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Wine on the Wei

March 15, 2011 5:23 pm - Posted by Zachary in Travel

At the Cadillac Championship last week Wine Portfolio had the opportunity to meet a large variety of people who love wine and golf. One of the nicest we met was Stephanie Wei. Stephanie is the creator of the highly respected golf blog weiunderpar where she describes herself as “growing up in Seattle.. now living in Manhattan.. played competitive golf for ten years in the junior and college ranks.. went to Yale, played on the women’s golf team and graduated in ’05 with a B.A. in History.. and Btw still enjoys hacking a small, white ball around the golf course.. loves her driver. Oh, and I’m feisty and I like to smile a lot.”

Stephanie is representative of the post alpha-Tiger generation of PGA Tour golf. Young, hip, twittering Merlot drinkers versus the beer drinking, pot bellied and periscope wielding old school golf types. The field of players at the Doral event was the youngest ever so clearly the future of golf has arrived. While the casual fan was watching Tiger implode, Stephanie was focusing on the new breed of golfer. Players like Ryan Moore, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson who all under the age of 30 and with tour titles under their belts all have their eyes on the Major Championships. I learned that Ryan Moore is not yet a fan of wine but the buzz around the tour predicts that with a few more titles, Ryan’s taste will change as he celebrates his wins with something a little more bubbly.

On the tour there aren’t a lot of young women like Stephanie covering the players, it’s a business that is still dominated by men and it makes her work even harder. This is her second year writing about the tour and the relevant, current and honest stories she provides has earned her the respect of  the players. Enough in fact to earn a nickname. The story goes that before the Sony Open in Hawaii there was a pre-tournament dinner party hosted by a player representative. What Stephanie didn’t know was that the rep, a few caddies and a player or two had bribed the bartender to make sure Stephanie’s glass was always filled to the rim. All Stephanie could do was stare and shake her head at how time and again she was getting these ridiculous pours. By the end of the night (and a tremendous amount of spillage) the players had nicknamed her “Red Wine Wei”. And so everyone at Wine Portfolio wants to thank “Red Wine Wei” for being a good sport and helping Wine Portfolio to navigate our first PGA Tournament.

Btw Stephanie has yet to settle upon a “favorite” red wine and we would love to hear from everyone out there what they think she should try. Send us your best red wine suggestion for “Red Wine Wei” in the comments and we will be sure to pass along all of your ideas along to her!

Jody’s best drive at the Cadillac Championship

March 13, 2011 7:09 pm - Posted by Zachary in Travel

Wine Portfolio’s week at the Cadillac Championship was a great one. We really enjoyed our interviews with PGA Tour players Ryan Palmer and Robert Karlsson. And we think the players were also happy to sit down with some media people who weren’t fixated on their backswing, their driving accuracy or whether Tiger’s new coach would help or hinder his chances of winning on the Tour. Jody and the Wine Portfolio team offered an oasis from golf and let the PGA Tour pros share their thoughts on their favorite wines and food pairings while out on the Tour, on vacation with their families, or in their own homes with friends.

Then we were off to the driving range where Wine Portfolio was “inside the ropes” to get some up close and personal footage of all the PGA Tour players warming up. It’s only when you are standing ten feet away from the current roster of the best 69 golfers in the world and watching them consistently strike 300 yard drives straight down the fairway that you realize just how good these guys really are.

But since we didn’t have the skills to drive the ball as consistently as the PGA Tour players on the driving range the next logical place for the Wine Portfolio team was the Cadillac hospitality suite. Hey everybody has their skills, and we know ours. As the title sponsor of the Cadillac Championship there were over 150 various vehicles on site at Doral but finding a Cadillac that wasn’t spoken for seemed as tough as making a “greenside lob over a bunker”. However the dogged efforts of Nick Twork and Bill Bentson saw us through. Check out the clip below for the results of Jody’s best drive at the Cadillac Championship. Yep it drives as good as it looks


Jody is behind the wheel of the just released 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe.

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Tales from the sand trap | Part 2

March 12, 2011 2:33 pm - Posted by Zachary in Eat

The official wine of the PGA Tour is Beringer Vineyards and this week at the Cadillac Championship Beringer’s iconic Winemaker Laurie Hook flew out from Napa to join Jody and Wine Portfolio in Florida. She was on hand to let us in on some of Beringer’s latest vintages and to tour Wine Portfolio around the facilities Beringer has set up for golf fans. Like our own Jody Ness, Laurie and Beringer like to help spread the love of wine and as the Official Wine of the PGA Tour they’re doing a great job of connecting with new wine drinkers.

Later in the day Laurie and Executive Chef Timothy Hughes of 5300 Chop House, the well known restaurant at Hyatt Miami at The Blue sat down with Jody over some food and wine to talk about the always hotly debated subject of food and wine pairing. Wine Portfolio fans can look forward to a great discussion on the theories of how to approach food and wine pairings from the perspective of a respected Winemaker and a Chef who takes his ingredients and flavors very seriously. Jody tried to stay neutral during this great discussion but since he is both a restaurateur and a wine lover, he also brought his own perspective.

In the end the debate was not settled as the passion for what food goes with what wine and how to best enjoy and complement the flavor of each is as timeless and ultimately as unanswerable as whether the chicken or the egg came first! However some great food and delicious wine was enjoyed overlooking the 12th fairway of the TPC Blue Monster at Doral. There are better jobs in the world, but at the moment I can’t think of them. If you would like to learn more about  Laurie Hooks’ thoughts on wine and food pairings go to Beringer and for more on current menus visit 5300 Chop House.

