Petaluma’s Wine Instituto Goes To A Party!

Foreword

Labor Day Weekend was also Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. Many events were scheduled, including several “winemaker” lunches and dinners at various wineries as well as a charity wine auction. The wine auction is an important fundraiser for many local charities–the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Vineyard Worker Services, Hanna Boys Center, Community Health Center, and others.

For some unexplained reason–certainly a clerical error–the Internationale Instituo De Vino Wino (Petaluma’s famous but fictional wine institute) was invited to send two representatives to the winemaker dinner St. Francis Vineyard and Winery:

An evening spent at St. Francis Vineyard and Winery not only allows you a chance to mingle with our 2010 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Honorary Chairs, but also promises an unforgettable experience in the very heart of Sonoma Wine Country. Join Winemaker, Tom Mackey and President, Christopher Silva at “People’s Park,” a lovely location on the winery grounds with breathtaking views of the vineyard, for a luau-style feast prepared by Piper Johnson and paired with artisan series, small production and handcrafted wines.”

Needless to say, the invitation caused quite a stir at the Intituto! As the invitation was for only two people, there was quite a fight (fictional people are just as difficult to manage as real people) as to who would be allowed to attend. In addition, approval had to be obtained from the parole officers for those selected. 

This is their story… 

After considerable fuss, Food Director, Sushi Tira-Misu and Senior Citizen Wine Consultant, Jerry Attrick were chosen to attend as representatives of the Instituto.  To be perfectly candid, the primary reason for selecting these two was that they were deemed to be the most presentable.

Sushi and Jerry showed up on time (a rare achievement for them) armed with the tickets and e-mail from Chris Silva of St. Francis Vineyard & Winery:

“Welcome to Sonoma County, this unique place of farmers who make wine…We are honored to be selected as Honorary Chair for 2010.  Our dinner…will be our first official celebration as Chair. We’ll enjoy an imaginative menu paired with our favorite Artisan wines, all from 100% hand-picked, Sonoma County grapes, plus a guest list of friends both old and new—as well as a special guest or two to add to the many stories.  We will also offer several small, informal tours of our cellar and barrel room while you are here. “

Sushi & Jerry were extremely impressed with the beautiful setting… 

They also took note of the fact that St. Francis provided additional security given the presence of two fictional representatives of the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino…

Security notwithstanding, the Instituto representatives fully enjoyed themselves…conversed with their fellow attendees… sampled the wine…and the food…Oh, the food…

For the record, the Instituto recruited Al Fresco, the Instituto’s Restaurant Manager to serve as the designated driver. Al had to stay with the car the entire evening comforted only with a thermos of coffee and a week old newspaper.

Jerry Attrick was particularly impressed with the St. Francis winery tour and noted that the operation was considerably larger than the Solo Vine facility at the Instituto…

After seeing this facility, Jerry is going to recommend that the Instituto plant a second vine!

Thanksgiving Harvest…Petaluma’s Vino Instituto

It has been a busy harvest time at Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino!

Instituto Thanksgiving

The staff and officers worked around the clock to harvest the grapes from the solo vine. Afterwards, they had a little celebration–which, unfortunately, is still going on as this article is being written.

Celebration highlights…

  • Many of the celebrants (including their parole officers) joined in singing several choruses of the Instituto’s official vino song: We drink to make other people interesting.
  • Restaurant Manager, Al Fresco and Food Director, Sushi Tira-Misu engaged in a serious debate (fueled by some of the Instituto’s product) about the need to create an organic and exhaustive vision of the complexity of reality, born of philosophical and scientific studies, and translated into a narrative structure…with footnotes.
  • A strenuous argument erupted when Treasurer, Minnie Da Moocher and Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi (our bouncer) got into a heated discussion over…

…Se non e‘ vero e‘ ben trovato… 

versus 

…Se non è puoi vero è essenzialmente vero…

  • Meanwhile, in the wine cellar, a Claret Kitty and friends had a party of their own…Apr08#01a                                             

