent edition of
his wine magazine, the Wine Advocate. He lists no
wines from the 2001 vintage that possess "extra- ordinary
potential". The usual cast of high-end characters are
described as having "out- standing potential" including the
first growths and other big name chateaux.
Parker further advises
the chateaux of Bordeaux to set their prices before the Wine Advocate
issue which reviews the vintage is released. It seems that many of
the Bordelais wait until Parker reviews the vintage and the wines before
they set their first tranche prices.
Christie's wine director,
Anthony Hanson is also advising buyers to be very careful about 2001
Bordeaux. Hanson states that there are successes to be found in
2001 Bordeaux but a lot of the wines are too dry. He suggests
anyone who already owns 1995s, 1996s and 1997s should be 'very prudent'
about buying any more young Bordeaux, because they have 'shown little or
no appreciation in value'.
Looks like I won't
be buying Frog wine again this year!
May 4, 2002
It's no secret that wine production in
Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean region, grossly exceeds
demand. Recent reports of excess Mediterranean wines being sold to
big US agribusinesses have upset a number of European lawmakers.
It seems that much of this cheap plonk is bought with government
subsidies and subsequently sold (sometimes at pennies on the dollar) to
commodity traders who sell it to large US companies to be distilled into
ethanol. The end product is ultimately blended into gasoline to
meet Federal Clean Air requirements.
How ironic is that?
The European community is subsidizing the fuel that goes into my gas
guzzling, monster SUV. Is this a great country, or what?
sharp folks in Euroville are catching on, however. Europe
suspended its periodic wine-alcohol auctions last October and the
anti-fraud office of the European Commission is investigating the trade,
worried that a cartel of powerful buyers has been rigging the auctions
and fixing prices.
There goes our cheap gas... unless... Wait! What if
these agribusiness geniuses could find a way to extract the residual
alcohol from Wino Bob's liver? There's enough ethanol in that one
bloated organ to power all the SUV's in New Jersey for six months!
PLUS, this added source of cheap fuel would certainly cause
reverberations on the world petroleum market. Oil prices would
plummet, gasoline prices would drop to 1965 levels, and we could all go
out and buy early '70's muscle cars. This is where we should be
focusing our attention! But, I digress...
May 12, 2002
A recent news article in
USA Today reports that researchers have discovered that white wine
consumption is beneficial to, get this..., your lungs! Yes,
that's right, an occasional glass of chard,
gewürzt, or riesling can slow the aging process in your lungs!
No, you don't have to inhale it.
In a study of red and
white wine drinkers, Holger Schunemann of the State University of New
York in Buffalo reports that, "people who drank white wine had
greater lung function than those who consumed red wine, but both groups
of wine drinkers had greater lung function than non-wine drinkers."
Apparently, both red and white wines have high concentrations of flavor
compounds called polyphenols and flavonoids. Some experts believe that
these antioxidants may protect lung tissue from minute atomic particles
called free radicals that can, over time, damage lung tissue. I'm
feeling better already!
This news raises several
1) Who the hell would
name their child "Holger" and,
2) if this lung
capacity thing is true, I'll bet WinoBob could hold his breath for a
year! Factor in Bob's increased heart function from his
voluminous red wine consumption and he could be some sort of super
Wait... It's all making
sense now... White wine for lung function..., red wine for heart
function..., stick figure for aerodynamics... I think WinoBob may
actually be... Spiderman!
Then again, I could be
May 12, 2002
Who is the country's
largest wine purchaser? If you guessed WinoWally, you'd be wrong.
Wally has a great cellar but he is not the largest purchaser of wine.
If you guessed WinoBob, again, you'd be wrong. WinoBob is the
largest consumer of wine in the country, but he's not the
largest wine purchaser. No, the largest wine purchaser in the U.S.
is The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. How do I know
this? I know many things... (OK, so I grew up in
Although the PA LCB buys
more wine than Wally and Bob combined (I'm not exaggerating here!), the
wine selection in most of Pennsylvania's state-run liquor stores sucks.
(Again, I'm not exaggerating here.) However, the LCB is trying to
improve its selection and service. The fun-loving boys at the LCB
recently hosted the (first annual?) Philadelphia Wine Festival.
The highlight of the festival, so I'm told, was a high-end tasting that
featured more than 300 wines, including Tignanello, Mouton-
Rothschild, Haut-Brion and Château d'Yquem. Not a bad
lineup. I just wonder if you can even buy those wines in
In any case, it
seems that the state is moving in the right direction.
