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Wine For Everyone filter by tag: recession

The Wine Rebellion

August 5, 2009 at 12:10 am by john

Folks, 215 years ago this Friday (08/07/09), a bunch of farmers in Pennsylvania didn't like the idea of higher taxes on their booze, so they united and revolted against their government in the Whiskey Rebellion.  We here in California are about to experience another alcohol tax to help with the budget shortfall (understatement of the year).  Quick soapbox're not just taxing drinks that come from a drink fairy in the sky, you're taxing small businessess like ours and the loyal customers they serve.  Bailouts for big companies and a kick in the ass for the enterpeneurs yet again.  It's really too easy to demonize the word "alcohol" in our country.  Tax that bad stuff that people can get drunk from!!!  So what to do?  Legalize controlled marijuana and experts say California alone will have over a billion dollars in taxes in the first year alone.   There, done.  Now let's have a responsible glass of wine or two and deal with some REAL issues.  Like instituting a Mime Tax but they have to pay in REAL money, not monetary gestures.  Or that "Sewer Gnome" issue.


The 3/50 Project

May 26, 2009 at 12:10 am by john

     We hope many of you have seen this logo below either in our store, on someone's facebook post or elsewhere, but if you haven't, please read on.  In March of 2009, Cinda Baxter proposed a very simple challenge on her blog, spend a total of $50 at your favorite three local independent establishments each month (read: no chain stores).  Not $50 each, just spend $50 total each month and maybe we can all preserve what makes the main streets in our communities unique. 

     And we know every single day that all of you are the reason for our 4 1/2 years in business.  Many of you come in asking gently, 'So, how's it going for you guys?'.   And thankfully we can still answer...'you know, not too bad.'  So for that - we thank you.  But many other businesses are not so lucky, and that affects all of us.     

     We all hear our local and national politicians on the campaign trail talking about how this country is built on the backs of entrepeneurs and how the vast majority of jobs are created by small businesses just like ours.  Well, the love from the powers that be isn't exactly coming through these days.  At the risk of boring you, let us just state a few ways small businesses were honored this year in California during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression:

1.  If you're an LLC, for the first time ever in 2009 you have to pay your multi-thousand dollar LLC fee (a yearly fee you pay just to exist as a limited liability company in CA) twice within two months.  By paying for 2010 in advance, California gets more money upfront and the independent business is left to scramble to make up for that outlay of cash.

2.  If you prepay your income tax as most small businesses do, for the first time ever in 2009 you have to pay 10% more in the first half of the year (instead of equal payments all year long) so that the city can get more cash earlier in the year - again, the independent business is watching that cash flow get stretched further and further.

3. Metered parking in Eagle Rock and throughout LA was doubled (sometimes more) and specifically in Eagle Rock, the hours were increased from 6pm to 8pm, cutting into the prime shopping hours the businesses need to succeed.

     While these difficulties are minor compared to what many California families have had to endure-- losing jobs and homes and cars--hey all add up to a crisis that goes further than foreclosure signs in lawns.  Those of you who are able to tough it out are going to see your neighborhood mom-and-pop businesses continue to falter, which will affect your home values, but more importantly, it will affect the character of your neighborhood.  So, join the many people who are already taking it upon themselves to save their favorite local businesses.  Skip the Targets, Wal-Marts, and Barnes and Nobles of the world and make that often annoying 2nd stop on the way home to support your independent retailer. 


If you agree with the above proposal, send a link to this page around, or better yet, join the 3/50 project by going HERE




Chateau Crusty

March 19, 2009 at 12:10 am by john


     One of the better and most established wine blogs out there (est. 1994) is the one written by Alder Yarrow who posted a pretty amazing report a few days ago you probably haven't heard about.  Now, growing up with a box of wine in the fridge labelled "Chablis", I always assumed that it was just another kind of wine or "Daddy's Happy Juice."  But later in life when I began to appreciate wine, I began to understand why the French were really pissed off that we threw around their centuries old hallowed parcels of land as mere marketing terms for sugary wine (fyi - we're slowly but surely pulling my Dad away from the dark side).   Grand Cru Chablis is about as good as white wine can get on our lovely earth and there it is printed on a box just to sound French.  Add to this the fact that our wine industry also stole "Champagne" and "Burgundy" and it definitely adds up to something pretty egregious.  But as of last week, Europe seems to be fighting back.   If the following terms are on a wine label, that wine can not legally be imported or sold in Europe any longer:







late bottled vintage




sur lie



vintage character


Now let's list the wineries this will effect just by winery name:

Chateau Montelena

Chateau St. Jean

Chateau Souverein

Chateau Sinnet

Chateau Potelle

Clos Pegase

Clos du Bois

Clos du Val

Clos LaChance

Clos Pepe


     Perhaps this is a hangover from the "Freedom Fries" days in '02  or as Alder suggests,  "a bit of sneaky revenge against Chateau Montelena thirty years after the fact".  Many of these terms should be protected but "Chateau"?  Chateau means "estate".  Are Mexico and Spain going to ban "Casa"?   "Vintage"???   This all just really sucks because we were about to bottle and export our first wine called "Chateau Crusty - A Classic Ruby Vintage Superior to Cream"  Guess that one is going down the drain.  Bummer. 

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When the Next Wave Wipes Out

March 4, 2009 at 12:10 am by john

     So this is recession related and Eagle Rock related, but only tangentially wine related.  In case you missed it, the NYTimes did a piece last week on the struggling businesses in Eagle Rock and it has caused quite a ruckus amongst Eagle Rock natives and newbies alike.  The writer and everyone interviewed for this article are either customers, friends or both, and Jennifer and I were both interviewed a handful of times, but were ultimately edited out of the final piece. 

     While there are very respectable arguments for and against the opinions in this piece, there is no doubt that it struck a cord.  I'll just throw one opinion into the mix on the whole idea of gentrification/de-gentrification/ hipsterville/ the next silverlake this-and-that.... As much as any neighborhood in Los Angeles, the Eagle Rock commercial corridor is full of first-time entrepeneurs making a very conscious decision to bet their dreams and livelihoods on this neighborhood -- it's diverse, it's open, it's wacky as all hell (that's a good thing) and it's a great place to raise a family.  If the idea were to make a quick buck, all these businesses would have sprung up elsewhere in LA.  Eagle Rock is not going to be the next anything, it's Eagle Rock and that's a unique and wonderful thing in a city where neighborhoods are becoming bland cubby holes for big chain stores.  And to those that are wishing for the 'new' businesses of Eagle Rock to go out of business or go away?  Sorry, Charlie....aint gonna happen. 

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