                                                                                          (Graphic By Barbara Simpson)

  • Jerry Attrick (Senior Citizen Wine Consultant) took a swing at Frank, the Chief Wino & Solo Vine Manager (not to mention, author of this blog) who was talking about Old Vines with Enchy Latta, Director of Catering. Jerry apparently thought Frank was talking about his legs.
  • Frank left the party early, muttering something about the need to drink a real Petaluma wine instead of the fictional vino being consumed by the fictional wackos at the Instituto. He was observed carrying a bottle of Que Syra, a Petaluma Gap Artisan Syrah from the Rivetti Family Estate Vineyard…Que Syra                                                              (Graphic courtesy of Frances Rivetti) 

Upon advice of counsel, the rest of the event is better left unreported. I am authorized, however, to pass on the following…

Happy Thanksgiving from the officers & staff of the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino–La Centre de l’Experience du Vin de Petaluma!

And, in case we don’t recover in time… 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 

Chief Wino &  Solo Vine Manager (We have only one vine)–Frank
First Secretary-Vinnie Parducci
Second Secretary- Guido Marcucci
Third Secretary-Gustav Von Da Vee
Treasurer-Minnie Da Moocher
Counsel–Horace Rumpole of Chateau Fleet Street Claret
Vat & Barrel Manager-Jay Gaulo
Restaurant Manager-Al Fresco
Food Director–Sushi Tira-Misu
Director, Financial Planning-Two Fingers (as in “a-one-a,” “a-two-a”) Sabastiani
Director of Protocol & Arbiter of Taste–Marthe Stuarda
Tour Director-Expresso Camino Freeway
Movie & Video Critic-Francois Fjord
Bouncer–Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi
Chats du Vin Extraordinaire—Hannah Sue & Gracie Mae (The Claret Kitties)
Tristan E. Isolde-Director of Cheap & Trashy Personal Counseling
Enchy Latta—Director of Catering
Jerry Attrick–Senior Citizen Wine Consultant

“God in his greatness sent the grape to cheer both great and small. Little fools will drink too much and big fools none at all.” 

 

 

 

Petaluma Wine Institute vs.The Petaluma Gap

BACKSTORY

The officers & staff of The Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino (La Centre de l’Experience du Vin de Petaluma) have been in an absolute tizzy about all the talk about The Petaluma Gap Winegrower’s Alliance. Recently, they held  an emergency meeting at the Instituto to discuss the Petaluma Gap.

Just to assure the public, their parole officers were keeping close watch on them.

What follows is a partial transcript of the meeting…

_____________

Jerry Attrick–Senior Citizen Wine Consultant:  Hey, did you guys see the latest blog from Frances Rivetti? (Click Here)

Enchy Latta—Director of Catering: No, what’s she talking about now?

Jerry Attrick: The Petaluma Gap Winegrower’s Alliance. 

Enchy Latta: So what’s so special ’bout them? They’re no competition for the Instituto!

Frank–Chief Wino &  Solo Vine Manager (We have only one vine root): Wake up, Enchy! They’re for real.  You–and everyone in this room–are fictional characters. They make real wine. You only make and drink fictional wine. If I decide to quit drinking, you’ll all cease to exist!

Jerry Attrick: Quick, get Frank another glass of wine!!

Al Fresco–Restaurant Manager: Well, we may be fictional but business is down and we need to do something to compete with Rivetti and her Petaluma Gap conspirators!!!

Marthe Stuarda–Director of Protocol & Arbiter of Taste: You’re right Al. We need to close the Gap!! We need a Gap of our own!!

Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi–Insituto Bouncer: How about the Petaluma Street Gap?…

Pet Pothole

Frank: Don’t be ridiculous! I just checked on our solo vine root and found the appellation solution!

It’s obvious! 

The Instituto’s new appellation will be…CRACKED ADOBE GAP!!Petaluma Gap 002Petaluma Gap 004

Sushi Tira-Misu–Food Director:  Super name! I’ll start work on the new menus!!

