• California wines, owing perhaps to their proximity to Tinseltown, continue to enjoy appearances in some of this year's biggest feature films. Last month it was the characters from Forgetting Sarah Marshall downing lots of Clos du Val, and now we hear that Chimney Rock Elevage played a small part in the film version of Sex in the City, which debuted in theaters last weekend. Winemaker Elizabeth Vianna explained that the wine made a cameo in a dinner-preparation scene between Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth (last seen by Unfiltered weighing in on Australian wines, and rainbows, on a web TV show produced by Penfolds). Note to eternal bachelors and would-be brides: in the film, the couple decide to get married while drinking Elevage, so bear that in mind the next time you're picking out a bottle for dinner at home.
Posh has a dreamy-eyed look here— maybe she's thinking about how many acres they'll plant to Cabernet.
• Sure, some professional soccer players make loads of money, but who can really spend it like Beckham?David Beckham, the injury-prone L.A. Galaxy soccer player, has reportedly purchased a vineyard in Napa Valley as a birthday gift for his wife, Victoria (better known as pop star Posh Spice, a member of Britain's Spice Girls). The vineyard, according to British reports, will be managed by a private company, and cost Beckham upward of seven figures. The purchase may be a popular topic of discussion in the tabloids, but Beckham's publicity machine is trying to downplay it. Beckham's British publicist, Simon Oliveira, said he couldn't comment on the purchase, citing "privacy and security reasons," and Beckham's L.A. rep Glenn Lehrman refused any comment on the subject. Unfiltered tends to believe news of the purchase, since we know already that the couple are fans of wine, including Spanish reds and whatever varieties help a person bulk up their slender frame.
• Does no one like jugs anymore? Some might call it the end of an era. The Wine Group announced last week that the iconic, value-priced California wines Inglenook and Almaden will no longer be sold in 3- and 4-liter glass jugs. Instead, wine drinkers looking for a lot of wine for a little money can buy either of the wines in boxes. The move was an environmental one, the company claims. Putting the wine in airtight bags inside cardboard boxes makes them lighter and easier to transport, saving 11 million pounds of packaging a year and reducing the carbon dioxide produced during production and transport by 60 percent, according to the company. Both brands have a long history in California—the original Almaden winery was founded in 1852, while Inglenook was started in Napa in 1879—but both lost their high-end image when they were sold in the 1970s and converted into low-end, high-volume products. For the handy, thrifty and nostalgia-prone among you, Unfiltered suggests holding on to your remaining wine jugs and turning them into furniture, as first suggested by fellow jug wine producer Carlo Rossi.
TerraCycle's rotating compost barrel: a great gift for Dad—unless he's expecting it to be full of wine.
• Speaking of environmental initiatives… California wine giant Kendall-Jackson goes through more than its share of oak barrels to produce their signature Chardonnays. In an attempt to dispose of retired barrels in an eco-friendly manner, they've teamed up with TerraCycle, a company that turns trash into treasure. The company is now repurposing the barrels into spinning compost barrels and rain collection drums, available in a handful of houseware retail chains for around $100 apiece. In addition, TerraCycle recently launched a wine cork program, in which bars' and restaurants' expelled wine corks are collected, sanitized and used to make cork boards for use in schools, homes and offices.
• Are wine and beer overtaking Tang as the space beverage of choice? First we heard that, this fall, Japanese brewery Sapporo plans to launch 100 bottles of "space beer," produced from barley whose seeds spent five months on the international space station in 2006. Then we heard the news that Navy Commander Kenneth Ham would be the first astronaut to take Schramsberg bubbly into space, which brought to mind sabered corks and futuristic Champagne bottles floating through outer space. Well, not quite. You can imagine our disappointment when we discovered that Ham only planned to bring corks and labels—no wine—on the Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-124 14-day mission, which launched May 31. Each astronaut on the flight was permitted to bring an allotment of personal items, and while most chose to bring sports memorabilia, Ham, perhaps because he was unable to find a bobblehead or jersey for his favorite sparkler, elected to bring the next best thing. And even though it appears that a bubbly toast at zero gravity is limited to the realm of science fiction, Unfiltered still would like to know how J. Schram would pair with Emeril Lagasse's and Alain Ducasse's freeze-dried space cuisine.
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