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The Recipe To Step Into the World of Latte Art

In every barista’s life – whether a professional or a self-proclaimed – there comes the day when he feels artsy and wants to use latte paint. If that day has come, this is the article that will walk you through the first and the most critical steps. But before pushing you off the nest, we want to make sure you know the things you need to keep the motivation alive.  

Beware, Be Aware

First things first, latte art is not just art; it’s art with a brewed beverage. Even the pros can get a little shaky at it unless they have reached the level of mastery. Now, of course, this sounds like the most demotivating fact to read, but its purpose is to convey the message that you might fail at it numerous times, and that’s not because you’re bad at it, but because it’s normal. So the key is to stick to it and be stubborn till you finally nail a crappy-yet-distinguishable picture. 

Things You’ll Need

It isn’t rocket science; you might find almost all of the things in your kitchen cabinets: 

  • A regular cup 
  • A medium-sized pitcher 
  • Skimmed milk
  • Coffee supplies — ideally from some of the best The Coffee Factory
  • Prepared crema 
  • Creativity (don’t look in the cabinets) 

Setup – How To Get Started

  • Fill a cup with the ready-to-go crema. 
  • Prepare a pitcher of skimmed milk. 
  • Feel like an artist. 


  1. Use your dominant hand to hold the pitcher while using the other to grab the cup. 
  2. Tilt the cup towards the pitcher; this lets you pour milk out of the pitcher with negligible hand movement. 
  3. Bring down the pitcher close to the cup – a distance of 1 inch between both would suffice. 
  4. Now simply pour the milk, begin from the center of your canvas (center of the crema). Be confident, but be steady and slow as well.  
  5. Start moving the flow from the center to the bottom-end, and gradually increase the pouring speed by tipping the pitcher with your thumb; a gentle thumb pressure is the magic trick. 
  6. Design: This is a tricky part. Each design requires a barista to move the pitcher in a specific motion; however, you may want to start with the basic zigzag action. This should be done as the milk is poured from the center to the bottom. 

Focused Practice

Now that you know about how the process is handled and other general details, it is time to learn the correct way to practice. 

Latte art is all about coordination. As you have read above, the pouring process takes place in several seconds, but within this short period, a barista has to deal with multiple elements, such as: 

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Best Coffee In Australia

There are many secrets to a good coffee. Ensuring that the beans are roasted correctly, the coarseness of which they are ground to, and ensuring the water is at the correct temperature. To differentiate from chains, local shops buy wholesale coffee from reputable suppliers who provide high-quality well-sourced beans. This makes all the difference to the taste of the espresso you have in your morning espresso.

Baristas in Australia know better than most that espresso needs to be prepared correctly for it to be enjoyed straight. With the high-quality espresso available, many Australians do not have additives such as sweeteners, syrups, or milk in their espresso. If they do though, it is typical in smaller quantities. Drinks such as the flat white were created in Australia to help select the perfect milk to espresso ratio, with the goal of not overpowering the espresso in the drink. This is why there are so few chain coffee shops in the country.

The coffee produced in Australia is typically a medium or dark roast, while for many in North America and Europe this may mean a more bitter drink, it is actually the opposite for Australians. As baristas have perfected the process the medium roast coffee is actually lighter than the typical American filter coffee.

However, not all coffee in Australia is locally grown. Australia imports massive amounts of green coffee beans every year. Local shops will then roast these beans and create their own blends for your morning espresso. This process allows many smaller cafes and shops to tailor the taste of the coffee and provide a unique experience for their customer.

Below are some of the top Australian coffee shops:

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How to Store Drawings and Plans

Making sure your drawings and plans are preserved can be a hassle. Whether you are a painter, an architect or you deal with industrial types of plans, it is a good idea to consider how to store your drawings and plans so they do not get damaged and remain in optimal condition. Here is our guide to storage for drawings and plans.

Flat print storage

If you prefer, however, to keep everything flat, there are storage options to suit. Here are some flat storage options:

  • Drawing plan wall racks – space saving, they are vertical, easy and safe to use. Great for organising your work, you can add clips to your wall rack to store as many items as you need. These are a great option where you need to store your drawings flat but have limited space.
  • Storage carts – work the same way as the wall racks. However, they come on a mobile cart with wheels giving you more flexibility about where to keep your items.
  • Flat print racks and cabinets – you can also invest in a tall rack with shelves to store your prints flat or a cabinet with drawers.

Rolled blueprint storage

Rolled blueprint storage options are Ideal for large drawings that need to be kept safe. Rolling storage has compartments so each drawing, blueprint or plan can be safely stored without getting wrinkles and creases. Here are a few roller storage options:

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Tips When Going for a Night Out With Friends for a Drink


Going out for a drink with friends is a great feeling. You will get to interact and make your relationships grow. After spending a lot of time working in a week, there is that one day when you would like to go out and relax with friends. Some friends would like to taste fine wine and whisky. Enjoy yourself but remember you need to drink responsibly. Don't be the one that passes out from drinking too much. You want to make it home safely and get some sleep.

Speaking of sleep, some people prefer using CBD. Does CBD help sleep? CBD can help deal with different types of sleep disorders. It is an effective way to manage insomnia and other sleep deprivation issues. After your busy week, a weekend of good sleep is so important.

Before you plan an outing with friends to enjoy alcohol, here are some of the tips to make it more relaxing.

1. Plan for a taxi before starting the party

Before you start drinking, you should have a designated driver. Avoid drunk driving because it will land you in trouble. It is against the law to drink and drive. You may be charged under DUI. To enjoy your time out without stress, look for someone who will not drink to drive you around. The person will be ready to make you enjoy driving around easily. Ensure the person is experienced to drive. You can, as well, use online taxi booking apps to get someone who will drive you home safely after taking alcohol.

2. Always stay together in case of trouble

Trouble can develop after you have taken a few bottles of beer. You need to take care of each other. Book the same table where you will get to enjoy yourself with your friends. In case one of your friends is in trouble, you can always give a helping hand. Keep eyes on each other to avoid cases where you will be expected to trouble. People who stick together when outdoors tend to enjoy their free time. Ensure you take necessary measures and stick together to help each other, if necessary.

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2021 Grand Tastings: The Persistence of Wine

A woman pouring from a bottle of Taylor Fladgate 40 Year Old Tawny Port into a glass
California vintners Mark and Teresa Aubert
Four guest enjoying the 2021 Grand Tasting
Bodega Garzón founder Alejandro Bulgheroni, managing director Christian Wylie pour the 2017 Balasto red blend from Uruguay for Italian vintner Francesco Zonin.
Laura Catena holding a glass of red wine
Hugh Davies holding a bottle of Schramsberg sparkling wine
The 40th Anniversary Wine Experience Grand Tasting book next to bottles of red wine
Laurent and Beatrice Drouhin holding a bottle of white Joseph Drouhin wine
Grace Evenstad holding a bottle of Domaine Serene Pinot Noir
Golfer-vintner Cristie Kerr and husband Erik Stevens holding a bottle of Kerr Cellars wine
Bottles of San Benedetto water on ice.
Sommelier Erik Segelbaum and Ryann Deering
Deborah and Bill Harlan at Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience Grand Tasting.
Rupert Symington and his son Hugh at the table for Dow's Port
Paul Hobbs holding a bottle of his Cabernet Sauvignon
Demeine Estates managing partner Carlton McCoy, Jr., and president Philana Bouvier
Alberto Medina Moro of Emilio Moro opening a bottle of red wine
Gina Gallo, glass of red wine in hand, checks out the map of the Grand Tastings
Domaine des Sénéchaux's Sara Hachemian holding a glass of red wine

Many of the world's greatest winemakers could be found Thursday night in New York's Times Square. They had not gathered to grab a show at the recently reopened theaters of Broadway. Rather, they came to lift glasses and toast being together again. After skipping 2020, the New York Wine Experience returned to the Marriott Marquis Times Square, celebrating the event's 40th anniversary. The three-day event kicked off with the first of two Grand Tastings, as 210 wineries poured some of the world's most coveted wines for consumers, all of them rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator’s editors.

The unspoken toast as glasses of Champagne were raised? We're back.

"It's so good to be here in person, to see everyone together," said Italian wine icon Piero Antinori, who presented his 1997 Solaia as a Wine Star during the weekend's seminars. Over the past 19 months, many vintners have struggled to travel and meet with longtime clients and potential new ones. They've learned to host virtual tastings. They've also learned that there is no substitute for giving someone a fist bump and telling wine lovers face-to-face what makes their wine unique.

