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Archive for the ‘Oddities’ Category


The Taste Descriptors From Outer Space

February 1st, 2012 by Tom Johnson

If there were a Wine Writer Olympics, the second most competitive event (after the contest to see who can get the most free wine) would be the Taste Descriptor Biathalon. In this event, wine writers compete to describe wines with words that are both highly original and utterly fatuous. Ordinal scores are based on off-handedness [...]

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Well, This Will Certainly Cut Down on the Amount of Wine I Need to Store

January 5th, 2012 by Tom Johnson

Nanowine is a design project/statement designed by Koert van Mensvoort, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, and Ruben Daas. In the broadest sense, it speaks to the increasing distance between man and nature. In narrower terms, it provides a spine-chilling look at the future of industrial wine.  With ‘nano wine’, in order to achieve different varietals, users activate their [...]

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Well, At Least It’s All Natural

May 31st, 2011 by Tom Johnson

Coconut wine. The manufacturing process is indeed very simple as all that we need is tie up the flowers on the coconut tree with a rope, and the liquor will drip spontaneously into the prepared containers. Among the “prepared containers” is not a special coconut wine glass by Riedel. You can, however, buy a coonut [...]

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South Carolina Adopts Fraud as a Business Model

May 13th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

Politicians searching for a way to jump-start South Carolina’s wine industry are considering allowing wine made from non-South Carolina grapes to be labeled as South Carolina wines. The reason for this is not so much a shortage of grapes as it is an inability to grow commercially familiar grapes in South Carolina’s hot, mildewy climate. [...]

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Japanese Scientists, Powered By Wine

January 20th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

Not only is moderate wine drinking good for your health, but wine seems to be a kind of miracle substance. Take, for example, the case of a team of scientists in Japan who were experimenting with superconductors. Trying to get the hyper-efficient wires to work even better, they tried soaking them in water, ethanol, and [...]

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The Slovenian Sense of Humor Is a Mysterious Thing

November 29th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

A couple of weeks ago I joked about the business opportunity implied by the perfectly preserved Champagne pulled out of a 200 year-old shipwreck. In a report about Champagne recovered from beneath the Baltic Sea, the BBC says that the bottom of the ocean might be the perfect place to store champagne. Apparently unaware that [...]

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Today’s Mystery

November 19th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Canadian wine hottie Natalie MacLean recently sent me an email linking to photos from her website and telling me I should feel free to use any of them. They’re mostly photos of mobile phones. Included in the body of the email is an article about wines to buy for different people at Christmas. The article [...]

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When Waste Becomes a Precious Good

October 13th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

New Zealand, which is out in the middle of nowhere, geographically speaking, has a shortage of wine bottles because they don’t have enough recyclable glass. There is only one bottle-making plant in New Zealand. Most of its production of bottles is filled with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and shipped overseas. This, along with inefficiencies [...]

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Those Stupid Chinese, Screwing Up the Wine Business Again

October 11th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Chinese wine collectors who don’t know any better are buying cases of trophy wine and actually opening them up to look at what’s inside. It used to be that premium wine cases were kept sealed, says Gregory De’eb, general manager for Crown Wine Cellars. OWCs, or “original wooden cases,” he says, resell for prices 20% [...]

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In Which I Detect a Flaw In India’s Logic

August 30th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, and economic development officials in the the world’s second fastest growing wine market think the country should make a name for itself with mango wine. I’ve never had mango wine, myself, so I can’t say for sure whether it has beyond-novelty potential. But the following justification doesn’t [...]

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