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Los Angeles Drinkers saying ‘Yes’ to less: Sommarøy Spirits Expands wider to Whole Foods

Sommarøy Spirits Expands Grocery Footprint at Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods

No more martini-induced headaches

Dreaming of an easier way to wake up the next workday without a martini-induced headache, or seamlessly transition to a glass of wine at dinner without feeling out of control? There are now more choices for the nearly 65% of adults nationwide moderating their alcohol intake.



Sommarøy Spirits – mid-strength gin and vodka with zero carbs, lower calories and two-thirds the alcohol of traditional spirits – is expanding its grocery footprint, offering more consumers a sophisticated, full-flavor option to embrace true moderation.

The no- and low-alcohol market grew by more than 7% in 2022 according to IWSR.


 

FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


With an ABV of 27.5% – one-third less than the alcohol content of traditional spirits – Sommarøy is officially defining the mid-strength category as spirits between 25-30% ABV. As a result, retailers like Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods Market are now reserving shelf space to meet consumer demand for quality spirits between non-alcoholic and full proof.

Already available in major beverage retailers like Total Wine & More, Lee’s Discount Liquor and Binny’s Beverage Depot, Sommarøy Vodka is now available in 73 Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois and Sommarøy Gin is available at 53 Whole Foods stores across 12 states, with distribution anticipated to expand significantly by year’s end.

“People don’t want all or nothing when it comes to moderating their drinking

sometimes you want a mellow buzz

without going completely non-alc

or settling for a watered-down cocktail.

More consumers can now add the solution directly to their shopping carts.”

James Cosma

CEO and co-founder

Sommarøy Spirits

Sommarøy Spirits gets industry buzz

Landing on-shelf at major grocery retailers across the country are just some of the brand’s recent successes.

Sommarøy Spirits have also been awarded various industry accolades, including the New York International Spirits Competition (NYISC) Low Proof Spirit Producer of the Year. Sommarøy Gin and Vodka have won NYISC Silver (92 points) and Gold (94 points), 2024 SIP Awards Double Gold and Gold, a 97 and 95 rating from The Tasting Panel Magazine and Gold (93 points) and Silver (88 points) from Beverage Tasting Institute, respectively.

Start your moderation-minded journey today.

To find a retailer near you, mid-strength cocktail recipes and stay in the loop with the latest news and product drops, visit SommaroySpirits.com and follow @SommaroySpirits.

Sommarøy Spirits are premium craft-distilled Vodka and Gin with zero carbs, lower calories and two-thirds the alcohol of traditional spirits.

Crafted in small-batches with legacy distilling techniques, Sommarøy Gin and Vodka are 55-proof (27.5% ABV), unflavored and gluten-free with a smooth taste that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail.

In addition to availability online at shop.sommaroyspirits.com, Sommarøy Vodka and Gin is available in more than 320 retail locations across the country (and counting) – including Whole Foods, Jewel-Osco and Total Wine & More. It is also available regionally in Illinois at select and Binny’s Beverage Depot locations, Nevada at Lee’s Discount Liquors and other independent retailers.

Sommarøy Spirits can also be found in Chicago at Gibson’s Restaurant Group, Boka Restaurant Group and Ballyhoo Hospitality locations. To find Sommarøy near you, visit www.sommaroyspirits.com and follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook at @SommaroySpirits.

 

Los Angeles Discovers Aphrodise Sparkling Wine, You should taste Before Your next Party, Frank Schilling Reveals

Los Angeles Discovers Aphrodise Sparkling Wine, You should taste Before Your next Party, Frank Schilling Reveals

Whether it’s a wedding, party, or just drinks with dinner.  We want taste.  Maybe we want a few drinks.  We also want to protect ourselves from tomorrow’s hangover.

It’s hard to find a drink that can take day to night quite like a Greek rosé and Aphrodise wants to prove it to you.

Frank Schilling, Co-Founder of Aphrodise

Frank Schilling, Co-Founder of Aphrodise

Today’s conversation with Frank Schilling from Aphrodise has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

Joe Winger: 

Our audience is foodies. We’re wine lovers. What’s the most important message today you want to share with an audience of foodies and wine lovers?

Frank Schilling: 

I’m an Epicurean myself. I don’t have a lot of pretense around my love of food and wine, I just love great food and wine and I’ve tasted so many great things. 

I’m a character who hasn’t had a meal at home in 22 years. As an internet entrepreneur, I used to work, literally seven days a week for many years and eating out was my escape from my work because it’s the one place my laptop and phone couldn’t rule the day, or the moment.

For me, eating out was that escape and that vacation of the moment. 

I created a life around dining out probably like many of your listeners or viewers. And I have a deep well of respect for great food and wine and also for the people who admire it and chase it, it’s a, it’s one of the great things in life.

I’m always stunned by people who don’t truly love food. I feel like they’re missing something and leaving part of life on the table.

Discovering Aphrodise sparkling wine

Joe Winger: 

You have this new discovery. Let’s talk a little bit about Aphrodise. Tell me about how you discovered the grape varietal?

Frank Schilling: 

I’m a wine lover. I tasted my way through Bordeaux and Burgundy.

All the way through, I could never really tell a Merlot from a Cab.  I’d be lying to you if I said I knew what a Nebbiolo or a Valpolicella was and how all those grapes differed from each other.

I do enjoy great brands of wine. I do understand the difference between years and what impacts a year. 

But when I was building [my restaurant] it was COVID. I was doing some fingertip math and I realized we’re gonna have to start bringing over a lot of sparkling [wine] for mimosas and for brunch. It was 300 seat restaurant, two seatings, 600 seats on a brunch [shift].

You start to do the math and you realize, “Wow, 52 weekends a year, bottomless mimosas. I’m going to need about 3,000 bottles of wine per quarter of champagne. So let’s go out and get some.  We live on an island and supply chain management wasn’t really an option.

So we started to taste through different varieties of champagne

I came to discover what Tom Cruise did in [the movie] “Cocktail”, which is, champagne is like perfume going down, but like sewage on the way back.

