Beverage Bulletin December 2015

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

Ben Ziff, Publisher

December 2015

This Month's Stories Include:

Headline News Stories - The Real Thing?, This is the Real Thing!,Zaca Mesa for Sale, Drought Update


Celebrities in the Industry - Dan Akroyd, John Alexander, Vicky Zhao Wei, Geoff Tate


Popular Culture – Books- Backstabbing in Beaujolais, Drinking in America, Death & Co, The Comic Book Story of Beer, Malt: A Practical Guide, Brew Like a Monk,

Vino Business


Movies - Turner Classic Wine Club, Somm: Into the Bottle, 100 years


Politics - John Jordan, Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, Trump Hotel


Champagne – A Special Holiday Section- Bubbles & Brits, Bubbles & Barons, Prosecco Bubbles Over, Prosecco Shortage, Champagne Jayne Wins Her Case,

New Champagne Grapes for Global Warming, Santana Savor for Charity, Vegan Champagne, Champagne Book, Cool Music for Cool Wine, Champagne Cork Downs Plane, Champagne Improves Memory, Winston Churchill


Wine - Hungarian Winemaker Sentenced, Historic Vineyard Vandalized, Wine Embezzling in Santa Barbara, Canadian Wine Burglars Caught, 1500 Year Old Winery Found, Latke & Wine Pairing for Hanukkah, Grape Experiment, The 2015 Harvest Report, USDA to Help Replant Vineyards, New Wines from Rothschild, Wine Tasting Bacteria, Bargain Prices as Chinese Market Collapses, Pacific Rim Trade Meeting


Beer- Beer Merger Faces Major Hurdles, Small Brewer's Worries, Constellation Buys Ballast Point


Spirits- Spirited Ice Cream Celebration


Other Foods and Beverages - A Very Special Kitchen, Williams-Sonoma Founder Dies, Turducken Burger, Are You a Walmart Gourmet?, Only in California


The Changing Market - Landmark Closing, Holiday Sales Shift


Recipe - Bourbon Maple Cider


Health - Wine By-Products Lower Blood Pressure and Glucose, Drink More Coffee-Live Longer

...and Champagne Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar



I am drinking the stars! -Dom Perignon, on his first sip of bubbly Champagne

Headline News Stories

The Real Thing?

Rudy Kurniawan's wines are for sale again! These are claimed to be real. When he was arrested the U.S. Marshalls found 5300 bottles of wine in a nearby warehouse. Most of them were bottles that had been purchased in auctions and other sales and may have been used as models for counterfeiting. Now 4,711 have been authenticated and are being auctioned online by Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers. To bid in the auction go to . The auction started November 24 and have closings on December 8th and 15th.

This is the Real Thing!

A bottle of Lafite Rothschild 1895 was sold by Le Clos, a Dubai Airport retailer for $17,000. The store did not identify the buyer other than to say the buyer was an international wine collector. The wine was probably not bottled at the Chateau. From 1885 to 1906 shipped wine to merchants in oak casks to be bottled there. This was a common practice at the time due to the phyloxera epidemic sweeping through the French vineyards.

Zaca Mesa for Sale

Real Estate veteran John Cushman has put the 750 acre Zaca Mesa Winery up for sale. About 150 acres are planted in Rhone varietals; Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne, and Mourvedre, and Viognier leaving 600 acres undeveloped. Cushman recently divested his interest in Cushman and Wakefield, a firm founded by his grandfather when it was merged with DTZ. He has remained with the company and travels 8,000 miles weekly; leaving no time for the winery.

Drought Update

Congressional Representative Kevin McCarthy(D-Bakersfield) has suggested that the money that is being spent on the high speed train be re-purposed and spent on future drought relief.


There is good news and bad news about Lake Oroville, California's second largest reservoir depending on who you talk to. The bad news comes from the Department of Water Resources. It says the lake is at the low level set in 1977. Based on that, the agency says water deliveries to local agencies will be half of this year's allocation. The good news comes from meteorologists. They forecast a 50% chance that there will be above normal rain above the lake.

