Monday, October 27, 2008

Grapevine Radio Show airing Saturday, August 16, 2008

One this show we meet Steven Hagy, self proclaimed "cork dork," and author whose second book, Faces in the Fog has just been published.

Steve works weekends in the Doce Robles Winery tasting room, whose owner Jim Jacobson is our second guest. Jim and his wife Meredith are third generation Central Coast growers and lean a bit about their history and how the heck they sell their premium boutique wines as such affordable prices.

Then we get to hear an incredible tale of moving 2,000 century old olive trees from Oroville to Cre
ston, CA from Frank Menacho, owner of Olivas de Oro olive orchard. Plus a live report from Shannon at the 17th Annual Basil Festival in Paso Robles.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I've Seen Some Crappy Wine Labels but ...

... this one take the, er, cake. From the blog


One doesn't normally don't look to French winegrowers for a source of amusement -- they are a famously unfunny lot -- but apparently desperate times have brought out some humor in some wine producers in the Languedoc.

Faced with low demand for their cooperative produced wines in the face of their region's reputation for producing plonk, a group of winemakers have decided that they might as well meet the consumer's expectation.

So they've produced a wine labeled "Vin de Merde." And for anyone who didn't learn any French swear words when they got the chance in Fifth Grade, that means "Shit Wine." Or as the ever so proper BBC commentator puts it: "Crap wine." The rest of the text on the label says: "The worst signifies the best."

Here's a little piece from the BBC on the brilliant new label, which just happens to be selling faster than they can get it into shops.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Don’t Try Cooking This at Home. No. Really. Don’t.

England – This research just in from the Brits; 10 percent of their population – six million people – have had a kitchen accident trying to copy a celebrity chef.

No wonder real chefs are made of iron!

A United Kingdom insurance company (Esure Home Insurance) took a poll that showed that although 73 percent of the respondents described themselves as “amateur,” “novice,” or downright “useless” in the kitchen, that didn’t dissuade 75 percent of them from attempting a complex culinary technique, risking injury to themselves, to others, to their pets, and to their homes (I made up the pets part).

Damage estimates were in the $9 billion range! Makes the Bush Bailout look appetizing by comparison.

Numerous hazards were sighted from fast chopping to deep frying, but the chart toppers were creme brulees and roasted peppers. The prime culprit? Industrial strength blow torches.

A large percentage of injuries seem to be related to budding gourmets attempting complex culinary techniques in “real time,” dashing between the cooking show on TV in the other room and the kitchen. Slippery when wet!

And these “recipes for disaster” afflict women and men in nearly equal proportions with 83 percent of men and 87 percent of women, who although they claim “no cooking experience,” still fearlessly attempt these gourmet acrobatics.

Source: A “Front Burner” story by Julie Mautner for Food Arts Magazine, October 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wine Whisperer Nominated!

Your Soft Spoken Seeker of Sommelier Secrets has been nominated for "Best Profile Pic" on the great wine industry social/business blog site, Wine 2.0.

So for those of you who mocked the Caped Purple One for donning the elaborate get-up for a weekly radio appearance ... put a cork in it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Show Airing August 9th, 2008

Another jam packed show. We open with author William Ausmus talking about his new book, Wines & Wineries of the Central Coast.

Then Phillip Krumal, winemaker-owner of Asuncion Ridge Vineyards & Inn describes the wines (including one of Jan's favorite Pinot Noirs) and the Inn on Paso Robles westside.

Finally Chef Robert Root tells us about the 16 day Pallet to Palate events with featuring area
chefs pairing with San Luis Obispo County’s farmers to create delicious, gourmet dinners ... with local wines, of course!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Free the Grapes. Send in Capt. Terry

Our very own Terry Speizer, founder of Domaine Alfred, the world renowned winery he recently sold, was instrumental in bringing this issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. And yet, the battle rages, as the post-Prohibition fiefdoms struggle to maintain their control... and money.

Here's the latest installment of the saga by David Kesmodel from, Santé Magazine's online edition.

Alison Light and her husband fell in love with several small California wineries this summer while celebrating their wedding anniversary. But when Ms. Light tried to have bottles shipped to her Norfolk, Mass., home, she was miffed to discover that her state effectively barred most such shipments.

So she -- joining about 8,000 other Massachusetts residents -- became a member of Free the Grapes, a Napa, Calif., advocacy group for wineries and wine drinkers. Ms. Light, a 46-year-old university financial-aid worker, has written state lawmakers, urging them to overhaul the state's direct-shipping rules.


In the meantime, if you're trying to help friends and relatives who are wine touring on the Central Coast ship wines back home, check out our friends at