Wine News of the Weird

Food & Drink

Sometimes wine news can be as kooky as a Kardashian!

Few people get too hepped up over wine news, but every once in while there’s the story that goes viral and lets the world know that wine is just as fun or wacky as the Kardashians. Like that underwear-clad guy who in 2020 flagged down a wine-filled tanker, boarded it and opened the vat to have a big ole sip. Or that story about the 14 elephants that got drunk on corn wine in China and passed out in a tea plantation. Happened in the same year: Blame it on the pandemic.

While Bordeaux’s first new permissible grapes in 1,000 years is compelling news, give me a drunk elephant story anytime! The first in an occasional roundup, I present this month’s selects in wine news you can use (or not).

Cause you can never get enough boozy animal kingdom stories, here’s one about a Chinese man who was bitten by the serpent resting in the bottle of snake wine from which he was about to extract a dose, reportedly to administer to his ill son. Though soaked and sealed in the bottle for a year, the snake reportedly “came back to life”—apparently not an uncommon occurrence in Asia where snakes are commonly marinated for medicinal purposes. Ew. The man was treated at a hospital and released [source: the Drinks Business].

Engadget, an online tech and products blog (parent company Verizon Media), reports on the world’s first molecular drinks printer that claims to be able to mix juice, iced coffee, wine and cocktails. The countertop dispenser manufactured by Cana One, uses a flavor cartridge and a touch screen to customize the beverage of your choice—for example, adjusting levels of alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Slated to launch in 2023, the first 10,000 orders will be priced at $499 and thereafter will cost $799. #whattadeal

An Ohio winery is duking it out with the estate of the late musician formerly and/or once known as Prince over the use of “Purple Rain” on one of its offerings. L’uva Bella Winery, about 80 miles southeast of Cleveland, sells “Purple Rain Concord,” a 13.25% abv off-dry wine ($7.99). Prince’s estate argues the name—also that of the musician’s signature song—presents a “likelihood of confusion,” which the winery is countering, saying Prince’s well-known aversion to alcohol presents no confusion with their product. The winery has labeled its juice Purple Rain since 2015 [source: Rolling Stone].

Aging wines under water isn’t exactly a new concept: Raúl Pérez in Spain’s northwest Bierzo region was one of the first winemakers to experiment with such aging in 2003, but the waterlogged practice has become au courant from France to Italy, reports Conde Nast Traveler. The trend, CNT reports, is popular with some Champagne producers, and is now coming stateside. No surprise it’s landed in California.

After so many stories about wine’s health benefits, when taken in moderation, comes the news that drinking one or two alcoholic drinks per day make shrink your brain. Ouch! A peer-reviewed study in Nature detailed the relationship between gray and white matter volume and alcohol intake in a sample of 36,678 participants, 52.8% of whom are female. I would tell you if that was significant, but I’ve already had two glasses of wine and, well, you know what that means. #nobrainer.

France’s Nutri-Score labeling system was established in 2017 to help consumers determine rank packaged food and drink products with a numerical and color-coded health scale. It’s said to be supported by 50% of food and drink brands in France. But a proposal to apply the labeling to wine is causing an uproar over scientists wanting to give alcoholic beverages a F. Foods high in fiber and protein enjoy grades of A and B, while those having too much of the three Ss—sugar, sodium and saturated fats—suffer lower grades. Say cheese.

Casks & Flights, a wine bar in Pensacola, Fla., fired its entire staff earlier this month because of “suspicion of theft from the business over a period of time” and an “ongoing criminal investigation.” It was reported that the wine bar opened anyway, but no information about its staff other to post this message: “It’s important to us to move forward in positivity and love.” #peaceout.

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