Beverage Bulletin September 2015

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

September 2015

This Month's Stories Include:


Headline News Stories-Major Storms Hit Europe During Harvest, Beer Price Increase, The World's Most Expensive Wine, New Words, Drought Update


Celebrities in the Industry - Adriana Karembeu, Hines Ward, Dwayne Wade, Steven Soderbergh, Chris Paul


Popular Culture - Beverage Industry Fields Presidential Candidates, Pope's Visit Brews up a Storm in Philadelphia, Game of Thrones


Books - Money, Taste, and Wine by Mike Veseth, Cuban Cocktails by Ravi Derossi, Beer Pairing by Julia Herz & Gwen Conley, Jelly Shots: a Rainbow of 70 Boozy Recipes by Michelle Cordero, Thirsty Dragon by Suzanne Mustacich,


Wine - Back to the Future in SFO, Gallo Buys Talbott, Clos Pepe, Say it Isn't So, Malibu Coast to Get More Vines, Getting Help from Mozart, Macy's Introduces Private Label

Starbucks Expands Wine Bars, Big Raisin Crop, Russia Bans Three California Wines, Summer Heat in Burgundy Shrinks Crop, French Protesters Hunt GMO Grapes, Aged Wine Without Sulphites, Airline Wine Competition Results, How Wineries Survived Prohibition, He Had it All, Penfolds Wine for the Emmys, ...Only in California


Beer - Breakfast of Champions, Craft Beer Certificate, Cider Certificate, Kosher Beer Sales Up, Whole Foods Brews Own Beer


Spirits – Spiked Drinks, Constellation Moves Into Spirits, Heaven Hill Buys Deep Eddy, Bottle House


Other Foods and Beverages - Coke Promises Full Info, Avian Flu, California Kids Eat Better, Labor Problems at Haggen, Albertsons, and Safeway, GMO or Not?


The Changing Market - What Are They Drinking?, Restructuring the Coffee Supply Chain, Generation X Changes the Economy, Restaurant Wages Increase


Health – Red Wine Slows Alzheimer's, Red Wine Fights Depression, Miller High Life for a Long Life


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


Ray Bradbury


I like to put my head back... and let the rain fall in my mouth. It tastes just like wine.” - Ray Bradbury (in Fahrenheit 451)


Headline News Stories

Major Storms Hit Europe During Harvest

As we went to press, word came that Southern Europe was hit by major storms. Chablis had a major hail storm the night before harvest. Rioja was flooded during harvest. Some vineyards were washed out or were under mudslides.

Beer Price Increase

There is upward pressure on beer costs and prices that may result in higher prices to consumers this Fall. Three hot brands may kick off the increases. Boston Brewery indicated that it might raise prices on Sam Adams by up to 2 % due to the higher cost of Washington hops caused by the West Coast drought. Constellation Brands says it has generally higher costs and will probably raise prices on Corona and Modelo by about 3%. California is Corona's number one market. There the company will probably move to increase the consumer price by 75 cents a six pack.

The World's Most Expensive Wine

A survey of the prices on more than 7 million wines sold by 55,000 wine merchants in 2015 by the UK website, Winesearcher, has been released. Is it Romanee Conti? No! RC was unseated this year by another Burgundy, Richebourg 1985. The Richebourg averages $15,000 a bottle. Romanee Conti came in at an average price of only $13.000 a bottle.

New Words

Each year the Oxford English Dictionary adds new words that have come into usage. One of this year's new words is particularly useful. I can think of a lot of occasions to use “Wine O'clock”. As a matter of fact, I think this may become one of the most common words we use.

Drought Update

The latest victim of the drought is Head Start program for kids. Fields lay fallow. Migrant farm workers didn't come for a harvest. There are too few children to run the programs. Most in the Central Valley will probably be canceled.


According to the US Forest Service 12 million trees have died this year in California. 6.3 million of the dead trees are in the Sierra foothills. Many of the remaining trees are

weakened and susceptible to disease and pests.


The Metropolitan Water District is trying something new to get people to take shorter showers. They have a playlist of timed music on Pandora Radio. They ask listeners to play the music during the shower and finish when the music ends. The music includes water tunes including Purple Rain by Prince.


