• Wine collectors might have a reason to rethink their cellar organization system. Regions and vintages could take a backseat to racking bottles by month—January through December—because Playboy Enterprises is dipping its toes into the wine market. Following the success of their 2006 collaboration with Marilyn Wines, the company has recently announced its new wine of the month club, offering well-respected labels such as Miss February 1962 and Miss July 1964. Each bottle will have a different photo label featuring a Playboy cover from the 1960s and 70s, arguably the magazine's classiest decades. And oh, right, the wine! Playmates for this project include Schug, Janzen and St. Supéry, and apparently the wine in each bottle is meant to reflect the qualities of the specific cover model (though we find it hard to imagine writing a tasting note using the terms blond, blue-eyed and busty). Now, if they only offered a wine collection that used text from vintage issues of Playboy as labels, because everyone knows the real reason to subscribe to the magazine is for the articles.
• Drink wine, fight global warming—that's what California's Trinity Oaks Vineyards wants you to do. The winery has recently partnered with the non-profit organization Trees for the Future, which has planted 50 million trees in Central America, Africa and Asia since it was founded in 1988. As part of the winery's "One Bottle, One Tree" campaign, for each bottle of Trinity Oaks wine sold during the next year, Trees for the Future will plant one tree. Since the program began on July 1, the group has planted more than 500,000 trees, a figure that could result in removing an estimated 22,500 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, which is the equivalent of more than 2.25 million gallons of gasoline emissions. We'll drink to that.
• Some residents of Marino, Italy, got a big surprise recently as they did their daily cleaning: wine, not water, poured out of their home faucets during the annual Sagra dell'Uva harvest festival. According to a report from the London Daily Telegraph, the wine had been meant to flow from the Fountain of the Four Moors in the main square, a tradition for this festival that dates back to 1573, but engineers mistakenly sent the wine flow into nearby homes and a bar on the square. Though attendees waiting by the fountain were disappointed, all was not lost, as those homeowners who noticed the wine coming from their taps made sure to fill as many containers as they could before the error was corrected.
The stamp that's being held in the same low esteem as war crimes imagery and pornography by the French postal service.
• France appears to really have it in for the wine business. Unfiltered recently reported on the French crackdown on online alcohol advertisements, and now it appears that the postal service is the next target of the national temperance movement. La Compagnie des Vins, a Gascony-based wine distributor, has had its personalized stamp pulled out of circulation by La Poste. The stamp, featuring a woman with grapes in her hair holding a glass of wine, was deemed illegal, right up there with images of war crimes or of pornography. "In the current climate, winemakers or merchants are considered more dangerous than cocaine dealers," said Christian Termote, manager of La Compagnie des Vins. This month, according to local newspapers, disgruntled vintners plan to protest the absurdity of their plight by covering up signposts in those French villages bearing the name of an appellation, to indicate that the mere mention of Châteauneuf-du-Pape or St.-Emilion could soon be considered illegal.
• When winegrower Bobby Fetzer died in a tragic river rafting accident in 2006, his wife, Sheila, and their two sons, Ben and Jake, took a temporary hiatus from winemaking. This year, the family is back, fulfilling Bobby Fetzer's lifelong dream to make a wine of his own. In 1992, after Fetzer Winery had been sold, Fetzer bought 1,500 acres in Mendocino County, where he eventually planted 40 acres of Pinot Noir. He named the vineyard Masút, from the Pomo Indian words for "rich, dark earth." Although the family had a go at making small lots of wine from their grapes earlier this decade, it was only this year that they were able to turn their fruit, with the help of friend and mentor, Greg LaFollette, into a wine they felt was worthy of the Masút name. Jacob and Ben plan to release 400 cases of their first bottling, a 2008 commemorative labeling dedicated to their father, in the winter of 2009.
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