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Mar 28

Anheuser-Busch Buys Goose Island

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time, you know that I’m a huge fan of Goose Island. Whenever we go to Chicago, we make a special point of heading out to the brewery for seasonals and dinner. I even co-hosted an event last year with the Dilly Cafe, the Hoperatives, and Goose Island. They make my favorite beers.

It was announced today that Anheuser-Busch has purchased Goose Island. Now remember, Anheuser-Busch itself is owned by global conglomerate InBev, so in essence, InBev now owns Goose Island.

I know this is probably a good thing for Goose Island, and the deal was worth a lot of beer: $38.8 million. According to WBEZ Chicago, not much will change:

In a statement, the head of Goose Island, John Hall, said the Chicago company has grown so rapidly in the last five years that demand for Goose Island beers has outgrown the capacity of its brewery. Hall said the company has had to limit production of some of the beers. Hall said the deal with Anheuser-Busch will help Goose Island continue to grow.

“This agreement helps us achieve our goals with an ideal partner who helped fuel our growth, appreciates our products and supports their success,” Hall said in a statement.

In announcing the acquisition, Goose Island said Hall will continue to be responsible for the Chicago brewery, which the company says will remain in operation.

So I have my fingers crossed I won’t see a Matilda Select or Fleur Lime anytime in the near future.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 12:05 pm in Beer, Beer-Guy.net | Permalink | Comments (8)
Mar 28

Community Farm Alliance Hosts Fundraiser to Benefit Seeds of Change Project

The Community Farm Alliance (CFA) today announced it will be hosting Planting Seeds of Change Fundraiser and Mingle, Friday, April 8 at The Artisan’s Enterprise Center, 25 West 7th Street, Covington, KY. Cost is $10 per person and all proceeds go to the Community Farm Alliance Seeds of Change project.

The $10 per person donation includes hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages. Savor Catering will be serving locally produced foods in scrumptious small bites and there will be a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. A cash bar will include Kentucky liquor, wines and beer. Enjoy the art installation presently on the walls, as well as a special farm-related presentation on display for the evening, featuring photography, art, quilts, pottery and more from local farms and artisans. There will be a silent auction with a variety of wonderful items including a full sized, specially made farm-themed quilt. All proceeds benefit the CFA. Tap your toes as local musicians fiddle, pluck and strum bluegrass and other selections. No RSVP is needed—just stop by and have a great time meeting local folks that all share the legacy of food.

Community Farm Alliance is a grassroots membership organization with over 2,000 members in 75 Kentucky counties. The CFA creates new farmers’ markets in underserved urban communities and develops farm-to-cafeteria programs that link local farmers with institutional buyers. The organization also provides a grassroots voice for Kentucky’s citizens—farmer and non-farmer, urban and rural—by promoting family farm-friendly policies in the halls of the state capitol.

Tickets will be available prior to the event by calling 859-643-3276 or email Tricia to receive tickets via email or postal service.

For more information on Community Farm Alliance, visit their web site.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 11:15 am in Charity Benefits | Permalink | Comments (5)
Mar 21

Lafite Auction Helps Japan

Hart Davis Hart, America’s largest wine auction house, conducted a highly successful auction over the weekend devoted exclusively to the wines of Château Lafite-Rothschild. The sale comprised the largest selection of Lafite ever offered at auction and was 100% sold, realizing $5.8 million in sales against a pre-sale auction estimate of $4.3m-$6.5m. Bidders participated from 22 states as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Five of the top ten invoices of the day went to Asian buyers.

The celebrated 1982 vintage brought in $1.39 million over 39 lots and achieved the highest hammer prices of the sale; the top lots of the day were two full cases of this vintage (est. $40,000-$60,000), fetching $59,750 each. Other acclaimed vintages posted strong results as well, with several cases of the 100-point 1996 vintage bringing $23,900 (estimate $16,000-$24,000), and a case of the 1995 commanding $19,120 (est. $10,000-$15,000). Prices for 15 of 20 comparable vintages rose from the strong levels achieved in Hart Davis Hart’s most recent previous auction, held at the end of January. In total, prices for Lafite rose 4% sale to sale. Both the 1998 and 1999 vintages rose more than 14% while the 1982 vintage fell slightly by 4.7%.The average price achieved per lot across the entire auction was an astounding $14,789.

Bidders in attendance at Chicago’s award-winning restaurant TRU enjoyed tastings of several vintages of Lafite paired with specially-created dishes from Executive Chef Anthony Martin. Multiple vintages were poured from magnum format, making the day “a complete celebration of the legendary wines of Château Lafite,” as Vice-Chairman Michael Davis noted.

