It’s too darn hot to think about much of anything for any extended period of time. And in acknowledgement of that, here’s SHORT ATTENTION SPAN THEATRE.

Snippets and cotton candy for the mind are perfect right now. Here’s some choice examples relating to adult beverages. Sit back and let the air conditioning do the hard work.


Chateau Giscours Goes for the Sweet

Chateau Giscours, a much-revered winery in the Medoc area of France’s Bordeaux region, has been slapped with a €200,000 (about $235,000) fine for illegal chaptalization, which is the dumping of sugar into the wine.

There are times when the practice is allowed in order to boost the alcohol level of the wine during vintages when conditions do not permit full ripening of the fruit. The practice is usually carried out with the permission of a region’s wine governing body.

Giscours claims this case was all a mistake on the part of a winemaker during the winemaking process with the 2016 vintage. Permission to chapitalize was not granted, but the sugar addition occurred. Considering the cost of Bordeaux wine, we all deserve more attention from the winery. Wine is costly enough and sugar, not so much.

Late Breaking News – The owner of Chateau Giscours, Eric Albada Jelgersma, a Dutch businessman, died peacefully in his sleep last week at age 79. He purchased Chateau Giscours in 1995, and Chateau du Tertre in 1997. In 2005 he was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound following a 2005 sailing accident.


Own Stock in Pacific Gas & Electric? Sorry About That.

Pacific Gas & Electric, (PG&E), the huge electric utility that serves most of California, is warning its shareholders that a big bill is on the way. Possibly as much as $2.5 billion will be the “initial hit” should the company be held liable for the massive fires which devastated huge swaths of California last year.

The fires popped up everywhere during October and November, and it seems that PG&E power lines and equipment were the culprits. High winds caused the lines to fray and pop loose setting the underbrush and trees in the affected areas ablaze. PG&E early in the investigation admitted to shortchanging their maintenance program which is an important component of their franchise to operate.

Total loss for damages and lives lost could reach $15 billion with PG&E’s insurance coverage far below that number. The company has begun reserving funds in anticipation of a massive economic loss. Shares in the utility have already tumbled 42% and to date, not all of the fires that raged have been investigated nor origination causes found.


Prepare to Pay More

Your good friends at the US Supreme Court have ruled that states have the right to make online retailers collect appropriate state sales taxes.

The ruling overturns a 1992 ruling that barred states from forcing companies to collect taxes on sales to citizens when the company had no physical presence in the state. That consumer advantage for internet retailers just went away.

Most internet-only sales organizations experienced a drop in stock value. States are expecting a $13 billion annually money stream windfall into their coffers.

Purchasing anything on-line, including wines and spirits, just got a little bit more expensive.


Good Show, Old Chap

If you are not current on your Britain geography, or your English wine terms, this might be a good time to acquire some education and background knowledge. You are about to see a lot of wine from that sceptered isle.

We are even now enjoying a minor influx with many labels of sparkling wines from Great Britain. Truth be told, they are surprisingly good. They are expensive, on a par with Champagne prices, but they deliver the goods. Nice fruit, excellent yeast seasoning, and all the attributes you expect from a top-notch Champagne.

Some English wines are here, and more are coming.

Now comes word that a grape formerly only associated with South Africa, pinotage, has plantings in England and the results so far, we are told, are terrific.

There are a variety of factors responsible for this sudden appearance of a wine industry in Great Britain, but global warming has to play a part. The soils have always been there and so has the Brits love of fine wine. But warm temps have been hard to come by.

Stay tuned and keep an open mind. The journey is just beginning.





Read Happy Hour here on on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.