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Scottish Wine: Crimes and Misdemeanors

buckfast_label.jpgNot ordinarily known for their wine or wine drinking habits, the Scots have recently been making news in the world of wine.

Who knew that one of the most popular beverages among Scottish criminals was wine? Specifically, Buckfast Tonic Wine, a (rather unholy, if you ask me) concoction of wine, sugar, caffeine, and other additives that make it a bit more like Red Bull than wine. Often called "Wreck the Hoose Juice," according to to the New York Times:

"In a survey last year of 172 prisoners at a young offenders' institution, 43 percent of the 117 people who drank alcohol before committing their crimes said they had drunk Buckfast. In a study of litter in a typical housing project, 35 percent of the items identified were Buckfast bottles. And the police in the depressed industrial district of Strathclyde recently told a BBC program that the drink had been mentioned in 5,638 crime reports between 2006 and 2009 (the bottle was used as a weapon in 114 of them). "

Perhaps this is not exactly what the Benedictine Monks who make the stuff had in mind when they came up with the idea. But then again, they do fortify it to 15% alcohol and put roughly 8 cans of Coke worth of caffeine inside.

Undaunted by fears of wine-induced crime waves in his part of Scotland, Chef Pete Gottgens is looking forward to this year being his first commercial crop of Riesling from the grapes he planted near the Ardeonaig hotel on the banks of Loch Tay.

The South African chef is hoping to get enough sun to ripen his grapes sufficiently to make a late-harvest dessert wine that he can serve at the hotel's restaurant. Perhaps he's betting on the global warming trends that have helped England's burgeoning wine industry continuing to spread north.

If not, he may need to add some sugar, and caffeine, and come up with a catchy name the teens will love.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud