Beverage Bulletin April 2014

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor

April 2014

This month's stories include:

Headline News Stories - Wounded Warriors Project, New ABC Sting, New Alcohol Tax? Jail for Natural Wine? Hungary Upgrades Famous Wine


Celebrities in the Industry - Ernie Els, Kathy Lee Gifford

Popular Culture - Stradivarius Festival, Book Review


Wine - Chile Earthquake, Pink Champagne, Wine Shakes, Under 21? Make Your Own! Sales by Winery in 2013, Wine Theft, More Wine Theft, Starbucks Rolls Out Wine Program, Yellow Tail Sales Gain


Beer - Trappist Beer Named Best in World, New FDA Beer Rules Proposed, Top 50 Craft Breweries, Brazil Beer Tax for World Cup, Beer Salesmen Accused


Spirits - Tennessee Whiskey Challenged, Diageo Will Mix Your Drink, Bar Food Trends, Have Drinks Will Travel, Oyster Shooter Recipe, Another Merger Coming?

Other Food and Beverages - March Madness: What's Your Team Drinking? What are you drinking? California Drought Update, Price of Limes Rises, Restaurant to be Given Away, French Army Eats Well, Aldi Starts California Expansion


The Changing Market - Safeway/Albertsons Merger, Niche Chains Grow, Target Breach Gets Worse, AG's Ask for Cigarette Ban, Packaged Food Sales Down


Health - Hot Toddies, Hot or Cold? Cooking with Beer Might Prevent Cancer


Tasting Notes 4 Big Tastings – Natural Foods Expo, Return to Terroir, Family Winemakers of California, Southern Wine's “Taste of the Best”

and the Industry Calendar




With the opening of baseball season we go to one of the game's greats for this month's inspiration:



Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whisky. The other ten percent I'll probably waste.”

-Tug McGraw (1944-2004) , Pitcher New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies

Headline News Stories

Wounded Warrior Project

We support the Wounded Warrior Project which provides assistance for members of our armed forces who have been severely injured and their families. The project provides for education and needs that otherwise would not be covered in any way. We invite you to join us in this worthy cause. This year the 8th Annual Golf and Tennis Tournament will be held August 18 at the Mountaingate Country Club in Los Angeles. Last year we raised over $100,000. If you know someone in the wine or liquor industry that would like to be a sponsor, provide a hospitality table on the golf course or tennis area, or just donate a few bottles of wine; contact or (818) 788-8120.

New ABC Sting

The California ABC is partnering with local law enforcement around the state in “Operation Shoulder Tap.” The object is to reduce alcohol furnished to minors. Under age decoys approach customers and ask them to purchase alcohol for them. Most customers just say “no.” But, if the customer agrees to make the purchase and give it to the minor, they are ticketed by police. The fine for furnishing alcohol to a minor can be up to $1000.

New Alcohol Tax?

President Obama has proposed a tax increase on distilled spirits as part of his Budget. Or, more accurately, a repeal of the “excise tax credit for distilled spirits with flavor and wine additives.” The tax credit allows some distillers to lower their tax from $12.50 per proof gallon to as low as $6.30 per proof gallon. It applies to Cordials, Liqueurs, Flavored Vodkas, and Gin. A proof gallon is a gallon of spirits at 100 proof. From there, it's higher math. It would amount to an increase of about 95 cents at the distiller level for a 750ml bottle of 80 proof Gin or Flavored Vodka. By the time it reaches the consumer the increase would be at least $2 per bottle. It would bring in about $109 billion over 10 years.

Jail for Natural Wine?

Organic Wine Grower, Emmanuel Giboulot, was scheduled to be sentenced in French court on April 7 for refusing to spray his vines to prevent an infection that is affecting vineyards in Beaune. He could face prison time. A petition has been circulating asking that the court acquit him. At this writing, it has been signed by more than a half million people.

