Food & Wine Trendspotting: Gourmet-Level Home Entertainment

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Those adhering to a stricter budget in these thrifty times are trimming dining out expenses through gourmet-class home entertainment.  This is good for business if you sell a product that enhances this in-home experience.  Such as our premium wine portfolio, perhaps.

Or gourmet desserts.  Like the frozen liquor-infused desserts from Sheri Tate.

I first met Sheri Tate at a neighbor’s 50th birthday party, where she was serving her liquor ice creams and sorbets from large tubs.  It was a rare treat and a memorable night.  I recall commiserating over the enthusiasm-destroying bureaucratic hurdles she had to jump over in launching her product.  So today’s press release about her newly re-branded “Silver Moon” product (left) made me smile.  Glad to see you still out there, Sheri!

I called her to congratulate her on the new brand, and asked why such a pricey product (~$9 for a pint) was doing so well in this economy.  She shared this wise insight “…People giving up expensive Saturday dinners at upscale restaurants are looking for a quality experience in the home, and our pints feed four for dessert.”  And it’s true, while I’ve always laughed at the words “Serves Four” on a (single serving!) pint of Ben & Jerry’s, Silver Moon’s frozen desserts have alcohol in them and are so rich with flavor that a pint really does serve four.

Seeking an in-home gourmet experience is the reason people are still buying premium wines to – what else turns a simple pot roast into a treat?  Same thing with a gourmet dessert.  (Click here to see where you can buy Silver Moon– Not in the Bay Area?  E-commerce available next quarter)

Speaking of frozen desserts, I must include another favorite.  When it comes to alcohol-free frozen dessert products, Bi-Rite Creamery is hard to beat.  Their frozen dessert products are sensational (I’m partial to the Salted Caramel ice cream).  Not recommended for those on a diet but, at $8 a pint or $15 a quart, the price serves as a natural governor on quantity.

Dtwm_color_web_optimizedCheers!
Dave the Wine Merchant
Dave@SidewaysWineClub.com 

 Quote of the Day:
Ice cream is exquisite.  What a pity it isn’t illegal”     Voltaire, 1694 – 1778


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Trend Spotting – Food & Wine News

Click for wine club info
Click for wine club info

Lots of interesting things popping up in the headlines this last week…

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse
Alice Waters of Chez Panisse

 

Alice Waters Pioneers New Compensation System– Alice Waters, a powerful food advocate and founder of the iconic restaurant Chez Panisse, was interviewed on 60 Minutes a week ago Sunday. Her comments were picked up by US News & World Report. Seems she’s abolished tipping, at least in its traditional form, at her stalwart restaurant Chez Panisse. A guest’s voluntary tip has been replaced with a flat 17% service charge (more can be left if desired) which is split amongst the front and back of house (FOH/BOH) to create better parity. Alice indicated the discrepancy between FOH and BOH pay scales was affecting the quality of her custoemrs dining experience. This story became #5 on Google searches for the past week…

California Teaches French Students About Wine – Wine marketing, that is.  The Napa Valley Register reports a group of Masters students from the famed French University of Burgundy in Dijon studied Napan’s marketing techniques for a week. They are taking home the word that Napa Winery’s are “la Bomba!” when it comes to wooing customers.  I envision a group of Galoise chain smokers learning how to Twitter, create Facebook groups, and send email invitations for exclusive subscriber events…

Ultra Violet Man to the Rescue! – No, it’s not a character from Bay to Breakers, San Francisco’s costume/alcohol extravaganza and foot race. It’s this week’s S.F. Chronicle (long may it live) report that wineries are turning to ultra violet light waves to destroy the microbes once killed by the Winemaker’s addition of sulfites. Why do we care? Because sulfites are what cause some of our bodies to create histamines, and histamines create headaches in those with allergies. Another solution? Age your wine until the free SO2 is absorbed. But for the 98% of wine drinkers who prefer more immediate gratification…

Robot Pruner at work
Robot Pruner at work

 Robots To Save The Wine Industry? – Wine growers rely on immigrant labor to harvest grapes and prune vines. American workers are no longer adept at such tasks, or able to live here on the wages winegrowers can pay. Now tightening labor laws have created a short supply of this important imported labor force. Not wanting to be caught with ripe grapes and no pickers, winegrowers have been testing the waters of automated harvesters for some time. I expect more will make the jump each year. And this week Wines and Vines reports that a robotic vine pruner may replace human laborers for that most tedious of carpal tunnel tasks. Introduced in 2007, the only hurdle remaining for the innovator of this robotic system is about $2.5 million for development and testing. Want a piece of the action? The company is looking for partners to ante up $125K each…

Good times about to happen...
Good times about to happen...

Cheers!
Dave the Wine Merchant
Dave@SidewaysWineClub.com