Visitors traveling to Washington wine country may soon find it easier to know when they've arrived. The city government of Prosser is considering erecting a 100-foot-tall water tower shaped like a wineglass. The town, located in lower Yakima Valley near such wineries as Hogue Cellars and Willow Crest, needs a new tower for the growing neighborhoods near Interstate 82. Rather than creating another eyesore, city leaders concluded, why not erect an icon that would attract visitors? The wineglass tower would cost $2 million to build, but that's only $600,000 more than a standard water tower. Discussion on the proposal was tabled by the city council last week so that residents could have time to comment on the idea, but council members and business leaders were largely supportive. Unfiltered is hoping this becomes a nationwide trend of glass-shaped water towers, bottle-shaped municipal buildings and decanter-shaped power plants.
Ordinarily, any small winery would be happy to receive 300 phone calls in a few weeks. But for Sawyer Cellars in Napa, the calls weren't from customers, and the reaction was anything but happy. Unbeknownst to owner Charles Sawyer, he and his winery were being used in a lottery-check scam. The con artists sent out official-looking letters to potential victims, telling them that the Canadian lottery had unclaimed money that by law had to be given away and that they had been randomly selected to receive an award in excess of $500,000. As a gesture of "good faith," the scam artists included a check for $2,400, ostensibly from one of their lottery "partners," Sawyer Cellars. Sawyer says the checks looked authentic, down to his forged signature. In turn, the recipients were asked to submit a personal check for $2,205 to cover the costs of processing and taxes. Many people sent in the payment, but many also called the winery to inquire whether the checks were valid, alerting Sawyer to the fraud. Sawyer immediately contacted his bank to place a hold on all checks and call him each day to verify all valid check claims. "All I could think of was the elderly lady on a pension sending in her $2,205," says Sawyer. Unfortunately, Sawyer says, the FBI and postal-service inspectors think it's unlikely that the perpetrators will ever be caught.
You knew it all along. According to a recent study by ACNielsen, when American shoppers are looking to buy a wine they haven't tried before, they're twice as likely to buy one with an animal on the label. In fact, sales of wines with animal names or animals on the label rose to more than $600 million last year. It's easy to point fingers at the Yellow Tail phenomenon for spawning numerous brands featuring penguins, monkeys, emus or other creatures more likely to be found in a zoo than in a vineyard. But let's be honest: We're all suckers for animal labels. And Mouton-Rothschild has known this for years.
Speaking of animal labels, yes, it's true. Jean Phillips has sold Screaming Eagle, and one of the new owners is Stanley Kroenke, owner of the Colorado Avalanche … who play at the Pepsi Center in Denver. So, does this mean they'll start selling Screaming Eagle at the games? And how does it taste mixed with Pepsi? We shudder at the thought ….
|Diageo, which owns Provenance in Napa, doesn't seem to like the name of a certain Oregon vineyard (above).|