Scientists at UC Davis Departments of Viticulture, Enology, and Mechanical Engineering worked together to develop new methods on irrigation, grape and bottle washing, and measuring soil moisture to come up with the new techniques. Water savings will be as much as 90%. The best news is that the information and devices will be available by next year. The technology was already used on this year's student produced wine.



Ventimiglia Cellars Winery after the fire

Fires in tinder dry parts of the West Coast continue to threaten and sometimes devastate wineries and vineyards. Ventimiglia Cellars Winery went up in flames as Lake Chelan, Washington was evacuated. Owner, Ron Ventimiglia, was able to save his computers and two cases of wine. Everything else including the buildings, 250 cases and 40 barrels of wine was lost.


Butter Creek Ranch Winery in Trinity County has lost its entire crop. The vineyards didn't burn, but, a pall of smoke and ashes hangs over the vines. According to Marni Rapf, the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes pick up a smoky flavor that tastes like a “used cigarette.” She and her husband, John Rapf, won't be able to harvest anything. The loss is about $40,000, but the real loss is a year's work in the vineyard.


Feeding the firefighters has become a major task. They need a massive amount of calories and protein to keep up their strength in long athletic like days. Menus include lots of eggs, peanut butter, cheese, and sausage. Supply chains are pushed to the limit.


The National Weather Service is predicting that warming ocean temperatures will result in a strong El Nino rainy season peaking in late Fall or early Winter. The forecast goes on to say that there could be once in a generation storms this winter.


Celebrities in the Industry

Victoria's Secret model, Adriana Karembeu, has been a brand ambassador for Lanson's Chanoine Freres Champagne. Now she will have her own cuvee, Tsarine by Adriana. The bubbly will be released in December and sell for about $450.


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Hines Ward, is opening a restaurant called Table 86 (his number) and adjoining wine bar, Vines in Seven Field, Pa. He is also rumored to be developing a Napa wine under his own label. Ward was the winner of Dancing with the Stars Season 12, competed on Celebrity Cook-Off, acted in AMC movies, and raises money for his Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation.


Miami Heat guard, Dwayne Wade, is producing Wade Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. At present, the wine is only being sold in China.


Film maker, Steven Soderbergh, has been importing an obscure liquor from Bolivia. It's Singani 63, an eau de vie made from Muscat of Alexandria grapes. He owns 250 cases in a New Jersey warehouse that he promotes to mixologists as he travels.


LA Clippers star, Chris Paul, has signed on with OneHope Wine as a celebrity winemaker. His wine is Paul's OneHope Napa Valley Reserve Pinot Noir 2011 which will sell for $60. Previous celebrity vintners were John Elway, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Kidd, Mike Piazza, and Clayton Kershaw. The wine is produced by Rob Mondavi. 50% of the profits will go to Chris Paul Family Foundation.


Popular Culture

Beverage Industry Fields Presidential Candidates

Two of the candidates vying in the 2016 Presidential election have a ties to the beverage industry. Senator Lindsey Graham(R-SC) was raised in a single room behind a liquor store run by his family in South Carolina. Senator Marco Rubio(R-Fla) was born in the U.S. His parents escaped from Communist Cuba and his father worked long hours as a bartender at a portable hotel bar to support the family. Donald Trump owns Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Pope's Visit Brews up a Storm in Philadelphia

Philadelphia's craft brewers are gearing up for Pope Francis' visit this month. Philadelphia Brewing Company has “Holy Wooder.” Which is the way Philly natives pronounce “water.” Cape May Brewing Company has YOPO, which stands for You Only Pope Once. Manayunk Brewing Company is mixing Holy Water blessed by a Philadelphia priest into each batch of “Papal Pleasure” beer. Iron Hill Brewing'sFather's Ale” has been changed to “Pap Ale.” A popular bar in Philly is P.O.P.E, which stands for Pub On Passyunk East. During the week the bar will have “Confessional Happy Hours” and on the weekend it will serve a “Last Supper.” Philadelphia expects more than one million visitors the week it hosts the Pope.


