Engineering a better glass for your wine. Nothing really new here for those who care, but I wanted an excuse to post that picture….
Engineering a better glass for your wine. Nothing really new here for those who care, but I wanted an excuse to post that picture….
The ultimate in Wine Convenience? Try out wine that comes pre-poured in its own individual glass!
BumWine.com When mixing wine-based cocktails, use only the very best ingredients!
Whew! No weddings in Napa wineries! The “beautiful people will not have to be exposed to the jobs, economic diversity and tax revenue”
Hey, we are talking California here, so my guess is… both!
Via LAist, I read of a ballot initiative calling for a new tax hike on all alcoholic beverages sold in the state. Now at first blush this seems to be a reasonable subject of discussion. California’s finances make a train wreck look like a precision drill team. The state’s bonds are now considered to be the same quality as Iraq’s. Now, I’ll try to avoid getting too heavy here into how to fix the bankruptcy, but clearly, some combination of increased revenues and/or reduced spending will have to happen. I will note that the state is already hemorrhaging taxpayers, so tax increases may not really be such a good idea. Beyond that, California, heal thy self!
But this brings me back to the Alcohol-Related Harm and Damage Services Act of 2010 (pdf). This little piece of political performance art calls for a modest increase in the price of all booze sold in the state. Seems reasonable, at least if you buy into the whole raising taxes will help school of “thought”.
But did I say modest?
The claim is that this would raise between seven and nine billion annually. This is a mighty appealing number to a state which is digging it’s hole deeper at the clip of 20 billion a year. Of course, the tax won’t actually raise that much. It’ll send allegedly productive citizens of the state like RumDood (whose Twitter feed brought me this monstrosity) screaming into the protective arms of somewhere like Texas. And those who can’t leave the state will just drink less. A lot less.
And that, of course, is the real purpose of this ballot initiative. It’s Prohibition via the tax code. The actual text of the initiative is almost completely taken up with a litany of the Evils of Drink™. (Most of the rest is spent detailing the massive additional paperwork and collection burden to be placed on retailers) The revenue allegedly to be created will not patch any portion of the hole in the general fund either. It will instead be automatically appropriated to the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. (Resulting in a 1000% increase in funding for that department. I smell a wild Christmas party at the DADP!)
Would this tax actually mean an end of booze consumption in the Golden State? No, but it would certainly result in a massive reduction in consumption, as well as a huge disruption in patterns of drinking and commerce.
No truer words were ever spoken than “the power to tax is the power to destroy”. And baby, a tax like this would destroy. California’s wine industry, already teetering atop a popping bubble, would implode, bars and restaurants would shutter, as would grocery and package stores.
The prohibitionists would point out that fat cats at Big Booze, who make their money off of human misery, deserve their comeuppance. And this makes sense to me, of course. Why, when my mind pictures all those soon-to-be justly unemployed grape pickers and beer truck drivers showing up to work each day chuckling evilly about how they are profiting unspeakably at the hands of the drinking rubes, it makes my blood boil! How about you? And of course this massive additional unemployment would help with the Demon Rum problem too, since permanent unemployment never leads to substance abuse issues.
Now, I called this political theater not only because it is Prohibition, masquerading as a money grab, masquerading as fiscal discipline, but also because it likely has no chance in Hell of garnering the 433,971 signatures it needs to even get on the ballot. The idea for the kabuki dancers pushing it is to put out their indictment of alcohol in the public eye, and maybe collect the names of a bunch more people for the Gullible Rubes Who’ll Sign Anything database. But since the level of stupidity of California voters has been demonstrated in oh so many ways these last decades, I can’t be completely confident.
UPDATE: Jacob Grier has a similar, though less
rambling entertaining, take on this issue. He contributes some good additional insight into what might be the actual, nefarious design behind this initiative, using the Overton Window.
I know this is a cocktail blog, and I know this month in particular is Tiki Month round these parts, but I’m calling a Tiki-Timeout for a public service announcement.
