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Sexy Girls Night Out Drinks, but at home? Bark and Barware Shows You How with Cocktail Smoker

Sexy Girls Night Out Drinks, but at home? Bark and Barware Shows You How with Cocktail Smoker

Bark and Barware enters the cocktail market with their premium cocktail smoker, including 6 flavors. 

Bark and Barware’s Harel Levy

Bark and Barware’s Harel Levy

Today, Bark and Barware’s Harel Levy joins us for a conversation about cocktails, creating your long-lasting girls night out, picking the right flavors, the perfect pairings and more!

The below conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Find the full conversation at our YouTube channel.

 

Joe Winger: Can you tell us a little bit about your story? And what inspired you to create this cocktail smoker kit?

Harel Levy:  I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last seven years. While there are no mistakes, I actually found [the cocktail smoker] by mistake. I was planning to buy something for my Dad. I usually won’t give something if it’s not 100%. So I’d rather not give a gift that I don’t really like.  Because I really care about what the recipient is going to feel. 

“I really love the idea of cocktail smoking kits. […]  It’s another tool to have a great night.

I don’t want to give something cheap, because if you really love someone, you really want to make sure that everything is spot on, right? 

Even on yourself, you will be more forgiven in terms of what you buy than someone else.

I really love the idea of cocktail smoking kits. It’s not that it’s only cool and it’s a great addition to having those nights with friends, with family.  It’s another tool to have a great night.

I went to Amazon and I saw there is no one who actually sells it in a premium, wooden box.  And with many flavors.  I talked with [my company’s] CEO about it, what’s missing here.

Bark & Barware's Smoker Kit

Bark & Barware’s Smoker Kit

We came up with a wooden box. It came from my passion to give something that looks good.

For almost a year, we went back and forth with factories. The smoke.  The flavor.  Details with the box.

When we released it, we were very happy.  We knew my criteria.  If I can give it to my Dad, not being afraid he’s not going to like it.  Then I know that other people are also going to enjoy it because I have high standards for giving a gift to someone that I love. That’s how we came up with the product and the product.

The second thing we are planning is to bring a mixologist,  make it a more holistic experience. 

Extend the journey with our customers, give them cocktails, give them recipes, give them ideas, The journey doesn’t end when the transaction happens for us. We want to continue to build trust and serve our customers.

 

Joe Winger: You have a very comprehensive website.  Can you walk us through your Cocktail Smoker Kit? When we buy it what do we get?

Harel Levy: There are six different chip flavors, the culinary torch, the smoke lid.  Ice tongs, whiskey stones. Unfortunately, we don’t include butane [gas for the torch] because shipping is very heavily regulated, 

“In every smoker kit you get six different chip flavors, the culinary torch, the smoke lid.  Ice tongs, whiskey stones.”

We have six flavors: cherry, oak, pear, maple, hickory and apple. Our plan is to listen to our customers and come up with new flavors based on what they ask for.  It’s not a one-time product release.  We’re going to offer refills, extensions, more.

Each taste is very delicate.  The world of wine, flavor, alcohol is so wide and you can get very specific sometimes. When you do get specific, you get the best results, right? 

 

Joe Winger: Has there been one or two major lessons you’ve learned?

Harel Levy: Initially we had more flavors. After we gave out samples and heard about which flavors were the favorite, we removed some. 

Joe Winger: You mentioned flavor pairing.  What’s your favorite cocktail pairing?

Harel Levy: It’s a tough question because taste is something that is extremely subjective.

We usually put it with scotch. That’s our personal preference.  Our customers get very creative with their ideas. That’s why we initially started with those six flavors. But listening to customer feedback, it’s going to grow and change.

 

Joe Winger: Over a year of research and development, were there any unexpected surprises?

Harel Levy: A lot of people agreed with me on the wooden box.  People started asking for smoke refills.  They’re going through the smoke faster than I thought.  When we launched, I was expecting this to be used for special occasions.  But people are using it every week, all the time.  

 

Joe Winger: In the past few weeks, I’ve been in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New York, Philadelphia.  All those places have bars where they’re serving smoked drinks.  Now people want to have that experience at home.  

Harel Levy: That’s going to make you the hero of the party.  You’re the one who brings the cool stuff. I always like to do that. 

We really advise [anyone trying this] to taste all of the flavors. Not just one or two.   The spectrum of what flavors someone likes or doesn’t like is very wide.  You’re probably going to really like 1-2 [of the flavors], and less like the others.

Those 1-2 that you really like, we’re going to offer you refills.

When I host friends [at my house], I drink scotch and it goes well with cherry.

But it’s like a game.  You try a lot of things. You find out something that you’re really going to love.

“That’s going to make you the hero of the party.  You’re the one who brings the cool stuff.”

Joe Winger: This first kit is a starter kit or a sampler kit. I get those six flavors and I get to decide, “Oh my gosh, I really like this one. Now I need a refill.”

Harel Levy:  Exactly. It’s exciting me on a personal level because I’m curious […]. What’s going to make people upgrade a scotch that costs hundreds of dollars?

I can play with the flavor. That will upgrade an experience for the end customer cost hundreds of dollars. I did my part, right? And for them, they’re going to be over the moon. They’re going to be super happy. It’s just going to become one of their routine.

“What’s going to make people upgrade a scotch that costs hundreds of dollars?”

Joe Winger: There are smoking kits all over the place. Dozens of competitors on Amazon.  Why should someone choose Bark and Barware?

Harel Levy:  It’s the full experience that we offer. It starts with the package. Then the flavors. Most of our competitors offer four, we offer six. We tasted all of the competitors and our flavor is better.  Otherwise I would not have released the product.

Our post-purchase [experience] the recipes.  We’re working with a mixologist to just create a mini course to go with the kit, go with specific drinks. Customers are going to have access to all of it. How do I mix it? What should I mix it with? 

Joe Winger: What does the future of the brand look like?

Harel Levy: We’re planning to release big packages [re-fills] of each flavor. Second thing is the mini courses. We really want to inspire because that’s fun.  

The process of drinking with friends, the process of smoking. It’s a fun process. You sit on your balcony, with friends, you open a bottle of wine as well.  That’s a fun process. 

Our goal is to inspire. Someone [will realize they] like a specific cocktail.  We will give them all of the information on how to make it,  how to mix it, then we earn a customer for life. 

Joe Winger: You mentioned picking a cocktail is like picking a favorite kid. It’s so hard to do. What is your favorite cocktail to use with your smoker? 

Harel Levy: Yeah, so that’s a great question. I like the combination of the apple and scotch.

Joe Winger: Because you’re a foodie, are there any specific cocktail and food pairings that you really enjoy with any of your specific flavors?

Harel Levy: My favorite is having an apple flavored scotch with a ribeye. Someone I work with loves the hickory flavor.  That’s the beauty of this world, every person has their unique taste.

Shop for Bark and Barware’s Cocktail smoker hit on amazon here: https://amzn.to/3P5c42g 

Learn more at: https://www.barkandbarware.com

St Patricks Day NYC-style: Cocktail Collab as “A Taste of Green’ as Bailey’s Partners with Ian Charms

St Patricks Day NYC-style: Cocktail Collab as “A Taste of Green’ as Bailey’s Partners with Ian Charms

St. Patrick’s Day is now only a short leap away as we gear up to celebrate the Emerald Isle.

With the turn of the season comes an invitation to swap out your drab winter wardrobe for brighter spring hues because this just in – green is the new black.