Pennsylvania's governor is set to sign a new law aimed at making it
easier for consumers to buy wine over the internet. The law allows
consumers to order one case of wine per month via the Internet, as long
as the wine is not already available for sale in the state.
Unfortunately, the law requires that buyers have the wines shipped to
one of the 727 State Stores. That way, the state is assured it's
tax revenue and, after all, isn't that the most important thing?
June 1, 2002
Valley Wine Auction
The rich and famous
packed St. Helena on Saturday for the 22nd annual Napa Valley Wine
Auction which benefits health care programs in Napa Valley. This year,
the highlight of the program was a lot of 26, 1.5 liter bottles of wine
from various wineries in Napa Valley's prime Oakville region along with
tours, tastings, lunches, brunches and a plane ride. The wines
included offerings from cult producers, Harlan Estate and Screaming
The winner of this lot
was a techno-dweeb, software entrepreneur David Doyle. Dave forked
out a mere $320 large for the prize. (I'm sure Dave now has many more
friends than he did on Friday. In fact, I'm willing to strip the
"WinoDave" moniker from my own brother and award it to my new
best friend, WinoDave Doyle.) Way to go, dude.
Note to self: software...
There was concern that
the weak tech sector and generally lackluster economy would slow the
pace at this year's event. Last year, eight 3-liter bottles of
Screaming Eagle went for $650,000. This year, nine
magnums from perennial cult favorite Harlan Estate went for $300,000.
Celebrities in the
audience included actor Rob Schneider and former San Francisco 49er, Joe
Our own frequent visitor,
Marvelous Marvin R. Shanken (also of Wine
Spectator fame), hosted two "Bring Your Own Magnum"
parties, one in Napa and another in Sonoma, to kick off the festivities.
June 9, 2002
Big Get Bigger
The third largest wine
producer in the world is getting a little bit bigger. The Wine
Group, most famous for their Franzia brand of
"premium" box wines, is buying the Concannon Vineyard in
Livermore Valley, CA. Naturally, the two companies are not
revealing the sale price.
While the two parties are
both singing the "company song", (you know, "this is a
great thing for both companies... blah, blah, blah...), I'm not sure
this is a good thing for Concannon. Concannon currently produces
about 60,000 cases a year. Notably, they produce one fine little
Petite Syrah. The Wine Group, on the other hand, currently
measures their wine sales in the millions of metric tons. Notably,
they produce... uhhhh... some... uhhh... white zinfandel?
Hopefully, Concannon will not become just another drop in the proverbial
In addition to Franzia,
The Wine Group's portfolio also includes such memorable names as Glen
Ellen, MG Vallejo, Corbett Canyon CanyonCanyon,
Foxhorn, Austin Vale, Costa Vera, Altamonte, Mistrane, and Mogen David
(yes, as in the ever-popular Mad Dog 20/20)!
In terms of overall table
wine production, The Wine Group trails only Ernie and Julie Gallo's wine
megalopoly and The Canandaigua consortium. (We have
"honored" Canandaigua on these pages in the past. Gallo,
your day will come.) LVMH may be up there, too.
So, if you're a fan of
Concannon Petite Syrah, as I am, you may want to rush out and stock up
while it's still available in a bottle!
June 22, 2002
Frogs Crack Down
Amidst recent reports of
widespread fraud and declining quality in the French wine business, one
bold Frog is attempting to take action. Jacques Berthomeau,
a high-ranking French bureaucrat has decided that it is time to
get tough on France's mediocre wine products. Jacques recently submitted
a report to the French government in which he describes "a massive
lack of rigour among French growers." France's vineyards, the
report said, are increasingly being run without reference to quality.
Let's see, where have we
read about wine fraud in France? Where did we see that editorial
on the declining quality of French wines? Hmmm... where was
that...? Oh yeah, right here on WinoStuff!!!
Maybe the French
government will listen to Jacques. They damn sure haven't been
listening to us. (Why do you think that is?) I just hope
Jacques' report doesn't sugar-coat the issues. I hope he properly
addresses all the problems with French wine production
including the ridiculously exorbitant prices and the snotty attitude.
I tend to doubt it, though. Jacques is, after
all some, kind of politician.
(You can probably tell
from this little blurb that I haven't actually read Jacques'
report. That would be responsible journalism.)
For a more detailed
report on Jacques and his mission, click
July 6, 2002
- The Miracle Drug
Check this out, winos.
Yet another medical report has just come out asserting that red wine
consumption is good for..., get this..., your prostate! WOW!
That is good news!
Reuters Health reports
that researchers from Spain have found that certain polyphenols in
red wine can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube.
