събота, 27 декември 2008 г.

Good Morning Ruby

Christmas passed quietly and the last few days of the year are slowly devouring the crumbs of time left on the calendar table. I still have more than 120 days left with a reference of what happened exactly one year ago, when I shared time and love with Ruby. At one point I will run out of that and will be able only to refer to the pain of being alone, the guilt of the loss.

What I remember now, are the mornings when we will wake up together in my bed, I will turn to my left, move closer and put few long and warm kisses on her naked back and murmur “good morning Ruby”. She would stir and stretch, give a little moan and in a little while say “good morning Venci” with almost silent joy, half asleep, but happy of the way the day is brought to live. Then I will envelope her in my arms and legs and kiss her neck and we will be so hot that we have to break it or just engage.

I met her in my yoga class, she was one of the best there and after 4 years of practice she had mastered some of the posses so well that I often looked at her to enjoy the slender body balancing on one leg in Standing Bow position, which was her best. We are supposed to concentrate on ourselves and look into our own eyes in the wall to wall mirrors, but I glanced at her never the less, when she was in class. I started calling her Ruby, because I thought of her as a gem and the intensity of rubies was more matching to her then any other precious stone.

This is the beginning of the story (book) I am starting to write and I will not put more of it in this blog but try to finish it first and see what comes out of it. It should have a lot of jazz in it, little travel, photo sessions and some tense memories...I will put everything down as it happened so I can have closure, since I still don’t get it, but it has been over for 8 months now, exactly matching the time we were together.

неделя, 21 декември 2008 г.

All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue

All I want for Christmas Is You....

събота, 20 декември 2008 г.

Grandmothers for Peace

End of an awful year, I am so very happy it is about over. And do you know the news... W. cannot book any speaking gigs after leaving the White House, I wonder why...?

I was selling VINI and grappa in Berkeley today, and took photos of a demonstration organized by the Grandmothers for Peace. I avoid Berkeley these days, but today I liked it. I liked the day as well, cold but clear and sunny. I am loosening up in blogging, alive again after the Google wars.

Then I took Troy and Chris to Mary's Pizza on the plaza of Sonoma for dinner. They didn't know it, but it was basically a bribe after all the work they did in December for our sales on the Internet. And for desert we saw Slumdog Millionaire - very impressive beginning of the movie, go see it.

сряда, 17 декември 2008 г.

Your blog is locked???

Blogger locked my blog! My blog is blocked, locked and shackled by Google (Do Not Evil Empire?) What the f*^k, as our Chicago mini-emperor says, I ask only $500,000 for this blog. The robot in/of Google believes that I am not just bitching after dark, but a program that I created, is spamming the Google Universe with my love proclamations for Ruby. No, it is me, Google.

In any rate, I went shopping for Anika's Christmas present and for this sole purpose I went to an art opening at Lisa Kristine gallery in Sonoma and at the Art Guild. The good looking gal (?) is Lisa Kristine and she was so kind to sign her book I bought for Anika. After that I met her adopted child from Tibet and her life partner, a good looking brunette...I was surprised again even living in San Francisco Bay Area for more than 22 years.

Then I met Zaza after her opening at the Sonoma Art Guild. With Zaza we share a friend of many years - Ogo, another painter, but I will not write about him now. Zaza was his girlfriend 20 years ago, when I came to the City by the Bay and Ogo was living and entertaining at the Stables on Clement. Zaza is French, who lives in Napa and pardon my Bulgarian, she could be so f*^king entertaining and sexy, and commanding and managerial as well. She also put out unknown for me and beautiful art work - here is her website. If you have $$$ buy it, it is worth every splash.

Your blog is locked - Why I am speaking in Chicagoish f*^king language

Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

We received your unlock request on December 16, 2008. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam

събота, 13 декември 2008 г.

Yves Saint Laurent fashion exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco

My daughter Anika and I went to the Yves Saint Laurent fashion exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. We were joined by D'Arcy, Anika's childhood friend and the three of us had busy afternoon and a good time. The only problem was, wherever I looked I saw Ruby, we were together at the museum in February and everything remained me of her. It all started in the morning....I went to Bikram yoga and there was Jane, Jack's girlfriend (Jack plays with Ruby in the same jazz trio). I haven't seen her in 6 months, and she brought the past back to life. Why is it, that a 52 years old man in rather good shape, 200 lb of Bikram cooked flesh and life memories that span on 4 continents cannot get over this woman? I just cannot, and it makes all my work worthless, and life rather miserable even in the light of latest successes. Why there is no forgiveness? This was supposed to be the best year in my life, and I blew it from being in a hurry, not paying attention? She is really a gem, the love of my life, but you cannot cut her will even with diamonds.

If you go see the exhibit, get yourself a bottle of bubbly in the Cafe and send me the bill. No kidding. Merry Christmas!

сряда, 10 декември 2008 г.

Sales chart - Sept./Nov '08

The purpose of this blog is to showcase the progress in creating market share for the wines I import, and provide the latest information to consumers and to the trade. I have been careful lately and trying not to say too much, but the reality is, we are selling well in these tough times. Forget the opera and my personal feelings, after the award for Best Eastern European wine for VINI things are moving rapidly forward.

Sales of the 3 leading Bulgarian brands are increasing rapidly in the current economic conditions. The sales chart you see reflects sales to out of state distributors, sales to CA retailers and Internet sales.