Hart Davis Hart will be donating 3% of the buyer’s premium from The Lafite Auction to Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund and many of the consignors in the auction will provide matching donations. Hart Davis Hart will raise more than $30,000 which will be used to directly support victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

“The recent devastation in Japan has been weighing heavily on our minds, especially since many of our clients were directly impacted. We were thrilled to get such a great response in support of this effort from both our buyers and consignors,” said Chairman John Hart.

Top Lots (inclusive of 19.5% buyer’s premium):
Lots 275-276: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs)
(est. $40,000-60,000) $59,750
Lots 1-3, 114-115, 142, 196: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs) (est. $40,000-60,000) $57,360
Lot 116: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (3 dbl mags)
(est. $38,000-55,000) $53,775
Lots 27, 117: 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild (1 imp)
(est. $26,000-38,000) $41,825
Lots 11-12: 2000 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs)
(est. $26,000-38,000) $38,240
Lot 7: 1996 Château Lafite Rothschild (12bs)
(est. $16,000-24,000) $28,860
Lot 48: 1995 Château Lafite Rothschild (12 bs)
(est. $10,000-15,000) $19,120

Sale Stats
Percent sold by lot: 100%
Total Aggregate: $5,887,526
Low Pre-Sale Estimate: $4,337,250
High Pre-Sale Estimate: $6,483,700

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Posted by Michelle at 6:44 pm in Charity Benefits, News | Permalink | Comments (12)
Mar 09

Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide

Welcome to Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide. Every year I poll a large group of wine bloggers and find out if there are any outstanding tips, which I add to my own. This year, I’ve added new tips based on my experience pouring wines at last year’s festival.

These tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered.

So in no particular order, here are my tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:

