Sommeliers can be “surprisingly” highly paid

Bloomberg TV has a quick hit on five “surprisingly high-paying jobs.” Number five on their list is a “master sommelier,” who, they say, citing nobody in particular, can earn “up to $125,000 a year.”

But keep putting the nose to the limestone, somms: the piece says phone sex operators can earn $160k.

Yes, I saw the shoe video

So the latest “uncorking a wine bottle with a shoe” video is making the rounds on Facebook. I know because tons of people who aren’t that into wine has sent it to me. Apparently, I’m not alone as it topped 100,000 views in just a couple of days. Now in its sixth day on Youtube, it has 850,000 views. And media outlets such has the Telegraph, Daily Mirror, and are still writing about it.

In brief, Chateau Mirabeau in Provence put together a nicely done, 50-second clip (above) showing how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe in lieu of a corkscrew. Intrigued about this method a few years ago, I tried it myself–and found it to be a Croc. Nonetheless, I compiled the ne plus ultra posting about “opening wine with a shoe” videos. Consider it something to send back to your friends who have shown an interest in the subject. icon wink

Someone asked if this method will aerate the wine. I’m not sure about that. But it will doubtlessly give the wine a lot of sole.

Napa Valley’s next generation of deer hunters, Porsche racers

skeleton robots wine The SF Chronicle has a piece on the next generation of Napa Valley vintners. Here’s a snippet of what they’re up to:

Young, ambitious and eco-friendly, with hobbies like deer hunting and Porsche racing, the next generation of California’s wine heirs is coming of age…

Ah, yes, eco-friendly Porsche racing! Funny, with this lot, you think they’d be Scions. Anyway, there’s more:

[Loren] Trefethen had been watching TED talks and attending Summit Series events, invite-only weekend escapes at a private ski resort, and he decided to host his own event series. The Trefethen Table, as he calls it, is a dinner series curated by Trefethen and Hebb. Guests – like Gary Friedman, the CEO of Restoration Hardware, and Ido Leffler, the founder of SayYes – sit around an enormous tabletop and discuss previously arranged topics, like the art of conversation, the ocean, health and “the paradox of density.”

And now he wants to make a reality TV show out of these talks.

Janet Viader: “We get together once a month, and there’s some laughing and joking. Every now and then it’s a bitch-fest about working with family.”

“Alex Kongsgaard works for his family’s winery and on the side makes a line of wines he calls Skeletons vs. Robots (an Albarino and a Zinfandel). He draws the labels himself with a Sharpie.”

“Will Harlan came home to Napa after trying his hand at a price comparison startup. In October, he debuted Mascot, a cheaper version of his family’s high-end wine (Harlan wines can go for $750 to wine club members; the Mascot costs $75).”

So much win! Check out the full article for an inside look at this rare breed.

France to organic wine grower: spray or pay

flavescence doree Should a grape grower who practices organic viticulture be forced to spray pesticide? In the face of a bacterial malady hitting vineyards in France, the Ministry of Agriculture has decided the answer is yes.

And the New York Times editorial page is on it. Well, on it four days ago when I was under a snow bank.

INRA, the French state research institute for agriculture, has a very good page (en anglais) on the “highly contagious” and “incurable” bacterial disease called flavescence dorée (aka FD or yellowing disease). Transmitted by the leafhopper (Scaphoideus titanus), it has been affecting vines in France (and elsewhere) since the 1950s. The leaves yellow, the grapes shrivel, and the crop for that plant is lost. Forever. It can be difficult to detect, hence the directive that requires the spraying of Pyrevert, a pyrethrin pesticide.

Emmanuel Giboulot, an organic grower in Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, is facing a 30,000 euro fine and six months in jail if he doesn’t spray his vines that so far haven’t shown any signs of FD. A Facebook support page for Giboulot popped up appeared and now has almost 35,000 likes.

The Times argues that “The law requiring such use in Burgundy is not only bad policy, it is terrible publicity for French wine.” While the policy question is a tough one, there’s no denying that it is horrible PR for French wine. Certainly other countries have FD and may mandate spraying as well but they have not been put under the spotlight. Probably because their authorities haven’t threatened to lock up the dissenters.

Baby needs beers & wines

baby needs wine

While this photo isn’t worth a thousand words, it might be worth a chuckle. Consider it for all the punctuation hounds out there.

Duckhorn sues over Duck Commander wines

duckhorn If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and drinks like a duck, then it must be Duckhorn.

Such appears to be the logic of Duckhorn Wine Company, which has sued over the Duck Commander wines. The controversial Phil Robertson, who recently got suspended (or not really?) from Duck Dynasty, was not named a party to the suit. Trinchero Family Estates is a defendant in the suit, as is Wal-Mart where the wines are line priced at $9.99. Duckhorn Merlot sells for $54 a bottle.

What do you think: valid mark infringement through a case of customer confusion? Or is Duckhorn seeking to simply get it’s name out there during the discussions of the popular TV show? Read more…

White wine with…anchovy gelato?!?

gelato Anchovy gelato and white wine? Wait, someone makes anchovy gelato??

The Times has a story about a handful of “all-natural” gelato shops in Rome that are bucking convention and trying to boost year-round sales. Their strategy? Make savory flavors (such as anchovy, smoked salmon, pepperoni or gorgonzola) and even do wine or beer pairings, particularly to drive sales and interest in the frozen treat during winter months.

The story mentions Claudio Torcè of Il Gelato who estimates only 30 shops in Rome–out of 2,500–use “all-natural” ingredients. The author speaks with Andrea Puddinù, one of Torcè’s students who runs Il Gelato Bistrò. He pairs savory flavors of gelato with Champagne or prosecco as an “alternative to the classic aperitivo.” Marco Radicioni of Otaleg pairs craft beers with them, such as Moinette Belgian blonde with artichoke gelato.

So just in case you thought savory gelato was…impossible…to pair with wine, there are a few brave souls braving the cold to do it. Have you ever attempted the pairing? Would you, could you in a boat, with a goat?

War on wine gadgets

corkcicle e1387901383451 It’s that time of the year: Merry War on Christmas, everyone!

If Fox News were to channel its resources to a vinous purpose, they could do well to declare a war on wine gadgets. Fortunately, Marketplace picks up the slack in the Marketplace Morning Report today. In it, the reporter tracks down a shop manager who admits he’s not wild about wine aerators but he stocks them (and more!) nonetheless because people want to give them as gifts! The same gent has actually placed a moratorium wine paraphernalia from his family after he got a ceramic dog that holds a bottle of wine.

I agree there are so many useless wine gadgets, such as the corkcicle (right). Keep that long, probing thing out of my wine bottle–oh, my! Why not just give a bottle of wine to a wine-loving friend? So much the better if you can share it together.

Merry, merry!


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