Los Angeles is predicted to have a 60% chance of a wet season January, February, and March.

On December 1 new desalination plant is being dedicated on Catalina Island.

There may be a shortage of Christmas trees this year due to the drought in the Northwest.

Vineyards are taking measures to hold topsoil in the event of heavy rains and flooding.

Police have arrested and charged 4 men with felony vandalism for slashing a $1 million inflatable rubber dam on Alameda Creek. The act caused 50 million gallons of water to flow downstream instead of into Quarry Lakes Regional Park.

One hundred years ago in 1916 San Diego had a 100 years rain storm. Here's the story. The city was in a drought. City Council hired Charles Hatfield to “accelerate moisture.” They agreed to pay him $10,000 if he could fill Lake Morena. Then it started to rain, and rain, and rain. The lake filled and overflowed in less than 4 weeks. The city flooded. Houses were washed away, 22 people died, dams broke, and rail lines were washed out. The water was 5 feet deep on Broadway in the business district. And Charles Hatfield? He was never paid. 100 years later; will history repeat with another 100 year storm? Update: San Diego is about to dedicate a $1 billion desalination plant. But is it needed? San Diego draws its water from the Colorado. Storage is nearly at capacity. The city already has too much water. State mandates have required cut backs in usage. Excess water is filling the reservoirs. Meanwhile the local agency has requested a rate increase because the cut backs have reduced revenue.

The solution for this and future droughts may be here in the near future. Private chef Britt Sheflin has applied for a $100,000 grant from two foundations to “Strategically reintroduce native beaver populations back into the dwindling watersheds around L.A. County.” The beavers would be trained to build their dams where they are needed. This would hold water, stop flash foods, and control erosion. The grant would pay for the introduction of one beaver colony and weekly monitor the progress of the animals in performing their work.

Celebrities in the Industry


TV and Movie personality and native of Canada, Dan Akroyd, has held the Canadian rights for Patron Tequila since 2005. He has invested $1 million in Diamond Estates to promote Canadian wine. His labels include 20 Bees, Fresh, Lakeview Cellars, EastDell, and Dan Akroyd Wines. In 2007 he partnered with John Alexander to found Chrystal Head Vodka. The vodka is triple distilled in Newfoundland and Labrador.


Musician, Geoff Tate, of Operation: Mindcrime has been in the wine business since 2008 with a Bordeaux Blend made in Washington called Insania. He has also been producing a Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon blend made in Washington. Now he is moving the Insania brand to Germany, where wine will be bottled to sell at about $16.


Chinese film star, Vicky Zhao Wei, has launched a line of French wines. Forbes Magazine has named her “the world's wealthiest working actress.” Her wines include Chateau Monlot, St-Emilion Gand Cru which she bought in 2011 and several other Chateaux purchased since. The wines will sell at prices ranging from RMB 168 ($26) to RMB 2,000 ($310). In explaining the reasons for having a full price range in the line she said Wine is getting more important in the Chinese lifestyle, It is great to share winewith friends, it is something I do all the time.”


Popular Culture


Backstabbing in Beaujolais (Book #9 in the Winemaker Detective series in French) by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen, Translated by Anne Trager, Le French Book, 163 pages, $29.95. A business magnate calls on wine expert Benjamin Cooker to kickstart his new wine business in Beaujolais. Can the Winemaker Detective and his assistant keep calculating real estate agents, taciturn winegrowers, dubious wine merchants and suspicious deaths from delaying delivery of Beaujolais Nouveau?


Drinking in America by Susan Cheever, Hachette/Twelve, 224 pages, $28. A good natured examination of 400 years of our relationship with drinking. Starts with the Pilgrims landing at Cape Cod because they were running out of beer, continues with the Revolution, Westward Expansion, Civil War, Prohibition, and the Red Scare. In this book she notes that consumption in 1820 was three times what it is today.


Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes, by David Kaplan & Nick Fauchald, Ten Speed Press, 320 pages, $40. Includes a raft of drink recipes from America's top bartenders. Kaplan is the owner of a top New York hot spot with a recently opened branch in L.A.


The Comic Book Story of Beer by Jonathan Hennessy, Mike Smith, and Aaron McConnell, Ten Speed Press, 180 pages, $13.27 paperback or kindle edition $11.99. This graphic book takes the reader from the origins of beer to the explosion of the Craft Beer industry.


Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse by John Mallett, Brewers Publications, 300 pages, $15.90 paperback or $9.50 Kindle edition. This book provides a comprehensive overview of malt, with primary focus on barley, from the field through the malting process. With primers on history, agricultural development and physiology of the barley kernel.


Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus, Brewers Publications, 295 pages, $13.63 paperback or $9.99 Kindle edition. This is a serious book for homebrewers that want to know everything there is to know about Belgian beers.


Vino Business: The Cloudy World of French Wine By Isabelle Saporta Translated from French by Kate Deimling, Grove Press, 256 pages, $26. Saporta is a sharp critic of the French wine industry. She holds nothing back in exposing the dark side of vintners efforts to do anything to increase profits. When it was published in France it drew an anti-defamation lawsuit by one of the vintners mentioned in the book.


Turner Classic Movies has introduced the TCM Wine Club. The idea is to “offer an authentic source for wine and movie pairings.” Members get an inaugural 15 bottles of Cafe Zoetrope from Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Also available is True Grit Limited Edition Zinfandel. The wines are shipped by Direct Wines and Wines That Rock.


Somm: Into the Bottle is the second film in the Somm series. The first film dealt with 4 candidates for Master Sommelier. This film takes us deep into wine production. We meet a number of winemakers including Jean-Louis Chave of Rhone, Jean Trimbach 13th generation Alsatian winemaker, and Aubert de Villaine at Domaine de la Romanee Conti. It takes us through the labor, history, and culture of winemaking.


John Malkovich stars in a film, 100 years, which features the process of making Remy Martin's Louis XIII Cognac. Malkovich and director, Robert Rodriguez, had complete control over the plot. Don't look for it soon. Rodriguez, is having it set aside to be released in 2115. That is, if they can find equipment that will play the film. A coming attraction for the film will be released in 2016.




Vintner, John Jordan, has founded his own PAC called Baby Got PAC. So far he has spent $100,000 to support Marco Rubio for President.


Presidential candidate, Lindsay Graham, was left out of the most recent Fox News Republican debate due to low poll numbers. When interviewed about his reactions to watching the others on TV, he said they were short on leadership and foreign policy. But, “The more wine I drank, the better the debate got.”


After two days of voting in a National Labor Relations Board election, a majority of workers at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas voted to be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165. Over 500 employees of the hotel are in the union's bargaining units and were eligible to vote. The Trump hotel chain also confirmed that seven of its properties were the target of a data breach earlier this year that could have exposed customer debit and credit card information.


Champagne – A Special Holiday Section

Bubbles & Brits

English Sparkling Wines beat French Champagnes in a blind taste test. The contest was sponsored by London based food and wine magazine, Noble Rot. Hambledon Classic Cuvee (28.50) and Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010 (23.99) were tasted against ten French bottlings under 40. The judges based their scores on aroma, flavor, and balance. The British wine industry feels this is the start of a golden age for their wine gifted by global warming. Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss said “This is a truly an exciting time for English wine.”

Bubbles & Barons

The three branches of the Rothschild family came together in 2005 to create Barons de Rothschild, a French Champagne. The wine has become a major seller in Japan and was introduced to the U.S. earlier this year. It's distributed in the U.S. by Pasternak Imports. The Champagnes include Brut $100, Blanc de Blancs $125, and Rose' $125. Earlier this year Vintage 2006 sold out quickly at $300.

