Archive for the 'giveaway' Category

Poetry slam: wine education for kids [giveaway]

In our recent discussion of wine education for kids, two readers thoughtfully provided translations of an Italian rhyming verse (“Filastrocca del vino”) that is used in some Italian elementary schools.

foodie_babiesBut we can’t let the Italians have all the fun! You are hereby challenged to come up with some sort of poem–be it a limerick, haiku, rhyming couplets or full-on iambic pentameter–about wine for kids in America. It can be descriptive of the current state of wine education to kids or focused on grapes, wine or consumption. It may be adopted in classrooms across America!

Whatever you choose to do, post your rhyme/poem in the comments below by next Monday. To whet your whistle, there will be a prize: Foodie Babies Wear Bibs, the sixth in a series of children’s board books by none other than Mrs. Vino. Have fun with it! (The winning entry will be the one that makes her laugh the most; prize can only be sent to a US address.)

Make your own robotic wine video! [contest]

There have been a couple of videos about the wine business circulating recently. They both have used a site called xtranormal, which allows users to select a scene, type text, chose camera angles and music to make a short video.

If you have been dying to make your own wine “movie,” now is your chance! Whip up a short video (about a minute) and paste the link in the comments here by next Monday. Then we can vote from short list of finalists next week. Check out the above video for instructions!

Besides the heapings of glory, the top vote getter will win a copy of my book, A Year of Wine! So just when you thought you might get some work done after Labor Day, surf on over and get started at (Btw, I found that the editing only worked in the Safari browser.)

Giveaway: Au Revoir to All That by Michael Steinberger

51vrbop5pll_sl500_aa240_At the G8 summit in the UK in 2005, reporters overheard Jacques Chirac murmur about the British hosts to some fellow world leaders, “One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad.”

The irony of this comment was not lost on Mike Steinberger. In his new book, after noting that London is now, actually, a great food city, he turns the tables on Chirac, saying, “Where once the mere mention of food by a French leader would have elicited thoughts of Gallic refinement and achievement, its invocation now served to underscore the depths of France’s decline. They’ve even lost their edge in the kitchen.

Mike is probably best known to wine geeks as the wine columnist for But in Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France, available on Amazon today, he broadens his focus to include food, specifically, haute cuisine in France. Unlike much food writing, which is prone to sometimes excessive praise, Mike takes up the task of analyzing the decline of French food through the lens of a love lost. Imbued with nostalgia and occasional bafflement at the new French ability to turn gold into lead, Mike wolfs down raw milk camembert and praline mille feuilles, talks with leading chefs and restaurateurs, probes the inner workings of the Michelin Guide, cross examines bureaucrats, journeys to Spain, has a glass of water with the head of McDonald’s Europe, meets a struggling vintner who sold his house in order to keep his winery, and contemplates the lack of ethnic diversity in French restaurants with a Pakistani-born chef.

It’s a meaty tale that provokes thought and stimulates the palate: wine and food lovers will want to savor it this summer.

Thanks to Bloomsbury, the publisher, we have three signed copies of the book to give away to readers of this site. To qualify for the drawing, hit the comments below and tell us where you had your best (or at least a great) meal, restaurant and city. If you’re not feeling in an haute cuisine spirit, tell us about your favorite street food experience. Enter by Thursday to qualify; randomly selected winners will be announced here on Friday morning.
UPDATE: Slate has just posted an excerpt about “How the Michelin guide crippled France’s restaurants.”

Port by another name – the finalists! Vote now!

What can we call port-style, fortified wine made here in America? Thanks to your over thirty suggestions, we now have finalists!

Unfortunately, names with the letters “port” (or “porto”) are not legally allowed. I was thinking of suggesting “Corto” since it is a contraction of California Porto (and, in a double entendre, also the venue where producers could be sued as in “see you in corto.”). But, alas, intellectual property law takes a dim view on items that have a similar look, sound or meaning (see, for example, Microsoft vs. Lindows even if Microsoft did have to pay in the end). Thanks to winemaker Jeff Stai for pointing out the legal difficulties for making his fortified wine, Pig Stai.

So without further ado, here are the finalists for your voting! And remember, they are playing for a bottle of USB donated by Peltier Station in Lodi, California. They were suggested, in order, by SB7, Benito (Trop is port backwards), Lillac (Treading with bare feet is often used in making the best ports), and Mark Ashley. Voting remains open through Friday!

What should we call port-style, fortified wine made in America?

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On a related note, nobody suggested “Turley.” But in a California wine shop I visited last week, the owner kept a 1997 Turley zin right next to the 1970 Fonseca.

Port by another name – but which? A giveaway

In 2005, the EU and US reached a bilateral accord to end a round of negotiations that had lasted twenty years. One of the significant parts of the agreement was that American wines could no longer use place names such as Champagne, Chianti, or Port on new wine labels (for the complete list, see the press release).

While labels that had used the terms previously were grandfathered in, what’s a new wine label to do? Such was the problem that confronted Peltier Station, a winery in Lodi that wanted to release a port-style wine from Zinfandel grapes last year. They knew they couldn’t call it “port” so they decided to call the wine simply USB hoping that consumers would make the connection (aha!) with that and the USB ports found on computers. Just to drive the point home, the back label reads, in part “United States Bureau for trade signed an im____ant agreement with the European Union to protect ____ugal’s geographical indication of this type of wine….”

Peltier Station’s idea was clever and, after getting a mention on, the wine sold rapidly. But is there an equally clever name that producers of port style wine could call their product in general? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The top suggestions will be selected for your voting and the winner will win a bottle of USB ___, courtesy of Peltier Station. Take your time to think of an idea this week and next Monday; we’ll start the voting next Tuesday.


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