Prohibition, Puritanism, NYC harvest, remembrances — sipped & spit

SIPPED: Prohibition
PBS has a three-part documentary airing next month about Prohibition. It’s directed by Ken Burns and based on the book “Last Call” by Daniel Okrent. Fire up the TiVo to see the battle of the “wets” vs the “drys”: the first episode is entitled “A Nation of Drunkards.” [WITF]

SPIT: Puritanism
Professor Lena Brattsten has offered a wine appreciation course to Rutgers undergrads for twenty years. And for twenty years, it has had an outlandishly long wait list. Remind me: Why aren’t there more undergraduate wine classes? []

SIPPED: Manhattan harvest
A blogger joins what is perhaps Manhattan’s only grape harvest, 350 pounds from a single labrusca vine on the UES dubbed Chateau Latif. [Treehugger]

SIPPED: a Riesling rap
“My Riesling’s so tasty/I drink it so hasty/because it plays well with sausages in their casings.” [youtube]

SIPPED: remembrances
A touching piece that balances the pleasure of learning about wine with the horror of 9/11. [esquire]

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7 Responses to “Prohibition, Puritanism, NYC harvest, remembrances — sipped & spit”

  1. > Why aren’t there more undergraduate wine classes?

    The short answer is that most college undergrads are under 21.

    The more important answer is that colleges already have too many trivial courses which do nothing to enhance employment chances and in fact diminish their academic reputations.

  2. Dan Okrent’s ‘Last Call’ is infinitely superior to any other book on American Prohibition since J.C. Furnas’s ‘Life and Times of the Great Demon Rum.’ It’s beautifully written–Okrent is a long-time prose master on the order of John McPhee–and his book is funny, scary and instructive on this exercise is good intentions gone far, far awry by setting off the greatest crime wave in American history.

  3. I forgot to add that I recommend reading the book imnstead of watching the TV series. Burns will probably turn this into his usual simpering pap.

  4. Hi Wolfshield, True that the 21-year-old age limit would restrict the class to mostly seniors. But as Prof. Brattsten’s class demonstrates with 200 people vying for the 50 slots, there’s still no lack of demand.

    While some parents might object to paying liberal arts rates for a course, I still think there’s something to be said for making it available to these young drinkers. Also, to your point about enhancing employment prospects, certainly a wine course on the transcript would not likely generate employer interest. But if the other items on a job applicant’s CV got them in the door, what they learned in a wine class might just impress during a lunch interview. Americans of all ages are getting into wine, which can be approached from many perspectives and what’s in the glass is just one of them.

  5. Hi Bill, Yes the Okrent book is good and I’m glad it found a broad audience–for a book. TV has a much larger reach (even PBS) so I for one am looking forward to seeing what Burns does with the material.

    It is interesting that while the book jacket touts the PBS series, the Burns page does not cite the book as a key source of material.

  6. How far do the roots of insecurity go before policy-makers actually think of prohibition…?
    Thank God the pictures come in sepia today.

  7. The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, has a class called “the idea of wine” and the professor, Mike Veseth writes a great blog called the Wine Economist. ( that is great.
    I, of course, went to the cross town rival (Pacific Lutheran and 20 years ago…) and we had no wine classes…


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