“I don’t smell like wine. I smell like cherry and a hint of oak.”
Comedian Grant Lyon understands something about wine humor that most don’t — how to make wine humor funny.
We’ve discussed many times on the blog why most wine humor is so sad — that it depends on cliches and stereotypes that weren’t funny then and aren’t funny now. Lyons found a way to twist the cliches with this bit, about getting stopped by a cop while coming home from a wine tasting. Plus, he knows not to belabor the point, moving on to something else after getting his laughs. Would that this video and this video could say the same.
? Whither the family-owned winery? Bonny Doon's Randall Grahm takes to his award-winning blog to ponder the future of the family winery, and more specifically his winery. Those of us who care about these things should be especially concerned when Grahm writes that his bank is not pleased with Bonny Doon's finances. The post is quite long, but worth reading — not only for the insight it offers into the modern wine business (something Grahm touched on when we had lunch last fall), but for the usual Grahm wit (as a kid, he sold first-aid kits door to door) and footnotes. Yes, he puts footnotes in blog posts. And there are people who think the Wine Curmudgeon is odd.
? Bring on the Skinnygirl wine: Beam Estates, which owns a bunch of wine brands but is better known for spirits, is going to launch Skinnygirl, a line of reduced calorie wine similar to its Skinnygirl cocktails. The story in the Wine Spectator reports that the brand is aiming for 100 calories for a 5-ounce glass, which is about 25 less than it would normally have. Maybe they'll take the flavor out. The Wine Curmudgeon, oddly enough, has a passing knowledge of Skinnygirl cocktails. I was trying to convince a Dallas retailer to sponsor a local wine event last year, and he said what his chain really wanted was something like the Skinnygirl, former reality show star Bethenny Frankel, to make an appearance at one of his stores. Could we do something like that?
? Georgia legislature, always on the job: Georgia legislators have decided that wine tastings at retailers that sell spirits — as opposed to retailers that just sell wine — is not a good thing. The story, from Georgia Public Broadcasting, notes that package stores would face horrendous insurance problems if allowed to do wine tastings. Which, of course, does not seem to be a problem in other states that allow wine tastings in package stores, including that well-known bastion of sensible liquor laws and erudite legislators, Texas (where I live). Still, as excuses go, it is quite original and almost as good as the one that the beer business gives when it lobbies to restrict Internet wine sales: Teenagers will buy wine online and lie about their age!
Years ago, when the Wine Curmudgeon was in the newspaper business, I didn't even know there was such a thing as event planning. These days, I get to do it.
That's because DrinkLocalWine.com will hold its third annual conference this weekend in St. Louis, focusing on Missouri wine. Which has given me the opportunity, for the third year in a row, to add event planner to my already long and bizarre resume. (What, I haven't told you about bagging groceries or working at Burger King?)
And a great event has been planned. My thanks to DLW's Katy Jane Bothum and January Wiese, who did so much heavy lifting, and to Danene Beedle of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, the conference's primary sponsor. What makes it great? We have our legendary Twitter Taste-off — expanded by an hour and you get to keep the Riedel glass that you use. We have winery tours. We have wine seminars. We have the soon to be legendary Missouri Blind Tasting Challenge, in which we dare any wine snob in the audience to tell Missouri wine from California wine. So far, none of them have accepted the challenge, which isn't surprising. And there might even be a surprise or two, given my new-found reputation.
So if you're in the St. Louis area this weekend, stop by. A few tickets are still available, and they're cheap, cheap, cheap — just $35 for the Twitter Taste-off, which includes wine from two dozen Missouri wineries, a buffet reception with the winemakers and media attending the conference, and the Riedel glass. You can buy tickets on the DLW web site.