Everybody knows that I “love” the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board [ Editor’s note: this is a boldfaced lie; I think the PLCB acts like a Communist monopoly and therefore I actually hate the PLCB ].
At least, I loved the recent move by Governor Tom Corbett to appoint Joseph “Skip” Brion (that’s his real nickname, by the way) the new PLCB Chairman, since both Corbett and Brion appear to be in favor of privatizing the state Commonwealth’s monopoly alcohol sales system – and they’re supporting House Bill eleven (HB11) which seeks to amend the existing Liquor Code “providing for the privatization of sales of wine and spirits in this Commonwealth through abolition of the State Liquor Stores.”
But as much as I’d love to see privatization take hold and the free market rein when it comes to alcohol sales in my home state Commonwealth, it’s become clear to me that, technically speaking, HB11 is actually not in the best interests of PA’s wine-consuming public; I would describe HB11 as Bull Honkey. As in, a big, stinking, steaming load of Bull Honkey.
Why? Two reasons, my vino-loving friends, neither of which portends any favorable outcomes from HB11 when it comes to actually letting the free market into the ring of PA’s liquor sales and distribution…
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Looks like I’m far from the only one with a penchant for interviewing rock stars about their vinous habits: the Winter 2011 issue of Guitar Aficionado has been dubbed “The Wine Issue” with interviews with wine-making and wine-collecting rockers – and it prominently features a (pretty cool) guitar-shaped decanter on the cover (see inset pic).
According to the GA website:
“In Guitar Aficionado’s Winter 2011 issue, we bring you the rockers, vintners, and oenophiles that celebrate the grape. Rush’s esteemed guitar and bass duo, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, discuss their decades-long love affair with the world’s finest wines; the Police’s Andy Summers talks wine and guitars; celebrated vintner and guitarist Paul Gargiulo says there’s a little music in every bottle that leaves his idyllic estate; and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Daytona drive’s Scott Pruett tell tales of their winemaking ventures.
The issue also features articles on the wine tourism opportunities in Chile, as well as wine-and-music pairings by celebrity restaurateur / vintner Joe Bastianich (whose line-up of wines are generally pretty darn good, by the way).
Might just have to go get myself a copy of that, even if it does celebrate an instrument with at least one too many strings on it…
By the way, if you’re looking for rock star wine-related interviews, we got some right here:
The irrepressible Tom Johnson reported recently on Louisville Juice that according to the CDC drunk driving in the U.S. continues its steep decline – to the tune of a 30% drop in self-reported annual drinking and driving episodes since 2006.
Tom goes on to say that “fatalities related to drinking and driving have dropped nearly 70% since 1982, from 26,000 to 11,000.”
Your first reaction to all of that good news (and it is very good news – because also according to the CDC, “car crashes are the leading cause of death for everyone ages 5-34 and that 1 in 3 crash deaths involves a drunk driver” – so any drop in drunk driving equates to a potentially significant reduction in preventable fatalities), like mine, was probably “holy crap, that’s awesome!”
But… it’s not quite time just yet to pop the bubbly in celebration (assuming of course that you’ve got a designated driver if not popping those corks in the safety of your own home!). As someone who often has to drive myself to and from functions where alcohol is involved (in the function, that is, not in the driving!), I’m the kind of guy who often pays particular attention to trying to do whatever I can to prevent tragic alcohol-related disasters. Rule the first at wine events: SPIT (and gently admonish organizers if they don’t provide spit cups or buckets)!
And while we’ve come a long way, baby, in terms of one of those tragic disasters (drunk driving), we’ve also got a long way to go, baby…
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[ Editor's note: No, you're not losing your mind (well, not that I can tell anyway) - the following was originally posted here yesterday, but I was mistakenly a day early in reporting it (and the authors of the press release politely requested that I take it down and re-post today to coincide with the official release, to which I of course agreed immediately). So some of you may, in fact, have read this before. This was just a dumb-ass mistake on my part, and one for which I've already apologized profusely to many people and promised copious rounds of beers to them as compensation. Sorry also to you for any confusion this might have caused. Anyway - get back to your drinking. ]
This week, a press release will be going out on the Global Interwebs (I got a sneak peek at it last week) announcing that Alder Yarrow, founder of Vinography.com (which by all accounts was the first English language wine blog ever published) will officially join Team Jancis as a columnist at (the excellent) JancisRobinson.com.
To the tape:
“The choice of Yarrow to help expand Robinson’s coverage of the American wine culture reflects the vibrancy of the wine blogging world, her appreciation of the growing universe of online wine voices and Yarrow’s impressive body of work and unique insights on American wine. Yarrow’s ‘Alder on America’ column will debut at JancisRobinson.com on Wednesday, October 19 when he explores the impact of Robert Parker’s retreat from reviewing California wine and the appointment of Antonio Galloni as the Wine Advocate’s new California correspondent.”
Aside from the fact that it looks like Alder’s first column is covering news that we in America would at this point officially consider “old” (sorry… couldn’t resist…), I’m ecstatic for Alder, who I consider a friend and with whom I confirmed that this is an actual, honest-to-goodness paying gig (I expect to pry more details out of him over several beers the next time I’m on the Left Coast). Given the focus and seriousness with which Alder plies his blogging craft, it’s a natural fit for Jancis’ team, and I see this as a bit of wine-blogging-spiritual-equivalent to another friend of mine, the keenly analytically-minded Jeff Lefevere, taking his talents to Forbes.com. And of course (you knew this was coming), it’s further validation of the future of quality wine writing coming from the best of the cast of characters in the wine blogosphere.
Best of luck on the new gig, Alder!