It comes from a well meant place, not mean spirited towards the great region of Champagne.

Joining the Aphrodise sparkling wine party

Joining the Aphrodise sparkling wine party

It’s just the nature of Champenois produced wine and that Chardonnay grape that makes a beautiful champagne is such that you just can’t consume a lot of it in the heat or humidity in the sun.


 

FlavRReport.com on Youtube

FlavRReport.com on Youtube

 


Traditional Champagne vs Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

It just isn’t the type of forgiving libation that lets you function afterwards and you don’t feel good. 

The yeast isn’t good for a lot of people. Not everybody’s impacted the same way but, a large portion of the population doesn’t do well with champagne and heat in sunlight  as a day drink.

The recovery profile isn’t something that people look forward to.

Aphrodise from the grape varietal called Xenomavro

Aphrodise from the grape varietal called Xenomavro

I discovered that I’d had that problem myself for years. The yeast wasn’t working for me. 

So when I discovered Aphrodise, it was a grape varietal called Xenomavro. 

A high altitude grape, Greece’s most noble grape.

It’s a very forgiving drink.  In a sparkling format, it’s something you can drink in the heat, it’s something you can drink in larger quantities, I can tell you that the recovery profile, for me and for many others, is exceptionally good.

Meaning you can drink a lot of it and bounce back and go again. 

As a wine producer, that’s music to your ears. But it’s also nice knowing I’m making people feel better. I’m not putting something in the market that’s going to make you feel sick after overconsumption.

At a party enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

At a party enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Joe Winger: 

Just to give a little backstory.  Frank, I hope you’ll talk to us a little bit about one of your first adventures.  You mentioned you’re an internet entrepreneur, you had some success with website domains. 

Can you explain a little bit about that and maybe a lesson you learned from that journey?

Frank Schilling: 

It’s a lesson that some of your listeners and viewers probably have some experience with.

I registered a domain name back in the dot com era. Then I registered 2 [dot com names], then 10 and I got some generic names like wine.com , cars.com.  Names like those.

I started to realize, wow, these names have value.

I wound up registering a lot of generic names and then I had difficulty managing them because in those early days of the Internet, it was all very unwieldy. The infrastructure for managing those names. 

So I created a lot of that management infrastructure.  Then in the process, grew that business over a 20 year horizon and wound up selling the 3 companies that comprised that enterprise to a company called GoDaddy, which we’ve probably all heard of.

So some of their infrastructure was my infrastructure and is now their infrastructure. 

To the extent you like the new GoDaddy offering for managing domain names, you’re welcome, for the small part I played in helping that become a reality.

In the old days, I was traveling a lot. I had an office in Manchester in the United Kingdom, one in Newport beach in California and my main office here in the Cayman Islands.  I would travel between the offices, New York, Miami and many other cities, just for work all around the world. 

Enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

At the beginning of COVID that all came to a grinding halt.  I sold those businesses and decided that with my love of food, if I was going to stay in the Cayman Islands, I realized I’m gonna have to eat at home more and I realized, the offerings of restaurants wasn’t the depth was hoping for.

So I built the restaurant, as a result of that that then led to Aphrodise.

Joe Winger: 

I love the full circle of it. 

Since we’ve mentioned the restaurant once or twice. Can we hear more about your restaurant Mykonos Cayman?

Frank Schilling: 

Sure.  During COVID lockdowns, there was a new plaza going in on the beach and I had mentally designed a restaurant years ago, but sold the real estate for it.

So when I saw the plaza going up, I was crestfallen. These guys built my dream on their land.  My fantasy of what a place would look like. But then I was happy to learn that the plaza was a strata titled affair. It wasn’t owned by one conglomerate.

So I bought into that plaza so I could control the real estate. Then once I had the real estate I did a sort of “money no object” fit out that left a very residential-looking restaurant really quite beautiful. 

I love the culture of Greece and I love the idea of the long lunch and the lack of pretense in the party and [being] all welcoming, with children, grownups will dance on the table and get really carried away.

The kids are running around. It’s all very loving and family oriented.

Whereas, Ibiza is a little more drug fueled and party, ragey and a little more intense.

I loved the soulful day party of Greece. We’re on an island and the Greeks are on islands. So I thought how nice it would be to bring some of that to my reserved island here in Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is more of a place you quietly go to escape and enjoy the beach and family.

It’s not really a St. Bart’s where you go to seek out a great party. I always hoped that there’d be room for at least one place like they have in St. Bart’s here. 

So I built a really big place, 320 seats, super residential, relaxed, welcoming, But completely devoid of pretense.  You can come in, flip flops and shorts, or you can come in a beautiful gown as we’d hope in the evening. 

But we don’t have a lot of structure and posture around it. We want you to feel free when you come. So that, I built that venue here, and you can see it online.

It’s called Mykonos Cayman. We have an Instagram where people can learn about the restaurant.

When you come, please come for a glass of Aphrodise on me. Mention Frank said I could have a glass of Aphrodise

Joe Winger: 

You introduced Aphrodise at the Las Vegas Wedding Show.  How did it go?   Why do you think Aphrodise is the best drink to have at a wedding?

Frank Schilling:

It’s the color of love. It’s a beautiful color of red. 

We took it to the wedding show because I thought that wedding planners would share the same pain point that I discovered as a restaurateur.  Which is, if you want to buy a bottle of great champagne, easy, you go to the liquor store.

But when you start getting up there and you need 100 cases for an event or a series of events, getting that quantity consistently and getting a good product is actually quite difficult. And expensive.

So we thought we’d introduce Aphrodise.

Knowing that we could go directly to the wedding planners and help their fulfillment and execution and deliver a better product.  

Something that people could really lavish in the heat or at an after party where you’re really enjoying the bubbly and then feel better in the morning.  That was really the goal. 

My first champagne experience was at a wedding and I drank a little too much.  For the next day or two, I was laid up.

So we try to bring something to market that is good for people or at least makes them feel good in the moment and helps them recover.

We had a line all day.  I poured a 5,000 servings of Aphrodise that day. People loved it.