Instituto Vino Advice…Part II

The staff of Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino has been working deligently to complete a comprehensive response to the request for assistance from Vino Blues in New York City.

Tristan E. Isolde (Director of Cheap & Trashy Personal Counseling) has been heading up this effort. Vino Blues was seeking guidance on how to deal with friends who were, for lack of a better phrase, decidedly cheap. To view a copy of the letter and the initital response of the Instituto, (Click Here) 

________________________________________

Dear Vino Blues:

We are writing in follow-up to our initial response of  July 18, 2009. We will now address your questions in detail.

YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS 

1.  My husband is pissed off and insulted,…Are these people insane? 

First, this is grounds for a duel. Your husband gets his choice of corkscrews; they do not.  We are not sure that they are insane but they are certainly living in a world of their own–must be very lonely. Minnie Da Moocher is sending a card suitable for the event. 

2.  Does it get any lower than$4 sparking wine? 

The only legitimate use for this product is to christen garbage barges. 

3.  Can these people be extraterrestrials? 

You do an injustice to extraterrestrials! 

YOUR LARGER QUESTIONS

How can they be stopped?  Who should they be reported to?  What retaliation does the Instituto suggest?  

Now these are serious questions.  Before deciding on a course of action, one must first determine, as best as one can, their motives: 

1.  Is it because they can’t afford anything else ?

We believe, based on the information provided, that the answer is “No.” 

2. Is it because they genuinely like what others call “cheap” wine? 

If the answer is “Yes,” THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO.  

If the answer is “No,”  please proceed to Item 3. 

3.  Is it because they don’t know any better? Have you, or others, “exposed” them to quality vin ordinaire? If they were exposed to a moderately priced wine (the vin ordinaires exclusively favored by the Instituto) would they detect the difference?  If so, would they admit it?  

If the answer is “No,” THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO. 

If the answer is that they should know better or have been exposed to the “good stuff” then we’re facing a major problem–They are cheap as opposed to thrifty; they are fixated on price without ANY regard for quality. They would not understand Oscar Wilde when he said: “He knew the price of everything and the value of nothing.”  

It is even more serious if they are guzzling Rothschild in private and passing out sparkling wine to their “friends.”

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS 

The obvious conclusion is that these are diehard tightwads beyond redemption.  As to whether they are as cheap with themselves as they are in public requires further investigation. We suggest hiring a private detective with 400mm telephoto and night optics to check out their drinking habits. 

If, on the other hand, they are capable of some degree of redemption, the Instituto suggests the following tactics:

  • To give them a picture of the dark side of cheap wine, consider a copy of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. 
  • Drop quotes from Homer: “Then the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, answered him: ‘Hold me now no longer, that am eager for the way. But whatsoever gift thine heart shall bid thee give me, when I am on my way back let it be mine to carry home: bear from thy stores a gift right goodly, and it shall bring thee the worth thereof in return.’ And whatsoever gift thou wouldest give me, let it be a thing to treasure.  Therefore I will make exchange of the presents, as I may. Of the gifts, such as are treasures stored in my house, I will give thee the goodliest and greatest of price.” 

If none of the above works….remember that physical assault is still a felony.  Horace, our counsel, will agree to defend you but please remember that he is very fond of Chateau Fleet Street.

Sincerely,

Tristan E. Isolde

Director of Cheap & Trashy Personal Counseling

Petaluma Instituto Wins Vino Award!!

The staff at the Instituto are pleased to announce that we are the recipient of an award for ground breaking vino research. 

The anonymous award and equally anonymous prize came in this morning’s mail. 

Vino Award

To the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino for its  ground breaking research on how light-sensitive packaging (a.k.a., “special” bags)  improves the bouquet and legginess of  $2 muscatel – an insouciant little wine with a small, but discriminating following in Flushing, NY.  This research also contributed to the refinement of the unified field theory and cold fusion research in nuclear physics.

