Current Beverage Bulletin

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor


August-September 2018



I'm like old wine. They don't bring me out very often - but I'm well preserved. - Rose Kennedy

In this month's edition:

Headline News Stories - Drinks till 4 AM!, Robert Drouhin Collection of DRC to be Sold


Celebrities in the Industry - Chris Noth, Bono, Kobe Bryant, Metallica, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Michael Seresin


Books - By Any Other Name, Drink Beer Think Beer, Wine Reads, That's the Spirit, The Silver Book of Cocktails, 150 Bars You Need to Visit Before You Die,

Where to Drink Beer


Politics and the Law - Natural Wine Legally Defined, Banned Boston, Labor Shortage, Bourbon Tariffs, Wine Tariffs in China, De Niro vs. Trump,


Media - Mindful Meditation with Beer


Wine - Most Expensive Wine Dinner, Industry Consolidation, Shippers Breaking Bottles, Early Harvest in Europe, French President's Wine Cellar Opened to the Public, Virginia Grapes Stolen, Record Grape Prices in Tasmania, Italy moves into #1, Royal Visit, Woman Arrested in Dubai for Drinking Wine, 1863 Port, White Wine Emoji, West Sonoma Coast AVA, China Biggest Online Market, Prosecco Wedding Dress


Beer - Beer Sales Decline in 2017, UK Hops Harvest Scarce, Earthquake Halts Brewing, Keg Stand


Spirits - Emmy Award Drinks, Bob Dylan Sued for Whiskey Name, Record Price for Bottle of 1805 Cognac, What Do Celebrities Drink? (Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, Gwyneth Paltrow, Busy Philipps, Brie Larson, Mariah Carey, Thomas Brett and Lauren Akins), He Didn't Drink and Drive


Other Foods and Beverages - CO2 Shortage, Pepsi Buys SodaStream, Big Macs & White Gloves, Oops!, Animal Crackers Freed


The Changing Market – Uber


Recipes - Sex on the Beach





Health - Alcohol Used in Cancer Cure

...and as always. Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar




Headline News Stories


Drinks till 4 AM!


Senate Bill 905 has been passed by the legislature and sits on Governor Brown's desk at this writing. Once signed, the bill will allow 9 cities to extend bar hours to 4AM. The cities are San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Coachella, Cathedral City, and Palm Springs. This is a 5 year pilot program that will still require the cities to enact their own legislation to change closing hours to 4AM.


Robert Drouhin Collection of DRC to be Sold


An unparalleled sale from the famed Burgundy estate will take place on October 13 in New York and feature 100 lots spanning 1937-1964. These wines were all acquired by the Drouhin family when they served as the exclusive distributor of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in France and Belgium. The highlights of the sale include three magnums of 1937 Romanée-Conti as well as bottles from 1938, 1945, 1959 and 1964; bottles of La Tâche 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945 and a magnum of 1959 and bottles of Richebourg 1947, 1959 and 1961. Sotheby's will be the auctioneer.


Celebrities in the Industry



Chris Noth, star of Sex & the City, Law & Order, and The Good Wife has bought a majority stake in Ambhar Tequila. Importing and National distribution will be handled by Republic National Distributing Company.


Bono is reported to be partnering with Paddy McKillen to turn Ballykelly Mill into an Irish Whisky distillery. Applications have been filed by Mckillen for the project. McKillen owns a chain of 28 hotels, bars, and restaurants across Ireland. He and Bono have been close friends for many years.


Kobe Bryant invested $6 million for a 10% stake in Body Armor Sports Drink in 2014. What's that worth now? A cool $200 million.


The heavy metal band, Metallica, will soon release their own Whiskey named Blackened in honor of their 1988 hit. While the Bourbon is aged, their music is played to help “shape” the flavor of the Whiskey.


Rapper, 50 Cent, is selling his own Champagne named Le Chemin du Roi. The wine is produced for him in Reims. The Blanc de Blancs sells for $1,000 per 750ml. (Brut goes for only $199). Each bottle is decorated with a gold plated cross and sold only to “winners.”



Singer, Snoop Dogg, has written his own cook book and bar book, entitled From Crook to Cook. The featured recipe is for Gin & Juice. He was inspired to write this book after a successful authoring partnership with Martha Stewart on their co-authored book. Gin & Juice is the title of a song in his debut album, Doggystyle. In celebration, he is now listed in Guinness World Records with a 550 liter Gin & Juice he mixed at Napa Valley's recent BottleRock. The drink was 5 feet tall and was made with 180 bottles of Hendrick's Gin.


