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In This Issue
Caution: Wine humor ahead!
 Brentwood Wine Company
 Hotel Vintage Court San Francisco

Caution: Wine humor ahead!

If you don't see anything funny about wine, you might want to click "Next Message" now, as I'm about to discuss a Web link that offers an exercise in wine-related hilarity ... with a little bonus fun for those who also enjoy computers and making them do their thing.

Still here? Then let's click to Greg, Laurel & Brady's Place, the personal Website of a Seattle couple (and their infant son) who like technology and wine, and who were inspired by a Sonoma wine-country trip to create what has to be the world's first "Silly Tasting Notes Generator."

Let's put it through its paces. A click on "Normal" yields this result:

Classic but extra-ripe Pinot Gris. Kicks you with tobacco, putrid sun-dried tomato and hopeful rye. Drink now through eternity.

Hmmm. Let's try clicking "Extra-Silly."

Austere but equally french-oaked Dessert wine. Throws out poi, oily teriyaki and semi-weak tootsie-roll. Drink now through graduation.

I think you get the idea. For the geeks among us - computer geeks, that is - the "tasting notes" are generated by a Perl script that picks random wine aroma and flavor terms (selected from real Wine Spectator tasting notes!), grape names, and an array of verbs and adjectives from word lists built into the script, and displays them in a standard wine-note format, generating a different note every time (within the bounds of probability theory, anyway).

More precisely, explains Greg (who uses only his first name on the site):

"The tasting note comes out in the following structure:
    (Intro) (Modifier) (Adjective) (Varietal).
    (Verb) (Adjective) (Flavor) flavors,
    (Adjective) (Flavor), and (Strength-word) (Flavor).
    Drink (When) through (EndWhen)."

"After tasting a ton of wines on our recent Sonoma trip," Greg writes on the Website, "we started talking about all of the adjectives used to describe wines in those little notes you read on them. We got to wondering how they came up with all those adjectives. Laurel had the idea to make a book of wine tasting note words, and me being a computer geek thought it'd make a great Perl script for the web page. After a couple hours I came up with the Silly Tasting Notes Generator 1.0 (STNG 1.0 - No relation to Star Trek: The Next Generation)."

Now it has evolved to Version 1.1. You'll find it here:

For Greg's full explanation of the script and how it works, see:

And the full source code, for the programmers among us who'd like to play around with their own version, is online here:

The moral to the story, if there is one, is simply this: Whenever we start to take our wine hobby too seriously, it's often useful to have a good laugh.

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2003
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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