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Top 10 stories of 2014

While 2014 has thrown up its fair share of major acquisitions and multi-million pound wine frauds, it’s often the more offbeat stories that prove the most popular online.

We all love a good takeover now and then, but it seems winemakers in the buff and Kate Moss’s left breast are of more interest to our online readers…

Here we have rounded up the year’s most popular news stories by page views – the ones that got you clicking, sharing and talking.

Click through to find out which stories of 2014 made the top 10…

10. Man builds $80k beer fort on dancefloor

Twitter @darrenrovel

A man ordered nearly 10,000 cans of beer at an exclusive nightclub so he could build a six-foot-high fortress around his VIP table in August, no doubt living out a childhood dreams.

The nightclub prankster with a penchant for mischief (and clearly very deep pockets) purchased 400 cases of beer while partying at the XS Nightclub in Las Vegas. Having dropped US$80,000 on the canned beverages, the man proceeded to build a fortress for his VIP pals.


9. Obama serves Hollande ‘cheap’ US wine

Barack Obama’s wine choice for Françoise Hollande has been slammed as “cheap”. Photo credit: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Barack Obama sent the web into meltdown after his choice of wine for visiting French President François Hollande at a state dinner was deemed “cheap”The three wines served at the dinner – Morlet La Proportion Doree 2011 from the Napa Valley, Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2009 from Washington’s Columbia Valley and sparkling wine Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay from Monticello in Virginia had a combined retail price of just $125.

At the time, the Washington Examiner accused Obama of “going down the Costco route.”

8. Gadget invented that turns water into wine

Philip James, the entrepreneur who founded struggling wine start-up Lot18, sent the web into a tiz in March when he claimed to have invented a machine that could turn water into wine in three days. The Messiah-man said the idea had come about while he was recovering from a motorbike accident, discussing with pals how difficult it would be to perform Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine.

The well-rehearsed yarn had much of the web fooled, before the machine was revealed to be merely a publicity stunt to raise awareness of the Wine to Water charity that provides clean water to those in need.

7. Six new Masters of Wine announced

In September the Institute of Masters of Wine welcomed six new MWs into its ranks taking the total number worldwide to 319 in 24 countries.

Penny Richards, executive director of the Institute, said at the time: “We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding individuals; their diligence and commitment to excellence will be great assets to our community, as will their diversity.”

Click here to see who earned their MW title in 2014….


6. Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of wine a day’

Perhaps one of the most bizarre stories of the year was French actor Gerard Depardieu’s admission that he drinks up to 14 bottles of wine a day, and once shot two lions in self defence. 

As reported by The Mirror, the 65-year-old actor made the revelation in an interview with So Film. 

“When I’m bored, I drink. Apart from compulsory moments of abstinence. After bypass surgery, and also because of cholesterol and stuff, I have to be careful. I’m not going to die. Not now. I still have energy. But if ever I start drinking I can’t drink like a normal person. I can absorb 12, 13, 14 bottles per day,” he said.

He also said he shot two lions in Africa.

“I killed two lions once, and I understand why the lion is the king of the jungle. In legitimate self-defence. Imagine you’re driving and your engine breaks down. You got out, and in your way are these animals. So you shoot, just to scare them. They don’t move. I wasn’t there for hunting. I was in Africa for Africa,” he said.

5. Champagne coupe moulded from Kate Moss’s breast launched

The tale of English supermodel Kate Moss’s left breast being immortalised in the form of a Champagne coupe proved predictably popular in 2014.

Taking Marie Antoinette as her inspiration, whose left breast was said to have served as the model for the first Champagne coupe in the late-18th century, British artist Jane McAdam Freud crafted the coupe from a mould of Moss’s left breast.

McAdam Freud was commissioned by 34 Restaurant in London’s Mayfair to create the coupe in honour of Moss’s 40th birthday and to mark her 25-year milestone in the fashion business.

4. 20 stunning images of drinks under the microscope

These psychedelic images captured the attention of drinks business readers in 2014, leaping into 4th place.

The images may look like something from a child’s kaleidoscope, but they are in fact what some of your favourite beer, wine and spirits look like when magnified 1,000 times under a microscope. The series of Bevshots photographs are the work of Florida State University’s research scientist Michael Davidson.

The images are made by crystallising the drink on a lab slide under a microscope and then passing a polarised light through the crystal with each image then magnified more than 1,000 times.

All images are available for sale as canvas or metallic prints from Bevshots.

3. Napa’s best Cabs revealed by tasting panel

A report on a tasting of 60 of Napa’s top price Cabernet Sauvignon wines proved popular with online readers.

The wines were reviewed by members of the St. Helena Star and Napa Valley Vintner Tasting Panel over two afternoons at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California.

Scroll through our slideshow to find out what the judges deemed to be Napa Valley’s top premium Cabernet Sauvignons.

2. Giant boulder rips through vineyard

In January an Italian vineyard and 300-year old building was left in tatters after a giant boulder crashed down a mountainside and smashed right through them. Dramatic imagery showed the extent of the damage following a landslide in Tramin-an-der-Weinstrasse, in Alto Adige in northern Italy.

A business building and part of the vineyard was flattened but miraculously no-one was injured. Damage to property, according to a first estimate of the estate by manager Baron Philipp von Hohenbühel, was said to run into millions of euros.

1. French harvesters strip for nude calendar

And so we come to our most read story of 2014, a story that, perhaps predictably, includes a fair amount of nudity.

Earlier this year a brave bunch of pickers at Domaine Marcel Lapierre in Beaujolais stripped off during the harvest to pose for this saucy calendar printed by the estate. The fearless troop were cajoled into disrobing by pioneering “natural” winemaker Mathieu Lapierre, who makes a brief(less) appearance in the calendar as the May centrefold, having been snapped straddling a grape press. To relive the magic, click here. 

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