St Patricks Day Cocktail Collab Brings Combines Flavor and Jewelry

This St. Patrick’s DayBaileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur is partnering with celebrity-loved jewelry brand Ian Charms to release an exclusive charm collaboration that will make the ultimate fashion statement for the holiday.

The two iconic brands are celebrating their Irish roots with a limited-edition Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set to make sure both you and your cocktail have the perfect touch of green for your celebrations.

“Baileys has been a beloved treat in my family for generations

and it’s exciting to finally be partnering with a brand that lets me celebrate my Irish heritage,”

Lisa Sahakian

Founder and CEO of Ian Charms

“Designing this charm set was incredibly fun and we’re thrilled to be offering our customers something truly unique to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with.”

St Patricks Day Cocktail Collab is Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set

The Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set includes two distinct pieces – a necklace to complement any outfit and a cocktail charm to adorn onto the stem or rim of your cocktail glass.

The design features an eccentric combination of handmade charms, beads and pearls inspired by Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur’s unapologetically delicious ingredients and cocktails.

The one-of-a-kind charm set also pulls elements from the limited-time-offering Baileys Vanilla Mint Shake Irish Cream Liqueur as well as quintessential Irish emblems, making this set the perfect accessory for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“We are delighted to be releasing this limited-edition collaboration

with a beloved brand like Ian Charms

to give adults a new way to indulge in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations,”

Camille Hemming

Senior Brand Manager of Baileys & Liqueurs, DIAGEO North America

“Between the classic Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur or the green-themed Baileys Vanilla Mint Shake that’s making a return for the holiday, we hope to offer more ways than one to toast to our brands’ Irish roots.”

“This exclusive drop marks Baileys’ second piece of Treat Couture, fashion-forward collaborations that inspire adults to indulge in unique wearable creations.

To celebrate the indulgence of fashion in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day, treat yourself to a signature cocktail featuring beloved Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur and minty green limited-time-offering Baileys Vanilla Mint Shake Irish Cream Liqueur.”

BAILEYS ESPRESSO MARTINI
Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Baileys Original Irish Cream
  • 0.75 oz espresso
  • 0.75oz Ketel One Vodka
  • Coffee Beans, to garnish

Method:

  • Fill shaker with ice
  • Add all ingredients and shake
  • Strain into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with coffee beans

VANILLA MINT MARTINI 
Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Vanilla Mint Shake
  • 0.5 oz Fernet Branca Menta
  • 3-4 dashes Absinthe

Method:

  • Shake with 1 ice cube for dilution
  • Strain into cocktail glass
  • Garnish with grated chocolate + mint sprig

The limited-edition Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set is available exclusively on IanCharms.com while supplies last. Ian Charms is a female-owned, handmade jewelry company based in LA that has amassed a loyal fan base of celebrities and consumers alike. Ian Charms will donate all proceeds from the charm set sales to CurePSP, and Baileys will match the amount with a donation to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), a non-profit educational foundation supporting emerging and established women entrepreneurs.

Baileys encourages consumers of legal drinking age to treat themselves responsibly this season.

For more information, please visit www.BAILEYS.com.

Ian Charms is a female owned, handmade jewelry company


Ian Charms is a female owned, handmade jewelry company based in LA. Named “Ian” charms because the creator’s last name (Lisa Sahakian), like many Armenian names, ends in those three letters. For those who like to adorn their necks and wrists with a more personal flair, Ian Charms will work with you to craft a custom piece, just start the process by ordering the type of custom jewelry you’d like.

Notable fans of the brand include Justin BieberDua LipaJulia Fox & Doja Cat, among others.
IanCharms.com
@iancharms

NAWBO is the unified voice of America’s more than 14 million women-owned businesses


Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the unified voice of America’s more than 14 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries.

NAWBO develops programs that help navigate women entrepreneurs through the various stages of their business growth. To learn more about NAWBO, please visit www.nawbo.org.

To learn more about NAWBO’s non-profit educational foundation, the NAWBO Institute, please visit www.nawbo.org/university.

BAILEYS Irish Cream Liqueur

BAILEYS launched in Ireland in 1974. It is now available in 180 markets worldwide and is the number one selling liqueur in the world.

Owned by Diageo plc, BAILEYS is currently ranked 7th among all distilled spirits sold worldwide. It’s the signature delicious balance of Irish Cream, whisky and fine spirits that makes BAILEYS Original Irish Cream the perfect little indulgence when you need a break from your daily routine.

The BAILEYS portfolio includes Original Irish Cream, Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cinnamon, Espresso Crème, Strawberries & Cream and Almande.

For more information on BAILEYS Original Irish Cream, please visit us at www.BAILEYS.com.

Broadway Hit ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ Tony-Winning Musical Annc’s Spring Closing

Broadway Hit ‘Kimberly Akimbo’ Tony-Winning Musical Annc’s Spring Closing

Kimberly Akimbo, winner of five 2023 Tony Awards including Best Musical, will play its final Broadway performance on Sunday, April 28, producers announced today.

Remarkably for Broadway, the entire original company, which has been performing together since the musical’s Off Broadway world premiere in 2021, has continued, and will continue, with the production through its final performance.

The universally acclaimed musical, which finds humor, heartbreak and hope in the tale of a teenage girl with a rare (and fictional) rapid-aging genetic condition that likely will take her life before she finishes her adolescence, opened on Broadway November 10, 2022, following its world premiere at the Atlantic Theater Company in November 2021.

Upon closing, Kimberly Akimbo will have played 32 previews and 612 performances on Broadway. The musical will kick off a 75-week, 60-city national tour at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts this September. (The touring cast has not been announced.)

Though the production grossed a big $720,330 for the holiday week ending December 31, figures have been up and down in recent months as the show began to lose some of its original Broadway steam: While once routinely filling more than 90% of seats at the Booth Theatre, more recent figures hover in the 70%-80% range.

Among its many accolades, Kimberly Akimbo scored a Best Actress/Musical Tony for star Victoria Clark, who delivers one of the great stage musical performances in recent memory. As Kimberly, Clark, who began playing the 15-year-old character when she was 62, captures, simultaneously, the nuances of both adolescence and middle age in one astonishing achievement.

In addition to the Best Musical and Leading Actress wins, the production also took Tonys for Bonnie Milligan (Featured Actress/Musical), David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori (score) and, for Lindsay-Abaire, Best Book. The show made Tony history with Tesori’s win, the first time a female has won two Tonys for Best Score (she won with Lisa Kron in 2015 for Fun Home).

In addition to Clark and Milligan, the cast includes Tony nominees Justin Cooley and Steven Boyer, Alli Mauzey, Olivia Elease Hardy, Fernell Hogan, Michael Iskander and Nina White.

The musical is produced by David Stone, The Atlantic Theater Company, James L. Nederlander, LaChanze, John Gore, Patrick Catullo, and Aaron Glick.