Hungary Upgrades Famous Wine

With this year's crop, Hungary has eliminated the two lower grades of Tokaji Wine. 3 and 4 Puttonyos will no longer be produced and only 5 and 6 will be available. Tokaji is a naturally sweet wine produced by fermenting grapes that are infected with Botrytis, or “Noble Rot” and then partially dried. The Puttonyos level refers to the amount of residual sugar. 3 Puttonyos has 60 grams per liter, 4 has 90 grams, 5 has 120 grams, and 6 has 150 grams per liter. The change is subject to review by the European Commission. Some are arguing against it because some consumers prefer the lighter style of grades 3 and 4. Another argument against the change is that a 375 ml bottle of grades 5 or 6 will cost at least $30.



Celebrities in the Industry



Golf Pro, Ernie Els, has been producing wines in his native South Africa since 1999. The winery is situated in Stellenbosch, the home of some of South Africa's greatest wines. Whether on the links or in the vineyard, Els always shoots for the best. Whites are Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. Reds are Shiraz, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and several proprietary blends. If you plan to visit the winery, make it on the last Friday or Saturday of the month. Ernie hosts a chipping contest from the tee near the main house.


Kathie Lee Gifford has launched her own wine line. She says the wines are not acid, or bitter, or have an aftertaste, or are “interesting.” They just easy to drink. There is Gifft Chardonnay and Gifft Red Blend. Both wines sell for $20 and are produced by Sheid Family Wines in Monterey County. She says 10% of the profit will be donated to charity.


Popular Culture

The Wine Institute has published a new book Down to Earth: a Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Wine Growing in California. By Janet Fletcher 256 pages $40. available at The book profiles 15 growers and their methods which are representative of thousands of vintners who have worked with the programs of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and other organizations. It also includes seasonal recipes paired with wines. Wine Institute CEO Bobby Koch is proud of California's growers who make wine and give back to the land.







The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra recently held a Stradivarius Festival with 8 Strads being played over a four day weekend. This was a very rare event. Cho Liang Lin, a Taiwanese-American soloist, played a 1715 violin. Mr. Lin was asked what it was like to play this instrument. He described it, “This instrument is like a great Burgundy, made from Pinot Noir grapes.” We can certainly understand that.


Chile Earthquake

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake rocked Chile. This time it hit about 700 miles north of the wine growing region. Previous earthquakes have hit the wine areas and caused damage in warehouses and split tanks filled with thousands of gallons of wine.



Pink Champagne

What is the difference between Oeils de Perdrix(ODP) and Rose' Champagne? We have to look to history. In Champagne, France ODP was originally made by mistake when the juice was left on the skins too long. It is now made that way on purpose. Rose' Champagne is traditionally made by adding Red Wine to White Champagne. Today, producers will make both types by either method.

Wine Shakes

Red Robin Restaurants are introducing “Wine Shakes” in all 480 U.S. locations. The first being offered is a Mango Moscato Wine Shake. It's made with Wine, Vodka, Mango Puree, and Vanilla Soft Serve. The menu price is $7.49. The drink is aimed at 35 to 49 year old Moms out for a lunch break. Paired with a burger, the check will run $15 to $20. Two years ago the chain introduced Beer Shakes at $5.29. According to Gary Stibel of the New England Consulting Group the chain does not expect big sales on this item. What they are aiming for is a lot of buzz in the social media to keep Red Robin in the public's mind.

Under 21? Make Your Own!

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) has introduced a bill to allow underage students in winemaking classes to taste their work. Napa Valley College says they need the 21 year requirement to be relaxed because classes in Viticulture and Wine Technology have students under 21 who are at a disadvantage because they cannot find out if their work will get a good grade.


Sales by Winery in 2013


80 million cases

Wine Group

57.5 million cases


50 million cases


20 million cases


18.5 million cases


15.4 million

All Others

128.6 million cases


370 million cases

The top 6 wineries sell approximately 65% of all wine sold in the U.S.