Prosecco Bubbles Over

Prosecco has been a growing threat to Champagne. Some Champagne producers are not worried because Champagne, as they point out, is only 8% of the world's sparkling wine but 45% of its value. Others, like Bollinger's Jerome Phillipon, are concerned because Prosecco's 400 million bottle sales outstrip Champagne's 300 million bottles. In the UK and U.S. many drinkers have changed to the cheaper Italian wine.


Prosecco Shortage

A growing demand for a limited supply of bulk Prosecco has been driving prices at the producer level. The January price was $1.80 per liter. By mid-November it had risen more than double to $3.75. Sales and demand have been growing rapidly in the U.S. and UK despite minor price increases at the consumer level. Look for escalating retail and wholesale prices in 2016 along with shortages and allocations.


Champagne Jayne (center)

Champagne Jayne Wins Her Case

Jayne Powell, the Australian wine writer known as Champagne Jayne, won the right to continue using her nom de plume. In December 2014 CIVC, the Champagne producer's association, took her to court saying she had violated their copyright. She faced bankruptcy as legal fees mounted. She was under a gag order and couldn't speak out herself. Supporters rallied to her side and used crowdfunding on the internet with a “Jayne vs. Goliath” campaign. A Melbourne court has now found in her favor. In 2012 CIVC had honored her and made her a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

New Champagne Grapes for Global Warming

Speaking at London's Fizz-The Sparkling Wine Show, writer Tom Stevenson, said he believes Nebbiolo is the next great red wine grape to make Champagne. Global warming requires new grapes to be grown in many areas.

Santana Savor for Charity

Latin Rock musician, Carlos Santana and photographer Jim Marshall have launched a limited edition sparkling wine made by Mumm Napa. The wine is called Santana Savor ($25). It was debuted at an exhibit of Marshall's photography in Santa Barbara. The proceeds from the sale of wine will go to the Milagro Foundation founded by Santana and his wife in 1998.


Vegan Champagne

Now vegans can pair Champagne with Tofurky. It has been revealed that Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot, Piper Heidsieck, Taittinger, and Duval-Leroy are all made without animal products. Egg whites or casein are often used in the processing of wines; but not these. The secret was released because the EU will soon be requiring that all food and beverage products will have to list possible allergens on the label. These Champagnes are all made by naturally fining and clarifying the base wine in the vat.


Champagne Book

Book: Money, Taste, and Wine by Mike Veseth, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 208 pages, $24.95. Details the history, politics, promotions, and back stabbing in the world of Champagne.

Book: Paired by Fran Flynn and David Stevens-Castro, Paired Media, 150 pages, $38. An informative discussion of food and sparkling wine pairing in a coffee table book.

Cool Music for Cool Wine

Krug Champagne is promoting a new program to pair Champagne with music. Some of the pairings: Krug 1998 with Piazolla Summer, Krug 2000 with the Mephisto Waltz, Krug Rose' with Herbie Hancock's Rock It.

Champagne Cork Downs Plane

An easyJet plane bound from London to Dalamon was diverted to the Milan Airport when a Champagne cork damaged the airplane. The pilot felt the passenger's safety was compromised when a popping cork hit the safety system and deployed the oxygen masks and set off alarms. Those on board couldn't believe all the fuss created by one little cork.

Champagne Improves Memory

Researchers at the University of Reading in the UK found that the phenolic compounds in Champagne improve spatial memory which is involved in navigation and doing complex tasks. During the study, scientists gave rats the equivalent of 1 1/2 glasses of Champagne a week in humans. The rats seemed to have improved spatial memory. Dr. Giulia Corona said “Daily supplementation with low-to-moderate dose of Champagne for 6 weeks... improved the communication between cells and encourage nerves that carry electrical signals in the brain to regenerate.” The happy rats had no comment.

...and Finally

We fondly remember that Winston Churchill started out each day with a breakfast bottle of Pol Roger Brut.

