Dog Days of Summer

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By Robert Farmer
News of the economic crash-and-burn is everywhere you look these days. And as we enter the dog days of summer, it appears there is little water on the horizon for the thirsty canine that is the national economy. So in these times of belt-tightening and bean-counting, we turn to the simple pleasures in life to remind us that, as the saying goes, life must go on.

Wine is indeed one such pleasure.
  But what if wine could also be the answer to the problem, rather than simply a salve?
Recent news out of Paso Robles struck me by turns curiously and whimsically. Because the folks down in Paso are hopeful that wine--or, more generally, the wine industry--might just lead the way toward economic surfeit. 

The president of the California Travel and Tourism Association stopped for a visit to Paso Robles not long ago to promote a new California-wide campaign geared toward promoting and increasing wine and food tourism. The Association's president, Caroline Beteta, said the more than 100 wineries in the Paso and San Luis Obispo area could lead the charge toward economic recovery in the region and the state. By promoting wine-related tours in the area to a local audience, the marketing of the good life might just foment a return to the good life.

"We have a huge populace in California," she said, "and they're thinking about vacations closer to home, so there's an opportunity for Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo to benefit from that."

Wine. Is there anything it can't do?

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