Cork Flash DriveI can't help but feel excited and playful what with Open That Bottle Night on tap for tomorrow night and a few very cool new projects in the queue (more on those later...). So today I bring to you a sampling of lighthearted highlights from my wine reading this week. Let's start with the most whimsical piece and go from there, shall we?

Let's face it:  most of us spend way too much time at our computers, for better or worse. Anytime someone figures out a way to help us play while we work, I'm all for it. From Arwye Wan and the folks at Yanko Designs comes not only the wine cork USB memory stick, but now also the flash drive. This is user-friendly wine love if I ever saw it. Check them out!

Next, we have Girl Scout Cookies! What? Yep. America's favorite seasonal treat (or so I think) meets wine at the hand of Doug Morris, of Old Town Bread, Co.. Girl Scouts of South Eastern Massachusetts is holding their annual fundraiser, where Chef's from some of our favorite - and finest - local restaurants will participate in the name of the cookie, or well, the Girl Scouts who sell them. With such an illustrious team in the kitchen, it's a bit surprising wine hasn't entered the picture to date. Katie Curley of The Daily News reported, "a surprise entry from Morris will be a savory cookie of smoked salmon with a red wine reduction on cinnamon-flavored Girl Scouts' Daisy Go Round Cookies." Check out Curley's article to learn more about the Who's Who in Culinary & Cookies, or click this link and go to "Cookie Creations" to support the event. (Hotel Commonwealth, March 12, 6-8pm)

Finally, in what was meant to be a more sobering article about wine and the economy, I found Inside Bay Area's recent article on marketing high-end wine in a down economy fairly positive. Here are three reasons I feel this way:

1. Guerilla marketing, if you will, among some of the more high end wine producers of California might mean good news for consumers. The folks at Honig and Cakebread, for example, plan to take more of their wares on the road, giving consumers a greater opportunity to taste and enjoy their high-end wines locally.

2. If you've been sitting on a wine club waiting list since before dirt, this may be your moment to get in on the fun. There should be more high-end juice available with sales generally lower. This means there's more to go around for folks who aren't local and want "in" via special Club-only shipments.

3. Finally, just this week Boston natives Peter and Diana Merriam opened their new Napa tasting room - but they're not giving up production of one of their best value "high end" wines, which clocks in at $35. Count on 4.5 glasses of fun for a mere $7.77 each; that's pretty great value, if you think of it. Plus, the Merriams will be offering custom crush to other folks; it'll be interesting to see what - or who - else comes out of their new digs, given how high a bar they've set for themselves.

All in all, not a bad week for wine! Let's top it off, shall we? Be sure to OPEN THAT BOTTLE!