Also see Champagne tasting in Tasting Notes


Hungarian Winemaker Sentenced

A Hungarian winemaker, in Vacszentlaszlo, was convicted of manslaughter. His wine cellar had been continually targeted by a gang of thieves. In order to “teach the thieves a lesson” he laced some of the wine with anti-freeze. His intention was to give them diarrhea. One of the thieves died; five others were hospitalized. The Budapest District Court sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Historic Vineyard Vandalized

Vandals have destroyed a very special French vineyard. In 2010 Loic Pasquet planted his vineyard in Graves as it would have been done in the early 19th century. The vines were organic pre-phylloxera varieties; Castets, Mancin, and Pardotte planted on natural root stocks without grafting. He did the work using only horses and mules. The vines were planted 20,000 to the hectare as opposed to the present day practice of planting less than 8,000 per hectare. The object was to recapture the tastes of wine the way it was at the time of the 1855 classification. The vandals cut the Castets vines off at the ground. The vineyard produces only 1,500 bottles a year that have to be sold as Vin de France because the varieties are not part of the currently approved Graves lexicon. But their special story justifies a price of $4,500 a bottle. Pasquet is devastated at the loss.

Wine Embezzling in Santa Barbara

Winemaker, Christian Garvin, was accused of embezzling $1.6 million from the Oreana Winery where he was a partner with Barry Goldfarb and Judy Koyama. He was additionally accused of tax fraud and money laundering. His scheme allegedly involved depositing checks made out to the winery in a personal account with a similar name over a period of years. He pleaded not guilty to 58 counts. If convicted, he could face up to 52 years in prison.

Canadian Wine Burglars Caught

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have caught a crime ring that has stolen wines and equipment from 17 British Columbia wineries. The GPS units on four stolen semi-trailers led them to the thieves. Two men and a woman were arrested.


1500 Year Old Winery Found

A 1500 year old winery (pictured above) has been found in Netivot, Israel. The site had two large wine presses where the grapes were trampled, then the juice was piped to a storage area, and finally loaded into clay jugs. The dig by youth volunteers was supervised by Ilan Peretz of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Latke & Wine Pairing for Hanukkah

The Hanukkah Latke Festival in New York featured wines paired with the potato pancakes. Included were a Kosher Pinot Noir from Hyland Vineyards in the Willamette Valley and a dry crisp Sauvignon Blanc from City Winery.

Grape Experiment

Eben Sadie is tending an experimental vineyard in the sand of the Atlantic side South Africa's Cape. He's betting on the future and climate change. The vines planted are native to Spain, Greece, and other Mediterranean areas. Varieties include Agiorgitiko, Assyrtiko, Graciano, Mencia, Albanello, Grillo, and Cataratto. Eben is investing a lot of time and money in this experiment. But, he feels South African vineyards may look a lot different in fifty years. He says “I just want to know. If nothing works, I can say at least I tried.”

The 2015 Harvest Report

Harvests throughout the Northern Hemisphere were lighter than normal. In Napa the quality was outstanding, but the crop was small. In Paso Robles the quality was good, but about 50% of normal tonnage.


The harvest in France's Rhone looks to be light in quantity, but heavy in quality. The hot dry summer concentrated flavors. The sugar content was high and acid low causing extremely high alcohol. Producers feel this will be a classic vintage with powerful wines that may lack the elegance of 2013 and 2014.


In Provence the hot dry summer yielded grapes that may make wines that emphasize ripeness over elegance. In Loire the weather helped some grapes and challenged others. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. Gamay and Melon de Bourgogne did not fare well. Quantities were down.


Bordeaux reports that all grape varieties did well and this may be the best vintage since 2010, although quantities were lighter.

USDA to Help Replant Vineyards

Some wine grape growers in Northern California suffered damage to vineyards and equipment in the fires that swept through last summer. Some were covered by insurance for the loss of the crop. But other losses were not insured. The USDA's Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service are working with them to help replant the vineyards. The agencies can help on a cost sharing basis with replacing drip irrigation systems and pumps that melted, equipment like tractors, as well as assisting with replacement of charred vines.

