The dog days of wine labels

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Intern Chris DeMento likes to keep his pets and his merlots separate.

Some Californians just have too much time on their hands, plain and simple. And soon they will all move to Idaho, and soon I will be riding an eco-friendly Scooby Doo jetpack to CIIS to make a study of the Great White Californian Diaspora. Anyway. . . .

Did you know we have a dog lovers' wine club out here? Bet you didn't.Yes, the Dog Lovers’ Wine Club (DLWC), based in California of course, supports dog shelters and rescue operations nationwide. They also get drunk, too, which goes without saying, I guess.

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Believe Me or Not

So the DLWC recently beatified an East Bay-born Golden Retriever named Ripley, the pooch having acquired a certain distinction now that its image is being shipped to dues-paying members by the case. Emblazoned upon an oh-so-special 2003 Santa Barbara Syrah, there Ripley is, surrounded by a bunch of baseballs (which is supposed to mean Something, I think).

Here's the story:

It all began three years ago when the Kittlers, Ripley's owners, watched as Ripley dug up his first baseball at a public ballpark in Dublin. Since then, the animal has discovered upwards of 600 baseballs, demonstrating an uncanny knack for locating the Tootsie
Roll center of America's last dignified pursuit. (Ripley also sniffs his dookie, though, too.) Story over.

But there has to be a more interesting label out there for sexually-frustrated Leftcoast bluebloods to peel at. A Schnauzer with a nose for vinyl recordings of Captain Beefheart -- now there's a conversation piece. Invent Mr. Snifferton, an infamous Jack Russell with the ironic X-ray olfactory; or imagine Deck, a superbad Spanish Water Dog riding a miniature fixie and toasting reggaeton.

DLWC, you can do better than tired old Ripley's pastime, can't you? But it makes perfect sense, in a way, our being this lame: it's all we can do to grip tightly this most precious American idea of self, what it means, what it shows about dreams we can't lose. It's long past trite. By now it's flat-out exhausted: barbecues, ballgames, the picture of your obedient leisure at peacetime. It's slobbered on and damn dog-tired, see.

See, clever is sending Mr. Snifferton into the bodega to fetch me some Twix, Boone's, and a pack of gratis smokes while I pass the Lay-A-boying hours ogling foxy CNN reporters.