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Apocalypse Wine . . . Again

With the end of the world due next week according to some interpretations of the Mayan Calendar some enterprising wine makers have been busy making the most out of the situation. At the beginning of 2012 I wrote about the little village of Bugarach near Carcassonne in France which is supposed to be one of the places on earth that will survive the 2012 Apocalypse on December 21st.

The Pic de Bugarach Mountain is the source of many odd theories – one of which is that aliens live in cavities beneath the rock. It is said to have been the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Different sects and cults have been setting up camps near the village and the Mayor has called in police and extra troops to help cope with the influx as the clock ticks down to December 21st.

An enterprising winemaker has produced a Cuvée Bugarach (subtitled as “”If there’s only one left, I’ shall be that one”). The back label states: “inspired by the ancient legends, Cuvée Bugarach should survive the end of the world and help you get in touch with extra-terrestrials”. It’s made by Jean Pla from Grenache grapes.

Now, a recent assessment performed by the travel search website Skyscanner has reported a 41% increase in recent searches for one-way tickets to Bugarach.

There has also been a 30% increase in searches for a one-way ticket to the picturesque, small village of Sirince in western Turkey, near the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. Sirince is the place where some Christians believe the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven; her body is supposedly buried in a cave near there. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary spent her declining years in Sirince with St. John who had travelled there.

In the 19th century, the nun Anne Catherine Emmerich had a vision of the Virgin’s house – her description fitted a small house found near Sirince dating from the 6th century which has 1st century foundations. It now functions as a church and centre of pilgrimage and was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

Sirince only has 600 inhabitants but according to local media it is now expected to host more than 60,000 visitors. The rumour mill has it that Tom Cruise is set to make an appearance which is highly doubtful and is probably the product of over excited hype.

“It is the first time we witness such an interest during the winter season,” said Ilkan Gulgun, one of the hotel owners in Sirince. Tourists at his hotel believe that the positive energy of Sirince will save them from an apocalyptic catastrophe.

Sirince is also well known for its wine – the little town overlooks a large vineyard and they make fruit wines as well as the more traditional grape variety. Somewhat predictably a Turkish businessman, Erkan Onoglu, has produced a special “Wine of the Apocalypse” for December 21st . . .

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