New Wines from Rothschild

Pasternak Imports will release a collection of wines from Domaines Barons de Rothschild in 2016. The wines, under the Legende label, are geared to entry level drinkers and priced more reasonably than other Bordeaux. Bordeaux Bland and Rouge $20; Medoc, St Emilion, and Paulliac $35 to $60.

Wine Tasting Bacteria

Scientists at The Institute of Food Science Research in Madrid have found that much of the aromatics and flavors in wine are only released to our senses by the bacteria in our mouths. There are over 700 strains of bacteria living in the human mouth. Without them we wouldn't enjoy wine as much as we do. Wine goes through a chemical reaction as the bacteria digests some of it, the flavors are released, and it tastes good.


Bargain Prices as Chinese Market Collapses

The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese wine wholesalers are slashing prices on fine wines in an attempt to unload inventory into an already glutted market. Xavier Granger, Logistics Director at Europasia, a Shanghai warehouse company that stores and ships wines for Chinese firms says that when the wine bubble burst in the Chinese market more than 2,000 companies just cut prices, sold out, and were gone. Now, some of the survivors are trying to sell at one third of their original prices. Some may never be sold.

Pacific Rim Trade Meeting

The Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Wine Industry Regulatory Forum met in Adelaide, Australia in November to discuss wine trade practices in the Pacific Rim. The two day conference focused on streamlining the export-import channels and eliminating duplicate and unnecessary regulations that slow down the wine trade.


Beer Merger Faces Major Hurdles

The AB/Inbev SABMiller $108 billion dollar deal faces approvals in the U.S. and EU. Molson Coors will double in size as it expands by taking total control of the joint venture with Miller and getting worldwide control of the Miller brand. That too, will require regulatory approval. AB/Inbev is making the deal to answer fears that its new size would create too big a monopoly in this country. Molson Coors would gain control of Miller's licensed distribution in the U.S. of Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Fosters, and Redd's. Molson Coors would also achieve cost savings of up to $400 million and tax savings of $250 million over the next 15 years.

Small Brewer's Worries

The Brewers Association, representing more than 4,000 small independent brewers is urging Congress and the Justice Department to examine the AB/Inbev merger and sale of Miller's U.S. assets to Molson Coors closely. Their concern is continued access to an independent middle distribution tier. They are also concerned that AB/Inbev's size will give it worldwide control of the commodities market in hops, grain, and other things involved in beer production.

Giant Beer Keg Christmas Tree

Genessee Brewing Company in Rochester New York really got into the Christmas spirit! They built a giant 26 foot high Christmas Tree out of 428 beer kegs. Then they went ahead and had a tree lighting ceremony for the community. The only problem? The kegs were empty. See the whole thing at





Spirited Ice Cream Celebration

The Jumbo Clown Room in Hollywood celebrated its 45th anniversary with a Coolhaus ice cream truck parked outside. Guests were served a dessert made with a scoop of ice cream made with Italian Amareno Cherries, dark chocolate, Maker's Mark Bourbon, salt, and a clown hat waffle cone on top of a chocolate chip cookie. Coolhaus CEO Natasha Case said "The lavishness of the cherries and intensity of the dark chocolate complimented by bourbon speak to the vibrance and fun of the Jumbo's atmosphere. And a waffle cone top hat? Well, who could resist that resemblance to a clown and twist on a favorite of yesteryear."


Other Foods and Beverages


A Very Special Kitchen

Would you like to have a very nice place to cook your meals and enjoy them with French wine? Well, now you can. This 1600 square foot French cottage in Provence is for sale. A huge bonus comes with it. This was Julia Child's getaway home and kitchen. She called it La Pichoune (The Little One). It is an exact duplicate of the kitchen that sits in the Smithsonian. The kitchen has a drawback. Paul Child designed it for 6'2'' Julia and the counter tops are high. There is so much history here. Julia entertained James Beard, Simone Beck, M.F.K. Fisher, and others in this cottage. You can read about it in the book Provence 1970 by Luke Barr. The home and kitchen could be yours for only $865,000.