Brewery Ommegang will be selling a Game of Thrones gift pack this holiday season. The pack will include a 750ml of Iron Throne Blonde Ale (inspired by House Lannister), a 750ml of Take the Black Stout (inspired by Night's Watch), and a Game of Thrones chalice.


Money, Taste, and Wine by Mike Veseth, 208 pages, $24.95, Rowman & Littlefield. A love triangle, money, taste, and wine are caught in a complicated relationship affecting every aspect of the wine industry and wine enthusiast experience. As wine economist and best-selling author Mike Veseth peels back the layers of the money-taste-wine story, he discovers the wine buyer’s biggest mistake, which is to confuse money and taste, and learns how to avoid it, sips and swirls dump bucket wines and hidden treasure wines, and toasts anything but Champagne.


Cuban Cocktails by Ravi Derossi, 240 pages, $24.95, Sterling Epicure, available October 2015. Ravi Derossi, owner of the celebrated rum bar Cienfuegos and co-owner of Death & Co. brings us this spirited collection of 100 recipes that capture the tropical elegance and unfiltered energy of the once forbidden island.


Beer Pairing by Julia Herz & Gwen Conley, 216 pages, $25, Voyager Press. Available December 2015. Beer has re-claimed its place at the dinner table. Yet unlike wine, there just aren't many in-depth resources to guide both beginners and beer geeks for pairing beer with food. Julia Herz and Gwen Conley are here to change that.


Jelly Shots: a Rainbow of 70 Boozy Recipes by Michelle Cordero, 164 pages, $17.99, Race Point Publishing. Featuring 70 easy-to-follow recipes using simple ingredients, this is the must-have shot companion for anyone who loves throwing a good party and concocting signature drinks. Using the step-by-step instructions, you'll learn to make innovative shots, including S'mores, Strawberry Margaritas, Peach & Vanilla Champagne, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and dozens more.


Thirsty Dragon by Suzanne Mustacich, 352 pages, $30, Henry Holt & Co. Ms Mustacich covers the growth of wine trade between Bordeaux and China in detail. She exposes greed on both sides of the deals, tells how classified chateaux created second labels for China in order to bypass broker and negociant agreements and sell direct to buyers, reveals embarrassing secrets the French have kept hidden, breaks open the story of Chinese cancellation of orders for millions of cases during the financial crisis of 2009-2012. The book includes interviews with key players in Bordeaux, Hong Kong, and China. There is a huge volume of names, deals, and detailed data. Among others, she follows private investigator, Nick Bartman, as he tracks waves of counterfeit goods across China. Much of the story will make top French dealers uncomfortable about things they thought were buried. Must reading for wine crime buffs. To be released in November 10, 2015.


Back to the Future in SFO

Elly Hortshorn has founded the first new vineyard in San Francisco since the 19th century. 200 Pinot Noir vines are planted on a slope in the Bernal Heights District. The property and vines are cared for by volunteers. The eventual harvest is expected to be about 250 bottles a year. During San Francisco's golden age at the end of the 19th century, it was home to many vineyards. That ended abruptly with the 1906 earthquake. In the frenzy to rebuild the city, the vineyards were torn out and replaced with residential housing.

Gallo Buys Talbott

E&J Gallo has purchased Talbott Vineyads. The deal includes the Talbott brand, 525 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the winery and tasting room in Carmel Valley. The Winery was founded in 1982 by Rob Talbott and is the premier producer of 100% estate grown wines.

Clos Pepe, Say it Isn't So

Clos Pepe Winery has reached the end of its run. The 2014 vintage is in barrels and once it is bottled and sold, there will be no more. Steve and Cathy Pepe have decided to retire and have signed 15 year lease with Hall/Walt Wines of St Helena. More than that, they have decided to retire the brand when their fans want more, much more. They will continue to live on the Santa Rita Hills property. Over the last 21 years Clos Pepe has become world renowned for fine estate bottled Pinot Noir.

Malibu Coast to Get More Vines

Malibu Coast growers went to court to overturn LA county's ban on new planting. They won a partial victory by getting a deal to have applications considered on a case by case basis with new plantings meeting strict standards. About half of the applications were approved and will be able to start planting in 4 months.

