? Master sommelier: James Tidwell, the sommelier at the Four Seasons in suburban Dallas, has become a master sommelier ? one of just 96 in North America and 167 worldwide. The honor is probably the highest that a wine person can achieve, and is incredibly difficult to do. James is not only one of the nicest guys in the wine business, but has also been gracious and generous with helping the Wine Curmudgeon navigate so much about wine that he doesn ?t know.
? States look for recession funding: And what better way than to raise taxes on wine, beer and spirits? WineSpiritsDaily.com reports that Kentucky approved a 6 percent tax on retail beer, wine and spirits sales, while Oregon may increase its surcharge on beer to $49.61 from $2.60 a barrel. Arizona is considering a "Liquor Luxury Tax ? of $3.50 a gallon, which is significantly higher than the current 16 cents a gallon. At least 18 other states are considering proposals to raise taxes.
? Hidden wine set for auction: A British auction house is selling a cache of wines from the 1920s that had been hidden from the Nazis in a bricked up cellar during World War II. The wines, which were on the German-occupied English Channel island of Guernsey, include Chateau Latour 1926, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1928, and Chateau Ausone 1928.