TV Chef Katie Lee Brings Moët to the Oscars

Plus, Yellow Tail files suit against another Aussie marsupial wine and a headache-reducing genetically modified wine yeast is approved
Mar 3, 2011

• The Champagne-fueled film-and-television award season came to an end this past weekend with the presentation of the Academy Awards’ Oscars. Moët was the official Champagne of the Golden Globes, Australia’s Black Swan supplied the after party at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Matthew McConaughey and friends sipped Kim Crawford Pinot Noir at the recent Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. Moët & Chandon was again front and center at the Oscars this past Sunday, supplying the beautiful people with more than 1,000 bottles of Champagne (chef Wolfgang Puck and his team supplied over 1,000 spiny lobsters to pair with them at the Academy Awards’ Governors Ball at the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood and Highland Center). Celebrity chef and author Katie Lee acted as Moët’s representative, creating two sparkling wine-based cocktails for the event, Moët’s Silver Screen Punch, featuring pineapple, strawberries and ginger, and the Moët Starlet, starring tequila, elderflower and lime.

• Not everyone loves Yellow Tail, but it’s hard to deny the brand recognition of the bouncy black-and-yellow wallaby. In case you thought that was a kangaroo this whole time, don't worry, it’s a reasonable mistake. Casella Wines, producer of Yellow Tail, also seemed to think the aesthetic difference between a kangaroo and wallaby on a wine label negligible, as they recently filed a lawsuit against Little Roo producer the Wine Group LLC for trademark infringement in New York Southern District Court. The Little Roo brand, which sells for about a dollar less than Yellow Tail, shows the profile of a black kangaroo bouncing on a yellow background. Casella wines claims it "has felt it necessary to take steps to protect its iconic wallaby logo in the U.S.," and with good reason, considering they send over two thirds of their total production to the States. David Kent, chief executive of the Wine Group, told the Wall Street Journal that these types of issues are usually settled in a more friendly manner, noting, “Instead of filing a lawsuit, you make a call and accommodations are made.”

• There's a new development in the ongoing quest to find a wine that won't cause headaches: a genetically modified yeast, called ML01, was recently approved for winemaking in Canada and the U.S. The new yeast reportedly prevents the growth of bioamines in wine—substances that Dr. Hennie van Vuuren, the yeast's creator and a professor at the University of British Columbia, says affect 30 percent of the world's population and can trigger brutal headaches and flashes of pain. Until now, the malolactic fermentation that many red wines and some whites undergo was dependent on a fickle bacteria that could take as long as six months to complete its process, which allowed it time to convert not only malic acid to lactic acid but amino acids in wine to bioamines. “We’ve had experiments with a number of wineries over a number of years to make sure that it works well. I did 15 years of research with this yeast. It works perfectly, the wineries are very happy with it and that’s why we’ve started to commercialize this on a large scale now,” said van Vuuren. Consumers may be apprehensive about genetically modified technology, but van Vuuren says that wineries “don’t have to make all of their wines [with this yeast], just make some of their wines so that people can see what the benefits are. This was not a project started by one big company like Monsanto. It was started by myself, who suffers from these headaches. And I love wine.” With wine from the new yeast, van Vuuren says, his headaches are gone. In other words, he’s not just the creator, he’s a customer.

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