Next Saturday, February 27th, is Open That Bottle Night. For all the cocktail stuff I do, I still drink a lot of wine, and I’m betting most of you do too. And I’m betting that most of you, like me, often find yourself in possession of
that special bottle of wine, an expensive one that you splurged on to put away for a special occasion… an occasion that never seems to come. This means that this expensive consumable sits around, gathering dust, and not being enjoyed.
Open That Bottle Night is an annual event to put an end to this sad state of affairs. You need a special occasion to make opening that bottle worthwhile, and Bob’s Your Uncle, this is it. Make a nice dinner, invite over some friends (or don’t, it’s only one bottle), and open that bottle!
OK folks, we all like to play,
My state’s booze laws are the stupidest. And truth to tell, competitive as I am on this front, I’ve always admitted that other states give their drinkers plenty of scoring opportunities. But I just read about an Ohio law that walks the bases loaded and serves up a hanging curve over the heart of the plate.
Game over boys, Ohio has the worst alcohol-related law in existence. Here is the whole thing:
No family household shall purchase more than 24 cases of 12 bottles of 750 milliliters of wine in one year.
That’s right, the legislature has determined via it’s infinite wisdom,
what would seem to be a reasonable amount for personal use.
Not only that, but Ohio actually tracks purchases of wine by individuals and will punish private citizens for buying too much wine for personal consumption!
Got your dander up yet? Then let me dial the outrage meter back from,
Send out Paul Revere! to the more normal,
Let’s get our government leaders helmets and a short bus.
The real aim of this law is protectionism for Ohio’s wine industry. The sales that are being tracked are direct, i.e. mail order, sales. Ohio used to simply ban most out of state wineries from shipping to its citizens, until a 2005 ruling by the US Supreme Court gently alerted it to several provisions in a little known and currently under-appreciated document called the Constitution that made this prohibition impermissible.
Now Ohio simply requires all direct sale wineries to collect sales tax, pay a fee to the state, and to tell the state who you are and how much wine you buy.
Please note that the Ohio Division of Liquor Control states for the record that they
believe that the limit is intended to apply only to direct sales, not to retail. But they have to make such a (non-binding) statement because the law clearly does not delineate such an exception.
Of course, the temptation is think this is really no big deal. How many people actually buy 288 bottles of wine a year, especially via mail-order? And the fine is only $100 if you are caught. And if the state wanted to overreach its overreach by applying the limit to local retail sales, they would have a hard time proving it with current means.
Doug Caruso touches on this in his fine article in the Columbus Dispatch last Sunday:
People who buy most of their wine at a supermarket or wine shop have nothing to fear, said Chris Paparodis, a Columbus lawyer who specializes in liquor regulations.
“No. 1, they don’t know how much you buy from a local retailer,” he said of the state.
“Second, if you’re a nonpermit premises — a residential home — they need a search warrant to come into your premises. I’m not sure they would know to do that if you’re buying three cases of wine a month from the local grocery store.”
Of course, what if the state modified the licensing requirements of wine retailers to track wine sales by credit card or loyalty program, and provide them to the state, just as direct sellers already must? (In the name of
fairness, of course.) It would be pretty onerous right now, but in ten years?
Or how about you buy a large wine collection, or build a new home and stock up your new wine cellar? You might have an article written about you, maybe even with pictures. If you piss off the wrong regulator, you are looking at probably cause for that search warrant Paparodis was alluding to above.
And 288 bottles is not really so huge a number as it seems. Maggi and I come close ourselves. If you don’t eat out much, drink wine with dinner, and don’t like stale wine, you will hit 288 without much difficulty. And how about if you have a party or two during the year?
But here’s the real problem, folks—the only one that really matters: Why does the State of Ohio feel it has the need, much less the right, to determine a
reasonable amount of wine for personal consumption?
UPDATE: Lest anyone think I’m suggesting only Ohio has laws at this level of stupidity I’ll throw in this tidbit: Washington DC, San Francisco, and New York City have laws controlling how many condoms you may posses!
I, the PeguWife, and the Pegulings have just returned from another pilgrimage to Walt Disney World, and even a massive, weather-related set of delays and gate changes during the 14-hour return trip cannot harsh my mellow.
