Several California wineries are following in the footsteps of Presidents Clinton and Nixon. Not to worry--there's no Winegate in the offing. Rather, they've decided to do business with China. Among those selling wine to that country of some 1.2 billion are Fetzer and Wente. Jeff Techel, Wente's Asian export manager, says: "The Chinese make white wine but prefer red. A bottle of Cabernet is considered a night on the town."

Grape Genius

Enologist Riccardo Cotarella, called the Helen Turley of Umbria, has helped put that region on the map, as well as much of southern Italy. Cotarella is a consultant to a number of hot new wineries, among them the much-praised Montevetrano.

1978's best

Some great wines were made in California the year F&W was founded. These were five particularly memorable Cabernets:

  1. Chateau Montelena Estate Bottled
  2. Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow
  3. Heitz Cellar Martha's Vineyard
  4. Joseph Phelps Eisele Vineyard
  5. Ridge Monte Bello

bar tools

If what needs fixing around your house is more often martinis than masonry, this is a set you should keep close at hand. Six different tools and a travel pouch are part of the WMF/USA "21" Collection (tools $11.25 each, $56.25 for the set; 800-999-6347).

Getting a Lot Done

New to Canada and coming soon to the States is Corby's Lot No. 40. This Canadian whisky is aged in small oak barrels for 10 years and bears a strong resemblance to a boutique bourbon (514-288-4181).