The leader in sales is the VINI brand, awarded the Best Eastern European red wine at the World Value Wine Challenge ‘08. The 2007 vintage of white wines from Targovishte winery recently arrived and our best selling Muscat Grappa Peshtera also contributed to the increase of sales in this period.

неделя, 7 декември 2008 г.

La Bohème

I treated myself for the Holidays with an excellent San Francisco night at the Opera. My friends who took the opera class at the SRJC and I went to Max's Diner, next to the opera house and amongst a crop of opera fans had cocktails and dinner. Then we went to the opera and bumped into Bill Traverso from Santa Rosa and Kate Kennedy from Sonoma. Small world .... as we all know it, Sonoma county had a solid representation at the opera. I wish Ruby was there with me, but no such luck, she is long gone and that makes my life more painful then the story of La Bohème. Damn it, I miss her so much.

четвъртък, 4 декември 2008 г.

Squeeze Box

I think in order to feel better in these troubled times one has to go more often to see shows, opera, etc. I did go to the Marsh and what a wonderful performance I saw - The Squeeze Box. Ann Randolph was so funny and warm, really great.

With pathos and humor, Randolph skillfully weaves together stories about working in a women's homeless shelter and the pursuit of true love। Her painfully funny portraits of the shelter's residents, and hilarious account of her hiking trip with Harold, the accordionist of her dreams, are beautifully drawn in this poignant tale about finding dignity and grace in unusual places.

Randolph, who has been compared to the late Gilda Radner, uses her elastic face, acrobatic voice, and attuned body language to play male and female, young and old characters. With just a chair, banjo, guitar and lights, she brings to immediate, pulsing life her tragicomic journey of discovery and self-acceptance with remarkable freshness and vibrancy.

Randolph wrote Squeeze Box while working the graveyard shift at a homeless shelter for mentally ill women where she's worked for the past ten years. She recently performed excerpts from "Squeeze Box" on National Public Radio's new program Public Radio Weekend and on PBS. Randolph began working with the chronic mentally ill while attending college, where she received room and board from a state mental hospital in exchange for writing original comedies with schizophrenics.

понеделник, 20 октомври 2008 г.

Forbes Magazine recommends our Blue Ridge Chardonnay

..Fifteen Can't-Miss Wines for $15 Or Less

2004 Boyar Estates Blue Ridge Chardonnay, Bulgaria ($12)

"Nothing makes wine cheapskates like me happier than brushing my hands over bottles of Bulgarian wine. I know I'm going to pay half the price of wines from many other countries but still get good quality. Boyar Estates is an innovative and irreverent producer of tasty wines. This barrel-aged chardonnay has all the usual ripe tree fruit and buttery goodness that makes it dance with roast chicken and, thankfully, my son's Kraft Dinner."

--Natalie Maclean

петък, 17 октомври 2008 г.

VINI – Best Eastern European Red - 2008 World Value Wine Challenge

The 2008 World Value Wine Challenge (WVWC) is the nation’s most comprehensive competition for wines $20 and under. Since these wines represent over 90% of the wine sold in the country, this is what matters most to today’s consumers.

88 • VINI (Bulgaria) 2006 Merlot, Thracian Valley. $7.99 Silver Medal : 2008 WVWC – Best Eastern European Red

86 • VINI (Bulgaria) 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Thracian Valley. $7.99 Silver Medal

Beverage Testing Institute offers trusted, professional reviews that include a 100pt. scale score, corresponding medal, and detailed tasting notes, and a diverse marketing package. Tastings.com. WVWC best performers will be featured in Restaurant Hospitality Magazine (the nation’s TOP restaurant magazine), the Tribune Company (includes print and online features nationally) and a homepage feature on our popular and free website, Tastings.com!

неделя, 12 октомври 2008 г.

Visit to Jack London's Beauty Ranch with friends

We did it again. Vesko and Kalinka from Orange County with friends from Germany, France and England (Penka, Reni and Penyo) were my guests for the weekend and did they get the Sonoma experience. We wined and dined, I cooked and served Miro's best wines - the famous Petite Sirah and La Storia Cuvee 32 and Zinfandel.

Sunday morning we toured the Beauty Ranch, the Pig Palace and the Wolf's House, where nobody lived since it burned a day or two before Jack London and Charmian were to move in. In the museum there was the "Iron Hill" translated in Bulgarian.

понеделник, 15 септември 2008 г.

111th Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival

This year marks the 111th Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, a Sonoma Valley tradition celebrating the valley’s bounty, community and local culture. California’s second-oldest festival following the Rose Parade, the Vintage Festival takes place September 26-28 in and around Sonoma’s historic Plaza. The Bundschu family will serve as Grand Marshals of this year’s festival, “Rootstock: A Blending of Time and Tradition.

Food, wine, art and family activities mark Saturday and Sunday’s festivities at Sonoma’s Plaza, which include music, dancing, children’s games, food and wine tasting, a parade, historical re-enactments, a wacky waiter’s relay race and grape stomping.

This year’s- free - live music line up features on Saturday, Bautista, a powerful Latin rock band from Marin County as well as local favorites Ten Foot Tone, Natasha James and Joel Rudinow. Sunday’s entertainment includes the Whiskey Thieves and the Madison Blues Band with David Lindley highlighting the show. The music is free and starts at noon both days.
Evening events include Friday’s Patron’s Night Gala, featuring more than 70 wines, delicious food samples and music by the Richard Olsen 10-piece big-band orchestra. Tickets are $75; proceeds benefit Sonoma Valley Little League, Valley of the Moon Little League and the Native Sons of the Golden West.

четвъртък, 11 септември 2008 г.

