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Oct 01

News Bites: Tino Vino Update & La Poste Opening

Tino Vino Update

James Pilcher, with the Cincinnati Enquirer, wrote a comprehensive story covering the Tino Vino debacle. I talked to him yesterday and I have to say, there’s something for having the power of Gannett behind you. It means people talk.

Apparently Lindsay is trying to extricate herself from her marriage and a lot of troubles have come out of that and the ORP connection. She blamed the landlord and missed her eviction hearing because she didn’t know about it. I’m not really buying that, however. Howard Ain and John Matarese both reported on that hearing over a week ago.

I still hold that the wine that’s been in there, in not-temperature-controlled conditions, isn’t in very good shape. You never know, and your bottles might be better off than anything in tanks and barrels, but be forewarned.

It sounds as if you have about seven days in which to retrieve your wine. If you’re determined, then perhaps a call to Teko Land Group (the landlord) might be in order.

Again, if I hear anything further, I’ll let you know. James may also end up with a follow-up piece, so watch the Enquirer / Cincinnati.com as well.

La Poste Opening on Monday

On to much more pleasant news! La Poste, the new eatery located in the old Tink’s, is opening for dinner on Monday. You can already find them on OpenTable and folks, reservations are filling up fast. La Poste is owned by sommelier Bryant Phillips and his wife Kelly Lough, former wine rep/wine store owner Jens Rosencrantz, and the wonderful Chef Dave Taylor. I can’t wait to try the place!

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Posted by Michelle at 10:18 am in Cincinnati, Local, News | Permalink | Comments ()
Aug 19

Maynard James Keenan’s Wine Club

There are folks I know who are positively obsessed with Maynard James Keenan. Me? I’m not all that familiar with this music, but I do appreciate his wine. I’ve also interviewed him and can tell you, he’s as passionate about the wine as he is about the music. Now the guy behind Arizona Stronghold, Caduceus Cellars, and Merkin Vineyard is announcing a wine club called the Velvet Slippers Club.

The Velvet Slippers Club will  feature three tiers of membership ranging from the vineyard’s more well known varietals to an elite package featuring small production runs, features quarterly shipments of three bottles and exclusive merchandise from the boutique winery.  Membership also includes exclusive invitations and complimentary tastings at Caduceus’ Jerome, Ariz. tasting room.

A one-time membership fee of $75 nets you a Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyard corkscrew as well as (hold on to your hats, girls) an autographed poster. The low-end tier averages $70-$150 per shipment; the middle tier runs $120-$200 per shipment; the high-end costs $200-$250 per shipment. Those prices do not include tax and shipping. You’ll receive four shipments each year, weather permitting arriving mid-month every February, May, September, and November. Each package will contain three bottles of the winemaker’s selections, winemaker’s notes, and their seasonal newsletter.

The Velvet Slippers Club is a critical step towards establishing and sustaining our small family owned and operated estate winery,” says Keenan. “Along with maintaining the integrity of our established wines, it will allow us to spend time with single barrel offerings of blends, block specific varietals, and happy accidents by providing an appreciative audience. We couldn’t have come this far without your support. This is our way of saying thank you.”

It’s expensive, but I’m considering signing up for the low or middle tier. We’ve purchased his wine before and it was excellent. The wine club can, indeed, ship to Ohio, so count your blessings. Other lucky states include Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Not on the list are Kentucky and Indiana. Time to find an Ohio shipping address, I guess. In my experience, shipping costs vary by state, and Ohio’s wine shipping costs can be obnoxious. Be prepared.

Additionally, the excellent documentary Blood Into Wine will be released on DVD on Sept 6, if you’re interested in seeing exactly how a winery comes together in Arizona.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:30 am in News, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (5)
Aug 05

Twitter Wine

Do you tweet?

I tweet. You can find me under my professional moniker of @writetechnology. I’ve been tweeting since the very beginning (I have Early Adopter Syndrome). Lately my tweets have been sparse, as I’ve been putting together a failing class reunion (failing!) and all my attention has been on Facebook. Apparently I don’t do well at handling both at the same time when one is full throttle.

That said, as soon as this reunion business is over, I’m taking a much needed break from my personal Facebook page (and seriously thinning my friends list), and heading back to Twitter. It was always my first love anyway.

Earlier in the year, Twitter announced that they are working with CrushPad to create a Twitter-branded wine called Fledgling. I have my own suspicions as to why they decided to do this, based in part on the wine leanings of a now-former employee of Twitter. Regardless of why they did it, proceeds from the wine go to charity.

Crushpad is a cool place. Located in Napa, they provide grapes from both California and French vineyards. They also give you a wine maker and associated team and a complete winery that focuses on small lots of wine. Crushpad provides grapes from top California and Bordeaux vineyards, an industry-acclaimed wine making team, and a state-of-the-art winery 100% focused on making wine in small lots. It’s a brilliant idea, making it possible (and affordable) for people like you and me  – or more likely a group of people like you and me – to create their own wine and label. It’s not a one-bottle-at-a-time thing. It’s your own winery.