Let me tell you, that’s a lot of work, opening bottles. It looks very glamorous. But when you’re really going at velocity, my hands hurt at the end of the day.

We got a lot of upstart business out of that. People were like, “Wow, this stuff is actually quite good.’ 

Joe Winger: 

Let’s talk about flavor profile.

Pouring out 5,000 samples, what’s the most common feedback we get about the flavor, aroma, the mouthfeel, what are we experiencing?

Frank Schilling: 

So when you sip a drink and you talk about mouthfeel or we have a glass of wine or champagne and you have a sip and there’s a little bit of a yeasty, gamey after taste.

For some people in red wine, it can be somewhat desirable. 

In champagne, unfortunately it stays with it as well. 

When you’re having champagne, which is more of a celebratory libation, that’s not a desirable quality. You want to have something that finishes clean in your mouth. 

If you have lots of sips, you’re going to get a good buzz. You want to be able to recover quickly and elegantly without that headache that comes from the yeast and all those elements that bring its flavor.

So the taste of Aphrodise is a very clean mouthfeel and it finishes with a light crisp apple or cherry. Some people taste strawberry. 

It’s a small bubble. Very light charmat, produced in small vats, a naturally produced bubbly effect. It lives in tanks for 3 months and it gains its bubbly in a natural way. 

A little more expensive to produce that way.  Prosecco, for example, will carbonate.  They’ll add carbonation just like you would to a can of soda.

We don’t carbonate. We allow the bubbly to form naturally through the fermentation process, which is how it should be. 

Co-Founders of Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Co-Founders of Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Joe Winger:

When it comes to food and wine pairing.  What would be your favorite dish to pair with a glass of Aphrodise?

Frank Schilling: 

Aphrodise is literally the only thing that I drink, and I’m crestfallen when I can’t find it. 

It’s a dark rosé so it goes nicely with meat – a burger or a steak.  Chicken or fish. It’s also a great dessert drink.

I like Aphrodise as a warmup libation and as an after dinner, like celebratory drink if you’re having a party, there’s an after party.

Joe Winger: 

You’ve done a lot in your life. You’ve had a lot of adventures, a lot of successes.

Any inspiration or lessons you can share with the audience?

Frank Schilling: 

The answer is love for people and love for living your best life, love for conviviality. I have a lot of love for the people that I encountered that have helped me in my journey. Those who’ve just been a part of my life, there for a season or there for a reason, as the saying goes, I try to embrace everybody.

See the good in everybody. There are people you click with more than other people. I say yes to everything unless it hurts me. I have a real lust for life and a good energy level.

Joe Winger: 

If you’re loving Frank’s energy and his positivity, you wrote an amazing book. Would you mind giving us a summary of the book and what it was like writing it?

Frank Schilling: 

It’s called Omnia Vincent: the universe wants you to win. 

I wrote the book as I’d sold my businesses. It was during COVID lockdowns and everybody was [going through a] “The end of the world” mood type thing at that time.

You write a book like this for your grandchildren. If one day they want to know more about grandpa and did our success come from or where did our financial wealth come from?

It’s nice for them to know a little about the person who tried hard and maybe you can see something in yourself.  So I really wrote it for my future ancestors.

I want to be the guy who left something for the grandkids and great grandkids to understand a little about my brain. And it’s really just written in short micro chapters. 

Joe Winger:

Because you’re an epicurean, if you’re going to have any plate for dinner tonight, what would it be and why? 

Frank Schilling: 

Tonight I’m actually feeling a Pittsburgh style steak, seared on the outside. I haven’t had good red meat in about a week, and we just got some A5 Wagyu at the restaurant Our chef is a butcher and he’s also a certified Angus ambassador. So he gets great cuts. 

We do a beautiful short rib burger, which is really lean short rib again on the outside with a bit of a char finish.  We have a charcoal grill inside the restaurant, which is beautiful. 

Joe Winger: 

Thank you so much for your time.  If someone wants to learn more, what are the best ways to find and follow websites, social media for Aphrodise?

Frank Schilling: 

DrinkAphrodise on Instagram and the website DrinkAphrodise.com

 

LA Cheers on Renowned premium rum brand Flor de Caña Rum! honored with “Environmental Initiatives Award” at the 2024 SEAL Awards

LA Cheers on Renowned premium rum brand Flor de Caña Rum honored with “Environmental Initiatives Award” at the 2024 SEAL Awards

Flor de Caña, the renowned premium rum brand celebrated for its exceptional quality and unwavering commitment to sustainability, is proud to announce that it has been honored with the “Environmental Initiatives Award” from the prestigious SEAL Awards in the United States.

This recognition highlights Flor de Caña’s leadership in championing environmental stewardship and fostering a greener and more sustainable future.

The SEAL Awards is a global, multi-industry platform that showcases trailblazing companies that demonstrate measurable contributions to sustainability and spearhead innovative initiatives with positive environmental impacts.

Flor de Caña’s carbon neutral certification, the planting of one million trees since 2005, and its use of 100% renewable energy to distill its rum have been pivotal in earning this esteemed accolade.

Flor de Caña is a fifth-generation, family-owned brand and the world’s first carbon neutral and Fair Trade certified spirit.

It has garnered international acclaim for its award-winning portfolio of premium rums from Nicaragua, aged naturally in bourbon barrels without the addition of sugar or artificial ingredients.


FlavRReport.com on Youtube

FlavRReport.com on Youtube

 


Notably, Flor de Caña’s 12 year-old, 18 year-old, and 25 year-old rums stand out for their distinctive flavor profiles and exceptionally smooth finish, exemplifying the brand’s commitment to excellence.

About Flor de Caña
Flor de Caña is a premium rum brand and the world’s first Carbon Neutral and Fair Trade certified spirit.

From an 1890 family-owned estate, it’s distilled with 100% renewable energy and naturally aged at the base of an active volcano without sugar or artificial ingredients.

