Monday, September 26, 2005

Wine In A Can... Great Idea or Tin Pan Ally?

South Africa's wine drinkers will soon have the choice of drinking their favourite wines out of a can for the first time, as Australian group Barokes introduces its patented can wine packaging technology to the country.

Barokes is hoping the alternative packaging of cans will add more appeal to wine drinking for those in the younger generation who generally prefer canned ready-to-drink beverages, the company said on Friday.

The unique wine packaging Vinsafe technology invented by Australians Greg Stokes and winemaker Steve Barics in 1996, when they started Barokes, has been designed to deliver premium quality wine with stability and longevity.

Wine-in-a-Can is already available in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and soon in the US, with plans to launch in China, Korea, and the Philippines later in 2005.

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about the screw-top instead of a cork, but after being on vacation with no corkscrew around, that screw-top came in handy.

For more on this story check out this link.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Find out if you have a good bottle of wine... Without uncorking!

One of the most sophisticated pieces of wine technology ever developed -- indeed, quite possibly the future of wine -- is housed in the cellar of a restaurant just outside this tiny town in one of New Jersey's most remote and rural parts.

Gene Mulvihill, the man who built the restaurant, called Latour, and the resort that surrounds it, called Crystal Springs, is serious about wine. The wine list is a virtual who's who of the greatest bottles of the 20th century, and even the 19th. All of the top Bordeaux chateaux are represented -- not in two or three vintages, but 10 or 20 or more.

There are 20 vintages of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild going back to 1949; 20 vintages of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, including the iconic 1945; and, most impressive of all, 38 vintages of Chateau Latour -- the restaurant's namesake -- going back to 1888. (The price for the last: $6,697 a bottle.)

The list is just as deep when it comes to the so-called "cult" cabernets from California.

Befitting such a spectacular collection, the bottles are housed a full two floors underground in an opulently decorated cellar.

But none of it prepares you for the space-age contraption that sits in a utility room at one end of the cellar.

The wine scanner, as Mulvihill calls it, is about the size of a garbage can, perched a few feet off the floor on a metal stand. It is connected to a laptop computer that, in turn, is hooked up to a projector aimed at a white wall. With a few strokes of the keyboard, a narrow cylinder rises slowly out of the center of the stainless steel machine.

It looks like the kind of thing the evil-doers in a James Bond movie would use to hold the world hostage; except instead of a radioactive element, the cylinder holds an upside down bottle of wine.

It's what surrounds the cylinder, however, that makes Mulvihill's instrument unique: a powerful magnet. The wine scanner, it turns out, is a type of nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer -- essentially, an MRI for wine.

Friday, September 16, 2005

10th Annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival

10th Annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival
Lafayette, California
This Weekend - September 17 & 18, 2005

The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, held each year on the third weekend in September, is the largest event in Lamorinda and one of the five biggest outdoor festivals in Contra Costa County. More than 80,000 attended in 2004, strolling among stalls of art, handmade crafts, sampling foods from top local restaurants, and enjoying quality wines and microbrews. Non-stop musical entertainment on three stages throughout the weekend helps spark the block party ambiance. In 2002, the Connoisseur’s Corner debuted, highlighted by cooking demonstrations by some of the area’s best chefs and featuring a “Premium Wine Pavilion” offering tastes of some of the world’s finest wines.

Monday, September 12, 2005

New President for Grape Growers

Dennis Black, owner of Black Emerald Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, is the new president of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association.

Black succeeds Dry Creek Valley grower Duff Bevill in the organization's top post.

In addition to growing chardonnay grapes, Black is the vice president of sales and marketing for NovaVine Grapevine Nursery in Santa Rosa.

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