Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wine, Vinegar....and Billionaires!

Just finished reading "The Billionaire's Vinegar"
by Benjamin Wallace,Crown Publishers, New York. A very impressive detailed book on the history and the mystery surrounding a 1787 Chateau Lafite which went at the incredible auction price of $156,00. The bottle was auctioned off by Christie's of London and was supposed to have been owned by none other than America's first wine connoisseur, Thomas Jefferson. I love mystery stories and I love
history surrounding wine. After all it has been around for over 6000 years. Benjamin Wallace has created a wonderfully detailed account of the Thomas Jefferson wines. A thriller from start to finish. Its rather sad that the great gift of the fruit of the vine should be turned into an object of greed. You soon know who the culprit is in this story. And of course well known figures in the world of wine are not spared in this saga either. The well known and respected Michael Broadbent is a key player in this whole affair. Mr.Broadbent claims there are many inaccuracies in the book. I doubt that he will come forward and tell us what they are. In the end the pathetic Hardy Rodenstock has not done the wonderful world of wine any favours and you can only hope that Bacchus and any other Gods of wine out there, show him some mercy.
Just when I finished reading this book I received the sad news of the passing of a dear wine friend of mine here in British Columbia. Claude Jacques Violet passed away on May 31st, 2008.
A true pioneer in the BC wine industry. Claude and his magnificent wife of 49 years, Ingeborg, known by her friends as "Ingy" dared to be different. Visit the Domain de Chaberton's web site to get the details about the Violets. Click on "winery" and then "about us"to get the history of
Claude and Ingy. More than 300 years of wine history can be attributed to the Violet family. What has always struck me and left me so very impressed was their sincerity, their honesty and their dedication to anything wine and their community. They say behind every good man, stands a good woman. Only in this case beside a "great" man stood a great woman. Claude you will be missed my friend.
Shady characters like the one in "The Billionaire's Vinegar" will come and go. But wonderful people like Claude will be in our hearts and minds forever. Rest in peace, mon ami and I am sure that right now you are having a great conversation in that big vineyard in the sky with the winemaker of the 1787 Chateau Lafite.


Eugene said...

Dear Wilf,

My partner Anthony and I were privileged to have been accepted by Claude and Inge Violet as being worthy of carrying on their legacy at Domaine de Chaberton. Although we had long enjoyed fine wines, we were neophytes when it came to running a winery and producing fine wines. With their assistance and that of our team at Domaine de Chaberton, we came to learn how to accomplish both. More importantly, we became great friends of Claude and Inge.

Claude and Inge were pioneers in the British Columbia wine industry having assisted and encouraged any number of wineries in getting started. Claude played an active role in the Langley community and was a supporter of numerous charities in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Claude will be sorry missed.

Eugene Kwan
Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery

Wilf G.K said...

Eugene, I know Claude and Inge felt they were leaving their beloved winery in good hands. As you know, I am a great supporter of Domaine de Chaberton and their wines and it has been a great pleasure getting to know you and how worthily you are carrying on the proud tradition.All the best to you and the wonderful staff at the Domaine.

David said...

sounds like a good book--fiction or non?

Claude sounds like a good guy who will be missed.

Wilf G.K said...

David, its non fiction but the gullibility of some individuals involved makes it almost a fairy tale. Pathetic and sad really how the truth is covered up for personal gain.

Anonymous said...

Claude is a good guy.It is all wonderful which he has published.
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