The brand is recognized as a global leader in sustainability, receiving distinctions such as “World’s Most Sustainable Rum Brand” (USA), “Ethical Award” (UK) and “Sustainable Spirits Producer” (France). www.flordecana.com

Los Angeles Loves Tasting Bourbons – Take a Trip to This Fredericksburg Virginia Bed & Breakfast Might Be Your Dream Visit, Owen King from Ironclad Distillery shares Delicious Details

Los Angeles Love Tasting Bourbons? This Fredericksburg Virgina Bed & Breakfast Might Be Your Dream Visit, Owen King from Ironclad Distillery shares Delicious Details

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room.

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room

Today’s conversation with Distiller Owen King from Ironclad Distillery has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

 

Owen King, Ironclad Distillery

Owen King, Ironclad Distillery

Joe Winger: 

A lot of really cool things are happening right now. I want to jump into your tasting room, the distillery, we’ll get into bourbon tastings in a few minutes.

But first and foremost, what’s the most important thing with Ironclad right now for you?

Owen King: 

The most important thing about Ironclad for me right now is the same thing it’s always been, trying to make the best bourbon we can

The other thing is spreading the word about our bed and breakfast; and bourbon. It’s a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg that when you’re there, you can drink bourbon.

Ironclad's famous Old Fashioned cocktail

Ironclad’s famous Old Fashioned cocktail

We make a lot of old fashions there and we always have all these leftover oranges. Now the perfect thing is in the morning you have fresh squeezed orange juice from our [leftover] old fashions.

It’s really working double duty now.

Besides that I just love the fact that we can now expand our distillery up to Fredericksburg. So we can have more people try our bourbon and enjoy our bourbon, which is the goal.

Joe Winger: 

Getting to know you before you jump into Ironclad, I want to use the word “were”, you were a football player and cooking changed your life.

Tell us more about your cooking. Was there a special dish that enhanced your life?

Owen King: 

I’m Italian. So obviously with the Italian genes, we share our love through food. Growing up I cooked a lot.

When I went to college [I cooked] for my teammates.  I’d make dinner for everyone. So when we decided to open the bourbon distillery, I figured, I know how to cook. I think I could probably figure out how to make bourbon. 

I know flavors. I know how things go well together. I think I have a pretty decent palette. 

So putting all those things together to make a great bourbon was the goal. 

Food is one of those things where you never stop improving. I feel the same about bourbon.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


 

Joe Winger: 

Is there a favorite dish?

Owen King: 

Breaded chicken cutlets and spaghetti.

That is how it started. Then I was like “I really like cheese.”  Maybe I could put cheese in with the breadcrumbs and then do that. Then I started expanding.  Chicken Parm.  Making my own sauce.  Thinking I could add something here to make that better.

It’s the same way I look at bourbon.

Thinking, “I like what this person’s doing. Let me see what they’re doing. I can build off that to make it work on my own.”

Creating my own recipes, going from there, just continually tweaking little things here and there.

We’ll make a 5% difference, maybe a 10% difference.

Joe Winger: 

Ironclad Distillery is in Newport News, Virginia. The bed and breakfast Ironclad Inn is in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

For most people when we think of bourbon, we don’t always think of Virginia as the first choice. What would surprise us most about coming down to Virginia for a bourbon tasting and staying the night?

Ironclad Distillery

Ironclad Distillery

Owen King: 

If you’re coming down to Virginia, you have to remember Virginia is the birthplace of American spirits. The first place spirits were made in the new colonies, in the new world, was here in Virginia. 

The first corn liquor which would eventually become bourbon, was made in Virginia.

You can also talk about Elijah Craig, who was from Fairfax County, Virginia, before he moved out to Kentucky. 

On top of that, Kentucky wasn’t a state until 1793. Evan Williams was doing distillation in 1783, and at that point Kentucky was still Virginia. 

The birthplace of bourbon is right here in Virginia.

I’ve been to Kentucky a lot. They talk about the birthplace of bourbon being there in Kentucky.

Maybe the territory it’s in was Kentucky, but it was still Virginia at the time.

Whenever someone comes by, I can tell them the history of actual bourbon, where you’re gonna get the whole story, not just the fantasized story that you get in Kentucky.

Joe Winger: 

I’m incredibly glad you just shared that.

Let’s talk about The Ironclad Bed and Breakfast now. The bourbon tasting room, the event space.

Owen King: 

We wanted to spread our bourbon out around the state. We’ve always really liked Fredericksburg. It’s a beautiful town. It’s got a ton of history to it.

Nothing goes better with bourbon than a good story.

So we can always tell our history while drinking. So with our bed and breakfast, we looked at what the bigger guys were doing. A lot of them were starting to have these places where you could stay [the night] and get an experience to go along with it.

We really wanted to spread our Ironclad experience. 

We have a tasting room. It’s beautifully decorated by my sister. We’ve got a bottle shop where you can pick up pretty much every one of our bourbons that are available. We’ve got a bar so you can try it from our seasonal cocktail menus where we change it five times a year.

We have a winter, a fall, a spring, summer [menu].Then a holiday menu as well. 

No matter what time of year you’re there, you’re trying something that’s going to go well seasonally.  

Everyone likes seasonal drinks.  You don’t want to drink in the fall, what you’d drink in the summer.

We always have an old fashioned and it’s a damn good old fashioned. 

Then we also have an event space. We have weddings. We’ve had 50th birthday parties. 

Ironclad Inn wedding and special events

Ironclad Inn wedding and special events

We’ve had any event that you want to tie into with our bourbon or just if you want a beautiful event space in a building that was built in 1793 we have that as a great option. 

It’s a really cool spot that you can go and see and experience.

It’s something we want to share, our love for bourbon with everyone.

Whether you’re here in Newport News or in Fredericksburg, you’ll get a King family member there to tell you our story and tell you all about our bourbon and show you around.

Ironclad Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Ironclad Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Joe Winger: 

Outstanding.  Let’s get to the tasty part now.  You have several amazing bottles.  When someone comes to your tasting room this weekend, what should they be looking forward to? 

Owen King: 

We do a few bottle releases that are once a year for us. One of my favorites. 

A five year, three barrel blend of three 30 gallon barrels. Bottle of Bond.

