Stage 6 of the Tour de France wrapped up today with Belgian Greg Van Avermaet keeping the coveted yellow leader's jersey for another day. The annual bike race through some of France's most beautiful (and distracting) wine country is a perennial Unfiltered favorite—in what other sport does the Champagne start popping before the race is over? There was a bit of a wine-based kerfuffle prior to this year's tour, however, as winemakers in France’s Aude region threatened to block the race route after learning (a bit late) that Viña Cono Sur's Bicicleta has had a sponsorship deal with Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organisation since 2014.
The French vintners were outraged that their national race was being sponsored by a Chilean wine, but cooler heads prevailed. Christian Prudhomme, head of the Tour, met with vintners and assured them they were free to promote their own wines along the Tour route. To celebrate this year's partnership with the Tour de France, Cono Sur created three special-edition labels featuring the art of cycling-obsessed illustrator and printmaker Eliza Southwood. Longtime readers will recall that this isn't the first time a bicycle-themed label has caused a stir, but the controversy turned out to be a sales boon for the banned-in-Alabama Cycles Gladiator. Maybe Cono Sur should have picked an artist specializing in nudes …
Though we prefer to drink our wine, Unfiltered is no stranger to vinotherapy, or the use of wine as part of a wellness or beauty regimen. We've seen this trend in grape pomace spa treatments, grapeseed oil cosmetics and even NBA player Amar'e Stoudemire's "healing" red-wine baths.
The newest innovation comes from celebrity hairstylist John Blaine and his hair-care collection, Vine de la Vie. Blaine, who styles burlesque star Dita Von Teese and has worked on a long list of movie and music-video shoots, touts the beautifying power of wine in a line of shampoos, conditioners and other styling products. The Vine de la Vie website claims that its products use "wine extract," which contains "ultrahigh levels of polyphenols." Wine-based polyphenols have been credited with a wealth of health benefits, from staving off disease to preventing aging. According to Blaine's site, the wine-based hair products "combat aging and cellular breakdown of healthy [hair] cells." Unfiltered finally has a good explanation for that bottle of wine sitting in the shampoo rack.
At the first Farmworker Recognition & Donor Appreciation Luncheon last week, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation recognized vineyard workers and thanked donors for providing opportunities for more than 10,200 Napa Valley vineyard workers. Graduates of the program’s English Literacy Program and winners of the 2016 Napa County Pruning Contest met donors at the Solage Calistoga Resort for the event, which was supported by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) nonprofit organization.
Rep. Mike Thompson presented the awards and addressed the farmworkers, telling them, “You’re the make-it or break-it in our [Napa wine industry] profession.” The NGV started the Farmworker Foundation in 2011, and through it has raised more than $3 million for quality-of-life programs that promote health and safety, literacy, personal finance and leadership skills for the region’s vineyard workers. Arnulfo Solorio, a foundation board member and Napa farmworker since the age of 14, said at the event, “My dream is that all farmworkers can speak, read and write English, learn basic math skills and acquire leadership and viticulture skills for professional development. Education is key.” One of the English literacy graduates, Roberto Juarez, studied while working at Moulds Family Vineyard. “It has been hard to learn English because I have to pay attention to my family and my work, but in the end it feels fantastic,” he told Unfiltered. “I feel like there are no limits.” Juarez' goal is to get a degree in viticulture.