Archive for the ‘Wine and Art’ Category

If you, like me, raised a glass when Susan Sarandon showed up last week on “30 Rock,” you’ll be happy to hear that she’s about to make another cameo appearance—this time in the heart of wine country. On Saturday, April 9th, Sarandon will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival, which runs April 6–10 in downtown Sonoma. The festival’s six screening venues—including its primary venue, the Sebastiani Theatre, located on the Sonoma Square—will offer 90 films including features, documentaries, world cinema, shorts, and animation.

Of course, given its location, the festival just has to showcase wine as well as film, and sure enough the event boasts its own sommelier, and complimentary food and wine pairings will be offered before each screening. Throughout the festival, more than a dozen Sonoma Valley wineries—including Sebastiani, Gundlach Bundschu, Muscardini Cellars, and Gloria Ferrer—will be pouring in the Backlot, a tent on the north side of Sonoma’s City Hall, and Saturday night’s Festival Gala will take place at Sebastiani Winery.

For tickets and more information about the Sonoma International Film Festival, please visit sonomafilmfest.org.

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A few nights ago I opened a bottle that some friends gave us in October—the 2004 Tyrus Evan Del Rio Vineyard Claret. As is my habit these days, I inscribed the bottle with the names of those friends and the date—and upon opening it two months later, I noticed that they had done the same whenever they received the bottle, which seems to have been at a fund-raising auction. I love the scribbled-on, personalized look of the bottle now (or at least I did before I recycled it), especially since those notes gave the wine a sense of history.

Years ago I worked at a magazine where Anne Fadiman—who later became the editor of The American Scholar—wrote a column about all things literary, and my favorite of those columns concerned the proper place to inscribe a book. (In case you’re wondering, it’s the flyleaf—that blank page in the front—rather than the title page, which is reserved for the author.) Revisiting Anne’s column recently made me wonder: As the printed book slowly (and sadly) goes the way of the telegram, could inscriptions on wine bottles become the new, hot way to say ‘I care’? And if so, what’s the proper place to inscribe a bottle of wine?

There doesn’t seem to be much authoritative commentary on this, so let’s decide for ourselves: The front label makes the most sense to me, since the winemaker’s signature usually appears on the back label. There’s also the option of just writing on the glass, and while there are pens made for just this purpose, any gold or silver pen from an art supply store will do.

While wine experts may not have much to say on where to personalize your bottle, many do suggest marking the bottle with the date you opened it, so as not to let it sit too long and turn to vinegar. In my house, wine is rarely open and unconsumed long enough to run that risk—but if it’s a problem in your household, you might try that system. Or, consider buying this gadget: a wine stopper with twistable date rings, created by designer George Lee. A great last-minute gift for your favorite wine lover….

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This Christmas, I’m giving one wine-loving relative a bottle of Bolinas-based winemaker Sean Thackrey‘s 2008 Andromeda Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown at Nicasio’s Devil’s Gulch Ranch. I have to say, it was gratifying to buy a bottle with “Marin County” proudly emblazoned on the label—especially knowing that what’s inside just has to be good, given Thackrey’s reputation. (Just don’t expect it to taste like Pinot, wine-loving relative… One reviewer of a past vintage said Andromeda tasted like Syrah, while another said it tasted like Sean Thackrey—but no one has called it a characteristic Pinot.) You can read more about Thackrey here, and for other ideas for buying local, check out Homegrown Marin Market online and sign up for their free membership.

One more way to work wine into your holiday: make a wreath out of cuttings from grape vines. I was a skeptic when my husband first suggested this, but now I love our grape vine wreath—which lives on our front door 12 months a year and gets decorated annually with (small, tasteful) ornaments. The wreath pictured above was a happy flickr discovery. My favorite part about it is the holiday-appropriate message on the beads, revealed by photographer Auntie Owwee to read:

life without confetti is only an existence

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Just as the ink was drying on my last post (about the outsize wine tasting set to take place at Outside Lands next weekend), I heard about another great example of wine intersecting with popular culture. This fall, SF MOMA will launch “How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now.” The show, designed by architecture firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, looks at the influence of design and architecture on wine — and vice versa — over the past three decades. Multimedia and multisensory presentations are among the highlights, and the images shown here — courtesy of SF MOMA — offer a taste of what’s to come.

“How Wine Became Modern” opens in November and will run through April; visit sfmoma.org for more information.



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