A lot of food holidays are arbitrary. (You just missed National Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day, for instance.) But National Apple Cider Day comes with a folkloric history.
According to legend, on November 18, 1307, William (Wilhelm) Tell and his son Walter were passing through the town square in the Swiss Alpine village of Altdorf. At the center of the square stood a pole, upon which the town bailiff, Gessler, had placed his hat. The hat stood for the imperial Austrian authority, under whose rule Switzerland was subjugated, and which Gessler represented. All who passed before the hat were to bow, upon penalty of death.
As can be expected with this type of legend, William Tell refused to bow. Gessler ordered Tell’s immediate arrest. Seeking to make an example of the dissident, Gessler then posed Tell, who was a known marksman, a simple challenge: shoot an apple from his son’s head, and both would be allowed to walk free. Miss, and both would die.
Tell took two arrows from the selection offered, and took aim at the apple atop Walter’s head. He shot cleanly through it. Tell was then asked what he had taken an additional arrow for, and he replied that had his son been harmed, it would have been for Gessler. At this second act of treason, Gessler refused to release Tell. Instead, he had him bound, and Gessler himself set off with Tell to bring him to jail in Kussnacht.
Had there not been a storm in sailing to Kussnacht, Apple Cider Day still might not have a backstory. Instead, a storm blew up on Lake Lucerne, and the crew released Tell, who was capable of steering the boat to shore. Tell leapt to shore himself, pushed the boat with Gessler and his crew back out onto the wind-whipped lake, and set off to Kussnacht. There, he awaited Gessler’s party, and as they approached in pursuit he shot Gessler through the heart. As the story goes, the act would spark a series of events that would lead to the Swiss revolution.
True or not, eight hundred years later people across the globe commemorate the folkloric incident by sipping cider on the same day.
Statue of William and Walter Tell in the town square in Altdorf, Switzerland.
Apple cider itself is more tightly bound up in American revolutionary history than in Swiss. It was a de facto national drink of choice around the time of the revolution, which circumvented colonial dependence on Old World imports like wine and tea. Another folk hero, Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), is to thank for taking seeds from Pennsylvania cider mills and planting the early states’ western frontiers with apple trees, paving the way for American expansionism. As pioneers moved west, hardy fruit awaited them. The apples were used not to eat (cider apples are extremely bitter, often to the point of inedibility) but to make cider, a safe alternative to water that likely helped many colonists, including children, survive.
Cider apples in Sister Bay, Wis.
Today, the joys of apple cider are being rediscovered. The fruit is so genetically diverse that the seed of any given apple will grow to produce a fruit entirely unique from its predecessor, meaning there is no shortage of apple varieties to be explored. Meanwhile, traditional American cider apples, used in colonial times and reproduced over the years by grafting, are resurfacing along with a cider culture that has begun to truly recover for the first time since Prohibition. Cider bars, cider festivals, cider pairings and cider cocktails – even cider mimosas – are all trending at breakneck speed.
Thanks to its renaissance, November 18 is certainly a day to celebrate.
Sources: Swiss Info, The Smithsonian, Ken B Travels, Sister Bay, The Boys Club and Cidercraft Magazine.
Above: The HOST Tilt Variable Aerator, featured in the November 2014 issue of Gourmet Business.
As a well-informed and thoughtfully curated resource for gourmet retailers, we have long followed Gourmet Business online magazine. As such, we were honored to be included in GB’s November issue, as the very first item in the feature article on innovative barware that is revolutionizing the category.
True Fabrications and POPSUGAR teamed up this month to add a little something fresh and fun to POPSUGAR’s March Must Have Box, our very own Corkatoo Corkscrew.
POPSUGAR has over 20 million users, and continues to grow exponentially delivering “the biggest moments, the hottest trends and the best tips in entertainment, fashion, beauty, fitness, and food, and the ability to shop for it all, in one place.” They also have the opportunity to subscribe to a monthly Must Have Box for just $35 a month.
The Must Have Box contains some of today’s hottest products hand-picked by the POPSUGAR editors, all revolving around a common theme for the month. The boxes contain full-sized samples of must have beauty products, things for the home, fashion products and more, an entire box of goodies worth over $100.
For March, POPSUGAR featured some of the hottest spring product including the Corkatoo Corkscrew. With raving reviews from a handful of bloggers, Corkatoo was a definite hit. Beauty Info Zone called Corkatoo “the cutest item in the box” and the Girly Enthusiast claims to be “a little bit obsessed with the Corkatoo Corkscrew. It’s just friggen’ adorable.” Corkatoo Corkscrew is not only fun, but also function and truly is a must have!