If that's not enough, these brilliant Spanish prostatologists found that
these compounds actually encourage cancer cells to "commit
suicide" through a natural process called apoptosis.
(Apparently, not all the red wine was going into the test tube!)
Ok, we have long known
about the benefits of red wine consumption for your heart.
Recently, we reported (right here on WinoStuff) that white wine
consumption improves lung function. Now, we find out, red wine is
a cancer fighter! This is truly incredible news.
WinoBob could well live to be 150 years old. (Maybe it's not such
incredible news for Mrs. WinoBob.)
I don't think the
government is doing enough to inform the masses. They should
require that this vital health information be printed on all wine
labels. Warning: The Surgeon General has determined
that drinking wine is good for your health. Drink with
reckless abandon. Or, better yet, they should fund some
trendy, wine-related internet web site to spread the word. I see
an opportunity here... Pack your bags, Bob and Wally, we're going
July 11, 2002
Those whacky guys at
wine.com are at it again. They just completed another round
of private equity financing. The goal this time around was only
nine or ten million bucks. That's chump change compared to the
nearly $200 million that the original wine.com blew through before going
bankrupt. (As you will recall from the many Pulitzer prize-winning
articles here on WinoStuff, the wine.com URL was bought
from the original and now-defunct wine.com company by the
financial geniuses at eVineyard.com for a mere $10 mil.) That
brings the total amount raised by eVineyard/wine.com to about $40 mil.
The inquisitive scientist
in me wants two questions answered:
1) WHAT THE HELL ARE
THEY DOING WITH ALL THAT MONEY??? I'm beginning to think they
are just burning it. Perhaps the recent forest fires in Colorado
and Arizona were just wine.com cash bonfires that got out of control.
I don't know.
2) WHY THE HELL CAN'T
WINOSTUFF RAISE A FEW MIL? I don't get it. We have one of
the brightest financial minds in corporate America on our staff along
with one of the most resilient livers on the planet and yet we have no
profits! We don't even have any revenue!
Hmmm... if Wally's not
the problem and Bob's not the problem, that just leaves...
Perhaps the Boy is right... Maybe the site is
lame... Maybe we need more idyllic pictures of
vineyards and happy people raising a glass in a toast... Maybe it IS
my fault... No, that's just stupid! But maybe it's
worth a try...
If you start seeing new
pictures and graphics on this site, you can contact me directly to find
out where you can send your
donation... er... investment.
July 20, 2002
World famous wine and
cigar- mogul, Marvin R. Shanken, recently published an editorial on
WineSpectator.com in which he calls for restaurateurs to start rolling
back the prices that they charge for wine. Way to go, Marv!
It's about time that someone stands up for the wine drinking public!
We all know that wine in
restaurants is often obscenely priced. A bottle that you can buy
at your local retail store for $25 may appear on a restaurant wine list
for $50 or more. The restaurant probably pays about $16 for this
bottle so the markup is more than 200%. TWO HUNDRED PERCENT!
Damn! Margins in my dweeb-job electronics business are single
digit at best! I feel my blood pressure starting to rise...
While Marvelous Marvin's
message to the restaurateurs is clear, his explanation as to the cause
of increasing wine prices is a bit more subtle. He states that, "As
Bordeaux prices rise, California producers raise their prices so that
the spread will not get too wide. As California prices rise, Italian
prices go up, since their producers also want to build and maintain
their international prestige. And so forth. The ripple effect on wine
prices moves into high gear!"
So you see, it all starts
with Bordeaux prices. That's Bordeaux, FRANCE. Once
again, France is the cause of all our wine-related problems. Some
Frog bastard decides to up the ante for his latest Old World style juice
and I end up paying more for my big, New World style California Cab!
I don't get it. The hell with Iraq, they don't even make wine.
We should be planning an attack on FRANCE!
Uh oh... Maybe I've
gone a little too far... My apologies. For what it's worth,
we applaud you, Marvin. Keep up the good work!
August 4, 2002
Justin Meyer, co-founder
of Silver Oak Cellars, one of Napa Valley's definitive Cabernet
producers, died of an apparent heart attack on Tuesday, Aug. 6. He was
Meyer and Ray Duncan
started the Silver Oak Winery in 1972 in an old dairy barn in Oakville,
CA. They focused on a single varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon, and
first produced a bottling from Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.
They later adding a Napa Valley wine. Total production reached
The Silver Oak cabs
helped to define the term California Cult cab. Although the
production levels of these wines exceeds that of other cult cabs by
several orders of magnitude, Silver Oak wines almost always show huge
ripe fruit; silky smooth tannins, and just the right amount of American
oak. My review of the 1994 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cab was
summed up in just one word. WOW!!!