Insituto Researcher hard at work on the the next vino project…developing instant wine powder.  Just add water to the little crystals…Publication1

Se son e‘ vero e‘ ben trovato… “If it’’s not true,  it’s essentially true”

Copywrong 2009 by the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino

Instituto Vino Festival 2009

Dear Instituto Members: 

The entire staff of the Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino (and their parole officers) once again attended the First Annual Instituto Wine Festival on your behalf.  The weather was exceptionally friendly and the ranch was never in better form.  Music was the usual combination of Western Swing, Swamp Rock and Mariachi–NO RAP. 

This year we added an equestrian event.  Now none of us understands horses but they were exceptional (not to mention the million dollars worth of silver and gold on the saddles). One of the rides can only be described as an “Only in California” happening; the riders charged around the ring at full gallop carrying glasses of champagne (Piper Sonoma of course).  The object, we surmise, was to demonstrate a stride or gait that did not spill the champagne.  It worked.  Not a drop touched the ground.  We thought it a bit unkind, however, that they did not let the horses taste the champagne.

All of this horse stuff is well and good but we at the Instituto prefer drinking our champagne at a table–or standing up.  

After a time we must sit…… 

In any event, we can report that we endured (on your behalf) apple fritters, apple pies, chicken pesto, Willie Bird turkey sandwiches, garlic chips and assorted artery clogging foodstuffs (burp!) all in the pursuit of GREAT VINO–which, as you know, unclogs the arteries. Perhaps that explains why Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi (our bouncer) spent so much time by the wine table.

Sincerely,

Your Friends At The Instituto

Biblical Vino

The Scholars in the Scholarly Department of Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino recently published a paper detailing the history of wine as recorded in the Bible. This article summarizes their research.

OLD TESTAMENT

Wine was not looked upon favorably. There are several admonitions—“Do not drink wine nor strong drink”— throughout the Old Testament. We are repeatedly warned against the bad effects of wine:

  1. Binding his foal unto the vine and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.  His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk. (Hangover?)
  2.  He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. (Well, OK. But don’t drink the water either!)
  3. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. (Perhaps a little Alka Seltzer would have helped?)
  4. Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. (The Instituto Scholars are engaged in further investigation as to what kind of grape produced such wine.)
  5.  He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich. (The Instituto Scholars now understand why they are poor.)

BUT IS THERE A SECRET AGENDA IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

When it comes to what you are to do with the wine that you should not drink—YOU GIVE IT TO THE LORD!

  • And to bring the first fruits of our ground, and the first fruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD.
  • And that we should bring the first fruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God.

NEW TESTAMENT

(The Winemaker’s “Bible”)

  • So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine.
  • And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.  But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
  • Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities. 

En Vino Veritas…

Wine Reviews

The staff at Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto de Vino Wino has developed a report critical of wine critics.  They dare to take them on!

Quite simply, the Instituto claims that wine critics are merely former music or art critics.  Well, the prose style suggests that there’s some truth in this observation.— you only need to change a few words of a Metropolitan Opera Orchestra review to create a wine review.

Examples… 

Music—Compared with the lush, full-throttle sound the orchestra produced at the climactic moments of “Das Lied von der Erde,” the Mozart had an almost Baroque trimness.

Wine—Compared with the lush, full-throttle nose the wine produced at the climactic moments, the Barfman Zinfandel 1999 had an almost Baroque trimness. (Hmmm! Almost sounds like a line from an Erica Jong novel. Fear of Flying Cabernet?)

Music—Ms. von Otter sang ravishingly and with the sensitivity and flexibility necessary to touch the heart of this work’s nostalgic, fatalistic texts

Wine—Barfman Cabernet sang ravishingly and with the sensitivity and flexibility necessary to touch the heart of this wine’s nostalgic, fatalistic flavors.  (The perfect wine for Socrates?)