Simon Boccanegra

Well, I went to the San Francisco Opera for the opening of the season and as usual I loved being there although this wasn't my favorite opera. Between all the twists of the span of 25 years, the poisoning of the Doge had an interesting line:

"Even water tastes bitter to powerful man!" They poisoned his water, not his wine?

There was an empty seat on the left of me, and on the right as well. Where were you?

The relationship between a father and daughter, a recurring theme in so many of Verdi's operas, is the emotional centerpiece of this highly regarded but infrequently performed work. Dmitri Hvorostovsky expertly embodies the title role, a noble Italian politician who is forced to deal with treachery and rebellion. The Houston Chronicle praised the Russian baritone's "gut-grabbing vocal heft," adding, "his stage presence was magnetic." He will be joined by Italian soprano Barbara Frittoli, lauded for her "impassioned lyricism" by The New York Times. Donald Runnicles conducts this grand, expansive, yet remarkably subtle score.

събота, 6 септември 2008 г.

Film about key U.S./French wine tasting causes sour grapes

I am so happy that Reuters published the following article about the movie Bottle Shock. Please read it, it confirms my point of view that Mike Grgich was deliberately not mentioned in the movie. This is identity theft.

No mention is given in "Bottle Shock" to the estate's wine-maker Mike Grgich but instead to Jim Barrett, the mostly hands-off part-owner of Chateau Montelena, and his son Bo.

"To claim Barrett made that wine was incorrect, Mike Grgich made it," said Taber.

"Aside from drinking it and appreciating it, he didn't know anything about wine. Mike Grgich got the George Orwell treatment and became a non-person."


понеделник, 1 септември 2008 г.

Bottle Shock

Last Saturday I saw the movie Bottle Shock at the Sebastiani Theater in Sonoma and honestly I think it is a long infomercial with a few good moments and a lot of familiar scenery since they filmed the movie last year in Sonoma and few Napa locations.

One thing that strikes me the most is that they didn't even mention Mike (Milenko) Grgich (a Croatian) who was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena at the time. What is wrong with these people?

понеделник, 25 август 2008 г.

Steely Dan concert at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga

Last night, Sunday, I went to one of the best venues in the San Francisco Bay Area - The Mountain Winery, originally started by Paul Masson in 1852. Concerts are hosted outdoors amid oak casks facing the historic stone-masonry Winery building. You can see the entire Silicon Valley glistening bellow.

It was my first time seeing Steely Dan live and the concert was both so cool and so sad for me since some of the songs were sung to me by the love of my life while driving around last year, it has been exactly one year since I met her. I enjoyed her company and talent for brief 8 months and it all ended by the biggest mistake I made in my life. Four months later I am a totally different person, but alas alone.

One of the best songs - Hey Nineteen,

Then there was another hit "Kid Charlemagne", great vocals by trio of black ladies making the sound of the band really cool. Fantastic drummer and horns section, I loved it, too bad I never listened to them more. Thank you Ruby!

петък, 15 август 2008 г.

Вино от Сливен - хит в Калифорния

"Традиция от Стария свят за вкусовете на Новия" е рекламният слогон на единствените вносители на български вина в Калифорния - Bulgarian Master Vintners. Българският емигрант Ванс Петрунов не страда от национален комплекс за малоценност и не му липсва дързост да предложи родното вино в сърцето на американската винарска индустрия. Ако не можеш да започнеш бизнес с вино там, където традициите са най-силни, то не би трябвало да се захващаш с това изобщо, твърди президентът на Bulgarian Master Vintners специално за Businessweek България. Според него, ако човек иска да продава автомобили, отива в Детройт, а ако произвежда компютри, се насочва към Силиконовата долина. И така Ванс Петрунов започва да внася вина от България преди 12 години и се установява в Сонома, на 15 минути път от Вълчата къща на Джек Лондон и на няколко преки от най-старата винарна в Калифорния - Buena Vista.

През 1995 научава как Домейн Бояр продава над 2.5 млн. каси вино във Великобритания за период от една година и решава, че такъв успех ще проработи и в Калифорния. Днес тази бизнес прогноза изглежда се е сбъднала, след като на година Bulgarian Master Vintners внасят между 5 хил. и 7 хил. каси с вино. Постъпленията на компанията от поръчки само в интернет магазина й Bulgarianwine.сom възлизат на 1 млн. долара от създаването му преди осем години досега. Това обаче не включва дистрибуцията в магазините в осем други щата освен Калифорния, като приходите от продажби на вино в САЩ са около 3-4 пъти по-големи, твърди Петрунов. Сега води преговори за доставка на две национални дистрибуторски компании.

Да развиваш бизнес в "устата на вълка" (съсредоточаването на щатските винопроизводители е между Сонома и Напа) има и своите предимства. Огромната складова база в региона, наличието на консумативи като коркови тапи и кашони, лесния достъп до всички агенции за регистрация на вносните вина правят координацията на работата по-лесна и ефективна. А всеки вторник местните винари организират свои дегустации и на тези сбирки човек може да научи повече за виното, отколкото за половин година в училище, разказва Петрунов. Има още няколко вносители на български вина в САЩ, но те работят предимно в и за градове, където има големи български общности, като Чикаго. Разликата между нашата фирма и останалите вносители е, че ние се опитваме да наложим няколко бранда на целия американски пазар, а не само на етническите общности. Компанията внася продукция от основни български винарни, като Домейн Бояр и Търговище. Около 90% от калифорнийските клиенти са американци, а половината от продажбите по интернет се реализират от българи, като по този начин се обслужват всички имигранти, а не само тези в градовете с големи общности.

Друг коз е специалният продукт VINI, който се бутилира от Домейн Бояр в Сливен и е предназначено специално за износ. Вкусовите качества на това вино са съобразени с предпочитанията на калифорнийците, а именно да изпъква вкусът на плода и питието да бъде по-дъхаво и ароматно. Разликата с българските вина е в това, че има по-ниска киселинност и се избягват много твърдите танини. Специалната технология на тази марка се прави под ръководството на Миро Чолаков, български винар, който работи в Trentadue Winery - една от най-добрите винарни в Калифорния, и в момента той има славата на един от 20-те най-добри винари в САЩ. VINI е най-пласираното вино от Bulgarian Master Vintners, след него се нареждат резервите на Домейн Бояр, много добре се приемат и белите вина на Търговище. Те стават хит, след като списанието Wine Enthusiast ги препоръчва като най-добри предложения за месец август 2008. Тази оценка веднага предизвика сериозно търсене и наличните количества вече са изчерпани, признава Петрунов.

The whole article is published here

вторник, 12 август 2008 г.

Gene Burns' weekly Dining Around program on KGO/ABC radio

I was privileged to be interviewed by Gene Burns last Saturday at noon on the most popular wine & dine radio show in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can listen to the podcast and hear Gene and I talking about Bulgaria and its wines if you click on the link bellow.


The Dining Around with Gene Burns program, focusing on Food, Wine and Travel, is broadcast live each Saturday, 10am-1pm on the Bay Area’s number one rated KGO-AM810. The Gene Burns Talk program is broadcast five nights a week, 7-10pm. If you would like to listen outside of our broadcast area these programs are webcast in real time on kgoradio.com

Since May of 1995, Burns has hosted the number one rated, and ever popular food, wine and travel program, Dining Around with Gene Burns, on Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm.

събота, 26 юли 2008 г.

Bulgaria's Wine Exports Grows 21% in 2007

Bulgaria's wine exports have registered a significant growth in 2007.

During the first nine months of 2007 Bulgaria exported 857 000 hectoliters of wine, which was a 21% increase compared to the same period of 2006 (711 000 hectoliters).

Almost 80% of the exported wines were bottled, and the rest were in bulk. The total wine production in 2007 amounted to 138 million hectoliters. A total of over 200 000 tons of grapes were used for their production.

Russia is the number one destination for bottled Bulgarian wines with 68% of all exports. It is followed by Poland, the UK, and the Czech Republic.

Russia is also the number one market for bulk Bulgarian wines with 65%, followed by Germany, Moldova, and Sweden.

неделя, 20 юли 2008 г.

Pros' guide to bargain shopping, Chez Panisse

Pros' guide to bargain shopping - link

Jonathan Waters

Wine Director, Chez Panisse

Strategy: Great values from sustainable, small producers

The hits: 2006 Targovishte Traminer, NV Dibon Cava

The miss: 2007 Calina Carmenere

First, a bit of disclosure on Jonathan Waters' hand up. For his quest, I directed him to the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace, where it turned out he already knew wine buyer Simon Ball and scored recommendations before we went shopping.

This actually bolstered his first bargain-hunting tip: Get to know your wine buyer. With more Bay Area supermarkets hiring wine stewards and individual buyers, personal recommendations should be ever easier to get. "If you go home and you don't like any of the wines, then the strategy hasn't worked," Waters said. "But at least it's a good place to start."

To convert our $70 into eight wines and pocket change, Waters employed other tricks up his sleeve, which to be fair is precisely what you need when diving into the bargain-wine sea. He already knew his sparkling pick, the NV Dibon Cava Brut Reserve ($8.99), since he has been pouring it at Chez Panisse. And he steered our cart toward wines from less prestigious Old World areas, including Eastern Europe.

That's how we ended up with the day's surprise hit: a 2006 LVK Vinprom Targovishte Traminer ($8.99) from Bulgaria, a relative of Gewurztraminer that offered pillowy peach and orange highlights atop a minerally, barely off-dry base. Waters suggested serving it with spring vegetables or a cheese course.

петък, 11 юли 2008 г.

When Trentadue Winery hired new winemaker Miro Tcholokov,


When Trentadue Winery hired new winemaker Miro Tcholokov, the wines he made immediatly recieved critical acclaim. Miro's wines were so good the folks over at Trentadue Winery didn’t know what to do with them! Known for affordable, everyday drinking wines that sold between $10 and $20 a bottle, the new wines were so good they had to start a reserve line-up (called La Storia) and raise the prices in order to keep them in stock.

Miro took a stable, consistent producer of good wines and turned them into a major player in the high-end spectrum of age worthy-collectable wines. Tretadue wines compete with the best wines in Sonoma County, Napa and abroad. You can learn more from Miro in 10 minutes than you can learn from most people in a lifetime. One of the more entertaining and funny winemakers you'll ever meet, he is always willing to spend time with you and talk about wine or anything else. All this at a winery with incredible facilities and a staff that is always helpful. it's small wineries like Trentadue that make Sonoma County so special. Where else in the world can you just walk into, meet and shoot the breeze with a superstar winemaker?

- Rick Raiffini

неделя, 6 юли 2008 г.

Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter
Thursday, July 3, 2008; 12:00 AM

THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- A key compound in red wine known as resveratrol appears to protect against many of the health ravages associated with growing old, new animal research reveals.

"It's very hard to extrapolate from this finding to comment on the benefits of red wine directly, because red wine has many other compounds besides resveratrol, including ethanol, which have very active biological effects," noted study author Rafael de Cabo, unit chief of the laboratory of experimental gerontology at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore.

"But red wine is a good source of resveratrol," he added. "And, in this mouse study, we have shown that this particular compound has very strong positive effects on preventing cardiovascular disease, reducing heart inflammation, keeping bone health in terms of structure and function, and maintaining loco-motor and balance activity. So, if these effects translate into humans, it will have a very good impact on the standard of human health."

De Cabo conducted the research with David A. Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School. Their team is publishing its findings in the July 3 online issue ofCell Metabolism.

Daily consumption of the compound -- also found in the skin of grapes and the crust of peanuts and walnuts -- broadly improved the long-term quality of life of middle-aged mice, although most mice did not end up living longer.

Nevertheless, the age-defying health benefits of resveratrol closely mimicked those previously associated with rigorous calorie-restricted diets -- raising hopes for simpler and easier means by which to help fight off age-related decline.

The authors noted that prior research has touted the healthy benefits associated with daily caloric restriction of between 30 percent and 50 percent below average, as well as with fasting every other day. Such diets have been linked to a reduction in the risk for age-associated disease and stress, alongside a slowing of age-related functional decline.

"But we can't have half of America going permanently on a diet," said de Cabo. "We just can't do it. It's not practical, and it's not going to happen."

Alternatively, he and his colleagues began to explore the potential of resveratrol -- a compound that has already been shown to extend the lives of yeast, worms, flies and fish.

In initial studies, the team found that consuming the compound did improve the health and survival of obese mice -- despite consuming a high-calorie diet.

To follow up, the researchers now compared the health and life spans of middle-age mice given either a standard diet or a calorie-restricted diet, with or without high or low daily dosages of resveratrol.

De Cabo and his colleagues found that resveratrol had the same positive impact on mouse livers, muscles, hearts and bones as calorie restriction alone.


четвъртък, 26 юни 2008 г.

Wine price trends

ECONOMICS is a highly specialised field. There is, for instance, an economics journal dedicated entirely to the economics of wine (aptly called the Journal of Wine Economics). A recent paper in that journal examined the effect of globalisation on American wine consumers. It turns out trade in wine has been a boon for American oenophiles:

For instance, the real price (in 1988 prices) for the basket of the entire Top 100 list [for the U.S.] was $4,313 in 1988; $3,132 in 1993; $2,533 in 1999; and $2,421 in 2004. That is nearly a 44% decrease in prices from 1988 to 2004. At the same time, there was no significant change in the quality of the wines on the Top 100 list...

Our econometric analyses show that the decreasing wine price over the past 17 years can be explained by the loss of shares of the Old World countries: Replacing a French wine with a U.S. wine lowers the average real price by 1.0%; an Australian wine by 1.1%; and a wine from non-incumbent countries by 1.5%. To put it differently, replacing an Old World wine (French, Italian, etc.) with a New World wine (US, Australia etc.) lowers the average real price by 1%. Replacing an Old World wine with a New-New World wine (Chile, South Africa etc.) lowers the average real price by 2.5%. The increased presence of newcomers puts significant downward pressure on prices.

Fascinating, but one question immediately comes to mind. What has recent dollar weakness meant for American wine drinkers? Less wine for the money, it seems. The real price of wine increased in 2004 and 2005 (the last year for which data was published). It's quite likely that trend has continued in subsequent years. What would be particularly interesting to know is whether the dollar's decline has boosted consumption, domestically and globally, of American wines, and whether that increased demand has affected the quality of American wine production.

вторник, 10 юни 2008 г.

'Slow movement' wants you to ease up, chill out

'Slow movement' wants you to ease up, chill out - ENTIRE ARTICLE LINK

-- Edgar S Cahn is fighting for your right to be lazy.

Other activists might devote their time to reversing global warming or saving the whales. But the 73-year-old attorney is battling to preserve a commodity that he says is more fragile than the environment and more precious than oil -- time.

Cahn is a leader in the "slow movement," a national campaign that claims that speed kills. Its leaders say that Americans are so starved for time, our need for speed is destroying our health, families and communities.

They say we live in a culture in which being overworked has become a status symbol. Cahn created TimeBanks USA, a nonprofit group that treats time as money, to put the brakes on people's high-velocity lifestyles.

TimeBanks members barter blocks of time known as "time dollars." One member may, for example, buy groceries for a stranger in exchange for someone else walking their dog.

петък, 6 юни 2008 г.

Physical manifestations of a hangover

Toasting the Joys of Imbibing Properly

Got a hangover? Search Google, and you’ll find a thousand home remedies, from mild palliatives (buttermilk, honey, bananas) to shock therapy (pickle juice, kudzu extract, raw
cabbage)। If you can drag yourself into Walgreens or Rite Aid, there’s usually a potion or two that promises relief।

The problem with these cures, the British novelist Kingsley Amis (1922-95) wrote in his now-classic 1972 book “On Drink,” is that they deal only with the physical manifestations of a hangover. What also urgently needs to be treated, he observed, is the metaphysical hangover — “that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future” that looms on the grizzled morning after.

Amis’s ideas for curing a physical hangover were fairly routine, though a few of the crazier ones will make you laugh. (“Go up for half an hour in an open aeroplane, needless to say with a non-hungover person at the controls.”)

сряда, 4 юни 2008 г.