Getting Help from Mozart

George Hanson is working on a better tasting wine with his 2015 British Columbia Pinot Noir harvest. His secret is playing classical music in the barrel aging room 24/7 for 6 months. He is certain the frequency will influence the character and flavor of the wine.

Macy's Introduces Private Label

Macy's will be introducing a line of private label wines in conjunction with KDM Global Partners. KDM specializes in private label selections. The wines will be sold and served in some Macy's restaurants and stores.

Starbucks Expands Wine Bars

Starbucks has opened 24 new wine & beer bars, bringing the total to 70. The company plans to have 3,000 wine & beer bars operating by 2019 that will make over $1 billion a year.

Big Raisin Crop

This year's California raisin crop is anticipated to be 13% bigger than last year's at 2 million tons. The crop and growing season were influenced by the drought, but growers managed to work the water allocations and vines more efficiently. In 2014 the production was 36.5 bunches per vine. In 2015 it ran 43.4, up 19%. The study was done by the National Agricultural Statistics Service and paid for by the Raisin Advisory Committee. Due to a Supreme Court decision, for the first time in many years the Raisin Advisory Board will not be able to take raisins from growers and shippers without a reasonable payment. Consumers and manufacturers may see lower prices.

Russia Bans Three California Wines

Russia's consumer protection agency, the Rospotrebnadzor banned three California wines from the country. They are Gnarly Head Chardonnay, Geyser Peak Merlot, and Crane Lake Moscato. The reason given was excessive pesticide levels. Skeptics, including the Moscow Times, say the action is part of the worsening trade climate between the U.S. and Russia.

Summer Heat in Burgundy Shrinks Crop

Hot dry weather in Burgundy and Beaujolais may result in a much lighter crop this year. Rainfall during the next few weeks will be critical. Beaujolais has been particularly hard hit. Fruit size is reported to be much smaller and yield could be a third less than normal.

French Protesters Hunt GMO Grapes

A group of 50 protesters tried to break into the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Colmar, France. They wanted to destroy genetically modified grape vines. The protesters were met by institute personnel, who turned them back, saying that there were no such vines there. The protesters said they didn't believe what they were told and would be back.

Aged Wine Without Sulphites

Audacia Winery in South Africa is experimenting with using Rooibos wood chips in steel fermenting tanks in place of oak chips. They say the result will be well aged wines without sulphites. The process was developed in a project with Stellenbosch University's Department of Enology.

Airline Wine Competition Results

Global Traveler Magazine held its 11th annual Wines on the Wing Competition at the Westin Times Square in New York. Each airline entered two reds, two whites, and a Champagne. The wines were blind tasted. In one heat All Nippon and American entered the same wine. The winners were:

Best Champagne International Business Class - Hainan Airlines Leventre-Dedieu Champagne, NV

Best Champagne International First Class - All Nippon Airways Krug Grande Cuvée, NV

Best Sparkling Wines International Business Class - Fiji Airways Tempus Two Blanc de Blancs 2013

Best White Wine International Business Class - British Airways Tiki Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Best White Wine International First Class - All Nippon Airways/American Airlines (TIE) Hartford Court Chardonnay 2012, Russian River Valley, California.

Best Red Wine International Business Class - Fiji Airways Shaw + Smith Shiraz 2010, Australia

Best Red Wine International First Class - American Airlines Kenefick Ranch Caitlin's Select Cabernet Franc 2007, Napa Valley, California

How Wineries Survived Prohibition

During Prohibition some winegrowers tore out vineyards and replaced them with fruit orchards. Others found a way to continue selling their product and skirted the law by making “Wine Bricks.” A wine brick is dried concentrated grape juice and skins the size and shape of a brick. Consumers could use the brick to make wine at home. If they didn't know how, all they had to do was read the warning on the wrapper. The package would tell how to mix the brick with a gallon of water to get grape juice. Then the warning said “Do Not Leave the jug in a cool cupboard for 21 days or the juice will turn to wine.” It was legal to make up to 200 gallons of wine a year for personal use. But it was illegal for winegrowers to “knowingly” sell grapes to make alcohol. By giving a warning the growers stayed on the safe side of the law. The wine bricks could be bought in a wide variety and were clearly labeled so buyers knew what kind of grape juice they were getting. Choices included Burgundy, Riesling, Port, Sherry, or Claret, and many others. The scheme worked so well that the price of wine grapes in California rose from $9.50 to $375 a ton between 1920 and 1924.