Cinematographer, Michael Seresin, owns Seresin Estate in Marlborough, UK. The estate produces Pinot Noir. Seresin's credits include the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.



By Any Other Name


I didn't know there was a name for it. The Japanese have one! Tsundoko: the art of collecting books and not reading them. Apparently, it's not a bad thing in Japanese. And then I found out there's an English word for it too: Bibliomania. Never mind. These are all good books that someone in our industry must need!



Drink Beer, Think Beer by John Holl, Basic Books, 272 pages, $26. Right here, right now is the best time in the history of mankind to be a beer drinker. America now has more breweries than at any time since prohibition, and globally, beer culture is thriving and constantly innovating. Drinkers can order beer brewed with local yeast or infused with moondust. However, beer drinkers are also faced with uneven quality and misinformation about flavors. And the industry itself is suffering from growing pains, beset by problems such as unequal access to taps, skewed pricing, and sexism. Drawing on history, economics, and interviews with industry insiders, John Holl provides a complete guide to beer today, allowing readers to think critically about the best beverage in the world. Full of entertaining anecdotes and surprising opinions, Drink Beer, Think Beer is a must-read for beer lovers, from casual enthusiasts to die-hard hop heads.


Wine Reads by Jay McInerney, Atlantic Monthly Press, 320 pages, $27. In this richly literary anthology, Jay McInerney―bestselling novelist and acclaimed wine columnist for Town & Country, Wall Street Journal, and House and Garden―selects over twenty pieces of memorable fiction and nonfiction about the making, selling, and of course, drinking of fine wine. To be release this November.


That's the Spirit by Johnathan Ray, Quadrille Publishing, 176 pages $22.99. Calling all spirit enthusiasts, wannabe mixologists and fans of aperitifs and digestifs... That's the Spirit! is here to guide and entertain you through the world of spirits and liqueurs, including whiskies both familiar and surprising, dangerous tequila and mezcal, gin and its Dutch counterpart genever, under-rated grappa, love-it-or-hate-it Bailey's, legendary absinthe and enough rum to make you book a flight to Jamaica immediately. To be released this October.


The Silver Book of Cocktails by Carla Bardi, McRae Books, 504 pages, $72 (used copies available under $10). This 2008 book has more than 1,000 drink recipes—from aperitifs, long drinks, shooters, and mocktails to classic and frozen cocktails—this is the only cocktail guide a host will ever need. A fact-filled introduction provides an overview of the history of cocktails, then gives practical advice on every aspect of preparing and serving cocktails, from how to stock a home bar to choosing the right glass and the perfect garnish. The book is superbly illustrated with more than 320 photographs of the drinks themselves, plus many more showing glasses, garnishes, equipment, liqueurs, cordials, and wines.


150 Bars You Need to Visit Before You Die by Jurgen Lijcops, Lanoo Publishers, 288 pages. $34.95. Jurgen Lijcops has been working as a sommelier and spirits connoisseur in some of the most esteemed restaurants. He travels the world to constantly expand his knowledge, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he knows the most exquisite bars, where you can sit back and enjoy some of the best cocktails and spirits around. In 2016 he started his own Bar Burbure, where he serves the most refined cocktails and long drinks. That same year it was awarded the title of best bar concept. He was elected best sommelier of Belgium and best host of Belgium twice by Gault Millau.


Where to Drink Beer by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, Phaidon Press, 480 pages, $29.95. Where to Drink Beer is the ultimate guide by the real experts - 500 of the world's most revered brewers reveal the little-known, eclectic, and surprising destinations they visit for their ultimate beer. With 1,600 listings in more than 70 countries - and detailed maps, reviews, key information, honest comments, and suggestions - there is nothing like it.


Politics and the Law


Natural Wine Legally Defined


The far right parties in the French National Assembly are petitioning to create a legal definition of natural wine. Marie Franche-Lorho of the Ligue du Sud said “There is a historic French will to produce and maintain a certain standard for wines produced via healthy methods that respect the vineyards and the earth.”


Banned Boston


Joseph Curtatone, the mayor of Somerville, Mass. has tweeted that he will never drink Sam Adams Boston Lager again. He decided that after Adams' Jim Koch praised President Trump at a dinner honoring Trump.




