Thursday, July 19, 2007

Budget Impasse? Two bottles of wine, Pls


When Californians look back on what eased this year's budget negotiations, the unsung hero might be a pair of distinguished Napa Valley reds.

Although no deal was struck Wednesday, the 3-week-old state budget impasse appeared to have softened during a 24-hour period in which Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez shared two bottles of fine wine -- a 2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia declared by Wine Spectator as Wine of the Year and a 2003 red wine from Quintessa Estate.

"The wine helped," Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman said Wednesday after taking an impromptu stroll with Assembly leaders outside the Capitol. "He has good wine."