Archive for 08/28/2011

Alan Tardi –

Brilliant ideas sometimes arise out of pure necessity. Consider Piero Lugano, 63, the suntanned artist-turned-wine-merchant who opened a shop called Bisson in this town on the Italian Riviera in 1978.

 Not content merely to sell wine, he soon began making it. Ten years ago he decided to try producing sparkling wine from indigenous varieties grown in vineyards overlooking the Golfo Paradiso on the Mediterranean.

 But he immediately encountered a problem: there was simply no space in his already cramped shop and winery to carry out the aging required to make a bottle-fermented sparkling wine in the classic method of Champagne. Then, as he recalled recently, “a light bulb went on in my head: I thought, why not put the wine under the sea?”

 This might seem logical to someone like Mr. Lugano who has long struggled to reconcile his twin passions for vine and sea. To most everyone else, the idea of making wine underwater might seem a bit unusual.

 But Mr. Lugano makes an interesting argument: “It’s better than even the best underground cellar, especially for sparkling wine. The temperature is perfect, there’s no light, the water prevents even the slightest bit of air from getting in, and the constant counterpressure keeps the bubbles bubbly. Moreover, the underwater currents act like a crib, gently rocking the bottles and keeping the lees moving through the wine.” (The lees refer to yeast particles.)

 It’s quite a creative solution to a space problem. But Italy is infamous for its labyrinthine bureaucracy. And the place he wanted to put the wine happened to be in the tightly controlled waters of a national marine preserve, the Area Marina Protetta di Portofino. So the odds would seem overwhelmingly against such a project.

Full story…

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Karima Anjani –

Seven people died and at least 95 were rescued after a ferry sank in bad weather off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island on Saturday, an official said, an accident that comes as people rush to family gatherings to mark the end of the month-long Ramadan fast.

Indonesian search and rescue teams have pulled at least 95 people from the water and five remained missing, said Bambang Ervan, spokesman at the transport ministry. But the total number of passengers on the ferry has not been confirmed yet.

The public ferry, Windu Karsa, was sailing from Bajoe to Kolaka in southeast Sulawesi when it ran into bad weather.

Indonesia relies heavily on ferry services to connect many islands in the sprawling archipelago. But accidents are common, largely due to years of under-investment in infrastructure and a tendency to overload boats.