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Palo Alto, Calif. - Since the days of the first Poet Laureate, Ben Jonson, Great Britain has been granting a wine allowance to its Poet Laureate. Virtual Vineyards, the leading online wine retailer, thinks it's time to honor America's literary masters with such a tribute. Robert Pinsky, the critically acclaimed poet and Boston University professor, was just re-appointed to America's most distinguished poetry position, Poet Laureate, for the third consecutive year. To commemorate this distinction, Virtual Vineyards has made him an honorary member of its Monthly Wine Club to ensure that he too has an adequate wine allowance.

Pinsky, 58, is the ninth American laureate since Congress created the title in 1985. As poetry editor for the online magazine Slate,, he shares a bond with Virtual Vineyards in bringing a time-honored tradition to the millions of people who are using the Internet.

"Wine can be a creative catalyst in many artistic endeavors," said Pinsky. "I appreciate this benevolent gesture by Virtual Vineyards. No longer will I harbor any jealousy of my colleagues across the pond, as to the chance to appreciate fine wine."

"The staff at Virtual Vineyards recognizes that wine appreciation is intrinsically linked to the fine arts," said Peter Granoff, Virtual Vineyards co-founder and master sommelier. "We want to make sure that Robert, and all our future American Poet Laureates get the necessary inspiration that can be obtained from wine, especially if their counterparts overseas have been getting it for centuries."

Founded in 1994, Virtual Vineyards ( ) is the Internet's leading wine merchant and a pioneer in electronic commerce. Virtual Vineyards offers a carefully selected portfolio of American and international wines, gourmet foods and specialty gifts to consumers and corporations around the world. It makes wine buying easy and fun with detailed information, wine tasting charts and expert advice from its Chief Cork Dork, Peter Granoff, a master sommelier. Virtual Vineyards is privately held with offices in Palo Alto and Napa, Calif.

SOURCE Virtual Vineyards

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