The Booze Bin

Overlooked Wines You Need In Your Life

Few beverages are as old as wine, and thank goodness! I can’t imagine our ancestors making it through the ups and downs of humanity’s evolution without it. I mean, where would the great literature of the world be without wine? Or great romances for that matter? For most of our history as wine drinkers, we have consumed wine like water – literally. Water was too dirty and dangerous to drink for a big chunk of our past, so we drank wine instead.

There are conflicting claims out there, but wine has been around since at least 4,000-5,000 BC. Naturally, there have been tons of regions and people making wine over the centuries as a result. Some of those often fall through the cracks for American wine lovers in their 20s and 30s, mostly due to obscurity, lifestyle, misinformation, or just the sheer volume of available wine in the U.S. Below are my top picks for wines we tend to forget about and why we need to give them the proper pour that they deserve:

Port
class

It’s no secret that Americans don’t do after dinner drinks – we have an

The Booze Bin

How the Media Influences What We Eat, Drink and Crave

Man photographing plate of food at restaurant table

Recently, the New York chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier hosted The Next Big Bite, a discussion at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), which explored how the media is shaping public conversation and consumption of food and beverages.

Moderated by Martha Teichner, Emmy Award Winning CBS News Correspondent, panelists Chef Carla Hall (ABC’s The Chew, Bravo’s Top Chef, Southern Kitchen Restaurant), Kate Krader (food editor, Bloomberg Pursuits), and Talia Baiocchi (editor-in-chief of punchdrink.com) frankly discussed fads, trends and what they believe to be significant in food and drink.

Trends versus Fads

Let’s start with a quick quiz (as Martha did).

Question: For each of the following, please categorize if they are a trend or a fad?

Gluten-Free
Vegan
Bitter
Casual Dining
Small Plates
Lower-Alcohol Drinks
Specialty Burgers
Corn Ice Cream
Cronuts

Answer: All but the last three were deemed “trends” by the panel. The last three, “fads.”

The consensus was that a trend has a longer curve. There’s a critical mass and a momentum supporting the trend, and it has “legs,” or can grow and evolve into something else – it can be repeated or iterative in slightly different ways. A fad is a “flash in the pan,” something

PR Industry Trends

FNCE® 2016 The Buzz About Blueberries and Registered Dietitians

fnce-2016-us-highbush-blueberry-council-booth-team

(Left to Right: Laura Campbell, RD; Rachel McPherson; Danielle Pesce)

As a first time exhibitor to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo®, I was amazed that not only could I stand for 8 hours a day in pretty much the same spot but speak with over 1,000 individuals that stopped by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s booth to try our delicious samples showcasing the versatility of blueberries and listen to our expert opinion on their goodness. The conference was held in the beautiful Boston, MA from October 15th through the 18th.

A key learning from the exhibitor perspective is that health professionals are excited about nutrition research and eager to accept materials that they are then able to use in their practices.

laura-campbell-rd

Laura Campbell, RD

Though as an exhibitor I was not able to attend any of the over 140 education events or the FNCE® 2016 Opening Session, I believe the opening words by the current Academy President Lucille Beseler, MS, RDB, LDN, CDE, FAND provides a powerful message on…

Wine, Food & Nutrition

Five Food Marketing Musings Inspired by Eating Across Asia

Having recently visited the far other end of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, I feel energized to muse on the theme of eating in other countries (as I did similarly about Europe after traveling there last spring). Of course, Asia is a huge continent, and my experiences this time were focused on just two cities – but Tokyo and Hong Kong are two amazing, taste-making, trendsetting loci that deserve closer inspection, from the eyes and taste buds of a food marketer. Here are five intriguing ideas I brought back.bb1Subtlety: As a Zinfandel-loving Californian, I’ll admit I’m often guilty of expecting foods and drinks to pack a big wallop of flavor. What I was reminded of in Japan and China is that subtlety can be full of delight, just as well. There are countless preparations of soy-based dishes on local menus, yet each boasts its own delicate personality worth paying attention to. Same thing for tea. For those of us who aren’t connoisseurs, the brew can sometimes taste similarly beige, but when encouraged to close our eyes and engage our olfactory senses over a relaxed Kowloon meal, small but smile-inducing

Wine, Food & Nutrition

Dangers of Fear Marketing for the Health of Low-Income Populations

foodfight

Banana TV

Food deserts are not the only challenge to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income populations. Nutrition Today published new peer reviewed research looking at the attitudes about organic and conventional fruits and vegetables among low-income shoppers. One troubling conclusion was the impact negative messaging, particularly relating to pesticide residue, has. When asked about the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, 15% of respondents said they were less likely to purchase any fruits or vegetables. This was the largest “less likely to purchase” response to any question.

