The recent Golden Globes ceremony was the dullest in years, especially for an event that has preened itself as being so much unbuttoned fun as compared to the staid, stolid and stuffy Oscars. Some people blamed the evening’s tedium on the spew of bath-room vulgarities His Smugness Ricky Gervais mis-took for wit. No doubt they played their part, but surely a paucity of drink came into it. Oh, sure, here and there a bottle of Moët poked its lonely neck out of a bucket, but the primary refreshment on the stars’ tables was water. Bottles in abundance and even superabundance littered the GG tables—big, tall bottles, too, that were clearly visible to all and especially to sundry. Smart Water—that was the brand—proved ideal for diluting merriment, but no doubt any brand would do. There’s a reason toasts aren’t given in water.

Still, wine alone can’t save a rum show. The SAG Awards were similarly boring, despite bumpers of Taittinger and tsunamic quantities of Dry Creek Vineyard available for social lubrication. Kim Stare Wallace, a.k.a. Mrs. DCV, long ago got the Screen Actors Guild’s “official wine of” status for the wines she and her husband, Don, produce in Healdsburg, so tables at the event were well irrigated by a vari- ety of their labels. The list included the ’08 SAG Awards Cuvée (naturally) Heritage Zinfandel and Foggy Oaks Chardonnay, as well as the ’09 Sau- vignon Blanc and ’07 Cabernet.

A lineup like that, with Taittinger into the bargain, should have fueled jollity aplenty, so what do you suppose happened? I’m betting that the killjoy here was interrupting the proceedings with a tribute to 94-year-old Ernest Borgnine that would have made a junior-high film club blush and was interminable to boot. Scholars even as we speak are debating its length, some saying five hours, others arguing for six, still others claiming that infants were born, weaned and seen safely through kindergarten even before the McHale’s Navy clips turned up. Neverthe-less, Borgnine, who deserved far better, seemed to be cheerful enough when the thing finally ground to a halt, but I think that was mostly because a] it was over and b] he’d just turned 95.

Dennis_Haysbert  Irrepressible Kim Stare Wallace and golden-voiced Dennis Haysbert close ranks with a jug of Dry Creek Vineyard’s essential oil.

Can we hope for better from the Oscars? Don’t bet on it. As with the Golden Globes and the SAG cere-monies, the thing that will shine through all the fashions, tailoring, styling, jewelry and accessories is the embarrassing fact that stars making a zillion bucks a picture are tongue-tied twits unless they have a script in their hands.

And speaking of wine on the screen . . . Last year about this time I mentioned to an importer that I liked The Olive Garden’s TV commercials because they always showed wine on the tables, which, I added, somewhat redeemed the chain’s fake-Italian cuisine (notably the “Tuscan Garlic” menu). “Don’t knock The Olive Garden,” said the importer—they’re one of our best customers.”

So much is true. The chain does carry a broad selec-tion of Italian wines—among them Martini & Rossi, Castello di Gabbiano, Bertani, Sartori, Rocca delle Macie, Antinori, Col d’Orcia, Ecco Domani, Bottega Vinaia and Castello del Poggio—and the prices seem reasonable, so I held my peace.

No more. After seeing the latest Olive Garden com- mercials I got the importer on the phone and said “Just so you know: your best customer seems to have given up on wine. His latest ads still have glasses on the table, but almost all of them are full of beer.”

As Italians say, brutta figura!

© 2011 Bill Marsano