Unfiltered

More wineries line up for the Oscars, a casting call for winemakers and how to work wine into a beer holiday
Mar 1, 2006

• Last week, we filled you in on the wines that Sterling Vineyards and Clos du Val are pouring at Academy Awards events. Just like actors desperate to get their hands on a golden statuette, other wineries are vying for a share of the spotlight on the night that half the world will be watching Jon Stewart ... er ... the Oscars. Not to be outdone, Laurent-Perrier Champagne is celebrating its 10th year of Oscar involvement with its Grand Siècle being served at the preshow reception and at the Governors Ball. The winery also claims to be the only Champagne included in this year's exclusive gift baskets. Meanwhile, Elton John will be pouring Perrier-Jouët Fleur de Champagne for guests at the 14th annual Academy Awards Viewing Dinner and after-party to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. And St. Supéry will join Clos du Val in the EXTRA Awards Lounge along with other Napa wineries, including Joseph Phelps, Oakville Ranch, Paraduxx and Schramsberg. And those are just the ones we got press releases about. We hope there's at least one more coming about the 151-proof rum cocktails for those whose names don't follow the words "And the winner is …."

• California wineries Cole Bailey, Coniglio, Judd's Hill, Peacock Family and Smith-Madrone picked the right year to participate in an offer for a wine-and-cheese tasting added to the gift baskets for the presenters and performers at this year's Academy Awards. After an exhaustive search, Unfiltered couldn't find that any of the recipients had ever checked themselves into Betty Ford-like facilities. The only presenter who even comes close is Sandra Bullock, who starred in the rehab flick 28 Days (not to be confused with the zombie movie 28 Days Later), so everyone can happily imbibe. But with past presenters including the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Courtney Love, it's always nice to be sure that a good PR move won't go wrong.

• Everyone has a dream. For some, it's American Idol or The Apprentice. For others, it's embodied in a forthcoming PBS reality series called The Winemakers, on which contestants will compete for the opportunity to launch their own wine label. More than 75 potential candidates showed up recently at Atlanta's Fox Theater to audition for one of the six spots on the show, which was announced last year and will be filmed in California's Paso Robles wine region. "We had Wharton Business School grads, Harvard grads, doctors, nurses and writers," said Kevin Whelan, president of Doc City Productions, which is developing and producing the show. "We had an Atlanta restaurateur, a wine writer, an entertainment attorney, folks that did a rap about Paso Robles wine, a guy who played his guitar and sang a song about Paso wines. And our judges grilled them all." Future casting calls, which Whelan says are being run along the American Idol model, are slated for Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Paso Robles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. (Visit www.doccitytv.com for dates.) "We expect upwards of 250 candidates in San Francisco and New York City. We're also planning to hold casting calls in London, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo," said Whelan, who also plans to market the series overseas. So you still have plenty of chances to take a shot, if you're passionate and knowledgeable about wine. It probably wouldn't hurt if you can sing like Kelly Clarkson too.

• It's March, which means that rowdy Irish holiday is right around the corner. To help you celebrate, Sonoma sparkling-wine producer Korbel is putting the "ick" in St. Patrick by introducing a new cocktail it calls St. Pat's Magic. The recipe calls for one sugar cube to be placed in a shot glass with just enough Blue Curaçao to cover it. Then, in a Champagne flute, you make what amounts to about half a mimosa (4 oz. Korbel Brut with a splash of orange juice). Add the contents of the shot glass to the flute just before serving. The entire drink, the winery claims, will keep its fizz and slowly turn green. That is pretty much what many people end up doing themselves at St. Patrick's Day celebrations anyway. Nevertheless, we have to give Korbel credit for offering a wine-based alternative to guzzling green beer all day. Now if they could just do something about those paper leprechaun hats ….

Unfiltered

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