One of the best things about the Wine Experience is that winemakers from different parts of the world get to meet: Italian vintner Piero Antinori (left) and Antinori winemaker Renzo Cotarella caught up with California vintner Naoko Dalla Valle and her daughter and winemaker Maya Dalla Valle (right). (Daphne Youree)

There was electricity in the air as attendees headed into two ballrooms. There were also new procedures to navigate, with a strict COVID vaccine mandate in place for large events.

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Seven Steps for Planning an Amazing Party

Some people don't naturally know what to do in party situations, and this could make throwing a party intimidating. Like most things in life, a party can be great if you take some time to plan and prepare. Whether you feel at home in the role of a host or not, you can throw a memorable celebratory event if you use the following seven steps for planning.

1. Food planning

Food can become much more complicated than you might think if this detail is left to the last minute. Make some notes about people's dietary needs when there are people who don't eat meat or if some people have allergies. For more formal or upscale-themed parties, a good selection of wines is essential. Paso Robles Winery can help you stock the wines for your event.

2. Create a theme

Most memorable parties are designed with a theme in mind. The theme can be the type of party you're having, such as a sleepover or a dance. It can also be an idea that enables you to design the look and atmosphere of the decor and music. For example,  you could have a theme that is designed around a particular decade or a genre of movies that encourages people to dress in the themed style.

3. Have a financial plan

Before you start buying any supplies or booking venues, you need to figure out the budget that you're comfortable spending for the event. If there are other people involved in the planning, make sure to agree on the budget before getting into the other details and purchasing steps.

4. Pick the ideal time

Considering what type of party you're throwing and the people whom you're inviting, choose the ideal time where everyone will be able to attend and people will be able to spend enough time to enjoy the festivities. Contact key individuals who are involved in hosting or planning to find out about their availability if necessary.

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Danny Meyer and Chef Hillary Sterling’s Ci Siamo Has Arrived

Addison signage
Chef Rogelio Garcia plating a dish at Luce

Seasoned Italian chef Hillary Sterling’s Ci Siamo is now open in New York. Backed by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, the restaurant debuted Oct. 12 at Manhattan West, a new development project adjacent to Hudson Yards. The Italian name translates to “here we are” or “we’ve arrived,” which the team notes is particularly fitting for New York’s post-pandemic revival.

Sterling, who previously worked at Vic's, the Beatrice Inn and A Voce, is focusing on classic dishes including homemade pastas as well as smaller bites like gnocco fritto and entrées from a wood-burning oven like whole trout with pine nuts and raisins.

“Her cooking is just incredible because it is so simply delicious,” said beverage director Robin Wright, who most recently served as a sommelier at Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Daniel. Wright worked closely with USHG's Jenni Guizio to build Ci Siamo’s wine list, now at 400-plus selections and growing.

About 75 percent of the list is Italian, covering 20 regions around the boot. The remainder of the list hails from other major international winegrowing regions, including a strong collection of grower Champagnes “marked up as little as possible.” Overall, the list highlights smaller family-owned wineries, female winemakers and winemakers practicing mostly organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices.

While there are a few exceptions from top-notch producers, the Italian side of the bottle list is heavily skewed toward native grape varieties. So is the by-the-glass program, with more than 20 selections. “It might look kind of niche, but really it's just honest. It’s the varieties of Italy that people don’t know because they were drinking Sauvignon Blanc from Northern Italy or Chardonnay from Piedmont,” Wright said. “So instead of having those wines, we want to focus on having Greco and Fiano and Prié Blanc from Valle d’Aosta, for example.”

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Sotheby's Goes to France, Opening Offices and Beginning Auctions in Burgundy and Bordeaux

Sotheby's is going to France. The longtime auctioneer, one of the leading players in collectible wine and spirits sales, announced it will soon open new offices in Beaune and Bordeaux to meet European demand and increase efficiency. The French offices will be the fourth major wine hub for the auction house, which already hosts sales in London, New York and Hong Kong.

"We believe there is a significant opportunity to grow our business in continental Europe by hosting sales in France, with inventory stored in Beaune and Bordeaux," Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s wine, told Wine Spectator. "There is a large community of wine lovers and collectors in France, Benelux, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain that would like greater access to global markets when selling wines and equally will appreciate a wider selection of wines to buy."

