Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last Nano Second Gift Ideagrams

First off, I didn't find these all by myself. This list is comprised of leads from award winning wine writer, Jennifer Rosen, "The Cork Jester," and that other costumed cork popper, "The Wine Whisperer."

The Cork Jester has her own new party game out called, "Wine Teasers." Then there's the Aussie novelty wine bottle holder to create your own "Unchained Melody."

Elegantly simple, clean design with a jumble of Scrabble™ letters for a name: the MuNiMulA Wine Tray. Maybe they named it after it's molecular composition. Available in a variety of colors.

I've heard more than one person comment on the stemless "O" glasses who wondered about the warming of white wines since your toasty mitts are wrapped around the bowl with these glasses.

Then these floated across our radar: "Floating Glasses." The bowl "floats" within an outer cylinder of glass. Just listen to this intriguing description: Float red wine glasses by Todd MacAllen and Stephanie Forsythe of Molo Design are carefully handcrafted by master glassblowers in the Czech Republic using the highest quality German borosilicate glass.
The float red wine glasses can be used to serve hot or cold liquids.
The suspended bowl design at the bottom of the glasses serves to elevate condensation away from the table surface, making the use of a coaster unnecessary. When used for cold drinks, beads of moisture from condensation cling to the rounded underbelly of the glass, adding delicacy to the optical effect

This gives "snifter" a whole new meaning. In the words of Jimmy Durante, "The nose knows, hot cha cha!" Take a whiff of your favorite wine and get an honest snoot full. The inventor of the "Silhouette" glass accumulated over 25 years in hospitality service, spending time scrutinizing the way patrons drank wine. He observed that no matter how creatively a wine glass bowl and height are changed in order to suit the taste buds, no glass existed that could
direct the bouquet to the nose. He noted that either the last ounce of wine was left or patrons were forced to rudely tip their head backwards to swallow it. This also meant losing conversational eye contact. "There has to be a better solution," he thought. And here it is!

Strange Carafes that Look Like Abstract Giraffes. If you want to give me something for Christmas here's my pick. Click the link or the photos to see one being filled.... it's a lot more interesting than you might think.

Now, that's cold! For the literalist on your list how about a real ice bucket. It's bound to put a chill on your favorite sparkling wine or other beverage.
Shot glass molds are also available to drop your Lemon Drops below zero. Simply fill
mold with water, freeze, remove ice and chill. Dress it up by adding fruits, ornaments, flowers or food coloring. Not just for wine! Use for mineral water, other beverages or even as a candle votive. Kit includes plastic ice mold, bottle stand and a vessel that collects the melting ice. Comes gift boxed.

Want to make a real splash when you pop into your favorite New Year's bash? Check out this costume. You will make the evening sparkle in this get-up.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bye Bye Iron Chef, Hello Paper Chef

Imagine the possibilities: Hit "print" and you've got sushi! Soon we'll be ordering lunch online... and printing out a five course meal right at our desks. If you don't love it I'll eat my menu... hey this tastes great. Edible Christmas wrap for the kids.

Papercraft food printed with edible inks at Chicago's Moto restaurant

Homaro Cantu, the chef at Chicago's Moto restaurant, makes dishes by printing flavored inks onto edible sheets of "paper" and combining this papercraft food with elements cooked from the inside out with lasers. He also plans to levitate meals "using superconductors and handheld ion particle guns."
Perhaps Cantu's greatest innovation at Moto is a modified Canon i560 inkjet printer (which he calls the "food replicator" in homage to Star Trek) that prints flavoured images onto edible paper. The print cartridges are filled with food-based "inks", including juiced carrots, tomatoes and purple potatoes, and the paper tray contains sheets of soybean and potato starch. The printouts are flavoured by dipping them in a powder of dehydrated soy sauce, squash, sugar, vegetables or sour cream, and then they are frozen, baked or fried.

The most common printed dish at Moto is the menu. It can literally whet your appetite by providing a taste test of what's on the menu: tear off and eat a picture of a cow and it will taste like filet mignon. Once you are done with your sampling, the menu can be torn up and thrown into a bowl of soup - but only once you've ordered your two-dimensional sushi which consists of photos of maki rolls sprinkled on the back with soy and seaweed flavouring.

Link (via Oh Gizmo) (Image thumbnail taken from a larger picture on FirstScience, credited to Stephen Orlick and Homaro Cantu)

See also: When the Sous-Chef Is an Inkjet (NYT)

Update: Joel sez, "Here is a photo-essay of a 17-course menu at Moto, from LTHForum, The Chicago Culinary Chat site."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hey, Look What Imre Berecz Invented!

