Buying Good Olive Oil

How to Buy Good Olive Oil — Honestly 

Suisun Valley, California (January 5, 2016) – Called the Food of the Gods, olive oil, true certified extra virgin olive oil, is indeed a magical food. “This is an ancient food that deserves its place on the modern table,” say Mark and Ann Sievers of Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co. in Suisun Valley Northern California.  “It’s a shame that other countries simply haven’t enforced their standards when it comes to extra virgin olive oil.  It’s a matter of cost for them, but it’s a matter of purity and integrity for the consumer.”

A recent 60 Minutes (Sunday January 3, 2016) episode focused on the production and mis-labeling of poor quality oils in Italy.  “Guy Campanile, the producer of that segment on olive oil, should come to California during fall milling season, to smell and taste how wonderful our oils are, says Ann Sievers.  “It’s no wonder we fare very well in international competitions. Italy, Spain, France, and Greece make some good olive oils, but they usually keep the good oils for themselves. And as 60 Minutes showed, the multinational companies send adulterated oils out to the world.”

How can consumers tell the difference?  Il Fiorello offers some simple advice:  “If you find an inexpensive oil a grocery store, there’s a reason it is inexpensive,” says Mark Sievers.  “It may be old, bad, or adulterated or all three. This is indeed a buyers beware, or we like to say buyer be aware business. If the label on the oil says it is from 5 different countries you can be assured it is not good quality olive oil, and probably not even much olive oil.”

The 60 Minutes segment documented the adulteration of Italian olive oils with highly refined (read processed with heat and chemicals) vegetable oil–a silent issue that consumers are only now recognizing. “It’s too bad,” says Ann Sievers.  “If the label said olive oil and vegetable oil then consumers would know what they are buying.  But then, they probably wouldn’t buy it.”

It takes an enormous effort to make extra virgin olive oil: a whole years’ worth of growing, expensive harvesters, large machinery. And the oil must be only olive oil, and have a balance of bitterness, fruit, and pungency when it comes out of the mill. If it’s not, it is fraudulent, and that is not extra virgin olive oil. Unscrupulous makers add other chemicals to try to make up for the defects. “If you bring me good olives, we can make beautiful oil,” Says Ann Sievers. “If you bring me bad olives you will have bad oil, or none as we will not mill bad fruit. Come visit us and take a tour of our farm and olive milling, (not pressing) equipment during harvest time.  It’s an enlightening experience. The taste and aroma of fresh extra virgin olive oil will stay with you forever.”

According to the segment on 60 Minutes, because of the immense amount of adulteration and bad olive oil, consumers do not even know what good oil tastes like. Ann and Mark Sievers would like to change that.  “Certified extra virgin olive oil is truly a special product and should be paired with great food,” says Mark Sievers.  “Once you’ve tasted the real thing, you won’t ever want to go back to that stuff the big conglomerates sell.”

“It’s all about knowing your sources,” says Ann Sievers.  “Take the time to know where you food comes from, how it is made and how to protect your health and dollars.”

About Il Fiorello

ll Fiorello is one of the leading premium olive oil producers in the USA, with more than thirty gold medals won at national and international olive oil competitions around the world. They grow twelve varieties of olives—all from Italian, Spanish, French and Greek olive trees—twenty minutes from the more famous Napa Valley. Il Fiorello offers tours, tastings, and a full range of visitor experiences in their olive oil visitor center in Suisun Valley, CA. For more information visit: http://ilfiorello.com/

American Wine Society – 48th Annual Conference

 

CONTACT:

John Hames, Executive Director American Wine Society

PO Box 279 Englewood, OH 45322

executivedirector@americanwinesociety.org

Phone: 888-297-9070

Englewood, Ohio – The American Wine Society brings a world of wine to Tysons Corner, Va. for its 48th annual national conference Nov. 5-7.

The nation’s oldest and largest organization of wine consumers released the agenda for the conference, which includes more than 40 sessions, including those from Bordeaux, Champagne, Uruguay, Portugal, New Zealand, Virginia and California.  Registration for members starts Aug. 2.

The AWS selected the Washington D.C. region because of its reputation as a food and wine center and the organization’s foundation in the region.