Wine Theft

Jeffrey James Hill, the manager of Hill Wine Co., has been arrested on two counts of grand theft for stealing $65,000 worth of grapes last October 16 and 21 from Del Notto Vineyards in Mt. Howell and Oakville. He managed the vineyards under contract, but had the grapes delivered to his own facilities. Hill has been sued civilly by Del Notto. He is also being sued by Zenith Insurance Company for unpaid insurance premiums of $22,000 and by Domaine Chandon for not paying for $340,000 worth of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the 2013 harvest.

More Wine Theft

Jose Pina has been arrested after 350 cases of wine were missing from an American Canyon warehouse where he worked. Police found 55 cases of wine in a barn, more wine and $73,000 dollars in cash in his apartment. The missing wines were from several wineries and are valued at more than $400,000.

Starbucks Rolls Out Wine Program

Starbucks has been testing its Alcohol and Evening Bites program since 2010. Now satisfied with the results, the company will be rolling the program out to thousands of its 11,500 U.S. stores. The top seller – Malbec.

Yellow Tail Sales Gain

The Australian Dollar has dropped sharply. It's off 15%. This has given a big boost to Casella Wines Yellow Tail. The company gets 75% of its sales from the U.S. Last year when the Aussie hit a peak, U.S. sales fell and the company was forced to restructure its financing.




Trappist Beer Named Best in World

The Trappist monks at a monastery in western Belgium are upset with fame. Their Westvleteren II Dark Beer has been named as the best in the world. The monks have been producing this same 10.2% alcohol beer since 1878. They make only a limited quantity for local consumption and have been selling it at the Abbey gate for decades. The purpose has been to earn enough to pay their expenses. They don't want to spend too much time on beer; they want to have time to pray. Suddenly, there were long lines of cars at the gate. In defense the monks set up a telephone order system. That failed when calls peaked at 85,000 an hour. The beer sells for about $3 at the gate. Resellers in Brussels get $15 a bottle. Even that's a bargain. Bottles that make their way to South America go for $50.

New FDA Beer Rules Proposed

The FDA is proposing new regulations that could be very costly for Brewers. The new rules would make brewers process “Spent Grain” the same way pet food manufacturers do and force them to keep records of how it is handled and distributed. Spent Grain is what is leftover after wheat, barley, and other grains are soaked and a liquid containing sugar and starch is extracted. The liquid goes on to become beer. The spent grain is used as animal feed by for cows, pigs, and other animals. The brewers usually give it away or sell it at a nominal price just to get rid of it. If it can't be sold as feed, it has to be hauled to landfills. Farmers like it because they can feed their livestock inexpensively. The net result of the rules would be more costly for both farmers and brewers; higher costs for beer and meat; and tons of spent grain taking up valuable space in landfills instead of being recycled.

Top 50 Craft Breweries

The Brewers Association has announced its annual list of Top 50 Craft Brewers. Twelve California brewers that made the list:

Sierra Nevada, Chico

Lagunitas, Petaluma

Stone Brewing, Escondido

Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles

Anchor Brewing, San Francisco

Ballast Point, San Diego

Bear Republic, Cloverdale

Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe, Eureka

Karl Strauss, San Diego

BJ's Chicago Pizza and Brewing, Huntington Beach

Gordon Biersch, San Jose

21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco

Craft brewers showed big increases for 2013 according to the Brewers Association. Dollar volume was up 20% to $14.3 billion. Gallonage was up 18%. The category accounted for 7.8% of the total beer market, up from 6.5% a year earlier.


Now airlines are adding Craft Beers to their drink carts. The growing trend is keeping airlines up to date with what is happening on the ground. Delta and Jet Blue serve Sam Adams. Virgin America serves 21st Amendment. Southwest and AirTran have Fat Tire. Sun Country pours Surly Brewing from Minneapolis.

