15 Pop Culture-Inspired Wines

50 Shades of Grey mania has officially reached fever pitch: Among the many items that are launching to capitalize on the film’s Valentine’s Day release are a Christian Grey teddy bear, complete with mask and handcuffs, a kale cookbook (?), and plenty of adult toys that shall not be named. For the less pain-inclined among us, there’s also a duo of 50 Shades of Grey wines, which are a must for any collector of pop culture wines.

1. 50 SHADES OF GREY WINE

50 Shades of Grey fans are bound (pun intended) to want to raise a glass to author E.L. James, who personally blended this naughty pair of wines: Red Satin, a 2011 blend of Petite Sirah and Syrah aged in French oak barrels, and White Silk, a 2012 blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc that’s character is as rich as Mr. Grey himself.

2. DOWNTON ABBEY WINE

Much like the Crawleys’ fortunes, the Downton Abbey Wine line continues to grow. In January, to coincide with the series’ fifth season premiere, California-based LCF Wines paid tribute to Cora Crawley’s American roots with the Countess of Grantham Collection, a series of bold-yet-fruity blends, including a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, that make the perfect all-American counterpart the line's more traditional bottles of Bordeaux.

3. WALKING DEAD WINE SERIES

Clean water may be the beverage of choice of the Survivors on The Walking Dead, but nothing classes up a good zombie kill better than a cool glass of White Zinfandel. Personal Wine’s Walking Dead Wine Collector’s Series features a line of morbidly-named vinos—Cadaver Cabernet Sauvignon, Still Alive By Way of The Antidote, The UnDead Apocalyptic Red, and The Zinfection Blight Zinfandel—that are best enjoyed as a foursome.

4. CANNIBAL CHIANTI & SUIT YOURSELF PINOT GRIGIO

There are few fictional oenophiles as well known as Hannibal Lecter. So it was only a matter of time before some smart cineastes developed a Silence of the Lambs-inspired Chianti to go with your plate of liver and fava beans. Enter The Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain, who in 2013 announced their Cannibal Chianti and Suit Yourself Pinot Grigio. Unfortunately, the wines were limited editions, which means that you might need to enlist the help of Clarice Starling to find a bottle.

5. STAR TREK WINES

Fear not, Trekkies: The granddaddy of all merchandise-happy series has got its own collection of wines, too—four of them altogether: The Trouble with Tribbles, Mirror Mirror, and The City on the Edge of Forever are each named for popular episodes from the series, while Klingon Bloodwine is a celebratory drink, all of them with custom designed labels by artist Juan Ortiz.

6. ROLLING STONES 40 LICKS MERLOT

Regardless of what the label says, you’ll want to sip—not lick—this fruit-forward Mendocino County merlot, which tastes of black cherry and vanilla but looks totally rock ‘n’ roll.

7. DUCK COMMANDER

The Robertson clan of Louisiana rose to fame—and then infamy—with their A&E series Duck Dynasty, a rags-to-riches reality show about a family who found success with the Duck Commander duck call. At the height of the show’s popularity, the Robertsons added another item to their product line when they partnered with California’s Trinchero Family Estates to launch a line of Duck Commander wines, including a red Triple Threat, Wood Duck Chardonnay, Miss Priss Pink Moscato, Pintail Moscato, and Teal Hen Pinot Grigio.

8. REAL HOUSEWIVES WINES

The Real Housewives of [Fill In the City] wouldn’t be The Real Housewives of [Fill In the City] if there weren’t a plethora of wine on hand. So it’s hardly surprising that so many of the ladies have parlayed their reality fame into vino ventures, including Ramona Singer, who is rarely seen without a glass of Ramona Pinot Grigio in her hand; restaurateur/tiny-dog-lover Lisa Vanderpump, who produces her own red and pink sangrias by the bottle; current inmate Teresa Giudice’s Fabellini Proseccos; and O.C. ladies Tamra Barney and Vicki Gunvalson’s Wine by Wives wine club, which may or may not still be in business (judging by their under-construction Website and un-updated Facebook page).

9. WINES OF WESTEROS

File this one under “maybe.” Though not officially associated with Game of Thrones, the fan-funded Wines of Westeros promises that “Hangovers are Coming.” The concept is that there will ultimately be a dozen varietals, one for each of GOT’s 12 houses. We’re curious to taste The Dothraki.

10. AC/DC WINES

Wine gets badass with The Ultimate Rocker collection, which includes three bottles of all four AC/DC Wine varietals, including the Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon, Thunderstruck Chardonnay, Hells Bells Sauvignon Blanc, and Back in Black Shiraz.

