Posts Tagged ‘A’

Your money or your wine ...

Your money or your wine …

 

Need a loan? Why not offer up those thousand-dollar wines as collateral

The next time you need a loan, consider throwing in the vintage you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

According to Bloomberg News, Goldman Sachs accepted nearly 15,000 wine bottles as loan collateral from Andrew Cader, a former senior director of the bank’s specialist-trading unit. Loans are typically secured by assets like real estate, yachts, and artwork, but because of the low-seven-digit dollar market value of the wines, Goldman accepted the collection. Included in the mix of bottles, mostly from the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, is a 1929 bottle of Domaine de la Romaine Conti that would normally sell for nearly $4,000.
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French wine in a can?

French wine in a can?

 

Making its debut at the prestigious Vinexpo beginning Sunday in Bordeaux: French wine in a can!

Will Winestar’s single-serving cans create a riot in the hallowed halls of the international wine and spirits fair?  Maybe not.

The Paris-based company isn’t dealing in the generic swill those adorable single-serving bottles typically hold. Their wines are all A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Each 187-milliliter can (one-fourth the size of a typical 750-milliliter bottle) lists the wine estate, the appellation and the grape varietals as well as the vintage. Working with the European office of Ball Packaging, Winestar founder Cédric Segal developed a can with a coating inside “to make total isolation between the wine and the can.”

The first series hails from Château de L’Ille from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France. The white is a blend of the local Rolle (Vermentino) grape, vintage 2011. The rosé is Syrah and Grenache, vintage 2012. And the red is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from the 2011 vintage. The cans sell for about $3.30 to $4.

Segal says he got the idea when he was traveling in Asia and saw that Australia was selling quality wine there in cans. Why couldn’t that work just as well with French wines?

He realizes that the French have a very strong tradition with the bottle and doesn’t expect the can to be adopted immediately in France. “Most export markets, though, have already accepted the screw cap and synthetic cork, so it’s not such a big leap,” Segal said.

 

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As he often does, wine scribe Joe Roberts wrote something relevant the other day. He explained that for those considering how they might make a name for themselves, for their writing and for their wine knowledge through publishing, this person should strongly consider SPECIALIZING.

By this, Joe simply means it’s much easier to get the attention of potential readers if your authority and wine writing revolves around a specific subject within the wine niche, rather than trying to publish information that broadly falls under the larger subject heading of “Wine”. In other words, the writer looking to gain an audience for his wine thoughts and ideas is more likely to achieve a larger audience by writing regularly and authoritatively on “Zinfandel”, than just on “wine”.

I’ve heard this advice before. I’ve been in seminars where this advice is given. I’ve given this advice myself. But what you rarely hear is advice on exactly what niche wine subject is ripe for owning by a smart, new writer dreaming of success as an author or blogger. What you don’t hear is someone pointing out a subject area that has largely been ignored, but that is also ripe for extensive examination and exploration because it’s a fairly large niche. Identifying that kind of subject matter would be a gift to the wine loving writer that wants to make their mark.

This is what I’m going to do right now.
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Starting a business can be exhausting, exciting and exhilarating–all at the same time. This is precisely why it’s refreshing to hear words of encouragement from those who have done it before–and succeeded. We spoke with entrepreneurs we admire to cull the single best bit of startup advice they could muster–and the experiences that led to it. They’re simple mottoes, to be sure, but their impact can be tremendous.

“Don’t think, do.”
So said a stranger to Jeff Curran, founder and CEO of Curran Catalog, a high-end home furnishings company in Seattle, more than 20 years ago.

The two men were sitting next to each other on a cross-country flight, and Curran, then 25, had just broken into the catalog business. They got to talking, and Curran spilled his idea for a startup while his neighbor interjected with devil’s-advocate questions. When the plane landed and the two rose to claim their bags from the overhead bins, the stranger finally opened up his can of insight. Those three words inspired Curran to pour $15,000 of his own cash into launching his company, which has grown into a profitable B2B and B2C brand.

“After that plane flight, I’m sitting in the bathroom at my parents’ house and I pick up [a financial] magazine, and this guy was on the cover,” remembers Curran, now 47. Turns out the man was mutual-fund maven Mario Gabelli.

Curran still lives by Gabelli’s advice. Earlier this year, after learning about profit margins in the high-end car-accessories business, Curran Catalog launched a new product line: designer flooring for collector and European automobiles. “There is such a thing as overthinking a big decision,” Curran says. “Sometimes you just have to get it done.”

“Let your customers lead the way.”
Anupy Singla never intended to build her business around this philosophy, but the more she looks back on the history of Indian as Apple Pie, her Chicago-based Indian food-products business, the more she credits customers with driving her strategy.

 
Exhibit A: When Facebook followers complained they were having trouble finding certain Indian spices, Singla equipped her company to buy those spices from manufacturers and offer them for sale. Exhibit B: After friends and neighbors asked her to show them around Chicago’s Little India, Singla began hosting intimate tours of the shops on Devon Avenue for $50 per person. Even her Spice Tiffin, a modernized version of a traditional Indian storage container for spices, went to market at the behest of customers.

“The point of view for this company is to make Indian food easy and accessible,” says Singla, who was born in Chandigarh, India, and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was a child. “If customers are saying they want certain things, it’s up to me to give them what they want.”

Singla’s ultimate goal is to sell her products in retail stores across the country. Until then, however, she plans to leverage her responsive customer base to test-market products and see what sticks. “If something isn’t right,” she says, “they’ll let me know.”

 

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Don't forget the consumers with a sweet tooth!

