By Damian Hartner, Contributing Writer

It’s amazing that the second of the three big summer holidays is already behind us.

Just this past weekend, the Fourth of July went by in a flurry of hot dogs, apple pies, and fireworks. If Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer and Labor Day the unofficial end of summer, I suppose that Independence Day is the unofficial middle of summer.

The old adage goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” And, Kermit always said that, “Time is fun when you’re having flies.” I have a dishtowel or some sort of kitchen kitsch that says, “Wine flies”.

The last time I wrote my column, I was in Germany. I can assure you that while the Swiss are famous for making the devices that count time with their fancy Rolex, Victorinox, Blancpain, Omega, Longines, and Tissot watches that the Germans are the target audience. Nobody is more in touch with the ticking of a clock or the unwinding of a wristwatch than a German.

One evening, we were visiting with my Aunt and Uncle at their fantastic house in Emmendingen in the village if Kenzingen just outside of Freiburg, Germany. Yes, the Germans are extremely precise with location and location names as well as time. My uncle had to run out to pick something up at the local market. He said that he would call when he was on his way home to alert my Aunt that she could finish the dinner preparations. As promised, the phone rang and my Aunt answered, said a few sentences in German, hung up, and announced that my Uncle would be arriving in 10 minutes. Hearing the news, I asked her if I should start cooking the noodles to which she replied, “No, no! Your Uncle is 10 minutes away and the noodles take 6 minutes to cook. We must wait 4 minutes!”

Back in the USA, I have noticed a strange phenomenon that kind of explains the odd dishtowel that is embroidered with “Wine Flies” and that would also throw a Swiss Watchmaker or a German Hausfrau off their games. I recently spent some time at Le Zie ( on Seventh Avenue (between 20 and 21) in Manhattan. We sat outside on a perfect summer afternoon and ordered a bottle of their house Rosè, “Regaleali Le Rosè”, which is an Italian (Sicilian) wine from the Tasca d’Almerita winery made from the Nerello Mascalese grape. Nerello Mascalese is a grape that is grown primarily in Sicily and Sardinia. It is named after the Mascari Plain in Catenia where it is thought to have originated and is commonly used to give wine some color or, as in this case, produce a Rosè. It is a fine Rosè that was apparently very drinkable. Just ask the waiter who brought us every bottle left in the restaurant. Fear not, I’m sure they’ve restocked. The nice part is that since it is their house Rosè you can also order just a glass but, as usual, we weren’t messing around.

Now, the odd phenomenon that I mentioned doesn’t happen right away. It usually begins to take place sometime after finishing the first bottle and then accelerates as you go through additional bottles. It goes like this: We ordered the first bottle at about 6:20pm and as we finished it, I looked down at my watch and saw that it was 7pm and I defined that as “early”. Since it was “early”, we ordered a second bottle and when we were about 2/3 of the way through the second bottle and I looked down at my watch and saw that somehow it was now 8:45pm. Again, I defined 8:45 as “early” and therefore, we ordered a third bottle. Again, about 2/3 of the way through the third bottle I glanced at my watch and it was now midnight.

You can see that the phenomenon is not a linear progression but is exponential in nature. I have a feeling that had we stayed for a fourth bottle that we might need Superman to fly backwards around the Earth at a high rate of speed to reverse the time warp we created… kind of like when he reversed time to save Lois Lane in Superman The Movie.

It seems to me that the only course of action to take at this point is to continue my very scientific research into this phenomenon. See you all in the time warp!

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