Brazil Beer Tax for World Cup

Brazil has increased taxes on Beer, Energy Drinks, and some other beverages to help pay for the FIFA World Cup Soccer Tournament to be held later this year. The tax went into effect immediately and caused concern among customers already feeling the effects of inflation and an economy hit hard by a drought. Taxi driver, Luis Fontes said “I'm already having to pay more for my cigarettes, now it's beer. I think this government is going to finish off all my bad habits with these taxes.”

Beer Salesmen Accused

Late breaking beer news! MillerCoors has accused two former employees of embezzling several million dollars from the company. Chain sales employees David Colletti and Paul Edwards allegedly worked with outside vendors to steal millions. The company has turned over evidence to Federal Prosecutors. It hopes to have the money returned through a combination of restitution and insurance. The situation became public when internal notifications to employees of the embezzlement were leaked to Milwaukee TV station WIKI-TV.



Tennessee Whiskey Challenged

Last year Tennessee passed a law, code 57-2-106, that required liquor that is labeled Tennessee Whiskey to be manufactured in the state, be made from 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, filtered through maple charcoal, aged at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at no less than 80 proof. There are three problems with the law. 1) It is the formula for Jack Daniel's. 2) There is a shortage of new oak barrels. 3) Craft distillers have trouble following the same guidelines. Brown-Forman owner of Daniel's likes the law. Diageo is asking lawmakers to repeal it so they don't have to copy Daniel's recipe. Representative Ryan Haynes, chair of the state government committee, wants changes in the law to make it less burdensome on the small distillers. The law doesn't go into effect for 3 years and any changes have been postponed until next year.

Diageo Will Mix Your Drink

Buy 2,000 worth of spirits, invite 19 friends, and Diageo will send a bartender to your London flat or anywhere in the U.K. Diageo is offering the deal on its top line brands through their online sales company, Alexander and James. The object is to position the company's products in the forefront of the cocktail surge and stay ahead of competition. The program won't be extended to the U.S. for 2 reasons: 1) The 50 states all have different rules and it would be too difficult. 2) No states allow distiller direct deals with consumers.

Bar Food Trends

Trendy restaurants with bars are adding finger food menus for bar patrons that want to drink, eat, and socialize in a relaxed bar setting instead of the more formal white tablecloth area. Dishes like Chicken Sausage with Caramelized Onions, Pork Rillettes with Baguette, Sliders, Sushi, and Parmesan Truffle Fries are selling and driving the sales of Craft Spirits Cocktails. A bar tab can be hefty, yet still be less than the customer would spend at the table. In 2013 food sales at restaurant bars were up 25% from 2012. In general bar revenue will amount to 30% of total sales. Bars that do well in adding food sales and then more drinks owe their success to educating the bartenders on what is being served, how it tastes, and what drinks pair with the food. Customers will easily add on a plate to share with a friend. The top 3 places they pick to sit at a bar are center stool where they can watch the bartender at work; by the station where a bartender mixes drinks for the dining room, provides a show, and is there to talk; and the end corner where they can watch all the action up and down the length of the bar.

Have Drinks, Will Travel

Bartender Brandi Furr is joining the food truck trend in Huntsville, Alabama with a new idea. Her truck is a Winnebago named the Floating Cocktail. Step up to the window and order a cocktail or Craft Beer. She has stationed the Floating Cocktail in Huntsville's new Arts & Entertainment District where people are allowed to roam the streets, eat and drink cocktails from city approved plastic cups and enjoy the evening. The district is open to 10 PM weeknights and 11 PM Thursday through Sunday.

Oyster Shooter Recipe

The John Dory Oyster Bar in New York's Midtown West serves Oyster Shooters in a shot glass. The drink consists of a raw oyster, Gin, Pickled Pepper Juice, and Celery.

Another Merger Coming?

Late Breaking News: Rumors are that Brown Forman has been working with Goldman-Sachs to put together an offer to buy Remy-Cointreau. The French company is an attractive target since its shares have fallen 40%in price over the last year after a business slowdown in China. China represents about a third of the company's business.


Other Food and Beverages

March Madness: What's Your Team Drinking?

