With apologies to Peter Sagal and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, today’s wine news roundup is presented in the form of a bluff the reader challenge. Today you are playing for Steve in St. Helena, CA. Spot the one fake story below, and I’ll write the footer for Steve on all his outgoing email messages!
A) It’s not news that the Chinese love of wine has been growing. But what is news is that the Changyu Pioneer Wine Co. will be building a “wine city” on 1,000 acres in Shandong province. With an expected budget of nearly $1 billion, the attraction will blend wine research, wine making and tourism including a European-style village, vineyards, an international wine trading center, and two wine and brandy chateaus that will be among the world’s largest wine and brandy production facilities. Put it on your calendar to stop by and say “ganbei” starting in 2016.
B) In the Northern Rhone, growers on Hermitage hill have long produced wines coveted around the world. Although the hill famously has panels demarcating the various vineyards, the growers there are protesting what they perceive as a blight on the visual landscape: a sixty-foot high cell phone tower that would be visible behind the hill’s famous chapel. Although operator TDF already has a tower on the hill, this new tower from Itasim has irate growers promising legal action if they cannot prevail via other means. “There’s already one tower that disfigures the landscape that is part of our national heritage,” one local official exclaimed. “Don’t make it two!”
C) Wine enthusiasts at the Olympics in London this month will have a lot to cheer about. Trying to underscore the huge strides dining in Britain has taken over the past couple of decades, authorities will be opening the taps–to wine though, not beer. Wine-in-a-keg stations will be at every venue and each pour will be explicitly priced 50p less than any beer offerings. In a backhanded blow to France, the fresh pours available will consist of Mosel Riesling, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, Semillon from the Hunter Valley, pinotage from South Africa, and Pinot Noir from British Columbia. To highlight the domestic industry, an English sparkling wine will also be on tap using a pressurized keg system developed by Ridgeview.
D) Fans of “natural wines” in Rome have more to dispair than a stuck fermentation. Authorities there have have fined a wine shop owner for a sign designating a selection of wines in his shop as “natural;” criminal charges might even be in store for the shop’s owner. The crime is consumer fraud since “natural wine” has no official meaning. The blogopshere erupted in cries of a “crackdown” and pointed out that the shop, one of Rome’s oldest dating back to 1929, is being made a high-profile example in what could be a newly aggressive stance at the Ministry of Agriculture.