• The cast and crew of Eat, Pray, Love, the upcoming film based on the memoir of the same name written by Elizabeth Gilbert, spent this past week wrapping up their press junkets in Napa Valley, and numerous California wines were on hand for the celebrations. Both the press junket and the after-party were held in Napa at the foot of Mount St. Jean at the estate of John and Barbara Witt. The Witts were thrilled to host the stars of the foodie film and pulled from their cellars some bottles of the Witt Estate Repartie Merlot 2004 made with grapes from their 6-acre vineyard. The events at the rustic modern rammed-earth estate were organized by Napa-based location and production company Scout Napa Valley, which tapped numerous California wineries to provide the libations. Our West Coast spies tell us the stars in attendance—Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup, Richard Jenkins and director Ryan Murphy—were treated to Domaine Chandon Étoile Rosé and Brut, Mumm Brut Prestige, Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc 2008, Lail Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Spring Mountain Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Del Dotto Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2007, Roundpond Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and a Hill Family Estate dessert wine. “[Eat, Pray, Love] is a celebration for the world of the senses and emotions; the wine’s presence [at the events] this past Friday continues Mr. Mondavi’s legacy for celebrating food, wine and the arts as an integral part of gracious living,” said Robert Mondavi Winery winemaker Rich Arnold.
• Meanwhile, our East Coast correspondents had their eyes on the Mezvinsky-Clinton wedding. At the rehearsal dinner, Marc Mezvinsky gifted his soon-to-be father-in-law, President Bill Clinton, with two sentimental bottles of Scotch. Two bottles from Chelsea’s birth year were handed over, Scott's Selection Glen Elgin 1980 Highland Cask Strength Whiskey and Scott's Selection Glenrothes 1980 Highland Cask Strength. Two sparkling wines from Kluge winery in Charlottesville, Va., brought cheer to tables at the wedding reception. Kluge owner Patricia Kluge was represented by her 2007 Blanc de Blancs and a sparkling rosé, both believed to be the personal choice of the bride and groom. Although vendors and caterers are remaining mum on their involvement, guests reported that they were offered several vegan and vegetarian dishes. (Chelsea has reportedly gone meatless for more than a decade and took tutelage from White House chef Walter Scheib on preparing vegan meals. Not one for half-hearted efforts, she studied under Scheib for six weeks prior to leaving Washington for Stanford University.) Guests were also served gluten-free rolls, and the wedding cake, from La Tulipe in Westchester, N.Y., was also gluten-free. Carnivores and fish lovers, however, were not neglected: The menu also included Atlantic char and short ribs. It was quite an affair for the small town of Rhinebeck, N.Y. and its Astor Court, where the wedding was held, but potentially disgruntled residents were treated to an olive branch of sorts from the Clinton family. This past Friday, many of them received a bottle of Clinton Vineyards Tribute Seyval Blanc along with a note, apologizing for the inconvenience brought upon the town and its residents by the wedding of the century.
We just hope she doesn't take the secret of Sir Walter Raleigh's lost English settlers to the grave with her.
• Earlier this year, a contract worker on Roanoke Island in North Carolina was hired by the Virginia-based Dominion Power Company to spray herbicides on vines or shrubs that threatened the company’s power lines. So when the eager worker came across an enormous grapevine whose tendrils were creeping up one of Dominion’s poles, he dutifully sprayed the heck out of it. Unfortunately, the vine, known as the Mother Vine, is a historic treasure, believed by some to be nearly 500 years old. The vine was reportedly planted by Croatan Indians of the region who made a wine from the white Scuppernong grapes they cultivated on the island. Within days of its herbicide spraying, the vine’s leaves started turning brown and dying, sending experts from Virginia Tech and the North Carolina state department of agriculture scurrying to Roanoke Island in an all-out effort to save her. Jack Wilson, whose family goes back in the region for 11 generations, built his home on the land where the vine grows in 1957. At the time his family bought the property, the canopy of the massive vine, supported by posts and arbors, covered some 2 acres, but has since been trimmed back to just half an acre. Wilson alerted authorities as the dying leaves began to spread from the vine’s periphery toward its trunk. Experts recommended fertilizing and watering the vine in an effort to stimulate new growth on its undamaged portions, while cutting off the dying sections in an effort to prevent the spread of the poison. Hang in there old girl.