Oscars get their own vintage

You're probably not invited to the Governors Ball, the official Oscar after-party on March 5.

Oscarwine

Don't feel bad. I'm not either. I'll be doing what's called a press "walk-around," which means I'm allowed inside the swanky Governors Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center but am not permitted to sit, eat and drink like a normal Oscar-going guest. I think the idea is that I'm supposed to act as if I actually do have a seat, but it's at such a boring table that I prefer to get up and just "walk around."

So why do you and I care what all those snooty studio suits, self-involved stars and money-grubbing moviemakers will be eating and drinking at the bash? Bah.

But Napa Valley's acclaimed vintner, Sterling Vineyards, cares. They care so darn much that for the second year in a row they've created exclusive limited edition wines just for the Governors Ball.

Sterling's senior wine maker Chris Millard created a brand new white -- the 2004 Gold Standard Reserve Chardonnay -- to complement Wolfgang Puck's meals made for the 1,650 hungry guests.

The Academy even came up with the Gold Standard name, sez Sterling's PR powerhouse Katy Sweet.

This year's vino blanco is, and I quote, "an aromatic Chardonnay with love notes of pear, apple pie spices and nectarine and hints of vanilla and citrus."

But here's the really cool part. Only 380 cases of this white wine were produced. And when it's gone, it's gone. Finito. Basta. End of.

This year's Sterling's white joins last year's Red Carpet Reserve, a limited edition Cabernet Sauvignon blend created for the 77th annual awards. But there's another unique, limited edition red wine, a brand new 2002 Red Carpet Reserve that will be served this year.

For all you folks dying to drink what the stars will be sipping -- maybe even serve it at your own Academy Awards party in your living room -- you can purchase comparable (sadly, NOT identical) Sterling wines guaranteed to make you feel Oscar-worthy.

To approximate this year's Oscar white, try 2004 Sterling Reserve Chardonnay. And to simulate the 78th annual Oscar red, uncork a bottle of 2002 Sterling Reserve Cabernet. Both retail for around $75.

Bottoms up. Then practice your acceptance speech.

Photo: When the Governors Ball limited edition wines are gone, they're totally gone. Don't bother asking for another glass.
(John Heller / WireImage)