The Enth Degree - November 1, 2005
News and notes from the world of wine.
Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming celebrated her 57th birthday this year with the announcement of the release of Fleming Jenkins Victories Rosé. The wine was created by Peggy and her husband, physician and winemaker Greg Jenkins, to raise funds for breast cancer research. 100% of the net profits of this and future vintages of Victories Rosé will be donated to charities supporting the cause.
Englishman completes 20-plus-year mission to drink his way through the united kingdom.
Call it a labor of love or an unhealthy obsession, but Stuart Ashby is one who perseveres. It's taken him 21 years to visit all 5,054 pubs listed in Britain's 1984 Good Beer Guide, published by an advocacy group called Campaign for Real Ale. His has to be the longest pubcrawl in history.
The 55-year-old retired railway worker from England says he bought the book simply "to find good beer while travelling." Around 1987, he realized he was on to something, and began meticulously recording each pub visit, complete with date and snapshot. He stopped at nothing to arrive at each tavern, even taking a small ferry to a pub on a remote Cornish island. He completed his mission in July, with a half-pint of Fullers London Pride ale at The Lamb Inn on Britain's south coast.
"Good beer," proclaims Ashby, "is real ale, hand drawn from a barrel and served at room temperature." More specifically, the beer guide calls it "living beer that undergoes natural second fermentation in the cask. It can reach its full flavor potential, without filtration, pasteurization and added gas."
Ashby buys the Good Beer Guide every three years, and is now working his way through each edition. In total, he's gone to 15,000 watering holes around the U.K. His friend, Stuart Knock (who has visited a mere 350 pubs) says Ashby is "nutty, but in the nicest way possible." For the record, Ashby is not married, and says settling down would only hinder his pursuit. His mission, he says, is simple: "Until my legs and my liver pack up, I'll keep going!" — Tara Gadomski
Dough rises for children's charities at star-studded Sonoma auction
Two of wine world's power couples—Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson, and Peggy and Fred Furth—chaired the Imagine 2005 Wine Auction held July 28-30, in Sonoma County. The festival raised $2.5 million to support children's organizations in California and Russia.
A free children's concert kicked off the three-day event. The educational program was performed by the Russian National Orchestra and narrated by NBA star John Salley. Friday evening dinners were held at Hartford, Trefethen, Hanzell and Jordan wineries. Cardinale Winery wined and dined this year's featured artist, actress Jane Seymour, along with Seymour's husband, James Keech.
The wine auction luncheon was held Saturday at Chalk Hill Estates. Fabulous auction packages and lively banter from auctioneers Fritz Hatton and Fred Furth kept the bidding moving. Joe and Jennifer Montana paid $380,000 for the evening's top lot: an 80th anniversary edition Rolls Royce Phantom.
Costs for Imagine are entirely underwritten, allowing 100 percent of the proceeds to go to the event's selected charities, which include a Russian foundation that brings the arts into Moscow orphanages, youth shelters and homes for disabled children. In America, the proceeds will fund family concerts and grants to organizations that serve at-risk children. For more information on next year's event, call 707.838.4306. — Jayne Russell