The inaugural bubbly, a mayoral divorce, Golden Globes goodies and a wine-country murder mystery
Posted: January 12, 2005
Don't expect French Champagne to be served at President Bush's inauguration on Jan. 20. Which sparkler will be poured? The all-American Korbel, of course. The California winery, which has been around since 1882, is creating a commemorative Inaugural Cuvée of its Korbel Natural Champagne for the luncheon held immediately after the swearing-in ceremony. This is actually the sixth consecutive presidential inauguration for Korbel, which could call itself the bipartisan bubbly; it was served at events for Ronald Reagan in 1985, George Bush in 1989, Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1997 and W. in 2001.
When San Francisco Mayor and PlumpJack winery founder Gavin Newsom skipped out on last week's reception for his proclamation of Zinfandel Appreciation Week, he must have had more pressing matters on his mind. The following day, Newsom and his wife, Court TV legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, announced that they would be getting divorced after three years of marriage due to "the demands of their respective careers," but would "remain close friends." Soon after Newsom took office, Kimberly, who was previously a model and a San Francisco assistant district attorney, moved to New York for her TV career. Now San Franciscans will have to switch from gossiping about the bicoastal couple to speculating about Gavin's future love life. Known for his charm and good looks, the Democrat is sure to be the city's most-eligible bachelor.
Among the gifts being given to presenters at the Golden Globes Awards this weekend is something sure to stir any wine lover's heart: a $16,000 week-long wine vacation Down Under. Some 40 luxury trips are being given out by Rosemount Estates winery and Qantas Airlines in an effort to associate celebrities with Shiraz, or, more specifically, with their brands. Hollywood stars such as Halle Berry, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino will have the chance to tour and taste at the Hunter Valley winery, blend their own wine and keep their own personal Rosemount bottling, then spend several days visiting Sydney. That's a pretty good payout just for reading the names of nominees and winners.
And the envelope please… The finalists have been named in the 2004 Champagne Chair Contest, held by high-end furnishing retailer Design Within Reach and sponsored by Iron Horse Vineyards. The goal: to create a (mini) chair using nothing more than the materials from a bottle of bubbly (capsule, cage, cork, glass, label, etc.). The results: a whimsical assortment of designs, from an elegant folding chair of cork and wire to an undulating glass chaise lounge to a rather dangerous-looking seat made of shards. One entry (less successful aesthetically, though certainly daring) attempted to use the Champagne itself; the contestant boiled the liquid down, ending up with a black blob.
Calling all winemakers… Fox Television is searching for a family that owns a winery or lives on a vineyard to appear on Trading Spouses--the reality show in which American families with vastly different lifestyles swap mothers and hilarity ensues. Recent shows have included a loud, crude, fast-food-eating family from Tennessee swapping moms with Californians whose home doubles as a Toaist center. For a really good culture clash, we're guessing that the vintners would be paired with teetotalers in a southern state where direct shipping of wine is a felony. If your family has two parents, at least one child more than six years old and you're interested in receiving up to $50,000 (and willing to risk drinking only cola and milk for the duration of the show), call Alexis in casting at (323) 802-0586.
First, Sideways brought Santa Barbara wine country to the big screen. Now New York's scenic Finger Lakes region might get its 15 minutes of fame, in Vineyards of Death, an indie thriller that starts with the discovery of a dead body in the vineyards off Seneca Lake. Filming will begin in July, and Glenora Wine Cellars will play a central role in the film, as the victim is patterned after Glenora founder Gene Pierce, who has been urged to play the non-speaking role. The movie's producer and writer, George Boyce, who has been a documentary producer and sports broadcaster, moved to nearby Watkins Glen three years ago and is a frequent visitor to the winery. French actress Sarah Desage (who recently had a small role in Spike Lee's She Hate Me) is set to play the part of the winery owner's wife, a suspect in the case, and Boyce will play a retired New York City police detective who attempts to prove her innocence. A murder mystery may not sound like Oscar material, but who ever thought a buddy movie about a wine snob would hit the big time?
|Among the finalists were Folding Cotillion Chair by Lawrence Sasso and Shard Chair by Hans Chung