Unfiltered

Madonna's Michigan wine, Teri Hatcher's desperate for a wine bath and Concord grapes are for the birds
Nov 22, 2006

• First, Celebrity Cellars tapped Madonna's star power to sell some wine. Now her father, Tony Ciccone of Ciccone Vineyard & Winery in Suttons Bay, Mich., is doing the same thing. Ciccone has produced 11,241 bottles of the Michigan wine bearing the Material Girl's signature and an image created with artwork from Confessions on a Dance Floor--the same album plugged by Celebrity Cellars. Jaclyn Eikey, Ciccone tasting room manager, said that Ciccone has been thinking about doing a project with his daughter for "a couple of years" and that they weren't influenced by Celebrity Cellars' concept. Rather, she says, the "great" 2005 vintage, which coincided with the launch of Madonna's new album, inspired Ciccone's decision to create the five branded wines: Pinot Grigio Ambrato, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Each bottle retails for $40.

 
So, is Hatcher using Madonna's wine in her bathtub?
• Forget pricey spa treatments. All you really need for glowing skin is red wine and a bathtub.
Take Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher. In the new book The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets, Kym Douglas (host of Lifetime makeover show Queen) and celebrity journalist Cindy Pearlman write that Hatcher uses sediment from ruby-hued wine to polish her skin while taking a bath. "I scoop them up in the tub and use them as an exfoliant," the actress reveals. "The only bad thing is you can't drink the whole bottle of wine." Polyphenols found in grapes jump-start circulation to reveal healthier skin, according to the authors. No word on which red variety works best for Hatcher--she was unavailable for comment--but Pearlman and Douglas offer helpful directions for creating your own wine soak. "Pour one cup of red wine into a warm bath, put a few rose petals on top, jump in and stay for 20 minutes."

• Each year, birds are enemy No. 1 for vineyard owners since starlings and other hungry feathered fiends swoop down and devour ripening grapes. Growers have tried every form of protection possible, from Mylar balloon scarecrows to noisemakers to nets. But there may be a better solution that, ironically, uses grapes to chase away the pests. It turns out that birds are not fond of Concord grapes because the skins contain a high percentage of methyl anthranilate, a chemical they find distasteful. So now some pest-control experts have taken to vaporizing Concord grape juice and creating a heavy fog over bird hangouts. Joe Narens, owner of Narens Tree Care in Texarkana, Ark., tried it out this week on thousands of blackbirds that wouldn't leave a local pastor's yard. "It was unreal--they took off immediately," said Narens. "It only affects the birds, everyone else just smells grapes." A bird control expert at Bird-B-Gone in Mission Viejo, Calif., said he's heard of the process but he doesn't get much demand for it. But Unfiltered would love to see some experimentation. If nothing else, someone has finally found a use for Concord grapes.

 
No one can say Gehry wasn't using his imagination when he designed this winery....
Marques de Riscal, one of the oldest wine producers in Spain, has opened its long-awaited Frank Gehry-designed winery called the City of Wine. It includes a hotel, restaurant and spa for tourists visiting Rioja. Though it officially opened Sept. 1, four years behind schedule, the inauguration took place on Oct. 10. The event was attended by Spain's king Juan Carlos, as well as architect Frank Gehry, best known for his design of the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The Riscal facility stands in stark contrast to--and offers a unique view of--the Spanish town, featuring traditional Spanish architecture. The imported titanium top of the new facility flows like ribbons across the sky in three colors: pink (symbolizing the color of red wine), gold (for the mesh around the bottle) and silver (for the foil). It seems, however, they forgot green to represent the 120 euros--plus the cost of a ticket to Spain--if you want to buy a bottle of the limited-production Frank Gehry Selection Reserva 2001, now available exclusively at the winery.

Unfiltered

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