Music—and the beauty the musicians coaxed from this had as much power, though differently focused, as the fortissimo passages

Wine—and the beauty the vintner coaxed from this had as much power, though differently focused, as the Barfman Chardonnay

Finally there is wine as a health food—“But Dr. Broustet… advocated a regimen of a daily consumption of a half bottle of red wine with food.”

Robert Mondavi claimed to drink two liters a day and another liter mixed with water when he was in the field.  He lived to a ripe old age of 94.

En vino veritas!

Instituto Special Report–Bottleless Wine!

The Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino proudly announces the results of years of research and development.

We have been following the work of  several wineries to do away with corks and to convince winos to buy wine with screw caps.  They have solid scientific evidence to support their position that screw caps are as good as, if not better than, corks.  Granted it will take some persuasion to convince people not to associate screw caps with “Thunderbird” or “Old Nauvoo Red.” 

But we have taken vino  innovation  a step further.

Our Winos demand cutting edge innovation! 

So the Instituto is proud to announce that our wines will be distributed with screw caps at $23.49 a bottle. 

What makes our new screw cap wine so unique? 

Well…….. 

there… 

will… 

be… 

NO……………….bottle!

Imagine! 

Bottleless Wine!! 

In fact, there is no container whatsoever!!! 

Just the screw cap!! 

Imagine the “Bottle(less) Shock” as new customers check out the display.

So…………….Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) or Bring Your Own Glass (BYOG)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Remember to wash your hands! 

The Officers & Staff of Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino

We at the Instituto are working  24/7 to make you a better wino!!

FAQ-Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino

Many “visitors” and new “members”  repeatedly inquire about the Instituto’s background and benefits of membership.  This newsletter will address these FAQ’s

Q–Do you have a logo?

A–See below

Vino Logo

Q–Does the Instituto have the coveted tax-exempt status? 

A–Vinnie & Guido (our esteemed former Enron accountants)  want to know what are “taxes?” “Tribute”  or “Bribe” they understand.

Q–Is there an annual membership fee?

A–Only if you drink box wine from with a straw, in which case the annual fee is $1,000,000 Brazilian. 

Q–Do you conduct tours? 

A–Not at OUR facilities for God’s sake! To do so would be to alert the authorities as to our location. 

Q–Do you have a unique wine appellation? 

A–But of  course! While our vineyard is small (we have only one vine) we were able to secure a very distinct appellation.  It was quite an involved process. The examiners noted that our single vine  had a mound of dirt on each side.  That made it a valley. They then examined the “characteristics” of the valley and considered several names….

  • Fog and Foggy were rejected because, too many vineyards and wineries already claim these attributes.  
  • Stray Cats, Feline Valley or Litter Box Vineyards did not seem to present the proper cachet. 
  • They finally noted that there was one characteristic that had not been used by other wineries–Snails! So they settled on Slug Valley.  They also approved our label: “Slime Wine!  Legginess you won’t believe!” 

Q–What is “gout de terroir” and does the Instituto have any?

A–To answer the last part of the question first, we have a great deal of “gout” at the Instituto. 

As to the meaning of gout de terroir, many mistakenly believe it is French for “taste of the earth.”  However, our research reveals this to be in error. We are amazed that this has not been revealed before.  After all, who wants to drink wine that tastes like dirt?

We discovered that “gout de terroir” is in fact gout da terrier, an ancient Miwok Indian phrase meaning  “Small dog with gout.”  At the Insituto we employ several gouty dogs to add a special flavor to 0ur wines!!

It has worked out very well for us.  Petaluma is famous for its Ugly Dog Contest and Ugly Dog Stout. 

We have Gouty Dog Wine!!

That’s all for now. Next week’s newsletter will bring you even more useful information.

Happy wine tasting and remember to stop by our undisclosed location!

THE STAFF

Petaluma’s Internationale Instituto De Vino Wine-Located in the Casa Madrone de Vin Ordinaire

Where all our Champagne is only a bubble off! 

Where we take the snob out of wine and bring back the slob!