Wise & Otherwise – Column

Philip E. Hiaring

Zinfandel Unmasked! The Sacramento Bee (Jan. 30) had a Mike Dunne piece that reported Dr. Carole Meredith of UC Davis identified the Croatian grape Crljenak as “identical to Zinfandel.” Whew, this could still some beating hearts. Dr. Meredith is a geneticist and uses DNA to track down these kinds of buggers. By the way, if Zinfandel is too hard to pronounce, try the Croatian version: “cheer-ya-knock.” Dr. Meredith credits two Croatian colleagues, Edi Maletic and Ivan Pejic of the University of Zagreb. The two discovered the vine that grew the fruit that confirmed the link to our old pal, Zinfandel. Incidentally, per Mike’s story, the Croatian version isn’t well regarded there. Kind of like a redheaded stepchild.

Pay Attention. We got a fax from a North Coast organization about two February events. That’s okey-dokey. Except we got the fax Feb. 6 and the events were for Feb. 13 and 28. Geez, we’d like to publicize the events, but our February issue was printed BEFORE we got the fax! We won’t embarrass the organization any further. But know WHO you are sending stuff to, and know their deadlines! Is that too much to ask?

Wine and Health. An Italian study published in “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research,” found that the elderly who drank wine moderately were more resistant to dementia than abstainers. That’s good news, unless you happen to be a dementia fan. We thank New York State’s Jim Trezise for this item. In his “The Wine Press,” Jim also reported on the good work done at Cornell by Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling and colleagues. Last year, 51 winery clients submitted 533 samples requiring 4,753 separate analyses to Cornell’s Wine Lab. Obviously, quality is foremost with these New York State winemakers. An April workshop at Geneva focuses on Riesling… good focus. Jim also pointed out North Dakota, of all places, has a winery. We’re checking on this. If true, it means all 50 states have wineries. And they tell North Dakota jokes in Montana!

American Vineyard Foundation. Recently, Arvesta Corp., formerly Tomen Agro, presented the AVF with a check for $15,000. Patrick Gleeson, AVF executive director, naturally accepted the check happily. We bring this up to point out it’s more than OK for industry suppliers (chemical firms, machinery guys, winery equipment folk, etc.) to pony up for research, which is what AVF works on. Hey, no grapes due to Pierce’s disease? Well hey, no grape pickers, crushers, presses, corks, barrels, etc.

Sponsorship. Lindeman’s of Australia is sponsoring Canada’s Olympic team. Why? Lindeman’s is the best-selling Chardonnay in Canada. Next question: Who is sponsoring the Jamaican Bobsled Team?

Funny. Went to the tasting room trade show sponsored by another pub, and talked with the owners of The Hummingbird Cafe in Sonoma. They sell items to convert wine bottles into hummingbird feeders. Anyway, Michelle told me someone said she didn’t know birds drank wine! Honest! She said it happens all the time, too.

Go Figure. Sears Point Raceway is featuring Napa and Sonoma wineries via its “Premium Winery” program. Hmmm. You’d think wineries and racecars would be mutually exclusive, except in grand prix circles. Drinking and driving, you know. We tried to work a promo with BMW and Mondavi a couple years ago, but BMW chickened out. In any event, there will be a tasting pavilion, private hospitality and luxury suite tastings and limo tours. The first wineries to sign up were Korbel, Kenwood, Valley of the Moon and Lake Sonoma, all owned by Gary Heck of Korbel, and Andretti Winery. Andretti Winery? Right, Mario Andretti, a retired grand prix driver, is vice chairman of the Napa Valley property.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Hiaring Company

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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