A footballer's wife, the death of the roogle, glowing glasses and some serious cellar spending
Posted: March 15, 2006
Football legend Joe Montana usually gets most of the press, but his wife, Jennifer, should be credited with her husband's involvement in wine. Now she will be adding some glamour to a new TV show called On the Vine, which debuted on PAX TV in the San Francisco Bay area on March 12 and will eventually air in other wine-centric cities. Montana, who hosts the show's visits to high-profile wineries, says she learned her love of wine from her mother, then introduced her husband to wine when they met 20 years ago. "We've been collecting ever since," she says. Producer George Chung says the half-hour show covers a lot of territory. Each episode provides wine picks and tips and also visits a winery to talk to the owner or winemaker, a top restaurant to get wine recommendations for three dishes and a nearby attraction. The first season focuses on California and features 20 wineries, mostly in Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties. Among them are Far Niente, Peter Michael, Quintessa, Rubicon and Schramsberg, along with restaurants such as Bistro Jeanty and PlumpJack Café. Although Chung says his target audience is women ages 25 to 60 who are learning about wine, Unfiltered is guessing the blonde, attractive Mrs. Montana, a former model, will give male viewers a reason to watch, too.
When U.S. importer Dan Philips teamed with Australian winemakers Sparky and Sarah Marquis to make Marquis Philips wines in 2000, they designed a symbol for the label that had the head of an American eagle on the body of a kangaroo. They called it a roogle. Looks like the roogle is a dead duck. The partnership is kaput, and in the aftermath the parties are suing each other in Australia. Philips has formed a new company that plans to continue the highly promising Marquis Philips brand and add other wines under a new chief winemaker--Chris Ringland, who also makes Rockford, RBJ and Greenock Creek wines. The Marquises also have a new brand, Mollydooker, which is set for release in the United States later this year.
Here's a bright idea. Researchers at MIT have designed wine glasses that light up when touched. A novel concept, but in today's tech-savvy world that just isn't enough. The point of these glowing glasses, dubbed Lover's Cups, is to allow long-distance couples to drink a glass of vino together. When one person picks up a glass, say in New York, the corresponding glass, say in Los Angeles, will start to glow. In turn, when the L.A. glass is filled and sipped from, the glass in New York will illuminate in kind and vibrate. The magic of romance? No, the glasses, which will be unveiled at a computing conference in Quebec on April 27, "talk" to each other via the couple's home wireless Internet connections. And the stemware is filled with light-emitting diodes, the technology that makes digital clocks glow. Since the LEDs don't use a filament to burn, no warmth is transferred to the glass. "We thought the drinking-together interfaces would help people to be closer, because by drinking with other people, people can lower their barriers, relax themselves, feel that they are sharing their time and thus enhance the communication and social interaction," said one of the researchers, Hyemin Chung. Of course, if you don't pick up the glass promptly, it leaves your "better half" wondering if you're hanging out at a bar instead.
|This cellar does just about everything you need--and things you never knew you did.|| |
If you're the sort of person who has up to 1,100 bottles of wine lying around, chances are you can afford to spend $35,000 on a place to store them. At least that's what GE is hoping for with the launch of its new Monogram Wine Vault, available nationwide this summer. Aside from mundane features like temperature and humidity controls, the 8-foot by 8-foot by 8.5-foot room comes complete with redwood racking and a 15-inch touch screen that can tell you what you have in the vault, where it's stored and what kind of food will match well with each wine. You can also input plenty of data yourself, and since the cellar-management system is connected to the Internet, you can add ratings and aging information. What you shouldn't do yourself, though, is try to install the vault. GE claims that it's a full-day job for a team of four, which a certified Monogram dealer will be all too happy to arrange for you. But once it's ready, you can even use the system for one of its ancillary purposes, such as telling your party guests how tall your wine collection would be if you stacked each bottle end to end. If you do this, however, there's no guarantee that the dealer will extricate you from the vault after your friends lock you inside.
|Have a spare $80,000? That'll get 15 CPW condo owners access to their own private tasting room.|| |
So a GE Monogram is bush-league to you, eh? In that case, you probably own one of the condos under construction at 15 Central Park West in Manhattan, right near the AOL Time Warner Center. Well, for just a few bucks on top of the purchase price (the units run up to $45 million), you can also buy one of the 30 personal wine cellars in the basement that are being designed and built by David Spon
. The cellars, with 10-foot-high ceilings and central temperature and humidity control, will range in capacity from 900 bottles to about 4,000 and in price from $80,000 to $200,000. As a bonus, you'll have use of a central, octagonal tasting room with exposed beams. "It's going to have more of a rustic feel," says Spon, who normally designs high-end rooms for private homes. Coming from him, the cellars are a bargain. "Most of my projects run somewhere between $200,000 and $500,000 per room," he explains. "The cabinetry generally runs from about 40 or 50 grand to about 130." Spon estimates that 15 CPW's $2 million storage area will require roughly 40 tons of wood and that fabrication of the cabinetry will take nearly a year and installation about three months. Lest you think you're top dog for having the penthouse suite and the biggest cellar, this week in Greenwich, Conn., Spon is finishing his biggest-ever project at a private home--a 9,000-bottle cellar for which the cabinetry alone cost $200,000.
|What more can we possibly say?|| |
We've seen a lot of oddball wine labels and wine names, but this one has reached a new level altogether. The folks who brought us Screw Kappa Napa
have introduced yet another wine named after its closure: Plungerhead. Some explanation is in order. For several months, the new Zork closure
--a rubberized stopper that offers all the advantages of a screw cap, but with a sleeker look--had been passed around the office at Don Sebastiani & Sons. "We called that thing the plungerhead for a while here, before we really knew what it was," says Donny Sebastiani, the company's marketing director. But once they came to like it, they decided to use it to top their new 2004 Dry Creek Zinfandel ($14), of which a couple thousand cases were made. The wine is part of a new division of the company that will soon be releasing more small-volume, appellation-driven wines, including a Mendocino Pinot Noir. Given that the company has already been experimenting with glass stoppers
, Unfiltered is waiting with baited breath to see what the next name is.