De Niro vs. Trump


Robert De Nero has banned Donald Trump from all his Nobu restaurants and hotels.


Labor Shortage


Winemakers in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino are having to pay higher wages to pickers this year due to competition with Cannabis growers. The problem has been exacerbated by the threat of immigration agents raiding the fields during harvest.


Bourbon Tariffs


Kentucky Bourbon makers are facing a 25% tariff in Mexico in retaliation for a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on Aluminum imported from Mexico.


Wine Tariffs in China


The Wine Institute reports that U.S. wine exports to China increased 14% for the first half of 2018 despite the new tariffs as the U.S./China trade war continues. Shipments for the period totaled $38.4 million. President Trump announced another round of tariffs in Chinese products that take effect September 24. The new tariffs are in addition to those existing; open at 10% and increase to 25% by the end of December. Consumers should look for higher prices this holiday season on everything coming from China. Meanwhile China immediately announced 10% additional tariffs on 5,207 U.S. produced products also starting September 24. Included are U.S. wine, beer, and spirits; which already had tariffs of over 50%.



Mindful Meditation with Beer


Stella Artois has introduced Stellaspce, a meditation guide to enjoying a beer. Actor, Luke Evans, takes listeners through a 20 minute sensory journey to guide them through a 12 sip mindful appreciation of the beer.




Most Expensive Wine Dinner


The Fine Wine Experience will host the world's most expensive wine dinner. You can attend for $108,000. The dinner will feature 14 wines from the 19th Century. Wines include pre-phyloxera Ch. Lafite Rothschild and Ch. Giscours 1865, Bouchard Meursault-Charmes 1846, Beaune-Greves Vigne l'Enfant 1865 & 1892, Montrachet 1885, Ch Latour 1892 & 1896, Lafite Rothschild 1874, Ch d'Yquem 1896, Jean Bourdy Blanc Vieux d'Arlay 1898 from Jura. The oldest wine for the evening will be Tokaji Aszu 5 Buttig. The promoter, Linden Wilke, claims the provenance of all bottles is impeccable and has provided it with the invitations. Wilkie was asked if the wines are all drinkable. His answer is that that is a risk All wine becomes undrinkable in the end – none is truly immortal, though some are known to be able to age for decades and even centuries… Great examples from great terroir from 19th century vintages, if well-stored and cared for, can still be delicious. Sometimes they... can seem faded, delicate, a bit fragile. Other times they can be remarkably delicious, full, and alive. ...But its not the main reason to explore such old vintages. It’s the privilege to taste something previous generations have conserved for us.” Could the food possibly match the wines?


Industry Consolidation


Rabobank predicts continued consolidation at all levels of the wine industry. The only constant they see is disruptive change forced by new technology. “Changes in technology, business models and market structure are disrupting the global wine market and creating new sets of winners and losers among wholesalers, retailers, and suppliers.” Direct to consumer wineries and mergers are one factor. Smaller harvests caused by global warming are a factor creating scarcity that shifts control of resources. New winners and losers will be determined as the industry moves forward.


Shippers Breaking Bottles


UPS and FedEx are confiscating and disposing of some wines shipped from New York retailers to out of state customers. UPS said this: "UPS does not confiscate customers' packages. As stated in the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service: UPS reserves the right to dispose of any alcoholic beverages tendered for shipment which Shippers are prohibited from shipping, which UPS is not authorized to accept, or which UPS has a right to refuse. Non-compliant shipments of alcoholic beverages identified in the UPS may be either returned to the shipper or disposed of. When feasible, UPS will return shipments to the shipper. When it is not feasible UPS will dispose of the shipment in accordance with federal, state, and local laws." The carriers are within their rights because New York laws prevent shipments beyond state borders. Retailers have been unwilling to complain about the situation because it would identify them to the New York State Liquor Authority.


Early Harvest in Europe


2018 will be the earliest harvest on record in Germany. Growers in the Rheinhessen began picking grapes the first week in August. The ongoing heat wave broiling Europe has brought early ripening to vineyards while other farmers face bare fields with failed crops. The harvests in Champagne and Alsace began coming in as early as the 3rd week in August. The Champagne houses were pleased with both the quantity and quality of the grapes while still concerned about the effects of global warming.