Wine to Walk the Plank in an Enneagon Shaped Barrel?

Don't ask me how to pronounce the inventor's name... there's no hints at the Patent Office. But I did find out that an "enneagon" is a nine-sided polygon.
This is pretty cool; good wine barrels without the expense of coopers (mini or otherwise).
Inventor Imre Berecz recently received a patent for a nine-sided rigid framed wine barrel with replaceable wood panels contained in a reusable steel frame.
The tongue-in-groove wood components can be toasted and are machined, so there's no need for the hand-fitting expertise required in constructing a traditional wine barrel--the result, much more affordable wine barrels. Neat idea, eh?
With patent in hand, Berecz is getting ready to share his invention with the industry and he can be reached at 949-858-1913.
Patent # 7,240,609 B 2. Story first spotted on Wine Business Insider, 10/8/07

Friday, November 30, 2007

If not X, Then Y = Red Wine?

I can't help it, my day job is working as a "marketing genius." And, because wine marketing is a specialty of mine, any research about new trends that relate to the wine industry are like Vegas neon to me.
You can start by checking the bar chart to see where you fit in. Then check out some interesting info about Generation Y's (also known as "the Millennials") beverage preferences. For pychographic differences between Generation X and Y see the handy chart at the end of this post.

Turns out that when it comes to wine (X'ers still mostly prefer beer) they like it red.
• Millennials tend to prefer red wines (51 percent of volume) more so than older consumers (approximately 44 percent).
• Among red wines, Cabernet and Pinot Noir have the most distinct skew toward Millennials; Chardonnay remains the most popular white wine across all ages.
• Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Rieslings account for a higher share of Millennials’ wine purchases compared with the over-30 population.
• Similar to the beer category, Millennials are more open to trying imported varieties and also contribute more to sake sales than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
• Nielsen’s research shows that while Millennials perceive wine to be “relaxing” and “sophisticated,” they associate a certain formality with wine, citing it most often as the beverage of choice during a “formal” night out, and less often for casual occasions.
• While most Millennials consider themselves as novices or only slightly knowledgeable about wine, approximately one-third (34 percent) are interested in learning more.

Info for this study was collected via a triangulation of Nielsen’s Homescan consumer panel information and online survey and fieldwork from a sample of nearly 900 consumers 21 years old and older who drink beer, wine and spirits at least once every two months.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Totally Molecular, Dude

Have you been following the "molecular gastronomy" movement? It doesn't take a microscope but according to those who have sampled this phenomena it's worth it (and in the case of one the molecular hotspots, minibar in NYC, there's a one month waiting list for rezzies).

Check out the slide show of the Chef at Alinea's preparing a molecular dinner at Chow


And here's how it all started:

Students in introductory chemistry courses are taught one important and seemingly obvious rule: Do not eat in the laboratory.

But for French chemist Hervé This, eating in the lab is the whole point.

This (pronounced "Teese") is one of the founders of the field of molecular gastronomy, the application of science to culinary knowledge and practice. Along with physicist Nicholas Kurti and science writer Harold McGee, This was among the first to use the tools of science to explore the methodology and mechanisms of the culinary arts.

This will speak at the Academy on April 10, as part of the Science of Food series. Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, his first book available in English, was published in September 2006.

Back to Top
It started with a soufflé

Molecular Dining
Care to sample some molecular cooking? These international kitchens double as laboratories:

Pierre Gagnaire
Chef Pierre Gagnaire

La Maison de Marc Veyrat
Chef Marc Veyrat

Great Britain
The Fat Duck
Heston Blumenthal

Il Bulli
Chef Ferran Adria

Atlanta, GA
One Midtown Kitchen
Chef Richard Blais

Boston, MA
Louis Boston's Restaurant L
Chef Pino Maffeo

Chicago, IL
Chef Homaro Cantu

New York, NY
Chef Shea Gallante

Chef Wylie Dufresne

Room 4 Desert
Chef Will Goldfarb

While preparing a Roquefort cheese soufflé for friends one Sunday in March 1980, This—then an editor at Pour la Science, the French edition of Scientific American—stopped at a line in an ELLE magazine recipe that called for adding eggs two-by-two. Why two-by-two? This wondered. With his scientific curiosity piqued, This tempted the fate of the dinner by adding all the eggs at once—resulting in a dish that was "edible," but lacked the signature pouf of a perfectly prepared soufflé.

When another party of friends called the following Sunday, This repeated his informal experiment, this time adding the eggs one at a time. Pour la Science did without its editor the following day, as This stayed home to tinker with the recipe and postulate about the precisions, or old wives' tales, which peppered this, and many other recipes, of France's haute cuisine.

Since that day, This has collected more than 25,000 of these precisions, with the admittedly lofty goal of putting each one to the test. He continued experimenting in his home laboratory (otherwise known as his kitchen) and in 1986 met Kurti, a physicist at Oxford who shared the same passion for science and cooking. The two began collaborating almost immediately, writing papers and hosting a series of meetings in Erice, Sicily, which were attended by the few active researchers in the newly created field of molecular and physical gastronomy, including McGee and biochemist Shirley Corriher (who spoke at the Academy's first Science of Food event).

In 1995, This was awarded the first PhD in molecular and physical gastronomy ("physical" was dropped after Kurti's death in 1998), and he took a part-time position in Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn's chemistry lab at the Collège de France. Five years later, he quit his day job at Pour la Science to work as a full-time researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).

Click here to listen to the latest Grapevine Radio Show.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Rosé By Any Other Name?

I recently read a great article at, by Jeff Richards in which he explore the use and misuse of the terms "rosé" and "blush," as they apply to wines. Mr. Richards sites several sources including,
As much as I've learned about wine in the 20 years that I've worked with the industry, made wine and now co-host a radio show dedicated to the subject, I was a little hazy on the true distinc
And now, thanks to the magic of Google and
my little BloggyDoggy, here's the Viva La Difference from
First of all Rosé wine is not a blending of red and white wine (abstraction made of the exceptional case of Champagne Rosé).

Rosé wine is made from red grape-varieties. And, nowadays, many winemakers mix a certain amount of white grapes with
the red.

The elaboration of rosé wine is delicate. It is probably why the amateur is sometimes disappointed by the quality of a rosé. Particularity, European rosé is "dry". On the contrary,
American rosé is sweet and similar to white wine.

There are at least three methods of makin
g rosé wine:

Gray or pale rosé wine

The grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive in the cellar. It allows a quicker diffusion of the color in the must.

The juice is left a very short time in conta
ct with the skin. No more than a few hours! That way the must is delicately colored.

Rosé wine is then made in the same way as a white wine, fermentation of the must cleared of solid elements with out any more maceration. The winemaker obtains a gray or pale rosé wine (for Gris de Bourgogne or Rosé de Loire).

Colored pink wine

To obtain a colored pink wine the grapes are put in the fermentation tank after having been crushed. The juice quickly enriches itself in alcohol with the temperature going up (in the tank).

At the contact of the solid element the color quickly diffuses. The winemaker chooses the intensity of
the color by controlling a sample every hour. When he is satisfied he devattes.

The wine is evacuated in another tank to finish fermenting. The must left in the original tank is evacuated and not used for rosé any more.

The bleeding

To obtain an even more intense color, once an hour, during the initial fermentation the winemaker takes out of the tank a certain amount of juice.

When the color is satisfying, the wine making process goes on as for a white wine. Rosé de Provence are obtai
n by that method.

Above is the label from one our local rosé favorites.

GRAPE VARIETY: 38% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 15%
Mourvedre, 14% Viognier
VINEYARD: Cass Vineyard, Paso Robles;
French Camp Vineyard, Paso Robles;
Fralich Vineyard, Paso Robles
BOTTLING DATE: January 11, 2007
ALCOHOL: 14.3%
PRODUCTION: 411 cases
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cleveland ROCKS!

I've just returned from a trip that began in Hendersonville , North Carolina and ended in the Cleveland area. It was lots of fun in Cleveland. First off I played a big reunion bash in Kent, Ohio with my original drummer (Spider Allen) and bass player (Cute Bill Brauning) from our band in college (The T.P. Waterhouse Jug Band & Electric Screendoor Salesmen).

So what's this have to do with food and wine? While in Kent, I visited a great little wine shop called 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall .... and 1700+ bottles of wine.

You can hear my interview with Audrey (pictured above), the Assistant Manager on our show's podcast from October 13th.

In the burbs of Cleveland I was searching for a blues club and went into a place called Lolita's in an area known as "the Tremont District." The blues club down the block was closed and the interior of Lolita's looked inviting. A brick building built in 1814 with pressed copper ceiling accented by the modern hammered copper bar top, Great lighting, warm woods .... every little detail. And then....

... the happy hour menu. A glass of "Lola's Choice of the Day" red wine (100% French Cinsault) $4, five different gourmet appetizers $5 each. And these were hearty appetizers beautifully presented. Every staff member I had contact with was gracious and knowledgeable. John, who was tending the bar, knew the answer, and more, to every wine question I asked.

On the plane home I found out, from a Cleveland native seated next to me, that Lola's in downtown Cleveland and Lolita's are owned by Chef Michael Symon who is a current Iron Chef finalist. I aslo learned that Lola's is considered by most as the finest restaurant in Cleveland.

My other pleasant surprise was the best Huevos Rancheros I've had in a restaurant in a long time. At Nuevo Acapulco in North Olmstead, Ohio (about 5 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport). Owned by a wonderfully friendly family, it adjoined the motel I stayed the night before my flight out.
That night we ran up a bar bill there for six cocktails: $24! Calling Rachel Ray.

Below are some interesting bottles I spotted at 101 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall in Kent.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wheat, Me Worry? A Berry Good Fall Recipe

From Elisabeth Kahan of Vineyard Canyon Ranch Olive Oil comes this wheat berry salad with edamame that has it all. Of course, it uses their Award Winning Tuscan Style Olive Oil. It's crunchy, chewy, sweet, savory and zesty and packed full of nutrient dense ingredients.
This simple to prepare
salad is perfect for upcoming Holiday feasts with it's festive red and green colors.
Try it out and let Elisabeth know what you thought.

Servings— 4
1 cup uncooked wheat berries
4 cups water
1 cups shelled edamame (soy beans – you can buy them in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place wheat and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until wheat kernels are plump and tender. Drain.

Cook edamame according to package. Remove shells.

Combine edamame, wheat, tomato, celery, and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over wheat mixture, and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Boyz

Uh oh. Want to tell the Australian wine industry that global warming is "junk science?" Reports like this give all of us involved in this industry cause for pause.
According to industry groups, Australia's 2008 grape vintage could be cut by more than half thanks to a severe drought in the country's wine-grape producing areas.
This would result in a $2.6 billion (US) cut in the country's export business, possibly forcing hundreds of the country's 7,500 wine-grape growers out of business.
"Some growers will not be able to recover, and some vineyards will be lost as a result of the drought," said Mark McKenzie, executive director of Wine Grape Growers' Australia. "We think some 800 growers are in immediate financial peril, with up to 1,000 at risk over time.
They are broke," he said. The Wine Grape Growers and Winemakers' Federation of Australia estimated that the 2008 vintage is likely to fall to between 800,000 tons and 1.3 million tons in 2008. This is compared with a normal seasonal crop of about 1.9 million ton.
Australia has some 7,500 grape growers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Vineyards in Paso Are Bugged!

Has Alberto gone into the wine business? You heard it here first... unless, of course, you also get press releases from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

Don't worry about talking your head off as you roam through the area's vineyards, the bugs are the beneficial kind.

Paso Robles is actually on the forefront of the wine industry's adoption of sustainable farming practices. Part of this effort incorporates a
Biologically Integrated Farming Systems program driven by the Paso Robles based Central Coast Vineyard Team.

Many Paso Robles vineyards are using beneficial insects that eat vineyard damaging mites. This reduces pesticide use and promotes a healthy soil base.

From watershed management to alternative fuels and solar power, more and more of Paso Robles wineries are pursuing sustainable practices and practicing responsible stewardship of the land.

And it could be a new slogan: "Farm Responsibly So We Can Drink Responsibly."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trophy Looking for a Roadie

Check out the trophy that goes to the winners of the 2007 Winery Music Awards. The big final is Sunday, October 7th at the River Oaks Hot Springs & Spa in Paso Robles.

If you haven't made it to any of these yet, don't miss the finals. I have seen some amazing talent at three events. Last Saturday Holiday And The Adventure Pop Collective were just incredibly entertaining. Totally unique.

Fun people, great music, fine wines and good food... need I say more?

And, if you're way far away, you can check out the event's live stream
on Oct. 7th at their website. Or click here: Live WMA Stream

Check it all out at Winery Music Awards site.

Trophy Fun Facts:
Design by: Kathy Kelly, John Olt, Kent Kahlen,
John Kemple
Bronze Sculptor, John Olt, Paso Robles
Glass blower, Kent Kahlen, Laguna Beach
Granite, Valley Tile & Stone, Templeton
Fabrication, John Kemple, Genesis Bronze, Paso Robles

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who's Dan? And Why Do You Need to Know Him?

