Thursday, October 11, 2007

51: Myth or Reality? Wine Tonight Tells You!

On this edition of Wine Tonight – think it’s hard to obtain a bottle of Romanee Conti? Petrus? We’ve got an exclusive interview with the proprietor and maker of what is by far the world’s most hard-to-obtain wine, bar none. Stay tuned, folks!

A wine so rare, so exclusive, many have questioned whether its very existence is merely a myth. We’re here to tell you that indeed, it is no myth, it’s for real but whether or not you will ever be able to partake of this amazing elixir is another question.

Imagine a winery that has an unlisted phone number. An unlisted address, even. And the only way to get on the mailing list is by invitation only.

Several days ago I was transported, blindfolded of course, to somewhere in the United States, I think, to meet X, owner and winemaker of '51.' I sat on one side of mirrored, bullet-proof glass and X sat on the other, speaking to me in a digitally-altered voice. Here is what transpired:

WT: So many people will swear up and down that there is no such winery as 51.

X: Yet, here you are.

WT: That’s true, here I am, wherever that may be. A winery so secretive that besides having an unlisted address and phone number, people aren’t even sure what your wine label looks like.

X: Yes, you can do a Google image search for our wine label and come up with all sorts of pictures, same as if you search for 'alien' or 'extraterrestrial.' They’re only guesses.

WT: But surely, one of the search results must be a picture of the actual label, isn’t it?

X: Could be, could not be. You will never know. Let me just say that yes, once I did run across a picture of our actual label. The person who posted it- let’s just say they paid a high price for their naughty act. They sleep with Luca Brasi now, if you get my drift.

WT: I tried searching for ‘51’ using Google Earth..

X: And got nothing, right? People type it in, get nothing and say, ‘oh well, it doesn’t exist, I knew that.’ (chuckles)

WT: So Mr. X, just exactly how does one go about obtaining a bottle of 51 wine?

X: Each individual must be invited personally by me. For every vintage I determine how many bottles are available and how I wish to allocate them. Then the notifications are sent out.

WT: So even if someone were to contact you, there’s no waiting list?

X: How do they contact me?

WT: That’s true. But to answer my question – there’s no waiting list?

X: No, you cannot request to receive my wine; you can only be selected by me and then invited to purchase them.

WT: And once you get on this invitation list, does it keep renewing each year? Is this something to be passed down from generation to generation, like Hollywood Bowl box seats? Or USC football season tickets before last Saturday’s game with Stanford?

X: Normally, yes, unless they happen to make the wrong move and then get bumped off.

WT: For example?

X: Well, I shouldn’t be saying this but as an example, there was this famous moviemaker who shall remain nameless and had been on our list for several years until he recently made, to put it bluntly, a ‘dud.’ Then we had to uh, ‘kill Bill,’ so to speak. I will not go into this any further.

WT: I gotcha. So just how do you determine who becomes eligible to purchase a bottle or bottles of 51?

X: They are the cream of the crop, the world’s most famous and influential people. People who would not dare appear on daytime television shows, for instance.

WT: What restrictions are placed on the bottles that are distributed?

X: They cannot be consumed apart from the person we have invited. And they cannot be consumed away from their main premises. There is too much risk of theft or loss if one of our bottles is transported away from the person’s estate, allowing it to fall into the wrong hands. That is why our wine is delivered by unmarked armored car. If any of these rules are broken, well, phfft, that person is dumped from our list. The overwhelming fear of losing their place with us keeps them in line.

WT: Sort of like how Academy members have to guard the Oscar-nominated DVD’s with their lives?

X: Sort of, but more so. We’re talking something much more valuable than a fleeting video.

WT: Let’s say that I am George W. and I want to purchase a bottle of 51. What happens?

X: Well let us assume for the moment that he is not on our list. I am not saying one way or the other. But assuming he is not on our list, there is nothing he can do to purchase a bottle. Not even threaten to send his vice president on a hunting expedition in my proximity. The only way is if you are invited.

WT: What do you do with the invitations that are refused? Do you have an alternate list of people ready?

X: Refused??

WT: Oh, sorry. What was I thinking?

X: I think it is time for you to go back to Kansas.

And with that, our interview was terminated and I was transported back to civilization. But dear readers, at least now you know that 51 is a reality, not just a myth that has been floating around!

Back in the studio..

WT1: That was one remarkable interview!

WT: Yes it was. 51 is all the rage these days. In fact, you may have witnessed the squabbles that arose at the presidential election debates of both parties this past week as some of them claimed to be on 51’s invitation list to gain an upper hand against their opponents. We all heard Hillary rip into Obama quite viciously, asking if he isn’t on 51’s list then how could anyone possibly envision him as the chief executive of anything?

WT1: I liked Obama’s retort, though. He looked Hillary square in the eyes and asked her point blank if she was on the invitation list.

WT: That made her squirm! She kept asking Obama, ‘why else would I be making a statement like this, and posing this question to you?’

WT1: And Obama kept saying, ‘Ms. Clinton, are you or are you not on the list? Can’t you tell me something definite?’ They both know full well that another no-no for Mr. X is that you can’t reveal the fact that you are one of the people on his invitation list.

WT: So all they could do is dance around the question all night.

WT1: I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of dancing around in the months to come.

WT: Me too. Goodnight everyone!

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