I can’t say why I love the place so much, but for all that cocktails are my hobby, the thing I drink the most at Disney World is The Koolaid….
That said, Disney does not have the best reputation among boozehounds. I can still remember my first trip to Disney as a child, and my father’s dismayed incomprehension at being informed that there were no alcohol sales inside the Magic Kingdom. And, with the sometimes grudging exception of Blair, I seldom hear much love for any of Disney’s drink operation in the rarefied air of the cocktailosphere.
I decided therefore to take a closer look at how Disney slings booze on this last trip. There really are some things that they do very well. They fall short too, in lots of ways. Finally, I have some ideas that I think they could adopt to do better. You know, if they want to make many guests happier and score some more money….
In this first post, I’ll concentrate on what Disney does pretty well: Wine. At any DW restaurant or bar that serves wine, the selection is fairly broad. The offerings are mostly mid-range wines, with a few higher-end bottles mixed in. And the prices are no more exorbitant than for anything else offered up by the Mouse. What is very nice, unlike with many other multi-venue environments, is that the wine lists vary fairly dramatically from one place to the next. The selection is always fairly representative of the style, or especially the supposed ethnicity, of the venue. France, in EPCOT, has a wonderful selection of wines in the restaurants and shops that make an good introduction for those who haven’t seen a bottle that doesn’t come from California. This last visit, we tried Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which offers about as wide a selection of South African wines as you will find in North America.
Something that we had not experienced before is the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, which will be running until November 8th this year. During this festival, there are scores of small buildings erected around the International Showcase offering food and drink from around the world. While the host nations dominate, there are representatives from lots of other nations you don’t see in EPCOT the rest of the year.
Most of the drinks on offer are wines from around the world, and you can sample them for a couple of bucks each for a decent pour. There are a few liquors to be had as well, with brands like Bacardi, Leblon, and Chopin showing the flag. I could have sworn I saw Jameson’s there too, but I don’t see it now anywhere in my brochure. My memory may be hazy on this….
There is a concert series with acts ranging from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Spyro Gyra to Boyz II Men and Kool & The Gang. And there are lots of seminars on cooking and drink pairings from Disney chefs and some big names from beyond the House of Mouse.
The whole thing is very cool, and if you can’t make it this year, I’d suggest you consider timing a future foray to Orlando in October. I’ll leaving you with this insider tip from my nephew who works there: One of the most beloved aspects of the Festival for locals and employees is the opportunity to get the cheddar cheese soup from Le Cellier without springing for a whole meal.
Via WyBlog and Rule 5 Sunday, comes the following web advertisement. At least I assume it is web only, due to it’s length and, well, the whole naked woman rolling around while pouring wine on herself thing. (I’m experimenting with the art of the Googlebomb).
Now, I post this video because, um, I can.
But I also do so because I wish the distillers would learn just a little bit from the folks at Styring Vineyards, whose ad this is, about how to use sex to sell. Sex is a natural for selling alcohol, of course. But too much of the liquor industry’s effort in this vein is crude, and the less said about most beer ads the better.
Don’t get me wrong, this Styring Pinot Noir ad is over the top. It is just tasteful enough, however, to elicit a smile, rather than a snigger. (For examples of snigger-inducing ads, check out this blog I recently found. Possibly NSFW.) And the excellent production values of this video do not hurt it, either. But witness an earlier post I wrote about Cabana Cachaça’s infamous opening ad campaign. Cabana’s production values are every bit as high, or even higher. But the message there is crude innuendo, and unrelated to the product.
The Styring video gives one ideas about how to enjoy the product….
And this isn’t the only fun marketing idea Styring has on the web. Their Chief Odor Detection Officer (CODO?), Molly, has her own blog as well.
I haven’t tried Styring’s Pinot Noir (here’s a hint winemakers, the Liquor Fairy delivers wine, too!), but if I find it available at any of my wine haunts, I’m picking up a bottle.
And maybe a drop cloth….
[UPDATE: Ace of Spades Sidebarolanche! Welcome once again, Morons!]