With the New Year upon us we can all look forward to the debut of many new products from True Fabrications and HOST.
HOST is a high quality brand by True Fabrications that will stand above the rest. HOST works hard to engineer and perfect their products so that you can sit back, relax and revel in life’s small pleasures.
We would like to start off 2013 by introducing the CHILL Cooling Pour Spout by HOST.
This innovative wine gadget does it all. The CHILL cools, pours and preserves keeping your wine flavorful and fresh.
Serve red wine at room temperature or pre-chill your white. Just pour the first glass, insert the cooling pour spout and effortlessly keep your wine at a deliciously cool temperature.
Ready for another glass? Stay mess free with the built-in, drip-free pour spout. The CHILL will seamlessly continue to cool while you pour another glass. The integrated leak-proof stopper keeps your half-full bottle fresh while your cooling rod recharges in the freezer.
Made from a BPA-free acrylic, TPE rubber, silicone and FDA approved cooling gel, the CHILL cools, pours and preserves risk free. Sit back, relax and let the CHILL do it all.
Pre-order the CHILL now through February 1st and qualify for some great promotions!
I stumbled across an article the other day about the implementation of “wine vending machines” in restaurants. At first, this may sound a bit crass. But these state-of-the-art machines allow patrons to enjoy a glass of wine that has been preserved in its original, just-opened condition for up to 30 days.
Restaurant owners and wine drinkers both can rejoice with the implementation of these “vending machines’. It allows wine lovers to enjoy a glass of a more expensive vintage, as opposed having to purchase the entire bottle. At the same time, restaurants are able to manage the inventories of their high-end wines while reducing waste. Unfortunately, these machines are likely to cost the restaurant upwards of $5,000.
Beer is no longer alone as an option for kegged alcohol as another innovation in wine drinking is evolving out of California restaurants. Wine on tap is not a new concept but it has been both implemented and rejected in the US in the 70s and 80s. However, wine kegs have made a comeback are beginning to open up a new market for wineries and putting a new spin in the wine industry.
Kegged wine has numerous advantages including being more environmentally conscious with the use of less materials, keeping wine tasting the way it was intended to taste, and being a less expensive alternative to bottling. That aside, the question remains is whether or not the average wine drinker can mentally overcome the stigma attached to drinking wine from a keg rather than the bottle.
Personally, whether my glass of chardonnay comes from a “vending machine” or a keg, as long as it’s chilled and tastes fresh, I’m a happy oenophile. Cheers!
Walking through a wine shop or a supermarket’s wine section, the labels and colors jump out at you like a kaleidoscope. From the colorful, to the minimal, to downright questionable taste, wine labels and winery names are the first point of contact between a bottle and a consumer. Amid the thousands of labels out there, how does a winery find a way to have their bottles purchased without the aid of an employee recommendation or a famous brand? The answer: the label.
For centuries, wine labels were simply informative. A name, a location, the contents and possibly a small design was all that was included. In the past 30 years, labels began to grow more bold and assertive. While many wines still stick to a more traditional label, other wines have taken on new names and label designs to try and set themselves apart on the shelves. Check out this article in the New York Times to see how a name change from Scherzinger Estates to Dirty Laundry Vineyards increased traffic to the winery tenfold or how Fat Bastard wines became one of the best selling lines of French wines in the United States.
The article also has a number of wine names that you have to visit the article in order to read. Whether it’s appealing to a younger demographic or simply trying to catch consumers attention and set their brand apart, “saucy” wine labels have worked their way onto the shelves and into the grocery bags of many. We would love to get your thoughts on these colorful names. Do you or would you stock these labels in your store? Do you think these names are having a positive or negative effect on wine as a whole?
Whether it’s for girl’s night out, a humorous gift, or you were ensnared by the wine label’s character, bold labels have been successful and are probably here to stay. Wine with attitude has also translated over into wine accessories. If you’re looking for the perfect wine accessory to go with “saucy” labeled wine, check out our hand painted wine glasses and our beverage themed t-shirts. The market for these wines as well as the accessories is quite large. Are you doing what you can to optimize your sales and capture this business?
Because True Fabrications is based in Washington State, we thought we would pay tribute to the Washington wine industry. Although the history of Washington wine is relatively young, the state of Washington is the second largest producer of wine when compared state by state. The diverse variety in climate from region to region in Washington allows the state to specialize in a variety of grapes. Grapes featured in Washington include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, just to name a few.