In late 2000, Meyer sold
his interest in Silver Oak to Duncan for $120 million and retired to
spend more time with his family. Working in tandem with his son
Matt, 23, Meyer was developing Meyer Family Vineyards to make Port-style
Justin Meyer was the
founder of the G.O.N.A.D.S. (the Gastronomical Order for Nonsensical and
Dissipatory Society), a group of Napa vintners that met once a month at
lunch to drink wine and fraternize. He obviously had a good sense
Meyer is survived by his
wife of 30 years, Bonny, and their children, Matt, Chad and Holly.
Our sympathies are with them.
August 11, 2002
Wheel Inventor Retires
Dr. Ann Noble, the
sensory chemist who was instrumental in the development of the Wine
Aroma Wheel, is retiring after 28 years on the faculty of the Department
of Viticulture and Enology at The University of California, Davis.
Dr. Noble developed The
Wine Aroma Wheel in 1984 and it has been used ever since to train
students in wine-tasting classes around the world. The wheel
features an array of sensory descriptors for both white and red wines.
Dr. Noble created the wheel in order to develop a framework from which
to objectively interpret what she and her students were smelling in
Our own WinoBob was so
inspired by the Wine Aroma Wheel that he based his own Liver Function
Wheel on Dr. Noble's original concept. The Liver Function
Wheel is used by hardcore wine drinkers around the world to assess their
remaining liver function.
The Liver Function Wheel
A small piece of liver is
surgically removed from the subject wino and the color is compared to
the various pie pieces on the Liver Function Wheel. The patient
can then determine his/her remaining liver capacity in an instant.
Bob developed the Liver Function Wheel in 1990 but lacked the sobriety
to bring it to market until 2001.
The entire staff of
WinoStuff, especially WinoBob, would like to wish Dr. Noble all the best
in her future endeavors.
August 25, 2002
As you can easily see
from the graphical links along the left side of this page, WinoStuff has
gone commercial. As of this date, we have officially partnered
with industry powerhouses wine.com and 800wine.com to
bring the ease and selection of online shopping right to your door.
er... computer. That's right, we are now partners with two of the
biggest online wine and wine paraphernalia merchants in the world.
(Uh oh..., "partners" may not be the right word. I'm
sure "partners" has some legal meaning that will just get me
in trouble. After all, they are big companies with lawyers and
venture capitalists and annual reports. We are just lowly winos
with empty bank accounts and liver problems.) Actually, we have
three partners including the ubiquitous, Amazon.com.
Anyway, we are now affiliates
of wine.com and 800wine.com (at least until someone there wises up and
reads some of my old rants). This means that, with a click of the
mouse, you can pick up some nice Riedel, perhaps an informative wine
book by wino babe Andrea Immer, or even a nice California Cult Cab for
your business partner who spends so much time programming this damn web
site that his wife and kids are
about to leave him!!! Arrghhhh!!! Oops.
Sorry about that.
So, your mission, should
you choose to accept it, is to click over to one of these fine retail
...merchants, and do all your gift shopping. Birthdays, holidays,
anniversaries, Mother's Day, Arbor Day, Groundhog Day. They are
all good reasons to shop online. Purchase wine, stemware, books,
whatever. Just buy something. That's all we ask. Do it
for yourself. Do it for your loved ones. Do it for poor WinoBob.
(Liver transplants aren't cheap, you know!)
September 2, 2002
September 11, 2002
Wine Soak, eh?
It has come to our
attention that those wacky Canadians are at it again. This time,
their shenanigans involve wine (thus, the Breaking News!).
It has been reported that
more than 100 visitors a month to the White Oaks Spa in
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, are experiencing the "Nectar
of Niagara Scrub and Massage." The treatment, which costs $55 for
55 minutes or $70 for 85 minutes, uses a wine- based concoction which is
poured over the body and massaged into the skin. Customers are
then wrapped in plastic and a heated blanket for several minutes so that
the mixture can penetrate deeper. Finally, the customer is
cleansed in a hydrotherapy bath. All this, while the patrons are either
naked or wearing disposable underwear.
Naturally, we at
WinoStuff want more information about this potentially controversial
treatment. (If it's not yet controversial, we'll make
it controversial!) We need a few very important questions
What kind of wine is used for the rub?
What does the masseuse look like?
Can the client drink wine during the process?
Is the underwear boxer or brief? (or thong!!!)?
Does the treatment include the "happy ending"
(very popular in oriental full-body massage)?
Can the staff of WinoStuff get a "special"
We'll be tracking this
new, highly controversial treatment over the next few months and we'll
report back to you (maybe).