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan provides the University of Michigan Basketball Team with all the chocolate milk they can drink. That turns out to be 5


gallons a day. Would they be national champions? Just in case they were not, the group also provides chocolate milk to Michigan State and Western Michigan U, and the women's teams at all three schools. Coach John Sanderson says “Who doesn't like chocolate milk? And it's got proteins and carbs.” The team drink has turned into an arms race with companies competing to be the official drink. Muscle Milk has 68 teams. Baylor drinks Body Armor. Duke drank fruit smoothies. It didn't help.

What are you drinking?

Watch from home and you can enjoy a beer, a cocktail, a glass of wine, or even toast the National Champions with Champagne. But at the tournament you had to abstain! The NCAA has the strictest no-alcohol policy in sports. Stadiums with beer taps have them removed or covered. Alcohol ads on arena walls or fences are covered. Fans are searched and beer or whiskey is confiscated. This has been NCAA policy for more than 40 years.

California Drought Update

The California drought is forcing some farmers to let orchards and vineyards die this year. No water is being delivered by the Central Valley Project. It is expected that, in the long run, some farmland will be retired. But, the long run could be now. Farming uses 80% of the state's water. The population is 38 million and expected to grow to 50 million by 2045. The water system was designed in the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's and isn't working for this reality. Some of the solutions proposed are: 1) Build more dams. Problem- There's no water to store in them. 2) Use drip irrigation. Problem- It causes salt build up. 3) Change crops. Alfalfa is one of the heaviest guzzlers. Problem: The Meat and Dairy industries can't exist without it. 4) Pick the crops that are vital. Problem for our industry: It takes 275 gallons of water to produce one 750ml bottle of wine. Grapevines can live for a year without irrigation because they have deep roots that seek out water. However, the yield will be much smaller. The problem in choosing crops is that the public expects to continue eating and drinking everything we have been supplying over the years.


The good news is that some areas have had enough rain over the last month that the ground may have soaked up a reasonable amount of water. Grgich Hills plans to dry farm this vintage with ground water. Vineyards planted before the 1990's may roots deep enough to do that.


The EPA has gotten into the fray on the drought. The agency says it needs to make new rules over which bodies of water it will oversee under the Federal Clean Water Act. If farms come under the EPA's jurisdiction, they will need environmental assessments and permits just to plow their land. Farm groups say it's just an agency power grab.


The California Farm Water Coalition had previously estimated that 500,000 acres would be left unplanted this year. The group has now raised the estimate to 800,000 acres. The estimated loss in farm income and other related business income is $7.48 billion.


The salmon fish situation has improved due to a new plan worked out by the Golden Gate Salmon Association and the Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Shasta County. The plan calls for 12 million juvenile salmon to be trucked to San Francisco Bay where they will be released in batches. Usually they are released in streams throughout Northern California.


Food and Wine Magazine has announced its list of Best New Chefs for 2014. Two are in California. Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco and Ari Taymor of Alma in Los Angeles made the honored list.

Price of Limes Rises

The price of limes is as much ten times the price this same time last year. Mexican growers have had to hire armed guards to protect their crops from being stolen by the drug cartels. The cartels are looking for extra income since the drug traffic has become more difficult. The lime farmers have to recover the cost of security guards by increasing the price of limes.

Restaurant to be Given Away

The Pace Restaurant on State Street in Santa Barbara is the prize in a contest. Owners, Jeff and Kim Snyder, are offering up the eatery, its lease, 1 year paid rent, the Beer and Wine license, and $20,000 in expenses. It costs $500 to enter. Make a video showing how you plan to run the restaurant. The field will be narrowed to 5 entrants who will go to Santa Barbara for a cook-off. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced June 1.