The history alone is one of my favorite things to talk about.  In 1897 the federal government stepped in because there was people dying from drinking bad whiskey.

They stepped in to “certify” everything in there.

“If you bottle it at four years old and at 100 proof, we will claim that this is a bottle and bond bourbon certified” by the federal government that it is safe to drink.

That story alone is one of my favorites of bourbon lore. 

We just want to make sure that we do that every year that we can.

It’s absolutely one of my favorite bourbons. It’s our four grain mash bill. 70% corn 10% wheat, 10% rye, 10% malted barley. 

So with the corn and the wheat, it adds a nice sweetness to it. But then the rye is there to kind of balance that whole thing out.  Before it gets [to be] a very sweet bourbon, it balances out, a little baking spice, maybe even some clove, maybe a little black pepper.

It balances it out to be a nice, rounded bourbon.

Ironclad Sweeter Creations Maple Syrup Cask

Ironclad Sweeter Creations Maple Syrup Cask

Joe Winger:

Let’s move on to your Maple Syrup Cask

Owen King: 

Absolutely delicious. But this is a cast finish, not a flavored bourbon.  So we’re not adding maple syrup to it. People who drink it might think it’s going to be super sweet and not going to like it. Because they don’t like maple syrup.

This is my version of drinking maple syrup responsibly and not getting diabetes. 

After we empty our barrels, we give them to a maple syrup producer in upstate New York.  He’ll age his maple syrup using our bourbon barrels. 

By doing that through transference, there’s about a gallon of bourbon stuck in the staves of the wood. So when he puts a new liquid in there, that maple syrup is going to absorb into the wood and that bourbon is going to come back out.

Now his maple syrup is picking up that beautiful bourbon flavor and we are picking up all that maple syrup flavor into the wood. 

When he brings those barrels back down to us, we put our aged bourbon back in there and we let him finish in there for about three to six months. 

After we take the bourbon out, it’s now got this beautiful, mild sweetness, but it’s got that hint of maple syrup at the end.

I always say, I don’t want it to be maple syrup with a hint of bourbon. I want it to be bourbon with a hint of maple syrup, which I think it absolutely is.

Ironclad Missouri Toasted Oak Cask

Ironclad Missouri Toasted Oak Cask

Joe Winger: 

The maple syrup is so subtle, almost a tertiary flavor to it. 

Moving on to the Missouri Toasted Oak Cask.

Owen King: 

This is a double oak bourbon.  With double oaking, what you’re going to do is exactly how it sounds. 

You’re going to go from one new charred oak barrel. But instead of a second new charred oak barrel, we’re going to go to a lightly toasted barrel.

So my analogy for this is you’re sitting at a campfire and you’ve got a marshmallow. You’re roasting your marshmallow over the flame and it gets burnt. It catches on fire. So now you’ve got that roasted marshmallow where you’re still gonna eat it because it’s a roasted marshmallow.

So you eat it and it’s still sweet. But it’s got that sort of maybe a bitter acrid note just cause you burnt those sugars. You haven’t toasted them. 

Now you take another marshmallow.  You’re a little more patient this time.  You’re going to stick it down in the coals and you’ll slowly rotate it until you’ve got that perfectly golden brown marshmallow. 

When you taste it, it’s now twice as sweet because you just caramelize those sugars as opposed to burning them. 

It’s the same with a charred oak barrel to a toasted oak barrel.  With that charring of those oaks, you’re gonna you’re still gonna have that sweetness.  We’re amplifying that sweetness with the toasting of the oak. 

With this one you get those softer vanilla flavors like toasted marshmallow. You get a cookie dough flavor,  maybe it’s raw cookie dough without the chocolate chips.

Joe Winger: 

That’s amazing. mmIs there an extra bottle when I come down there, I’m in the tasting room, another good bottle we should ask for?

Owen King: 

Another one that we have right now that is a very limited run.   Very small release is our blueberry mead cask finish

We give our barrels to a meadery in Williamsburg, Virginia and they make this blueberry honey mead.  So now they have this bourbon barrel aged blueberry mead. And when they’re done with them, they give them back to us. 

You’re not necessarily overwhelmed with [a] heavy blueberry flavor but it opens up to this really nice fruitiness and then like a fermented honey flavor on the front end. 

It’s so unique, but it’s great neat on the rocks.

Joe Winger: 

If we come down for the weekend, we visit the distillery in Newport News. What’s a tour like? 

Owen King: 

If people aren’t the biggest bourbon drinker, I want you to walk away saying, “Okay, I found something that is made with bourbon that I like.”

We are a distillery that only makes bourbon. 

I want to make sure that everyone who comes here has something they can enjoy.  This isn’t an uppity bourbon bar.

I want someone to come and be able to say,  I’m not the biggest bourbon fan. What kind of cocktails do you have?” We always have a cocktail on every single menu that’s open for everyone. 

Everyone’s going to love it and whether you’re a big bourbon fan or not.  We just really want to be accommodating. We want to be a fun place for everyone to hang out. 

We want to tell our story, the history of the Ironclad ships.  Go through our distillery tour, we’ll show you that. If you want to know the history of Fredericksburg, or the history of What the bed and breakfast is we’ll tell you that.

Nothing pairs better with bourbon than a good story. And we really care about spreading that word.

Joe Winger: 

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a weekend getaway, why choose your bed and breakfast instead of a hotel?

Owen King: 

While we’ve only had it a short time.  But we’ve been adding things here and there. You’re going to get a fresh orange juice in the morning, made with the oranges that we used for our old fashions [last night]. 

We have our barrel aged maple syrup for your pancakes.  So you’re going to have that maple syrup with a hint of bourbon. 

Ironclad Inn

Ironclad Inn

We really drive home that it’s a bed breakfast and bourbon experience. Get immersed in the bourbon culture.  That’s our goal.

Joe Winger: 

Any favorite bourbon and food pairings?

Owen King: 

Bourbon’s wonderful for food pairings.  