Red wine compound seen protecting heart from aging

I know this study is true since I have been doing the same experiments for years and my heart is definitely younger then many...I still fall in love, go to Bikram yoga, do Tai-Chi, run downhill from the Overlook spot above Sonoma and drink a lot of wine to confirm the tests.


Red wine compound seen protecting heart from aging

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A natural compound found in red wine may protect the heart against the effects of the aging process, researchers said on Tuesday.

In their study, mice were given a diet supplemented with the compound known as resveratrol starting at their equivalent of middle age until old age.

These mice experienced changes in their gene activity related to aging in a way very similar to mice that were placed on a so-called calorie restriction diet that slows the aging process by greatly cutting dietary energy intake.

Most striking was how the resveratrol, like calorie restriction, blocked the decline in heart function typically associated with aging, according to Tomas Prolla, a University of Wisconsin professor of genetics who helped lead the study.

Much as Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon once searched for the mythical fountain of youth, researchers now are seeking ways to extend the quality and length of human life.

In some studies, animals given a diet with greatly reduced caloric intake have lived longer than animals with normal diets. But perpetual hunger is a steep price to pay for greater longevity, some researchers say.

Resveratrol, found in abundance in grapes and in red wine, has drawn a lot of interest from scientists and some companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, which in April said it would pay $720 million to buy Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc, a company that is developing drugs that mimic the effects of resveratrol.

Some studies have shown that in high doses, resveratrol extended the life span of fruit flies and worms and prevented early death in mice fed a high-fat diet. Continued...

четвъртък, 29 май 2008 г.

Consumers will carry on drinking wine despite recession: survey

UK Survey by Decanter Magazine

Richard Woodard

Despite the economic downturn consumers will not cut back on wine but will trim household budgets in other areas, according to new research.

The survey of 1,000 regular wine drinkers in the UK, carried out by Wine Intelligence on behalf of the Wine and Spirit Association (WSTA), found that consumers would rather cut their spending on sweets, chocolate, beer and soft drinks.

More than 60% did not consider wine to be a high priority for cutbacks, while less than half of those surveyed did not believe that wine had become more expensive in the past six months.

This was in stark contrast to their perceptions of other categories, such as bread, fish, poultry, cheese and coffee.

But the survey comes as wine prices are being forced up by a combination of excise duty increases and escalating production and supply chain costs.

'The message is that wine will not be the first thing to go for the majority of wine consumers,' said Brian Howard of Wine Intelligence.

'Since those [23.5m] regular drinkers represent about 95% of the value to the industry, it's reassuring that wine is not going to be the first thing to be tipped out of the supermarket trolley.'

The survey also found that wine drinkers might be induced to spend more on their everyday drinking. Those paying on average £4.64 for an 'everyday' bottle of wine said they might spend up to a maximum of £6.81.

However, during a seminar at London International Wine Fair, wine writer Robert Joseph took issue with the survey's findings. He argued that people felt obliged to say that they would cut back on sweets – but was doubtful that they would deliver on that promise.

Joseph also voiced doubts on the willingness of consumers to trade up. 'We're a cheapskate nation,' he said. 'We buy our clothes at Primark and our flights at Ryanair. How are you going to get someone to buy a £10 bottle of wine when they can fly to Prague for £5?'

He and other speakers, including Adrian Atkinson of Pernod Ricard UK and Matthew Dickinson of UK agent Thierry's, called for the wine industry to join forces in a mission to make wine more aspirational through the creation and promotion of premium brands.

вторник, 27 май 2008 г.

Cork and closures in the US

понеделник, 26 май 2008 г.

Sonoma Jazz+ Festival, May 22-25

Sonoma Jazz+ Festival, May 22-25


сряда, 21 май 2008 г.

Wine Enthusiast August Buying Guide Ratings

The editors at Wine Enthusiast have rated and reviewed the following wines. All ratings and reviews of wines evaluated will appear live on our website on August 1. A selection of ratings and reviews will appear in the buying guide of the magazine in the August 2008 issue.

86 Best Buy Targovishte 2006 Traminer Bulgaria $10
85 Best Buy Targovishte 2006 Sauvignon Blanc Bulgaria $8
84 Targovishte 2006 Chardonnay Bulgaria $8
83 Targovishte 2006 Riesling Bulgaria $8
83 Targovishte 2006 Muskat Ottonel Bulgaria $9

сряда, 14 май 2008 г.

Time for Rose

With temperatures in Sonoma expected to reach 102 F. degrees on Thursday in my humble opinion it is time for Rose. Any Rose does it for me, if it is not too high on alcohol. What we have in the store are Melnik Rose 2006 and Persona Rose from Cabernet Sauvignon. They will be ideal companion for light summer meals and are tasty.

понеделник, 5 май 2008 г.

Picasso in Sonoma

събота, 3 май 2008 г.

In case of an emergency - part 2

Go to Bikram Yoga!

In case of an emergency - part 1

In case of an emergency start with the oldest vintages first!

четвъртък, 1 май 2008 г.

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

събота, 26 април 2008 г.

Candi's Art Show Opening at the Red Barn

Кенди е изключително топла, приветлива и талантлива жена, та даже си отговаря на името. Има добра доза от изискан чар и нова прическа по случай отварянето на нейната изложба в Червеният хамбар. Тя и нейният приятел Пол обработват земята на фермата Дъбов Хълм и произвеждат цветя, зеленчуци, малко плодове, но не се занимават с грозде и вино както повечето наоколо. Момчето с китарата е нейният син.

Изложбата е с местно значение, или по-скоро с лично значение. Само за близки и познати, представена в помещенията на Червеният хамбар, който лятно време е магазин за фермата. Аз съм виждал и сватби там, защото такива места са рядкост вече дори и в Северна Калифорния. Натюрморти и пеизажи бяха подредени между букети и плата с зеленчуци, стари щайги, очарователно просто. Ние всички прекарахме прекрасно вечерта без появата на критици от Сан Франциско, Лос Анджелос и Ню Йорк.

Аз бях занесъл за коктейла Траминер, Ризлинг и Мускат реколта 2006 г. от Търговище и мнението на познавачите беше в полза на Муската, а не на любимият в България Траминер.

Снощи и днес на рожденият ден на Слава, пихме две вина които си струват времето за писане за тях - в Gundlach Bundschu се сдобих с бутилка Мерло 1999 от лозе Rhinefarm. С Руби го отворихме снощи и то се оказа точно на върха си, бъдещето му е надолу. За Слава взех една бутилка от лавицата под стълбите където държа колекцията си на хладно и тъмно. Лоренцо на Viansa Winery, Медичи в контекса, че тя е художничка и мецанат би бил добре дошъл. Също от местно Мерло 2004, много дъхаво и с дълбочина, може да се държи още няколко години. Красива бутилка. Нищо че Мерлото не е на мода, дайте ми още и двете.

четвъртък, 24 април 2008 г.

10% загуби на добив очакват лозарите в Северна Калифорния

След 2-3 нощи с температури около и под нулата има много премръзнали лози в район който произвежда грозде за вино на стойност над 1 милиард долара. 10% загуба е много.

А аз установих че съм се смалил след студовете.
I am shrinking.

сряда, 23 април 2008 г.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma, CA

Времето е пролетно, слънчево през деня, но доста студено нощем и за първи път от години има сериозни загуби по лозята от замръзване на току-що прорастващите лозици.

Аз отидох да се убедя в близка винарна - Gundlach Bundschu. Те се намират на улица Дания, аз съм на улица Напа, а и двете са в Сонома. Какво да се прави, малък свят - всички сме съседи.

Тази година се честват 150 години от създаване на винарната, и прословутото лозе Rhinefarm, което е около 1000 декара. Основателите са германци, от две фамилии - Гундлак и Бундсчу. Аз имам няколко приятели които са работили в известната с вината си, и театъра, и щедри празненствата винарска изба Гун Бун, накратко. Майстор винар (технолога) е жена и тя е на тази позиция вече 19 години.

Туристите бяха налице, дегустационата зала миришеше добре и всички бяха много заети. Цените са от 15 до 50 щ.д. за бутилка и вината са доста добри и не прекалено силни и сладки, както по-евтините Калифорнийски вина, които доста от моите български познати тук предпочитат.

Гун Бун се намира в студената част на региона Сонома, близо е до залива и затова тук се отглеждат повече Пино Ноар и Мерло. Те граничат с подрегиона Карнерос където са повечето от производителите на шампанско. Ще ги посетим и тях, с най-голямо удоволствие от моя страна, моля за чер хайвер или ягоди със сметана.

събота, 19 април 2008 г.

Cobra Auto Club in Sonoma

Сезонът започна напук на рецесията и първите прояви в града привличат туристи и любители на всичко престижно - вино, филми, в събота бяха ретро коли, легендарните Кобра. Чудя се, дали имам вино което да има октана необходим за съпоставка с тези неповторими мускулни коли.

Да, реално имам какво да ви препоръчам - вино правено от български винар в Калифорния. Петит Сира на Миро Чолаков, реколта 2005, с достатъчно алкохол - 15%, за да прибере някоя закъсала кола до следващата бензиностация, но най-вече с чиста, интезивна сила на грозде от лозята от Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. Вкусно и силно.

петък, 18 април 2008 г.

Първи рози за २००८ точно за Цветница

Това е първата ми цъфнала роза за годината. Добре е дошла и се надявам на още много от първата дама на градината. От осемте дами в Двора на Венци, всичките са различни на цвят, големина, аромат, а получават еднакво внимание. Най-малката ухае най-силно, защото трябва да привлече пчелите към себе си, дори да е засенчена от по-големите рози.

Също е и с виното, Мускат и Траминер са сортове с подчертан дъх на цветя, често се усеща роза. Тези от Търговище са леки, с чист вкус, с отлична киселиност и печелят много ако бъдат съпоставени с по-големи вина на една лятна трапеза.

вторник, 15 април 2008 г.

Вторник - Пазарен ден

15 април е, данъците са платени и ми олекнаха и сърцето и джобовете, отивам на пазар и този път ще гледам през обектива на телефона си за тези които са далече. Сетих се за Нели, която ме посети миналата година. Тя живее в Екс-ан-прованс, или в френската Провиция, която ни е модел и на нас. Казвам и на Нели, отиваме на пазар, облечи се добре и ще прекараме там до късно. Тя ме гледаше очудено и ме пита, какво ще правим там бе Венци толкова време. Ами ще купим салата, хляб, сирене, аз нося вино и ще видим кой е на плазата, и т.н. Провинциално.