DOC NYC 2023: WINNER – U.S. Competition Special Mention – ‘HAPPY CAMPERS’ Documentary Feature from director Amy Nicholson

DOC NYC 2023: WINNER – U.S. Competition Special Mention – ‘HAPPY CAMPERS’ Documentary Feature from director Amy Nicholson

Synopsis

Finding your tribe is one of life’s greatest pleasures—and losing it is one of the greatest sorrows. In Amy Nicholson’s beautifully observed film, working-class Americans gather every summer at a seaside trailer park in Chincoteague, Virginia, to enjoy the simple pleasures of a scrappy, no-frills vacationland, and each others’ company. When a developer buys the land and reimagines the property, the inhabitants of this shabby Shangri-La wistfully eke out the joys of one last summer together as a melancholic twilight hangs in the air. – Jaie Laplante 

DOC NYC Continues Online
“Happy Happy” Available
Now Through November 26

About the Filmmaker Amy Nicholson

Amy Nicholson is a documentary filmmaker and commercial director based in New York City. In a previous life, she served as an advertising Creative Director, conceiving campaigns for clients like Got Milk? and Nike. Nicholson’s most recent documentary is a short titled Pickle. After winning audience awards at multiple festivals including Aspen Shorts and Full Frame, Pickle was nominated for an IDA Documentary Award and Cinema Eye Honors, selected for New York Times’ Op Docs and featured on the Criterion Channel. Nicholson has produced and directed two feature projects. Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride won a special jury prize at DOC NYC and was held over twice at the IFC Center. Muskrat Lovely premiered at Hamptons International Film Festival and was broadcast on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Nicholson’s third feature Happy Campers debuts at DOC NYC in November. Her films have been selected to screen at Sheffield, Hot Docs, Full Frame, DOK Leipzig, BFI London, Florida, Hot Springs, Camden, Montclair, Traverse City, Rooftop Films, and the MOMA.

Fresh Victor Saves Your Holiday Cocktail with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor Puts the the drinker in charge with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers.

Fresh Victor is how you make fast, delicious craft cocktails and amazing mocktails — Every. Single. Time. 

Fresh Victor is a line of premium mixers for consistently delicious and efficient cocktails (and mocktails too.)

H. Ehrmann knows his cocktails

H. Ehrmann is a bartender and drinks industry consultant who runs Elixir, one of the most influential bars in San Francisco.  In the industry for 35 years, owned a bar for 20 years. 

Recently he hosted a virtual mixer walking us through several cocktails using Fresh Victor as the mixer: from non-alcoholic, to low alc, to full alcoholic.

Cold-pressed juice-based cocktail mixers. They have added sugar, either organic cane sugar or agave nectar used to balance out citrus levels to hit the intended brix level for most cocktails.

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

For example, with the Lemon Sour, the base is known as a pretty simple flavor profile.  You can add another layer of flavor complexity (like a liqueur).  But the Fresh Victor mixer was designed to have more depth, a bit more bitterness to handle any additional sweetness added. 

Fresh Victor +1 or +2

All of the Fresh Victor bottles are designed to make delicious cocktails, but simply and easier.  How?  The amount of cocktails that can be made by adding just 1 or 2 ingredients plus the Fresh Victor mixer.

+1 is agave and tequila.  Lemon Sour and whiskey. 

+2 might be carbonation, frothing, aromatics, like:  tonic, soda water, champagne, egg white, bitters.

Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

 

“2-3 pours and a lot of flavor”

H. Ehrmann

With those 3 elements and Fresh Victor’s 9 flavors, you can end up with dozens of drinks.  From classics, to a spin-off of a classics (including mocktails).

Mixing ratios: 1: 1 and 2: 1.  

1 1 / 2  oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

2 oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

If the drinker likes the taste of the alcohol, they want that taste to “punch” through, then then 2:2 is better for them.  If they want the flavor sweeter, iding behind the mixer, 2:1 is the answer for them.

Fresh Victor is a mixer, not a juice.  So it’s meant to take on dilution as you build your cocktail. Right out of the bottle, it’s a bit more concentrated, more dense.  Meant to be stirred, shaken, reduced down without watering down the flavor.   It can dilute 15-20% without losing quality. 

Using Fresh Victor, you can create a 32 oz, 64 oz or a gallon punch bowl for a holiday party in less than 5 minutes.  And it’s not a simple, lame flavor.  It’s complex.

Orchard Bliss Royale

Non-alcoholic.  When you add Champagne or Sparkling, it’s called “Royale” and today’s drink is adding Sparkling Cider.  

4 oz sparkling cider

2 oz Fresh Victor (Three Citrus and Mint Leaf)

Garnish with dehydrated apple slices

The nose is refreshing. Vibrant apple.  Effervescent on the palate, from the Sparkling. A balance of lemon, lime, orange.  Plump, but not overwhelming.  Mint notes that bring a tertiary element.

Suggestions include playing with adding a shot of vodka, rum or tequila, any of which would work well.

Fresh Victor mixers give a fruit-forward base that makes it easy to play and experiment with.

Winter Spice Tonic

“When mixed well, Gin impacts the overall character of your drink, but doesn’t get in your face”.

1 oz Tanqueray london dry gin

1 Oz Fresh Victor (Cactus Pomegranate)

4 oz Fever Tree Tonic

Aromatic bitters

Garnish with vanilla bean, All-spice berries, Dehydrated Lemon

The nose is immediately the charming, floral aromatics you’d expect from the gin.  Then slowly the baking spices express themselves.  Deep character layers and complexity.  A gush of tonic, then lingering vanilla and lemon.  

Definitely a gin drink for someone who’s not a gin fan as it showcases the best of gin without being overwhelming.

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

Love a standard gin drink?  Try Gin and Tonic with Fresh Victor’s Cucumber and Lime!

H. Ehrmann feels one the the reasons Fresh Victor is so popular is because people want to be able to make easy drinks at home that still have amazing flavor.

“I’ve taught cocktail classes for over ten years.  As much as students love it and geek out over cocktail details at the bar.  When they get home to their kitchen, they still prefer to have something easy.  That’s a huge part of when Fresh Victor is.”

One of the keys to Fresh Victor is adaptability.  The drinks are scalable and easy to experiment with.  Having more guests than expected?  Want stronger drinks?  No alc of low-alc drinks?

“The 2 things that show us down when drinking cocktails, alcoholic strength and bitterness.  Those are things that help us drag a cocktail out 10-20 minutes. Like, intentional speed bumps to keep you from drinking too fast.  So removing the alcohol from a recipe, removes that speed bump.  Adding more bitters, adds it back.  It helps a non-alco drink feel more like a cocktail.”

How did Fresh Victor launch and grow during the struggles of the pandemic?  Luck, hardwork and finding an audience that wants flavor.  H. Ehrmann explains: 

“Just before Covid, we decided to focus Fresh Victor on bars and restaurants.  So Covid hits.  We decided to re-package into a 16 oz bottle.  Within 6 weeks we had these bottles available in 7 states direct to consumer. Within 2 months, we had 48 states direct to consumer.  I shifted to selling cocktail kits from home and Fresh Victor was the perfect partner for me.  Take a liter of tequila and a 64 oz bottle of Mexican lime and agave, you can make 32 margaritas.  I was selling those kits like crazy.  People were re-ordering every other day.”

Figtorious Celebrations

2 oz of Fresh Victor (grapefruit and sea salt)

2 oz VSOP brandy

1 / 2 oz fig syrup

Try thinking of Fresh Victor less as a mixer or a juice and more as an ingredient.  Think of it as an ingredient where you can use as much or as little as you want to make a more complex drink.

Explore from a culinary point of view.  What other flavors mix?

Fresh Victor is all about experimenting.  Trying different flavors.  Adding spirits, garnishes and mixers that might not be traditional.

“All the ways you can use Fresh Vector.  I went through the lexicon of cocktails.  What can I make with lemon sour?  What can I make with Mexican Agave? Then I’d look at more unique flavor profile and ask myself what can I make with that?”

