Diary of a Dry January
Writing in The Guardian, Dean Burnett chronicles his month-long abstention from alcohol, now becoming a sort of January tradition. Noting that it’s debatable whether or not giving it up has any benefits, he offers his own experiences as a trained neuroscientist, to see what changes in his physical and mental state ensued.
Here’s a sample entry of his humorous account, from Day 16: “My improved focus and cognition mean I am far more productive. Today I calculated my taxes for the next 5 years using an exquisitely complex algorithm that I came up with that deduces my incomes and outgoings with less than a 0.05% margin of error, reorganized the house so that the air flow ensures maximum efficiency of the heating system, and solved Fermat’s last theorem while making some toast. I was going to write it down, but with my vastly improved memory there is no need.”
Tips On How To Reduce Your Overall Alcohol Intake
In The Daily Mail, John Naish reports on a number of tricks and tactics for cutting down on your overall alcohol consumption. Some are based on science, such as a study at Bristol University showing that curvy-sided beer glasses can make you drink excessively fast. The conclusion? People drank almost 60 percent more slowly when their beer was served in a straight glass.
Other studies quoted in the article have found that we give ourselves larger servings of wine when we hold the glass while pouring, as much as 12.2 percent,, compared to filling a glass on a table.
Another alcohol reduction tip: Pour dark drinks. People tend to pour around 10 percent less alcohol into a glass if the drink is colored rather than clear (put that vodka back on the shelf!). While you’re at it, drink from a smaller wine glass. And use plastic cups instead of glasses.
Last but not least, avoid pubs with music. Loud music in bars, it seems, makes women prone to drinking faster. It doesn’t matter whether the music is fast or slow, it makes women drink more than they think, and gets them more intoxicated than they admit to, according to a study published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology in 2013.
Here’s the French Sideways
Noted wine lover and film star Gérard Depardieu, who has boasted he can “absorb” 14 bottles of wine in a single day, will be one of the leads in a new French wine film, Saint Amour, which is being called the French Sideways. Saint Amour’s plot revolves around two friends eager to escape their daily grind by touring Beaujolais’ wine regions.
Depardieu plays Jean, who wants his son Bruno to take over the family cattle farm. Bruno has other plans, involving wine. What follows is an impromptu father-and-son bonding wine trip through French vineyards.
In real life, Depardieu owns a Château de Tigné in the Loire Valley, and also has joint ventures with Bernard Magrez, including La Croix de Peyrolie in Lussac St-Emilion and Le Bien Decidé in the Hérault region of Languedoc. No word on whether Merlot remains the enological villain in this new film.
Is Charles Smith the Bruce Springsteen of Wine?
In an unusual Uncorked interview with rock ‘n’ roll winemaker Charles Smith, the frizzy-haired wine mogul answers this question and several others having to do with music, groupies and the morning after. Oh, and there are some pretty good wine recommendations also.
Just For Fun
Introducing the $100 Cristal Doughnut (Coffee Extra)
We’ve seen super-expensive hot dogs, burgers and other fast food items. Are you ready for a hundred dollar doughnut? The Manila Social Club in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood has introduced the Golden Cristal Ube Doughnut, covered in icing made with Cristal Champagne and filled with Champagne jelly. But that’s not all! It is sprinkled with flecks of edible 24-karatgold.. Lest you think it’s really too over-the-top even for jaded New Yorkers, restaurant owner Björn DelaCruz reports that there have already been sales of boxes with a full dozen doughnuts.
“I wanted to add something for the New Year to celebrate how long we have been going. I didn’t know people would go and order a dozen at a time! But then again, it is New York, and there are people willing to put down a grand for a dozen doughnuts,” says DelaCruz
In the Trade
In Memoriam: Harry Mariani and Ben Gavitt
Banfi Vintners’ President Emeritus Harry Mariani passed away on January 5th in Huntington, New York, at the age of 78. He joined his father John Sr. and elder brother John Jr. in the family wine importing concern, Banfi Products Corporation, in 1959, coordinating the firm’s administrative, commercial and marketing activities in the U.S. wine trade. He became President in 1964, and after the passing of his father in 1972, he directed all United States activities with his brother John Jr. Together they transformed Banfi from a small New York City company to a major United States wine importer and international firm with estates in Tuscany and Piedmont, Italy. In 2015, Harry was inducted into the Italian Trade Commission’s Distinguished Service Awards Hall of Fame.
Ben Gavitt, director of Cornell University’s New York State Wine Analytical Lab, died of cancer on December 25th in Union Springs, New York. He was 59 years old. Gavitt helped improve the taste and quality of wines made in New York and around the world. He was the key figure in a lab providing more than 25 different chemical, microbiological and sensory analyses of juice, wine and distillates. During his career, Gavitt used advanced analytical methods to test thousands of wines for problems from contamination to fermentation issues.
Coming Soon To Your Vineyard—Drones!
In 2014, the Villa d’Este Wine Symposium awarded viticulturist William Metz a fellowship to evaluate the use of drones in winemaking. For a year, Metz flew his drone over numerous European vineyards in order to, as he describes it, “visualize spacial variations.” Using hi-res visible photography, multi-spectral information and sophisticated software, he demonstrates that 3-D models can be developed that help with planning everything from erosion control to trellising options to picking decisions. Good stuff for winemakers and well worth watching.
Women of the Vine 2016 Global Symposium Opens Registration
The Women of the Vine Alliance has opened online registration for its second annual Women of the Vine Global Symposium to be held April 4–6, 2016 at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa. The event will bring together the alcohol beverage industry’s top professionals and influencers, including executive management, directors of sales and marketing, on- and off-premise wine and spirits buyers, distributors, wine educators, winemakers, sommeliers, mixologists, importers/exporters, winery owners, public relations, media, viticulturists, hospitality operations, and more.
Included in the three-day program are 12 breakout sessions, four keynote speakers, four general sessions, three evening networking events and two networking lunches.
New Brand Identity Launched For Long Island Wines
Wine Business reports that the Long Island Wine Council (LIWC) has introduced a new brand identity and regional repositioning campaign. Included are a new logo and a new consumer-friendly website, as well as public relations and social media activities. They goal is to establish the East End of Long Island as a world-class winemaking destination.
“The new logo and website redesign are the first steps towards creating an authentic and compelling brand identity for LIWC and repositioning the region,” says Marketing Director Ali Tuthill. “It will not only embrace our member producers and the balanced and sophisticated wines they produce, but the diversity of experiences on the East End that make it a true mecca for fans of top quality wine, gastronomy and nature.”
The logo’s central graphic is a Peconic Bay scallop, an iconic symbol of the East End. The shell’s components are divided in half, with the bottom representing rows of grapes and the top suggesting a radiant sun and its bounty. The new Web site aims to offer users information on the 48 member wineries and extensive wine touring information. Included are specific recommendations of wineries, restaurants and leisure activities.