The Wine Posse is coming back! Five years ago, a bunch of cork dorks (including our old sister publication, La Cocinita) got together to sponsor a wine club called the New Mexico Wine Posse. Most notably, the club put on a well-attended series of wine-tasting classes held at restaurants all over town. Funding eventually fell through, however, and the Posse dissolved. The same fate recently befell the local chapter of Wine Brats and is threatening our chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food. So, in comes former Wine Brat Jerry Wright, general manager of Great American Land and Cattle, who recently got together with Jerry Gross, one of the originators of the Wine Posse and decided to work on bringing the Posse back. The new Wine Posse is in the formative stages now, asking those who join (for a $20 annual fee) to have a hand in deciding what kind of events the club will stage. Suggestions include wine appreciation classes, winemaker dinners and winery tours. Interested parties should contact email@example.com.
On the subject of wine, Gruet Winery recently unveiled what they call the Barrel Room. According to Director of Sales and Marketing Jeffrey DeVore, Gruet was faced with expanding stock and a banquet facility that was relatively underused. They decided to move in some oak barrels containing maturing wine, humidity control the room and use it as an expansion of what had been a very small tasting room. "The whole package is a lot more attractive," DeVore says. Yes, in addition to making wine taste good, those oak barrels do provide charming ambiance. "We do a lot of educational tours for restaurants and retailers and it's a great way for them to do sampling, to show wine to them in a raw stage," DeVore says. Business must be good at Gruet. DeVore says they've recently added 50,000 gallons worth of tanks, the bottle room is storing 2.5 million bottles and they're now distributed in 47 states. Also, just out from New Mexico's premier sparkling wine-maker is the 2000 vintage Gruet Grand Rose champagne. They only made 200 cases so limited amounts are available at local retailers for about $30 bucks.
And now for a word about beer. Congratulations to the Blue Corn Café and Brewery (4939 Pan American or tap room at 106 Second Street) for winning a silver medal in the Association of Brewers World Beer Cup, an international competition held in San Diego last month. Nearly 400 breweries from 39 countries were evaluated by a globally diverse group of 93 judges. The medal was awarded for Blue Corn's Rye On beer, an amber ale made with a touch of malted rye.
A second Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop is now open on the southeast corner of Wyoming and Academy NE. Tuesday, April 27 was free scoop day at the scoop shops here (the other one is at Montgomery and Juan Tabo) and volunteers from Albuquerque Assistance League handed out cones while raising close to $1,500 for their cause. Between both stores, volunteers from Rock the Vote and other groups registered over 230 people to vote. That's what we call a win-win-win situation.