Hello my people and happy weekend. I’ve got your weekly newsy round up for you, featuring a lot of fun stuff. I’m particularly in love with this new NY restaurant concept. And have totally bookmarked this wine-with-soul-food article.

On a personal note, I’d love to share a bit what I’ve been working on. Coming up next week, Wine Industry Network is hosting its annual (virtual) leadership conference. I’ll be moderating the session about Wine Business HR. Registration is FREE. I also just finished recording a podcast for the Green WineFuture, along with Jason Haas (Tablas Creek) and Richard Leask (a man with MANY talents in the viticultural sphere) all about—you guessed it—regenerative agriculture. You’ll definitely want to listen in on the podcasts leading up to this one. Ours will be released in just a few weeks (episode 6).

At the end of the month, I’m moderating the 2022 Rhone Rangers event seminar “Rhone Essentials.” Tickets are still available. This is an in-person event, so if you’re local or in the area the weekend of the 20th, pop by! There’ll be a Grand Tasting and you’re sure to see yours truly wandering around and sipping some of my favorite wines.

I’ll also be judging at a few local wine competitions, including East Meets West (let the battle of the coasts commence!) and the Foothill Wine Competition (definitely looking forward to some interesting wines). Stay tuned for winning results.

And if that’s not enough, I’ve taken my first steps to becoming a WSET educator. More to come on when and where.

That’s all from me. Hope everyone is safe, healthy, happy. Don’t be shy, drop a line. Cheers.


Eater: HAGS Will Be Queer First, and a Restaurant Second

Telly Justice and Camille Lindsley are creating a blueprint for fine dining’s queer future with their upcoming New York City opening, HAGS

The dining room at 163 First Avenue in New York’s East Village is barely big enough to fit two people standing side by side. Any sunlight that hits the front of the cramped building is choked out before making its way through a tiny window that looks out onto the street. There was a time when all of this discomfort added to the allure of David Chang’s restaurant empire, when he used the space to launch lauded restaurants that still exist in some form today: his first restaurant, Noodle Bar, and later, Ko. For most of the years Chang occupied 163 First Avenue, it was nearly impossible to get into. The stiff stools lining the wooden chef’s counter did not have backs to lean on. Substitutions were frowned upon, snapping photographs was a no-no, and hearing chefs curse loudly as they plated dishes in the open kitchen made the whole ordeal feel very “punk rock.” The cramped quarters and general stiffness weren’t addressed as much as considered part of the restaurant’s appeal.

Telly Justice and Camille Lindsley would like for you to picture the restaurant bright and welcoming, with big front windows that flood with light, and colorful walls that make you feel warm and happy. They stand in the very same narrow East Village kitchen, holding paint panels up against the wall, envisioning the dining room as it will be when they open their restaurant here in April. The menu at HAGS will accommodate any number of substitutions and dietary restrictions. The chairs will be comfortable enough that you won’t be limping back into the night after a long dinner. Waiters will sit, relaxed at your table while they take an order, or pause in the rush of dinner service to try a new wine and catch up with a regular. READ MORE

VinePair: With Refillable Bottles and Keg Shares, the Beer Industry Targets a Lower Carbon Footprint

When cracking open a cold can, it’s easy to overlook beer’s carbon footprint. But if you pause from that first sip and look downstream, from beer can back to barley crop, greenhouse gasses are released at every stage of that beer’s life cycle: in refrigeration, at distribution, during packaging and transportation, and even during farming. (When it’s time to recycle, there’s carbon costs to be accounted for there, too.) READ MORE

Wine Enthusiast: How to Pair Wine with Soul Food: A Plate-by-Plate Guide

Whether indulging in your grandmother’s kitchen or at a restaurant, eating is only a part of the soul food experience. Ancestors wrap their arms around every dish, and, like other cuisines, soul food deserves to be appreciated to the fullest. Pairing your meal with the perfect wine can do just that.

The roots of soul food run through Africa and the Americas, including the Caribbean, with occasional nods to other cultures. READ MORE

Wine Industry Advisor: The Next Normal—DtC Shipping Reverts to Pre-Pandemic Predictions

The 2022 Direct to Consumer Wine Shipping Report has been released, and the industry is likely breathing a collective sigh of relief. The report, an annual collaboration between Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics, shows the industry slowly returning to its pre-pandemic state.

