Where Has All the Rosé Gone?

Plus, 150 snakes bound for snake wine escape in China, a wine industry embezzler gets 33 months in prison, and more Napa earthquake relief efforts
Sep 4, 2014

• Reading our Page Six in the New York Post, as Unfiltered does, we were dismayed to read there was a Labor Day weekend Grinch in the Hamptons: The Kardashians and Real Housewives awoke joyful midday, but soon found—what a fright!—there would be no rosé! Indeed, as Wine Spectator has reported, the wine of choice to turn blue blood pink has become a national favorite, supped even by humble peasant-folk in their Cape Cod hovels. Chic Hamptons spots like Red Stixs and Restaurant 75 Main reportedly ran out of favorites like Château d'Esclans' Whispering Angel and Domaines Ott in August because this year there were people in fly-over states cutting into East Hampton's supply. Even Hamptons winery Wölffer Estate, which the summer set practically considers their own private gold-plated faucet of rosé—and which produced a whopping 17,000 cases of the pink this year, including a new label that sold out before Memorial Day—reported on its Facebook page, "It's official: Wölffer Rosé is now sold out!" The post, tragically, is dated Aug. 30. Winemaker Roman Roth put it succinctly to Unfiltered, "It was a whirlwind season."


• When we last checked in on former Wine Tasting Network general manager and vice president Martin "Chris" Edwards, he had just been picked up by the FBI in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (He was on the lam after being charged with 23 counts of fraud and money laundering for embezzling about $900,000.) This week, according the Napa Valley Register, Edwards was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison following a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence—each of the fraud counts carried a possible 20-year prison term; the laundering charges carried 10-year sentences.


• At least 150 venomous cobra snakes escaped from a distillery in Foshan, China, last month, terrifying local residents as the serpents slithered out of gutters, drains and street crevices, the U.K.'s Mirror reported. The snakes were destined for shejiu, or snake wine, an Asian delicacy made from infusing rice wine or grain alcohol with whole, lethal snakes and occasionally blended with scorpions, smaller snakes and herbs. The ethanol renders the venom inactive. Imbibers of the wine claim it treats back pain, rheumatism and increases virility. Aficionados consider snake wine the ultimate manly beverage. The snakes’ owner-distiller Lu Zhong and local police caught 100 of the renegade cobras, but at least 50 remain on the lam. Zhong, who keeps a large supply of lethal snakes, could not explain how the cobras escaped. This is not the first viperous revenge in China. Last summer, a chef in the same city died after being bitten by a rancorous Indochinese spitting cobra—20 minutes after the snake had been decapitated—as the man prepared snake soup, another delicacy. And in 2013—the Year of the Snake—a woman from Shuangcheng was bitten by a pit viper when she decided to top up a glass container of snake wine with more alcohol.


• Following Napa's 6.1-magnitude earthquake Aug. 24, Napa Valley Vintners last week kicked off their Community Disaster Relief Fund with an initial $10 million donation, encouraging others to add more. Constellation Brands, whose Napa wineries include Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois and Franciscan, took NVV's charge seriously and gave $100,000 to the fund on Aug. 29. "I have seen the devastation firsthand," Greg Fowler, a senior vice president of Constellation, said in a statement, "but this is a resilient and collaborative community, and with the help and generosity of organizations such as NVV and Constellation the area will soon be thriving once again." The NVV fund is providing immediate support to Napa County businesses—including but not only wineries—and residents, assisting with needs such as temporary housing and medical care. Constellation employees have been encouraged to add individually to the fund, with the goal of matching their employer's donation. The wine, beer and spirits producer is also accepting donations of non-perishable goods at its wineries.

• SommSelect, a direct-to-consumer retailer that features daily wine deals, is offering only Napa and Sonoma County wines this week, and will donate 100 percent of the week's profits to the American Red Cross of Napa. The company's founders, Ian Cauble (whose journey to the Master Sommelier certification is documented in the film Somm) and Brandon Carneiro became friends while students at Sonoma State University. “The idea started with a tweet I posted right after the quake, suggesting that maybe we should all #drinknapawine to support the relief efforts,” said Cauble in a statement. He and his partner decided to feature bottles from wineries that suffered special damage from the earthquake. For example, today's offering is Matthiasson White Napa Valley 2012. (At that winery, all of the vintage 2013 barrels were upended—the extent of the loss has yet to be determined; Matthiasson is also releasing a Quake Cuvée, all of whose profits will go to the Community Disaster Relief Fund.) “Having been born and raised in wine country, this is my home and these are my neighbors who have been touched by this earthquake,” added Carneiro in the statement. “Our week-long benefit is our way that we can give back.” The offer ends Sept. 7.

• In that same wine-country giving spirit, Napa's animal lovers can get behind Wineapalooza this month, a fund-raiser aimed at raising $250,000 for the continued development of Jameson Rescue Ranch, a sanctuary for homeless and rescued companion and farm animals in Napa Valley. 100 percent of the proceeds from the event will go to support Jameson Rescue Ranch (named for the founders’ rescued Great Pyrenees, Jameson). The event will be entirely staffed by volunteers, said Rescue Ranch executive director Monica Stevens, who co-owns retailer 750 Wines with her husband, David. Vintner and auctioneer Fritz Hatton will conduct the 9-lot live auction, a walk-around tasting will include contributions from more than 40 Napa Valley wineries and chefs, and Napa Valley rock band Wristrocket (HourglassJeff Smith and 750's David Stevens) will perform. Tickets for Wineapalooza, which takes place Sept. 20 at Gamble Family Vineyards, are available at www.JamesonRescueRanch.org.

Crime Theft Disasters Earthquake Rosé Unfiltered

You Might Also Like

Wineries Pull Out All the Stops for COVID-19 Relief

Wineries Pull Out All the Stops for COVID-19 Relief

From boutique operations to major conglomerates, wine and spirits producers are raising big …

Apr 3, 2020
Rock Band All Time Low Rides High on New Wine and Coffee

Rock Band All Time Low Rides High on New Wine and Coffee

The group that came to fame in the aughts are now serious wine collectors and with a Napa …

Mar 31, 2020
Dry Your Eyes: 'Wine Tears' Finally Explained by Science

Dry Your Eyes: 'Wine Tears' Finally Explained by Science

Turns out we didn't quite have the full picture of the phenomenon, and a UCLA team has …

Mar 30, 2020
The Making of Netflix’s 'Uncorked,' the New Movie with Serious Wine Chops

The Making of Netflix’s 'Uncorked,' the New Movie with Serious Wine Chops

Filmmaker Prentice Penny crafts a tale of culinary contrasts and father vs. son, starring …

Mar 27, 2020
A Neat Solution: Distillers Make Artisanal Hand Sanitizer, Donate to First Responders

A Neat Solution: Distillers Make Artisanal Hand Sanitizer, Donate to First Responders

Distilleries are scrambling to help alleviate the shortage of sanitizer in communities hit …

Mar 24, 2020
Updated: Chefs Rev into High Gear with Coronavirus Relief

Updated: Chefs Rev into High Gear with Coronavirus Relief

Even as their own restaurants face closures and financial disaster, chefs all over the …

Mar 20, 2020