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

 

Fresh Victor Holidays Flavors

H. Ehrmann suggests a twist this cold, holiday season.  Think like a Hot Toddy. Simply warm up your Whiskey Sour, Lemon Drop, even your sangria.  Anything that would normally go with ice, this time heat it up warm and toasty.

 

“Sip For Solidarity” To Support Israeli Wineries and Raise Money For Israeli Relief Efforts

“Sip For Solidarity” To Support Israeli Wineries and Raise Money For Israeli Relief Efforts

The world of wine in Israel, perhaps the oldest wine-producing region in the world, has always represented a sense of peace and goodwill but has become collateral damage of the horrible atrocities that occurred on October 7th.

The world of wine in Israel, perhaps the oldest wine-producing region in the world, has always represented a sense of peace and goodwill but has become collateral damage of the horrible atrocities that occurred on October 7th.

To raise awareness and in support of Israel and Israeli wineries, the Israeli Wine Producers Association (IWPA), a trade organization promoting Israeli wineries through wine education and events, is asking consumers to “Sip For Solidarity.”

“Sip For Solidarity”

The massacre has had an immediate, concrete impact, particularly on picking, sorting and winemaking teams. Harvest had begun shortly before the attacks, which meant that the sorting, crushing and fermentation processes, were, in many cases, done under the constant threat of attack and bombardment.

For many wineries, production teams have been hollowed out as the young men and women who normally would be shepherding the crucial winemaking process have called up to help defend the nation.

“Winemaking has its own schedule, unlike other industries where you can pause production or run with limited staff. Grapes grow and ripen when they do; the winemaking process is very hands-on. Without staff, many wineries face an impending crisis.” said Joshua Greenstein, the Vice President of the IWPA.

“Additionally, wine is usually something enjoyed when you go out to eat or to a party, and people in Israel aren’t feeling particularly celebratory these days. It’s catastrophic not just for this years’ sales, but for the vintages harvesting now that won’t be ready for sale for years to come.”

 “Buy a bottle of Israeli wine.

…we’re donating 10% of every case shipped from November 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023 to Israeli relief efforts.

Joshua Greenstein,

Vice President of the IWPA

Asked what people can do to help, Mr. Greenstein said:

 “Buy a bottle of Israeli wine. Not only will the purchase help the wineries, but we’re donating 10% of every case shipped from November 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023 to Israeli relief efforts.

“…With the wine consuming public’s support, these challenges are surmountable, and wineries will still craft wines that accurately and deliciously reflect the character of the vintage and of Israel, just as they always have.”

#DrinkIsrael

Israel has been able to blend their ancient history with the most modern technology to produce some of the finest wines available and become one of the fastest-growing winemaking regions in the world.

The Israeli Wine Producers Association (IWPA) represents Israeli wines with a unified voice. To communicate, educate, market, and expose US customers and consumers to Israel as a world-class wine region. The IWPA represents 30+ Israeli wineries ranging from boutique to the largest producer. Follow @IsraeliWine for the latest from the IWPA.

Big Apple gets to Celebrate Flavor and Elegance from French Bloom Sparkling – Wine Review

Big Apple gets to celebrate flavor and elegance from French Bloom Sparkling Wine.

You want to celebrate.  You want to “pop the cork”, enjoy the flavor, but you don’t want the after-effects.  The drunkenness.  Certainly not the hangover.  And women?  Of course there needs to be ways to elegantly celebrate even (and especially) during pregnancy.  Imagine a pregnant-friendly wine?

It’s a situation that should have been solved already.  But now it has and with style.  It’s a  subtle, elegant, flavorful answer.

French Bloom Re-Invents the Game 

Now everyone can share “moments of pleasure” as their website mentions.  French Bloom’s organic de-alcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir, alcohol-free French sparkling cuvées combine French tradition with innovation.

French Bloom Co-Founders Maggie Frerejean - Taittinger and Constance Jablonski

French Bloom Co-Founders Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski

The Team Behind French Bloom

 

Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski bring different and complementary skill sets.  Equally important, they bring the desire for the vision and the motivation for innovation. 

Through their innovative and female-founded brand, French Bloom gives an alternative and inviting drink to those wanting to celebrate elegantly and differently, making the most of the precious moments shared with friends and family.

If the names sound familiar, Constance is a globally-working fashion model you’ve seen representing Estée Lauder and countless luxury brands.  

Maggie is director of the Michelin Guide and married to Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, chief executive of Champagne Frerejean Freres. 

Carl Héline, the former head of Champagne Krug, joined French Bloom. 

Let’s Taste French Bloom

Le Rosé 

Pale pink in the glass.  Rose petals, freshly picked red currant, raspberry aromas on the nose.  Indulgent white peach notes on the palate. Elegant. The organic French grapes give a nice acidity.  Well-balanced complexity of minerality and freshness.  Tartness and a rounded balance on the finish.

Certified Vegan- Organic- Halal
0.0% Alcohol
Pregnant-friendly
Low Calorie
Sulfite-Free
No preservatives
No sugar added, 4,2g/ 100ml

A blend of de-alcoholized organic French Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, organic grape juice, Gensac spring water and natural organic flavors such as lemon. 

 

French Bloom sparkling Discovery Kit

 

Le Blanc 

Organic French Bubbly, 0.0% Alcohol

Medium golden amber in the glass. Minerality and pear aromas on the nose, that just keep opening and opening.  Pear, banana, melon, white flowers.  An explosion of complexity on the palate.  As the flavors open, Granny Smith apple, spicy citrus.  A full-bodied mouth with a luxurious, zesty finish that keeps going.

De-alcoholized organic wine, organic grape juice, French sparkling Gensac spring water, organic lemon juice, organic natural flavors.

Certified Vegan- Organic- Halal

0.0% Alcohol

Pregnant-friendly

Low Calorie

Sulfite-Free

No preservatives

No sugar added, 5,9g/ 100ml

Learn more: FrenchBloom.com

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Chilli No 5 Wants their Super Health, Super Flavor ‘Sauce of Life’ on your Next Meal

Chilli No 5 Wants their Super Health, Super Flavor ‘Sauce of Life’ on your Next Meal with an unmistakable spicy hit, combined with superfoods & health supplements.

Providing the flavorful gourmet vegan chilli sauces & gift sets using the most natural & healthy ingredients.

Chilli No 5 Brings 'Superfood Sorcery' and Big Flavor

Chilli No 5 Brings ‘Superfood Sorcery’ and Big Flavor

Delivering the best range of your favorite international flavors of chilli, marinades and BBQ hot sauces.

Co-founder Rumble Romagnoli joined me for a conversation about food, family, making chilli healthier and bringing their award-winning chilli sauce to the masses.

Chilli No. 5 Co-founder Rumble Romagnoli

Chilli No. 5 Co-founder Rumble Romagnoli

The below conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Find the full, un-edited conversation at our YouTube channel.

 

When you think about hot sauce, can you tell us about a celebration or a memory, something in life that inspired you to get so excited about hot sauce?

Rumble Romagnoli: Yeah when we’re smaller and we’re in the kitchen, it’s such a magical experience, isn’t it?

I had a real Italian Nonna so an Italian grandmother who always had bubbling pots and pastas and, Mules and fish and meat.  My mother and my sister; so great moments as a child cooking in the kitchen and then out on the dining table with all the family.