He Had it All

Dr. Robert Sinskey, Sr. died on June 21 at the age of 90. Dr. Sinskey was famous worldwide for developing the artificial lens used in cataract surgeries. But he had dual interests; eye surgery and winemaking. In the 1970's he moved his practice to California so he could do both. He purchased a 15 acre farm in Carneros to grow Pinot Noir. Sinskey would come home dead tired from a day of surgery and find relaxation in winemaking. Later as both his medical practice and winery grew, he turned over the management of the winery to his son, Robert Jr. The vineyard is now over 200 acres and bio-dynamic. Robert Jr will continue running the facility.

Penfolds Wine for the Emmys

Penfolds Wines have been chosen as the official wine of the 67th Emmy Awards to be held on September 20. The show will be broadcast on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The host will be Andy Samberg.

Only in California

and finally... only in California. St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach is using Schrader Napa Valley Cab and Zinfandel in its communion cup. Carol Schrader and her husband, Fred donate their wine to the church. Carol has been a member of the congregation since baptism. The Summer services have been held outdoors for a “Mass on the Grass.”


Craft Beer Certificate

The University of Vermont has announced a Business of Craft Beer Certificate program. The course was developed with the help of the Vermont Brewers Association and covers sales, digital marketing, and business operations. The course takes 12 weeks of online study.


Cider Certificate

The U.S. Association of Cider Makers has put together a credential program on cider with a Sicera Certificate on completion. The program will be broken into levels. The first class in level one will be taught in Portland on February 6, 2016 in conjunction with CiderCon.

Breakfast of Champions

Fulton Brewery has partnered with General Mills to make HefeWheaties Beer. It will be sold in the Twin Cities area for a limited time. This quote from Ryan Petz, President of Fulton Brewery, is on the Wheaties blog site. “We were intrigued from the get-go on this idea for many reasons, including that we’re both Minneapolis companies, and that the beer and the cereal both started from the same place in terms of raw ingredients and the same city. We had been sampling a number of Hefeweizens, so we had been discussing with the Wheaties team what we liked. Someone on the team said “HefeWheaties”, and it kind of sprung out from there.”


Kosher Beer Sales Up

According to Kosher Today, beer consumption is rising among younger kosher consumers. It's estimated that beer is up about 10% in sales in kosher communities. One reason is that beer is a kosher product as long as it doesn't have things added to it. That means if there are no fruit flavors and other adulterants, the beer is automatically kosher.

Whole Foods Brews Own Beer

Whole Foods has opened a craft brewery inside one of its Houston stores. The beer was distributed to its other Houston stores the first week of August and will go to its stores throughout Texas in mid-September.



Constellation Moves Into Spirits

Constellation Brands has created a subsidiary, Constellation Ventures, which has purchased about a third of Crafthouse Cocktails, a Chicago pre-mixed cocktail bottler. Crafthouse will work on its own and not participate in bottling or distribution with Constellation. Constellation Ventures will continue to look for start-ups as investments.





Spiked Drinks

China's Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration has warned drinkers about the danger of two Baiju products being sold as aphrodisiac beverages. Baiju is similar to a low alcohol Vodka, but is made from Sorghum. The two are Kung Fu Wine Pot of Gold and Liu Pa God Health Wine. Both products have Viagra added to fulfill the promotional promise. Health authorities say the combination can be dangerous.

Heaven Hill Buys Deep Eddy

Heaven Hill has purchased Deep Eddy Vodka, a 500,000 case a year brand. The executives of both companies applauded the deal. Deep Eddy's management team will continue with the company and the brand will continue bottling in Austin.

