Glancing cursorily through Facebook yesterday, I came across a report that said Robert Parker would finally hang up his boots after Vinexpo which would be his last wine-related excursion. The story was a surprise but believable. The way things have been going in the recent past with him selling a majority of stakes to a Singapore based company and the spat he has had with his lieutenant Antonio Galloni could well be a couple of factors pushing him in that direction. So I went to Google News immediately. But when the Search did not indicate any such activity, I sheepishly went back to the article-reading in detail I realised I had been April-fooled. I hope I was not the only one. It was not the first time either.
A few years ago, I was reading a report in Decanter. It talked about the Bordeaux Classification 1855 being amended, elevating two of the Second Growths to the First Growth, including Cos d’Estournel. Since I knew the then CEO Jean-Guillaume Prats and had met him a few times, I shot off a congratulatory letter to him. He promptly replied that it was not the case in reality though he wished the news was correct. Decanter is usually quite a reliable source so I scratched my head as I went to the website and lo and behold! The item had disappeared. It was only then that I realised it had been published on April 1 and next day they had decided to remove it from the website. Apparently, they must have been inundated with enquiries already. Prats had already told me that he was bombarded with letters of congratulation.
I don’t mind admitting that the next year I carried out one of my own in delWine. But I was not so mean. Although an elaborate headlined report announced that the Indian government had decided to remove the customs duty on imported wines, I did put another page to visit for the notification-which actually carried a simple message about April Fools’ Day. I was still approached by many people about details and many-many people were thrilled to read the report till they were disappointed. I decided it was not fair and though I was very tempted to publish a report yesterday about ‘the Delhi Government bringing down the excise duty to the original Rs.150 a bottle’ my sixth sense prevailed and I did not publish it.
Normally, I try to desist from publishing any news related reports on April 1 now. There was a report yesterday about a Study by a UK based research organisation predicting an annual compounded growth of 5% in the Indian wine industry from 2011-16. It appeared to be an April Fools’ Day joke. But, just in case it wasn’t, I rebutted it. But I kept it in abeyance and published it only today.
It is difficult to beat the prank unleashed on the unsuspecting millions by Google, the mother of all Search Engines. The latest hoax talks of a product called Google Nose. it asks the users to smell the screen in front of them-whether it is a computer or mobile. Dubbed as scentsation search, the product is supposedly in its BETA stage and is being touted as Google's flagship olfactory knowledge feature enabling users to search for smells. The new search engine lets users search for smells using its mobile aroma indexing programme that now has a 15 million scentabyte database of smells from around the world. You can type in any smell you are looking for... from roses to wet dogs, and it promises to transmit the scent back to you. It is still not known how many users stuck their noses close to the screen to nose the aromas. The hoax has been made foolproof by Google introducing SMELLCD 1.8+ for precise aromas and an Android app for smell detection. Visit http://www.google.com/landing/nose/index.html if you still care to smell your computer.
It is still hard to figure if my friend Gregory Paz of Snooth.com was serious or in the April Fools’ Day mode when he published an elaborate article about a machine that helps aging of wine by dehydrating. AmmazzaVino, the name of the machine (amazzare means to murder in Italian) and the name of its CEO Gianni Brunello polis are the giveaways but the tale spun around the machine makes you sit up, take note and before your realise you have been April-fooled, it has multiple explanations and descriptions trying to convince you that is perhaps a plausible concept.
I hope you have enjoyed a few of the gags about wines. You are welcome to share them with our readers.
Tags: Robert Parker, Vinexpo, Bordeaux Classification, Decanter