We’ve gone from pasta pairings to pizza pairings.  Anything that’s fatty is a perfect pairing.  Pork belly with a cherry reduction over top of it with one of our bourbons straight 

We have this bourbon cream, Buzz’s Bourbon Cream, where it’s made with our small batch bourbon that’s infused with coffee beans, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans. That one over vanilla ice cream is perfection. 

You’re adding a little booze, some coffee, a little bit of chocolate.

You take a bite and all of a sudden you had three scoops and it’s gone 30 seconds later.

Joe Winger: 

What’s the best way to learn more about Ironclad Distillery and Ironclad Inn?

Owen King: 

We have our website at ironcladdistillery.com. All of our social media Facebook and Instagram

San Diego: When You have a Higher Calling and Need Media Attention, Reach to Publicity For Good, CEO Heather Holmes explains

San Diego: When You have a Higher Calling and Need Media Attention, Reach to Publicity For Good, CEO Heather Holmes explains

Publicity for Good is a millennial run communications firm that provides high-level disruptive, publicity and social media services for wide array of purpose driven clients in the food beverage and beauty industry.

In 2016 by Heather Holmes former miss Ohio international celebrated publicist and Forbes 30 under 30 nominee publicity for good has built a reputation as the countries number one PR agency for CPG brands that have social causes built into their DNA.

Publicity For Food CEO Heather Holmes

Publicity For Food CEO Heather Holmes

Today’s conversation with Heather Homes from PublicityForGood.com has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

 

Joe Winger: 

Heather Holmes from PublicityForGood.com.  I’m a big fan because you’ve helped us facilitate a lot of previous conversations about food and drink and nutrition and all the things we like talking about. 

What’s the most important thing that you want to share with the audience today?

Heather Holmes: 

I really want to take away the unknown or worry about getting in the media. I want to make it more accessible to amazing brands and people. 

So I definitely want to share tactical advice that if someone is reading this, they have a good story in business, they have the confidence that their story is good enough and they could absolutely make an impact and grow their business by getting in the media.

Joe Winger: 

Starting with the basics, let’s pretend I have a company, I think I want public attention. I want to reach out to someone like you.

So what should I be thinking about?  What do I present to you as a step one?

Heather Holmes: 

Step one is really the intentionality of why you want to get in the media.  What’s your goal? Are you wanting to reach more people? Are you wanting to get your story out there?

Are you wanting more sales and more people to buy your product? 

You really need to know. Where you’re going first, and if you don’t know where you’re going, or you don’t have a vision, then it’s really hard to help you. 

But if you have clarity there, then we can really pull back and help you identify your story, how you’re different, your why, and why your product and or company, would be really great to be in the media.

The PublicityForGood Team

The PublicityForGood Team

 


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


 

Joe Winger: 

Now, looking at the grand scheme of the campaign, what kind of a campaign should we be looking for: expectations, results?

Heather Holmes: 

After we know our outcome that we’re wanting to get more sales, more backlinks, or name in the media, then what I like to do first is work with every entrepreneur, and even if you have a product, to really reflect in “why your story matters”

Why does your product matter? 

If you’ve never been in the media before, I take people for an exercise where I have them draw on a piece of paper, them as a baby, to where they are now.

I have them write the key pivotal moments that have happened in their life that have made them start that company, because those little components are absolutely a part of your story.

I’ve been in the media 700 plus times: Inside Edition, Fox News, The New York Coast, incredible media, but it hasn’t always been about being a publicist, right?

Yes. I’m the founder of Publicity For Good, but a lot of that has been my story or building a seven figure company from an airstream.

Now I have almost two under two with a third on the way. 

So you need to have your key pivotal moments because those are things you can talk about in the media.

Then we need to look at what’s going on in the news and how we bridge the gap between your product. Relevancy.

Joe Winger: 

People may not know you are a former Miss Ohio International. Can you tell us a lesson you learned from being a former Miss Ohio International that you’re using in today’s work?

Heather Holmes: 

It’s really all about your platform and reaching new audiences. 

When I was building my company I decided I wanted to get into pageants. I wanted to meet a community of like minded people that wanted to make a difference in the world. 

It was a way for me to have a platform because at the time I was talking about why you absolutely can build a profitable business. But also make a difference in your community and make a difference amongst your team. And really just build an incredible legacy. 

So that was why I did the pageants. 

I did a bunch of publicity and again, it made me relevant and timely because that was what got me in the media because I was Miss Ohio and I was only Miss Ohio International for a period of time.

So it gave me that relevancy. So you have to be relevant. 

You have to bridge the gap between what’s happening in the news, or we often use Awareness Days, National Nutrition Month, National Social Media Day, and you have to position your product or yourself as the solution. 

[For example], we were talking about an incredible juice brand, but most pitches I see are very promotional, right?  It needs to be how you or your product simplifies people’s lives. How are you adding value? Or you don’t have a product you need to inspire people.

Joe Winger: 

You’re growing a 7- figure business.   What’s it like growing a huge business while you’re taking care of your kids and for a while you were living out of your Airstream

Heather Holmes: 

We lived out of a 23 foot airstream for 3 1/2 years. I went from dating to engaged, to married to [my first child] Rose, who’s almost two, who lived in our airstream with us. 

The year the pandemic [hit] was our first million dollar year.

I think a lot of the reason why it was that year is because when March hit, everyone was so scared that we lost about 40% of our business, number one. 

Number two, we had to hustle and grit to make it. There was no choice of failing. All the distractions were gone. 

When you’re in an Airstream, all you have is your laptop, but we had no external distractions, and then everything else was closed.

So the only focus we could do was our business and we had to scale out of necessity because we didn’t want to lose what we had put so much time in. 

Fast forward, we now have 22 acres where we live and we have two under two, we have one on the way, we’re a full time team of 40, and it’s not easy.

I say transparently, it’s a hot mess. There are so many miracles that happen every day, but life is one, right?  I can’t turn off my founder hat and publicist hat and then “Oh, I’m a mom”. It’s all one. 

So yes, I might have Rose [my daughter] on a call with me from time to time, but I’ve learned that the more you step in and embrace your life, who you are and the realness, sometimes people opt out and that’s okay.

