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Who's in the Wine Business Now? The Food Network!

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Ever dreamed of getting drunk with a Food Network star? Now you can! Well, kind of... Yesterday, the Food Network hosted a preview sampling of their new wine collection called entwine. A partnership with the California winery Wente Vineyards, it's a venture 18 months in the making; it's scheduled to hit the shelves in August. This comes hot on the heels of news that Donald Trump is getting in on the wine business.

At the event, The Food Network's own Anne Burrell emphasized the value of learning more about wine, saying, "The only way you will learn is to try. Drinking is research! So get out there and drink more." Priced at $12.99 a bottle, entwine is designed to facilitate that "education" everyday.

The collection's four wines — pinot grigio, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon — represent the network's attempt to make food and wine pairings less intimidating to consumers. According to a representative, the wines have been selected to "taste great on their own and compliment everything from simple potato chips to more elaborate, composed dishes."

Entwine is the product of a partnership with California's Wente Vineyards, the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in the country. Karl Wente, a fifth-generation winemaker, currently grows 32 cultivars of grape, providing a "spice rack" of grapes for depth and variety. The network cultivated some flowery prose to describe the results, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon that recalls "eating raspberry jam off a sprig of thyme" and the Chardonnay reminiscent of "toast spread with homemade apple butter."

Back in 2009 a bunch of media organizations including Food & Wine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, and Zagat launched their own wine clubs. But wine clubs are old and busted. The new hotness: Network-branded wine. Up next: Anthony Bourdain's rosé in a jug? Sandra Lee's white zinfandel?

Food Network and Wente Vineyards Introduce entwine, A California Wine Portfolio Inspired by their shared passion for wine and food, Food Network partnered with world-class, family owned California winery Wente Vineyards to develop entwine, a wine portfolio that marries easily and beautifully with food. Pioneers in their respective industries, the partners aspire to expand the reach and approachability of wine and demonstrate that it can easily complement and enhance food. The initial line of entwine wines will debut with the 2009 vintage of four varietals, including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, in August for $12.99 each.

To transform this new portfolio from vision to reality, Wente Vineyards, led by Fifth Generation Winemaker Karl Wente, welcomed Food Network to California where they immersed themselves in the winemaking process touring the 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards, sampling wines from barrels and holding several blending sessions. Food Network’s team harnessed their expert knowledge of flavors, spices and aromas, while Wente Vineyards tapped into their varietal “spice rack” to blend the wines. The outcome of this dynamic collaboration is a line that allows food lovers to explore wine with confidence.

“We want food and wine lovers to enjoy the natural relationship between wine and food, so we created entwine. The name represents the easy way family, friends and of course the flavors of food and wine all come together to make any meal a more delicious experience,” said Sergei Kuharsky, General Manager of New Enterprises, Food Network.

Food Network and Wente Vineyards will inspire food lovers to embrace the world of wine by using the universal language of food to describe wine flavors. entwine’s crisp Pinot Grigio is likened to biting into a green apple drizzled with lime juice and honey, while the elegant Merlot evokes flavors of mid-summer plums and cherries with a hint of black tea. The Chardonnay is reminiscent of a slice of toast spread with homemade apple butter, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is akin to eating raspberry jam from a sprig of thyme. The blended varietals of entwine are as diverse as the fare with which they can be paired – from simple bites like potato chips and guacamole, to meals like mac and cheese, and more composed dishes like grilled shrimp with feta and watercress.

“Working together with Wente Vineyards, Food Network is thrilled to add more excitement to meals through wine pairings with entwine,” said Susan Stockton, Senior Vice President, Culinary Production, Food Network. “Our kitchens also hand-selected varietal wine pairings for our Food Network recipes online to enhance overall dining and entertaining experiences for food and cooking enthusiasts.”

“At Wente Vineyards, we are inspired by how different varietals bring out the flavors of a range of cuisines. Partnering with Food Network for entwine was a natural step that we hope will encourage Food Network viewers, as well as anyone who is wine-curious, to become as passionate about wine as they are about food,” said Karl Wente, Wente Vineyards.

—Hilary Tuttle

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