Williams-Sonoma Founder Dies

Charles E. Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma has died at the age of 100. As a boy he helped his grandmother in the kitchen. Later, on a two week vacation to France, he was amazed at the variety of kitchen equipment available. The experience changed his life and America's kitchens. "I couldn't get over seeing so many great things for cooking, the heavy pots and pans, white porcelain ovenware, country earthenware, great tools and professional knives," Williams told The Washington Post in 2005. The first store was opened in Sonoma in 1956. He sold the company in 1983. It now has more than 600 stores and is traded on the New York Stock exchange.

Turducken Burger

For those people who couldn't have Turducken for Thanksgiving there's an new and easy substitute. (What's a Turducken? For the uninitiated, a Turducken is a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey. The whole thing is roasted and sliced.) Now, a fast food restaurant has created the Turducken Burger. There are several versions of this culinary creation sandwich being offered at fast food joints. The simplest is ground turkey, duck, and chicken mixed together and broiled. Our favorite is Duck Pastrami on top of a Turkey Burger on top of a deep fried chicken breast. Some versions substitute a fried egg for chicken and top the whole sandwich with brown gravy and cranberries. Where did it originate? Like many urban legends, this one has several claimed inventors. We're not taking sides.

Are You a Walmart Gourmet?

Walmart had been trying to get a foothold and improve its reputation as a place to get good food. Then lightning struck! James Wright Chanel, a Los Angeles fan, posted a Youtube video testimonial on the virtues of Walmart's signature Patti Labelle Sweet Potato Pie. Within a week there were 2.5 million views; the stores sold out; and the $3.48 pies were being resold on eBay for $40. You can watch the video at Warning: the language is a little salty. Have the kids leave the room.

Only in California

And finally, only in California... La Reyna de Michoacan, an ice cream shop in the Los Angeles suburb of Reseda, serves Mexican Kosher Ice Cream. The owner, Rafael Algaze, is Jewish and his customers have been asking for Kosher ice cream. He decided to go ahead and try, but made it with the flavors he knew in Mexico and Central America. He stocks 28 flavors in his freezer. They include Queso (cheese), Membrillo (quince), Leche Quemada (caramelized milk), and Lucuma (Peruvian sweet potato). He also has a selection of sorbets that are Parve (neutral and contain no meat or dairy).

The Changing Market

Landmark Closing

Anthony's Fish Grotto in San Diego is closing. The landmark restaurant lost its lease after more than 70 years.

Holiday Sales Shift

This year some retailers tried to move in different directions on Holiday sales. Some pressed ahead and did much better. The top changes are:

  1. Smaller discounts, fewer sales, doorbusters were not busting many doors. In fact, Target and Walmart started Black Friday with discounts and raised some prices as the day wore on.

  2. Closed Thanksgiving Day. More stores stayed closed for the holiday and left the business for Friday.

  3. Retailers that perfected fulfillment systems during the year get the holiday business. If customers aren't sure to get delivery, they won't give the order.

  4. Mobile shopping hits a new high. 49% of shoppers were ordering something on a mobile device. Are you set up to get that kind of order?

  5. Shopping was expected to continue shifting. Black Friday was thought to be the year's single biggest shopping day with December 26 is a close second.

How are things turning out? The number of transactions on Black Friday was up 7% with revenue up 20%. That means customers were buying bigger tickets. The week leading up to it sales were up 14%. Who did the online selling? Amazon 35.7%, Best Buy 8.2%, Macy's 3.4%, Walmart 3.4%, Nordstrom 3.1%, All others 47%. Cyber Monday was the biggest single sales day ever online. Sales were up 21% over last year at $3 billion. In all sales for the holiday season are expected to total more than $630 billion nationwide, or about 40% of the year's revenue. Who did the buying? Retailers focused on Millenials, but Baby Boomers were flush with cash and did 31.4% of all transactions. Figures are from TechCrunch and Slice. According to Eptica, the total customer experience was less than pleasant. Only 35% of customers said they were happy with online shopping, while 37% said they were highly unsatisfied. 40% were unsatisfied with the store experience and only 30% satisfied. 23% of consumers bought from the retailer with a smartphone while in the store and 49% of those said they did not like the experience. Conclusion: consumers are still searching for an integrated online/store experience that's trouble free. The first retailer to achieve that goal should do well.