During my day job of consulting wineries on how to best market their brands I encountered a unique web based "human powered network." It's called

They are still in beta at this moment and are preparing a section dedicated to wine tasting rooms and wine related events. Which is kinda how I got involved.

The interesting part, to those of you interested in fine wine and good food, is that you can sign up for "savings based" alerts on lunches, dinners, tickets to events, etc.

From my perspective (helping wineries market themselves) I could see the situation where it's the day before an event and you've got 15 unsold tickets. The business can fire an email to and send subscribers (who have signed up to be alerted to such deals) and offer them $10 off the ticket price.

One example, the Winery Music Awards offers 10% off a pair of tickets to their big finals event when you buy online at and use the promo code "iKnowDan."

I do quite a bit of web based research and helping clients improve their web based marketing tools and I've never seen anything like I signed up two days ago!

The Blog Catalog

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bruce Lee vs. The Orange Panda

I'm not making this up. We had lots of fun with the owner and general manager (Bruce Lee and Toshi Maruta, respectively) of SLO's hottest new Japanese restaurant, Sushiya.

They were entertaining and informative on the air and then insisted that Kathy and I join them for lunch, laughs and Karioke.

Keep an ear out for their upcoming gourmet Sake Tastings and other fun events. We'll keep you updated on
the show as to all the goings on at Sushiya.

The Orange Panda is on the plate that Kathy and are holding up in the photo.

Toshi is quite the crooner!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rolling in the Clover with a $12 Cup of Coffee

So where do you find a good cup of $12 coffee? I found it in Avila Beach last Saturday at the new Joe Mamma's coffee place (310 Front St.).

To celebrate their grand opening they were serving world’s best and most expensive coffee, Hacienda la Esmeralda (as recognized by the Specialty Roasters Association), which is about $200 a pound for the beans.

Their coffees are ground and brewed one cup at a time via a machine that is shaking up the whole retail coffee industry; is called The Clover.

Last year the Clover 1s won the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Best New Product: Coffee & Tea Preparation Equipment (Commercial) prize. Joe Mamma's Clover is the only one between LA and San Francisco.

Joe Momma's is great looking place and there's lots of coffee choices well under $12!

Also on hand for Saturday's coffee buzz was Heather Perry of Klatch Coffee Roasters. She had just recently returned from Tokyo where she won second place in the World Barista Competition. In 2003 she was named "World's Top Barista."

Heather knows more about coffee and the retail coffee business than anyone I've ever talked to. No small wonder that she's the only U.S. citizen to win the Barista competition twice.

"Heather Perry from Coffee Klatch was, as usual, a total polished pro. Here she serves her pumpkin specialty drink."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Where's Chuck On This Chart?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

In Memorial x 2

At right is Michael Jackson (circa early 90's) tasting the line of SLO Brew Ales. Pouring the brews is owner, Mike Hoffman.

Acclaimed beer writer Michael Jackson left us 8/31/07 at age 65

I met Michael at ye olde SLO Brew in the very early '90's when I was handling the marketing duties for the brewery. His encyclopedic knowledge of beers from around the world was perfectly paired with his droll sense of humor.

Michael Jackson, England's renowned beer historian, writer and television personality on both sides of the pond has died at his home in London.

His longtime partner, Paddy Gunningham, said Jackson died from a heart attack. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease for years. She said he had planned to write a book about his ailment.

"He was simply the best beer writer we've ever known," Tim Hampson, chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers, told the Associated Press. "He told wonderful stories about beer, breweries and far away places. He told the story of beer through people, and he was humorous and erudite at the same time."

Among Jackson's books are two dealing with his favorites, Belgian brews: "The Great Beers of Belgium" and "World Guide to Beer." In his work, he wrote for magazines, did television appearances in the UK and the United States, and wrote a series of books about beer and whiskeys that were published in 18 languages.

Happy Beer Hunting, Michael. We trust that the lyrics from the popular Polka, "In Heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here," is only a fiction.

Alfred Peet passes on 8/31/07 at age 87

Just as SLObispoians get ready to celebrate the opening of our first Peet's Coffee & Tea, word comes that Alfred Peet, who founded Peet's Coffee & Tea and opened its first store 41 years ago in Berkeley, died Wednesday at his home in Ashland, Oregon, the company said today.

Mr. Peet opened the coffee roaster's first store in 1966, followed by outlets in Menlo Park (1971), Piedmont Avenue in Oakland (1978) and another Berkeley store across from the Claremont Hotel in 1980. He retired in 1983.