As for the Twitter wine, for each bottle that you purchase, $5 goes to help Room to Read, a children’s literacy organization that works worldwide. Fledgling sales, in particular, will help promote literacy in Uttarakhand, India.

Both a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay are available. I pre-ordered a bottle of the Pinot Noir. Bottles cost $20, but shipping (at least to Ohio, where I imagine they are pulling strings and working around the system) is a whopping $20 as well. Because I really wanted to try this wine – and I wouldn’t expect a charity wine to provide press samples – I went ahead and ordered it in spite of the shipping charge.

Okay, so Twitter announced this months ago. Why am I bringing it up now? They’re bottling on August 25 and shipping out soon after. Go order your bottle of Fledgling and support a great cause. And of course, you can tweet about it later! ;-)

Follow Fledgling Wine on Twitter (of course).

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Posted by Michelle at 12:19 pm in Charity Benefits, News, Web/Tech, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments ()
Aug 04

As a Nation, We’re Getting Drunker

For 71 years, Gallup has been tracking the number of Americans who say they drink alcohol. The latest poll results were released the other day and currently 67% of US adults say they drink alcohol. This is a slight increase over last year and apparently the highest recorded since 1985.

Favorite beverage? Sorry wine folks. Beer is apparently the #1 choice, followed by wine and then liquor. Interestingly, wine was the #1 choice in 2005. I blame the recession – beer is, after all, “recession champagne.” Wine still wins a little, as the #1 beverage choice among women and older Americans. Guys, younger drinkers, and (here you go), those in the midwest still prefer beer – just like the marketing tells us.

There are some other interesting tidbits thrown into the mix, including that those who seldom or ever attend church are more likely to say they drink in comparison to those who don’t get up early on Sundays. Additionally, those with no religious identity, Catholics, and non-Christians are more likely to drink than Protestants. Huh.

Finally, the report lets us know that the recession may not be the reason for the increase in drinking. Of poll respondents who earn less than $20,000 per year, 46% say they drink. However, 81% of those who earn $75,000 or more say they drink.

View the Gallup results and survey methods (pdf).

Image from Gallup

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Posted by Michelle at 3:28 pm in Current Affairs, News, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)
Feb 04

Blood Into Wine: Maynard James Keenan

Once upon a time I wrote for the (now defunct) Taste Magazine. I was working on an article about celebrity-branded alcohol, although that article got scrapped when I took over the Wine Academy column for the magazine. In the process of researching that article, I somehow managed to get in touch with the publicist for Maynard James Keenan, and eventually, I interviewed him. It’s just as well my article got scrapped, because my recording of the interview wasn’t very good. It was so bad, I have yet to be able to clean it up and use it. (Since then, I’ve improved my recording equipment.)

For those unfamiliar, Maynard James Keenan is the front man for rock bands Tool, Puscifer, and A Perfect Circle. Until I met Kevin Keith, I had no idea who he was, so don’t feel bad, and I think that Maynard actually preferred my lack of knowledge of his music during the interview. If there is anything I got out of that conversation, it’s that he doesn’t like being called a “Rock Star.” Well, that and Maynard James Keenan is the most intense person to whom I have ever spoken. I believe that he does everything with the same intensity – be it music or wine, which should tell you something about his wine.

When Kevin and I went to Arizona in 2007, we visited Cornville, AZ as we drove south towards Phoenix from the Grand Canyon. It’s off the beaten path a bit, but Cornville was an absolute delight for us as wine lovers. We started at Page Springs Cellars, where it just so happens that Maynard had worked with the wine maker to learn everything he could about wine. At the time, Page Springs Cellars was also selling Maynard’s labels, Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards. (Our Photos from Arizona Wineries) We have several Maynard-created wines in our wine fridge.

When I interviewed Maynard, he was working on launching Arizona Stronghold, a winery in the southern Arizona ghost town of Jerome. (A lot of grapes are grown in southern Arizona.) Last summer, an article in Decanter.com alerted me that Maynard and his winemaker Eric Glomski have officially launched the new winery.

Turns out, the process of creating Arizona Stronghold is the basis for a new documentary called Blood Into Wine. It premieres in Arizona (of course) on February 19 (full list of theatres is after the jump – mostly West Coast I’m afraid). But the DVD will be released on May 4 Sept 6. Check out the trailer. Even if you don’t like his music, how can you resist a documentary like this? It’s got music, wine, and a lot of humor, I think.

Blood Into Wine arrives in select theaters on Feb. 19 with a Phoenix-based premiere at the W Hotel Scottsdale.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Michelle at 8:05 am in Entertainment, Meet the Winemaker, News, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (3)

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