Archive for December, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008


My plans for this New Year’s Eve were spoiled by a nasty flu. Bummer. We’d planned to head up to the Sta. Rita Hills and ring in 2009 at Clos Pepe Vineyard. The severity of this flu precludes this outdoor celebration – in projected 47 degrees. Instead, I’ll be at home, under a blanket, watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin make sniping comments about celebrities. (more…)

Water cooler summit.

Friday, December 26th, 2008


At the water cooler. From

At the water cooler.

We’re all busy. Participation in on-line communities like Twitter and the OWC is often a brief respite from the hectic pace of the day. Certainly, platforms like these can do much for professional and social networking.

However, I wonder if they are capable of providing forums for constructive work and development of ideas and projects. I can’t help but wonder if the way people use and interact on these platforms can result in landmark achievements.

This all comes as a conversation about the faults of numerical ratings on the OWC is experiencing a revival. (more…)

Electrifying wine.

Friday, December 19th, 2008


Electricity. From:

Electricity. From:

I came across this topic on the Wine Spectator forum yesterday. Chinese scientists have been experimenting with electric current and wine. The process involves passing electric current across pipes carrying wine. In 2005, a Japanese man had come up with a similar process of electrolyzing wine.

This is not necessarily mad science, thought the lead chemist, Xin An Zheng is reluctant to delve into details.

I was one of those kids that incessantly asked “how” and “why”, exhausting the patience of adults. True to nature, I sent out some emails last night to get some insights on the scientific basis of this method. (more…)

Win four bottles of ’06 Clos Pepe Vineyard pinot noirs

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008


Manu for Hope

Menu for Hope

Wine lovers generally live quite well. Even budget winos frequently enjoy culinary pleasures. That cannot be said of many people around the world. That is why the Fifth Annual Menu for Hope is a terrific opportunity to indulge our epicurean tendencies while benefiting those less fortunate. It is essentially a raffle which raises incredible amounts of money.

This philanthropic effort on the part of wine bloggers and wine writers has again chosen to raise funds for the UN World Food Programme – the world’s largest food aid agency. Last year, Menu for Hope raised over $90,000 for the WFP. For the second year in a row, funds raised will benefit people like school children in Lesotho, a land-locked country in Africa. (more…)

You CAN make money on the web

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008


YouTube Stars.

It’s not easy making money on the internet. A recent South Park episode comically explored the idea of monetizing YouTube content (with a to-the-point summary of the problem at marker 19:40).

Just when wine bloggers thought the best they could hope for is enough money to go down to Mexico and drink some Tequila once a year (all respects to Tom Wark), along comes Michael Buckley. (more…)

Hung over remedies

Friday, December 12th, 2008


Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog

It’s that time of the year again: The Holidays. Many people will imbibe this season if not because of the economy then in spite of it. What they will drink this season is much the subject of blog chatter this year as the financial roller coaster is having a marked impact on the wine and spirits industry.

No matter the economic climate, the day after the celebrations – be they with family, friends or in the office – brings regret and discomfort for many. So it is only natural that people seek out remedies and antidotes for these consequences of their hedonism.

I have decided to take on the myths that surround preventing and treating hangovers because I am doubly qualified to do so: I am a physician and I am Polish (’nuff said).

The causes of hangover symptoms are a consequence of a number of physiologic derangements including: dehydration, electrolyte loss, hypoglycemia, lactic acidosis, loss of REM sleep and possibly insufficient oxygen. It should also not be overlooked that some elements of a hangover fulfill the clinical criteria for withdrawal symptoms. (more…)

Harbertson-Adams assay debate.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008




Wines and Vines wrote today about some growing debate over the validity of the Adams-Harbertson assay.

In short, this is an assay that gives winemakers real-time quantitative and qualitative information about the tannins in their wines. However, the validity of the test is being challenged by winemaker Larry Brooks, Leo McCloskey and Doug Mckesson of Enologix and Marshall Sylvan – a University of California Santa Cruz mathematician and consultant to Enologix. (more…)