Bottle House

Edouard T. Arsenault was a fisherman and WWII veteran who lived on Prince Edward Island in Canada. His hobby is what made him famous. He started collecting glass bottles of all kinds. In the snowy winter 1979 he cleaned his bottles and had an idea. He started construction in the Spring of 1980 of a six gabled house made of bottles. In 1981 he opened the “Bottle House” as a tourist attraction. He followed by building two more houses. In all he used 25,000 bottles. Arsenault died in 1984. His two daughters now earn a living by charging admission to the three house bottle village.

Other Foods and Beverages

Coke Promises Full Info

Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, promised transparency about the company's health research investments. A recent report embarrassed the company by revealing that it had funded an organization that promoted a misleading message on obesity.

Avian Flu

Last Spring migratory birds spread avian flu through chicken and turkey flocks across the Midwest. Millions of turkeys and egg laying chickens died. The result was a spike in retail egg prices to near $5 a dozen. The price of turkeys for this year's holidays is yet to be seen. The migrating birds spent the Summer in the Southern Hemisphere. This Fall they will be returning north to Canada, carrying avian flu through all the flyways crossing the U.S. Expect to see an nationwide epidemic. This time it will hit all segments of the industry; eggs, turkeys, and broilers from New York to California.

California Kids Eat Better

Best Campus Food ranks college dorm and cafeteria food across the country annually. This year 1,175 colleges were ranked based on 470,000 opinions from 64,000 students. Ratings were based on variety, quality, healthy options, and dietary preferences. UCLA was ranked #3. 9 California schools made the top 50. Here they are:

#3 UCLA, #10 UC Davis, #13 Cal Baptist Riverside, #17 University of San Diego, #32 Stanford, #34 Pomona College, #38 Biola, #45 Pitzer, #49 Claremont McKenna.

Labor Problems at Haggen, Albertsons, and Safeway

Union leaders have filed charges against Haggen, Albertsons, and Safeway for allegedly conspiring to close stores, lay off employees, and reduce work hours illegally. In early August Haggen announced plans to close 22 of the 150 stores bought out of the Albertsons/Safeway merger. In a separate, but related situation, Haggen fired all courtesy clerks in the Santa Barbara area. The action drew the wrath of the community because the firing hurt so many local kids.

GMO or Not?

Food labels with “No GMO” on the label are popping up everywhere. But does it mean anything? Some GMO papayas and squash are available to buy in the markets. Some apples and potatoes have been recently approved, but aren't in the stores yet. Some soybeans, alfalfa, and sugar beets are used as ingredients. GMO canola is made into food oils. Everything else is always non-GMO. But, hundreds of products are labeled non-GMO to get an advantage over competitors that don't put it on the label.

The Changing Market

What Are They Drinking?

Shopper Tracker Data has released figures that show what Generation Y (today's 18 to 34 year olds) is drinking. They buy 17% of the Wine sold, 22% of Beer, 29% of Spirits, and 45% of Cider. Generation Y is interested in transparency about what a brand represents and how it got here... and that's all. They are turned off by all the verbiage surrounding wine and the hyperbola around spirits brands. They are looking for the basics, then the drink has to fulfill its promise.

Restructuring the Coffee Supply Chain

The wholesale coffee market has gone though a huge restructuring during the past 10 years. Traditionally, coffee roasters have bought beans through the futures market which is extremely volatile. Fortunes can be made or lost in minutes in the coffee futures market. During the past decade consumer tastes have shifted to specialty coffees. Meanwhile small roasters went into business to fill that consumer need. Today, 50% of coffee served is specialty coffee and many of the small specialty roasters have become medium to large businesses. These specialty roasters cannot make a living in a volatile market. In order to ensure a constant supply at a steady price, many have made long term contracts and invested directly with growers or growers co-ops and created the “fair trade coffee market.” The result is two separate and distinct supply chains from the producing countries to the consuming countries. At the close of July Arabica beans on the U.S. market closed at about $1.32 a pound. While specialty coffees on the open market were out of reach at $21.94 a pound. Roasters without contractual relationships were simply priced out of the market.