Bourbon Maple Cider

Makes 4 cocktails


Wine glasses

4 oz. Bourbon

4 oz. Applejack

2 oz Maple Syrup

1 dash Angostura Bitters

16 oz. Hard Cider



  1. Combine Bourbon, applejack, maple syrup, and bitters.

  2. Shake.

  3. Pour into wine glasses over ice

  4. Top with 4 oz Hard Cider


Wine By-Products Lower Blood Pressure and Glucose

Dr Ines Urquiaga of the Center of Molecular Nutrition and Chronic Diseases at Pontifical Catholic University in Chile announced the results of a study of health benefits of Pomace flour. Pomace is the solids left at the bottom of the tank after wine fermentation. The study was published in the journal Biological Research. 38 men who had early symptoms of diabetes or heart disease were chosen. 25 of them were fed 20 grams of pomace flour at lunch time. There was no other change in their diet. The pomace flour contained 10 grams of dietary fiber, 822 milligrams of polyphenols, and the anti-oxident equivalent of 1/2 a cup of blueberries. After 16 weeks the group eating the pomace flour showed lowered blood pressure and lowered blood glucose levels.

Drink More Coffee, Live Longer

A study by Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University, suggests that heavy consumption of coffee leads to a longer life. Willett says "regular consumption of coffee was inversely associated with risk of total mortality and mortality due to CVD (or, cardiovascular disease), and neurological disease." Actually, he found that coffee drinkers had a 15% reduced risk of an early demise. The study involved 167,000 women and 40,000 men for 30 years. The benefits were found in those that drank regular or decaffeinated coffee. This suggests that the benefit has nothing to do with the caffeine and is caused by some other compounds in the beverage.

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.

Jacquart Champagne held a tasting on the patio at Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills. The company was founded by 30 family growers in 1962. Now the co-op includes 700 growers. For Champagne, the company is young. But it is vibrant and exciting. We had the opportunity to taste four bottlings paired with food. All showed well. The first course was Brut Mosaique NV ($34) with Goat Cheese Ravioli and Oak Mushrooms. 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Meunier. The wine was fresh, lively, elegant and showed minerality. Will pair well with many foods.

The second course was Extra Brut Mosaique ($55) paired with oysters. This wine was also fresh, bright, and elegant. The dosage is minimum, yielding a very dry wine.

Third course was Rose' Mosaique ($45) paired with Teriyaki Salmon. This wine is colored by including 18% Pinot Noir that has been left on the skins. A very refined nose a taste. Good paired or stands alone.

The final course was Blanc de Blancs 2006 paired with sea scallops. It was bright, fresh, and had an earthy and chalky minerality.

Industry Calendar

12/3 North Coast Wine Industry Expo – Santa Rosa

12/6 Hannukah Begins at Sundown

12/14 Hannukah Ends at Sundown

12/25 Christmas

12/26 Kwanzaa Begins

12/31 New Years Eve


1/1 New Years Day

1/17-19 Winter Fancy Food Show – SFO

1/16-17 Asian American Expo – Pomona

1/16-17 Winter Wineland – Sonoma

1/19 MLK Day

1/21 Japan Foods Showcase – Culver City

1/27 Slow Wine Tour - LA

1/29 Grand Crus de Bordeaux – Santa Monica

Promotional Calendar

12/1-31 National Egg Nog Month

12/20 National Sangria Day

12/31 National Champagne Day


New Legislation for 2016

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 will be effective in 2015. 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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