The new location will open later this fall. For Ritchie, the move simply makes sense. He says that 85 percent of the wines Sotheby's sells come from France, and the company has a strong presence there, with about 130 employees to help support this new chapter. Amayès Aouli, a former executive at J.P. Morgan, will become the head of auction sales for the region.

From 1970 to 2014, Bordeaux wines claimed over 60 percent of Sotheby's auction sales, says Ritchie. Recently, Burgundy has seen a sharp increase, growing from 26 percent of Sotheby's sales in 2014 to 50 percent in 2019 (a record-shattering bottle of DRC might've helped). However, Bordeaux sales have declined from 60 percent to 26 percent in that same time period. Ritchie credits Burgundy's rising prices and the introduction and growth of spirits in their auctions (1 percent of sales in 2016 to 19 percent in 2020).

Having Burgundy and Bordeaux auction sites should also smooth some logistical headaches. "If wines are located within continental Europe and they will achieve the same price as New York, Hong Kong and London, it will be faster and more efficient with the least regulation and shipping to offer them in France," Ritchie said. "We also believe that clients around the world will want to store wines with us in Beaune and Bordeaux."

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

All Drinking Increases Heart Disease Risk? New Study Says Not So Fast

In 2019, a paper published in The Lancet made headlines when researchers questioned wine's protective effects against heart disease and instead found that any level of alcohol consumption increased blood pressure and the possibility of heart attack or stroke.

But two London-based professors recently took a deeper dive into those claims, and found that the Lancet study is based on "unsound methodology."

The 2019 research, conducted by a team at Oxford, enrolled over 500,000 adults from 10 different areas of China and recorded alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease incidence over the course of 10 years. Researchers used a type of genetic epidemiological analysis, known as Mendelian randomization, to examine the data. Genetic epidemiology looks not just at who gets sick, but at genetic factors, to try and understand what role genes play and what role environmental factors play (in this case alcohol consumption).

Multiple studies have found a J-shaped relationship between alcohol and stroke risk. Non-drinkers faced a slightly higher risk of heart attack and stroke, heavy drinkers faced a much higher risk that increased with each drink, and moderate drinkers fell at the bottom of the J—they faced the lowest risk.

But the authors of the 2019 study wrote that in their genetic epidemiological analysis using Mendelian randomization, they saw a linear association. The risk of cardiovascular disease rose with each sip of alcohol the subjects consumed. The study was touted by many as evidence that no level of drinking was safe. "Claims that wine and beer have magical protective effects were not borne out,” said lead author Richard Peto, in a statement released when the research was published.

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Major Wine Shipping Case

Should wine lovers have the right to buy wine from retailers in other states? The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it won’t decide—at least not in this session—declining to hear Sarasota Wine Market v. Schmitt. A Supreme Court decision on the case, which challenged Missouri’s law prohibiting out-of-state wine retailers from shipping orders to consumers in Missouri, could have potentially reshaped the U.S. wine sales landscape.

Sarasota is one of several recent challenges to laws prohibiting out-of-state retailer direct shipping. In this particular case, a Florida wine store, Sarasota Wine Market, and Missouri consumers sought to overturn Missouri’s law as unconstitutional, in violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which forbids states from discriminating against or interfering with interstate commerce.

This past February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled against Sarasota’s plaintiffs, determining that Missouri’s out-of-state direct-shipping ban was protected under the 21st Amendment. (The Supreme Court has held that states’ rights granted by the 21st Amendment can preempt the Commerce Clause, for laws enacted to discourage excessive drinking or create an orderly alcohol market.)

Attorneys Alex Tanford and Robert Epstein, who previously worked on Sarasota in the 6th and 8th circuits (and were also lawyers on the landmark Granholm v. Heald decision in 2005), appealed the 8th Circuit decision, filing a petition for writ of certiorari (cert) in June with the Supreme Court.

“[Missouri's law] is not saved by the 21st Amendment because the ban advances no state interest that could not be served by nondiscriminatory alternatives,” the petition states, referencing several past Supreme Court rulings to demonstrate that the 21st Amendment can, in fact, be limited by the Commerce Clause. This includes Granholm and 2019’s Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Russell F. Thomas.