French Army Eats Well

France has deployed 200 paratroopers to Timbuktu, Mali. Like any army they have to be fed. The U.S. Army issues MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) to its soldiers. France does the same. The food is just a little different. An MRE might contain Cassoulet made with duck fat, Camembert Cheese, and Chocolate Cake. It may include Fondue, Marmalade, Tagines, Chicken, Foie Gras with Truffles, Toffee Candy, and Dark Roast French Instant Coffee. After World War II the French cut back and stopped including Cigarettes and Dark Rum. France also supplies allied Belgian and Morrocan troops with MRE's without taking a profit.


As Napoleon said “An army moves on its stomach.” Today's French Army is no exception.

Aldi Starts California Expansion

Aldi has bought a 55 acre site in Moreno Valley near Riverside to use as headquarters and build an 800,000 foot distribution center for its Southern California roll out. It plans 650 new stores in the coming years. The company operates 2500 small stores in the Midwest and East Coast that sell private label groceries. Aldi stands for Albrecht Discount. In 1947 the Albrecht Brothers took over the convenience store their mother opened in Essen, Germany in 1913. In the 67 years since, they have expanded it to more than 8,000 stores worldwide.


The Changing Market

Safeway/Albertsons Merger

Cerberus, the parent of Albertsons, is buying Safeway for $9.1 billion. The California stores include Vons and Pavilions. Albertsons has 1075 stores and Safeway has 1335. The combined company will have more than 2400 stores, 27 distribution facilities, 20 manufacturing plants, and 250,000 employees. In an announcement, Cerberus said it may have to divest some stores to comply with regulatory agencies, but does not intend to close any. However, that is not the history of the investment company. It closed a number of unprofitable Albertsons stores after taking them over. Safeway owns the real estate under its stores and most are on the West Coast. Real estate prices in the West have appreciated substantially over the past few years.


Niche Chains Grow

Much is being said about the competition faced by Kroger, Albertsons, and Safeway; the merger of two of them, and the incursions of Walmart & Target into grocery sales. But, those operators are just re-slicing the same pie. The growth in the retail food industry is coming from smaller chains; many of them ethnic oriented. Twelve of them are right here in California. We list them below.

Chain – Based in

Number of Stores

Volume millions


Superior – Santa Fe Springs




PAQ – Stockton

(includes 17 in Hawaii)



Hispanic, Warehouse, Asian, Traditional

Bodega Latina (El Super) - Paramount




Northgate Gonzalez - Anaheim




Cardenas - Ontario




Vallarta - Sylmar




Gelsons - Encino




Good Food (Bristol) – Carson (includes 6 stores in Seattle)




Pro's Ranch - Ontario




Tawa (99 Ranch) – Buena Park



Asian – Chinese

Mi Pueblo – San Jose




Nugget - Woodland





Target Breach Gets Worse

It took Target 50 years to become the most respected name in general merchandise, and then lose it all in 3 weeks with one mistake. Customer traffic at Target has declined precipitously. Kantar Retail reports that only 33% of U.S. households visited Target this January compared to 43% in January 2013. Feedzai reports that 60% of shoppers blame Target for the problem. A U.S. Senate report also blames Target for not following up on warnings in the system. Last month Chief Information Security Officer, Beth Jacob, resigned. Target is looking for a replacement who will restructure the department. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that Target did have early indications that hackers had broken into the system on November 30 and again on December 2. However, the computer security employees decided it wasn't worth following up. Target is now offering free credit monitoring to customers, but the system has chronic crashes. Now a lawsuit has been filed by Trustmark National Bank and Green Bank NA asking for $5 million in damages. The filing alleges losses could be as much as $1 billion to card issuers and $5 billion to banks. In all there are currently 33 lawsuits in 18 federal districts. The Federal Judicial Panel has consolidated them in one court in Minnesota. You can follow it at “in re: Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation; case number 02522; U.S. District Court, Minnesota.” The one industry that has gained from this is insurance. Businesses can now buy cyberinsurance to protect against hacking.

McAfee reports that retail electronic security is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. A “Dark Web” of commercial traded malware is growing exponentially. The latest new type of malware is attaching virus installers to legitimate software installers so users unwittingly install the data leach right along with a new accounting or customer service program.