11. MARGE & HOMER SIMPSON

More of an art concept than an honest-to-goodness wine brand, Russian designer Constantin Bolimond’s Piet Mondrian-inspired Marge and Homer Simpson wine bottles are almost too pretty to drink. But what exactly is in the bottle? The label makes that a bit ambiguous: “The drink was brought to life together with the cartoon characters in 1987. Maybe it is wine, maybe not. We are inviting you to find out yourselves.”

12. TRAIN WINES

San Francisco-based band Train took their “Drops of Jupiter” hit pretty seriously. So seriously that they created a wine around the title, Drops of Jupiter California Red, a fruit-forward Petite Sirah. For white wine lovers, there’s Calling All Angels Chardonnay—not to mention California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon, Soul Sister Pinot Noir, Hella Fine Merlot, and Bulletproof Picasso Sauvignon Blanc, all of which are available through the band’s Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company (which admirably dedicates a portion of its proceeds to charity).

13. THE SOPRANOS WINES

Like the legendary mob series itself, The Sopranos Wines collection—a collaboration between HBO and the Vesuvio Import Company that was launched in 2008, more than a year after the series concluded—is a thing of the past. But bottles of the five varietals, which included a Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Noir, can still be found if you look (or Google) hard enough.

14. HELLO KITTY WINE

Hello Kitty has got this marketing thing down. Though she may have started life as a cute kiddie toy, but in the more than 40 years since her introduction, she’s been emblazoned on just about any product one could imagine, including a line of light and fruity wines, featuring a sparkling Rosé and an Italian Spumante.

15. FOGHAT CELLARS

A 2007 performance at the California Mid State Fair proved serendipitous for the British blues-rock band Foghat (think: “Slow Ride”). For it’s here that they met fan and winemaker Steve Rasmussen, who thought that the name Foghat would perfectly translate to a California wine brand. Thus the idea for Foghat Cellars was born, and nine months later the new collaborators bottled their first vino, a limited edition 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, there are five vintages, all blended with the slogan, “Music & Wine… Passions Combined.”

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25 Incisive Facts About Jaws
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Daah dun, daah dun, daah dun, dun dun, dun dun, dun dun. Today is the 43rd anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s original blockbuster, Jaws. Here are 25 fascinating facts you may not have known about the Oscar-winning shark flick.

1. THE BOOK COULD HAVE BEEN CALLED SOMETHING ELSE.

The film is adapted from author Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel of the same name, which Benchley based on a series of shark attacks that occurred off the coast of New Jersey in 1916 and after an incident where a New York fisherman named Frank Mundus caught a 4,500-pound shark off the coast of Montauk in 1964. Other title ideas Benchley had before settling on Jaws were “The Stillness in the Water,” “The Silence of the Deep,” “Leviathan Rising,” and “The Jaws of Death."

2. THE BOOK’S AUTHOR MAKES A CAMEO IN THE MOVIE.

Benchley himself can be seen in a cameo in the film as the news reporter who addresses the camera on the beach. Benchley had previously worked as a news reporter for the Washington Post before penning Jaws.

Steven Spielberg also makes a cameo in the movie: His voice is the Amity Island dispatcher who calls Quint’s boat, the Orca, with Sheriff Brody’s wife on the line.

3. STEVEN SPIELBERG GOT THE DIRECTING JOB BECAUSE OF DUEL.

Spielberg was chosen to direct Jaws by producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown (who had also worked with the then-28-year-old director on his 1974 film The Sugarland Express) because of his film Duel, which featured a maniacal trucker terrorizing a mild-mannered driver. The producers thought the movie was thematically similar to the story for Jaws, making Spielberg a great fit.

4. THERE’S NOT A LOT OF JAWS IN JAWS.


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The shark doesn’t fully appear in a shot until one hour and 21 minutes into the two-hour film. The reason it isn’t shown is because the mechanical shark that was built rarely worked during filming, so Spielberg had to create inventive ways (like Quint’s yellow barrels) to shoot around the non-functional shark.

5. IT TOOK A VERY LONG TIME TO MAKE.

Jaws was marred with so many technical problems (including the shark not working and shooting in the Atlantic Ocean) that the originally scheduled 65-day shoot ballooned into 159 days, not counting post-production.

6. AMITY ISLAND WAS ACTUALLY MARTHA’S VINEYARD.

To create the fictional town of Amity, the production shot on location in Edgartown and Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Strict land ordinances kept the production from building anywhere—Quint’s shack was the one and only set built for the movie, while the defaced Amity Island billboard had to be constructed and taken down all in one day.

