Zooey Deschanel, actor, musician and OG Millennial, has played a kooky roommate (New Girl), elf love interest (Elf) and ukulele (her band She & Him), and she can now add vineyard farmhand to her résumé. Deschanel visited Napa's Long Meadow Ranch with MasterChef emeritus and host of the online series Purpose Project Alejandro Toro, on the show's latest episode—and the ranchers quickly put them to work.
In the segment, the property's farm to table manager Kipp Ramsey first takes the duo out to massage some dirt and plant kale, then leads them in picking tomatoes and herbs, and preparing a salad and squash risotto in the kitchen. Finally, all sit with Long Meadow owner Laddie Hall for a midday repast: tomato tartare with kasundi and egg yolk, and pork belly with green tomato and beet BBQ, among other dishes, Ramsey relayed to Unfiltered. The group wash it down with glasses of the winery's Anderson Valley Chardonnay and rosé of Pinot Noir, as well as Napa Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc.
"I believe [Deschanel and Toro] are doing a great job to spread the word on how people can source and grow their food,” Ramsey said via email.
The visit came about because, while Deschanel once played a woman fleeing a toxic attack on humanity launched by the earth's trees (The Happening; spoiler alert?), her relationship with the plant community in real life is much more positive: She's a sustainable food activist, and Long Meadow practices organic and biodiverse farming. The garden powers on-site restaurant Farmstead, a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winner.
"We had a chance to peek at the 'whole process,' understanding that what truly completes full-circle farming, in this case, is the commitment to community people like Kipp Ramsey and Laddie Hall have," Toro told Unfiltered via email. "So once again I get to circle back on my mission, which is spreading the good word through food, travel and community."
Purpose Project, produced by Tastemade and Capital One, isn't done with North Bay wine country there, though: Toro later visits Garden Creek Vineyards and noshes at Sebastopol's Zazu Kitchen with wine folks Chris Benziger, and Dan Barwick and Sonia Byck-Barwick of Paradise Ridge; the former lost his home and the latter their winery in the 2017 wildfires. He ends his trip picking clusters and tasting wine at Ceja Vineyards, owned and run by the kids and grandchildren of immigrant campesino vineyard workers.
"We even had the opportunity to stomp on some of our grapes. It was the classic 'I Love Lucy' old-fashioned introduction to winemaking—unforgettable experience to say the least!" marketing and sales director Dalia Ceja, who also appears in the segment, told Unfiltered.
Perhaps no Bostonian this side of Sam Adams is more closely associated with beer than New England Patriots tight end and spring break avatar Rob Gronkowski. But after a long and illustrious career of crushing defenses and Buds Light, the 29-year-old has earned a respite from the years of cheap hits and suds his body has been subjected to, and at this week's Super Bowl victory parade, Gronk signaled as much with his beverage of choice: a bottle of 2014 Hundred Acre Napa Valley Cabernet.
"A lot of these guys, their public persona is that they're rough and tough football players, but they've got sophisticated tastes," Hundred Acre founder and owner Jayson Woodbridge told Unfiltered. While the rest of the team partook of Luc Belaire bubbly after Sunday night's triumph, Gronk kept the wine party flowing on his duck boat in Boston before switching to beer and the other questionable edible he is known for, Tide Pods.
"I'm in Australia right now, so at the crack of dawn here, before I even woke up, my phone just starts going crazy," Woodbridge said, after photos of Gronk swigging his wine started appearing online. "People writing everything from, 'I hate the Patriots, but I love this guy's tastes' to 'He's awesome, he's an animal, I love it.'"
Woodbridge could not confirm or deny if Gronkowski ever visited the winery, though he did acknowledge he is pro-Patriots. "How they get people riled up—that's the fun part."
When artist Sam Debey accidentally spilled coffee on a watercolor he was painting years ago, his first thought was that the project was ruined beyond repair. But he noticed that the way the coffee stretched and dried across the page "had a really neat effect," and the mistake turned into a medium, with Debey gaining a reputation for his coffee paintings. It wasn't long before Debey tried another drinkable, dark substance that proved to be even more difficult but stimulating to work with: wine.
Courtesy of Sam Debey
"With coffee you can make it extra strong for darker values or dilute it for lighter ones, but with wine you don’t have that flexibility," Debey told Unfiltered. Now, his wine purchases are two-fold—he'll pour out less than a sip for each painting and then sip the rest himself. Both his palate and palette require drier, more tannic reds. "To anyone giving wine-painting a shot, I would suggest steering clear of white wines, unless you’re painting a polar bear on a snowy backdrop," he said. "Also you don’t want anything too sweet, because that will make the painting sticky or maybe even rot over time."
Debey's subject matter differs from past wine-artists who've dabbled in comics, architectural renderings and blotches. Using a calligraphy quill and a fine brush, Debey sketches "quirky" ideas that tell a story—like his plane-with-wine-glasses-instead-of-engines painting. "Subjects [as] absurd as the medium I’m using [are] the way I like to go."
You may have heard the news yesterday about the Unicode Consortium's new batch of emojis for 2019. Did you need a visual shorthand while texting "garlic," "yo-yo," "falafel," "safety vest," "banjo" or "orangutan"? Congratulations, you have been given voice.
But if you were invested in the Great #WhiteWineEmoji Campaign of last summer and fall, you no doubt immediately scrolled down to the "drinks" category of the new v.12 emoji list only to find "mate" (hipster tea), "ice cube" (famously not a liquid) and "beverage box," which theoretically could contain white wine, but it's not quite what the wine-emoji agitators at Kendall-Jackson had in mind.
The company, which has spearheaded the design and Unicode proposal for the white wine emoji, fired off an admirably salty press release this morning: "Where’s a white wine emoji when you need one? That’s what Kendall-Jackson is asking. It would’ve come in handy for their virtual cheers yesterday, when news broke of the 230 new emojis just announced."
K-J director of marketing Maggie Curry obliged us with a more detailed update on the situation. "The development of a new emoji is a technical and lengthy process, and one of the obstacles facing the white wine emoji actually involves the adoption of a new technology for color variation for all emojis," she explained via email. "Once in place, it would allow for different colors of the same emoji—as with skin tones" if you press and hold on your phone.
"Who would ever think a winery would have a part in new technology implementation and an emoji for the global keyboard across the world’s billions of phones? It is exciting to say the least." K-J is now submitting a new proposal and hoping the Consortium approves it at one of their upcoming conclaves in April or July. That would allow a rollout sometime in the spring-to-fall 2020 timeframe. For now, we raise our beverage boxes to that.
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