  1. Decide when you want to go. The Friday Grand Tasting has always seemed more manageable to me, with slightly less people. The Saturday Grand Tasting is generally the biggest event, with what seems like an unending number of people. My favorite session is Saturday afternoon, as fewer people attend and I can get more face-time with the winemakers. This year you’ll find Kevin & I enjoying the Friday night session only.
  2. Eat a big meal before hand. You’ll stay sober longer. You may want to follow your festival experience with a large meal afterwards. Either way, it’s a busy weekend downtown, and the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festivities fall on Saturday. Whenever you decide to eat, make reservations.
  3. Consider a designated driver, cab service, or even a hotel room. Last year we decided to succumb to an afternoon and evening of alcohol and we got a hotel room. The Wine Fest web site offers several hotel packages downtown, and we often find great last minute deals at The Cincinnatian. In past years, we’ve had good luck booking through Hotwire.
  4. Make a game plan. First, download the Tasting Guide ahead of time. In the guide, you can find the list of attending wineries, the corresponding floor plan, and the list of wines in the Special Tasting Room. Plan ahead. See what looks interesting. Accept that you can’t possibly try everything. You may want to decide to divide and conquer within your group of friends.
  5. Dress comfortably. Seriously, ladies, there is no need for high heels. You can still look cute and trendy and leave the stilettos at home. You will be walking a lot, standing even more, and jostling in and out of a lot of people. Expect it to be warm in the tasting hall. Lots of people and red wine can raise the temperature in a room.
  6. Since we’re talking about clothes, wear dark colors. I know it’s almost Spring, but don’t pull out your sundresses and pastels. Even if you manage to avoid spilling red wine on yourself, someone else might very well careen into you. Lots of people + lots of alcohol = lots of wine accidents. Dark colors are your best bet. On that note, carry a small bottle of Wine Away or a Tide Stain Stick. Even if you don’t need it, someone else might.
  7. Get there early. People start filtering in late and things get really crowded really fast. Enjoy being early.
  8. Start at the end. Most people will start at the beginning. Starting at the end (or back) will allow you to fight a smaller crowd – at least until you make it to the middle.
  9. Manage your route so that you visit the sparkling wine and champagne in between big wines. Sparklers are excellent palate cleansers and you’ll last longer if you try those in between the big reds.
  10. Save those dessert wines for last. One year I succumbed to temptation and had a chocolate port early on. As tasty as it was, my next ten wines still tasted like chocolate.
  11. Hold your glass up and don’t tilt it sideways. Think about it  - the wine will spill out. Holding it up higher makes it easier for the pourer to reach over all the bottles. Guys were better at this than gals last year, most likely because guys are just taller in general. Reach out with those glasses ladies!
  12. The pourers are not bartenders. Seriously, don’t bang on a bottle with your glass expecting service. (And no, I’m not kidding.) And while we’re on the topic, say please and thank you. Just because you’re thirsty for wine, doesn’t mean that all good manners get thrown out the window. Some of the pourers are just volunteers and aren’t being paid to be there and everyone has been working hard for at least two days; in the case of winemakers, they’ve been going non-stop for nearly a week.
  13. Move out of the way. I can’t stress this enough for the evening sessions. You don’t have to leave, but get your wine and move to the side. Don’t step back two steps, you’re still blocking the three people behind you and you’ll probably spill wine in the process.
  14. Try new things. Just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t mean they’re bad. Truly, some of the booths have the name of the distributor, but they might be featuring three or four different wineries. This is a perfect opportunity to branch out and explore a little. Who knows what you’ll find? There might be something you really like, even if it’s not Merlot and Chardonnay. The two questions I heard while pouring last year were “Do you have any Merlot? Do you have any Chardonnay?”  The answer is not always yes, and there are some really exciting grapes out there that are not merlot or chard. If you see an Alicante Bouché for example, try it – you might be surprised. Chances are, the person behind the table can tell you a little bit about the grape as well, and if you don’t like it, then dump it.
  15. Spit or dump. A winemaker commented to me a few years ago that Cincinnati is strange because hardly anyone spits. Some thoughts on spitting:
    - Carry your own spit cup. Dixie cups work, as well as those Solo plastic cups. When a table is crowded, it’s hard to get to the bucket, nor do you want to be in someone else’s spit stream. Also, it’s easier to be discreet when you are quietly spitting into your own cup.
    - Dump instead of spit. I don’t spit at the Wine Festival. When I’m judging a wine competition, it doesn’t bother me to spit into a personal cup. But in our weird lack-of-spitting city, I get really self-conscious. So I take a small sip or two, try to really glean something out of it, and dump the rest of the wine into the bucket. It’s expected. You’re not wasting wine or hurting anyone’s feelings.
  16. Take breaks every 30 minutes or so to have some snacks and water, as well as to regroup.
  17. Hydrate, and wine doesn’t count. Bring water if they aren’t handing it out. But you’ll definitely want some handy.
  18. Rinse strategically. You see, rinsing your glass is necessary occasionally. But when you’re switching between white and red, ask for a wine rinse. No one will complain. If you’re switching between the reds at the same table, you don’t need to rinse your glass between every one. Not only do you waste water, but no one ever gets all the water out of their glass. You know what that leads to? Watery wine, and you certainly don’t want that.
  19. Don’t try to take detailed tasting notes. Sometimes I just rate things on my happy face scale; occasionally I’ll write a sentence. There will be no time for detailed information, nor will you really have free hands or space for writing.
  20. And finally, don’t expect your friendly wine blogger to get you free tickets. Even Kevin & I pay to get in to the evening events. It’s a charity function. In fact, I believe 50% of your ticket is a tax-deduction as a charitable donation. So don’t try to get in free and skimp on those charities, okay? Instead, just go and have a fantastic time!
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Posted by Michelle at 8:03 am in Charity Benefits, Cincinnati, Local, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments (23)
Mar 04

In Search of …

I’m in search of a new calendaring system for my blog. Why? Because I don’t have the 4-6 hours/week it takes to maintain the current calendaring system. Basically, I have to enter everything in by hand. Since I started working a “real” job, this just hasn’t been feasible. And until the wine blog pays me more than pennies, the “real” job is a requirement.

Right now, this note is at the top of the calendar page:
NOTE: The Calendar has not been updated in the last 8 months due to time constraints. I’m now looking for an alternative calendaring system. Weekly (recurring) wine events are possibly still up to date, but no promises. If stores have moved or changed times in the last 8 months, it is not reflected in this calendar. For now, please take all calendar entries with a grain of salt and please double-check before you go anywhere.
-Editor

As far as I can tell, no one reads the note. So please take it to heart right now; the calendar is out of date until I can find better, more self-sufficient technology. Call or check online at the retail location first before you head to a tasting.

Here is what I would love to find in a calendaring system (which is very similar to the proprietary system on Cincinnati.com):

  • The ability to stream it into my blog, in agenda format, perhaps via RSS or some other wonderful code invention (anything but an iFrame, which doesn’t often play nice with WordPress).
  • Clients could enter their own events into the calendar, saving me the hours it takes to format and organize it.
  • Event entries should be moderated, meaning I can still keep the Porn Superstars Dinner off my blog.

If you know of a lovely piece of technology like this, please let me know. In the meantime, remember the calendar is a loose, slightly out of date guide and you should always double-check with the retailer before you head out.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 10:52 am in Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (7)

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