WinoBob, gas up the Bob-
mobile, we're going on a road trip!
September 12, 2002
Yes, wine fans, we have
even more positive news high- lighting the health benefits resulting
from moderate wine consumption (i.e. one or two glasses of wine per day,
not the one or two bottles per day consumed by WinoBob).
This time, researchers report that men who consume moderate amounts of wine on a regular basis
seem to have a reduced chance of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
to Dr. Nathaniel C. Briggs of Meharry Medical College in Nashville,
Tennessee, and lead author of the study which describes the
wine/lymphoma connection, "non-Hodgkin's lymphoma refers to several
types of cancer that start in the lymphatic system but often spread
throughout the body. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer in the
investigators found that men who regularly drank an average of one or
more glasses of wine per day had a more than threefold decrease
in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma risk compared with non- drinkers. Once
again, a chemical called resveratrol (which, as we all know, is a
phytoestrogen produced by grapes, and a natural ingredient in wine) has
been shown to inhibit the initiation, promotion, and progression
Briggs pointed out that the findings can't be extrapolated to
consumption of more than one or two glasses of wine per day, probably
because there are too few Bob-esque wine drinkers to investigate the
benefits at extremely high consumption levels. Briggs also noted
that the study population was restricted to men, and thus, the findings
may not be generalizable to women. Sorry, ladies.
know what you're thinking... "Is this for real? You winos are
just trying to justify your addiction." To that, I can only
respond, "How can you argue with the brain trust at the world
renown Meharry Medical College?" And, why would you
want to? Just take this information for what it is...
another good reason to relax, enjoy, and drink more resveratrol-filled
September 22, 2002
A 19 year old worker was
found dead in a 29,000 gallon fermentation tank last week at a winery
that is owned and operated by the gargantuan wine producer, Canandaigua
Wine Company. The worker had been employed at the winery for just
three weeks spokeswoman Lisa Farrell told the press. Apparently,
the worker was standing on a grating over the huge tank when the grating
gave way and he fell, Cal-OSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said.
Canandaigua Wines was
spotlighted recently by WinoStuff, having been "honored" with
the prestigious Winery of the Month award for their
groundbreaking development of unbreakable
plastic 375 ml single-serving bottles for their Arbor Mist brand of
wine-like beverage. Canandaigua is estimated to be the second
largest wine factory in the world, producing just over 1.21 gigatons of
wine per day.
In a similar accident in
July 2000, a worker at the Bear Creek Winery south of Lodi, CA was found
dead in a 20,000 gallon vat of red wine.
incidents raise a few questions that we at WinoStuff want answered!
1) What happens to the
wine that is in the tank at the time of the accident? (I'm
guessing that it's moved from the "bottle line" to the
"box line", maybe even the "375ml single-serving
2) How many workers
fall into huge wine vats each year and are never recovered?
3) What is the legal
limit for human contamination in wine? At what level can the
average wine drinker detect a little "worker" in his wine?
4) How much "human
taint" is actually blamed on TCA or cork taint?
OK, I know this whole
news blurb was in bad taste, no pun intended, but that's what we do best
here at 'Stuff. In reality, this story has made me realize that,
when my time comes, I want to go face down in a vat of red wine
(preferably a smallish vat located somewhere in the Stag's Leap area of
September 28, 2002
Harvest in Britain?
According to a recent
article by Adam Lechmere at decanter.com, "English
wine producers are looking forward to an excellent year thanks to a
perfect Indian summer." Apparently, the early growing
season in Britain was difficult this year with heavy rains in May and
June. However, the
weather in September has been fantastic according to Christopher White,
managing director of Britain's biggest vineyard, Denbies Estate in
Dorking. He indicated that the harvest would begin late in October
and 'it should be one of the best crops ever.'
What? You didn't
even know that the Brits made wine? You thought they were all a
bunch of snotty, frog wine drinking boors, unable to produce a single
bottle of their own juice? You thought that they didn't have the
weather, the terroir, or the business sense to produce a drinkable
vino of their own? (You may be right.) A little research
reveals a few reasons why those zany Brits may be operating below the
wine industry radar. Get this:
1) As I mentioned, Britain's
biggest vineyard, Denbies Estate, is in Dorking.
What self-respecting wino would buy a wine from Dorking?
2) It seems that the
Brits focus their efforts on the relatively unkown but "immensely
popular" German varietals Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner and Muller-Thurgau.
You know, there's nothing like a nice glass of Huxelrebe
except maybe a good Muller-Thurgau!!!
