Boone’s Farm Chosen As Official White House Wine

In a surprise move that sent shockwaves through the wine community, many of whom considered the new President to be the “wine president,” the White House announced the selection of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine as the official State Dinner wine.

Explaining the decision, the White House spokesperson cited the need for the White House to set an example for the American public by cutting back in these economic times.  “Faced with a dizzying array of choices for the official State Dinner wine, ultimately the value presented by Boone’s Farm made sense in these times where fiscal responsibility should be a top priority for all Americans.” said the spokesperson.

Asked to comment on the surprise selection, the President confirmed and supported the choice: “Michelle and I are excited and honored to present this long-standing American product to all future guests at State Dinners.  We believe in setting an example for all Americans to look for ways to conserve resources during this time of economic crisis in our nation.” The President added “My favorite flavor is Blue Hawaiian while Michelle prefers Snow Creek Berry.”

Wine writers everywhere expressed shock over the selection as many prominent wine news outlets expected Obama to become the “Connoisseur in Chief.”  Wine Enthusiast magazine, which featured President Obama on the cover of its February issue and touted the fact that the President’s personal residence boasts a 1,000 bottle capacity wine cellar, declined to comment.  However, rumors of heads rolling over the gushing, but detail-free feature abound.

Similarly, Wine Spectator jumped on the wine president bandwagon and  went so far as to have their online “Unfiltered” column submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to discover the contents of the cellar. No word on whether they ever learned what bottles, if any, live in that cellar, but there’s no doubt someone is hanging their head in shame over that move.

High hopes for a new era of wine drinking in the White House seem dashed after this announcement, coming on the heels of the first State Dinner where all organic wines from 3 different states landed on the wine menu.

For more information on this developing story and others, visit The Dregs Report.

And now essence of….well everything

Ladybugs yesterday…..milk, fish and chicken, plus lots more today. What is wine coming to? ;)

An extensive article appeared in the LA Times today (see, I told you I read lots of papers) about the fact that Congress passed a law in 2004 requiring disclosure of potential allergens in food products on labeling which is slated to affect wine labels. I’ve read other articles about this recently and seen blogs posts about in the past weeks.

I haven’t weighed in on the debate raging over requiring wine labels to have a listing of all ingredients included in a “nutrition information” section (will there be a calorie label next, because frankly I have no desire to know how many calories I consume with the volume of wine I drink) mainly because I think it’s a tad bit stupid to require a listing of things you can’t even prove are actually in there, it’s simply the potential that it might be.

I will say that some of the techniques listed are less than appealing to me. However, techniques to make all kinds of food and drink products are not all that appealing to me either. I took Food and Drug Law in law school. I read cases that would make your stomach turn.

Now what I cannot get a sense of is how frequently such methods are used in wine-making or if they are used by many producers or what. The article quotes a man named Charles Smith, the chairman of a CA company called Vinovation, Inc saying basically that he has 1200 clients for whom he transforms bad batches of wine into marketable products by the use of various additives. 1200 wineries seems like a lot, though according to this article, as of November 2006 there were 5,970 wineries in the US alone. Then again, this is only one man with one company.

So I guess my question remains, how many wineries would a labeling requirement affect? And are there known cases of anyone having an allergic reaction based on the fact that chicken( eggs, fish, etc) was used during the fining process of wine-making? I’d be curious about that.

Though I think some of the comments by the people interviewed for this article are more intriguing to me than the rest of it. The article quotes the Smith man as saying: ” “For all of the posturing about terroir, very little wine sells because it is distinctive,” Smith says. “Additives are cosmetics. They are supposed to enhance, improve a wine. [Wine enhanced this way is like] a beautiful woman whose makeup is invisible. It’s the clumsiness of the winemaker who is using the additives that is the problem.” Those wines end up tasting “tarted up,” he says, instead of improved.”

A very odd comment from a man who makes his livelihood by doing this. Additionally, the remark about wine not selling because it’s distinctive causes me to cringe and think about the oft-touted idea that wine is growing more homogenous (usually blamed by purporters of the idea on the desire of wineries for points and good ratings from various critics).

My final comment on the article is in relation to a quote from the General Counsel to the Wine Institute: “The problem with listing additives, says Lee, the Wine Institute general counsel, is it could change consumer perception of all wines. “Wine would look engineered instead of natural,” he says.”

If there are additves, isn’t it engineered?

Sniff Sniff…Is that Ladybug I smell?

Back in 2001 I was working in NYC, living in Hoboken and my commute was horrendous…it literally took me an hour and a half (or more depending on delays) on a combination of the PATH, the Subway and walking 22 blocks to get to work. I picked up the habit of buying the NY Post on the first leg of my commute, mainly for Page Six, I will admit, but I also read the news, and then the New York Times on the second half. To this day, I still read both of those papers online, plus a handful or more other papers.

I have to say, in all those years, this is the first time I recall the Post having a news article (I rarely even recall a wine review to be honest) about wine that didn’t involve stolen wine.

Apparently there is a new threat to the aroma of wine: Ladybugs. While good for pest control, it has been found by a new Iowa State University study that Ladybugs emit a foul smelling liquid that can be detected in very small amounts by the human nose. Likened to the scent of green peppers and roasted peanuts, the aroma has been dubbed “Ladybug Taint” and is reportedly becoming more common in wine. The article isn’t long, you can find the AP text here.

The article asserts that the Ladybugs are being mixed into the grapes during the fermentation process. I will have to poke around the internet today to see if I can’t find out anything more, but if for nothing else, “Ladybug Taint” made me chuckle this morning.

Roshambo News

I was browsing on Pinot Blogger last night and saw that Josh had a post up about the sale of Roshambo’s tasting facility. I hadn’t caught the article in the news, so I was happy to get a heads up. We joined the Roshambo Party Army while we were visiting the winery this summer.

You can read all about it on the Roshamblog. For the time being, they will be operating out of an RV, which sounds incredibly interesting. I hope we make it back out that way to see it in operation. There have been a few articles in the Press Democrat about the news. You can also read some more over on Fermentation.

I hope this means even better things for Roshambo in the future. They were a ton of fun to visit and make some great and intersting wines. Best of luck to them!

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