The Goose Is Coming to America

Plus, South Carolina becomes the last state to abandon dry election days, Ornellaia's artist series raises $1.3 million for the arts, and more
Jun 12, 2014

• Like most South African vintners (Ernie Els, David Frost, Gary Player …), Retief Goosen, the owner of the Cape's The Goose Wine Estate, is also really into golf. So much so that he's currently prepping for the U.S. Open, a tournament he's won twice before. Goosen's winery and tasting room in the Upper Langkloof Valley even features a tee box. Until now, however, The Goose didn't fly in the U.S., but that's all changing next week with the launch of Goose Wines USA, which will bring Goosen's Upper Langkloof Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz ($20 each), a Western Cape Pinot Noir and the winery's flagship Expression bottling ($40 each) to the States. “We started the wine business and The Goose label in South Africa in 2005," Goosen told Unfiltered via e-mail. "It has been a very interesting and exciting time till now, but we are starting to grow locally and globally as a boutique winery … We are very excited and bullish about the opportunities in the U.S. market and look forward to the feedback." Unfiltered just hopes this whole U.S. Open thing doesn't become a distraction.


• South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley passed legislation this past week ending the state's pre-Prohibition ban on election-day alcohol sales. South Carolina had been the last state in the union to enforce the archaic law (though Kentucky repealed the same ban in just 2013; West Virginia in 2011). “These bans literally date back to an era when saloons often served as polling stations and it was common, even expected, to serve drinks for votes," said Jay Hibbard, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, in a statement. "Repealing the ban on election day sales will give adult consumers the kind of modern convenience they expect in the 21st century, whether they’re celebrating election returns or mourning them.” Hibbard cited recently calculated estimates that the election-day bans cost $1.1 million in revenue to South Carolina stores, and $105,000 in tax collections to the state treasury. Unfiltered suspects a few of S.C.'s old-guard Republicans were glad to buy themselves a stiff one Tuesday night.


• Tuscany's Tenuta dell’Ornellaia has commissioned Canadian artist Rodney Graham to create the labels for the 2011 vintage of its annual Vendemmia d’Artista project. The first release of the bespoke Ornellaia 2011 bottles go under the hammer by Sotheby’s at Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto June 12, with proceeds going to the museum itself. The auction includes eight special bottles by Graham, and it follows the official unveiling of Ornellaia’s collaboration with the artist in Milan this past month. Graham designed a numbered series of labels for 111 large-format bottles (100 double magnums, 10 imperials and one salmanazar) by interpreting infinity, the quality the winery said characterizes the 2011 vintage of Ornellaia. To capture the theme, Graham created poems that were printed on the labels, then collected them in an art book titled Short Poems of Merit. A numbered and signed art book accompanies each bottle. Vendemmia d’Artista, the art project Ornellaia launched with the 2006 vintage, aims to revive the Renaissance tradition of artistic commissions by asking one artist each year to interpret the distinctive theme of the vintage. All funds raised by auctioning the creations are donated to international programs supporting art, and the project has generated $1.3 million thus far.


• The southern French are invading New York this month, but fear not—much wine will be poured and a good cause supported. “We are taking over the city on boats and on double-decker buses," executive director of Sud de France Développement in the U.S. Marianne Fabre-Lanvin told Unfiltered. "We do a block party, we do wine tastings and classes." June marks the sixth annual Sud de France Festival in New York, which set sail Monday with a boat trip around the southern tip of Manhattan featuring the region’s wines and a shrimp cassoulet prepared by chef Paul Liebrandt of Brooklyn's Elm. “Being that we’re on a boat on the Hudson in the middle of June, I didn’t want to do duck legs and Toulouse sausage," explained Liebrandt of his unorthodox variation on the Languedoc’s signature dish. Proceeds from Monday night's voyage and each of this month's 10 Sud de France wine classes will benefit Wheeling Forward, a charity for the disabled founded by sommelier Yannick Benjamin, who is paralyzed from the waist down. “We met Yannick many years ago," Fabre-Lanvin said. "Very logically we want to help his organization."


• This weekend, Sonoma's Sessions family and Hanzell Vineyards invite the community to a celebration of the life of Bob Sessions, who died in May at age 82, on Sunday, June 15, at Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall.

Artists Collecting Auctions Charity Events Legal and Legislative Issues Sports Golf Unfiltered

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