7. THE SHARK WEIGHED MORE THAN A TON.

The pneumatically-powered shark, designed and built by production designer Joe Alves, weighed in at 1.2 tons and measured 25 feet in length. Part of the reason that Martha’s Vineyard was chosen as a location was because the surrounding ocean bed had a depth of 35 feet for up to 12 miles offshore, which was perfect for scenes that required the mechanical shark rig to be rested on the shallow ocean floor.

8. SPIELBERG TOOK INSPIRATION FROM HIS LEGAL COUNSEL.

The director nicknamed the shark “Bruce” after his lawyer, Bruce Ramer, who also currently represents other celebrities like Demi Moore, Ben Stiller, and Clint Eastwood.

9. SOME GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED ELBOW GREASE HELPED CREATE THE OPENING SCENE.

The opening scene took three days to shoot. To achieve the jolting motions of the shark attacking the swimmer in the opening sequence, a harness with cables was attached to actress Susan Backlinie’s legs and was pulled by crewmembers back and forth along the shoreline. Spielberg told the crew not to let Backlinie know when she would be yanked back and forth, so her terrified reaction is genuine.

Spielberg went on to spoof his own opening scene for Jaws in his 1979 World War II comedy 1941. The scene features Backlinie once again taking a skinny dip at the beach, but instead of being attacked by a shark she’s scooped up by a passing Japanese submarine.

10. SOME EAVESDROPPING GOT ROY SCHEIDER THE LEAD.

Scheider got the part of Chief Martin Brody after overhearing Spielberg talking to a friend at a Hollywood party about the scene where the shark leaps out of the water and onto Quint’s boat. Scheider was instantly enthralled, and asked Spielberg if he could be in the film. Spielberg loved Scheider from his role in The French Connection, and later offered the actor the part.

11. RICHARD DREYFUSS WASN’T THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY HOOPER.

Spielberg initially approached Jon Voight, Timothy Bottoms, and Jeff Bridges to play oceanographer Matt Hooper. When none of them could commit to the role, Spielberg’s friend George Lucas suggested Richard Dreyfuss, whom Lucas has directed in American Graffiti. Dreyfuss would later accept the part because he thought he was terrible in the title role of the film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz a year earlier.

12. ROBERT SHAW WASN’T THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY QUINT.

When actors Lee Marvin and Sterling Hayden—the first and second choices to play the grizzled fisherman Quint, respectively—both turned Spielberg down, producers Zanuck and Brown recommended English actor Robert Shaw, whom they had previously worked with on 1973's The Sting.

13. A LOCAL MARTHA’S VINEYARD FISHERMAN WAS THE REAL QUINT.

Shaw based his performance of Quint on Martha’s Vineyard native and fisherman Craig Kingsbury, a non-actor who appears in the film as Ben Gardner. Kingsbury helped Shaw with his accent and allegedly told Shaw old sea stories that the actor incorporated into his improvised dialogue as Quint.

14. GREGORY PECK FORCED A SCENE TO BE CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

In early drafts of the screenplay, Quint was originally introduced while causing a disturbance in a movie theater while watching John Huston’s 1958 adaptation of Moby Dick. The scene was shot, but actor Gregory Peck—who plays Captain Ahab in that movie—owned the rights to the film version of Moby Dick and wouldn’t let the filmmakers on Jaws use the footage, so the sequence was cut.

15. THE BOOK WAS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE MOVIE.

Early drafts of the screenplay featured a subplot where Hooper has an affair with Chief Brody’s wife, which was carted over from the book. Another detail left out of the movie from the book was that Mayor Vaughn was under pressure from the mafia, not local business owners, to keep Amity’s beaches open because of their real estate investments on the island.

16. SPIELBERG ADDED AN OFFSCREEN IMPROV MOMENT.

The scene where Brody’s son Sean mimics his father’s movements at the dinner table was based on a real thing that happened between Scheider and child actor Jay Mello in between takes. Spielberg loved the off-the-cuff moment so much that he re-staged it and put it in the movie.

Another iconic moment was also a spontaneous one: Brody’s famous “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” line was entirely improvised by Scheider on the day of shooting.

17.  ROBERT SHAW PUT HIS OWN SPIN ON THE INDIANAPOLIS SPEECH.


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Quint’s U.S.S. Indianapolis speech wasn’t in the novel, and the backstory of Quint being a sailor on the ship first appeared in an uncredited rewrite of the script by playwright Howard Sackler. Later, writer-director (and Spielberg’s friend) John Milius expanded the characteristic into a multi-page monologue, which was then whittled down and spruced up by actor Robert Shaw (himself a playwright) on the day of shooting.

