AS WE move into summer, the monthly round of wine tastings is halted for vacation time. This lull gives a chance to look over the variety of mail poured out by wineries, producers or importers and publicists.
A good example of how far a hard-working publicist will go is a release linking his favorite champagne with romance. Korbel Champagne dreamed up a Department of Romance, Weddings & Entertainment and commissioned a survey to determine the country's "Top 10 Terms of Endearment."
Do you think the favorite term is "sweetheart?" No way! The overwhelming favorite of both men and women (26 percent) was "honey." This pet name is especially favored in the Northeast and Midwest (31 percent). The West and South are less enthusiastic (23 percent) but still give it first place.
Second place went to no pet name at all. "Baby" or "babe" won third place.
Perhaps you should take a soothing sip of champagne before you learn the other pet names. In order came sweetheart, dear, lover, darling, sugar, pumpkin/angel and precious/beautiful. In the sickly sweet department were huggybear, little red, punky, tootsie, buddy and pupkins.
Korbel's Romance Department keeps busy with surveys and studies on such subjects as "Profiles in Courtship" and "The I Do's and I Don'ts of Marriage." It also releases a year-end annual list of the "Top 10 Romantic People."
Woodbury Vineyards is celebrating its 10th anniversary Sunday with a party in the vineyards at the winery on South Roberts Road in Dunkirk. The noon to 6 p.m. party celebrates their evolution from a "pick-your-own" fruit farm to one of the state's leading premium wineries producing medal-winning Chardonnay and Riesling wines and methode champenoise champagnes.
The Woodburys will release a 7-year-old champagne which has been aging in the cellars just for this occasion. A hot-air balloon will be inflated on the winery grounds and, weather permitting, tethered rides will be offered to those who want a bird's-eye view of the vineyards and nearby Lake Erie.
The public is invited and there is no admission charge. Tours of the winery will be conducted and guests will be able to meet the people who make the wine and obtain an in-depth explanation of winemaking and the viticulture of the area.
Tony Ventura, who operates a wine education operation called WINCON, is planning a Fall Weekend Food & Wine Excursion to the Finger Lakes region. The excursion will allow views of the autumn beauty of Keuka and Seneca Lake and will include a gourmet dinner at Pierce's 1894 Restaurant in Elmira Heights.
Also included will be round-trip transportation on a motorcoach with a Saturday morning departure and Sunday afternoon return (Sept. 29-30 or Oct. 13-14), hotel accommodations, tours and tastings at Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars in Hammondsport, Hunt Country Vineyards at Branchport and Glenora Wine Cellars at Dundee and a brunch cruise on Seneca Lake. Each tour is limited to 45 people. Write Tony Ventura, 92 Londonderry Lane, Getzville, N.Y. 14068 (689-73441) for information.
Prunings: Domaine St. George has released a new Blush Chardonnay wine which combines the flavors of White Zinfandel and Chardonnay ($5 to $6.) The winery claims the wine was conceived "to bridge the taste gap between the fruity flavor of White Zinfandel and the full-bodied character of Chardonnay." . . . Veuve Clicquot has purchased a controlling interest in Cape Mentelle, an Australian winery, and its New Zealand offshoot, Cloudy Bay. Clicquot says the plan is to make quality table wines, but no sparkling wine. . . .
The wine importing firm of Dreyfus, Ashby, is funding annual grants to enable U.S. applicants -- sommelier, restaurant and retail personnel -- to travel to England to sit for the Masters of Wine exam. This arduous exam is held annually, in May, in London for wine professionals seeking the respected title of Master of Wine (MW).