Sabering the Moment…

Labor Day is not just a day off but a day that is dedicated to social and economic achievements of American workers. This Labor Day should be celebrated with a proper bottle of sparkling wine and friends. Let’s “Saber” the Moment!

I got back from the Wine Bloggers Conference with a newfound appreciation for the art of Sabering…yes, it is written correctly…Sabering is the act of removing the top of a champagne, or sparkling wine, bottle off with just about anything. Generally, a knife, like a Arabian style of knife, is used to remove the top of a bottle off by what looks like slicing it off. The saber is slid along the seam of the wine bottle to break the entire neck away from the bottle, leaving only the base of the bottle open and ready to pour. The force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle.

In order to do this, you must 1) have a bottle of sparkling wine, 2) make sure the bottle of wine is very, very cold, 3) a blunt object, not necessarily a knife, it could be a wine glass, a bike wheel, a Ganesh figurine, or even a golf club…

Next, you need to find the seam of the sparkling wine bottle and pointing away from you, and those you love. Then use the blunt object to slide along the seam in a rhythmic manner to pop off or rather, saber, the top off the bottle of wine.

My dear friend and fellow wine writer, Jeff, aka the Drunken Cyclist, who I spent lots of time with during the Wine Bloggers Conference in Paso Robles and then in Buellton, California, shows us exactly how it is done in a series of ways with all of the above mentioned tools. However, I wanted to show you first how Leeanne Froese, a proper Canadian wine writer and PR agency owner of Town Hall Brands does it with a sword.

Enjoy this series of sabering attempts!

And now…the wine glass, the golf club, the tire wheel, and finally the Ganesh figurine … Perhaps I should check with Jeff to see if he has a slight obsession with sabering the moment…all the time! Cheers!

With a Wine Glass:

Just a warning, the new few take a while so be prepared to wait a while. Also, I don’t recommend trying to do this with the following items unless you are willing to keep trying, over and over and over again, like Jeff did!  More than anything, I love the commentary. I hope you get a laugh or two out of these, because I did!

The Golf Club:

The Bike Wheel:

And finally…the Ganesh figurine:

Have a great week and don’t forget to “Saber” to moment!

Tales From: Press Gang Cellars

SacredDrop:

I had the honor of being a part of this awesome dinner at the Hitching Post in Buellton, California for the Wine Bloggers Conference. We all decided to take a break from the festivities to enjoy a somewhat impromptu Winemaker Dinner with our new found friend, Kyle, winemaker of Press Gang Cellars.

While I am not a surfer, the minute you meet Kyle, you want to go surfing with a guy like this. He has the swagger and laid back attitude of a person who embodies the world of surfing…and now winemaking. His style of winemaking is practiced, passionate, and deliberate, which I would imagine is how he surfs.

He only produces 300 cases of his mostly Rhone varietal wines, which is tiny, yet perfect for someone who is working as an assistant winemaker to one of the most respected wineries in Paso Robles. I personally fell in love with his 2013 Press Gang Cellars Savanna Rhea Grenache Rose, which retails at $20. I only wish I had a glass right now to celebrate this sunny Labor Day Weekend in Portland! For more information on this great winemaker and his wines, visit http://www.pressgangcellars.com/ .

Special thanks to my dear friend and #WBC14 buddy, Jeff, the Drunken Cyclist, for this great write up, as he captures the moments we all shared with Kyle perfectly. Enjoy and Happy Labor Day!

Originally posted on the drunken cyclist:

Last month, as most of you now know, I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton, California. On Saturday afternoon, a bunch of my fellow bloggers and I decided to skip out of the second installment of Live Wine Blogging as well as the awards ceremony (since none of us were finalists this year–yeah, bitter grapes–pun intended) and head into town for dinner. After nearly a solid week of tasting over a hundred wines a day, we decided it might be a good idea to go grab a beer before dinner. I am by no means a beer drinker, but it does serve to wipe the wine-soaked palate clean.
 