18. SOME REAL SHARK FOOTAGE WAS USED.

Zanuck demanded that real shark footage be used in the movie, and Spielberg used it sparingly. He hired experts Ron and Valerie Taylor to shoot underwater footage of 14-foot sharks off the coast of Australia. For scale, they hired a little person actor named Carl Rizzo to appear as Hooper in a mini shark cage in hopes that they could create the illusion of a shark attacking the character. After trying to get the right shot for about a week, the sharks would only swim around the cage. Then, during a take when Rizzo wasn’t in the cage, a shark became entangled in the cage’s bridle, causing it to thrash and roll around. This footage was included in the final film.

19. DESPITE ALL THE BLOODY SHARK ATTACKS, THE MOVIE IS RATED PG.

Jaws was initially rated R by the MPAA. But after some of the more gruesome frames of the shot showing the severed leg of the man attacked by the shark in the estuary were trimmed down, the film was given a PG-rating (the PG-13-rating wasn’t created until after Spielberg’s own film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, caused the MPAA to change the system in 1984). The poster for the film still reads that the movie “MAY BE TOO INTENSE FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN.”

20. SPIELBERG DIDN’T DIRECT SOME OF THE FINAL SCENES.

Spielberg didn’t direct the shot of the shark exploding. In fact, he had already returned to Los Angeles to begin post-production on the film after the film’s grueling shooting schedule and left the shot up to the production’s second unit.

21. THE POSTER IMAGE CAME ABOUT BY CHANCE.

The film’s iconic poster image was designed by artist Roger Kastel for the paperback edition of Benchley’s book. Kastel modeled the image of the massive shark emerging from the bottom of the frame after a great white shark diorama at the American Museum of Natural History. The female swimmer at the top was actually a model that Kastel was sketching at his studio for an ad in Good Housekeeping. He asked her to stay an extra half-hour and had her pose for the image by standing on a stool and pretending to swim.

22. JAWS WAS HUGE.

Jaws was the first movie released in more than 400 theaters in the United States, and the first movie to gross over $100 million at the box office. It was the highest grossing movie of all time until Star Wars was released two years later.

23. SPIELBERG INCLUDED A NOD TO HIS PREVIOUS MOVIE.

The faint roaring sound that is heard after the shark is blown up was also used by Spielberg in Duel, when that film’s villainous truck falls off a cliff.

24. IT ORIGINALLY ENDED JUST LIKE MOBY DICK.

The original ending in the script had the shark dying of harpoon injuries inflicted by Quint and Brody à la Moby Dick, but Spielberg thought the movie needed a crowd-pleasing finale and came up with the exploding tank as seen in the final film. The dialogue and foreshadowing of the tank were then dropped in as they shot the movie.

25. THE MAIN THEME MUSIC IS EASY TO PLAY.

The sole music notes played for composer John Williams’s Jaws theme are E and F. Jaws marked the second time Williams worked with Spielberg after his film The Sugarland Express, and Williams has composed the music for every Spielberg movie since with the exception of 1985's The Color Purple and 2015's Bridge of Spies.

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What Would It Cost to Operate a Real Jurassic Park?
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.

As the Jurassic Park franchise has demonstrated, trapping prehistoric monsters on an island with bite-sized tourists may not be the smartest idea (record-breaking box office numbers aside). On top of the safety concerns, the cost of running a Jurassic Park would raise its own set of pretty pricey issues. Energy supplier E.ON recently collaborated with physicists from Imperial College London to calculate how much energy the fictional attraction would eat up in the real world.

The infographic below borrows elements that appear in both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. One of the most costly features in the park would be the aquarium for holding the massive marine reptiles. To keep the water heated and hospitable year-round, the park would need to pay an energy bill of close to $3 million a year.

Maintaining a pterosaur aviary would be an even more expensive endeavor. To come up with this cost, the researchers looked at the yearly amount of energy consumed by the Eden Project, a massive biome complex in the UK. Using that data, they concluded that a structure built to hold winged creatures bigger than any bird alive today would add up to $6.6 million a year in energy costs.

Other facilities they envisioned for the island include an egg incubator, embryo fridge, hotel, and emergency bunker. And of course, there would be electric fences running 24/7 to keep the genetic attractions separated from park guests. In total, the physicists estimated that the park would use 455 million kilowatt hours a year, or the equivalent of 30,000 average homes. That annual energy bill comes out to roughly $63 million.

Keep in mind that energy would still only make up one part of Jurassic Park's hypothetical budget—factoring in money for lawsuits would be a whole different story.

Map of dinosaur park.
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