Mr. Peet was born in Alkmaar, Holland. He cleaned machinery and did other odd jobs at his father's coffee roastery in Alkmaar before World War II.

After the war, Mr. Peet became an apprentice at Lipton's Tea in London, then moved to Indonesia to work in the tea business there.

He immigrated to San Francisco in 1955 and went to work at a coffee importer, E.A. Johnson & Co.
He opened his first Peet's at Walnut and Vine streets in Berkeley, installing a small roaster in the shop's back room.

Legend has it that the founders of Starbuck's sought Mr. Peet's advice on how to buy and properly roast coffee before opening their first shop.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Paso Robles Olive Festival Pits Peaches Against Mozzarella!

In honor of the Paso Robles Olive Festival that's happening this Saturday, August 25th from 10am – 5pm, in downtown Paso I uploaded this recipe from our friends, the Kahan family, at Vineyard Canyon Ranch Olive Oil. And it sound like a tasty combination for any summer time occasion.

Fresh Peach and Mozzarella Salad

4 ripe white peaches sliced

8 oz. fresh Mozzarella (I used the small balls)

1 Cup fresh chopped basil

Kosher Salt (I used Sea Salt)

Pepper to taste

2-3 Tbsp. Vineyard Canyon Ranch Olive Oil (I used the Gold Blend but any of our blends will do)

Mix together first 5 ingredients and then drizzle with Olive Oil. Let sit for an hour or so at room temp or the fridge before serving.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Free the Grapes!

Free the Grapes! is a national, grassroots coalition of consumers, wineries and retailers who seek to remove restrictions in states that still prohibit consumers from purchasing wines directly from wineries and retailers.

* Wisconsin Consumers: Click Here to maintain shipping!

Click here to send a message to your state legislators today!

35 Buck Chuck, Anyone?

Sing along with Craig Nuttycombe's
Two Buck Chuck song.

Study: California Wines under $40 Most Popular in US Restaurants

According to research firm Winemetrics LLC, US restaurants are most likely to feature California wines that sell for less than $39 a bottle.

In the company's first annual On-Premise Wine Distribution Report, Winemetrics ranks the nation's top 100 wine brands based on the frequency of their inclusion on restaurant wine lists.

At the top of the list were Beringer, Kendall-Jackson, and Robert Mondavi brands. Beaulieu Vineyards brand took fourth place, and Washington State-produced Chateau St. Michelle took fifth place. Only 15 wine brands produced outside the United States -- from France, Italy, Australia, and Chile -- made it to the list.

Figures for Winemetrics' study came from over 10,000 casual and fine-dining restaurants in 20 states. The company conceded that the majority of restaurants in the survey were casual locations, noting that upscale restaurants had more extensive lists.

The full report is available for purchase on the Winemetrics Web site at

Source: Reuters

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sign of the (LA)Times & How's It Hangin'

Big congrats to our friends, the Kobayashi family, for the glowing review they received from a tough restaurant critic in last Wednesday's (8.8.07) L.A. Times. Shandi Kobayashi was on last Saturday's show with one of our favorite area winemakers, Don Kleck, of Silver Stone Winery.
Check out the article at this link: Artisan Offers Sharp Urban Style ....

Need wine glass storage? And a new chandelier?
This item will light up your life (unless you have completely switched over to "O" glasses).

These fixtures multi-task as a chandelier and wine glass holder. The smaller $495 version holds 16 stemmed glasses, while the $749 version holds 40. The lamp comes in three finishes: black, clear and chrome lacquered.
The Glasklasen Lamp available through

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Meridian's Box 'O Gold & Vine Dinning With a Movie

We had Lee Miyamura, winemaker for Meridian Vineyards, on last Saturday's show and she was proudly showing off a boxed set of their Mid-State Fair Gold Medal winners; a Sauvignon Blanc, Late Harvest Riesling, and an '04 Paso Robles Cabernet.
Big congrats to Lee and her Meridian crew for producing these award winning wines. And, btw, if you have not yet tasted Lee's Zinfandel you've got a real treat in store.

I've rarely seen people get so excited about a new food-wine related service like they do about Cinema e Vino. They've been putting on Italian picnic dinners in the vineyards featuring classic movies shown on a high quality outdoor setup. Where's the popcorn you ask? It's also like no other you've had; an Equadorian recipe that begins with rare, imported Inca corn. Check out their really nice website for details, photos and schedule.

Check out the hot buy that our Wine Whisperer has discovered by clicking his link or photo. The link takes you to an orange "Download" button. Click it and the audio file will land on your desktop.