Always at concerts and festivals and frequently making surprise appearances at bars; smooth and sessionable yet sometimes surprisingly piquant; and absolutely, unswervingly, adored by fans around the world—Dave Matthews could perhaps be called the rosé of rock. But it wasn't until this year that the veteran musician-vintner actually decided to release his own rosé under his Dreaming Tree label of California wines.
Dreaming Tree has always been a charity label, raising $1.5 million for environmental and sustainability efforts since 2011, but proceeds from the rosé have an even more specific, though objectively large, beneficiary: the rhinoceros.
"I love rosé, so it was about time [winemaker] Sean [McKenzie] and I did one for The Dreaming Tree," Matthews told Unfiltered via email. The 2018 retails for $15 and is primarily a blend of California Pinot Noir and Grenache. "It’s easy to drink on a warm Virginia evening or a California night." (Matthews also owns a vineyard and estate, Blenheim, in Charlottesville, Va.)
Rosé bottles, adorned with an original Dave doodle of a rhino and benefiting the International Rhino Foundation, are being sold as a "pairing" to the just-released Dave Matthews Band Rhino's Choice album of live tracks, though beloved hit "Crash," thought to have been inspired by the mighty rhinoceros (??), is not on the playlist.
"We’re glad that the wine can raise awareness and funds for the rhinos," Matthews said. "It’s not just about trying to save the rhinos from extinction, it’s also about being aware of the world around us."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has heard the cry of thirsty constituents in his native New York: "What do we want? Wine in cans, like beer! When do we want it? At the beach, or Yankee Stadium!" So Schumer ventured up to the Finger Lakes last week to give remarks at Fox Run Vineyards in support of local winemakers hoping to loosen what they consider burdensome and antiquated packaging rules that have made it difficult for them to can their wines.
Currently, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)’s regulations prevent wine from being sold in the standard 12-ounce can—the format of your regular Coke, PBR, Bud Light, Genny Cream Ale—you name it. Instead, wineries must use 12.7-ounce cans, the equivalent of 375ml or, if they opt for 8.4-ounce (250ml) cans, those must be sold in 3- or 4-packs. It's a Prohibition-era holdover involving metric versus Imperial units, but today, it means small wineries have to spend extra time and money to procure hard-to-get can sizes.
"TTB is leaving New York’s wine industry hanging on the vine, with outdated rules and restrictions stopping it from reaching its potential,” said Schumer. Not known for punning in moderation, the senator continued, "Take these regulations that aren’t helping anybody and can ‘em, and uncork the full potential of the Rochester-Finger Lakes region."
“This is mostly about convenience,” Fox Run owner Scott Osborn told Unfiltered via email. “I have always felt that people who love good wine want to be able to drink it when and wherever they can.”
For you legislation-minded drinkers who also want wineries to be able to sell canned wine in more and varied sizes, the TTB is listening: Comments are now open for a rules change that would allow just that, on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking No. 182: Elimination of Certain Standards of Fill for Wine.
The fuel of beloved American pastimes like Slap the Bag and Tour de Franzia, it seems like boxes of Franzia have been around and standing tall since college ... no matter when that was. That's mostly true: Since the 1980s invention of the 5L bag-in-a-box, the brand has basically taken an if-it-ain't-punctured approach to any notion of rebranding the iconic white box.
Now, for the first time in 35 years, according to a rep from The Wine Group, Franzia has not only a new ad campaign but a new box. This summer also brings the return of Franzia's Homes of Our Heroes charity campaign, which has raised nearly $70,000 in three years for the Fisher House Foundation providing housing to veterans' families.
The new "Little Franz" 500ml TetraPaks are one-tenth the size of a Franz "Regular" and come in Chardonnay, rosé, Pinot Grigio and "crisp white." The new release “expands the many ways consumers can approach Franzia,” a TWG rep explained to Unfiltered via email, and the "Franz for Life" ads offer some more specfic suggestions. The Golden Girls parody, of sorts, set to the tune of "Thank You for Being a Franz," features friends gathering around a Thanksgiving table to pair charred turkey with Chardonnay, or friends hitting the hiking trail with boxes of wine strapped to their backs. The campaign, and the charity push, run through the end of this month, with a new video expected to drop in 2054.
If you're jonesing for another red, white and blue holiday to celebrate, Bastille Day is just around the corner, and Thomas Keller, Napa’s own French cuisine chef, is throwing a fête for France’s national holiday at his Bouchon bistro in Yountville on Saturday, July 13.
“Over the years, the [Bouchon Bastille] event has grown and new dishes have been introduced, but the spirit of the event has stayed the same: to further the celebration of France and French traditions in America," Keller told Unfiltered. Classic dishes and innovative bites will include Bouchon's purple-stained coq au vin with lardons, button mushrooms and pearl onions; and ham and Gruyère crêpes. A raffle of Keller experiences and other goodies will benefit Yountville Elementary School. If you're in town, get tickets and savoure!
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