Thursday, October 16, 2008

Soup Stock - The Safe Stock to Purchase.

The one thing I will never forget from reading about America’s Depression (1920 – 1929), that when it came to alcohol, tobacco, cosmetics and silk hosiery sales, they could not have been better and the other thing I will never forget is that in 1920, women voted for the very first time.

With Wall Street having a brutal time, I keep reminding myself about how alcohol sales remained strong during America’s Depression. Am I delusional to think that today and in the future, wine sales will remain status quo? No, I don’t believe I am delusional or even naive. I think sales in wine and all alcohol products will remain strong, but I also believe that our buying habits will alter a bit.

First of all, let’s get this out of the way - - investing in wine is not the way to go at this time, unless you are an educated oneophile, have invested in the right wines and have all of the proper storage certification. And if you are going to get the high price, guess who you will probably receive it from? Another educated oneophile. So if you think you can get your hands on a bottle of Quilceda Creek or a bottle of Screaming Eagle, toss it in the dark broom closet and in about 10 years - - voila! - - you're going to make a few hundred dollars from that bottle - - you are very wrong. And no, a case of Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet or Merlot that's been in your makeshift wine cellar for ten years will have no return, either. Not all aged wines are going to give you a return. The gains from recent prices of six leading Bordeaux properties have been modest and these are the top of the collectibles (how to invest in wines is another blog - - soon to come from guest blogger). Drink your wines, share them and enjoy them!

At this time, the only stock I would advocate to purchase is soup stock. Having people over for dinner doesn’t mean we always have to have Copper River salmon or filet mignon. Rich and creamy clam chowder, home-made fresh wild mushroom soup or beef bourguignon are soups/stews that can be paired deliciously with an affordable wine. Soups and stews may take a bit of time to prepare from scratch - - but oh so worth the effort. Add a loaf of French-style bread from the local bakery, a green salad and dessert and your guests will be impressed. It's a great way to entertain! Or be very communal by using a raclette grill and/or fondue pot. I love having opportunities to bring out my French raclette grill and what I found it's one of the easiest and affordable ways to entertain - - besides everyone is guaranteed of eating something they like. And dessert is easy - who doesn't like dipping fresh fruit and cake in chocolate fondue?

In spite of the economy, it's even more important that we entertain and especially now that we are heading into winter. While Wall Street is having their woes, we need to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves "nice." And it can still be done affordably. Now is the time to be with friends and family, but we can adjust our way of thinking. This doesn’t mean that we have to stay home all of the time and never go out to our favorite dining places either. Don't totally remove dining-out from your budget! There are several fine dining establishments in Walla Walla where we can still dine by taking advantage of the happy hour and bar menus. Or even just coffee and dessert! You may find you are frequenting your favorite restaurants more often instead of the usual once in awhile expensive full-meal-deal.

The wines we purchase do not always have to be the most expensive. And most important - - when you are serving wines to your guests, be sure to serve the most expensive wine first or second. Serve your best wine at the beginning of your party while your guests still have alive and sharp taste buds. How can you appreciate the best with a tired tongue? You can't.

There are some great wine buys in Walla Walla. From $25 and under you can find tasty cabernets, merlots, whites, roses', and especially the red blends that are often at $20 and under. Soon we will have quite a selection of “Walla Walla produced” affordable wines when Seattle-based Precept Wine Brand's, "Walla Walla Wine Works," located at Highway 12 in the Walla Walla Valley, open's their doors. They will feature affordable wine brands such as Waterbrook (one of the older wineries in the Walla Walla Valley), Pendulum Winery, Shimmer Wines and The Magnificent Wine Company (former labels of Charles Smith, K-Vintners). These are wines that I advocate to use for your everyday sippers aka “heart medicine.” In fact, I advocate that we consider all of the affordable wines from the State of Washington.

Of course, I want you to purchase your great wine buys from Walla Walla Wine Woman, but that isn't always convenient, especially when you are buying dinner and wine at the same market on your way home from work. Local supermarkets and the liquor store has a good selection of Walla Walla and Washington State wines. Remember - great buys of great wines are out there and we don’t have to settle for the Southern 2BuckChuck. Keep our dollars in our Washington State wineries. And in the mean time, keep our fingers crossed and keep thinking - - this too shall pass (the economy). Just think of the stories we can tell our grandchildren. "I remember the day when we only paid $4 for a gallon of gas and..."

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