Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

West Coast Green – How my life changed this week

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

West Coast Green conference

Wow, what an excellent conference! A game changer. I have to thank my friends over at Village Green Energy for hooking me up with a free pass. I’ve been so passionate this movement as long as I can remember… ever since 6th grade when I messed around with electromagenetic fields and plants. Early education for me was all ecology and environment, and that followed with rigorous economics in college, which I didn’t quite understand myself until now. Having not gone into banking with my degree and now seeing the state of the economy I was like shit… but David Suzuki put it so clearly… it’s (eco)nomics. I can’t believe I never recognized that. I automatically associated economics with the greedy, short-sighted mentality of Wall Street that focuses solely on the bottom line and exploiting the market for cash and egoic status. Yet you realize the bottom line is not the statement of cash flows or the balance sheet… it’s the fuckin planet. Ecology + Economics = . This conference was absolutely buzzing! People were feeling alive and connecting and touching each other like I’ve never seen in my life. We all knew the green revolution is ready and to change the world in a big way.


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What’s in a label?

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Wine Label labels will do it. How many times have you bought a because of its ? I know I have. Be it creative or just familiar, labels can make or break the wines sales. And I will admit right now that I have bought some ridiculously designed and named wines. There was ‘Bitch’, which had a pink in black lettering. Don’t get me wrong, it was well priced and a quite enjoyable Grenache from Australia. Why did I buy it? Because my friend and I thought it was funny. A few weeks later I was back in that same store and I witnessed the same scene, two friends walk up the counter to purchase their wines and see ‘Bitch’ conveniently located at the register. The one friend turns to the other and starts laughing and they immediately pick it up and add it to their pile. Smart product placing.


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Posted in Design, Labels | 2 Comments »

Some Good Shit

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

MintyLike many a webworker – I’m addicted to Podcasts and am pretty much plugged in on a daily basis to the best of APM, NPR, Guardian Media, Grape Radio etc. Robert Krulwich of NPR did a show the other day the MIT Bioengineering faculty, and the dawn of a new species under the fostering care of some students with olfactory concerns. You can listen to the show here, but basically the show discusses how for bio-engineering students – life is spent in fume cupboards culturing e-coli in a petri-dishes, and due to the fact that e-coli smells like, er, smells like, well… shit, these students applied their trade to splice out the shit-smelling gene from the e-coli and replace it with the gene from Wintergreen that makes Wintergreen smell like Spearmint resulting in good smelling shit.


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Posted in Design, Millennials, Stories, Thoughts, Wine | 2 Comments »

Pinot Evolution

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Pinot Noir is the McDaddy of grapes – and that’s supposed to be quite literally. Some time back I was listening to grape radio, and they featured a symposium on Pinot Noir where it was said that the oldest vines in the world, discovered in archaeological sites and then tested, were most similar to Pinot Noir – placing it in the same class as Australopithecus (perhaps a brand idea there. Australopithecus Pinot Noir. perhaps not!)

We take clones from vines, because the seeds will only produce a genetic mix of the plant the seed-bearing vine and the male plant which fertilised the seeds with its pollen. To get an exact replica – we need to take a cutting and graft it onto root-stock. Anyone who has ever tried out their green thumb at college whilst cultivating non-medical marijuana will be well acquainted with this process!

So, it stands to reason that nearly all varietals are derivative of Pinot Noir and have evolved over thousands of years of not only by natural selection – but farmer’s intervention as well. I’m sorry to break it to any wine-creationists out there that all the vines in the world didn’t just miraculously appear – but that’s what botany tells us anyway, and it’s generally wise to give science the last word!

As Pinot Noir is thought to be the source of all things winey, this particular article: The Grapevine Genome Sequenced, is rather interesting as it comments on the genetic sequencing of Pinot Noir. A few commentators weren’t quite sure how they felt it – however, its been known for a while that certain farmers began splicing rat genes into tomatoes a while back in order to save tomatoes from being susceptible to frost (obviously this is part true, part urban legend.) I don’t see the problem really – for places like South Africa, which battle with leaf-roll virus – or others that are threatened by Phyloxeras or horn-beetle or harsh tannins etc. Imagine we could make all vines seedless – this would greatly reduce bitter tannins released in careless crushing. We could even make grapes less susceptible to oxidization and microbes, and reduce the need for using S02 – making red wines more accessible and less tannic.

However – where do we stop? Will wine-makers be Willy Wonkas, with Umpa-Lumpa’s crushing the grapes and fantastical scientists making wine that tastes amazing in curious and fantastic ways, with oenophiles waiting to get into the special wineries, where passage is given only to those who have a bottle with a golden screw-cap?

I’ve read a few articles about nano-technology’s potential implications on food and wine. Its hard to know what to say about this without getting into slippery slope arguments where people may forecast the end of wine as we know it if we permit too much tampering. However – if we consider that all wines are derivative of Pinot Noir, then it would seem that nature has done a lot of its own tampering, and its probably worth buying a lot of wine now and lying it on its side, because its going to be very interesting to compare the taste of now, to that of the rapidly approaching future.

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World Cup of Wine

Saturday, August 4th, 2007


The World Cup of Rugby is just around the corner and will be upon us in September. Now I know that American’s don’t really give too much attention to the amazing sport: but this year is perhaps a year to change your mind. As you may or may not know – France, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Italy and New Zealand over and above being awesome regions for the production of – are also the world’s top Rugby players. In the rest of the world outside of America, we genuinely mean ‘world’ when we affix the term ‘world’ before a sports tournament – and thus watching one of theses series’ is more than sport: it’s international unity, global community and solidarity. This year the tournament is taking place in France (it only happens every four years) and so – for any of you curious globally oriented wine lovers out there, nows a chance to get yourself south-africa.jpgto France, participate with the rest of the world and get a taste of some great wines and some of the global culture too. For those of you unable to go – fear not – the World Cup of Wines , which is a virtual live wine-tasting taking place on September 1st, 7:30pm-9:30pm at the Virtual Wine website, where they’ll be pitting the wines of Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina and South Africa against one another – so switch on, pull up a chair, get some wine and pick a side. The folks at Virtual Wine have done some pretty cool events in the past, which shows that this could pretty easily become a trend in the future of world wine tastings.

However – with the intent of drawing some attention to the of my passions – travel, wine and rugby – in association with will be hosting our very own Wine World Cup for the month of September.

For every day in September myself and a handful of the wine blogerati (volunteers welcome) will be doing one review on one wine per day for each of the six countries. That’s 180 posts in total (and a lot of wine to be drunk.) I’ve already got 16 bottles which I will begin opening this weekend to start my reviews. At the end of each week we will decide on a winner – and at the end of the competition there will be one country and that comes out tops.

TasteVine is working on planning a few live wine world cup events in the south, which will be an opportunity to taste 6 wine regions at once, and an enormous variation in style, flavor and taste.

In addition we’ll be awarding prizes (details to follow) to people who make comments and having a random draw for people who subscribe to our blog during the duration of the competition.

I’ll be giving regular, brief updates of the goings on the the actual teams who are playing – and all in all this is a blog event which hopes to spark interest in global culture and give us all a good excuse to go out and try a lot of different wine!

The first post for the will appear at 10am EST on September 1st. We’re accepting reviews before then – and will be sure to feature any reviews we receive. Get tasting and may the best wine win!

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Posted in Culture, Design, Events, Lifestyle, Marketing, Passion, Technology, Wine | 22 Comments »