AG's Ask for Cigarette Ban

The Attorneys General of 24 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 4 U.S. territories have sent letters to Walmart, Walgreen, Rite Aid, Kroger (Ralphs), and Safeway (Vons) asking them to follow CVS lead in halting the sale of cigarettes. Most of the companies have said they are reviewing the letters. Euromonitor estimates that 85% of cigarettes are sold at gas stations, convenience strores, and tobacco shops.

Packaged Food Sales Down

Changing consumer tastes and spending habits are playing havoc with the packaged food industry. Companies are using coupons, deals, and discounts to maintain their market. Some manufacturers are concerned that consumers will be trained to wait for the sale price. Meanwhile consumers are buying less soda pop, cereal, and shifting to raw produce and other ingredients. Detergents are now more efficient and require less per laundry load and razor blades sales are falling as men shave less or grow beards.



Hot Toddies

Hot Toddies have been used as cures for colds and flu since the 17th century. But, do they work? A Toddy is made with Hot Water, Liquor, and Sugar or Honey to sweeten it. Inhaling the steam can relieve congestion. The alcohol relaxes and relieves coughing and sneezing. The benefit is probably limited to the first 2 drinks. Too much alcohol can dehydrate mucous membranes and can also weaken the immune system.

Hot or Cold?

A team of researchers led by microbiologist, Barry Michaels, studied people's beliefs about hand washing with water at various temperatures and found that 7 out of 10 believe hot water is better despite a lack of supporting evidence. However, they found there is little difference from water temperature in germ control. They determined the key issue is using soap and water. In fact, using hot water is often damaging and irritating to the skin and causes people to avoid hand washing altogether. Michaels says “The damage at 60 degrees Centigrade would probably be enough to stop workers from washing hands altogether. Results indicate that water temperature has only a slight effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction during normal hand washing when soap is used.”

Cooking with Beer Might Prevent Cancer

A study reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that marinating meat in beer before barbecuing can reduce the formation of cancer causing substances. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are chemicals that occur in coal, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. They also form on meat when it's cooked at high temperatures on a barbecue. Researchers marinated meat 4 hours in Pilsner, Non-Alcoholic Beer, and Dark Beer. They found that the marinade inhibited the formation of PAH. All 3 kinds of beer worked, but Dark Beer performed best.


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.


At the Natural Products West show, 65,000 attendees tasted foods and beverages from some 900 booths. There were wines and ciders among them. CalNaturale poured organically grown 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles and 2010 Chardonnay from Mendocino. Both wines were true to type and very palatable. Packed in Tetra Pak, liters sell for $9.99. Contact Andy Hicks at or (800) 946-1615.

Sonoma Cider showed three ciders made from fruit grown organically in the U.S. All were fresh, lively, and intense in flavor. Apple, Pear, and flavored with barrel proof Bourbon. Pricing is 4/12 oz $10.99, 22 oz $7.99. Available to retailers through the beer distribution system. Contact Cider Master David Cordtz or Cider Princess Erica Otero or (707) 385-1810.


Return to Terroir tasting was held at Republique. There was a good selection of Imports and California wines. Il Cerchio Ansonica 2012 was an Italian white with good nose, clear color, good balance and a good buy at $18. The wine that we would rate as a best buy was La Bestide Saint Dominique Cotes du Rhone 2012 $13. Good color, good nose, medium body. Will age well for a few years. From the same shipper there was also a Chateuneuf du Pape “Secrets de Pignan” 2011, 100% Grenache, deep color, good nose, full body, delicious and soft. A very reasonably priced CDP at $55-$60. Wei Chi Lake County Semillon 2012 $21. 100% Semillon, dry, clear, a good food wine. In Los Angeles contact Jean-Baptiste Dhalluin at or (310) 402-1570.


