On Monday, I awoke in the fetal position, swaddled in a purple-stained T-shirt that read: “I attended the 16th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction and all I got was a hangover and this stupid T-shirt.” At least metaphorically, that’s how I began Labor Day and literally, pretty much how I ended it. The auction was the cornerstone of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, an epic 72-hour shindig, presented jointly by the Sonoma County Vintners and the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance. Together, the organizations raised over $1,570,700 for local charities, which is also the precise number of brain cells I personally donated to the cause while fueling my schmooze machine with about a case of locally vinted social lube. Admittedly, efficiency was not worked into my design, hence the high glass-to-mass ratio and, later, photog pal Flash Lely having to drag me by the scruff of the neck from the after-after party at a capacious cottage on the Cline Cellars property. All in a day’s work for your intrepid wine country reporter (though, I’m considering a beat change to obits once I remember how to spell my own name).
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Lucky Duck: Paul-Henri Moreau, the controversial French gastronome, was spotted making an “exploratory” visit to the duck pond on the southwest corner of the Historic Sonoma Plaza last Tuesday. Moreau, who made (then ruined) his name as a spokesperson for the beleaguered fois gras industry, had publicly lamented the lack of fatted duck liver available on Sonoma menus. His appearance at the pond raised as much ire as eyebrows when he began feeding the ducks from a 170 lb. bag of breadcrumbs. When authorities inquired about the nature of Moreau’s “generosity,” he replied, flatly, “It’s good for their livers,” then quickly added that the black truffles, sprinkle of fleur de sel and bottle of sauterne he had also brought were likewise liver-friendly, then proceeded to nervously pour the delicacies into the pond. Moreau was fined for wasting the sauterne.
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Spin the Bottle: VinSpin PR maven Mick Robbins continues his apparent descent into career annihilation with a negociant wine label allegedly targeted at teens. The product, “VinoTeen Xtreme,” not only boasts the slogan “21, schmenty-one” but also claims to “treat acne.” Robbins denies that the wine is being marketed to underage drinkers, insisting that the “teen” reference in the product’s name is actually the wine’s vintage. When it was pointed out that the wine was released in 2008 – five years before the next possible “teen” year of 2013, Robbins claimed that’s when the wine will be appropriately aged. “Everyone knows that wine has to be the right age,” stated Robbins, “but a wine with a pro-youth message like VinoTeen Xtreme can be both mature and immature simultaneously. It’s called cognitive dissonance, man. It’s a Zen koan. I mean, ask yourself, how old is the fountain of youth? Think about it.” An investigation of Robbins is pending with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
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Wool in the eyes: FilmArt3’s Raymond Scott Daigle returned from a week of cultic revel at the annual desert soiree known as Burning Man on Tuesday. During the week, Daigle procured a Bantha, a lumbering elephant-like creature first seen in the film “Star Wars.” Daigle claims to have won the Bantha in a card game with a Tusken Raider and Boba Fett and later brought it to the FilmArt3 studios for a screen test. When photographer Flash Lely pointed out to Daigle that there was no Bantha, only some apparent Burning Man residue fogging the filmmaker’s mind, Daigle chided the photog for his “lack of faith,” who in turn suggested Daigle call his imaginary pet “Snuffleupagus.”