Sometimes the space and time needed to tell a story can go on and on, and sometimes something much shorter will suffice.

Here are a few small, recent items of more than passing interest:


Oh, So That’s What You Want…..Now

For as long as anyone can remember, winemakers have been operating on the theory that there can never be too much alcohol nor too much oak in their wines.

There was no need to play the Blame Game – they were merely fulfilling their perception of the wishes of the American consuming public.

Then along comes 2008 and the resulting recession and a rethink in the wine manufacturing process was in order since new oak barrels from France were very expensive, over $1000 each, and prices the American public was willing to pay for wine started to drop down. So why not reduce a major cost associated with making wine and ease up on the oak?

A funny thing happened when winemakers did just that: the wine buying public showed they liked less oak in the wine. Who knew? Today, American wines are brighter and fresher with the taste and aroma of the fruit not muted by the influence of some trees in France.

Then funny thing number 2 settled into the equation: the fickle American wine buying public discovered they liked rosé. A lot. These easy-to-enjoy wines tasted like they were made yesterday, so fresh and low in alcohol. Alcohol is another factor that when there is too much of it, the wines are not as enjoyable and do not go well with the evening meal.

Another “Ah-Ha!” moment occurred in the American Wine Marketplace and suddenly wines were clocking in at 12 and 13% instead of 15-16% alcohol by volume. And sales remained at high levels.

New lesson: too much of a good thing can indeed be too much of a good thing.   

For Your Mouth Only

In the general scheme of things, Louisiana is not that big, nor important, a place. Our population size puts us in the middle of the pack when compared to other states and nothing much of international significance, away from the Port, goes on. Yes, what happens is of great interest to us but really, if and when others away from here take note, we should be flattered and sometimes ashamed. No one thinks of us as much as we think of ourselves.

And that is why it is gratifying when products are made just for us. We are indeed honored by the creation of a new beer from Abita Brewing Company and by the wines we can purchase from Moises Wines of Oregon, both for sale in Louisiana only.

Abita just announced a new beer, The Boot. The style is with weight but not one of those heavy beers that weigh you down. After all, this is Louisiana where the heat and humidity are often all the burden you need to carry around.

The beer is brewed with white wheat, oats and barley and hopped with Hallertau Blanc. You will not mistake this for light beer, nor is it the biggest IPA you ever had. David Blossman describes the brew as “an easy drinking go-to for the craft drinker.”

He also notes, Louisiana, this one is for you. “We brewed this beer for our friends and neighbors who have never wavered in their support of our efforts.” Nice.

Vines in Space

Usually science projects happen here on Earth to see if we can all withstand the rigors of space. The Chinese have that approach a bit backwards.

The Chinese space agency has launched the Tiangong-2 space laboratory and aboard the craft, now orbiting over your head, is a selection of grapevines.

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and a few other varietals are in space to see what the effects of space radiation would be on otherwise healthy grapevines. We are not certain what all of this means, or what the Chinese are going to do with their newfound information, but what the hey, a free ride into space for some vines. Disney World has nothing on these organics.

The vines will be out there for about two months and will be brought back into earth’s friendlier atmosphere by a couple of astronauts who are docking with the science lab. This may be the beginning of wines that can get you high even before they are wine. Stay tuned.

Similar but different

In another story, it was reported that somewhere in Australia, a donut company had completed work on the world’s first beers that boast doughnut flavors.

Both Pink Lemonade Glaze and Chocolate Cookie Crumble are real products from Grumpy Donuts on the outskirts of Sydney.

This marks an important milestone for college students everywhere. A donut flavored beer, or a beer-flavored donut, which likely will come onto the retail shelves very soon, can only be described as the perfect food for young men who may or may not have achieved the tender age of 21. When the inventors find a way to incorporate bacon into the mix, they will have eternally earned the gratitude of frat houses everywhere.




Read Happy Hour here on every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed at Also check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life" every Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans.