Oct 4, 2010

Culinary Gad News Roundup (10-4-10)

View of Dry Creek Valley from Michel-Schlumberger     (Credit: Michel-Schlumberger)
The periodic Gadabout Roundup compiles news from a variety of sources--press releases, industry associations, consumer publications, and more--on the subjects of food, wine, spirits and/or travel.

h2hotel: Green Luxury
A New Green (Wine) Trail: The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma County) and the new h2hotel in Healdsburg (photo) have teamed up to offer a new package, the "Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley." It's designed for those who want to explore the region’s certified organic and biodynamic wineries, including Hawley Winery, Michel-Schlumberger, Montemaggiore, Preston of Dry Creek, Quivira Vineyards & Winery and Truett Hurst Winery.

Each participating winery along Dry Creek Valley’s meandering back country roads will offer Green Trail guests a complimentary wine tasting, along with (if desired) a discussion about how the winery became certified organic or biodynamic, how this affects the wine and why it's important to be green. At Michel-Schlumberger, organically farmed vineyards incorporate beehives, a beneficial insectary and a wildlife sanctuary into the terroir. At Quivira, visitors can visit the colorful 1-acre produce garden, a variety of farm animals and a Steelhead spawning stream, along with sampling artisan wines. Truett-Hurst’s preserved creek allows for sightings of Coho Salmon, Steelhead trout, otters and ducks. And expect to see plenty of sheep, herbs, olives, heirloom fruits and vegetables...

The stylish h2hotel is a sustainable inn located just off Healdsburg's historic downtown square. Guests receive a two-night stay in a standard guest room; a welcome bottle of Dry Creek Valley wine; a picnic lunch for two from the hotel's southern Mediterranean-style Spoonbar restaurant; and bicycle loans. The package is available through December 2010. 

Wine Searcher 2009 Statistics
Most Popular Wine-Search Site: The LA Times recently published an article describing the increasing power of New Zealand-based website According to the story, entitled " levels the wine industry playing field:"
In the last four years, a single website, the search engine, has done more to transform [the wine industry's] commercial landscape than any other, affecting every facet of the way the wine business is conducted, certainly in this country and increasingly on a global scale. For better or worse, it has leveled the playing field on getting, buying, pricing and selling wine. If you're a wine lover and you're not using this tool, it's time to start. And if you sell wine, on any level, you ignore it at your peril., which employs 20 full-time programmers, has access to the inventories of more than 17,000 retailers worldwide, making it easy to compile and compare price lists--something that's good for a casual wine buyer but fantastic for a collector. The article goes into detail about how makes money (both the search and service are free, but retailers who pay a yearly $4,000 fee get a competitive edge).

I've used this site a few times while doing research, but had no idea I was dealing with a phenom. It's a very plain, Web 1.0-looking site (so why do I spend so much time trying to glamorize my own websites?). One thing I've liked about is its informational pages. Recommended Wines links to an interesting variety of wine suggestions, everything from Robert Parker's 100-point wine list to Low Carb and "celebrity" wines. It was from the celebrity list, in fact, that I discovered that Bob Dylan has his own wine label, a blend of Montepulciano and Merlot. There's also a helpful explanation of the different wine-scoring systems.

Ahwahnee's 2011 Chefs' Holidays Lineup:  The 26th annual Ahwahnee Hotel Chefs' Holiday lineup was announced at the end of September, and, as usual, it celebrates the range of styles, personalities, and trends that characterize the American culinary scene. The event takes place in eight separate two- or three-day sessions running from January 9-11 to February 2-3. During each session, guests take part in a "meet the chefs" reception, educational cooking demos and tastings, a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, and a five-course gala dinner paired with wines and served in the Ahwahnee's spectacular dining room.

The opener on January 9-11 features chefs from three restaurants owned by prolific restauranteur Pat Kuleto (San Francisco's Farallon and Waterbar; Nick's Cove in Pt. Reyes). Following sessions include Michael Cimarusti (Providence in Los Angeles), Traci des Jardins (SF's Jardinière), Annie Somerville of the legendary Greens (SF), Douglas Keane of Cyrus (Healdsburg, CA), Barbara Lynch (No. 9 Park, Boston), and Suzanne Goin (Lucques, LA).

I attended this event three or four years ago and enjoyed myself shamelessly...

More info and pricing.

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