It was great and now I love cooking and it makes me really relaxed. Just zoning out, cooking for the family, growing my own vegetables, chilies and then gathering around tables with friends and family just to enjoy. And that’s really where this all started.

 

What does day to day life look like for you.  How did you decide to split up some of that time with a hot sauce endeavor?

Rumble Romagnoli: You remember COVID wasn’t really a nice time for anyone. We were there in a small apartment with lots of small children. It was chaos.

We couldn’t see our friends. We couldn’t see our family. They were all over the world and it was desperate times. So I suppose setting up Chili No. 5 was all about this kind of wanting to get back together with people enjoying moments and being together, sharing and getting fresh, healthy food and not lining up in the supermarket.

Chilli No 5 Brings 'Superfood Sorcery' and Big Flavor

Chilli No 5 Brings ‘Superfood Sorcery’ and Big Flavor

A lot of chefs who I was very friendly with all had lost their jobs. I was like, Hey, can you make sauce? They’re like, yeah, of course I can. So that’s how it all started. 

And we started trying out new flavors and we love world cooking. So that’s how Chilli No 5 started.

From your Chilli expert point of view, what should someone look for on a label that lets us know this is a quality chilli sauce?

Rumble Romagnoli: I think you guys are better at it than us to be fair. You’re fanatics; incredible.

I’m not a real expert. I just love creating great food for my family and friends. And we’ve tried to make… The best world hot sauces but they’re not going to blow your head off. It’s not really a hot sauce. They are chilli sauces. 

Chilli No 5 variety of flavors

Chilli No 5 variety of flavors

What I think you should be looking for on the bottle is: great ingredients, as many as you can get. No numbers, no coloring, no baddies.

I’m looking for just superfoods and anything that’s gonna make me glow.

In my world, when I think of chili sauce and hot sauces, I don’t always think of superfoods.

Tell me a little bit about where the idea came from to so strongly cross over superfoods with chili.

 

Rumble Romagnoli:  I love spice and tingling on my tongue and that kind of rush you get from that spice and hot.  The hot sauce or the flakes or the chili oil. My wife loves to be healthy. Happy wife, happy life they say, so I just combined.

I was doing something more spicy and she says, why don’t you put some good stuff in there? And I’d been reading a lot about Guana ginseng, maca; and all of these are in our sources. These are natural supplements that you buy in the shop.  You have some of that and it really picks you up, increases your concentration, which I need for long days. I need more energy. I’m getting older. So I was like, hey let’s just put them in the hot sauce and then you got the best of both worlds. So that’s the superfood sauce or superfood sorcery we like to say.

That was all my wife’s doing to be honest.

 

I feel like a lot of chilli sauces are just gunk. When I think superfoods, I think health. Is your Chilli No 9 a health food?

Rumble Romagnoli: Absolutely. I’ll pick out one of these bottles.I wouldn’t say a healthy hot sauce. I would say a hot sauce full of healthy ingredients because you never know there are some sugars in here and you never know what people will find healthy or not healthy.

But we’ve got in this Jamaican jerk, which is great on a barbecue chicken as a marinade as a condiment as a barbecue sauce. We’ve got fresh red onions, fresh spring onions. Chilli No 9 chili. Fresh chilies, which are all really healthy for you. There’s ginger. There’s garlic. There’s lemon. There’s lime. There’s agave syrup. 

We tried to tone down the sugar but keep it a little bit sweet, apple cider vinegar, we’ve got, extra virgin olive oil. It goes on black garlic, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper, guarana, maca, Ginseng, l arginine.  It doesn’t stop.  That is packed to the rims, full of healthy ingredients.

We’ve tried to put the healthiest ingredients we could find and make it as tasty as possible using these ingredients and authentic to Jamaica and their jerk sauce.

It’s a sauce packed full of healthy superfood antioxidant ingredients and that’s maybe why it’s winning all these awards for taste. 

Because bottom line is it has to taste nice before being healthy.

 

Nobody wants a science flavored chili. So I agree with that.   Let’s talk about some of your favorite flavors.

Rumble Romagnoli:  It’s hard because we have over 15 sources. But one of my favorites which you’d probably love as well is the Mexican Fury. My sister lives in Guadalajara in Mexico. She left the UK and went all around South America and ended up finding a lovely guy and settled down there. 

Mexican food is fantastic. It’s just really great.  Full of flavors and all sorts of different ingredients that we can’t grow in the UK or in Europe.  You guys have got such great weather down there in the South, Miami, Florida. Texas, Mexico between the South of the U. S. and the North of Mexico.

So you’ve got the jalapenos which are just incredible. We’ve got all of these beautiful chilies, the habanero come up with an automatically smoky flavor when mixed with the red peppers, the tomatoes, the red onions.  They fuse this on the palate to really pair very well with chicken, prawns, tacos, burritos or even egg for breakfast or pancakes.

The Mexican Fury is a really good one. We won 16 awards for different sauces. I love chipotle, anything smoky in our Louisiana barbecue. We’ve tried to tone down the sugar, add a bit of cognac whiskey, bourbon whiskey.  We’ve added the classic American ingredients in there to make a kind of healthy style Louisiana barbecue. 

Then the harissa is a great one. It’s really popular. it’s North African full of caraway seeds, cumin seeds, olive oil, lots of of incredible deep ingredients that really sit on the back of the tongue. There’s lots of ingredients there that kind of bring your food to life. 

We want to bring life and energy into a barbecue situation, dinner with granny, breakfast before work, sandwich on the bench in Manhattan.

 

Tell us a little bit about the competitions you’ve entered.

Rumble Romagnoli: We were only a year old and we’d come up with these sauces and we’d thought they were good.  The founder Chef Colin and then we had a team of chefs working in our London kitchen and our South of France kitchen and we entered the Great Taste Awards.

These are quite big awards in the UK but it’s international awards where all kind of fine foods, gourmet foods are tested by panels of hundreds of judges. It’s quite a strict competition. 

So first year we came in and we won seven stars for 11 products. We’re very happy. It was incredible. The Jamaican jerk really got a good one. The heavenly Harissa came in very well. Our chilli oil called Pizza Pizzazz.

Our chili flakes are all fresh and lovely coming from all sides of the world. Carolina Reaper, the Scorpion, the Habanero, the Ghost, the Number 5 chili from India. 

We watched and read all of the judges’ comments and we’re so thankful that they really detailed about acidity, balance, flavor structures.

Then we reworked it.  We played around with ingredient quality, we changed vinegars slightly, the cooking process.  We started baking the vegetables, the peppers, the onions, the red onions.  The tomatoes really started getting more flavor.  We put in a bit of olive oil at the start to get the flavors moving around.

Then we came in this year with 13 awards out of 16.  With our 7, that makes 16 of our total products have won awards by the Great Taste Awards.

We want to create the best chilli sauces on the planet. That’s my mission.

 

How is Chilli No 5 going to grow and evolve?

Rumble Romagnoli: It’s happening quite quickly and we have a B2C strategy and service strategy.

We want to have the most delicious sauces in every category.  We’re just working on each recipe and we think  if we make the best sauce, people are going to love the best sauce, and then they’re going to buy the best sauce.

A bit like Apple, just make the best products and people just keep buying them  We’re getting into big stores in the UK, placements in Monaco.

We are in lots of great high end butchers, delicatessens and it’s going really well. 

So we’ve got this B2B strategy. We need to impress the professionals.   We’ve impressed the people who love healthy lifestyle, love delicious sauce, gourmet. But now we have to impress the industry.

