A syrah named Palin gets a boost from Sarah Palin

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - September 26, 2008 The organic red wine, pronounced "pay-LEEN sih-rah," comes from a small winery in northern Chile.

According to distributor North Berkeley Imports' Web site, the vintner's name "describes a ball that was used in an ancient game played by the Mapuche, a group of people indigenous to central Chile."

But that hasn't stopped some drinkers from making the political connection to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

"They would just basically say, 'Oh, I don't want to drink that. That's too close,"' said Chris Cavelli, co-owner of the Yield Wine Bar in San Francisco. "It reminds them too much of Sarah Palin."

He said the wine, which his bar sells by the glass, was a good seller there until Palin was nominated for the Republican ticket. Cavelli plans to keep it on the list.

"I think it's pretty funny," he said.

Since the Alaska governor was picked by Republican John McCain, interest in the wine has increased.

"I've seen an uptick in interest and an uptick in sales," said David Hinkle of North Berkeley, which also imports two other Palin wines in addition to $13 bottles of syrah.

Cepage Noir Wine Co. in Houston has sold out of its stock of Palin Syrah, said store clerk Rose Arii, with one case going to a woman who said she was throwing a grand old politics-themed party.

Hinkle is a little taken aback by the mixing of politics and palates.

"The wines are outstanding. Very rich, full-bodied," he said. "There's nothing political about the wine in any way."

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