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

The Still Point of the Turning World: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Averie Swanson
Crystal Luxmore
Amanda Trimm

October 12, 2021

If you want to know who Averie Swanson is, read her beer labels.

“I Am Because We Are.” “The Grace of Maybe.” “At the Still Point of the Turning World.” They point toward a philosophy that has guided her through nearly a decade in mixed-culture fermentation. Her newest venture, Keeping Together, isn’t just her brewery’s name, “it’s a mantra for individuals and our collective,” she says, each composed of unique parts that must be recognized and nurtured. And it “implies an ongoing effort,” she adds, to “create the compassionate, ecstatic reality that each person deserves to experience.”

Averie Swanson

From the pandemic’s disproportionate impact upon women, people of color, and gender-expansive folk to the stories of sexual abuse shared by Brienne Allan, the industry’s underrepresented repeat this invocation. For Swanson, “keeping together” means keeping a strong sense of self, as well. Quoting the T.S. Eliot poem for which she named a beer, “When you become really in touch with yourself, there is a still point in the ‘turning world’ where everything else is happening. If you practice it regularly, you can retreat back to this place of stillness and find sanctuary.”

Swanson opened her brewery with the goal of “increasing the collective empathy of the industry,” because changing a culture marked by experiences of sexism and racism starts from within. “In order to find empathy, one must be vulnerable,” she says, “and there is an element of introspection that requires.”

Yet the burden of change often falls upon the people most impacted, and the load gets heavy. Swanson is a Master Cicerone, one of just 19 people (three of whom are women) in the world who hold the highest standardized certification in beer. Earning it was a grueling, five-year process of relentless study and two failed attempts. At the same time, she was head brewer and part owner of Austin, Texas’ lauded Jester King Brewery, traveling the world representing the brand and educating people on mixed fermentation. But it left room for little else, and by 2018, her candle was burnt at both ends.

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

José Andrés Discusses a Way Back for Restaurants at Impact Seminar

The restaurant industry in the U.S. and around the world has suffered a shock over the past year and a half, with the pandemic presenting unprecedented challenges to operators across the business. Within that context, few people are better positioned to weigh in on the future of restaurants than chef José Andrés, whose ThinkFoodGroup has 30 restaurants worldwide, and who is known as a thoughtful, influential and, above all, generous leader in the business.

Andrés addressed this past week's 45th Annual Impact Marketing Seminar via a video discussion with Wine Spectator's Thomas Matthews titled "Post Pandemic: The Future of the Restaurant Industry." He began by recounting his sense of wonder when he first visited the U.S. as a member of the Spanish Navy in 1990, and his subsequent time as a cook in New York.

"New York was like a university for me," said Andrés. "I felt like I had an entire encyclopedia of cooking right in my palm." That experience in New York's melting pot was important, he continued, because culinary culture "connects us with other worlds," broadens our horizons and, ultimately, brings people closer together. It also set Andrés on his path to building the formidable restaurant business that ThinkFoodGroup has become today.

That business—along with others around the world—was thrown into doubt by the pandemic. But Andrés hailed how restaurateurs and chefs answered the challenge, with many operators generously donating their time to feed those on the front lines and those in need even as their own restaurants remained closed. "We can feel very proud of how our industry responded," he said, recognizing not only those efforts but also the creativity of restaurateurs in keeping their businesses alive by pivoting to takeout and recreating the restaurant experience for the home.

Turning to the future, Andrés is hopeful that the worst is behind us, and the restaurant industry is headed in the right direction again. He's optimistic enough that he's even continued to open new restaurants, introducing an all-day casual spot, Café by the River, in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood in June, followed by a new branch of Jaleo, in the city's River North neighborhood a month later. ThinkFoodGroup plans to open three additional venues by year's end.

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Blue Hill Returns After Chefs-in-Residence Program

Mediterranean sea bass from Estiatorio Ornos in San Francisco

After more than a year and a half, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the Wine Spectator Grand Award winner in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., will resume service Oct. 7. The news comes at the end of the six-month chefs-in-residence program showcasing everything from upscale Chilean cuisine to more casual menus with barbecue and wood-fired pizza.

The team describes this opening as Blue Hill 2.0, meaning the restaurant won’t be the exact same concept as it was pre-pandemic. “Cooking and farming became more interesting, and more complicated," chef-owner Dan Barber said in a statement shared on Instagram. “It changed the way our team thinks about food and focused our thinking about Blue Hill restaurant and the culture we want to create.”