The conference will be at Sheraton Tysons Corner, kicking off with an opening reception hosted by the Virginia Wine Marketing Board followed by two days of informational tasting session with leading personalities and wines from top regions throughout the wine world, including a plenary session and luncheon sponsored by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and a luncheon sponsored by Wente Vineyards.

The American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition and the Amateur Wine Competition are held in conjunction with the conference. The organization’s wine judge certification training will also be held at the event.

About the American Wine Society

Founded in 1967, the American Wine Society (AWS) is the largest consumer-based organization in the U.S. dedicated to promoting wine appreciation through education. AWS is a non-profit organization of over 5,000 wine enthusiasts, from novice to expert, in 130 chapters throughout the U.S. Membership is open to any adult interested in wine. To learn more, visit us online at: http://www.americanwinesociety.org.

Promoting appreciation of wine through education

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fifth Annual in Vino Veritas

Celebrate Great American Winemaking at Fifth Annual In Vino Veritas

In Vino Veritas, a much anticipated annual, two-day wine event at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Md., opens with a dinner and wine tasting that celebrates the legacy of great American winemaking.

On Friday, February 27 special guest Warren Winiarski (St. John’s College, Class of 1952), founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, joins a panel of notable winemakers and connoisseurs in an exclusive evening of wine tasting.  Stag’s Leap produced the winner of the 1976 Judgment of Paris. This historical wine event had a revolutionary impact on the wine industry, putting California wines firmly on the world wine map. A bottle of the award-winning 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon wine is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In its November 2013 issue, “Smithsonian” magazine included this bottle as one of the “101 Objects that Made America.”  http://bit.ly/11LGeO8

Napa winemakers John Turley, founder of Turley Vineyards; John Williams, founder of Frog’s Leap Winery; and Zach Rasmuson, CEO of Duckhorn Vineyards, will join Winiarski for a discussion moderated by Abe Schoener, founder of The Scholium Project.  Turley, Rasmuson, and Schoener are also St. John’s College alumni.  St. John’s College is known for its visionary winemakers –The New York Times magazine describes Schoener as a “fearless, risk loving winemaker.” http://nyti.ms/11mafDy

On Saturday, February 28, guests at the Grand Tasting can explore more than 100 wines from around the world, premier wine growing regions and producers, meet the vintners, and sample wines and hors d’oeuvres. Workshops will be offered throughout the afternoon.

For prices, tickets and more information about this two-day fundraiser sponsored by the Friends of St. John’s College, visit: http://invinoveritasannapolis.com/

St. John’s College is located in the heart of historic Annapolis, Md.  The college, an independent, four-year institution, also has a campus in Santa Fe, N.M.  St. John’s is known for its distinctive curriculum that focuses on the foundational works of western civilization.  The college also offers graduate-level programs based on these same principles

20 Most Admired

Vineyard & Winery Management Names Industry’s ’20 Most Admired’

Second annual list recognizes North American winemakers

Santa Rosa, Calif. – The cover feature for the November-December 2014 issue of Vineyard & Winery Management (V&WM) magazine, a bimonthly trade publication covering the North American wine industry, recognizes the “20 Most Admired Winemakers in North America.”

Last year the magazine featured admirable people from many different aspects of the wine industry. The 2014 list shines a spotlight on winemakers. “This isn’t necessarily about who makes the best wine, but about which winemakers are most esteemed by their colleagues and others in the industry,” said V&WM editor-in-chief Tina Caputo. “These are the pioneers, the innovators, the trend-buckers, the standard-setters and the leaders.”

The list was compiled by V&WM editors with the input of a nominating committee comprised of winemakers, grapegrowers, wine writers, educators, buyers, sommeliers and consultants throughout North America.

The 20 winemakers who came out on top reflect a wide range of wines, styles and regions. Some produce hundreds of thousands of cases each year; some make only a few thousand.

Because no individual person received significantly more votes than the others, V&WM chose to list the winners in alphabetical, rather than numerical, order.