3) There is no number
three. I think the previous two reasons pretty well tell the story
as to why the Brits are not a major force in the wine industry. Oh
yeah, and the weather sucks.
This year about two
million bottles of British wine will be produced. Those
whacky Limeys are even considering experimenting with some radical new
varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnnay! Watch out, wine world, the
British are coming!
October 7, 2002
out, low-end box wine producers. Those whacky Australians are
planning to encroach on your turf. The heretofore well-respected
Australian wineopoly, BRL Hardy, has announced that they will be the
first to introduce "premium, vintage- dated varietal
wines" into the U.S. market in "bag-in-the- box"
packaging. The US national release of Hardy's
"Stamp of Australia" wines is planned for November. Be
calm, my anxious little taste buds...
first release of Hardy's Stamp of Australia includes a 2002 Chardonnay,
2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2001 Shiraz, each available in
"vintage-dated" 3 liter packages. (Excuse me, but aren't
we in the year 2002 right now? What did they do, ferment the Chard in
the box?) The 3 liter "box-o- primo-vino" has a
suggested retail price of $15.99. If you do the math (don't worry,
I'll do the math!), that comes out to about $4.00 for the
equivalent of a 750ml bottle. Keep in mind that this is not your
average low end wine! This is "premium, vintage- dated,
varietal wine!" Check this out... You get a
"premium" wine, the convenience of box packaging, and the prestige
of "vintage dating" all at a price that will allow you to
share a glass with everyone in the trailer park! What a deal!
US cheap wine market is not going to take this news lying down.
The Wine Group, producers of the definitive box wine, Franzia,
have been marketing their juice as a "premium" box wine for
ages. (Apparently, you must have a vintage-dated box in order for
it to be real premium box wine!) Rumors persist in
the industry of an imminent counter to the Aussie mongul hordes by the
boys at Franzia. Utilizing their Nobel Prize-winning technology
for making white zin from red grapes, don't be surprised if Franzia
launches a nice white shiraz soon (with the handy American
October 19, 2002
If you're a regular
WinoStuff reader (as opposed to an irregular WinoStuff
reader), you know about all the health benefits associated with drinking
wine. I have waxed on ad nauseum about these many benefits which
include improved heart function, lung capacity, prostate health, cancer
fighting, blah, blah, blah. It really has become the miracle drink
of the new millennium. Well, if all that isn't enough to get you
to pop a cork, get this: Wine, particularly white wine, appears to
kill E. coli, salmonella and other potentially deadly bacteria in the
stomach! I knew it! You can treat illness with
wine!!! This is too good to be true.
Apparently, Oregon State
University food scientist Mark Daeschel, has been doing some
"research" with wine. (I tried the "research"
angle, Mark. It works for awhile but they catch on sooner or
later...) Mr. Daeschel has produced some evidence that white
wine's high malic and tartaric acids, along with its high alcohol
content, attacked and killed the germs. The same results, he said,
could not be accomplished with other low-acid libations such as beer or
unfermented grape juice.
Now you would think that
a wino-genius-scientist such as Mr. Daeschel would be using this
information to promote the healthful, moderate consumption of wine,
perhaps while secretly investing in a winery. But what is Mark
really planning to do with this new info? Recognizing the glut of
cheap, unexciting, industrial plonk that is being sold as
"wine", he's trying to develop a Chardonnay-based disinfectant
to be sprayed on countertops! What??? He wants to use
the juice of the "fruit of the vine" as an industrial
cleaning agent? This is an outrage!!! (Damn, this has Nobel
Prize written all over it.) It's a... a... a
sacrilege!!! (Mark, call me if there's any money in it.)
This is an insult!!! (Note to Mark: Think "France",
think "deodorant"!) We can't let this happen!!
There has to be limits!!
So join me, fellow winos,
in a protest against this crime against the grape. Write a letter.
Call your Congressman/ woman. Get involved! We all have to
pull together on this! (Mark, a groundswell of opposition is a
sure-fire way to generate corporate interest. Count me in on the
October 25, 2002
In these difficult times,
when the threat of terrorism is all around us, we all need to pull
together to fight the threat. I was watching CNN this morning and
the news anchor was discussing the possibility of a biological attack.
The report discussed the various biological agents that might be used by
terrorists. Anthrax, smallpox and other biological agents were
identified as potential terrorist weapons. The point that I found
particularly disturbing was the fact that the US intelligence
community suspects three countries of harboring secret stashes of the
smallpox virus. Those three countries are Russia, North Korea, and
OK, Russia is the Evil
Empire. The fact that they may have smallpox is no surprise. North
Korea, Axis of Evil, ditto. But France??? FRANCE???