COVID-19 nonetheless made its presence known, as data analysis was approached differently than in years past: “In this report, it was necessary to compare 2021 shipping data to 2019 as well as 2020 to get a sense of the degree to which the winery DtC shipping market had recovered from the historic impact COVID-19 had on the channel in 2020.” The good news is, overall, “2021 looks a good deal like what we would have expected it to look like had the pandemic never happened.” READ MORE…

Car Buzz: Ford Works With Wine Makers To Take Farming Into The Future

F-150 Lightning and E-Transit models will be put to work in vineyards.

Three lucky farms in Sonoma County, California are set to receive the eagerly-awaited Ford F-150 Lightning and a Ford E-Transit cargo van as part of an initiative to tackle the issue of sustainable fleet operations. As part of a push toward sustainability, the Sonoma County Winegrowers – a group made up of more than 1,800 grape farmers – have incorporated solar power into their daily operations.

To bolster their efforts, the Dearborn-based carmaker will fit Ford Pro charging stations to charge up the EVs. Ford says the aim of the initiative is to show how electric vehicles and web-based fleet management tools can have a fruitful effect on agriculture in terms of improving sustainability, increasing productivity, and, importantly, reducing the cost of fleet ownership. READ MORE

Eater: Gaze Upon These Costly Cups

Drink from ornate, vintage goblets

One of my very favorite bars, a tiny Brooklyn tiki bar called Shaka Shaka, serves some of its best drinks in vintage glass goblets that make each one feel more interesting than those at the much more expensive cocktail bars nearby. There’s something about these glowing, patterned glasses, in mismatched shapes and colors, that make an experience as simple as drinking some wine (or a very strong piña colada) feel much more personal.

I was recently taken by one such goblet, whose shape and general hands-on-hips attitude gave me the distinct impression it was judging me deeply. I love these sorts of beautiful-yet-silly pieces even more in an otherwise-plain dining room (say, mine) where they pop against the backdrop of Ikea plates and mechanics towels I use in place of napkins. Rather than stand out awkwardly, they make simple, budget-conscious place settings feel like the intentional backdrop for this, the main character, the goblet of your dreams. READ MORE

VinePair: With Charitable Partnerships and Loyalty Programs, the Wine Industry Embraces Affinity Marketing

You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Does that also mean we are what we drink?

An increasing number of wineries seem to think so, reaching out to their customers through special labeling, website commentary, and wine club emailings to tap into shared interests — thus enhancing the wineries’ brands, ensuring drinker loyalty, and increasing wine sales.

In the mid-1980s, a small Delaware bank called MBNA became a major financial institution when it discovered people loved to see the names and logos of their alma maters, their favorite sports teams, or even social causes boldly printed on their credit cards. These new cards, which constituted a disruptive step by replacing a bland bank’s name, became known as “affinity cards.” READ MORE

The Independent: UC Davis Study Says Wine Country at Risk

The harsh economics of wine making may soon put many of Livermore’s smaller vineyards on the chopping block, according to a recent study out of UC Davis. In response, wine country advocates are calling for infrastructure changes to attract agritourism and larger wineries to the region.

Lori Souza, interim executive director of the Tri-Valley Conservancy (TVC), presented highlights from the study at a Livermore Chamber of Commerce Business Alliance meeting earlier this month.

She explained that, although South Livermore “has all the right combination of soil, climate, water and expertise to grow world class wine grapes,” it has failed to achieve the critical mass of 5,000 vineyard acres that the South Livermore Valley Area Plan (SLVAP) set as a goal for itself in the 1980s. Instead, the Livermore wine country only has about 2,800 vineyard acres today. READ MORE

Harpers: Connected packaging could become ‘main’ marketing bridge to customers

The drinks trade is very well placed to take advantage of this emerging trend, as connected tech could help products to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Standout bottles of wine and spirits already catch the eye in supermarket aisles, but interactive packaging could offer added value for consumers – for instance, by hovering their phone camera over a label or QR, users are invited to discover information on provenance or food pairings.

