June 2008

Industry Spotlight

By: The Tasting Panel Editorial Team

MacNeil Named “Communicator of the Year”

Karen MacNeil was honored in April with the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year award.  “It's like winning an Oscar,” says MacNeil. The formal cup presentation will happen at IWSC’s Annual Awards Banquet in November at the historic Guildhall in London, “which is a little bit like going to Buckingham Palace to get your award,” say MacNeil.  Only one other American, THE TASTING PANEL’s Editor-in Chief, Anthony Dias Blue, has previously won the award in its 12 year history.  Other winners have included Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson MW, Andrew Jefford, Matthew Jukes, Joe Wadsack MW, Oz Clarke and Tim Atkin MW.
—Ben Narasin

Wine Insurrection?

The Wine Guerrilla, aka Bruce Patch, left the brokerage business to join David Coffaro in making five different Zinfandels, primarily from Dry Creek Valley. We thought they were all armed with revolutionary flavor, complexity and generosity on the palate.


Domaine de Canton Press Dinner

John Cooper, creator of Domaine de Canton.

On Tax Day this April, John Cooper from Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur treated reporters and bloggers from the San Francisco Bay Area to a bit of “breaking bread and drinking drinks” with a cocktail pairing dinner at Bong Su restaurant. The French-Chinese-Thai-influenced Vietnamese food was a natural match for the ginger-in-cognac Canton. Media members sipped the Domaine de Canton 75 as an apéritif, then a Ginger Margarita, a delicious Canton Negroni and an Asian Pear Martini with successive food courses. Cooper gave a simple answer to why he created the brand: “I thought it would go well with a lot of cocktails.” He was right about that.

Cooper was in town for only about 24 hours before flying off to his next destination as part of a press and industry campaign that will take him to new cities just about every week, ending at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this July.  It’s a good thing that Canton goes so well with food; not only is the brand hosting additional press dinners during their launch campaigns, they’re also sponsoring all of the Spirited Dinners at Tales.
─Camper English

Biometrics to the Rescue

For alcohol retailers and bar managers, verification of age by driver’s license or other ID card can be slow, labor-intensive and subject to fraud. Biometric systems provided by Food Service Solutions (FSS) can help. Members enroll by placing a finger on the reader, which converts the print pattern into a numeral; the actual fingerprint is not stored. After initial registration, customers simply press a forefinger on the reader and one of three lights illuminates: green indicates the customer is 21; yellow indicates 18–21; red indicate that the customer is not in the system and must show ID. The system can be adjusted to reflect state or local laws. For more information, see biometricsolution.com.

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