Washington Wine Country
Ka-Boom Booze!
By Mike Marino

Nuclear Grapes of Wrath!

The Atomic Age ushered in a plethora of pop goes the culture silver screen atomic sci-fi beasties at the backseat drive in passion pits. Humongous, (what a great word, eh? Humongous! God I love that!) sugar sucking flesh eating ants in "Them" all the way to every ones darling reptilian abnormality of the nuclear Hall of Fame, Gojira, who smashed Tokyo to smithereens as if he were at a grape stomp in wine country in Washington State. If you think the scientists at Los Alamos unleashed a genie from the bottle, just wait until you uncork a bottle of Washington wine, and when you do...duck and cover! It's the only wine on the planet best kept secured in a bomb shelter than a wine cellar. This tale of sci-fi wines, like all good science fiction, (science fact perhaps?) begins where they all do in a vineyard galaxy far, far away. It's a sci-fi scenario and a foray into forensic fantasy, I mean we're talking real "Twilight Zone" shit here. So before you imbibe, indulge me first as we uncover the atomic secretions of Washington Wine country...a journey that will not only take you through the looking glass, but one step beyond. Remember too, this is written by someone who never said he didn't inhale. He did inhale. Quite a bit to, and the only place wine had in his world was in a hookah loaded high with illegal substances.

Washington wine country has deep roots in the atomic age. Vineyards line the landscape sporadically, and looming ominously in the background, hovering quietly like a Cold War alien saucer, is the Hanford Nuclear Plant! (Insert sound effects from Psycho in the shower scene: Re-Re-Re-Re!) Now,Hanford is the hap, hap, happiest haz-mat place on earth, when it comes to nuclear fun. It's a nuclear Disneyland that over the decades has surely blessed the area with radiation runoff that somewhere along the equation, made it's way into the surrounding soil and water tables to mix playfully with decades of the vintners chemical sexual-rape of the soil with an arsenal of toxic pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers in 31 flavors, to commit the farmers murderous crime of passion - Agicide! It's probably not the first time that irrigation and radiation have gone happily hand in Hanford to screw things up.

It ain't Napa, it ain't Sonoma, and sure as hell ain't Bordeaux. But it has something none of the others do, nor ever will. While Napa has rolling hills, vast beautiful vineyards, and cuisine to die for, Washington Wine Country has something more...space age Nuclear Grapes of Wrath. Talk about a wine that can glow in the dark. Ok, so a little plutonium flotsam and jetsam may have gotten into the plants, sucked up by hungry little ignorant roots that don't know any better. Now injected into the vine as a narcotic races through a junkies vein it maneuvers it's way into the fruits themselves which begin to take on an ominous look, as the clump of grapes, now fortified with byproducts of U-235, gets ready to rock and roll and split an atom or two to bring an Asian country to it's knees on a battleship named Missouri. These aint' no ordinary grapes now. No, now they are ready to ferment into fissionable material for a wine that truly is an Enola Gay Weapon of Mass Destruction!

Imagine the Edward Teller Spring Barrel Festival as these atomic-rocket scientists, turned vintner cum laude Miss Clawdy, prepare for the season of their new releases. Wine racks full of enticing entities such as a Carcinogenic Cold War Chardonnay, a mouth watering Meltdown Merlot or a nifty keeno Nagasaki Radiation Riesling, all three wines with a truly explosive taste. Believe me, when it comes to Washington wines, Sterno ain't got nothin' on them. Then of course you can blissfully sip and spit a glass of Mushroom Cloud Blush and get down right philosophical in an Eastern sort of way with a Hiroshima Zingy Zen Zinfandel. All of these are best served at room temperature, bearing in mind that in the atomic tasting room that could be well over 5,000 degrees, or hot enough to cause evaporation of human flesh and wine alike. So if your tastes run in that direction, get a corkscrew from the bordello, and get ready to explode a Washington Bordeaux! These wines are rated by alcohol content either, but by their megatonage.

Cuisine makes for fine dining to pair with your fine wining. The French have mastered the art of galactic gastronomy, and Napa Valley, has the New York School of Culinary Arts, west coastie branch, along with Italian and French fare in vine covered buildings of chateau architecture and ambiance to tempt the taste buds and enhance the epicurean experience. If you're looking for a four star meal in Washington wine country, think again. The closest you'd come is a four cheeseburger meal deal at the local fast food. There are any number of fast food joints to piss off your palate. As far as which wine goes with a burrito or chicken nuggets, just ask any local on the front porch in the trailer park next to where you've just parked your fifth wheel.

Hanford Nuclear Wine Country is a must on any atomic tour. Sure there is the Trinity Site and White Sands but, damn, when your counting down to uncorking some serious ka-boom booze, you can end the confusion over fusion and fission, because when you down a bottle of Washington wine, you're in for a real blast!

Fifties & Sixties Pop Culture!
Classic Cars, Rock n' Roll, Elvis, Route 66, Drive in Movies, Route 66, Roadside Culture, Kerouac & The Beats, Haight Ashbury, Easy Rider & Vietnam
Pop Culture guru Mike Marino looks at the '60s and beyond through his own kaleidoscope, where rock met revolution. Spewing quips like a psychedelic lawn mower run amok, he drags us, more than likely kicking and screaming, through a past few of us knew and even fewer would admit. This is Truth barred from the history books--- or as Marino would put it, the Red, White and Screwed. Could cause nausea, night sweats and loss of appetite. Void where prohibited. Frank Gutch, Jr.


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This is the epitome of a boomer roadie book for the boomer roadie. It's funny, it's nostalgic, it's interesting. Route 66, fins, fuzzy dice, carhops. It's all there. This would be a great gift for the roadhead in your life.