Who thinks these things up? Elin McCoy of Bloomberg News reports on an Oregon winery that recruited an elephant to stomp grapes as part of a fund raiser for a wildlife park. Talk about “natural wine”! Winery owner Stephen Reustle of Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards was not worried that the pachyderm would crush the grape seeds and exude harsh tannins once he saw the beast’s “soft, fleshy pads,” McCoy reports.
In her roundup of wild and wacky wine stories from 2010, McCoy notes a British Columbia cattle rancher who gives her cows a liter of red wine a day for the last 60 days before slaughter. At least they die happy, and supposedly more tender and flavorful. The steaks are high on that venture, to say the least.
“It really has this umami thing,” says Janice Rayndahl of Sezmu Meats. Isn’t umami Japanese for “je ne sais quoi”? You know, that flavor you can’t really pinpoint or put a name to?
McCoy also highlights sales of the “Wine Rack” bra, for the woman whose cup runneth over. It conceals an entire bottle of wine to be sipped inconspicuously through a tube. I can see this catching on with guys, too - we no longer need be ashamed of our man-boobs!
Jeff Siegel, my co-conspirator at DrinkLocalWine.com has posted his annual “$10 Wine Hall of Fame” on his Wine Curmudgeon blog. Jeff revels in cheap wine, and has since even before the recession, so he can spot the extreme values. I don’t share his fondness for Barefoot Merlot, which almost made the cut this year, but Jeff has a keen eye for everyday wines - the type of wines most people actually drink.
For the past few years, the cork industry has fought back against screwcaps by playing the global warming card - buying cork-stoppered wines helps preserve the Mediterranean cork forests and their natural wildlife habitats. Now cork producers are playing the sex card, too - their latest ad campaigns (primarily on the Internet and savaged by wine bloggers such as Alder Yarrow at Vinography) show a guy striking out with a hot babe when he pulls a flaccid plastic “cork” from a wine bottle. Another video has a woman scorned as a “brown noser” when she twists open a screwcapped wine at an office party. I guess they think we wine lovers are really shallow.
This post appeared in similar form on The Washington Post's All We Can Eat blog on Jan. 6.