Family Winemakers of California annual tasting was held at the Pasadena Convention Center. 150 wineries, many of them new entries, poured their wines. There were too many good wines to list. We review a few of the best buys at this huge show. Rock Wall Sparkling Wine $20, 98% Chardonnay, 2% Moscato Canelli, fresh, fruity, a very nice bubbler. Contact (510) 522-5700 or

Line Shack Winery showed wines that were line priced at $14.99; Chardonnay dry and a good value, Rousanne dry fruity and bright, Cabernet dry full bodied, Petite Sirah full bodied, Pinot Noir full bodied, a good selection at reasonable prices. Contact or (805) 975-9106.

Frog's Tooth Vineyards, the best buy at this very extensive show. These were very fine wines, well crafted, at very reasonable prices. If you are looking for a good line to fill in your selection, this is it. Fume Blanc 2012 $13, dry, good Sauvignon Blanc fruit, estate bottled. Pinot Grigio 2012 $13 fresh, fruity, bright. Petite Sirah 2012 $20 100%, soft, full body. Meritage 2010 $28, soft, good color and nose. Contact Larry Aderman (209) 728-2700 or


Grand Cercle des vins de Bordeaux was held at the Casa del Mar in Santa Monica and coordinated by Learn About Wine. Fifty Bordeaux Chateaus poured samples of currently available vintages as well as barrel samples of 2013. We tasted a number of good wines that are reasonably priced. All are available in California unless noted otherwise. Chateau Dalem, a 4th growth, good color, good nose, lots of fruit in the 2011 and the 2013 will be consistent. 90%Merlot 10% Cabernet Franc. $20 to $25. Contact Brigitte Rullier-Loussert at

Chateau du Parc 2011 good color, good nose, medium body, good structure. 80% Merlot 20% Cabernet Franc. $18, looking for California distribution. Contact Alain Raynaud at

Chateau Fombrauge 2011 Good color & nose, medium body. $30. 88% Merlot, 8 % Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. Contact Bernard Magrez , Southern Wine in California.

Chateau de Myrat, Barsac, 2011, Delightfully sweet, low acid, 2013 even sweeter, very fresh and lively as a barrel sample. 88% Semillon, 8% Sauvignon, 4% Muscadelle. This will be a very good year for this wine. $30. Contact


Southern Wine's “Taste of the Best” was held at the Century Plaza Hotel. It was the best and we were able to find some good buys on excellent vintages. Justin Vineyards Chardonnay 2012 dry, true to type, good food wine $20. Justin Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2012 semi-dry true Sauvignon Blanc grape flavors $12, a good buy that will make your customers happy. Laetitia Pinot Noir Estate 2012 $29 100% Pinot Noir, good color, good nose, a food wine. Nadia Sauvignon Blanc 2012 $16 13.2 ABV dry, creamy. Charles Krug Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 $30 good color, good nose, all the good Napa Cab flavors. And from down the road in Napa Inglenook Rubicon 2009 $219 good color, good nose, absolute perfection. There is nothing to match this wine. All of these are available through Southern Wine.

Industry Calendar

4/1-30 California Wine Down to Earth Month-Statewide

Check for events and updates.

4/12 Festival Grand Tasting-Santa Barbara

4/16 Mt Veeder – SFO

4/16 Champagnes de Vigneron – SFO

4/28 Tour des Deux Rives – SFO

4/28 Santa Rita Highlands - LA

4/29 Tour des Deux Rives – LA

5/4 Sta Rita Winegrowers Alliance – Ventura County

5/10 Mexican Mothers Day

5/11 Mothers Day

5/14 Vino California-LA(LA-Skirball)

5/14-15 Los Angeles International Wine Competition-Pomona

5/17 JFC Sake Expo-LA

5/19 JFC Sake Expo-SFO

5/31 LA Winefest -LA- One of the big events of the year. Register now. Watch for more coverage in early May.

New Legislation for 2014

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. 2013

has several new laws that you must follow. New alcoholic beverage laws will be

introduced that will be effective in 2014. Many critical issues are pending. 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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