wine stories of the week

Friday, June 01, 2012

Tell you what... though I spend a considerable amount of time trolling the blogs and wine-related websites for the latest news stories, I never fail to dig up some that are truly bizarre and/or surprising. I could spend all my days just writing about this stuff – anyone wanna pay me for it? Didn’t think so...

So here’s a quick wrap of this week’s notables.

Today is the first day that consumers can buy their Jack Daniels and their Monterrey Jack in the same location in Washington state. Woo-hoo. The State Supreme Court weighed in with a decision just two days ago that put the final period at the end of the sentence as far as the bogonic lawsuit to default the Initiative. A patently self-serving lawsuit was overturned in both lower and higher courts. A spate of ill-researched articles in the press ran in recent days shouting about how consumers have screwed themselves, quoting prices for popular booze that seem sky high. Who knows how prices will ultimately shake out? Answer – NO ONE! But it some things are higher, some will surely be lower. Of more import is the fact that, as I had predicted early on, there will be a wider selection of interesting spirits than ever before. And small wine shops will see the big chains carrying fewer wine SKUs, making way for booze, which should open up new opportunities for the little guys to offer wines exclusively. The next thing that needs to happen is for the do-nothing Legislature to amend the law to allow small, pre-existing wine shops to carry spirits.

Let’s see... what else caught my jaded eye? Oh, Dr. Ruth Westheimer (is she really still alive?) has launched “Vin d’Amour” wines – designed, so she says, to relax and arouse the imbibers. Included are a chardonnay, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, with her pic on the label (sure to arouse something, but I’m not sure what). The alcohol is reported to be just 6% for all these wines. I don’t know about you, but if I want 6% alcohol I’m drinking beer. Which, in fact, will probably go better with the Dr. Ruth popcorn (sadly, I fear, no longer available).

The Seattle media were excited by the news that a local sommelier had achieved the near-impossible Master Sommelier certification, after EIGHT YEARS of obsessively-focused study. Can’t you become a doctor in eight years? Or at least an attorney? Seriously, I am somewhat in awe by this achievement, but also somewhat puzzled. The man who became one of just four people to pass (out of 63 who took the final exam) called the whole process “insane” according to a story in the Seattle Times. Examples of the sort of grueling questions that must be answered include such mind-benders as “name three phytoplasma vine diseases.” Jeez, I couldn’t name one for a million dollars, let alone three for a chance at a certificate. Please don’t hammer me on this – I do not mean to demean the achievement. I truly admire the dedication and sheer willpower on display to get this certification. But really... does it in any way enhance anyone’s enjoyment or appreciation of wine to parse things down to such a micro-learning level? To dedicate eight solid years to wine wine wine? Maybe it does, and I just don’t see it. As for me, I still enjoy drinking a bottle of well-cellared wine without knowing about the phytoplasma that may or may not have impacted it.

1 comment:

Plymale said...

Well put on the WA state liquor issue.

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