Sunday, November 23, 2008

NY director touts benefits of WineAmerica

Sharing these two items with some universal interest to wine drinkers from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation's weekly e-letter:

WINEAMERICA annual fall conference last weekend in Georgia provided several good reminders why ALL American wineries should be members of this one-of-a-kind organization (the only national organization for American wineries). The political sea change in Washington is going to require an enormous educational effort with the new Administration and members of Congress—who need to know right away that our industry generates over $162 billion annually for the national economy. The Farm Bill that was passed earlier this year, which contains many new benefits for “specialty crops” like grapes and wine, is now in the implementation phase—which is very complicated to sort out. While direct interstate shipment of wine has been going on for several years, with major increases after the 2005 Supreme Court decision, there are still lawsuits in different states that can change the picture. And with the global, national, and state economies all in a tailspin, there’s no doubt that “sin taxes” will again surface, as they already have in California where Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a “nickel a drink” excise tax hike that would be devastating to consumers and our industry. Fortunately, we have WineAmerica to look after our interests—and it’s one of the best investments you can make.

MODERATE CONSUMPTION of wine seems to lower the microvascular complications of type 1 diabetes (not generally associated with obesity), with less benefit from beer and none from spirits, according to a new study. The effect was especially strong for people consuming between 3 and 18 drinks per week and on a regular basis (5-7 days a week) rather than sporadically. A separate study showed that moderate wine consumption also lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia. In other words, regular moderate wine consumption is good for the heart, and good for the mind (and great for the soul).

Ex-Flyers part of NHL Signature Series

Here's a case where the wineries aren't
from the area, but the former sports
stars who have their name on the label are.

Bob Clarke and Dave Schultz have given Philly sports fans plenty to be thankful for since they both joined the NHL Flyers, one in 1969 and the other in 1971.

So it’s appropriate that you should be able to toast their wines at the Thanksgiving Day table, as both are representing the Flyers in the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series. Had a chance to taste the Clarke Cabernet Sauvignon last week and would give it a smile as big as the one he used to flash after assisting on a goal. Schultz has his label on the Chardonnay. And while it was easy to kid him about marrying his mug and signature to a Chard rather than something big and red, the fact is that both wines are made by California winemaker Ironstone Vineyards and will be well worth popping the cork and pouring out the juice.

“I know it tastes good,” Schultz said by phone recently. “Sometimes people think it’s a gimmick-type thing and they want an autograph and they’ll never drink it. I know that the wine is excellent. I want people to taste it; that’s why we’re doing the tastings because once they taste it, if they like that type of a wine to continue to drink it.”

Both wines are selling for $14.99, joining Mike Schmidt’s Zinfandel on store shelves. Schmidt’s is part of a home run hitters’ collection that is listed for $17.99. Schultz said you can find both his wine and Clarke’s in stores throughout South Jersey down to the Shore, and noted they are just beginning to find their way into state stores in Philadelphia area. Tastings for both are planned at those stores, and Schultz said he’ll attend some of those to lend some momentum to the sales.

NHL Signature Wine Series
features two ex-players from six different teams promoting either a Cab or Chard; among some others behind included in this series are former Blackhawks Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito, former Red Wings Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, and former Rangers Rod Gilbert and Mike Richter.

Money from the sales will support charities affiliated with the NHL Alumni Association, and also the team and player represented. Clarke’s, as you’d expect, will go to the American and Canadians Diabetes Associations; his ability to achieve so much despite diabetes gave hope to an untold number of young athletes. Schultz selected
Katie's Krusaders,
which raises funds and awareness regarding the incidence of cancer in children.

“They were responsible for building the Ronald McDonald House at St. Christopher’s Hospital,” said Schultz. “They help families who have very sick children and have to spend every day traveling to the hospital . . . they help them with paying expenses and that kind of stuff.”