? Stealth wines: Which is what my pal Dave McIntyre calls labels that don ?t have wineries; rather, distributors, stores and importers commission custom blends from negociants. One of the leading practictioners of stealth wines is Cameron Hughes, a broker who buys excess wine from producers and bottles it under his own name. Several visitors have asked why I haven't written about Hughes, since his reason for being is bargain wines. As Dave notes, his wines can often cost pennies on the dollar compared to similar products. I haven't done anything because of the limited availability of Hughes' wines. By the time I wrote something, the wine would likely be sold out. And what's the point of that? Hence, take a look at Dave's piece, which ran in the Washington Post, and which does an excellent job of describing what Hughes does and why it works. And the wine isn't bad, either.
? Take that, state of Texas: Someone is even more annoyed with the state of Texas and the way it has treated its wine marketing and research programs than I am, which means they are pretty annoyed. That is Vintage Texas' Russ Kane, and he spares nothing in a recent post about what happened: "All we have in Texas is a starry-eyed man with foolish aspirations of being president while he casts the fate of his state ?s wine industry to the hot dry Texas wind." There's even video.
? Take that, beer distributors: We haven't had any HR 1161/5034 fun on the blog lately, so how about this? Lew Perdue at Wine Industry Insight has a suggestion for everyone who is fed up with the distributor lobby and its attempt to tighten direct shipping laws. And everyone, of course, means almost everyone who writes wine blog in the U.S. Perdue suggests that we boycott Big Beer, whose distributors are at the forefront of HR 1161, "because Budweiser, Miller, Coors and the other mega-breweries provide the National Beer Wholesalers Association with the money they need to screw consumers. I ?ve been boycotting Big Beer for a couple of years now because I refuse to feed the machine. I will not allow the profit from my beer purchases to finance their arrogance and totalitarian actions." I'm going to have to check — does beer from Aldi count?