What the hell is France doing with smallpox??
Think about it. We
know that Russia and North Korea have the technological know-how to
safely contain the virus, probably in some cryogenic chamber closely
guarded by secret police. But France??? FRANCE??? They
probably have some old bastard in a bell tower somewhere who actually
HAS smallpox. That's their containment program. This is
The potential for this
old bastard to fall into the wrong hands is alarming. I can
imagine some terrorist organization threatening to blow up a building
somewhere in France if the government doesn't free some terrorist
prisoner. And France's response? "Please, take ze
prisoner! Take ALL ze prisoners! Take ze wine!
Take ze man with smallpox. We give up!!!"
So once again, I'm
calling on all responsible winos to take a stand. We must boycott
all things French. No more French fries. No more French
toast. No more French wines! We need to send a message to
this rogue state that we won't tolerate this behavior.
Are you with me???
November 5, 2002
Shipping News Update
law banning out-of- state wineries from directly shipping to New York
ruled unconstitutional by federal judge Richard M. Berman on November
12, 2002. New York's law, similar to 28 other states, requires
that imported liquors be distributed only through licensed wholesalers
Berman found that New York's law discriminates against out-of-state
wineries since in-state wineries can ship wine directly to New York
consumers. He concluded that New York law "constitutes a cut
and dry example of direct discrimination against interstate
Berman also ruled that the "important goals of temperance and
prohibiting the sale of wine to minors can be addressed in a
nondiscriminatory manner for out-of-state as well as for in-state
wineries, which are currently able to sell their products over the
Internet and to ship directly to homes in New York state."
Another ruling with promise. To stay current, visit our link site,
"Free the Grapes" and continue to write.
November 18, 2002
Note: My apologies to the staff of 'Stuff and to the loyal
readers. I have been in a third world country for the last week or
so and I have been unable to update the site. I'll catch up in the
next few days.
For now, here's a totally
unrelated soccer update:
HSC Arsenal U17 soccer
team from Hackettstown, NJ, defeats the Honduran U17 National Team by a
score of 1-0.
November 19, 2002
Nice Burgundy Blend??
Blending? In ze Burgundies? Sacre bleu! Blending
is for ze Americans and ze other non-French vintners! We cannot allow zis!
contraire, Frog Boy. Many Burgundians are supporting a proposed
plan which would allow vintners in Burgundy to blend Syrah, Cabernet
Sauvignon, or Merlot with their traditional Pinot Noir in an attempt to
make some of their plonk more drinkable.
Under the proposed plan, any wines which fail to earn the appellation
d'origine contrôlée label (which might be best suited for
distillation into ethanol or industrial disinfectant) could possibly be
blended with drinkable wine and sold as a new category of
wine called vins de cépage de France.
In an article posted on
the Spectator’s web site, Pierre- Henri Gagey, president of the
Syndicat des Négociants en Vins Fins de Bourgogne, stated, "We
are acknowledg- ing that some wines from AOC vineyards are not all that
good. And now and then, due
to climatic conditions or human failures, you make average wines." (Translation:
I think he just said, a) “We are acknowledging that some French
wine sucks”, and b) “If everything goes wrong in the vineyard
and the winemaker actually vomits in the wine, the worst that
France can produce is still an average wine…”)
The article in the Spec
goes on to state that “The French feel it's time for some of their
wines to compete on the same playing field as varietally labeled wines
from other places. The new rules would be more in line with regulations
in countries such as Australia and the United States.”
the French think that if they take their shit wine and blend in a
little Cabernet Sauvignon, they will able to compete with good wine from
the US or Australia. Those
arrogant little frog bastards!!! The
Burgundians also said they want the right to use oak chips and most
other methods used by their New World competitors to fashion what they
call "technological wines."
Here’s a suggestion: Stop making wine that has essence of
barnyard and horse stable!!! Technological,
So, winos, the boycott is
still on! Until we get a
little respect from Frogville, there will be no peace!!!
November 25, 2002
Top 100 Craziness
Yes, wino friends, it's
that time of year again. The Top 100 is upon us. No, not the
Top 100 Wine Sites List (on which we currently appear at number 5!).
No, it's time for the 2002 version of the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines
of the Year. Let the craziness begin.
Every year around this
time, Marvelous Marvin and the gang publish their list of the top 100
wines of the year. And every year around this time, all the
"Spec-taters" clamor into their local wine establishments,
list in hand, trying to buy up the elusive numero uno. This year
will be no exception.
