Coppola's wines-by-the-glass and mini sparklers: A wine offering 'you can't refuse'
Francis Ford Coppola Rosso (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Bianco (Pinot Grigio) wines-by-the-glass.
The ready-to-drink wines are designed to be popped open at events or at home when only a glass of wine is desired, rather than having the bottle go to waste or have to be refrigerated. As we all know, white wine never taste's as good after being opened and refrigerated. And in the case of red wine, the unfinished bottle has to sit out with the cork in it. The result: the wines' usually end up getting pured down the drain after a couple days.
There currently are five wine varieties available under the Clif Bar brand. There's the 2006 vintage Climber, a white wine blend; the Climber 2006, a red wine made from North coast-grown grapes; Kit's Killer Cab (named after Crawford), which is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvigon; Gary's Improv (named after Erikson), which is a 2003 vintage Napa Valley Meritage; and lastly there's a 2004 Napa Valley Syrah. It has no special name like the others. Erikson is a mountain climber, which is where the first two wines get the inspiration for their names.
This year's top ten is a who's who of media whores. Coming in at number one is Donald Trump, followed by Paris Hilton and Fox News host Bill O' Reilly. After the top three, fourth place honors go to Rosie O' Donnell, actor Tom Cruise, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, British spice girl turned Beverly Hills professional shopper Victoria Beckham, supermodel turned talk show host Tyra Banks, rap star and activist Kanye West, and last but not least, chairwoman of the "I hate underwear" club Britney Spears.
Whole Foods' new Market Bistro, like the one pictured above in its Potrero Hill store in San Francisco, is a combination restaurant and wine bar. The grocer is placing Market Bistros in most of its new stores.
Organic wines at top of trends list: Organic wines, along with craft beers and signature cocktails, top the list of top restaurant beverage trends in the just released National Restaurant Association annual beverage trends survey. The survey of over 1,000 professional chefs found alcoholic beverages are among the hottest culinary trends in restaurants in the U.S. currently. the professional chefs, all members of the American culinary Federation ranked craft beers as the hottest trend, followed by energy drink cocktails, martini's, mojitos, artisan liquors, organic wine and specialty beers in the top 20 culinary trends for 2007-2008.
Organic wines aren't just popular diner drink choices. The chefs said they're using the wines in various innovative culinary ways. For example, the chefs said they are using organic wines (as well as other premium wines) in deglazing, reduction and sauce preparation. They also are using the wines to prepare wine-flavored ice teas. The most popular wine varieties for these interesting drinks are Chardonay, Cabernet and Merlot. Food and wine pairings are a growing trend the chefs say, and with the fast-growing popularity of organic foods, the organic wines are becoming popular for organic food and wine pairing events. Fruit-flavored and rose/blush wines also are hot say the chefs.
The growing popularity of organic wines at restaurants mirrors their growing popularity at retail. This trend also dovetails with the growing "mainstreaming" of organic foods and the sustainable, buy local and "green" food movements. In fact, the survey also identified what the chefs say are the hot food trends in their restaurants. At the top of the list are organic foods, local produce, sustainable seafood, grass-fed beef and free-range meats and poultry of all types.
A&P buys wine merchant as way to upscale wine merchandising: The A&P supermarket chain has decided to pursue an interesting strategy to grow it's wine merchandising capabilities. The supermarket chain has acquired Best Sellers, a New York City wine merchant/retailer famous for its Great Wines for Everyday Merchandising strategy. That strategy focuses on selling wines by flavor rather than origin, and does so at reasonable prices.
Joshua Wesson, Best Seller's co-founder and a wine expert, will join A&P as the grocer's director of beer, wine and spirits. Best Sellers has five retail locations. A&P says it plans to keep all the stores located in its core market, which is all but one which is located in Boston. That store will be sold. The larger strategy however isn't operating the Best Sellers stores as much as it is bringing the wine merchant's merchandising strategy, and Wesson's expertise, into A&P. The grocer will use this new talent to revamp the wine, beer and spirits selections in its stores using the Great Wines for Everyday Merchandising philosophy.
A&P has been revamping its food merchandising, moving from a conventional approach to more of an emphasis on specialty and natural foods, premium quality prepared foods and other upscale offerings. The move into more extensive and premium wine merchandising fits well with the grocer's overall change in merchandising strategy. Just as specialty, premium and natural/organic foods are the fastest growing categories at retail, so to are beverages in these categories. In particular, premium and organic wines, craft and specialty beers, and innovative signature cocktails are hot. The Best Sellers acquisition should give A&P a specialty food and beverage one-two punch in their new merchandising program.
Tesco's wine chief to Aussie wine industry: "Put the personality back into wine:" Dan Jago, who runs wine merchandising for British retailer Tesco, the world's third largest retailer, recently gave a scolding to Australian wine producers at the 13th Annual Wine Industry Conference in Melbourne.At the conference yesterday, Jago told the winemakers they've been resting on their laurels. "I would really, really ask you to put the personality back into wine," he told them. "For too long you've been saying 'this is good because it's Australian.' You have to tell us why it's different."
Jago went on to expalin what he meant more specifically. "I would also urge you to make your wines lighter and more refreshing," he said. "Wines with 13 or 14 percent alcohol just aren't exciting anymore, and consumers are looking to the 'old world' for more refreshing wines."
Did the Australia winemakers listen? Well, Tesco is the largest overseas buyer of Australian wines, and one of the top retailers if wines in general in the world. The British-based mega-retailer also is considered in the industry to be one of the best at merchandising and selling wines.
Jago did offer some positive words to the Aussie winemakers though. He told the group he sees "considerable opportunities" for Australian wine exports in terms of gaining market share and profitability. He suggested that as an industry in general, and as a retailer (Tesco) in particular "we're running to hot on promotions right now." As such, "You shorten the life of your brands by over-spiking them," he told the winemakers. His solution: "Let's reduce promotional participation" in general. In other words, he let them know Tesco plans to cut back on its promotional activity in the wine category.
Jago urged the winemakers and marketers to embrace change, telling them "If you don't change, others will change faster." That's likely good advice for any industry. However, we can't help wondering if the Aussie's will invite Jago back next year?
Tesco's Fresh & Easy offers its own version of two-buck-chuck: British retailer Tesco's new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets venture in the U.S., which is sort of an IGA neighborhood grocery store meets Trader Joe's. is taking a wine merchandising page from the Trader and offering its own version of a two dollar bottle of wine.
Fresh & Easy's version is called Big Kahuna, an Australian Shiraz imported for the retailer by Cornerstone, a new U.S. subsidiary of Copestick Murray, a wine company based in Wiltshire, England. Copestick Murray is a major wine supplier to Tesco, and the British-based retailer brought the company along with it to the U.S. to import many of the wines it sells in its Fresh & Easy grocery markets. Thus far 13 Fresh & Easy stores have opened in Southern California and Nevada and more are on the way.
Fresh & Easy also is selling another private label wine which is getting rave reviews, especially for its price-to-quality value. The wine is a Recoleta, an Argentine wine. It's a blend of Malbec, Argentina's primary red wine, and Bonarda. The wine sells for $3.99 bottle. We're told by a couple wine lovers in Southern California that they bought all the bottles in one of the Fresh & Easy stores after buying a bottle a couple days earlier and loving it--and it's price. They call the wine "premium four-buck chuck."