The study points out the limited access to organic produce in low-income communities, and this may be a contributing factor. Perhaps we need another classification for “organic deserts”. More research should be done, but it could help to explain why produce consumption is stagnating, despite the efforts to increase it. If fear and confusion are causing people to consume fewer fruits and vegetables, communications professionals have a responsibility to better explain rather than incite.

bestpracticesfreshproducehandling

Ecolab.com

Previously I’ve written about positive marketing with regards to food labels. This isn’t different. While…

PR Industry Trends

What You Should Be Drinking This Fall: Five Trend Predictions

tart-cherry-chia-mimosa-600

The very definition of the word trend means to veer in a general direction or to show a tendency. Below are five beverages on my radar for the coming months, rooted in hard data but sourced from what I’m seeing and hearing in the New York scene.

fnk_carrot-orange-juice_s4x3-jpg-rend-sniipadlarge

Fresh cocktails

The surge of nutritionally-aware (if not nutritionally-balanced) cocktails is imminent. You read it here first. We’ve seen this theme gain momentum in the culinary community with fresh, season-driven menus. This philosophy is extending into beverage programs as well. Two examples:

-Mixologists are increasingly using natural natural sweeteners like maple syrup as a healthy and tasty alternatives to refined sugar in cocktails. Here are 27 examples, courtesy of Eater and bar programs around the country.

-Opening next week, Rouge Tomate Chelsea, with its avant-garde SPE-certified food and beverage program, is featuring cocktails (and mocktails) with fresh ingredients like carrot and cucumber juice and chia seeds.

Image result for magnums of wine

Big Bottles

Whether high-brow or low-brow, large format bottles are showing up on more home and restaurant tables. There are also restaurants who are…

Branding

People are the New Media

capture

Afdhel Aziz, Director of Absolut Labs, said, “Any marketer who wants to succeed in the future needs to think in these terms: people are the new media.”

Gone are the days when big brands could develop a catchy jingle and it’d echo in consumers’ minds on repeat. Today, consumers are inundated with sales pitches and marketing ploys alike. They’ve developed a heightened awareness, borderline paranoia, of what is genuine vs. what is paid for. With geo-targeting tracking not only your purchases but every move your mouse makes online, consumers are demanding transparency and authenticity from brands.

One way brands are building trust and staying relevant is by working with influencers. From cooking to fitness, dads to moms, health to technology, there is an influencer out there who has a network of trusted peers looking to them for advice, inspiration and/or guidance. To peers, they are not seen as spokespeople of a brand, but rather real, authentic people who believe in a brand.

CEO of Intuit, Scott Cook, said it best, A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

Here are…

PR Industry Trends

Robochef

robochef

 

When my colleague first shared this article about robots cooking in the kitchen, I thought it sounded ridiculous.  On second glance, you’ll see that this concept is already being tested and successfully carried out in Germany and here in the U.S.  That’s right – a robot that can baste, boil, blanch and blend and create your favorite meal. If this modern day Jetsons-inspired sous chef takes off, I predict it may become the ultimate kitchen appliance for restaurants.  Should the concept become more common, it would certainly raise a lot of questions about the pros and cons.

First, let’s look at some of the pros. For starters, there’s the consistency factor.  The use of this technology would allow restaurant operations to ensure a consistent looking and tasting product every single time.  While fast food operations can be counted on for consistency because their food tastes the same wherever you are, upscale restaurants could benefit from a technology that removes the possibility for human error.  Another upside is speed. Robots would be able to deliver a finished product at a fraction of the time it would take a human and faster output can lead to increased sales.  Lastly, there’s

Branding

Why Everything Tastes Better on Vacation (and what that means for your brand)

photo: highstyllife.com

photo: highstyllife.com

We’ve all had that moment.

While on vacation you eat or drink something that is so transcendentally delicious, it instantly ranks among the best things you’ve ever had. The pleasure is so deep and complete it’s like your taste buds are hard-wired to your very soul. “Do I detect a hint of fresh mint, or is that MDMA? Either way, I want more.”

So you buy up as many cases as you can get through customs, or obsessively hunt down the recipe to recreate it a home. But, despite your best efforts, it’s never quite the same. Sure, it’s good, but it’s not as good as you remember it.

What’s going on here? A temporary insanity of the taste buds?

Well, sort of.

Consider this: In 2008, a group of neuroscientists in California conducted an experiment that shed new light onto how we taste. Twenty volunteers were strapped into an fMRI scanner and given samples of wine. Among them were tastes from a “$10” bottle and a “$90” bottle that, in reality, were the exact same wine. It should come as no shock that the…

PR Industry Trends

Food Fight: Why Label Bashing is Bad for Everyone

I’m here to hold an intervention. No, not that one! I’m talking about the one around the controversial GMO bill. Earlier this week the President signed national GMO labeling legislation. Vermont, which recently enacted their own GMO labeling rules stated it will stop enforcing that law, which has already changed the way major brands are doing business. As the final rules are negotiated over the next two years, fiery rhetoric from both sides can be expected, but another side of the GMO labeling debate is emerging.

geneticliteracyproject.org

geneticliteracyproject.org

Dan Charles of All Things Considered described an experiment he recently conducted outside of Whole Foods showing customers two different cartons of eggs. One had the USDA Organic seal and the other had the Non-GMO Project seal. Some consumers struggled to define the difference, but both seals delivered positive sentiment. Ultimately most opted for the less expensive non-GMO certified eggs. The future of the Non-GMO label is unclear in light of the recent legislation, but with all the GMO talk, it is at the forefront of decision making for many. With non-GMO labeled food growth outpacing certified organic, some organic…