Obviously coming to America is the big move. 

Tell us all the ways we can learn more about Chili No. Tell us your website, social media. 

Rumble Romagnoli: The website is the big one, Chili No.5. Shop us on Etsy.  Follow us on instagram, Facebook, YouTube. 

We’re also quite present for hot sauce gift sets. We do five or six incredible hot sauce gift sets which are collections of the sauces. And we’ve got mini little minis and you can make your own you can personalize because we’ve got 15 sauces.

We’re very big at Christmas. Very big at Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and we will send the sauces over to you guys in the states. No problem. If anything breaks, if anything’s damaged, we will refund you and resend you the sauce you ordered because that’s the least we can do.

 

Sober Curious meets World-Class Flavor with Jøyus Non-alcoholic wines this #SoberOctober

Jøyus non-alcoholic wines are making big moves in the beverage industry.  Not just for #SoberOctober, but its award-winning tastes help you celebrate all year-long,

Jøyus non-alcoholic wines not only taste like wine, but great wine. With the industry awards to prove it. 

Recently I sat down with Jøyus leader Jessica Selander.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  You can find the full, un-edited conversation on our YouTube page.

 

 

Can you give us a personal story, maybe that includes the celebration of wine, if you have one?

Jessica Selander: The story is very personal and the funny thing is I get so nervous before talking about things because when I started Joyus, I did not originally [think about] doing things like this, being so face forward. 

I thought I would create a product that I was really excited about.  Eventually I came to realize, how do I do that without telling the “why did I do it?”

The whole reason that Joyus exists and it influences everything I do is because I’m sober.  I quit drinking alcohol 17 years ago now, which just feels like a fantastical amount of time.

For me, it’s been very rewarding. I’m very glad about it. But it was definitely something that was really hard and very personal. It wasn’t something I shared about publicly. So that’s also why this is a journey of getting comfortable talking about my sobriety, my recovery.

I like the taste of wine. I like beautiful glasses. I like the smell of wine.  I love the community and people; and hanging out and celebrating.  It literally says ’let’s celebrate’ on our bottles.  How great sparkling is for summer, but sparkling is such a happy thing.

You know what I mean? Something good happens in your life and people are like, let’s celebrate. Let’s pop some bottles. New Year’s Eve is such a beautiful idea of let’s start over. Whatever happened last year, whatever terrible things went down, there’s a brand new year.

It’s a new idea that we can celebrate either that past year that was good or celebrate the potential of a new year. That’s going to be better and that’s sparkling. 

And for me, I didn’t have any options. 

I started Joyus nine years ago. People ask me how long the company’s been around and we launched about two years ago. So it took me a very long time to figure it out, to save up the money to do it because as you can imagine, nine years ago, people thought it was crazy.

They’re like, ‘That’s a terrible idea. Nobody wants that’. And I’m like ’I want it’.

Having quit drinking, I had a lot of friends that also didn’t drink. I had a lot of people in my life too, who were just light drinkers – could give or take alcohol.  Then I have two kids and there’s a huge percent of the population that quits drinking for nine months [because they’re pregnant], sometimes even longer.

You can get into medications, you’re not supposed to drink on it. Anxiety medication, not supposed to drink on it. Heart medication, cancer treatments. There’s a lot of medical stuff too, that you could go down the list.

So I get a lot of people now who are like, ‘Oh, it’s not alcoholic. It’s trending.’ And that’s a thing now. 

Early on in my sobriety, I actually used to drink a lot of soda pop out of glass bottles, and then eventually discovered non alcoholic beer.

Non alcoholic beer is definitely having a really cool movement right now. There’s so many different options for non alcoholic beer, but the beer has always been around. 

I was like, this exists and it tastes like beer. What’s up with non-alcoholic wine?

There was one sparkling [non-alcoholic wine] in the entire country and that’s all you could find. There was one white and there was one red and that was it.

For me these options were really sweet. They were very affordable, which is nice, but they didn’t have the complete experience that I was going for. I wanted non alcoholic wine that tastes like wine. 

I wanted something that I could bring to a gathering and bring to a get together and have it feel appropriate and look appropriate and just look like everybody else’s [alcoholic] bottles.  Smell like everyone else’s bottles that you just wouldn’t even know that it was non alcoholic until you saw it on the label. And that’s what I did.

So after trying to find it for forever, eventually I was like, I’m going to do it myself. And I had no idea that this whole sober curious, non alcoholic world would take off like it has at exactly the right time.

So part of me is very frustrated that it took so long. But part of that too, it was like saving up the money to start the company.

This is a bootstrap company.  I like making my own decisions. A side effect after getting to this point is I’m 100% in control of all the decisions, which also means that I can control the quality because [it] is incredibly expensive to make.

 

Let’s talk about your sober story.  What it means to you, how you got there, what your mission is, how that helps others.

 

Jessica Selander: So for me, I can’t drink alcohol. What happens when I put alcohol in my body is that I make decisions I don’t want to be making.  

I tried a lot of things. I tried cutting back and it didn’t work. I tried replacing [the drinks and that didn’t work].

My life became pretty chaotic. 

I stopped drinking and once I get my life in order, then everything will be fine. I can drink again. 

Then after not drinking for a period of time, I was like, Oh, you know what?  There’s actually something to this and it’s something deeper and it’s probably the best thing I ever did, honestly, in my life. 

I would not be the person I am today on the inside if I had kept drinking.

I have a wonderful spouse and I’ve got amazing kids and I’m able to be a parent and be a person and do that clear eyed and there’s a lot of my upbringing was not the most positive. 

Sober curious, it’s a hashtag now. 

I’m not saying alcohol shouldn’t exist. I’m not that kind of person whatsoever. 

On a personal level it is so exciting to see other brands pop up. The first time I tried non-alcoholic tequila, it blew my mind. It was amazing. The spirits are interesting because some people build it up from science and some people are de-alkalizing; taking the alcohol out.

So that’s the really interesting thing about this. Normally spirits are completely separate from wine, which are very separate from beer, but in non-alcoholic, we’re all in the same swimming pool and everybody’s doing it differently and everybody’s got their own take and you can try one non-alcoholic whiskey and it’s incredibly different from another one.

Community not competition is one of our core values.  Normalizing non drinking is a big one. It’s not necessarily replacing alcohol either. I’ve talked to people in the wine industry who are very offended by the idea of non alcoholic wine.  I’m like no, it’s backwards. You’ve got it backwards. Non-alcoholic wine is a love letter to wine. You love wine so much that you still want to have it. You just can’t have this one piece that’s in it [the alcohol], but I want everything else. 

I want to cheers that glass with other people. I want to drink that red with a really strong stinky cheese. I want to pop that celebratory cork. I want to Rose all day. I just can’t.

I think that wine is very important culturally. It’s so interesting historically. The process is this fascinating mix of art and science.  I love everything about it. Getting deeper and deeper into it too, because I want Joyus to be around for forever and I want to make the best possible non-alcoholic wine.

There’s so much stuff to perfect that I could spend the next 50 years just working on non-alcoholic red – period.

 

You mentioned you’re seeing other competitors in the marketplace. How many different ways are there to make non-alcoholic wine?  Are some ways higher quality than others?

 

Jessica Selander: I can give tips. Our wine is a dealcoholized or alcohol removed wine, which means it’s gone through the whole winemaking process.

