Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Cheesy Revolution

About a decade or so ago, bread makers began to become ubiquitous. No longer satisfied with the pillowy, flavorless loaves of Wonder, men and women began stocking up on yeast and bread flower and crafting their very own baguettes and brioches.

The next make-it-at-home culinary trend? Cheese, cheese, cheese. The make-your-own cheese classes are popping up around the country and people are experimenting with easy, fresh cheeses at home. Need evidence? Take a look at two items in the latest Serious Eats weekly newsletter: make your own goat cheese and make your own ricotta. Plus, there are plenty of resources to learn more about cheeses and cheesemaking on yet another article.

I’ve gotten into the cheese craze myself and recently ordered a large batch of supplies over at the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. They offer all sorts of supplies, and best of all, really great tips on troubleshooting different cheese problems.

So wipe that flour off your apron and take out some cheesecloth (don’t rely on the cheesecloth from your grocery store — the weave is too loose — try to get some from the cheesemaking supply company), it’s time to make some cheese!

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Posted by on February 22, 2010 in cheese


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Sonoma County – Should it be on your wine label?

Sonoma County wineries are currently buzzing with whether they would eventually be required to put “Sonoma County” on the label, much like Napa and Paso Robles require wineries to put those counties on the label in addition to the AVA.

According to the Sonoma County Vintners, the organization that is interested in pursuing the legislation, adding “Sonoma County” would help retailers AND consumers recognize the wines from the region and would help sell wines from more obscure regions like Green Valley and Chalk Hill — AVAs that your average beginner wine drinker doesn’t really know about.

People from Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast think it would be redundant — after all, they say, do consumers really need to see Sonoma Coast AND Sonoma County on the same bottle of wine? We’ve had lots of discussions here in the Petaluma Gap and some vintners think it is silly to have the double “Sonoma” label.

But as any marketer (and psychologist) knows, the more people see something, the more they like it, so seeing Sonoma over and over again isn’t a bad thing.

Steve Heimoff over on his blog thinks that people should just make good wine — that is doesn’t matter what it says on the label — but sadly, I disagree. I wish people would just buy wine because they know a lot about what they are buying, but the truth is that people buy brands they recognize. And Sonoma, like it or not, is a brand that really needs to be sold.

Everyone has heard of Napa, but fewer people worldwide have heard of Sonoma. So if there are millions upon millions more bottles of wine that have the word “Sonoma” on them, how can that possibly be a bad thing?

What do you think?

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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


To any serious wine drinker, Merlot never went away

I got a text from an old flame recently asking me if it was OK to drink Merlot now. He was worried that if he ordered a Merlot, he would be committing a major faux pas because the movie “Sideways” gave Merlot a bad name.

To any serious wine drinker, Merlot never went away. Oh sure, we chuckled at the movie and went home to drink our Pinot Noir (we were inspired, of course), but study after study has shown that Sideways did not have the significant impact on Merlot OR Pinot Noir drinking that everyone thought it did.

A new study from Nielsen adds to the evidence:

“Merlot sales, measured in both dollars and volume, have grown steadily since “Sideways” was released in 2004.”

Additionally, 93 percent of those who saw the movie said that it had no effect on their perception or drinking habits of Merlot wine.

In general, people find Merlot to be a great value and continue to buy it, time after time.

Lest you think that I am a paid representative for the Merlot industry, I prefer Merlot in Bordeaux blends and not on its own, but wanted to make the point that serious wine drinkers don’t really pay attention to popular culture when they are making their purchases — they follow their taste buds.

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Posted by on February 12, 2010 in Wine


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