As Bollinger staff cleaned out a winery cellar stacked with old, empty bottles, they made a remarkable discovery—some 600 rare bottles of Champagne, the youngest vintage being 1921, and the oldest, 1830. “The discovery of this cellar and the opportunity to restore our other stocks of old wines inspired us to create a new oenotheque [wine library],” said Jérôme Philipon, president of Bollinger. Using a state-of-the-art laser aphrometer that can measure the pressure inside a bottle without opening it, Bollinger has been doing painstaking restorations of these ancient bottles.
The just-opened wine library was christened Galerie 1829—celebrating the year Bollinger was founded. There are 65 vintages on display, including a red wine collection predating 1952, Bollinger R.D. from 1952 and the Vieilles Vignes Françaises collection from 1969. A second cellar named La Réserve was opened to presents Bollinger reserve magnums dating from 1892.
Channing Tatum Launches Born and Bred Vodka
The latest Hollywood personality with a proprietary spirit is Channing Tatum, star of Magic Mike. The vodka, named Born and Bred, “is an American craft vodka made from Idaho potatoes; born from Channing Tatum’s imagination and bred by the Grand Teton Distillery,” according to the company.
Located in Idaho, Born and Bred is sourcing locally grown potatoes and glacial waters from the Grand Teton mountains to produce a vodka that Tatum describes as “high quality” but “less formal” than other brands on the market. Less formal perhaps, but not afraid of a little hyperbole—the website says it is made to “embody the mischievous nature of American tall-tales and campfire story-telling.” The outdoorsy label notes that the batch-numbered spirit is gluten free and “damn smooth.”
At Last! Wine For Cats
Coming hot on the heels of a trend of cat bars and cat cafes, non-alcoholic “wines” for cats are now on sale in Denver. Produced by Apollo Peak, the first releases are a Pinot Meow and a MosCATo, packaged in 1.6-ounce and 8-ounce containers. While there is no actual wine in them, they are made with organic catnip and water and colored with organic red and golden beet juice to achieve a similar look.
This isn’t the first wine-like product aimed at cats—Nyan Nyan Nouveau, produced from the juice of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, catnip and vitamin C, went on sale in Japan in 2013. The Apollo Peak wines are being sold in the Denver area and online, priced at $5 for a 1.6-ounce package and $12 for the 8 ounce version.
More Weird Products of the Week: Sunglasses Made From Rum Barrels; Spam Cocktails; Beer-flavored Ice Cream
Bacardi’s “Good Spirited” sustainability initiative has found an unusual recycling option for its retired oak rum barrels—wooden sunglasses. At its Puerto Rico rum facility, used barrels are chipped up for mulch or made into hand-crafted eyewear in four styles. The company’s signature bat logo is carved at the hinge, and the polarized lenses come in cobalt blue and sunrise orange. Retailing for $195, the sunglasses are sold exclusively at the Casa Bacardi visitor center in Cataño, Puerto Rico.
Speaking of the unexpected, a Spam cocktail is now offered by London-based Korean-fusion restaurant Jinjuu. The Spamarita is built upon Ocho tequila, mezcal, agave nectar, pineapple and lime, then blended with a Spam and served up in a Spam-shaped container. “This cocktail is delighting customers with its originality,” a spokesman for the restaurant said.
Still hungry for dessert? You’ll have to wait just a bit longer for Ben & Jerry’s upcoming beer ice cream. Still in development, the new flavor, being made in partnership with New Belgium Brewing, will pour $50,000 in profits towards raising awareness of climate change.
Meanwhile, In the Trade
Hyde de Villaine Buys Its Napa Winery & Vineyard Home
Hyde de Villaine has purchased 24 acres of vineyard, a 3,750-square-foot winery and a private residence in Napa. The home of HdV since 2003, the purchase will be followed with the retrofitting of older equipment and replanting of sections of the vineyard.
HdV GM James Eyer explains “this purchase communicates to our stakeholders, clients and community that we are here for the long-term. At a time when the wine industry is experiencing historic consolidation, the Hyde and de Villaine families are planting more roots in this community and committing to staying a small, authentic and family-owned winery.”
Hyde de Villaine is a partnership between the Hyde family, owners of the lauded Hyde Vineyard in Carneros, Napa Valley, and the de Villaine family, owners of A&P de Villaine and co-director of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy.
Brown-Forman Presents Broker of the Year Awards
On June 20, Brown-Forman announced their 2016 Broker of the Year awards during the annual National Alcohol Beverage Control Association conference in Orlando, Florida. Each year, the association presents awards to one large and one midsized alcoholic beverage distributor. The Heavyweight Broker of the Year was presented to Great Lakes Wine and Spirits, Michigan, and the Middleweight Broker of the Year was presented to Breakthru Beverage of Montgomery County, Maryland. Great Lakes Wine and Spirits and Breakthru Beverage of Montgomery County each received a commemorative plaque and a $5,000 check to benefit the organization’s charity of choice.
Korbel’s Margie Healy Elected Wine Institute 2016-2017 Board Chair
Margie Healy, vice president at F. Korbel and Bros., has been elected Wine Institute board chairman for 2016-17 fiscal year. Also elected were Steve Lohr of J. Lohr, first vice chairman; Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards, second vice chairman; Hank Wetzel of Alexander Valley Vineyards, treasurer; and John Sutton, The Wine Group, secretary.
Healy has more than 40 years’ experience in the wine industry. Accepting the new position she said “I am honored to support the vital work of the Wine Institute on state, federal and international public policy. We will continue to focus on halting tax and fee bills across the country, reforming the federal excise tax on wine, and expanding privileges in direct-to-consumer wine shipping.”
Long Island Wine Council Losing Executive Director Steve Bate
Long Island Wine Council (LIWC), the leading industry association of the region’s wine producers, announces that Executive Director Steve Bate will be leaving the Council on September 1. Current Marketing Director Ali Tuthill will succeed him in that role.
During Bate’s 12-year tenure, LIWC’s membership grew by 40 percent and revenues by nearly 200 percent. He oversaw various marketing programs, including innovative off-season initiatives that increased wine region tourism from 500,000 in 2004 to more than 1.3 million annually. “We thank Steve Bate for his 12 years of distinguished service that brought LIWC to the prominence it enjoys today,” says LIWC President Roman Roth.
On The Scene
August 12–14. The SilverStar Summer Wine and Food Festival features wining, dining, music and dancing in Okanagan, Canada’s premier wine country.