Rick Bolen, е първият познат който е подранил (мъжа с брадата, доста известен фотограф), защото като мен е довел и сина си. Младите също се събират и обичат пазара, ядът безплатни мостри на сирене, пица, или corned dog, кремвирш обвит в пържен качамак . Моят Крис е със скейтбордърите, доста е напреднал в спорта и цялата им агитка се пързаля на паркинга зад гърба на кметството. С Рик се срещаме пред сергията на моите приятели от Тай Чи и уважавани екологични фермери Пол и Кенди. Зеленчуците са органични, те снабдяват най-добрите ресторанти в града и са много мили хора. И двамата рисуват, в петък Кенди отваря изложба с живопис. Тя е емигрантка от Ню Йорк, в смисъл теглила им е една майна на тези с костюмите и е дошла тук да живее полезно и здраво. Много ги обичам, с Пол сме тим със Тай Чи мечове от 11 години.

В същото време се виждат и първите участници на винената маса - Сонома е едно от малкото место където е позволено пиенето на вино в парка на плазата или площада по нашенски. Хора от винарският бизнес носят вина от дегустационните зали на избите, за да ги пробват колеги и да се уважи пазара. Аз съм щастлив да пия вино с доста известни винари, и да пробвам мостри от нефилтрирани, не блендвани, не комерсиални версии, които са един път в живота изживяване.

Дегустация на местен зехтин, ранна и късна реколта проби, не знаех че и те копират винените реколти.

Ако ви потрябва малко салам или нещо друго, през улицата е Sonoma Cheese Factory.

Около плазата са подредени редица от добри и много добри ресторанти, някои са като за туристи. Готви се добре, но като почне сезона, сървиса може да се бави, особено по време на фестивалите - филм, джаз, зехтин и моят любим празник на гроздобера. Чао.

неделя, 13 април 2008 г.

July Mornings in Sonoma

This picture was taken in Albena, where I taught my friends to do Tai Chi on the beach.
I wrote the story in July 2005.

Lately I missed a few of my regular Sunday Tai Chi practices in the park next to the Boys & Girls Club and in my mind now and again is the picture of those bright summer mornings, without fog and chill in the early 9 am air. As always there are six to eight old timers, few visitors from time to time and our leader is Sifu Lewis, who ran the local Kung fu and Tai Chi academy for years. We crowd in the shade of a huge tree, which covers the circle at the end of the driveway. We stand facing a huge lawn and the hills above town.

We sip on our coffees and chai tea, and chat slowly for few minutes until everyone arrives. We mostly exchange of pleasantries and talk of the latest fishing or nature trips with our friends, few words about the weather and the crops from an organic farmer and a kung-fu master with the flair of the arts and good brew. Lately politics start to move into the conversation too early, but I try usually to defuse it with a silly jab.

Warm-ups begin and we are now silent, but someone’s bones crack or birds shout. We twist and rotate, do the sit-ups, pick cherries in the air, push in and out, focus, inhale and exhale, the usual routine.

Next, the dog people as I call them show up, usually a few ladies with well-mannered dogs, who share with us the huge parking lot. They are fast-talking about something, but I try to keep my concentration, I’ve seen them before. Few parents with young children go to the playground near by. Once, people came with a minesweeper and swept under the swings, and picked a few things out of the sand, maybe lost coins or gold rings. I still wonder how much or what they found there and do they go to other playgrounds as well.

Forgetting the treasurers under the swings, we are already doing the hard exercises at the end of the warm-ups and I am starting to fill the beauty of the day and try to absorb the energy of the earth into my slowly awaking body. Then she shows up. I love it.

At the far end of the park you can see a young woman with roller blades on her feet and headphones on, gliding fast and skillfully on the asphalt alley and is coming towards us. She has the usual black tights and t-shirt, her long blond hair shines, sometimes hidden under a headband. I am trilled because this is my favorite part of the warms ups and she is fairly on time. She gives us a warm smile, waives her arms high in the air and she is gone. Once she gave us a big kiss in the air and blew it to us with both hands.

I don’t know who she is, but let me thank her here for zooming by and making those mornings brighter. I heard that she stopped once and chatted with our group, but I wasn’t there and didn’t meet her.

After that, we start our Tai-chi form, which is well rehearsed by most of us and we put on quite a show. It takes us about 20 minutes to complete it and we break again. In the next few minutes, we do the ending stretches and part with the feeling of accomplishment and joy.

July Mornings in Sonoma, this one is for you.

събота, 12 април 2008 г.

Targovishte 2006 Riesling - The fashionable white wine

Decanter Magazine writes - Riesling's emergence as Americas's fastest-growing white has spawned three separate programmes to promote it.

The latest is a European Union plan, managed by the German Wine Institute, to promote German, Austrian and Alsace Rieslings together.

They didn't mention my own program, since they didn't know about it, but this spring I imported for a first time Targovishte 2006 Riesling and last night we tried it with Ruby. It shows nicely, crisp, fresh, with aromas of green apples, grapefruit, cut green grass. We had it with sushi and smoked fish from European Foods in SF. It held well against the strong fish and wasabi. At $7.99 a great summer drink, not too complicated, and no petroleum odors like some of the Austrian Rieslings.

Dunne on Wine: Spring is the time to enjoy riesling

With spring here, we can put riesling back on the table without risk of challenge and snicker.

The most adaptable, refreshing and intriguing of white wines, riesling is the ideal accompaniment for lighter and zestier dishes emerging from winter hibernation.

Americans, however, don't seem to need that dietary prodding to rediscover riesling. Sales of riesling in American grocery stores this past year surged 22 percent.

That was down from the previous year's increase of 26 percent, but perhaps only because winemakers are struggling to keep up with demand. Several California producers that previously relied on Golden State grapes for their riesling, for example, now are bringing in or bottling juice from fruit grown in Germany and Australia.