Don’t forget the consumers with a sweet tooth!

 

The wine industry is failing to keep up with changing tastes among consumers, according to drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth of Mintel, speaking at the LIWF today.

 

Forsyth said consumers are becoming increasingly sweet toothed and adventurous in the products they choose.

 

However, he added, unlike other industries the wine trade is failing to keep up, to its commercial detriment.

 

Forsyth said: “Consumers are evolving, I’m not convinced that wine is evolving quite enough to follow this.”

 

He added sugar consumption in the UK had risen by 31% since 1990, with the average Brit now consuming 700g of sugar each week while in the US each American consumes 130lb of sugar per year.

 

Forsyth said the impact can already be seen in the industry, with rosé now having a market share in the UK of 11%, up from just 1% 10 years ago.

 

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The critic.

The critic.

 

Influential critics have long played an important role in our discovery of many of life’s pleasures but are noticeably absent from others. Ardent fans of the movies, theater, literature and other areas of interest often look to familiar and trusted critics for guidance in unearthing new products and adventures as they emerge.

We tend to identify with a critic’s personal preferences and subjective direction on a range of important topics and use these “critiques” as suggestions, rather than point-driven rules, in steering the way to what might be appealing to us.

So why has the wine critic’s role taken on such a different and more rigid path in the appreciation, marketing and consequent production of wine by “awarding” completely objective scores behind a subjective facade?

A critic should be a reliable source of information for those interested, by conveying seasoned personal opinions through a review. But when a point score (without published derivation or computation) is attached, the review assumes the appearance of objectivity but remains couched in the more familiar subjective style.

Certainly there are expert reviewers and writers voicing their experienced personal opinions on what’s new in the market, but have you ever seen a dress with a 96-point rating or a perfume bearing an 85-point score? I doubt it. Yet the opinion makers in these industries do get their fair share of media time and space with detailed descriptions and observations that followers can accept or reject within their own frame of reference.

I guess this all leads to the basic question: “Is the critic’s role one of opinion or judgment?” And it’s often this question, phrased in different ways, that becomes the subject of many discussions I’ve had with others in and out of the wine industry.

 

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My reward ...

My reward …

 

“It’s a way to be bad while being good.”

Sacha Scoblic, 38, author of “Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety,” summarizes the double-edged allure of drinking. It’s a legal mode of escapism, and the camaraderie over talking about drinking is as intoxicating as the buzz itself — especially among mothers.

“I need a drink!” is shorthand for “I’ve worked hard, and I’ve earned it.” And what mom wouldn’t cop to being busy?

The whine-wine culture is celebrated in books like “Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay” and websites like Moms Who Need Wine, a Boston-based group with more than a half-million members (“If you’re not sure you could survive motherhood without a stockpile of your favorite Red, then you’ve come to the right place!”) There’s a wine label called MommyJuice (“Because you deserve it”), not to be confused with Mommy’s Time Out (“Need a break? Take a Mommy’s Time Out!”)
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A student at Arizona State University, who passed out after a drinking competition, was left in a wheelchair in a hospital lobby with a Post-it note telling doctors that he had been drinking.
Police are now considering whether to charge the 19-year-old student, who has not been named, with underage drinking.

Police spokesman Sgt Michael Pooley said that the student was found in the emergency room lobby of St Luke’s Hospital in Tempe, Arizona. The note had been stuck to the student saying that he had been drinking and he needed help.

 

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Raging california wildfire!

Raging California wildfire do not stop agricultural work!

 

A group of farm laborers who chose to seek shelter from the suffocating smoke of a California wildfire last week were terminated for taking a break.

At least 15 workers at Crisalida Farms in Oxnard, California, found themselves struggling to breathe last week as the Camarillo Springs wildfire blackened the sky with smoke and ash. The blaze damaged more than a dozen houses, threatened 4,000 homes, and burned a store of highly toxic pesticides that caught fire at an agricultural property.

Located just 11 miles south of the fire, workers at the Southern California strawberry farm had a difficult time breathing as they laboriously worked in the fields. Their boss had warned them that taking a break would compromise their jobs, and they were faced with a dilemma.

“The ashes were falling on top of us,” one of the workers told NBC LA. “[But] they told us if we leave, there would be no job to return to.”

On the evening of May 2, the Camarillo fire had reached about 10,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained. About 11,500 people had been evacuated at this point as hazmat teams warned locals not to inhale the smoke – especially since it contained toxic chemicals from the pesticides that had caught on fire.

 

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(Image by Hanson Chiropractic Center)

(Image by Hanson Chiropractic Center)

 

When it comes to the secrets of living to 100, the life-giving properties of alcoholic drinks have featured in the top tips from many centenarians.
There have been many health benefits associated with alcohol, when consumed in moderation, including battling lung cancer, lowering cholesterol and helping with arthritis.

Recent celebrants include Helen Kimsey from Lincolnshire, who celebrated her 100th birthday in February saying that a glass of white wine was her secret. While in March Jim Baines from Norfolk reached his 100th birthday saying that a regular drink of Guinness was the key.

Simone from Paris celebrated her 104th birthday with a glass (or two) of Drappier Champagne. Simone’s daughter, who is herself in her 80s, said that the drink “keeps you young”. Yesterday we revealed that new research has suggested that three glasses of Champagne every week can help boost memory and stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia.

So we have looked back at the tips from a number of centenarians, who have answered that common question on a 100th birthday: “What is the secret to a long life?”

If you want to get your telegram from the Queen, then these are the top tips from those who have been there and done that.

 
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