Spies & Wine!
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We went to Spies & Wine: Frauds, Fakes and Fun at the Spy Museum. Guests had a wine tasting during a discussion with legendary intelligence officer Tony Mendez, whose most famous mission during his time in the CIA was portrayed in the film Argo, when his ability to create documents that would pass as valid behind enemy lines meant the difference between life and death. We snapped the museum’s Shana Oltmans, Laura Hicken and Amanda Ohlke.
The Q&A was moderated by Jason Tesauro (right), author and chief sommelier for Barboursville Vineyards, who described the subtle differences between European wines and their “counterfeit” counterparts. The event also featured former CIA chief of disguise Jonna Mendez, who briefed the audience on some of her favorite (declassified) CIA drinking tips and tales. Since retiring from the CIA in 1990, Tony Mendez (left) and his wife, Jonna, have served on the museum's Board of Directors. Following the discussion, guests compared three European wines with their Virginia twins, including Champagne, Vermentino and Bourdeaux blends.
Tony Mendez said it was an honor to serve his country and never questioned his decision to take part in the dangerous mission depicted in Argo. Jonna Mendez spoke about a backup plan that wasn't shown in the movie: Tony presented President Carter with a plan showing the Shah leaving the US using body-doubles who were exact duplicates of the Shah thanks to Hollywood makeup. The President later said he regretted not using that. Here, Staples’ Steven Holmes and his wife, Hitachi’s Brooke Holmes.
During the discussion, Tesauro said global warming has created increased wine production in countries that were previously too cold to grow certain types of wine, like England. Here, writer Kal Anthony with student Caroline Winslow.