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…


…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


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.


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!


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.”


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.


Tristan E. Isolde

Director of Cheap & Trashy Personal Counseling

Instituto Vino Advice–Part I

Tristan E. Isolde, our Director of Cheap & Trashy Personal Counseling brought an interesting letter to our attention.  The author of the letter was seeking guidance on how to deal with friends who were, for lack of a better phrase, decidedly cheap.


TO: Internationale Instituto De Vino Wino, Petaluma, California

We have dissed pals who consistently serve the cheapest wine to be found on earth.  Here’s their new low – AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

For my husband’s birthday they brought a lavishly wrapped bottle (these are the same folks with the $80 nitrogen rig to preserve $3 wine) and made much of toasting the occasion with champagne.  I feared the worst, but this was beyond my wildest fears – a $4 unchilled bottle of  sparkling wine!  It may be banned in CA – it’s used motor oil with injected carbonation.

They are assuredly NOT financially strapped, and this was not a joke gift, so I turn to the Instituto – my husband is pissed off and insulted, while I take a more sanguine view (it’s good for stain removal.)

  • Are these people insane?
  • How can they be stopped?
  • Who should they be reported to?

What retaliation does the Instituto suggest?  Can these people be extraterrestrials?  Please consider flying Vinnie  or your enforcer, Sumo Cum Laude “Big Fish” Sashimi here on an emergency basis to “talk” some sense into these two.


Vino Blues, New York City



Dear Vino Blues:

After several emergency meetings and many bottles of vin ordinaire, the entire staff of the Instituto  reached a  consensus (VERY unusual for this group)  to respond to some of your questions.

1. You say they paid $4 for an “unchilled bottle of  sparkling wine.”

They paid $4 TOO much

2.  You say it was ” lavishly wrapped.”

Unless it was wrapped in the Mona Lisa–IMPOSSIBLE!!!

3. You say it’s used motor oil with injected carbonation.

Send them a case of 10W40. Suggest that they serve it at room temperature–as in an igloo in Nome, Alaska.  Tell them it has a body you can “cut with a knife.”

In the alternative, give them a bottle of  sparkling cider.  If you can’t find one (We don’t know why you would normally want to do so), the Instituto will gladly provide a bottle for this worthy purpose.

As to the remaining questions in your letter, rest assured that the entire staff is locked in the wine cellar working up further suggestions to aid you in your time of need.

We will be in touch with you shortly!


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

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!


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!