The top wine on this
year's list is the 1999 E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the mere mention
of which gives our own WinoBob a certain "tightness" in his
black pants. I'm sure that WinoBob's groundbreaking expose on the
use of technology at the Guigal winery contributed to their earning of
this very prestigious honor. (See Bob's 2/23/01 Winings)
The wine is probably pretty good, too.
So, anyway, the top 10
wines of 2002 consist of 3 Frogs, 3 Italians, and 4 good old California
wines. Just for the record, here are the top 10:
1) 1999 E. Guigal CdP
2) 1999 Ch. St. Jean Cinq Cepages
3) 1997 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino
4) 1999 Pine Ridge Stag's Leap Cab
5) 1999 Whitehall Lane Cab
6) 1999 Duckhorn Cab
7) 1997 Antinori Brunello di Montalcino
8) 1997 Frescobaldi Brunello di Montalcino
9) 2000 Ch. La Nerthe CdP
10) 1999 Ch. Leoville Las Cases St.-Julien
So, my advice to all you
wine drinkers is to go out and buy up all those Frog and Italian wines.
You don't want to go near any of that California stuff. (At least
not until I've had the chance to stock my cellar...)
December 4, 2002
In a landmark decision
this week, a federal judge has ruled that out-of-state wineries can ship
their product into the state of New York. That is obviously very
good news to all the winos in New York. And trust me, there are plenty
of winos in New York.
The judge (and soon to be
Wino of the Year), Richard M. Berman of United States District Court in
Manhattan, delayed immediate enforcement of his ruling in order to give
the New York attorney general (and soon to be Douche Bag of the Year),
Eliot Spitzer, an opportunity to appeal the decision. "We are
going to appeal," said Marc Violette, a spokesman for Mr. Spitzer.
All I can say to Mr. Violette is, "What kind of a girlie name is
Judge Berman ruled on
Nov. 12 that the law, which requires wineries to sell through
wholesalers in New York State, created an unconstitutional barrier to
interstate commerce. He said it was discriminatory and was intended to
protect the wholesalers. Yesterday, he issued the ruling allowing
wine to be shipped into the state.
Opponents of the good
judge's ruling argued that "the judge has opened up New York to
unregulated, unlicensed parties, who can now ship directly to consumers
without any ability on New York's part to regulate their activities, to
prevent shipments to minors and to collect taxes." And what's
wrong with that? Some of the best parties I have ever been to were
"unregulated" and certainly "unlicensed".
The ruling is being
closely monitored throughout the country because at least 28 other
states outlaw the direct sale of wine from out-of-state vintners, and
New York State is the second largest wine market in the United States,
So, boys and girls, when
you sit down to dinner tonight, raise a glass and toast Judge Richard M.
Berman. Your state could be next. Click on the
freethegrapes.org link below and let your voice be heard!
December 12, 2002
While we wait for WinoBob
to sober up and cast his vote for the grape variety to be honored during
2003, we look around to other newsworthy events. Recently, one
news item has dominated the headlines: HUMAN CLONING!!!
Hey, I know this is not wine-related but it's HUMAN CLONING!! And
it involves the French! That alone should be enough to justify
positioning as "Breaking News!"
Now, unless you live
under a rock (or in some dank, third floor hideaway), you have seen the
reports of human cloning coming from a group known as "Clonaid".
They are claiming that an American woman gave birth to a cloned baby
girl somewhere in Europe and that mother and daughter are both doing
well. They also claim that there are five more women about to give
birth to these little clonoids.
If you saw the press
conference, you were no doubt impressed with the professionalism of the
CEO of Clonaid. Tie-died hair, mini-skirt, French accent.
All the qualities you look for in the chief executive of a "high
tech" operation. But the real story behind the story is that
Clonaid is affiliated with some religious cult known as the Raelians.
The Raelians, as it turns out, are followers of some French lunatic
called Rael. Rael claims to have been abducted by aliens in 1973
and the aliens let him in on the secret of human origin: Humanity,
apparently, is a little science experiment being conducted by the
aliens. Rael is assisting the aliens in this experiment by
fine-tuning the cloning process so that humans can enjoy eternal life.
It all makes perfect sense now... In fact, I believe I saw this
whole thing play out on The X-Files.
Just when you thought it
was safe to go back to France... Why doesn't this surprise
As disturbing as the
whole human cloning claim may be, there is a bright side to this whole
situation. If a bunch of Frog alien-worshippers can clone human
life, then matter- antimatter reactors, time travel, and actual human creation
(a la Weird Science) can't be far behind!
(Think Kelly LeBrock...)
Holidays from John, Bob, and Wally!!!
December 29, 2002