Unfiltered

A little wine-shipping humor, Robert and the giant corkscrew, and what to serve when you honor George Lucas
Jun 29, 2005

• Earlier this month, VIPs and politicians toasted the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on wine shipping in the most appropriate manner possible: They threw a party. Oasis Winery in Virginia hosted the celebration, and among the more than 500 in attendance were ambassadors, state legislators, U.S. Congresspersons, former members of the band Journey and American Idol judge Randy Jackson, who performed at the event. Look-alikes of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe each made a toast, followed by another from Oasis owner Tareq Salahi. But before he could get too far into his speech, five UPS deliverymen charged the stage, each holding digital clipboards and packages containing wine. "Sir, I need to check if you're 21," one of the deliverymen told Salahi. "Do you have ID?" Before the party could commence, Salahi had to produce his driver's license and sign for the package.

No shovels needed at a Mondavi groundbreaking.
• …and boy, are their arms tired. For last week's groundbreaking ceremony for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food at the University of California, Davis, the Mondavi family had just flown in from France the day before, where they had been attending Vinexpo. Robert had been holding court at the massive trade show, despite the heat wave in Bordeaux. Delia Viader (Viader proprietor and Tim Mondavi's companion) expected Robert to be tired, but said admiringly, "He's always full of surprises." Tired arms or not, Robert had no problem twisting the 4-foot tall corkscrew sculpture (based on a design by his wife, Margrit) that was used, instead of a shovel, to break ground. He went at it like someone opening a bottle of his favorite wine (or like he was thirsty). Unfiltered wanted to see him go at the giant fork and bottle opener next.

This one's for you, Robert.
• Among the guests at the groundbreaking was one of Robert's contemporaries, UC, Davis, professor emeritus Harold Olmo, internationally acclaimed grape geneticist and authority on grape identification, who will turn 96 next month. "I hope I make it to 100," said Olmo. Also on hand were industry notables such as professor emeritus Carole Meredith, another grape geneticist and cofounder of Lagier-Meredith winery, Fritz Maytag, Ronald and Diane Miller of Silverado, Quintessa owner Agustin Huneeus Sr. Attendee Robert Pellegrini of Pellegrini Family Wines of Sonoma is helping to raise funds for the facility by selling bottles imprinted with "I helped build the UC Davis Winery." For every $125 purchase of a half-case of the specially labeled Pellegrini Family wines, the winery will donate $50 to UC, Davis. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch, a major donor to the center (which will research fermentation of all types), produced souvenir Budweisers with commemorative labels noting the event and the date. Whoever would have thought you'd see the Mondavi and Bud names on the same bottle?

Wise in the way of wines you are, George.
• Use the force, Frank. Not only does Rich Frank have the power to influence the film industry, he can determine what the stars drink. The owner of Napa's Frank Family Vineyards is also chairman of The Firm talent management agency and vice-chairman of the American Film Institute. So when the American Film Institute got together this month to give George Lucas a Life Achievement Award, all the A-list celebrities there were drinking--what else?--Frank Family wines. Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss and others sipped Chardonnay Napa Valley 2003, Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2000 and Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. Frank even got Lucas to pose with a bottle. It would have been funnier if he had held it like a light saber. Maybe next time.
Unfiltered

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