It’s aged, it’s fermented, and then we have removed the alcohol from it. Our bottles also say it’s non alcoholic. Sometimes you’ll see a bottle in the store and it just says non alcoholic on it. It doesn’t say dealcoholized or alcohol removed. They’re interchangeable. That means it wasn’t fermented.

So if you’re looking for a wine that is really going to taste like wine or have that fermented taste, look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed.

[Look at the label on the bottle] look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed, because it could say that it’s a non alcoholic red or a non-alcoholic grape [varietal] and it might just be a juice, that hasn’t been fermented or ages but comes in a wine bottle.

 

What are your goals in the present moment and in the near future to help your company continue to be a leader in the industry?

 

Jessica Selander: I think goals are accessibility. Normalizing sober drinking.  Making [non-alcoholic bottles] easy to find.  We do ship off our website, which is great. We’re shipping from Seattle. We ship everything ourselves.  If you’re out East, it’s going to take four or five days to get to you. 

Also starting to talk to restaurants, getting into more restaurants is a big one.  I’ve had anniversary dinners with my spouse and I’m drinking an Arnold Palmer.

I’m calling restaurants and I’m calling grocery stores and they’re still really skeptical that it can be good and that people want it.

 

Do you think it’s just audience reaching out? Is there a tipping point?

 

Jessica Selander: Yes, that really helps having people being in a restaurant and saying, “Hey, what do you have that’s an alcoholic?” Because restaurants are saying nobody’s asking for it. 

Here I am double digit sober and I had never gone into a restaurant and asked for it.

I would look at the [menu’s] non alcoholic section, which is always juice, soda pop, iced tea and stuff. If it’s not on the menu, I would never ask them for anything. Here I am for over a decade, not telling them that I want this thing. So we started doing more education on social media and online.

If you walk into a restaurant, ask them “What do you have that’s not alcoholic?”

Just pregnant people alone. There’s a large percentage of the population.

Is there science that says a pregnant woman can drink this and have zero concerns?

 

Jessica Selander: Yes. So this is super interesting. In the United States we’re the most strict in terms of alcohol. If you go to the UK, they have different, actually higher limits for how much alcohol can be in something. The US’s rules come from prohibition when you can’t sell, make, transport alcohol.

The government said once it gets under 0.5%, it’s not alcohol anymore. So that’s where that number comes from and sometimes people see it and say, “Oh, there’s a little bit of alcohol in this.” 

There was a study done in Germany where they tested a lot of grocery store items.  What they found was there’s a lot of stuff in our grocery stores that had a little bit of alcohol in it. Very ripe bananas, which we feed to toddlers have some alcohol in them. Orange juice is another one.

American hamburger buns. But it also makes sense, bread, yeast and we have more sugar in our products, right? Bread actually has more alcohol than people realize. 

Let’s talk about your wine’s flavors and aromas and the winemaking process to get there.

Jessica Selander: I knew what I wanted and I was incredibly picky about it. 

We launched with the sparkling white and the sparkling Rose’ and people were asking for a Rose’ with no bubbles.

I thought it would be easy.  It was not easy. 

Stills are very different from sparkling. I’m a balance of “I know what I want. I’m going for this thing and very focused”, but then I’m also balanced with listening. So we do a lot of focus groups. I do want feedback.  I do want opinions. 

We were working on it.  Everyone’s saying it’s good, it’s great.  But I didn’t think it was good enough. We were supposed to launch it in summer and I pushed everything back.  Back to the drawing board. 

What if we did this? What if that?  Talking to people, reading science and chemistry books

Was it like working for the right blend?

Jessica Selander: It’s tweaking so many different things and pieces in the blend. But it doesn’t always work out.  If you tweak a blend, sometimes other notes will come forward that you’re not expecting, or sometimes you’ve diminished things that you didn’t intend to diminish.

The still Rose is a great example, it didn’t have that click and so I just kept working on it. And that’s the one that won Double Gold and Best in Class in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is one of the biggest and oldest blind tastings in the world and the biggest and oldest blind tasting in the U.S.

 

Can you share any details and lessons you learned taking on the world of winemaking?

 

Jessica Selander: There’s so many things.  We’re not just making wine.  We’re wholesale, we’re distributing, we’re direct to consumer. We have so many different facets. 

I could talk for hours about how our wines are very low in sugar and they don’t have the alcohol in them. So our [bottles] probably freeze easier than anything else on the market. So shipping during the winter.

I’ve had conversations with other non alcoholic people too.  Everybody’s doing it differently and that’s the hard part too, where I feel like there’s a solution for every problem.

We’ve gotten better and better at winter shipping, but it’s not quite there yet.  Figuring out what can we ship in that’s going to have thermal protection, but isn’t going to contribute a ton of garbage. We’ve got the most eco-friendly, innovative winter shippers.  They’re made of corn. 

They’re expensive as hell, but it’s better than styrofoam. We have to keep everything under 50 pounds for UPS and 12 bottles of sparkling is 51 pounds in these corn shippers.

That thermal protection is still not enough, so we added heat packs. 

Let’s talk about your wines.

 

Jessica Selander: We have four varietals.  We’ve got our sparkling white, a sparkling Rosé. Still Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon. I love our red a lot. The reds are hard. They’re the most complicated; red wine has the highest alcohol content to begin with.

What flavor notes should we be looking for?

 

Jessica Selander: It’s definitely an American Cab. More fruit forward. It’s not grape juice. It’s fermented, it’s aged in American oak so you’ll get some green-ness to, like forest floor.  The longer it’s been open the more tasting notes you’ll get. I like it more and more throughout the week because the fruit notes settle down. Black currant, cherry, some leather 

The still rosé, watermelon, a nice floral to it. 

Sparkling rosé. Slightly floral.  Some orange blossom to it.  Blackberry, but some people say raspberry. Some people say strawberry.  They’re very summery

I think sometimes tasting notes feel in excess because we all taste things very differently. 

Our audience is foodies. Let’s talk a little bit about some of your favorite meals that you think would pair that your favorite pairings with your wines

 

Jessica Selander: I bake. I come from a big family, so I can pretty much cook anything. 

I heard someone say one time that baking was more science. And cooking was more art and I do agree with that. 

Let’s talk about the wine competitions. How you see them, what the experience has been like, and of course, what their results have been.

Jessica Selander: I did not know that competition was as big of a deal as it is [which was a blessing].  So what happened was I was beating my head against the wall being like, “They taste like wine!”  And my brother said, nobody believes you. You have to enter them into wine competitions. You need to prove to them in their own landscape that you belong there. 

So, here’s this competition. The first one, the sparkling rosé won gold and sparkling white won bronze.

Then I looked deeper into what the competition was [and realized it was the acclaimed San Francisco International Wine Competition & World Spirits Competition ]. It was a blessing because I think I would have been scared to do it. Then [next year] I do it with the Still Rose and the Cab.  Then hearing back, you’ve got the highest a non-alcoholic has ever gotten and you’re Still Rose is the best non-alcoholic wine of any varietal entered from all over the world. 

I was only wondering if it was even going to place, and here it ends up winning the best.

I was at a grocery store [today] I’ve been trying to get into for two years where the head buyer won’t even try it. So it’s [frustrating] but the more of these awards that we stack up, at some point in time they have to not ignore it. They’ll be like, Oh, this is a real thing.

We haven’t [hit that goal], it’s not normalized yet. We’re in over 300 stores and in almost in every state.