And this is my legacy.

I like these missions that we’re doing good work to us is way more than a business. We want to grow your brand and mission and we take it so seriously. 

So it’s not perfect. It’s not perfectly scheduled. I’m a full time mom, all the time on the weekends when the kids are sleeping, we’re working.

We know where we want to go, and these clients and ambitions that we’re aligned with and supporting are helping people with their health. 

Joe Winger: 

What an incredible story to share.

Heather Holmes: I have so much to share. Like I was adopted when I was a week old to having two under two and another one on the way and building a business and building a homestead.

It’s so crazy. Austin, who’s my husband, the first week we were dating, we’re all about intentionality.  I have the journal and we mapped everything out. 

This year, we were going to get engaged then married. Austin and I,l we will have been together almost five years.

We’ve had a kid every year. Rose will be two in June.

We want to build a business. We want to impact our clients, brands, and scale their business. We want our team to get better and flourish in their personal lives too.

This is our mission and I’ve seen so many miracles happen from getting in the media on a personal level. 

I was talking to [a business owner client] and her business grew by 40% from getting in the media. 

One of my favorite cookie brands, a mom had an incredible heart story. She went on our local news and she brought in $12,000 worth of sales, just the local people wanting to support her.

On the flip side, when people Google my name, it’s like my social currency, there’s all these articles. So I have so much peace in that.  Our kids will see the good work we’re doing. 

Joe Winger: 

You’re talking to an audience of foodies. What is your favorite meal? 

Heather Holmes: 

We just had Indian food last night that my husband made and it was so good. 

We used to live in San Diego and I think San Diego has the best food. It’s all fresh. We’ve traveled a lot. We’ve been to Bali, their food is pretty incredible too. Where we live [now] we’re right outside of Asheville and Charlotte.  So they have some good restaurants, but like I’m not in the phase right now where I’m the foodie like I used to be. 

[At our house] we have chickens and we have fresh eggs. So I’m obsessed with fresh eggs every morning. You’re living a good life when you can go get your eggs and have them at home with some goat cheese.

And honestly, I love Livermuth. Crazy. So I’d say some Livermuth fried in a cast iron with some eggs and goat cheese. It’s the simple things that I really do love.

Joe Winger: 

Heather Holmes with Publicity for Good. As we wrap up, whether it’s a potential client, a potential vendor, someone wanting your help with publicity, what are the best ways to find, follow you, websites, social media, etc?

Heather Holmes: 

You can go to PublicityForGood.com You can find me on social media as well. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherdesantis

https://www.instagram.com/heatherdesantis

https://www.instagram.com/publicity.for.good

https://www.facebook.com/heatherdesantis

“Exhilarating and Breathtaking” Eve Bushman Covers Riesling in Germany’s Mosel Region

“Exhilarating and Breathtaking” Eve Bushman Covers Riesling in Germany’s Mosel Region

I found myself describing the experience as both exhilarating and breathtaking, and these two words have now taken on a new meaning for me, probably forever. Raimund added to my thoughts when he said that here, we “always sit in the green.” 

Middle Mosel, aka Mittelmosel, wine region of Germany

Middle Mosel, aka Mittelmosel, wine region of Germany / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Have you been to the Middle Mosel, aka Mittelmosel, wine region of Germany? I had learned about the area, saw photos of the steep vineyards and their ancient stone sundials dating back hundreds of years, during a tasting with Raimund Prum from S.A. Pruem many years ago. Fast forward to this year, and we planned our first trip there, where we stayed at the S.A. Pruem guesthouse and visited with Raimund again! We also toured and tasted with Eifel-Pfieffer, C.A. Immich-Batterieberg, Villa Huesgen and Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler.

A sundial in their vineyards

A sundial in their vineyards / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Know before you go: Rieslings are not all sweet! They range from bone dry to sweet. And though “Riesling is King” in the Mosel we enjoyed sparkling wines and rose, as well as Pinot Noir during our tastings. Not all wineries are in Bernkastel-Kues, many are in towns all roughly within 30 minutes of each other. 

Wineries to Tour and Taste

S.A. Pruem: We must start with this winery as they are the reason we traveled to the Mosel for wine. I had met Raimund Prum in 2013 when he led a class for Ian Blackburn of Learn About Wine. Fast forward to this past May 2024, when I finally got to see Raimund again – this time at his home and winery. Raimund inherited the 800-year-old family winery in 1971 and has “expanded from 8.6 acres to 27.9 acres.” 

 


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


 

His family had used money that they made from their apple farms to fund their wine growing business. Back in those days 100% of the people living in the area worked in the wine industry according to Raimund. Nowadays young people may leave, but they come back.  

Raimund is a busy man, representing the winery almost all over the world. But he doesn’t do this alone. Raimund’s wife Pirjo, a WSET Diploma graduate, represents the brand in U.S. and Finland. Saskia, their oldest daughter, took over as the owner in 2017.

They produce many still and sparkling wines, from dry to sweet Rieslings to Rose of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. I had the opportunity to try most and had a hard time not finishing every sample that was offered. And though other places in the world make Riesling, Raimund said that the “character of the wine is different here” which began over 2,000 years ago by the Romans. (Many Roman pressing stations have been found along the Mosel.)  

Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer

Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

During the days we visited we had many opportunities to talk, but at our appointed time for our interview Raimund took us on a drive to the top of one of his vineyards, and it happened to be the oldest one that also is famous for its sundial. His tallest vineyards are 336 meters high, and the Mosel River is at 136. The ground is a combination of lush earth, wildflowers, and different types of slate rock – the rock in particular adds to the minerality found in the wines.

mother and daughter Tanja Gorgen-Eifel and Mia-Katharina Gorgen. 

