• Three words: Best. Invention. Ever. Hardy Wine Company, the largest producer in Australia, has introduced the new Shuttle line of single-serve bottles of Shiraz and Chardonnay. Shuttle is a 187ml acrylic bottle topped with its own acrylic glass. When the wine's screw cap is twisted open, the glass is released, so the wine can be poured into it. Shuttle has proved so popular with theatergoers--it was introduced at performances of Cirque du Soleil in Australia--that Hardy is launching the product nationwide in Australia, with plans to extend its Shuttle packaging to other wines in its worldwide portfolio. "We believe the new technology has the potential to redefine how people drink their wines the world over, particularly at sporting and other outdoor events, concerts and performances, where glassware is not permitted for safety reasons," said Miriam Leenders, the company's global marketing manager. She added that people like the idea of opening their own wine and then regulating how much goes into the glass at a time. Shuttles sell for about $4 a pop, though we'd gladly pay $20 if Hardy starts bottling their E&E Black Pepper Shiraz this way, too.
• French winemaking may be "old school," but it looks like their appreciation of wine could soon be ... elementary school. Proposal 3435, submitted in mid-November to parliament, suggests that grade-schoolers be taught--as part of the core curriculum--that habits for living a "life of good hygiene" include moderate wine drinking. The proposal, coauthored by Philippe-Armand Martin, who was born in and now represents Champagne-Ardenne for Prime Minister Jacques Chirac's UMP party, is meant to be the first step in combating the sharp decline of domestic wine sales, as well as a rise in teenage binge drinking. By schooling kids on the art of the sniff and sip, Martin is hoping teenagers will lose their taste for "alcopops," basically high-in-alcohol, fruity soft drinks, and instead grow into healthy adults who prefer to drink French wine instead. While a timeframe for folding wine appreciation into the grade-school curriculum has not been formally approached, here's the best evidence that this is a good idea: If the current mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, took wine courses as a kid, he may not have been so eager to auction off all of Chirac's wine collection.
|Pierre Schaedlin's still cooking at Le Cirque ... if you're actually there to eat rather than to be seen.|
• What kind of holiday gift do you buy someone who doesn't like decorating the Christmas tree? Or lighting the menorah? Whose idea of fun is airing grievances in front of an aluminum pole? Fear not. For the third consecutive year, Grape Ranch owners Dan and Jack Whiteman in Okemah, Okla., are offering "Festivus, a wine for the rest of us." (Festivus is the imaginary holiday created by George Costanza's loopy father, Frank, in an episode of Seinfeld in 1997. The idea of airing grievances next to the Festivus pole apparently spoke to many Americans, because a company in Milwaukee makes poles to order.) This year's Festivus release is a 2003 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, as the Grape Ranch currently buys grapes from California while it waits for its own 15 acres of estate vines to mature. Offbeat wines seem to be Grape Ranch's specialty. It also makes Hallowine, Beat Texas! Wine (to celebrate the annual Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns football game) and a Woody Guthrie Folk Festival commemorative wine. So be on the lookout for Arbor Day, Tax Day or Tu Bishvat wines.
|If the pasta's made using Cabernet and you drink Cabernet with it, do you live forever?|
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