Generation X Changes the Economy

Generation X has come of age and is changing marketing across the economy. Areas Generation X is affecting: membership organizations like country clubs (There isn't a reason to pay money to be with your friends, everyone texts.; car-buying, some are buying cars later, and some not at all; apartment rentals, they are renting longer and inflating apartment rates; the workplace, they are using technology and working from home or while laying on the beach or sitting in Starbucks; restaurant menus and grocery sales, ingredients and transparency are the watchwords. A study by Dorsey Associates showed that 60% of Generation X interviewed said they aim to avoid synthetic hormones, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and artificial preservatives. In order to get customers, newly designed restaurants have a window into the kitchen or assemble the product right in front of the patron.

Restaurant Wages Increase

Debates are raging over the minimum wage across the country. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has fallen and wages are going up anyway. Wendy's, MacDonald's, and Cheesecake Factory are all raising wages in order to get employees as they expand or just try to hold market share. Starbucks pays college fees. This month Chipotle is trying to hire 4,000 new employees and is promising a path to six figure salaries with company cars.



Red Wine Slows Alzheimer's

A study at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and funded by the National Institute on Aging showed that a diet that included a glass of red wine a day after age 80 slowed down the onset of Alzheimer's Disease by an average of 5 years.

Red Wine Fights Depression

A study at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine showed that resveratrol in red wine could reduce depression by reducing inflammation of the brain. Dr, Susan Wood said “There is growing evidence that brain inflammation plays a role in depression.”

Miller High Life for a Long Life

Agnes Fenton just celebrated her 110th birthday in New Jersey. She owes it all to Johnnie Walker and Miller High Life. Agnes says that, years ago, a doctor advised her to drink three cans of Miller High Life a day. She decided to improve on it by adding a shot of Scotch. Wisely, she chose Johnnie Walker Blue Label.


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.


The Long Beach Grand Cru provided an opportunity to taste an eclectic array of wines from across the country. The setting was spectacular. It was a warm summer evening on the meadow of the South Bay Botanic Garden. The wines hailed from the Atlantic Coast, the Southwest, Northwest, as well as California. There were far too many to review all. We hit the high points.

San Francisco Wine Exchange showed Andeluna Argentine Malbec 2014. The wine had good nose and color, was full bodied, would stand up well served with beef, pasta, or other hearty dishes. A best uy at $12 to $15. Contact Aaron Schifferle, southwestern regional manager at or (415) 546-0484.


Vinemark Cellars poured its line of Paso Robles wines. We had tasted them only a few days earlier at the Garagiste tasting this gave us an opportunity to confirm our judgment. The wines were all just as good. Our two favorites were Cabernet Franc 2013. Good color and nose, character & structure, body was good and more than I would expect from this grape, $29. Petite Sirah 2013, good nose, deep purple color, full body, an exceptional Rhone style wine, $29. Contact Mark Wasserman at or (805) 558-1920.

Gloria Ferrer poured its NV Brut Sparkling Wine. $12. Bright, fresh, refreshing summer beverage.

Industry Calendar

9/1-30 California Wine Month - Celebrate statewide!

9/3 6th Annual Cabernet Day

9/5 Taste of Sonoma County - Healdsburg

9/7 Labor Day

9/7 National Beer Lover's Day - Celebrate anywhere!

9/11-12 California Craft Beer Summit & Showcase - Sacramento

9/13 Rosh Hashanah Begins at Sundown

9/15 Rosh Hashanah Ends at Sundown

9/16 Mexican Independence Day

9/16 Wines of Tejo Portugal – SFO

9/19 Ciderfest - Hollywood

9/19 Oktoberfest Begins (16 days)

9/21 Weygandt Selections - LA

9/22 Kol Nidre

9/23 Yom Kippur

9/24 Kobrand Tour d'Italia-SFO

9/26-27 Cal Confectionary Show – LA

9/26 National Drink a Beer Day - Celebrate anywhere!

9/30 SFO Double Gold Tour – Beverly Hills

10/3-4 Vegan Oktoberfest – LA

10/4 National Vodka Day – Celebrate anywhere!

10/10 Harvest Grand Tasting - Solvang

10/10 Mutual Trading Tasting – Pasadena

10/12 Columbus Day

10/15 National Red Wine Day - Celebrate anywhere!

10/15-18 Japan Expo – LA

10/19 Youngs Market Tasting – LA

10/28 Simply Great Italian Wines – SFO


New Legislation for 2015

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.

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