It’s not every day that I get to shout out to my home state for something positive in the world of wine, outside of some of the wine itself, that is – usually it’s to rail against the PLCB monopoly.
In this case, the shout out is for an event that is supporting a great cause (The Fund to Benefit Children & Youth), is hosted by a kick-ass race-car-driving Italian (and now PA-resident) legend (Mario Andretti), and like its host is going for a record-breaker – specifically, an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by breaking the record for the largest ever simultaneous wine tasting.
This event is draped in ass-kicking coolness for me for reasons beyond just having my home-state show well in the wine department.
I grew up primarily in an Italian neighborhood and my ancestry is pretty much all-Italian, so Andretti is like a living legend for me and my old neighborhood buddies. He’s also an owner of a California winery – which proves yet again that you can take the Italian out of Italy, but can’t take Italy out of the Italian, baby!
The event is being dubbed The Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast and will take place on August 14th, 2010. Mario is serving as
the event’s toastmaster and will lead the simultaneous tasting via video at all of the participating PA wineries (which includes pretty much all of them).
A contest is being held to select the toast that will be recited by Mario (I can call him Mario, all Italians are on first-name speaking terms after all) during the event – you can submit a toast (100 words or less) at pennsylvaniawine.com now through June 21.
This is a local event that I can (and probably will) raise a glass to (sorry, couldn’t resist)…
(images: pennsylvaniawine.com, mosindy.net)
The International Malbec Days Festival (May 20th-23rd, 2010 in Cahors, France) is now behind us. Let’s take the Good, Bad and (in some cases, the very) Ugly of the festival, in reverse order:
The Ugly: Event Coordination and “Wines that Smell of Donkey Poop”
Organizing and executing a wine industry event the size of the International Malbec Days Festival, one that lasts several days and brings together well over 150 people from a dozen or so countries, is undoubtedly a Herculean undertaking, and one in which the organizers almost failed miserably. The 2010 version, at turns, bordered on chaos.
This wasn’t great for the wines, either, as Tannic and high-alcohol Malbecs were served in a meeting space that was easily over 80F, depriving even the best from showing themselves gracefully. The execution against our schedule was poor enough that it became a distraction, as essential personnel (e.g., those organizing the various groups of participants from hotels to the various events) by and large were given little (and in some cases, no) information needed to do their jobs. At one point, our bus driver got lost in the 2km distance between the airport and our hotel for the final evening – and he was using a GPS system.
Score one for French logistics – that is, if the purpose is to distract you from being able to adequately work and instead is trying to break your will. I felt bad for our handlers, who were trying to do an impossible job with almost no help from their superiors (I encouraged them to totally dookie sock their bosses, but they didn’t seem too keen on the idea) .
Speaking of dookie: as for the Ugly when it comes to the wines, a not-insubstantial portion of the Cahors Malbecs on display at the event were quite bretty – and not in a “smells kind of like bacon” charming way; they were bretty in a “did I just step in some donkey poop?” way. Which leads us to…
Read the rest of this stuff »
On May 23rd, if you’re going to be in or near Santa Rosa, then you have a chance to taste some awesome juice and maybe even meet uber-rocker, kick-ass bassist and wine brand owner Les Claypool.
All for free, of course, if you win this week’s giveaway!
Here’s the skinny:
Read on for more deats…
Read the rest of this stuff »