The Top 20 Most Admired People in the North American Wine Industry include:

• Peter Bell, Fox Run Vineyards (New York)
• Bob Bertheau, Chateau Ste. Michelle (Washington)
• Cathy Corison, Corison Winery (California)
• Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards (California)
• Merry Edwards, Merry Edwards Winery (California)
• Daryl Groom, Groom Wines (California)
• Josh Jensen, Calera Wine Co. (California)
• Jim Klein, Navarro Vineyards (California)
• Greg La Follette, La Follette Wines (California)
• Jim Law, Linden Vineyards (Virginia)
• Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines (California)
• Dennis Martin, Fetzer Vineyards (California)
• Luca Paschina, Barboursville Vineyards (Virginia)
• Joel Peterson, Ravenswood Winery (California)
• David Ramey, Ramey Wine Cellars (California)
• Johannes Reinhardt, Anthony Road Wine Co. and Kemmeter Wines (New York)
• Rollin Soles, Argyle Winery / ROCO (Oregon)
• Wendy Stuckey, White Wine Maker, Chateau Ste. Michelle (Washington)
• Margo Van Staaveren, Chateau St.  Jean (California)
• John Williams, Frog’s Leap Winery (California)

To read the full story, including profiles of the award winners, click here.

Rutherford Appellation Wineries – Intimate Wine Experience

– Rutherford Appellation Wineries, the consumer arm of the Rutherford Dust Society, has announced an exciting new direction for its annual weekend event, shifting from a Passport format to a more intimate, in-depth Rutherford Wine Experience hosted by Rutherford wineries and highlighting the historically award-winning wines of this premier appellation.

The new format will be launched with a mini-Rutherford Wine Experience on December 5th and 6th, 2014. The weekend will begin on Friday, December 5th with an evening Welcome Reception hosted by Round Pond Estate, followed on Saturday, December 6th by a “menu” of special receptions, wine tasting seminars, and dining at two Rutherford Restaurants: a 3-course Winemaker Luncheon at Michelin One-Star Auberge du Soleil (Enthusiast Magazine’s 100 Best Restaurants of 2014) and a 4-course Winemaker Dinner at Alex Restaurant (Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Award of Excellence in 2013 and “Best of” Award of Excellence 2014).

Guests will have the ability to personalize their Rutherford Experience with the option to purchase a la carte tickets to the Friday Welcome Reception ($50 per person, 7pm-9pm), the Saturday tastings/seminars and luncheon ($145 per person, 10am-5pm, four options per morning and afternoon time blocks), and the Saturday evening Winemaker Dinner ($125 per person, 6:30pm-9pm), or an all-inclusive Rutherford Enthusiast pass that will give them access to all of the events ($295 per person). All ticket options are available for purchase now on the association’s website, http://www.rutherford-appellation-wineries.com. Tickets will not be available on the weekend of the event.

The Grand Launch of the Rutherford Wine Experience weekend will be held in the Spring of 2015 on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd with a Friday evening Welcome Reception, two full days of special events, tastings and seminars on Saturday and Sunday with multiple options for each time block, and two winemaker dinners on Saturday evening.
Rutherford Appellation Wineries is an association of wineries residing in this historical appellation of the Napa Valley and includes producers of acclaimed Rutherford and Napa Valley wines. Proceeds from the association’s events benefit local charities like the Rutherford Volunteer Fire Department, Rutherford 4-H, the restoration of the historic Rutherford Grange and others.

For information about the upcoming December Rutherford Wine Experience, as well as the May 2015 event, please visit http://www.rutherford-appellation-wineries.com or the Rutherford Appellation Wineries Facebook page, or email info@rutherford-appellation-wineries.com.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary as an official appellation, the Rutherford Appellation is located in the heart of the Napa Valley. It is known world-wide for its signature “Rutherford Dust”, a term used to reflect its terroir, its deep connection to the soil in the vineyards, the wine and the wineries of Rutherford. For more information about the Rutherford Appellation go online to the Rutherford Dust Society’s website at http://www.rutherforddust.org.

Bring on The Reds!!!

It’s that time of year again!!!  The summer heat is starting to dissipate, the nights are getting just a wee bit cooler and the smell of Fall is in the air.

For those of us that love a big, bold, red wine but back away from them in the summer, the time is now.  “BRING ON THE REDS!”