The operation will take a larger focus on education, dedicating an estimated 25 percent of its efforts to workshops, teaching, learning and researching. The wine side of the restaurant is expected to follow the same route.

Wine director Hannah Williams is looking forward to the return of a physical wine list, rather than the QR code that was given to guests during the pandemic to minimize contact. This inspired her to lean even further into the tangible aspect and publish a book featuring the wine selections, titled This Is Not a Wine List.

“Blue Hill, the experience, it's so narrative based. Everything is a story about a seed breeder, or a farmer or a fisherman or woman,” Williams told Wine Spectator. “Why should wine be any different in this context?”

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Angelina Jolie Sells Her Stake in Château Miraval

Brad Pitt and the Perrin family have new partners. Angelina Jolie has sold her 50 percent stake in Château Miraval to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of the Stoli Group, for an undisclosed sum. That makes the drinks group partners with Jolie's ex-husband on the Provençal rosé winery.

Miraval has been a blockbuster since the Hollywood power couple bought the estate in 2012 and partnered with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel to release their first wines in 2013. Sales rose 17.4 percent to just under 150,000 cases in the U.S. market last year, according to Impact Databank, a sister publication of Wine Spectator. The then-couple paid an estimated $60 million for the estate. Analysts estimate it to be worth $162 million today.

Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. Business has continued as usual at the winery and the company introduced a Champagne in 2020. There have been numerous reports that Jolie wished to sell, however.

Tenute del Mondo now adds the 50 percent interest in Miraval to its existing holdings. The company owns Argentina's Achával-Ferrer and Spain's Arínzano, and is also co-owner (with the Frescobaldi family) of Italian icons Masseto, Ornellaia, Luce and Castelgiocondo. Stoli Group CEO Damian McKinney said the company has long admired the Miraval brand, adding, "We are thrilled to have a position alongside Brad Pitt as curators of their extraordinary vintages."

Stay on top of important wine stories with Wine Spectator's free Breaking News Alerts.

Original author: Frank,

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Winemakers Ask, Is China’s Market Worth It?

Students of wine]

The worst-case scenario was a 50 percent tariff on bottled wine. That’s what most insiders in the Australian wine industry were thinking in fall 2020 after tensions spiked between the Chinese and Australian governments over the origins of COVID-19 and Australia’s ban on Huawei’s 5G network. Once again, it looked like the wine community was about to become collateral damage in a political dispute.

But when Chinese authorities announced a tariff of 218 percent? It was mind-boggling. “The tariffs were much higher than anyone anticipated,” admitted Rachel Triggs, general manager of corporate affairs and regulation for Wine Australia.

The trade fight was the latest blow to international winemakers working to build a market in China. Since Chinese Premier Li Peng praised the health benefits of wine during the National People’s Congress in 1996, the country’s growing economy and consumer population have attracted wineries from around the globe trying to gain a foothold. With 52 million wine drinkers and a total population of 1.44 billion, the growth potential is enormous.

But so is the risk: Beijing’s government is not afraid to actively intervene in the economy, cracking down on wine-loving, free-spending government officials and business leaders. Celebrities are its latest target, including an actor who owns five Bordeaux châteaus. Wines from Australia, the United States and France have all been caught up in international disputes that have nothing to do with grapes. A decade ago, China was projected to be the world’s second-biggest wine market by 2020. Instead it’s sixth, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, an intergovernmental agency based in France.

With all these challenges, is China still worth it?

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Amar'e Stoudemire Chats Live on Building His Wine Legacy

As the NBA season kicks off next week, Brooklyn Nets assistant coach and kosher vintner Amar'e Stoudemire is setting high expectations for the games ahead. The former All-Star with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks says he now analyzes the game differently and had to learn a lot about how to manage players. It's the same learning experience that took him from enjoying wine on his rooftop in New York to managing his own kosher wine brands from Israel and California. In the latest episode of Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, Stoudemire took a break from training camp and spoke with Wine Spectator news editor Mitch Frank about his wine-related travels, building the Stoudemire Wines legacy and why the NBA is a wine powerhouse.