According to Washingtonwine.org, the wine industry “generates more than $3 billion for the state economy and it employs more than 14,000 people directly and indirectly.” Over the past 50 years, Washington wine has grown with every decade. To support its 11 federally defined American Viticulture Areas, Washington has invested in wine education. Washington State University and Central Washington University both boast very successful and in depth wine programs. Many of the regional community colleges have picked up two year wine programs as well.
At WSU, the university’s Viticulture and Enology program focuses on the science and business of wine. The V&E courses take students to annual trade shows and meetings, winery and vineyard tours, and even a WSU Cougar Mediterranean Wine Cruise in the summer. Washington State offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs for scholars interested in wine-grape growing and winemaking, as well as critical research and development opportunities in the wine industry.
From the warmer areas in the east and the south, to the cooler climates in the west, the diversity across Washington’s landscape allows for a variety of grapes to flourish. For those unfamiliar with the expanding and vibrant Washington Wine Industry, we highly recommend taking the time visit or at least picking up a bottle next you’re at the store. We think you’ll like what you find.
Image Courtesy: Washington State Wine
With climate change constantly in the news, many people often ask about its effects on various wine growing regions around the world. While the extent and cause of the change in the climate is unclear, a shift in average temperatures and seasons has had an impact on areas that have traditionally been regarded as established growing regions. In fact, True Fabrications carries many essential books on the topic.
According to an article in USA Today, average temperatures are expected to be 2 to 4 degrees higher than they were in the 1970s. No matter the cause of such increases, the effects on many wine regions would be drastic. A temperature that is constantly warmer by 2 to 4 degrees would not only impact day to day growth, but also the push harvest to an earlier date. An article from Wired.com featuring the subject says the increase in temperature would “eliminate wine-grape production in many areas of the United States.” In America, areas like California’s famous Napa Valley and centuries-old wine growing regions overseas like those in Southern Europe would be dramatically altered and possibly eliminated.
However, this new change in weather would also open the door for other areas around the world to take up grape growing. Locations that have been too wet and cold in the past may become the new garden states for wine growing. Areas like Southern England, the Willamette Valley, Washington’s Puget Sound and New York’s Finger Lakes area, are a few of the places that have expanded in recent years. While many of these areas have already been established as great grape growing areas, their popularity will only continue to increase should the global climate continue to shift.
Image Courtesy: Washington’s Wine Country Regions, from www.washingtonwine.org/explore
If you’re looking for a good excuse to open a bottle of red wine, look no further than its ability to reduce the risk the diabetes. True Fabrication has found that moderate consumption of wine can actually help reduce the risk by up to 40%, according to some studies. While we’re not suggesting you go on a bender in the name of leveling out your blood sugar, studies show that a glass of wine can help balance blood sugar levels that spike after a meal. At the same time, while a glass of wine a day can benefit the body, wine in excess can lead to weight gain and conditions like diabetes when consumed in excess. Moderation is the key to extracting benefits from your wine.
But just how does wine help your body? An article from naturalnews.com tells how grape skins and red grape juice are high in polyphenols. According to the article “These antioxidants have been shown to help the body regulate blood sugar, and may thereby help prevent or control diabetes.” When you eat, there is a spike in your blood sugar. The polyphenols help the body return this spike back to almost even levels. Having a glass of wine after a meal has proven to be equally effective as the diabetes drug avandia.
While there are many great reasons to enjoy a glass of wine with good friends, here’s another reason you can all drink to your health. Cheers!
Americans in their 20s and early 30s are continuing to consume more wine. The businesses that have recognized the expanding demographic are trying to capitalize on young adults finding their way into the world of wine. By attempting to reshape wine’s image from “your parents beverage”, groups like Wine Riot are attracting large groups of young people by putting on wine tasting events designed for the younger consumer. See this article in the New York Times discussing the success of Wine Riot events in New York.
The younger demographic is an untapped market for wine sales as they are often written off as the beer drinking age group. Consider creating events targeting this age group. Whether it takes live music, free food, or some well placed advertising particularly calling out to your younger customers, consider events designed to grow and solidify your relationships with this customer base.
As a company made up of young people and the young at heart, we like the idea of wine being accessible and fun for everyone (21+ only please). When asked what our company does for wine, I like to say “we make drinking wine better”. Or, “we make wine more fun”, whichever you prefer. A wine event designed for young people is also the perfect time to up-sell wine accessories. As a member of this gadget driven generation, we want a gadget for everything, and we want it to be newer and better than the person sitting next to us. At True Fabrications, we’re always trying to come out with new and different products you can provide for your customers. Check out our New Arrivals section for all of our latest products. Some of them are so new, they aren’t even in our catalog.