The ringleader of our little troupe was Chris Taranto, the Communications Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. We met Chris a few days earlier on the pre-conference excursion to Paso Robles, and he came over to Buellton for a few days of…

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The Sideways Effect

“Sideways” at the Wine Bloggers Conference…#WBC14

I often get asked the question, “Where were you last week? I saw a million pictures and videos popping up! Looks like it was fun!” To this I reply, “Oh, I was at the Wine Bloggers Conference, the #WBC14 event, where anyone who writes about wine, who loves wine and shares it with the world, comes together in one place to share experiences and enjoy the wine of the region together.”  According to Zephyr Adventures, the organization who runs it, “The Wine Bloggers Conference, having started in 2008, is the granddaddy of most niche blogging conferences. It has sold out every year and now attracts around 350 participants each year. The conference is an excellent opportunity for bloggers to connect with and learn from other bloggers as well as wineries, vintner associations, tourism marketing associations, and other wine-related businesses. The conference draws top keynote speakers and key industry representatives in addition to the many bloggers.”

The rolling hills of St. Ynez Valley

The rolling hills of St. Ynez Valley

This year, it was in Santa Barbara, a place I had visited before and adored due to the sun, surf, and rolling hills. This time, I got to really try the wines in true detail. More specifically, I went to the region surrounding the quaint town of Buelton…yes, this is the Buelton, of the movie Sideways. Sideways is now celebrating its tenth year of snubbing Merlot and exalting Pinot Noir. This movie had a huge impact on the wine industry. In the April 2008 issue of Wine Business Monthly, George Schofield refers to the “debacle following the release of the ‘Sideways’ motion picture” when discussing the effects of the movie on Merlot sales.  Did this movie really alter consumer-buying patterns and change demand for either Merlot or Pinot Noir?  “Sideways” was released on Oct. 22, 2004, ten years ago, and it was nominated for five Academy Awards on Jan. 25, 2005.  It won one, for best-adapted screenplay,–and closed May 19, 2005. With popularity like this, how much does movie culture ultimately affect the wine industry?

In the panel, “The U.S. Wine Consumer: Who, What & Where,” given by Wine.com, it found that there was a significant effect on consumer behavior after 2004 and the movie is still impacting sales today. Initially the sales of Merlot went down, while the sales of Pinot Noir skyrocketed. This affected not only consumer behavior but also wine-growing decisions. More acreage was dedicated to Pinot Noir, and the movie also made the US more open to new wine regions, such as Oregon and New Zealand, growing Pinot Noir.  Meanwhile, Merlot, was considered a shunned grape variety, at least for a few years and struggled to compete with the popularity of Pinot Noir.

In a 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal on Merlot, referring to wine retailers, Lettie Teague stated,  “Merlot sales were stable at best and at worst were losing ground. In most cases, Merlot drinkers had simply moved on to other varietals such as Tempranillo and Malbec.”  In one marketplace in New Jersey, Merlot sales were considered “slow” and accounted for less than 1% of total wine sales.  Moreover, these is less acreage dedicated to Merlot, at least in California, whereas in Washington the acreage has increased slightly. A study was done at Sonoma State on the “Sideways Effect, looking specifically into the change in demand for Merlot and Pinot Noir Wines (click here for the fascinating paper).

According to the Wine Institute, there were more than 53,000 acres planted to Merlot in 2006, but in 2012, there are now 45,000 acres planted to the grape.  In Washington, acreage planted in Merlot grapes is up from 5,000 to 8,000 acres; however, for Cabernet Sauvignon, the acreage has doubled in the same amount of time.

Sideways, the Movie

In conclusion, yes, movie culture does have an effect on the wine industry and the culture surrounding it. However, don’t let what others are drinking necessarily affect what you will enjoy. I have always believed that if you love something, drink it!  Who cares whether it is sweet, or dry, or Merlot?…Enjoy it, and share it.