The news comes after digital experiences studio Appetite Creative released results from its first ever connected packaging survey, which found that over half (54%) of respondents claiming to have already incorporated connected experiences into their marketing plans. READ MORE

Wine Industry: Successful Succession Planning for Family-Owned Wine Businesses

The most important thing to understand about wineries, estate planning, and preparing the way for a family succession? “It’s all about transparency and communication,” says Lauren A. Galbraith, an attorney for the San Francisco firm of Farella Braun + Martel who works with families and businesses who need estate planning . “And that goes in both directions for the visions of what’s next—for both the owners and the family members.”

Talk to attorneys who have worked with families, estate planning, and preparing for the next generation, and that almost always becomes a sticking point. In fact, says Galbraith, she has known attorneys to bring family counselors into the mix. That way, even those who may be reluctant to speak out (maybe they don’t want to hurt Dad’s feelings) will feel more comfortable about the process. READ MORE

Blogs Worth a Read

Taken from the list of Blogs and other media outlets I follow regularly, here are just a few posts from this past week I think are worth a read. Shoot me a note if you have suggestions of independent media to follow or want your outlet included on that list.

WSET: On becoming the first WSET certified educator in Indonesia, WSET interviews Ni Nyoman Kertawidyawati

The nation of Indonesia is spread over 17,000 islands and is home to a population of 273 million people. There has been a long-standing history of alcohol consumption and appreciation in the country, but more recently, wine and spirits education has been steadily growing in popularity.

This week we caught up with Widya, the first certified WSET educator in Indonesia, on her story, opportunities for women in her profession and education in the Indonesian drinks industry. READ MORE

Jancis Robinson: Buttafuoco – Lombardy’s secret

In May 2018, when travel was blissfully easy, I was in Cernobbio on the occasion of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at the world’s most glamorous, and certainly most exclusive, vintage-car event, held in the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este overlooking stunning Lake Como.

Even though I am married to a classic-car insider, I never got in. With tickets to this show of the world’s most expensive classic cars as rare as hen’s teeth (apparently even high-net-worth individuals willing to offer many times the €450 price tag are snubbed once the very limited number has sold out), I had lunch on the terrace of Trattoria del Glicine in the hills overlooking the lake instead. On the wine list I discovered a 2013 Buttafuoco which came in a heavy, embossed bottle. On the back label it said ‘Vignaioli del Buttafuoco Storico’, vine-growers of the historic Buttafuoco who have formed their own ambitious club. READ MORE…

Mike Veseth: What’s Ahead for the Wine Business? Wine Industry Leadership Conference Next Week

Moderators for the three sessions are George Christie, President & CEO / Wine Industry Network; Stacy Briscoe, Managing Editor / Wine Industry Network; and Kim Badenfort, Director of Marketing Services / Wine Industry Network.

The presentations are being pre-recorded so that the speakers can respond to questions and comments in real time during each session, which promises to make this a more interactive experience than the typical Zoom webinar.

I appreciate the Wine Industry Leadership Conference’s focus on practical business issues facing the industry today and the impressive lineup of speakers. Hope to see you there. READ MORE

A wine importer in China has been handed a one-year-and-three-month sentence and a hefty fine of RMB 550,000 (US $86,460) for wine smuggling, taking advantage of cross-border e-commerce platforms that more than halved wine taxes.

According to Chinese media reports, the merchant Bu Xiaoyan (卜晓燕) smuggled 202 bottles of wine through e-commerce platforms and evaded RMB 543,581.07 (US $85,451) in taxes, implying that the average amount of tax evasion per bottle was as high as RMB 2,690.99 (US$423).

The court documents did not disclose the wines involved, but the evaded average tax would indicate bottle price to be around RMB 6,000. READ MORE

Press Releases

These are some press releases I received this week that I actually thought were interesting…enjoy!



BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

Educational posts are in no way intended as official WSET study materials. I am not an official WSET educator nor do I work for a WSET Approved Program Provider. Study at your own risk. Read the full disclaimer.
**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**

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