Mother and daughter Tanja Gorgen-Eifel and Mia-Katharina Gorgen from award-winning Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer.  Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Eifel-Pfieffer: Did you know that award-winning Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer has been in the same family since 1642, and is currently worked by three generations? We had a fabulous tour and tasting with mother and daughter Tanja Gorgen-Eifel and Mia-Katharina Gorgen

We also learned that they only produce Riesling wines, have the coveted 1A rating which means that some of their vineyards are considered the best in the area, motivated Romanians work the steep vineyards, rainfall can’t always be counted on as it changes from year to year, and they have a total of 10 hectares over 30 kilometers in the Middle Mosel. 



Their low-alcohol, not-overly-sweet, fresh, and mildly acidic wines are made from single vineyards – and also a blend of different vineyards that are only from the same area. Riesling “show character of each vineyard that you can really taste in the wine…the structure, minerality and acid” according to mother and daughter. 

There are less winemakers now than there used to be: several of the smaller wineries have been absorbed by the larger ones as it’s been noted over time that it’s too cost prohibitive to run a small one-hectare winery.

2021 Mia from Trittenheimer Altarchen

2021 Mia from Trittenheimer Altarchen / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

These Rieslings pair well with all types of food – German, Indian, Chinese to name a few – and China just might be the largest importer of Eifel-Pfieffer wines. I was super impressed with all of their wines, from dry to sweet, but must give a special nod to a 1990 vintage from Trittenheimer Apotheke and the 2021 Mia (made by Mia while she finishes up winemaking school) from Trittenheimer Altarchen

Immich Batterieberg

Immich Batterieberg wine roster / photo credit: Ed Bushamn

Immich-Batterieberg: This time we had the opportunity to sit down and taste with winemaker Gernot Kollmann while learning all about Immich Batterieberg. Let me just start by saying we liked every wine that Gernot opened for us. Most were very dry, all are organic, and 96% of the wines that they make are Rieslings. 

Immich-Batterieberg where we were able to sit down with winemaker Gernot Kollmann

Immich-Batterieberg where we were able to sit down with winemaker Gernot Kollmann / photo credit: Ed Bushman

What makes them special: they are the largest owner of old and ungrafted vineyards in the Mosel, all rocky and steep, and the winery dates back to 1425.  

Seventy-eight percent of the 80k bottles they produce a year is exported to Japan, Italy, U.S., Switzerland, and the U.K. They receive top scores from Suckling and Parker, and those top-scoring wines sell out quickly.

The wines are a perfect example of the trend toward dry white wines (which means not sweet) and the continual production of lower alcohol wines.

Pic credit: Ed Bushman 

Villa Huesgen: If you are looking for a grand tasting experience, Villa Huesgen is it. Of course, if you have the opportunity to be charmed by Adolph Huesgen VIII himself, then it’s even more special. Adolph’s wine curriculum vitae is almost as interesting as the winery alone! He regaled us in stories of his many collaborations (from Australia to South Africa), work in wineries in California (he started his career at Robert Mondavi as the European sales director with Michael Mondavi) and what he and his family have currently achieved (sparkling, still, rose in the original blue bottles Riesling were first made in) at Villa Huesgen. 

Adolph Huesgen VIII

Adolph Huesgen VIII / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

The Huesgen family established the vineyard nine generations before, in 1735. The art nouveau-styled estate was built in 1904. They grow Riesling and Burgundy grapes, currently have their first block of Chardonnay in barrels and make more dry than sweet wines. They import to 35 countries.

We tasted ten wines, one of which recently was listed as one of the top nine Rieslings in the world by the Robb Report April 2024. We would have a hard time not liking any Villa Huesgen wines.

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler: This estate is right in the popular part of Bernkastel-Kues, and just adds to the beautiful Mosel landscape. We were greeted by Stefan Pauly, who led us on a tour of the building and the many tasting areas for their guests. As this was the last tour of our trip, we “drank it up” for the history, and of course, the wines. We tasted many Rieslings, and even a beautifully made Eiswein, and were thrilled to discover that our local Total Wine stores has the exclusive label, Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler, and it’s very reasonably priced though it sells out every year. (Made a mental note to go there as soon as we get home!) 

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler // Photo credit: Ed Bushman

We learned that the winery was founded in 1556, they own 22 kilometers of vineyard along the Mosel, and they even offer an alcohol-free wine. One of the tasting areas we saw had a slight walkable ramp and was large enough to “seat a whole boat” of tourists that preferred not to climb up or down ancient steps for a wine tasting.

Stefan Pauly for Dr. Pauly Bergweiler wine estate

Stefan Pauly for Dr. Pauly Bergweiler wine estate / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

When to Visit

We happened to be in Bernkastel-Kues area of the Middle Mosel during Open Wine Cellar Days, which this year began on Germany’s Father’s Day. The holiday and the multi-day event brought many German tourists to the area, which added to the trip for us to “pick up some local color” so to speak. The event shows off many wineries not just during the day for tastings but also for night for tastings, meals, and live music. We chose to stay at the guest house at one winery, S.A. Preum, which made it even more convenient to walk over each night. We have been told that there are always wine festivals, so I highly recommend that you look at the calendar for these before planning your trip.

Raimund Pruem from Weingut S.A. Pruem

Raimund Pruem from Weingut S.A. Pruem / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

We got to Bernkastel-Kues from the Frankfurt airport, we rented a car and enjoyed the easy freeway routes and arrived just under two hours. We went in May, as we tend to pick times of the year when tourist areas are less crowded with summer travelers.

Bernkastel-Kues city

Bernkastel-Kues area / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Besides wine tasting many tourists rent bicycles and e-bikes, tour on motorcycles, rowboat, parasail, take a boat tour and hike the vineyards. It’s a very walkable area in town with many wine bars, brew pubs, restaurants, and shops along the cobblestone streets. In other parts of the Mosel River, you can find sandy beaches and even water skiing.

Gastehaus at Prum

Gastehaus at Prum / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

There are many hotels along the Mosel River, we chose to stay in a suite at the Gastehaus at Prum and we would definitely return. Beautiful accommodations, locally sourced breakfast, and of course wine! 

 Find on Instagram: @VisitMosel @EifelPfieffer @ImmichBatterieberg @VillaHuesgen1735 @Weingut_PaulyBergweiler @S.A.Pruem

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.

 

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