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Tales from the sand trap | Part 1

March 9, 2011 10:31 pm - Posted by Zachary in Travel

This week Wine Portfolio is in Doral, Florida at the site of the iconic Doral Resort for the 2011 World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at the TPC Blue Monster, say that three times quick, I dare ya! For simplicity sake, let’s stick with the WGC at Doral. So far we have had an amazing whirlwind experience of wine and golf in just the first 24 hours.  Jody has already posted a couple of pics from today with Charley Hoffman, Tiger Woods and Ben Crane and trust me, those pics are just a hint of the total experience of a jam packed day. I don’t want to toss any spoilers out there but let’s just say that when the first thing we film is Tiger Woods teeing off from the balcony of our 2,200 square foot luxury villa, fans of Wine Portfolio should know they are in for a real treat. Ben Crane has an absolute must see video on YouTube that you can see here , one viewing will not be enough to really enjoy this epic piece of deadpan comic gold. That’s all the time I have for today, we are off to another amazing wine event this evening. Stay tuned for more on the world of wine and golf from the sun drenched links at the TPC Blue Monster.

BTW everyone at Wine Portfolio wants to wish Kate Rose a very Happy Birthday and thanks both her and her husband Justin for their time today! Thanks guys! Stay tuned in the days ahead for more posts from the PGA Tour.

Super Party for the Super Bowl

February 6, 2011 3:08 pm - Posted by Zachary in Travel

The 2011 Taste of the NFL “Party with a Purpose®” strolling wine and food event at Super Bowl XLV was one of the hottest tickets in the pre Super Bowl party circuit on Saturday night. Over 3500 guests paid upwards of 500$ per ticket to taste the culinary delights of over 50 chefs from every NFL city across the country … from taste to sample. It was a foodies dream Americana buffet paired with wines provided by the Gallo Family Wines of E&J Gallo Winery.

Recently crowned Miss America Teresa Scanlan, actor Adam Sandler , Hall of Famer Floyd Little among many others were on hand to sample dishes like tuna fish taco from San Diego, blackened scallops from Atlanta, cranberry turnovers from Green Bay and a lamb slider, with Sriracha goat cheese aiol, carmelized onions and Orange Crush shake from Denver.

The doors opened at 6pm to the sold out event at the Fort Worth Convention Center and incredibly by 930pm when guests were sauntering over to the stage to hear country music recording star Martina McBride, almost every one of the 50+ food stations were picked clean. When they say “Everything is bigger in Texas” that doesn’t only include appetites, the real purpose of the party is to raise funds and awareness for food banks and hunger issues. This year organizers expect to raise a record 1 million dollars from the “Taste” that will be distributed to food banks across the country.

Winemaker Gina Gallo has been on the board of directors of the Taste of the NFL for the past 15 years and wasn’t able to make it to Dallas for this years event.  I managed to find her for a few minutes on Friday afternoon by phone from one of the Gallo Family vineyards in Sonoma Valley where after a recent warm spell she was busy checking and pruning vines.

“This is an event that’s close to my heart” she told me. “I learnt from my Grandfather that wine is food” and that with reportedly “1 in 6 families in America needing the service of a food bank last year, now was more than ever a time to dig deep and contribute”  in fact the “Taste” and Gallo provided 1.2 million meals to regional and national hunger relief organizations in 2010.

The Gallo Family wines enjoyed at the “Taste” included Two Rock Chardonnay, William Hill and a Whitehaven from New Zealand among others.  On Sunday Gina will be watching Super Bowl XLV with friends and family in Sonoma and likes the chances of Green Bay to take the Lombardi Trophy.

Founded in 1992 by Wayne Kostroski (2010 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year), the Minneapolis-based Taste of the NFL has distributed more than $10 million over the past twenty years to local and national food banks across the country.

You can to donate to the Taste of the NFL here:  http://www.tasteofthenfl.com/

* Photo courtesy of Photographer Bruce Vartan Boyajian,
The Miss America Organization

The Right Shot: The Art of Photography & Whiskey

January 25, 2011 5:25 pm - Posted by Zachary in Drink

In the past 30 years iconic Grammy Award winning photographer Albert Watson has over 200 Vogue and 40 Rolling Stone covers to his credit and in 2010 decided to take his lenses on the “road less travelled”, to document The Macallan signature sherry oak casks on their  journey from the scenic forests of northern Spain to The Macallan home in Scotland.

An evening away from Wine Portfolio last Thursday led me to the pleasure of attending  The Macallan Masters of Photography Collection premiere at the Milk Studio in New York’s meatpacking district.

Showcasing two revered art processes, photography and whiskey-making, Watson took a 12-day photographic odyssey to document the journey of a young couple taking a voyage of discovery and the breathtaking backdrops they encounter along the way of the more than 600 miles of bucolic scenery.

Olivia Munn, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s newest correspondent said she was “thrilled to be here and to be living in New York” while Vincent Piazza who plays “Lucky Luciano” on the hit HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” was also in attendance.

Even though the buzz in the room on Thursday was about the beauty of the iconic images of Mr. Watsons’ photo series, the real star of the night was The Macallan Sherry Oak 20 Years Old. A limited selection of just 200 bottles  is available for purchase now in the U.S. for $1,000 each. The bottle arrives in a sleek black presentation box and includes a specially commissioned label by Watson alongside a set of 10 unique portfolio prints.

For collectors another 36 individually customized bottles of The Macallan 1946 whiskey, the year Watson first met his wife, Elizabeth, each with a signed one-of-a-kind collectible platinum print, will also be available for purchase later this year for $16,000.

I for one would love to try The Macallan 1946 whiskey but I think it is out of my price range. I have sampled a 1970 whiskey. What about you, what’s the oldest tipple you’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy?

By Zachary Puznak

For more information: http://www.themacallan.com/home.aspx