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News, Notes and Dusty Bottle Items - Super Bowl Sunday Edition

More errata that does not quite make it as a full blog post …

Rain Dance

There is a lingering, ongoing disdain towards practitioners of BioDynamics.  Some of the mysticism practices like doing certain preparations around a lunar calendar just seems too kooky to be realistic, according to many.

Yet, in times of trouble, we often turn to the mystical in a “well, it can’t hurt” mindset. 

Given the severe water conditions, on the cusp of serious drought in California, it has me wondering when the ceremonial rain dances are going to start happening.

60 Minutes and Resveratrol

Anybody besides me see the irony in the bookend 60 minute pieces on the French Paradox in 1991 and then the piece on Resveratrol this past week, in 2009?

The first package with Morley Safer on 60 minutes in 1991 was largely credited with re-igniting wine consumption as a health play with Baby Boomers after the 1980s run-up in wine when said Boomers were then just “thirtysomethings.”

This second piece, also by Morley Safer, highlights Resveratrol, a compound found in the skins of red wine grapes, as a veritable fountain of youth, again for Baby-Boomers, now as an instrument for long-term health.

Ahem, I am glad for all of the wine awareness and health consciousness for Baby Boomers some 18 years apart, I hope they get this drug to market in time for Boomers to keep working and not bankrupt social security for the rest of us.

Winery Geocaching

I was going to do a post on geocaching, the art of outdoor treasure hunting using a GPS system, but I got an educated opinion from a combo wine lover and outdoorsy person in wine country who had a quite unabashed opinion that geocaching practitioners trample flora and fauna with little regard for the environment.  He asked for anonymity so as to not appear to implicitly endorse geocaching.  Instead, my counsel suggested I focus on sustainability and “leave no trace” outdoor practices.  Therefore, instead of a post on geocaching, you get this simple mention:

There are A LOT of geocaches in Napa and Sonoma.  Check out this site and do a zip code search to find out for yourself.

Essentially, geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt game in which other people playing the game leave “small prizes” in a hidden geocache somewhere outdoors.  You use a hand-held GPS device to find the caches via longitude and latitude coordinates.  When you come across a geocache, you can take something from the cache, so long as you replace it with a like trinket.

All in all, it’s good, clean outdoorsy fun, but safe to say there are probably abusers of geocaching who forsake the natural beauty of their surroundings with less than ideal sensitivity to sustainability and leaving a place better than when you found it.

For more information on geocaching, check out this site F.A.Q. or Google “geocaching”

Cameron Hughes Wine

Toot, toot.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Cameron Hughes being poised to explode in current market conditions.  This San Francisco Business Times article agrees with me and goes to the niggling detail of getting quotes. 

Wine Book Publishing

2006, 2007 and 2008 were banner years for wine book publishing – the varied types of wine related books have never been greater – from The Billionaire’s Vinegar to The Judgement of Paris, to The House of Mondavi, wine has been well-represented in non-fiction and many of these books sold well and were good reads.

However, if you go to and look at wine books publishing in 2009 based on publishing date (search “wine” in the books category and then sort by “publication date”), I think the wine publishing category may have reached its watershed.  There is a dearth of wine books in the publishing hopper for this year.

Maybe it is the economy, maybe wine as a topic du jour is in need of a break, but bibliophiles like me will not have much to grasp onto this year.

Paul Blart:  Mall Cop

It kills me to see a movie like Paul Blart:  Mall Cop make a $100M at the box office while other Oscar-worthy movies like Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler lag a distant pace off in terms of dollars and viewers.

However, with the passing of noted author John Updike this week, I am reminded of his quote, “I like middles.  It is in the middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules.”

I am a firm believer that there is no black and white.  There is no right or wrong in any circumstance.  We live in a world of nuanced shades of gray and it is here where ambiguity lives.

I guess my takeaway is that you need a Paul Blart:  Mall Cop and you need a Charles Shaw Chardonnay to continue to make things interesting, to allow for ambiguity, for big wine and small wine to clash and let uncertainty restlessly rule.

As a sidenote, speaking of ambiguity, Bottle Shock the movie is released on DVD on February 3rd.  If you missed it in the theatres (there are a lot of you that did), find it at or your rental joint.

Indiana Craft Food to Know

Since the newly crowned Miss America is from Indiana, I have been thinking about some civic pride for my home state of Indiana. 

If you are interested in some interesting food from Indiana, in addition to the natural beauty of Miss America, check out the following four world-class foodstuffs from Hoosier country:

Collins Caviar

Fancy Fortune Cookies

Three Floyd’s craft beer

Maple Leaf Farms duck


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