Remembering Boots: Adelle “Boots” Brounstein, co-founder of Diamond Creek with her husband, Al, died on July 31 at the age of 92. Diamond Creek was a trendsetter, focusing on single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon well before it was fashionable. Since Al’s death in 2006, Boots has overseen winery operations, assisted by her son, Phil Ross. [Wine Spectator]
Humm/Guidara partnership ends: Daniel Humm is buying out partner Will Guidara from Eleven Madison Park and the other Make it Nice restaurants. The two have been a notable duo, redefining Eleven Madison Park multiple times throughout the last decade. Guidara plans to launch a new restaurant group. Eater reflects on what the transition says about this moment in the restaurant industry. [Eater]
Tracing CA trends: Esther Mobley theorizes that the Bay Area’s transition from extravagant luxury to “gilded minimalism” can be traced to 2004—the peak between the 2000 dot-com bust and the 2008 financial crisis, when blockbuster restaurants were opening rapidly, Sideways premiered, and ripeness levels peaked. Today’s environment is a response, but perhaps shares some of the same flaws. [SF Chronicle]
Majestic sells stores: Majestic Wine will sell most of its stores and warehouses in the UK and France to Fortress Investment Group, a move many UK retailers have made as online shopping grows and concerns over Brexit keep spending down. Majestic will focus instead on Naked Wines, the online brand it acquired in 2015. [Bloomberg]
The work of a sommelier: Jancis Robinson comments on the contrasts she has observed between sommeliers in Europe and North America and those in countries such as South Africa, the Maldives, and Mauritius, where somms offer a fresh energy to the central aspect of the role: serving wine to customers. [JancisRobinson.com]
Argentina harvest: Some Argentinian winemakers are calling 2019 the best vintage of the decade. Harvest was characterized by a cold winter and dry summer, with production down slightly; only 73% of Argentina’s wineries will produce wine this year. Nonetheless, throughout the country, reports on quality are enthusiastic. [Decanter]
Our favorite SevenFifty Daily article this week
Examining AR: SevenFifty Daily reports on how beverage companies are using augmented reality to reach customers. Treasury Wine Estate was the first to use the technology on a wine label in 2017, with its 19 Crimes brand. Ruinart has an animated character called Petit R, a representation of Nicholas Ruinart. But the technology is now being used well beyond labels, offering unique new restaurant and bar experiences. [SevenFifty Daily]
What do you think?
What are your memories or stories about Boots?
How do you view the legacy of the partnership between Humm and Guidara at Eleven Madison Park?
What do you think of Mobley’s evaluation of trends in California, and the significance of 2004 in particular?
How do you respond to Robinson’s critique?
What else have you heard from Argentina about this year’s harvest?
What do you think of the use of augmented reality on wine labels? What about in restaurants and bars?
What else have you been reading this week?
I just read the article written by Jancis Robinson. I don't agree with her premise. "What Somms Are For" is a condescending title for an article. I do agree that there has been a huge uptick in the interest to be a sommelier, just like there was to be a chef a decade or so before that. We do need to understand that the industry is service oriented. We should only be in this industry if we wholeheartedly want to make our guests have a great experience.
That said, there is nothing wrong with dreaming big when you enter a profession. Shoot for the stars. That's great. We need that. In the article that was so horribly titled, she never made her point. The only attempt to make her point was a flippant reference to a conversation with Chris Tanghe. I can't speak for Chris but if that were me and that was the quote she used for such a weak argument in an article with such a condescending title, I would be upset. Just think, what if any other word were used rather than Somm in that article title? I can think of a myriad of examples and all are unsettling.
I took the point of the article to be that serving wine on the floor of a restaurant is a noble profession best executed with humility.
Her description of the modern floor Somm career trajectory is spot on.