French President's Wine Cellar Opened to the Public


French President, Emmanuel Macron, has opened the presidential wine cellar for public tour. The wine cellar was founded in 1947 and stores more than 14,000 bottles. The cellar is flanked by an underground kitchen and florist. Wines for state occasions are selected by the head chef and the cellarmaster, with the final approval being made by Madame and Monsieur Macron.


White Wine Emoji


Kendall Jackson has petitioned Unicode, the governing body that sets global coding standards, asking for a white wine emoji which could be used in emails. “The existing wine glass emoji, depicted as a glass of red wine, does not properly represent one of the most popular and widely consumed adult beverages – white wine.”


Virginia Grapes Stolen


Thieves picked the grapes overnight at Firefly Vineyards in Virginia, stealing 2 1/2 tons of grapes estimated at $50,000. The grapes were scheduled to be picked on September 11 and were stolen overnight on September 10. Firefly is planted in Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Merlot, Niagara, and Cayuga.


Record Grape Prices in Tasmania


Tasmania set new records for grape prices. The cooler climate to the south of Australia made for a high quality harvest of super-premium sparkling wine grapes. Only 16,280 tons were picked, but prices averaged $2,997 per ton. Tasmania produced only .91% of Australia's wine grapes, but brought in 4.37% of revenue.


Italy is #1


The 2018 wine harvest in Italy was 14% larger than 2017's. As of this year Italy produces more wine than any other country.

Prosecco will produce more than 600 million bottles of fizz from this year's crop. Prosecco is now produces twice the quantity of sparkling wine that is made in Champagne.


Royal Visit


On their recent visit to Canada, Prince William and Kate Middleton spent a day at the Mission Hill Winery in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. “We are incredibly grateful and humbled to have The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Mission Hill Family Estate,” Mission Hill Winery Owner Anthony von Mandl said at the time. “This is truly a gift for the Okanagan Valley and will provide an unprecedented opportunity to showcase to the world the very best of British Columbia’s wine and food industry.”


Woman Arrested in Dubai for Drinking Wine


Ellie Holman, a 44-year-old dentist from Sweden, who lives in the UK with her husband and their three children, was arrested on July 13 after landing in Dubai with her 4-year-old daughter, according to the Press Association. When they landed in Dubai, a government official told her she had to return to the UK because her visa was invalid. She then took out her phone and started recording the incident. The official then asked her if she had been consuming alcohol. She admitted that she had a complementary glass of wine on the Emirates flight. She was then taken into custody for filming the incident and drinking alcohol. Both are illegal in Dubai. Holman and her daughter had their passports and electronic devices confiscated.


1863 Port


Niepoort Ports will release a limited number of bottles of 1863 Port in Lalique decanters. The wine was made by the owners ancestor, Francisco Marius van der Niepoort in 1863. Each of the decanters will be signed and numbered. The wine was previously decanted in 1905. According to Dirk van der Niepoort “It is an incredibly rare Port, the result of years of dedication and craftsmanship. A big wine, but very refined, not too sweet but highly concentrated – it is the oldest Port we have ever bottled, and we wanted to do something very special with it.”


West Sonoma Coast AVA


Vineyard owners on the western edge of the Coast Range have petitioned the TTB (Tax & Trade Bureau) to separate from the Sonoma Coast AVA and become a new “West Sonoma Coast AVA.” Their contention is that their wines are distinctly different from the rest of the current AVA. The thin sliver of land along the coast gets sea breezes and sits directly above the San Andreas Fault which has pushed different soils up from below the surface. The region is a sweet spot for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Approval of the new AVA is expected in 2019.


China Biggest Online Market


China has quickly become the world's biggest online wine market. Online sales in the country total $6.1 billion in U.S. dollars. That's 4 times the online sales in the U.S.



Prosecco Wedding Dress


...and finally. Kelly McMillan loves Prosecco so much that she commissioned a local blacksmith in Edinburgh, Scotland to make a steel frame to fasten 50 glasses of the wine to her wedding dress. The dress proved popular and Kelly is now renting it to other brides for 100. Note: the brides need to be pretty tough to wear it. The frame alone weighs 72lbs. Then add the wine and the dress. The total is about 120 lbs.




Beer Sales Decline in 2017


Recently released data show that overall beer sales in the U.S. for 2017 fell 1%, yet craft beer sales rose 5%. Craft beer is more popular than ever, accounting for almost 13 out of every 100 beers sold.

