• Hot on the spikes of fellow Hall of Fame golfer Jack Nicklaus, 10-time LPGA major championship winner Annika Sorenstam is stepping up her wine game. In July, Sorenstam will introduce Annika Vineyards Chardonnay 2008, her first white wine made in conjunction with Karl Wente of Wente Vineyards in California’s Livermore Valley. The Annika Chardonnay joins the 2006 Syrah that Sorenstam released last year, also made at Wente Vineyards. Sorenstam’s association with the Wente family began after she visited Wente Vineyards' own public golf course, designed in partnership with another veteran golfer turned vintner, Greg Norman.
Someone in Monterey County needs to seriously dial back their grape yields.
• The Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association (MCVGA) was one of 44 businesses across the country awarded a Rural Business Enterprise Grant by the USDA’s Rural Development program last week. What are they going to do with their $99,000 take? At least a portion of the grant will go toward a series of eight "cutout" roadside murals that pay homage to the regional roadside art traditions of the 1930s when, as part of the New Deal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration to employ out-of-work artists painting murals on civic buildings and signboards around the country. Most of those murals are gone today, but Monterey artist John Cerney has been painting billboard-sized cutout murals of people that grace fields and storefronts all over Monterey County for the past 22 years. Cerney’s apprentice, Dong Sun Kim, is designing and painting the MCVGA murals, which will ultimately be installed along Highway 101 from Chular to King City, a stretch that passes through Salinas Valley, the heart of Monterey County's wine country. The purpose of the murals, according to Rhonda Motil, executive director of the MCVGA, is to draw travelers' attention to the fact that they are driving through the heart of Monterey wine country and to provide signs directing them to wineries and tasting rooms. The remaining murals will "capture the essence of the region," Motil said.
Finally, the one size fits all Champagne bucket.
• Father's Day is this weekend, and if Dad happens to be one of those wine lovers that have everything, Sotheby's might be able to help you out. A 162-pound English silver wine cistern from the early 18th century will be sold at Sotheby's London next month (estimated value: $2.8 million). The cistern is larger than a laundry bin, reaching more than four feet across at its widest. It was commissioned by Lord Raby Thomas Wentworth, who received a silver allowance from Queen Anne to commission such works in efforts to dazzle visiting ambassadors. The basin was crafted by Philip Rollos, one of the most celebrated goldsmiths in London at the time, and engraved by his son, John, with the crest of the queen. Unfiltered can't think of anything more worthy of chilling those Methuselahs of Champagne we've been saving for a rainy day.
• Long before we taste our first wine of the day, Unfiltered takes our morning coffee. While we appreciate both beverages, we hadn’t ever considered marrying them, but one researcher at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology is blurring the line between the two. Patricia Arguedas is fermenting "wine" from the red fruit, or "cherries," of the coffee plant. The fermented drink reportedly has more antioxidants and organic compounds related to health benefits than wine made from grapes. Arguedas is also making candies and energy bars from the coffee plants and, thanks to a grant from CENIBOT, a biotechnology firm, she'll be able to continue refining the products. While we'll reserve judgment until we've tasted the experimental libation, we admit that Arguedas might be on to something considering the cult following that Costa Rica’s coffee beans have earned.
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