Start with two dashingly handsome and charming British actors, toss them into an Italian villa, add wine. That's the recipe for The Wine Show, a new docu-series starring The Americans' Matthew Rhys and Downton Abbey alum Matthew Goode as they taste and learn about wine from around the world. The show debuts this spring on the U.K.'s ITV network.
Both men claim to be wine novices (though any good Downton fan knows Goode drank his fair share of claret while dining with the Granthams, and perhaps even tippled on the official Downton Abbey wines). Rhys, however, claimed in a press release, "I'd never tasted wine before this show—my father always locked it in a cupboard marked 'Illicit.'" Rhys might be setting off our hyperbole detector, but the clips we've seen suggest a fun beginner's approach to wine that could appeal to a wide audience. "The series is about wine through and through, and there’s not an ounce of snobbishness, thank goodness,” Goode promises.
It's hard not to share in the enthusiasm when Goode exclaims "Knock me down with a feather!" after tasting a rosé from India. But the show also features wine educators who choose bottles from around the globe to entertain and enlighten Rhys and Goode. The show also teaches food-and-wine pairing with the help of a dozen chefs, tasked with creating dishes to complement the wines. Viewers will also have the chance to taste along with the Matthews as they learn: The featured wines will be available for purchase through Amazon.
Blackberry Farm announced this week that Mary Celeste Beall will take over in her late husband Sam Beall's role of proprietor for the Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning restaurant in Walland, Tenn. Sam Beall, who had been proprietor since the early 2000s, died Feb. 25 from injuries sustained in a skiing accident in Colorado. He was 39.
“Mary Celeste has been a significant contributor to everything from retail operations to architecture, interior design to wellness and art events," read a statement from Blackberry Farm. "She was an integral part of the development of the Wellhouse, and is now leading the monumental event center project.” Blackberry Farm, once a family residence, has been in the Beall family since the 1970s, and Mary Celeste is committed to continuing Sam’s vision.
The California wine industry is coming together once again this Sunday in St. Helena for the #LakeCountyRising Valley Fire Relief Charity Wine Auction. A group effort by the Lake County Winegrape Commission, the Lake County Winery Association and the Lake County Wine Alliance, the auction will support long-term rebuilding efforts in Lake County after this past fall’s devastating wild fire in Lake County.
Auctioneer Fritz Hatton will be assisted by Andy Beckstoffer and Rep. Mike Thompson. Lots up for bid include a dining experience for three couples at Meadowood, a 2016 Polaris Ranger EV off-road utility vehicle, a live-auction lot comprising 100 bottles of Napa Valley wine, a San Francisco Giants experience for 12 in a luxury suite filled with Napa wines and foods, and lunch for four at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, among much more. The auction will be held Sunday, March 20, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Vintner’s Hall of Fame at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. Advance registration is required, and the $150 tickets may be purchased online at LakeCountyRising.org. Online bids are also being accepted for some lots through the website.
Marin County winemaking pioneer Susan Korol Pey—who with her husband, Jonathan, forged uncharted wine paths in this cool, damp region of California—died March 1 at the age of 52. Drawn by the myriad volcanic, maritime and alluvial soils, the Peys believed that the cold climate and unique soils were ideal for grapegrowing. The couple established their first label, Pey-Marin, in 1999, with grapes from their vineyards northwest of the tiny hamlet of Nicasio, and were the first to plant Riesling in Marin County.
Pey’s career began in hospitality, working in California and Europe. Pey settled in the Bay Area in 1984 and began working as wine director for Spectrum Foods restaurant group. For the past 15 years, Pey had been the beverage director for the Il Fornaio restaurant group, which includes 22 restaurants, primarily in California, winning multiple Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence. Since the Peys established winemaking roots in Marin, more than 20 wineries have followed them in planting vineyards. Jonathan and Susan started several other labels, including Textbook, focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay from Napa Valley, Spicerack for coastal Syrah, and The Forager for coastal Pinot Noir. Pey is survived by Jonathan, her three daughters, her parents and three siblings.