However, some of craft beer’s leading brands are stumbling. Of the nation’s five largest craft breweries, four saw sales drop between 2016 and 2017, while one merely matched that previous year’s figure. D.G Yuengling & Sons dropped 2%; Boston Beer, 14%; Sierra Nevada, 8%; New Belgium held steady; and Spoetzel fell 3%.

Some prominent breweries prospered — for instance, Escondido's Stone, the country’s eighth largest craft brewery, rose 15%.

UK Hops Harvest Scarce

The hops harvest in the UK was meager due to a drought. Hops farmers are stressing that their produce is high in quality if not quantity.

Earthquake Halts Brewing

Beer production was halted at breweries in Hokkaido, Japan after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake on September 6. Sapporo, Kirin, and Asahi were all affcted along with other smaller brewers.

Keg Stand


...and finally. The Washington Capitals of the NHL did a “keg stand” after winning this year's Stanley Cup. A “keg stand” involves filling the trophy cup with beer. The lifting a player upside down and holding him over the cup so he can drink beer. Star player Alex Ovechkin was lifted by 4 team mates to do the trick. Teams have competed for the Stanley Cup since 1893. The cup has been used for a baby's baptism, a soup bowl, and to serve pasta. But never before has any team tried a “keg stand.” Fearing damage to the trophy, the NHL has outlawed the practice for future celebrations.




Emmy Award Drinks


Diageo's Ketel One Vodka was the featured spirit at the Emmy's. Four custom cocktails were created to showcase the brand. The Labyrinth is made with Ancho Chili liqueur, agave nectar, and carrot juice. Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon was served at dinner. And Ferrari Perle' Brut provided bubbles. The food menu consisted of 35 small plate items created by chef Joachim Splichal and an army of cooks for the 3800 guests.


Bob Dylan Sued for Whiskey Name


Singer, Bob Dylan, is being sued by Heaven Hill Distillery. The distiller claims Dylan's Heaven's Door Tennessee Whiskey infringes on their copyright. Dylan's whiskey is named for his 1973 hit song.


Record Price for Bottle of 1805 Cognac


A bottle of Cognac Massougnes 1805 sold for 200,000 in the UK. The bottle is 3/4 of a gallon and was filled the same year as the Battle of Trafalgar. It came directly from the distillery which has operated continuously since 1730. The distillery is owned by Marie Antoinette de Allees Comtesse de la Bordeliere, a direct descendant of Louis VII. Marie wrote a letter of Provenance which accompanied the bottle.


What Do Celebrities Drink?

Jennifer Aniston

A Cleaner Margarita “It’s basically silver tequila with lime juice shaken and over rocks,” says the former Friends star, Jennifer Aniston. “And some people like a little Cointreau, some don’t. It’s a cleaner margarita. No sugar, no mixes, no agave. I don’t like sweet drinks.”

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift drinks Vodka and Diet Coke according to a People Magazine article. She said that she drinks that favorite when she can with chicken tenders.



Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow said “but I love French fries and cheese and martinis and all that kind of thing.”

Busy Philipps


I guess it’s national tequila day or also, it’s just Tuesday. I drink Margaritas and eat nachos” Busy Philipps wrote on Instagram.

Brie Larson

Went to NOLA for the movie, stayed for the Frose,” said Brie Larson


Mariah Carey


Mariah Carey says she feasts on “morsels” of food and “splashes” of wine.


Thomas Brett and Lauren Akins

Thomas Brett and Lauren Akins say they drink Harry Potter Butterbeer at Universal Studios.


He Didn't Drink and Drive


...and finally. 26 year-old Thomas Airlie celebrated a little too much on a night out with friends. He did the responsible thing. He called cab and got a ride to his parents house. He entered quietly and took off his shoes; got a drink of water; and lay down on the couch to sleep it off. The only problem: his parents had moved two years ago. Later Elaine McDade found Thomas sleeping on her couch. She had her husband drive him to his parents new home. All ended well.


Other Foods and Beverages



Big Macs & White Gloves


The McDonalds restaurant on High Street Kensington in West London was turned into a one day luxury restaurant. Customers had to book reservations in advance. When they arrived at the restaurant they were shown to their tables and served by butlers wearing white gloves. Classic, BBQ, or Spicy Burgers replaced the usual fare. Diners were entertained by a string quartet while they dined with diamond studded cutlery.


