England Says There is no Good Way to Drink Alcohol; Cricketers Dodge Corks; Wine Fraud Gets Star Power & More News

Healthy Wine?

A report from England’s chief medical officer paints a dire picture for some of our favorite beverages, fueling a tightening of recommended levels of alcohol consumption. According to the report, released in January, any alcohol intake increases the risk of a number of forms of cancer, which has prompted the government to officially accept the new recommended guidelines last week. The new recommended levels? Just 14 units of alcohol per week, which translates to roughly six pints of 4-percent abv beer, or six glasses of 13-percent abv wine over the course of seven days.

The ruling is, of course, just a guideline, and needless to say many in the scientific community and beverage industry do not agree with the assessment. We know a few beverage professionals who are balancing moderate drinking while maintaining a healthy lifestyle….

Miles & Malbec: Marathon-Running Somms

Cricket Players Under Attack…from Champagne Corks

Sports fans occasionally (and unfortunately) express their displeasure with the action in front of them by tossing whatever is at hand onto the playing field. Spectators at Lord’s, a cricket ground in North London run by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), however, are causing a disturbance of a different kind, motivated by pleasure: popping Champagne corks. A spokesperson for the MCC told the Daily Mail, “[T]he problem of flying corks distracting fielders and posing a potential hazard has been mentioned by visiting teams and so we are politely asking members to desist from popping Champagne bottles in the stands in the direction of the outfield.”

The Story Behind Premier Con Artist John Fox

Bloomberg dives into the story of John Fox, the former CEO (Chief Embezzlement Officer to some) of Premier Cru, who was recently convicted of ripping off customers and his own company out of millions of dollars in a high-profile wine scam. Fox sold pre-arrival bottlings of high end Bordeaux and Burgundy at a comparative discount to other vendors in the marketplace, but the bottles he was selling existed only on paper, in a Ponzi scheme that has become one of the largest fraud cases the fine wine world has ever seen. From his start in 1980 to his downfall and guilty plea this month, read the whole story here.

Speaking of Wine Fraud…

John Cho
Photo courtesy Charlie Nguyen / flickr

Variety reports USA Network is developing a new series on the exploits of a dapper con artist, played by Star Trek‘s John Cho, who bilks the rich and powerful out of millions paying for fake wine. (Sounds like another infamous case of wine fraud.) Entitled “Connoisseur”, the announcement of this new vinous thriller comes hot on the heels of second season of USA’s other breakthrough drama “Mr. Robot”, signaling a continued shift in the network’s pursuit of high-concept original programming, and possibly the first time the world of high-end wine has been featured as a central plot point of a major television series.

In The Trade

Liters of the New School

At the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference, a panel on the future of wine packaging discussed topics ranging from what the elusive millennial is looking for in wine (answer: “authenticity”), to the nuts and bolts of everything from rosé sales (up 464% since 2012) and trends in box wine (5-liter is out, 3-liter is in). Lest anyone get too worried about this brand new world, long-time aficionados may be pleased to know Cabernet is still king. Read the full wrap-up here.

The Staglin Family Recieves Lifetime Achievement Award

Garen, Brandon, Shannon and Shari Staglin accepted the award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for their work in fundraising for mental health research. Raising over $235 million due largely in part to their annual Music Festival for Brain Health, a project that came about due to Brandon’s schizophrenia diagnosis in 1990, and the family’s decision that they could do more to help fund research for mental illness. The 22nd iteration of the family’s benefit festival will take place September 17, 2016, at the Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, California, and will feature a performance by singer-songwriter Michael Franti, dinner by executive chef and owner of Niche Food Group, Gerard Craft, and plenty of Staglin wine.

Ruth Bassin, Owner of Addy Bassin’s MacArthur Beverages, Passes Away at 89

The well-known Washington wine maven founded her renowned retail outlet with her husband Addy in 1957, and was known for personally manning the registers and answering phones right up until her death August 21. She passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s.

One of the most well-known and influential wine retail outlets in the country, “Bassin’s“, as it was casually known, was a favorite haunt of wine critic Robert Parker in his early days, and has been credited with providing a sense of legitimacy to Californian wines during days of perceived French supremacy. When her husband passed away due to complications with cancer in 1986, Ruth Bassin founded the Addy Bassin Cancer Foundation in his memory, and turned her efforts towards charity. Following the death of her son Bruce to a heart attack in 1998, she also founded Heart’s Delight, an annual wine auction credited with raising more than $15 million to go to the American Heart Association.

The store will continue to operate under the ownership of Addy and Ruth’s daughters, Gail and Barbara.

Out and About

Managing Editor Joe Czerwinski reaffirms that age ain’t nothing but a number.

Meanwhile, Digital Managing Editor Marina Vataj volleys with tennis superstar Novak Djokovic.

And finally, Contributing Editor Anne Krebiehl finds out there may just be a bigger Riesling nerd out there than her…

Published on August 29, 2016
Topics: Wine News + Trends