New Harvest: Anderson Valley on the Mind

(Above: Anderson Valley as seen from Handley Vineyards, spring 2005.)

California’s Anderson Valley has always had a special place in my heart, ever since I first drove through on highway 128 during a road trip from San Diego to northern Vancouver Island in 1996. I make it back to Anderson Valley once every year or so, and each trip is inspiring. From the awesome beauty of the place and the sense of community that exists there, to the wines — among the most honest wines made in California — it’s hard not to say I *Heart* Anderson Valley.

As it turns out, there’s a lot more going on in the local community these days than my short visits have allowed me to witness. Thankfully, the California Report recently posted an excellent radio segment about life in Boonville, the area’s main town. It’s a quick yet fairly thorough look at the region’s current social, economic and environmental situation, and includes a substantial amount of reporting on the local wine industry.

Listen – New Harvest: The Future of Small Town, CA: Boonville & Anderson Valley

(NB: The Boonville segment is the second part of series on the California called “New Harvest: The Future of Small Town, CA”. You can learn more about this promising series, view slideshows and listen to additional broadcasts, at the project’s website.)

Plenty of things in the Anderson Valley broadcast caught my attention, but of note was local David Severn’s mention of regional water issues with regards to the wine industry, such as the affects of grape-growing and vineyard development on the local watershed. This is an important issue throughout California, and certainly well-reported, but I’m glad to see the it raised in this radio piece. It’s something the wine industry should be talking about as often as possible, and in a way that’s completely public and transparent.

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Cougar Beat: More From the Field at WSWA

It’s not all speeches and booze bottles shaped like weapons for Cougar Beat at the annual WSWA convention in Las Vegas. This time, our intrepid reporter sends word direct from the exhibition floor:

Highlights from the exhibition floor: Jello shots that require no refrigeration, 30 proof whipping cream in five flavors, a caffeinated RTD branded “Jakk’d” and the delightful lady hawking a ‘purple hooter’ in packaging akin to a large mustard packet. She said that the product retails for 99 cents beacuse “you gotta keep it cheap for the kids.”

At last, five flavors of 30 proof whipping cream!

Luckily, Cougar Beat stumbled on something that was more to her taste:

On a serious note, Leblon Cachaca is making a drink in their suite with said cachaca, lemongrass, cucumber, lime and coconut foam. Outstanding cocktail. Not to be missed!

Coconut foam? We here at Spume HQ love our foams.

Guns, Knives and Tequila at WSWA: Cougar Beat’s New Favorite Booze

Feeling charged after Sarah Palin’s speech this morning, Cougar Beat hit the floor at WSWA, where there can be exciting intersections of violence and alcohol.

The Beat reports: “Yes, the bottle is shaped like an AK-47. And that’s machete of tequila next to it.”

Be careful: Mention direct shipping here and someone will whack you with their tequila machete!

Cougar Beat: On the Prowl Live at WSWA

As some of you may know, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America is having its annual gathering in Las Vegas this week. This is where the distributor types come together for a series of meetings, tastings, back-room deals and good ol’ fashioned fun, Vegas style. Notable this year, of course, is the presence of Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker. Why Palin? Beats me because the whole organization is rather dude-heavy. But Mike Steinberger wrote an intelligent piece at Slate about the topic that’s worth a read.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. We here at Spume HQ, though we’ve never been to WSWA ourselves, have a plant at the convention. That’s right, we’ve embedded Cougar Beat our, erm, Vegas lifestyle correspondent. So, without further ado, we go to Cougar Beat’s live SMS dispatches from the conference: Continue reading

Real Live Wine Fraud

Not quite on the scale of the Jefferson bottles, but funnily enough the comment below appeared the other day on my earlier post about Nigerian Wine Spam.

Let’s see what “Julia” has to say:

Dear Wolfgang,
My name is Julia. I am from Moscow, Russia. I work for wine company. I have recieved a call from a man in London, who was seaking for Petrus wines for “VIP Party”. I did all the operation. I found the wines for him in France, the man from London  had sent the swift in order to confirm the payment.The french supplier had shipped 18 bottles of Petrus to London. Now the bank in France confirmed that the SWIFT is faked, the french supplier hasn`t got the money, the bastards had got the wines. I don`t know what to do….Could you advise me smth…. where to go…where do they usually resell the wines ? In London? To wine boutiques, restaurants…Any help would be appreciated. I am ready to pay the money for the help. The proforma was for 53000 euros. Julia

Interesting on many levels.

I wonder if it’s the same scammers, and this is their response to the original post? Do they like to target bloggers? Surly this is a person and not some web-crawling spam spider?

Anyway, as always folks, make sure to read through your comments. And anything about unloading some Petrus in London, Moscow, New York or anywhere else is 100% fake.

Side note: I guess this confirms that VIPs like to roll with Petrus.

Humboldt County Looks to Napa Valley for Inspiration

Hard times may be around the corner for marijuana growers in Humboldt County. It seems folks up there are concerned that legalization of marijuana in California — or some form of broad decriminalization of it at any rate — will cut into their bread and butter industry and their profits would, erm, go up in smoke.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist that one)

Interestingly, one of the proposed responses to this potential new reality is to turn the area into a playground for pot tourists, an idea that seems to borrow heavily from the model used by Napa Valley and California wine country. Presumably the folks in Humboldt are after a similarly well-heeled demographic. From today’s SF Chronicle:

Meeting organizer Anna Hamilton of Shelter Cove said she believes legalization could be “devastating” to the region and that Humboldt County should plan ahead by capitalizing on its name recognition as a marijuana destination.

“We have to embrace marijuana tourism, marijuana products and services — and marijuana has to become a part of the Humboldt County brand,” said Hamilton, who describes herself as “intimately involved” with the marijuana industry.

“Brand Humboldt County” sounds a lot like “Brand Napa Valley” to me. But then maybe I just smoked too much cabernet?