Stoudemire had always enjoyed tasting wine throughout his early years in the NBA, but it wasn't until he signed with the Knicks in the summer of 2010 that a passion took hold. He spent time traveling tasting wines in Italy, Greece and France, and spent two weeks at Bordeaux's Chanel Château luxury lodging at Château Canon in St.-Emillion, owned by the family behind Chanel and Château Rauzan-Ségla. Back home in New York, Stoudemire would host rooftop parties with his favorite wines. Eventually, a friend inspired him to create his own wine label.

"It was just a thought then it became something more," Stoudemire said. "Then I moved to Israel and met with Tulip Winery and that's when it became something serious."

After Stoudemire moved to Jerusalem in 2015, he explored the wine region of Upper Galilee, where Tulip is based, and made his winemaking debut in 2018 with three Israeli Cabernets and red blends.

"I went through different blends with Tulip and wanted to create a perfect blend that fit my palate," Stoudemire said. "I want to build a brand that's everlasting and could stand the test of time so my children can inherit it." He also felt that the kosher wine space did not have the best selection and he wanted to change that paradigm.

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© ©2016 Wine Spectator Online. All rights reserved.

Sonoma County Wine Auction Returns to In-Person Format and Raises $1.7 million

After going virtual in 2020, the Sonoma County Wine Auction took in $1.7 million in a downsized, in-person event over the Sept. 16–18 weekend. One of the top charity auctions in California wine country, the auction has raised $39 million since its inception. "It's great to see everyone in person instead of a computer screen," Michael Haney, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation executive director, told the crowd of 200 people under the tent at La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard.

The virtual 2020 auction raised $1.17 million. This year’s event brought in more, but was still well below the auction’s high of $6.1 million in 2019.

The live auction's top lot sold for $140,000 and was purchased by George and Pamela Hamel Jr. of Sonoma Valley's Hamel Wines. A second attendee later matched the bid for a total of $280,000. The lot included a five-night stay at Jackson Family's Tuscan estate, Tenuta di Arceno, dinner in a private apartment overlooking Siena's Piazza del Campo, with a front-row view of the historic horse race Il Palio di Siena, as well as 5 magnums of Vérité.

"It's an iconic event, and [my wife] loves horses," Hamel said, adding that more important are the charities benefiting from the auction. "The gap between haves and have-nots has gotten wide. It's important to level the playing field."

Other top lots included Bubbles Galore, which sold for $48,000 and included a two-night stay at Domaine Les Crayeres, a luxury hotel in Reims, France, tastings and luncheons at Krug, Dom Pérignon and Ruinart, dinner at Michelin 3-star l'Assiette Champenoise, as well as 6 jeroboams (3-liter bottles) of Champagne and Hamel Family Wines. A Montana Western Adventure lot sold for $37,000 and included a three-night stay for four people at Ranch at Rock Creek, wine dinners, Western-style activities and a case of Foley Family Wines, including Chalk Hill, Ferrari-Carano and Lancaster.

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Napa's Harvest Stomp Auction Raises $2.7 Million

Auction of Washington Wines]

Earlier this year, charity wine auctions were optimistic about weathering the pandemic this fall. While the Delta variant has made their efforts more challenging, many are finding ways to raise funds for worthy causes. In Napa Valley, the Harvest Stomp wine auction hit its highest total ever, raising $2.7 million for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, surpassing 2019's $2.32 million.

Harvest Stomp hosted 400 guests at Round Pond Estate's Pole Barn for its 14th annual live auction on Aug. 28, with proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result required. The event had mobile rapid-test vans and observed Centers for Disease Control safety protocols.

According to NVG program director Emily Hegarty, they centered most of the live auction lots around experiences rather than bottles, since people have been unable to get out during the pandemic. The auction raised $1.2 million in live bids, with "The Judgment of Napa" as the top-selling lot of the night at $350,000. The experience includes a side-by-side tasting of all five 1982 Bordeaux first-growths and five 2002 Napa icons hosted by NVG president and Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci and NVG board member and Massican winemaker Dan Petroski. The Bordeaux wines were Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, Mouton-Rothschild, while the Napa reds were Araujo Estate, Colgin, Harlan Estate, Joseph Phelps and Opus One. The winning bidders will also enjoy a VIP dinner at Best of Award of Excellence winner Press Restaurant in St. Helena, paired with 2012 Cabernets from Dalla Valle, Larkmead, Rudd and Spottswoode.

