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Budweiser Gets Even More Patriotic; The Dude Abides But His Vineyard’s For Sale; and Thomas Jefferson Auditorium On Track at Cité du Vin

Budweiser is embracing its patriotic marketing in a whole new way and renaming its signature beer “America.” Budweiser’s new tagline—“In your hands you’re drinking America”—will stand through the November elections. In place of King of Beers, the label will read E Pluribus Unum. In place of the AB the label will read US. Design industry analyst Fastco Design writes, “almost every bit of type on the Budweiser label has been scrubbed away by Easter Egg patriotism, with new text citing the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful—all rendered in newly developed hand lettering, inspired by Budweiser’s archives.”

Why, you ask? Fastco says, “Summer is peak beer-selling season—the entire industry sees a double-digit boost. Since 2011, Budweiser has released special summer-edition cans that feature images such as the American flag and the Statue of Liberty, as a nod to Memorial Day, July Fourth, and the quiet American dream of drinking a beer in your backyard while charring various processed meats.”

But wait, there’s more! “The World Renowned” has been changed to “Land of the Free” and “Anheuser-Busch, Inc.” will read “Liberty & Justice For All.” Even legalese like “Trademark” is changed to “Indivisible,” and “Registered” converted to “Since 1776.” What’s next? We’re not sure, but we assume it’ll involve some kind of product placement in Hamilton.

Jeff Bridges $23 Million Vineyard Estate Now 20% Off

The palatial property of actor Jeff Bridges, located in the Montecito foothills in Santa Barbara, CA, was put on the market last year with an asking price of $29.5 million. The new asking price has been reduced by 20% to $23 million. Known as Villa Santa Lucia, the gated property was built in 1988 and includes a Tuscan-inspired main house, an 1800-square-foot guesthouse, a guest cottage and a detached theater/recording studio on its sprawling grounds.

The house is backed by a terraced slope planted with grape vines, though no recent winemaking has been done. Bridges bought the house from musician Kenny Loggins for around $7 million.

American Friends of Cité du Vin Raise Over $300,000 for Thomas Jefferson Auditorium

A fundraiser was held by the AFCCV in Bordeaux supporting the naming of the Thomas Jefferson Auditorium at the soon-to-open Bordeaux wine education center. Unique lots from top Châteaux were sold at the event, hosted by Sotheby’s New York. Auction highlights included the Petrus Experience—a 6 liter Imperial of 1995 Petrus and lunch for 2—selling for $40,000, the Château Mouton Rothschild experience which fetched $38,000, and the Château d’Yquem Experience bringing in $26,000.

In related news, the New York Public Library has digitized Jefforson’s wine log, all 208 pages, available publically here.

New Napa Wine Train Route To Open June 1

A new Napa Wine Train route will soon launch with stops at Robert Mondavi, Charles Krug, Merryvale and V Sattui wineries. Named Quattro Vino, the new venture is from Wine Train owners Noble House Hotels & Resorts, which bought the business from the DeDomenico family in September of 2015.

Napa wine enthusiasts will enjoy a six-hour, 36-mile tour through the Napa valley, stopping at wineries in Oakville and St. Helena. The new tour costs $249 per person and is set to launch June 1. In addition, the original Wine Train has been updated, including an interior makeover that will bring “a hip and contemporary vibe” while preserving the “classic elegance and charm” of the cars, according to Pat Colee, chairman and founder of Noble House.

Giacomo Rallo, Founder of the Donnafugata Winery Passes Away

Born in Marsala in 1937, Giacomo represented the fourth generation of a Sicilian family which had been producing Marsala since 1851. When he realized that Marsala wine was becoming a tough sell, he set out to look for an alternative. In 1983 he and his wife Gabriella Anca founded Donnafugata, and in 1989 they launched another successful venture on the island of Pantelleria, making Passito di Pantelleria. In 2006 he was appointed Cavaliere del lavoro. He is survived by his wife, Gabriella, and his children, Josè and Antonio.

Meanwhile, In the Trade

Virginia Close To $1 Billion In Annual Wine Sales

With upwards of 275 wineries and close to $1 billion in annual wine sales, Virginia is now ensconced in the top five viticultural states in the country, behind California, Washington, Oregon and New York. Tourism is on the upswing, with 1.6 million visitors to wineries in the state last year. Virginia has its own celebrity wineries as well. Singer and guitarist Dave Matthews owns Blenheim Vineyards near Charlottesville, AOL co-founder Steve Case and his wife Jean own Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, and the Trump family has Trump Winery near Monticello.

El Niño Hits South African Vineyards

This year’s South Africa’s wine-grape crop may be the smallest since 2011 thanks to heat and drought from El Niño, according to VinPro. The Paarl-based organization is projecting a 6.7 percent decline, to 1.38 million metric tons. On the plus side, the smaller berries should lead to good color and intense flavor in this year’s red wines, says VinPro, adding “the white wines also appear surprisingly good, with great structure and good flavors.”

Cork Producers Plan Post-TCA Future

Natural cork producers are moving faster to stay ahead of alternative closures with new techniques that aim to eliminate TCA cork taint. M.A. Silva Portugal has launched its One by One service, offering customers corks guaranteed to be 100% TCA-free. Each cork is individually tested for TCA using gas spectroscopy.

Cork Supply in also updating its process, launching its DS100+ “dry soak” detection system for TCA in July. With this system, Cork Supply says it is able to guarantee 100% TCA-free corks.

Says Cork Supply founder Jochen Michalski, “this new process will eliminate the risk of TCA in natural cork at levels as low as 1 part per trillion, a level far below sensory threshold—all at higher production volume and lower cost, providing customers with the finest quality cork at an unprecedented value.” Initially aimed at high-end wines, Cork Supply plans to eventually offer the service at all quality levels, as production costs are reduced.

On The Scene

A full slate of brew and blues events are coming to Portland this summer. Here’s your checklist:

Pints in the Pearl all ages beer fest. June 4

Portland Craft Beer Festival and Waterfront Blues Festival. July 1–4

Oregon Brewers Festival (Celebrating 29 Years of Craft Beer). July 27–31 

Musicfest NW with Duran Duran and Ice Cube. August 25–28