- Grab a hat. Practice your dance steps. Prepare to share or at least hear giddy stories about the jovial and colorful Ralph Kunkee, who died last month. Officials and graduates of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, where he had a long and influential career teaching and researching the microbiology of wine, have settled on Jan. 7 as the date for a memorial service and celebration of the life of Ralph Kunkee. It begins with the memorial service at 11 a.m. in the Buehler Alumni Center at the southern reaches of campus, to be followed by the celebration in the Sensory Building of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Organizers stipulate that persons who plan to attend must register here so they can be sure to have enough food and wine for everyone. There will be no charge for the events. More information is to be posted on the department's Facebook page. The dancing, incidentally, no doubt will be to the Village People's "Y.M.C.A.," with which Ralph Kunkee liked to cap a party.
- In this homage, veteran wine writer Dan Berger reports that plans also are taking shape for a memorial service for another grand old man on the wine scene, writer and teacher Robert Lawrence Balzer, who died last week at 99. In addition, Michael Rubin, a seasoned Napa Valley wine publicist, posted this telling anecdote on his Facebook page:
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