Red wine powder, fraud, art exhibit, Lance – sipped and spit

trekneatrougeSIPPED: Desperation!
The Swiss water purification company, Katadyn, has a wine-like product for non-discriminating, thirsty trekkers. They market a red wine powder that hikers can take on the trail, add some of their purified water, and voila, wine! Only they won’t call the 8% alcohol drink “wine,” mostly because the association of Chianti producers has complained. Katadyn’s defense: “We are well aware that we’re not even permitted to call the product wine. No grapes were used in its production, it’s simply a product that is flavored to taste like wine.” Coming next year: powdered beer. [Der Spiegel]

SPIT: family relations
Gary Heck of Korbel has sued his daughter, Richie Ann Samii, for defamation in postings on Craigslist. She denies the allegations in the Sonoma Press Democrat. The two are also involved in legal maneuverings over a multimillion dollar stake in the company.

SIPPED: fraud
Why do the empty wine bottles that fetch the highest prices on eBay correlate with those that are the most expensive and presumably authentic when full? An academic study (in progress) suggests counterfeiting. [Freakonomics]

SPIT: fraud
Researchers at the University of Bourgogne in Dijon have developed a way to track the barrels used for aging a wine: using a mass spectrometer. Each forest has an identifiable fingerprint for its lumber and that can be traced for 10 years after leaving the barrel. The researchers suggest that it could prevent fraud in wine, passing off a less expensive wine as a pricey one. But perhaps its best use might be to track whether the barrels came from the same pricey forest they claim to be from–or a low cost competitor. [New Scientist]

SIPPED: Wine paraphernalia on display
The Art Institute of Chicago has a two-month exhibit called “A Case for Wine: From King Tut to Today.” They describe the exhibit as the first of its kind at “tracing this beloved libation’s surprisingly significant role as a stimulus and source of artistic endeavor.”

SIPPED: red wine in the Tour
And if you were third overall in the Tour de France, what would you imbibe the evening before the rest day? Check out Lance Armstrong’s tweet for his answer: “Made it to Limoges…Gonna have dinner, drink a glass of red wine, talk to my kids, and crash out!!” Hopefully it was the real deal and not the powdered “wine.”

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9 Responses to “Red wine powder, fraud, art exhibit, Lance – sipped and spit”

  1. We were flattered to be invited to the opening of “A Case for Wine” and particularly enjoyed the small details. There are more cherubic, drunken toddlers in 16th and 17th century art than would be allowed today. It’s worth a visit and walk through the new Modern Wing, if only for the architecture.

  2. When you’re riding at the level of Tour de France, your metabolism is so efficient and cranked up, you could drink a bottle every night and hardly notice it.

  3. Good on him for enjoying a glass…I also remember when Amelie Mauresmo said that she was most happy about winning a major ( I think it was the Aussie Open) because she could now open an old bottle of d’Yquem that she had been saving for such a celebration. Nice to see.


  4. How does the powdered wine have any alcoholic content? Powdered ethanol doesnt exist, so do they bind it to a powder to create an alcoholic gel? You could just eat that on its own for a real kick

  5. Philip –

    Good point. And what about the tax consequences? And the children?

  6. Good ol Wikipedia:

    “According to food chemist Udo Pollmer of the European Institute of Food and Nutrition Sciences in Munich, alcohol can be absorbed in cyclodextrines, a sugar derivate. In this way, encapsuled in small capsules, the fluid can be handled as a powder. The cyclodextrines can absorb an estimated 60 percent of their own weight in alcohol.[1] A US food patent has been registered for the process as early as 1974.[2]”

    But, what happens if you only add half the required amount of water? It’ll be 16% alcohol (and potentially sludgy) – thats as strong as an Aussie Shiraz

  7. Ah, the “A Case for Wine” exhibit, also known as, what people drank wine from before Riedel. Too bad I’m not getting into Chicago any time soon.

  8. Does anyone have any more info on the Powdered Alcohol? I have been trying to research it and come up with the same results, most of which comes from wikipedia.
    I do know that hte Netherland Students are trying to target under age (16 yrs) with the Powder. And The US has only one manufacturer (Pulver Spirits) and it is scheduled to come out this year 2010.

    Anybody have more info?

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