A mayoral proclamation on wine, screw-capped grands crus and a wine Walk of Fame
Posted: January 5, 2005
If San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was looking to do something less controversial than holding gay marriages at City Hall, then he hit upon a perfect affair: the declaration of Jan. 24 to 30 as Zinfandel Appreciation Week in San Francisco. The official proclamation, issued on Jan. 4, recognizes Zinfandel as an "embodiment of the history and heritage of California" and San Francisco as the "principal departure point for Zinfandel shipments throughout the world." Not by accident, Zinfandel Appreciation Week will coincide with the 14th annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) festival, four days of Zinfandel tastings and winemaker dinners being held in San Francisco. Some 100 vintners turned out to witness the proclamation ceremony, where Ravenswood founder and ZAP board president Joel Peterson pointed out that "no other American city has honored a grape this way."
Another wine company in Burgundy, that old bastion of tradition, is topping some of its best whites with screw caps. Last year it was Jean-Claude Boisset and Alex Gambal who made the turn away from cork by releasing small amounts of screw-capped wines. Now Jean-Marie Guffens, owner of négociant firm Verget, tells us that he is sending 3,500 cases of screw-capped 2003 white Burgundies--including wines from top appellations such as Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne--to the United States. What's next? Grand cru Burgundy in a box?
Hollywood has its Walk of Fame, soon the town of Dundee, Ore., will too. Dundee Bistro, owned by the Ponzi family of Ponzi winery, is installing an Oregon Wine Walk of Fame to honor the state's top winemakers and other industry supporters. Last month, the first 25 honorees, nominated by wineries across the state, stomped their bare feet into wet concrete at the walk's premiere event. This spring, diners who stroll through the bistro's courtyard will see the footprints and engraved names of Willamette Valley luminaries such as pioneers David and Diana Lett of Eyrie Vineyards, David Adelsheim, Dick Erath, Susan Sokol Blosser and Ken Wright. Maybe it will become a pilgrimage site, just like Hollywood Boulevard, where Oregon wine fans will pose for photos at the feet of the masters.
K-J goes hip-hop? Kendall-Jackson announced that it will be sponsoring musical festivals, concerts and other events this year as a way to get its name in front of audiences. While many of the events will take place in Sonoma or Mendocino counties, look for K-J at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, given to the top artists of the year, in Las Vegas next December. Hip-hop artists Usher and OutKast were among the big winners at the 2004 awards; pop stars Ashlee Simpson and Britney Spears also took home honors. Maybe the company can get Britney to switch from Pepsi to Chardonnay.
Police in Bellevue, Wash., are looking for tips on a suspect who allegedly stole nearly $3,500 worth of wine from a QFC store on Dec. 10. Video surveillance photos show a man who walked into the store, twice, and removed a total of eight bottles from the high-end wine vault. Among them were Château Latour 2000, Château L'Evangile 2000, Guigal's 2001 La Mouline and La Landonne and Dal Forno Romano Amarone 1998. While wine thieves often try to resell the bottles to unscrupulous restaurateurs or retailers, or to collectors over the Internet, given the timing of the theft, perhaps this one was just looking for some gifts for discerning family and friends.
In the aftermath of the tsunami tragedy, members of the U.S. wine community have begun informally pitching in to raise funds to aid victims. Among those we've stumbled across is a collector who has been auctioning wines online (among them 1995 Yquem, 1997 Phelps Insignia and 2000 Léoville Las Cases) at WineCommune.com, promising to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Red Cross or another charity of the buyer's choice. The seller's explanation: "I wanted to do something." And California retailer Gary Moffat is holding an "Aid to Asia" sale at his Carpe Vino store in Auburn. He is offering discounts on more than 90 end-of-bin and under-$10 wines through Jan. 8 and will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the American Red Cross for the relief effort. Moffat, who traveled extensively in Asia during his former career as publisher of a Hong Kong-based telecom journal, says, "This is a disaster I'm taking personally."
|Stomping cement instead of grapes for a Wine Walk of Fame