 

If you want more non-alcoholic near you at a restaurant and grocery store, what are the step-by-step, simple direction

Jessica Selander: This is super easy for people.

So if there’s a grocery store or a local market that you shop at already, you just go into the wine department and say, “Hey, what non-alcoholic wine do you have?”  And let them know you want it.  Verbally say it

It’s the same thing in restaurants. I do it myself now too, where I get the menu and I’m not seeing what the stuff on it. And I just ask and say, Hey, what non alcoholic stuff do you have?” 

 

Tell us how we can learn more about Joyus.  Shopping and following on social media.

 

Jessica Selander: So all of our social media stuff, our website is DrinkJoyus.com. Our Facebook, our Instagram, our TikTok are all DrinkJoyus

And on the website, there is this Find Joyus store finder map. So you can look on there and find us closest to you and working hard to add new stores pretty much weekly and email, email us. There’s a contact form on the website. Email. If you’re like, Hey, there’s a store by me. I want them to carry you. Email us. And we will call them and we will try, we’ll do our best and we’ll call them again three months later and we’ll call them again.

 

Sofitel Saigon Plaza Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary, commemorating a quarter century of Joie de Vivre in Vietnam.

Sofitel Saigon Plaza Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary, commemorating a quarter century of Joie de Vivre in Vietnam.

Sofitel Saigon Plaza is delighted to commemorate a significant milestone this October with the celebration of its 25th anniversary.

Drawing inspiration from local Vietnamese culture and traditions while embracing life with a French zest is what the hotel successfully stands for a quarter century.

Daniël Stork- Consul General of The Netherlands_Mario Mendis-Sofitel Saigon Plaza GM and guests

Daniël Stork, Consul General of The Netherlands, Mario Mendis, Sofitel Saigon Plaza GM and guests

Since its establishment in 1998, Sofitel Saigon Plaza has consistently delivered a 5-star luxury experience marked by heartfelt service and hospitality excellence in the heart of Ho Chi Minh.

Globally acclaimed through the decades, Sofitel Saigon Plaza has welcomed dignitaries and political figures, from the former French President Francois Hollande to the US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ambassador Lesly Benoit of Haiti performing with Jazztown

Ambassador Lesly Benoit of Haiti performing with Jazztown

On October 5th 2023, Sofitel Saigon Plaza hosted an enchanting Anniversary Dinner at its opulent Diamond Hall in presence of Mrs Maud Bailly, CEO of Sofitel.

Maud Bailly, CEO of the Sofitel, M Gallery & Emblems Worldwide

Maud Bailly, CEO of the Sofitel, M Gallery & Emblems Worldwide

At this extraordinary soirée, the hotel had the privilege of hosting esteemed guests, ranging from international diplomats and government officials to renowned celebrities, CEOs of prominent corporations, and dedicated Heartists (Accor team members) who have passionately served Sofitel Saigon Plaza for over two decades.

Chef Kieko Nagae

Chef Kieko Nagae

The honoured guests were thus invited to enjoy a sumptuous six-course dinner crafted by Michelin-star and celebrity chefs from Asia and France. This exquisite evening was topped off with spectacular performances blending these two cultures. To mark the occasion, Heartists whom are within the property since the opening have been highlighted and recognized for their exceptional commitment and remarkable work.

“Founded almost 60 years ago, Sofitel was the first French luxury hotel brand to develop an international network of hotels and resorts…

Maud Bailly

CEO of Sofitel

“…Each of the establishments now artfully blends the French art-de-vivre with the essence of the local destination, offering chic design, the best of culinary arts, and exceptional personalized service. The 25th anniversary was truly an illustration of the cultural link between France and Vietnam, exemplifying the symbolism of the Sofitel logo, which signifies the seamless blending of French and local cultures. Over these two and a half decades, we have not only celebrated the excellence of Sofitel but also the enchanting partnership of Saigon’s vibrant spirit with the elegance of French heritage. At Sofitel, we want to inspire people to celebrate life and its beauties with joy, impertinence, and, most of all, pleasure! This celebration embodies the essence of our vision, where the rich traditions of Saigon meet the sophistication of French savoir-faire, creating a world of endless delight and unforgettable moments”, commented Maud Bailly, CEO of Sofitel.

 “It is a privilege to be part of an establishment that has redefined luxury, elegance, and service in Ho Chi Minh City. Our gratitude goes to our valued guests, passionate team, and partners who have been unwavering supports in this journey. This anniversary not only pay tribute to our past but also reaffirms our dedication to offer unforgettable experiences to our guests in the future”, said Mr. Mario Mendis, General Manager of Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

Michelle Wee- CEO Standard Chartered Vietnam - Madame Trang Le Counsel General Daniël Stork of The Netherlands

Michelle Wee- CEO Standard Chartered Vietnam – Madame Trang Le R- Counsel General Daniël Stork of The Netherlands

The festivities will continue during the 5th Saigon Gourmet Week, taking place from October 6th to 8th at Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

Event Curator and Producer Tracie May-Wagner

Event Curator and Producer Tracie May-Wagner

This event promises a delightful array of culinary experiences, including immersive cooking classes, exclusive lunches and dinners, and an unforgettable brunch featuring renowned chefs.

Phoung Nam Art Theater

Phoung Nam Art Theater

The lineup includes Sébastien Voelker (French Pastry Chef), Truc Dinh (Vietnamese Chef), Shozo Tsuruhara (Japanese Chef), Victor Savall (Spanish Pastry Chef), Sakal Phoeung (French-Cambodian Chef), Keiko Nagae (French-Japanese Pastry Chef), Vuong Vo (Vietnamese Chef), Adrien Guenzi (French Chef), and French Michelin-Star Chef Thierry Renou.

Sofitel Saigon Plaza

Sofitel Saigon Plaza harmonizes the sophistication of French art de vivre with the vibrancy of local Vietnamese culture, delivering a luxury hospitality experience enriched by genuine heartfelt service. Conveniently located in a tranquil enclave on Le Duan Boulevard, Sofitel Saigon Plaza places you in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s business, cultural, and shopping district.

The hotel boasts 286 rooms and suites adorned with refined décor and deluxe amenities, a fitness center feauring advanced exercise equipment, and an outdoor swimming pool with breathtaking city views.

Sofitel Saigon Plaza also features five dining establishments serving local and French cuisine, seven polished meeting rooms, and an opulent ballroom equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, making it the ideal destination for business, leisure, meetings, and gatherings.

Sofitel Hotels & Resorts

Sofitel Hotels & Resorts is an ambassador of modern French style, culture and art-de-vivre around the world.

Established in 1964, Sofitel is the first international luxury hotel brand to originate from France, with more than 120 chic and remarkable hotels in many of the world’s most sought-after destinations. Sofitel exudes a refined and understated sense of modern luxury, always blending a touch of French elegance with the very best of the locale.

Sofitel also includes a selection of heritage luxury hotels under the Sofitel Legend banner, renowned for their timeless elegance and storied past.

Some notable hotels in the Sofitel portfolio include Sofitel Paris Le Scribe Opera, Sofitel London St James, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, Sofitel Mexico City Reforma, Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and Sofitel Ambassador Seoul.

Sofitel is part of Accor, a world leading hospitality group counting over 5,400 properties throughout more than 110 countries, and a participating brand in ALL – Accor Live Limitless – a lifestyle loyalty program providing access to a wide variety of rewards, services and experiences.

sofitel.accor.com | all.accor.com | group.accor.com

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