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England Bans Trump—I Welcome Him To Wine Country

By Charles Olken

It was with a certain degree of smugness that I watched the Parliament in England consider the banning of Donald Trump from their shores. I get it. The man raises people’s hackles. Such is life in the fast lane.

But, let’s not go too far with this “banning” of people because, before you know it, we will get around to banning all kinds of things. There are people who would ban Christmas. There are people who would ban guns. There are people who would ban driving over 55 mph.

And, believe it or not, there are people who would ban wine. Come to think of it. The English have some of those folks too.

I have my own list of things I would ban—mostly as regards wine—and I am looking for a friendly politician who is angry enough to carry those banners for me. Maybe Donald J. or maybe Bernie. He is sort of like The Donald. Bernie is angry enough to maybe want to ban a few things besides big Wall Street firms.

My list is simple enough, and I am guessing that if I can get bi-partisan support from Trump and Sanders, my new group, Wines United, can carry the day.

Let’s start with this. I want to ban all words that have no meaning in wine but get tossed around like politicians’ promises. “Natural” would be at the top of my list, and “authentic”, artisanal and any other term that purports to suggest elevated quality but actually has no legal meaning and thus is all too often about marketing and not about quality should be banned.

How about alcohol statements on wine labels? I know some people care, but they must not care enough because the standards for such statements allow the alcohol level to appear in print so small that it helps to carry a magnifying glass if you really want to know. And what about this business of being allowed to print the alcohol sideways in the corner of the label so if you can read the tiny print, you cannot find it anyhow. I would ban those alcohol statements—and all those who care about alcohol in wine while I am at it. Ted Cruz would carpet bomb them. I would just ban them. Maybe send them to Guantanamo.

I want to ban all Middle Eastern imports. I’m talking about you—Syrah. You come around here calling yourself Syrah as if you are from France, but you aren’t. The Aussies know. That’s why they call you Shiraz.

I want to ban wine in movies. They always get it wrong. Maybe not as wrong as Sideways and its attempt to ban Merlot. Oh, yes, the press had a field day with that. The New York Times went so far as to write that Merlot was dead even though Merlot sales just kept going up and up and up. And do you remember that Colombo episode when a wine collector died and nobody knew why? I did. His tipple of choice that night was Chateau Margaux. Nothing wrong with that except that the wine was served in a Burgundy shaped bottle. Had to be the wine. It is time to stop blaming the wine. Let’s get wine out of the movies—or at least, as Mr. Trump has said, until we figure out what the hell is going on.

And finally, I want to ban political debates until the moderators agree to ask those seeking our votes what they are going to do about the new Prohibitionists. Their importance of their opinions about ObamaCare pale in comparison to their opinions about WineCare. Or as we call it around here, CharlieOlkenCare

Oh, and as for welcoming Mr. Trump to California, I just found out that he does not drink wine. Too bad, Donald, invitation rescinded until you see the light.


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Banned Terms
by Paul Moe
Posted on:1/19/2016 12:03:25 PM

I think "Reserve" is the biggest bastardized term of them all.

Trump ban was DEBATED, not passed.
by Valerie Quintanilla
Posted on:1/21/2016 1:23:23 PM

To be clear, a ban on Mr. Trump was debated in the British Parliament. But, as I understand it, it was not passed. I would like to ban sensasionalism in the media. That goes for wine and non-wine related publications.

Good day.

by Charlie Olken
Posted on:1/21/2016 1:25:35 PM

Dear Ms. Quintanilla--

This whole column was tongue in cheek. It was an equal opportunity chuckle brought back to wine.

The Brit who said, "we cannot ban stupidity" offered the argument that carried the day. I agree.

Trump's Winery
by Gerald Weisl
Posted on:1/21/2016 1:30:30 PM

Maybe you did not know that the Trump name appears on wines from Virginia?  
He bought a winery and then transferred ownership to his son, who runs the place these days.  We purchased a bottle of a rather neutral white wine made, according to the label, of Viognier.  And we opened a bottle of a red Meritage wine which also was a lackluster attempt.  

But we were really disappointed to read a Wikipedia entry which chronicles Trump's acquistion of this place:

Trump's Winery II
by Gerald Weisl
Posted on:1/21/2016 1:32:43 PM

Trump bought the 1,300-acre vineyard and winery for a fraction of its original value. He was criticized for his "ethics" during this acquisition. He began by buying the 200 acres surrounding the property for less than $500,000. He then placed "No Trespassing" signs around the property. This warded off potential buyers and gave Trump exclusive access to the property. This forced the property into foreclosure and gave Trump the opportunity to buy the land from Bank of America for $3.6 million, a small fraction of the property's real worth ($12M). Development and renovation of the property was given to Eric Trump, who also supervised the acquisition.

Banning Syrah
by Peter Wellington
Posted on:1/28/2016 8:51:47 PM

The Australian theory of the origin of Syrah (Shiraz, Iran) was conclusively debunked years ago by DNA testing. I disagree with Charles' idea about Syrah being worthless; as with Pinot Noir in the 60's and 70's, a lot of Syrah has been planted in California with minimal knowledge or consideration as to site suitability. 

Saving Syrah
by Charlie Olken
Posted on:1/28/2016 10:13:54 PM


Thanks for your thoughts, and let me apologize for misleading you. This column was totally tongue in cheek. The comments about Syrah/Shiraz were parody directed at the notion being floated in today's politics that we should ban immigration.

Syrah, as readers of CGCW will know, has been doing very well in our tastings. Yes, there was a lot of Syrah rushed into the wrong places, but there is also plenty of Syrah in the right places from Santa Barbara County north to Paso Robles and all the way to Sonoma County and select places in Mendocino.

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