Unfiltered

Danica Patrick's essential wine, dogs in the vineyards, Mamie van Doren as you've never seen her (sort of), Spectator award winners on Iron Chef and the Halloween costume sure to frighten
Oct 10, 2007

• When three-time Indy 500 champion Louis Meyer took a slug of buttermilk in Victory Lane after winning the race in 1936, a tradition was born. Now all winners of the grueling race knock back a bottle of milk, which is not what we'd order after experiencing 4-G force units on turns around 500 laps on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If 25-year-old Andretti Green racecar driver Danica Patrick, now in her third year on the circuit, crosses the finish line first next year, we're sure she'll comply, but until then, we think her everyday drink choice, Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, sounds a bit more tasty. In the August issue of Marie Claire, Patrick shortlisted the Napa red as one of her "essentials," along with membership in private-jet service NetJets and a Chanel patent leather clutch. (Lewis Cellars, of course, is owned by former Indy 500 driver Randy Lewis.) Seeing as how NetJets costs about $120,000 and the clutch about $4,000, that adds up to about 160 cases of Lewis Cab, if she were to forego those other two "essentials." Though somehow we can't see Patrick flying coach and carrying a bag from Old Navy.

• Grapegrowers troubled by deer and raccoons now have an alternative solution to a shotgun. Several growers in New York have put Alaskan huskies into their fields and the dogs have done what fences, hunting and other measures could not: They've kept the deer from devouring the vines' buds in springtime and the fruit during the growing season. In Lodi, N.Y., Finger Lakes grower Chris Verrill of Harvest Ridge Vineyards picked up a pair of huskies at a dog adoption agency and put them to work in his 45-acre vineyard, set off by an invisible fence (the dogs wear a collar that issues a warning signal to them when they approach wires buried underground). Since he instituted his dog patrol seven years ago, Verrill's fields have been clean of deer, turkey, raccoons and rodents. Further north in Niagara Falls wine country, Mike Von Heckler of Warm Lake Vineyards is equally ecstatic about his huskies. "Since we brought on the dogs two years ago, our losses to deer have been nil, nothing," Von Heckler said." I love them; they work 24/7, never ask for vacation or complain." They've just been offered jobs at Unfiltered.

 
Keep the stars on or she might get cold.

• Because there aren't enough naked photos floating around Hollywood already, Armida Winery in Healdsburg, Calif., has teamed with actress Mamie Van Doren to produce Mamietage, a Bordeaux blend bearing more than just the pin-up's name. A mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec, the limited-edition magnums sport a series of titillating "peel-away" labels. Look beneath the strategically placed stars to see the famous screen siren in the buff. "Our typical customer is probably going to be a memorabilia or movie fan," said Dan Laskoski, owner of Mamietage distributor Wine Country Cellars. "I doubt very much that these bottles will be opened—as collector's items, they will probably be displayed on a shelf." While one label features the blond bombshell at age 21, the other two images were taken of Mamie today, nude at age 75. Collector's items or not, Unfiltered recommends opening the bottle and having at least a glass or two before investigating just what's under those stars.

• If waiting for the new Top 100 list or watching your team battle it out in the MLB playoffs isn't enough suspense for you, the Food Network has debuted Next Iron Chef. It's a "reality" show that pits chefs against each other to determine which will join the ranks of existing Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora and Mario Batali (who, as we reported last week, is sharing the love with Gwyneth Paltrow on public television). As a testament to our own good taste, Unfiltered is delighted to note that many of the competitors hail from Restaurant Award-winning houses, including John Besh of Restaurant August, Gavin Kaysen of El Bizcocho, Jill Davie of Josie, and Jardinière's Traci Des Jardins who, unfortunately, was eliminated in the first round of competition.

 
Whatever you do, don't open the spout.

• Remember that guy in college who showed up to his fraternity's Halloween party every year wearing a giant cardboard box as his costume (usually with the word "Budweiser" in big letters)? That's probably the same guy who came up with the Pinot Grande Wine Box, a Halloween costume with a suggestively located spout and enough crude slogans printed on it to make even Buddy Hackett blush. Although this foam costume, which you can find online at buycostumes.com or in your local Halloween store for around $45, is probably far more durable than its cardboard counterpart, it should probably come with a warning label considering how many partygoers it's likely to offend. Thankfully, though, Unfiltered was able to find more tasteful alternatives, such as a Champagne bottle ($40), a Vineyard Vixen ($55), green or purple grapes ($90) and a grape dress ($55). In fact, there's a greater selection of food- and beverage-themed costumes to choose from than ever before, according to Kristen Grace, affiliate marketing manager of buycostumes.com. Unfortunately, however, Unfiltered was unable to locate any cheese costumes for couples hoping to dress as a wine-and-cheese pairing.

Unfiltered

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