Caymus 40th Anniversary cabernet Sauvignon

Caymus 40th Anniversary cabernet Sauvignon

Stock photo from Wagner Family of Wine website.

For your first fire pit evening of the season, I recommend the Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon.  This wine is so rich and so decadent that you can forget the S’mores (or not) and just sip wine.  Vanilla and cherry on the nose with hints of leather then dark chocolate and bing cherry on the palate, this wine is your dessert.

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon     ABV: 14.6%.    Suggested Retail: $60

This wine was a media sample received for review purposes.

Just Pondering

The wine bar is quiet tonight.  It is raining and nobody comes out in the rain to wander from bar to bar, much more comforting to sit at home with your wine in the dry.  So I have time too much time to think.  Three months in – what have I learned, what would I do differently?

  • My first mistake was several months ago when I initially leased the space for the wine bar.  I had no way of knowing it would take 10+ months to get the build-out completed and the doors opened but that is irrelevant; I still should have negotiated that the rent payments didn’t start until construction was complete.
  • I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter how great your wine selection is or how great your tapas menu is, people want a festive atmosphere.  They may tell you that they want to be able to sit and talk while they enjoy their glass of wine, but they will still leave your bar and head to the party bar if they are not entertained.
  • There is a steep learning curve to running a bar or a restaurant and you have to run hard just to keep up and even harder to get ahead of the curve.
  • There are more restaurant consultants (probably in most towns) than there are restaurants.  Even though you are a new business and you have to watch every penny you spend, these consultants won’t hesitate to ask thousands of dollars to show you how to succeed.
  • Advertising dollars are scarce, but once again, sales people come out of the woodwork to try to convince you to use their advertising medium to reach the masses.  Knowing the right source for your advertising so that you actually reach your target market isn’t easy.
  • Sleep is overrated!  If you get all of these things (listed above) spinning around in your head, sleep is elusive; but you keep going because of that learning curve and because success is the only option.
  • Eating, while not overrated, isn’t quite as important as you once thought.  If are looking for a weight loss program, open a bar – guaranteed 20 pounds.
  • Your wine list does matter.  It is nice to be able to brag about how extensive your list is and even more uplifting to have a master sommelier brag about your wine list.
  • Building a group of regulars is important.  It is nice to see that smiling face come through the door.  It is like having family come visit and it is important to your customers to be recognized and treated like family.
  • I have learned that you actually drink less if you own the bar – you can’t drink at work and you are way too tired by the time you get off!

I don’t want to write about the bar very often.  I still want to write about wine and the experiences that go along with it.  So the wine bar is open.  I have survived thus far – a little thinner, a little more knowledgeable about the industry, but still going strong.  Good days are really good, slow days are just slow days, not the end of the world.

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Cheers, All!!!  Thank you so much for all your support while I have chased this dream. If you are ever in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area, pleas come me.  You are all like family!

 

My 15 Minutes of Fame (almost!)

The wine bar has been open for 3 months now.  I keep thinking I am at a point where I can slow down long enough to post on my blog again, but something always comes up that keeps me hopping.  But I am not so stressed anymore so I do see the light at the end of the tunnel and unless it is a train, I will be back soon! 🙂

For now, please enjoy this video from my appearance on a local TV station for their Restaurant Show.

Latitude Wine Bar on the Restaurant Show

 

 

Lattitude

Mollie and a couple of her friends dropped by Latitude Wine Bar the other night. It was fun meeting them. This is the first blog/review post about the bar. I promise to post this weekend about us actually being open. Our Grand Opening is this Saturday, March 8. If you are in the area, please drop by! Cheers!!! Jean

LeMeChic

A new wine bar just opened up here in the low country and we were absolutely thrilled to make a visit!!! We have visited a lot of wine venues, and we particularly enjoyed our experience at Lattitude. We loved a couple of things about Lattitude, not only was the atmosphere perfect for a girls night out or a romantic date but, the attention to detail was impeccable.

We decided to try out a few things on their menu… By the way this is one of their menus:

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How cute is this idea?? Loved the fact that they did a menu on the wall! They also have an extensive wine list along with a truffle menu (favorite part of the evening).

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We had to share the truffles with you first because they were amazing and home made! This is the most exciting part for us, most of the smaller wine bars…

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