Another lot that grabbed attention was a week-long trip through Australian wine country with Silacci. The lot, which sold for $320,000, takes four guests to Hunter Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Margaret River, Adelaide and Coonawarra to taste and discuss the local Sémillon, Pinot Noir and Cabernet wines.

The auction also included surprise lots. One included 45 magnums from Staglin Family Vineyards, Paul Hobbs, Lewis Cellars and more. It sold for $42,000.

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Meet the New Leader of Canlis’ Grand Award–Winning Wine Program

An overhead view of a spread of dishes at Alla Vita

Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Canlis in Seattle welcomed a new team member this month: Linda Milagros Violago, the first woman to run the wine program since the restaurant opened in 1950. Violago succeeds Nelson Daquip, who departed in June 2021 to move to Los Angeles, where he has taken a sommelier position at Best of Award of Excellence winner Osteria Mozza.

“The culture and how things are run here and how we interact with each other at all levels is really unique,” Violago said. “I’m excited about that.” Before joining Canlis, Violago worked in well-known restaurants like Catbird Seat in Nashville, Tenn., Grand Award winner Geranium in Copenhagen and the now-closed Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.

The hire follows an extensive international search that started in January and also included the April hire of Canlis’ first female executive chef, Aisha Ibrahim. True to Canlis’ signature creative style, Violago says the application process wasn’t a traditional one. She was given two tasks by co-owner brothers Mark and Brian Canlis: Write a headline and first paragraph of a news story announcing her own appointment, and submit a video of, as Mark put it, “60 seconds of you doing something wholeheartedly that is very clear you are not very good at.” Excited and endeared by the request, Violago sent a video of herself baking bread. “I thought, ‘This is going to be a fun ride. Even if I don’t get the gig, this is gonna be great,’” she recalls. Once pandemic-related travel restrictions allowed, she visited Canlis and was selected soon after.

“I really like her as a person. I really trust and respect who she is, who she’s hoping to become,” Mark said. “I find that when we surround ourselves professionally with people that we admire personally, you end up with something special … It’s a bonus to me that she happens to be a remarkably talented expert in wine.”

Mark is excited to see how Violago will impact Canlis’ wine program as part of a wider effort to move the restaurant forward post-pandemic. “It’s just Canlis’ way to keep rethinking what we do,” he said, noting that the 2,400-label count may decrease in the process. “I want our wine list to be more representative of who we are as people, of the kinds of wines that we like to drink, of the kinds of food that we’re eating, of the way that we’re eating and drinking.”

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Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute Celebrates 25 Years

For the past 25 years, Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute has provided an educational foundation to its students while helping bolster the industry with its new trailblazers. The institute kicked off its 25th academic year with a virtual conversation with Wine Spectator Napa bureau chief and senior editor Kim Marcus, moderated by Wine Business Institute executive director Ray Johnson, discussing the past, present and future of wine, along with some advice for its bourgeoning industry leaders.

“California is still at the dawn of what it can achieve,” said Marcus, discussing challenges and opportunities for the wine industry. “The story of the last 30 or 40 years is about quality, which has been spurred by better winemaking and viticulture and adaptation.”

Winemaking and viticulture aside, Marcus says that California wine’s biggest successes are in the business and hospitality side of the industry. “The rest of the world is consolidating, while wine continues to expand. So people want to learn more,” said Marcus.

This is where Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute plays a role. Since its founding in 1996, the institute has awarded 270 wine MBAs, among other professional degrees and certifications. It has also provided significant and pioneering research that has informed the industry. In 2018, The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation anchored the financing of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, making a $3 million gift to help create a 15,000-square-foot building designed as an education and industry nucleus, including advanced-technology classrooms, student commons, meeting rooms and more.

Marcus recalled his early days as a journalist for the St. Helena Star in Napa Valley, at a time when grapes were growing in popularity, but other crops were still part of the local agricultural mix. “Anywhere you went, it was egalitarian and an inexpensive way to get to know wine,” he said. Fast-forwarding to today, he believes one of the potential threats is a need to appeal to younger demographics and to educate them. “We should be careful. If you want to get younger people introduced to wine, we need to give them opportunities to enjoy wines without the elevated price levels.”

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