CO2 Shortage


A severe shortage of CO2 has hit Europe after the closing of several production plants. The UK is the hardest hit. Bars and stores have been put on allocation for Beer, Cider, and soft drinks. The DRAX Group which operates biomass energy plants will be starting a trial of “biomass carbon capture and storage” to capture CO2 that its power plants release into the atmosphere. Instead the CO2 will be used to fizz drinks.


Pepsi Buys SodaStream


Pepsi has purchased SodaStream for a reported $3 billion. Some analysts see this as a defensive move in a declining market for carbonated drinks.





...and finally. Dunkin' Donuts shops in and around Boston celebrated the opening of NFL football season with special coffee cups that read “Eagles World Champions.” Oops! Those cups should have been shipped to Philadelphia. There was a Twitter Storm and the cups were replaced in less than 24 hours with cups that read “Go Pats.”

Animal Crackers Freed


...and really finally. At last Nabisco has freed its animal crackers. For the past 110 years the little boxes with a cloth strap have depicted circus animals transported in a railroad car with bars keeping them in. The animal rights group, PETA, protested the cruel depiction of circus animals. Nabisco listened and redesigned the box. The new picture will show a zebra, giraffe, elephant, gorilla, and lion roaming in freedom on an African Savannah. However, you will still find the tasty little critters penned up inside the box.

The Changing Market




In western Pennsylvania you can get a lift by horse and buggy by contacting Amish Uber. P.S. Don't try to call their telephone.










Sex on the Beach

as made by Dan Rook, Beverage Manager of the Ever Bar at the Kimpton Everly Hotel.



2 oz Tito's Vodka

3/4 oz Pineapple Juice

3/4 Oz Berry & Peach Tea Syrup (recipe below)

1/2 oz Honey Vinegar (recipe below)

1 scoop Peach Jam

1 Egg White




Shake all ingredients together. Then shake with ice. Strain out the ice and shake again. Garnish with Peychaud's Bitters.



5 bags Lamill Crimson Berry Tea

5 bags Lamill Summer Peach Tea

32 oz Simple Syrup

Steep tea bags for 1 hour in 32 oz of hot water. Take out the tea baga and mix with 32 oz simple syrup.


Honey Vinegar

Equal parts Honey and Champagne Vinegar in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer then cool.








Alcohol Used in Cancer Cure


An article in the journal Scientific Reports said that Scientists at Duke University have tested a cure for cancer with an alcohol based gel. The scientists made the compound by mixing ethanol (the alcohol found in spirits, wine, and beer) with ethyl cellulose, a thickening agent. The result was a gelatin like substance that was injected into tumors in hamsters. The gel dissolved over a period of several days while slowly releasing the alcohol. The alcohol denied the tumors the nutrients they needed and the tumors disappeared. The treatment was 100% successful in this limited test. Continued research is planned. The treatment could lead to effective low cost cures for some cancers that are easier than surgery.


Tasting Notes

Each month we are out there looking for wines that “over deliver”; wines that offer more than others in their category and price level. We search out the wines that you can buy to help build your business; wines that make customers happy and keep them coming back. These are wines we rate as good buys and best buys. Check our notes. The opinions in the reviews are our own and unsolicited. We receive no compensation from wineries or brokers. This month there were several wine tastings that showed some very nice wines available at reasonable prices. The prices shown are approximate retails.


5th Annual Garagiste Festival

This year's Garagiste Festival was well attended and showed the growing maturity and sophistication of this segment of the wine industry. Below we list some of the most outstanding entries. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough space for all.


Alma Sol Winery Chardonnay 2015, Clean, Clear, full flavor, good body and nose, this wine is perfection and ready to drink now. One of our favorites. $28. Contact John or Lisa Shaw at or (818) 231-2749.


Cloak & Dagger Wines Conspirator's Reserve Syrah 2015, all the wines from this producer are big. This one is no exception. Dark, rich, full bodied, good nose, a real treat! $49. Contact Ray Schofield at


L.A. Wine Project is breaking new ground by making Rose' in an urban setting. Rose' of Syrah 2017, Rose' of Mourvedre 2017, Rose' of Grenache 2017. Each of these wines is fresh and fruity, and carries its own distinct varietal characteristics. Each is a bright pink with a good nose. Line priced at $20. Contact Jason Martin or Chuck Carlson at or or (646) 330-0019.


