What has three stories, a nigh-endless supply of fine vintages, and a gnarly set of giant green alien tentacles? No, it's not the latest volume of a Japanese wine manga comic adventure. It's the 18th-century edifice of the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux, global headquarters of the official trade organization Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux (CIVB)!
For one week starting last Friday, the stately, svelte neoclassical building that houses the CIVB offices and the ground-floor bar Bacchus has sprouted seven slithery inflated appendages from its upper-floor windows. It's (probably) not a bid to out-weird fellow architecturally outré Bordeaux wine destination Cité du Vin just down the Garonne River. Rather, it's a sculptural installation for the 2018 Climax Festival, a celebration of art, live music, film and more highlighting—and benefiting—environmental concerns and eco-initiatives, with the World Wildlife Foundation, Greenpeace and Jane Goodall all getting involved.
One of the overarching themes at this year's festival is near and dear to the hearts and wallets of the host region: protecting biodiversity. The CIVB's giant tendrils, created by British artists Pete Hamilton and Luke Egan, are meant more to hail than menace visitors. "Welcoming this piece of art at the Maison des Vins de Bordeaux communicates an important and strong message to the public, highlighting that our winegrowers are concerned about preserving the essential biodiversity that provides health and balance in their vineyards," CIVB communication manager Christophe Chateau told Unfiltered via email. "Art is a fun, simple but strong way to connect consumers to an important subject."
At the festival's conclusion, the creature will presumably bid Bordeaux adieu and board the McLaren Vale Wine Hypercube to return to its home planet.
If you've ever been to a party that's run out of booze, you might empathize with the revelers of the Marriage at Cana, the wedding whose wine supply ran dry in what became perhaps the most infamous party foul in the Western Tradition. As the Gospel tells it, of course, special guest Jesus of Nazareth divinely transformed the soiree's water into wine—His first miracle, natch. Experts have long debated the exact location of where this shindig might have gone down, but a new discovery in the Lower Galilee region of Israel may shed some light.
On a recent dig at a site called Khirbet Qana, archaeologists discovered a network of tunnels used for early Christian worship, revealing markings and graffiti of crosses and the phrase "Kyrie Iesou," Greek for "Lord Jesus." That's some evidence this was a pilgrimage site from around the 6th through 12th centuries A.D., estimated Tom McCollough, director of excavations at the site. But there's more, and here's the real Biblical bombshell: Per the Gospel, the wine-water in question had been held in six stone jars. At Khirbet Qana, archaeologists have found an altar with a shelf that holds the remains of two stone vessels—with room for four more. Hence, a place, McCollough told Unfiltered via email, "where pilgrims reenacted the water-to-wine miracle as told in the second chapter of the Gospel of John."
Khirbet Qana isn't far from the town of Kafr Kanna, which has long been believed to be the site of the miracle, and other Cana candidates exist too. But McCollough thinks Khirbet's claim is strongest among the C/Qanas: Cana appears not only in the Bible, but also the writings of 1st-century historian Flavius Josephus, identified as a Jewish village in Lower Galilee near the Sea of Galilee, and Khirbet fits the bill. And besides, pilgrims didn't even start flocking to Kafr Kanna until vintages as late as the 18th century.
A Short Time from Now, in a Galaxy South of I-5: Wine Coming to the Disneyland at 'Star Wars' Cantina
For the first time in its 63-year history, Disneyland will be open for the Happiest Hour on Earth: News comes that the original Disney theme park in southern California will begin serving alcohol to the visitors for the first time. Star Wars (adult) fanboys and girls will be particularly happy to know that beer, wine and cocktails will be landing, specifically, at the "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" attraction Black Spire Outpost when it debuts in summer 2019. (Galaxy's Edge is also coming to Walt Disney World in Orlando, but Unfiltered readers know that Florida Disney is already in the business of Minnie-earred wine cocktails and wine slushies.)
"No self-respecting remote outpost on the edge of the galaxy would call itself a smuggler’s planet without a cantina, and Black Spire Outpost is no exception,” as a recent post on the official Disney Parks blog explained the decision. The proprietor of watering hole Oga’s Cantina is, per Disney, extraterrestrial bartender Oga Garra, which brings the count of wine aliens and supernatural beings in this week's Unfiltered to at least three.
Time traveling back to past again, over in Scotland, another set of wine-related remnants has been discovered. At the Palace of Holyroodhouse (nowadays sparkling winemaker Queen Elizabeth II's official Scottish digs), archaeologists have excavated artifacts that give several snapshots of life in Edinburgh through the centuries, good times and bad.
Most of the items were uncovered in or around the Abbey Strand buildings, which are among the earliest surviving structures in the palace complex. Animal bones, a large quantity of oyster shells and fragments of wine bottles point to the parties (and give insight into the diets) of fancy folk like courtiers and ambassadors who stayed at Abbey Strand during the reigns of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587), and James VI (1566-1625). Wine and spirits bottles, food debris and fragments of children's games likely point to how the other half lived later: Poor families occupied cramped tenements in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries. Other artifacts uncovered include a medieval shoe, a 300-year-old smoking pipe, a fragment of a 12th-century jug and an intact skeleton of a whole horse.
"The survey has provided a unique opportunity to understand more about the fascinating development of the Abbey Strand and its surroundings, and to explore how the site has been the historic and symbolic bridge between the Palace and the city of Edinburgh for centuries," Gordon Ewart of Kirkdale Archaeology, the firm that carried out the project, said in a royal press release.
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