Luna Hart Wines Aurora White 2016, Sauvignon Blanc 40%, Viognier 20%, Rousanne 20%, Semillon 20%. Bright, fresh, fruity, semi-dry. A best buy at $18. Contact Gretchen Voelcker at or (610) 880-6412 or


Marin's Vineyard Late Harvest Viognier 2016, sweet white wine, light in texture and not syrupy, 16.8%. An outstanding late harvest wine for only $15 a 375ml. Contact Marin Wolgamott at (831) 594-0606.


Vinemark Cellars Cabernet Franc 2014, soft, full, dark ruby, good nose, 14.2%, $33. Petite Sirah 2014, soft, full, dark – almost black, good nose, $33. Mezzanote 2013, a blend of Petite Sirah and Primitivo, soft, full, dark ruby, good nose, $32. This winery continues to make great wines and yet seems to get better yet every year. Contact Mark Wasserman (805) 558-1920.


Volatus Wines Bloody Well Right Tannat 2015, Full body, dark ruby, good nose, will age well, $34. Reserve Red 2007 (that's right), a blend of Syrah and Malbec, full body, dark ruby, good nose, a big wine with lots of years to go. A best buy at $25. Contact Hal Schmitt at hal@volatuswine or Victoria Schmitt at volatus@volatuswine or (805) 550-4274.


Industry Calendar

9/10 Epic Wines – SFO

9/12 Epic Wines – LA

9/12 Wine Warehouse - LA

9/22 Mutual Trading - Pasadena

9/30 Great Wines of the Andes -SFO

10/1 North Berkeley Imports Champagne – SFO

10/1 Merchants of Thirst Portfolio - SFO

10/8 Skurnik Champagne & Sherry – SFO

10/9 Skurnik Champagne & Sherry – LA

10/9 Merchants of Thirst Portfolio – LA

10/18 APVSA French Tasting - LA

10/21 Mosaic Wine Alliance – LA

10/22 Mosaic Wine Alliance – SanDiego

10/23 Mosaic Wine Alliance – Palm Desert


Promotional Calendar



August 3 National IPA Day

August 8 International Beer Day

August 16 National Rum Day

August 18 National Pinot Noir Day

August 25 National Whiskey Sour Day




September 3 Labor Day

September 7 National Beer Lover's Day

September 15 National Creme de Menthe Day

September 20 National Rum Punch Day

September 28 National Drink a Beer Day

September 30 National Mulled Cider Day




October National Applejack Month


October 4 National Vodka Day

October 9 National Pizza and Beer Day

October 13-14 National Kegger Weekend (2nd Weekend in October)

October 15 National Red Wine Day

October 16 National Liqueur Day

October 19 International Gin & Tonic Day

October 21 National Mezcal Day

October 27 American Beer Day

October 31 Halloween



New Legislation for 2018

Our industry has more laws controlling it than most industries. The State

Legislature and the ABC give us license privileges and can take them away. New alcoholic beverage laws were passed that are effective in 2018. Many critical issues are pending. Do you know about them and are you prepared for the changes. Is your business safe? Members are encouraged to look through the Legislative Bulletin. If there is a new law that is a problem for your business, call the association office now. The CBRA is your voice in Sacramento. If you are not a member, join today. The CBRA is your only voice when it comes to new beverage laws.

Brands and Comments

The CBRA Newsletter has not accepted any payment from any of the brands mentioned

in this edition. The editor, Ron Ziff, welcomes comments at

CBRA Membership Remains Open

Now, more than ever, access to your industry is important. The CBRA is California's

only statewide association of licensed retailers, and our membership continues to be

open for the first time in 20 years.

At CBRA we deal with licenses and regulations that affect the beverage business on a

daily basis. That's why CBRA offers practical solutions, unique products, services,

information, and timely advice for both large and small beverage businesses. With

reasonable fees, superior service, and associates that are easy to reach, CBRA helps you

to run your business better and easier. One of the most valuable services we offer is that

call to the ABC to ask your question. We can ask that question and keep you anonymous. That's something you just can't do yourself.

Join or renew your valuable membership today. You can't afford to delay.

California Beverage Retailers Association – California's Only Statewide Association of Licensees. We're #1!

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