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Winegrowers Unveil 100 Year Business Plan to Preserve Agriculture in Sonoma County, California

From the rocky coastline to the mountain vistas and the lush river valleys, the land has always been the hero in the story of Sonoma County, California. Through it all, the dedicated efforts of farmers and ranchers have been at the forefront of taking care of the land, protecting it and managing it in a way that has provided a bounty of apples, prunes, pears, poultry, lamb, beef and, more recently, winegrapes for nearly 150 years.

With this in mind, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), has created a 100-year business plan to preserve agriculture in Sonoma County well into the 22nd Century.  The 100-year plan is believed to be the first of its kind in agriculture and the global wine industry. It is also the next step in the evolution of Sonoma County’s efforts to become the first wine region in the United States to have all of its wines grown and made in a sustainable manner.

“Last year when we announced our intent to be 100-percent sustainable by 2019, it was always viewed as the starting point, not the end goal,” said Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers.  She added, “It is our job as farmers to be caretakers of the land in Sonoma County and preserve our agricultural legacy and way of life for future generations.  Just as we inherited the land from previous generations, we have a fundamental responsibility to make the land better for those who inherit it from us.”

The existence of the 100-year plan was announced nearly one year to the day when Sonoma County Winegrowers generated worldwide attention for its bold commitment to become the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine growing region by 2019.  Sonoma County winegrape growers are currently following a rigorous sustainability self-assessment and third party certification program focused on 138 farming and business practices, such as land use, canopy management, energy efficiency, water quality assessments, carbon emissions, healthcare and training for employees and being a good neighbor and community member.

In the twelve months since announcing its sustainable intentions, the local wine industry reached one-third of its targeted goal of becoming 100-percent sustainable.  More than 43 percent (25,987 vineyard acres) of the county’s 59,772 vineyard acres have completed a sustainability assessment.  In addition, 33 percent of the county’s vineyard acres (21,491 vineyard acres) have taken the next step and are now certified under a third-party auditor program.  The 59,772 vineyard acres in Sonoma County only accounts for 6 percent of the county’s one million acres with the rest being utilized as pasture land (36 percent), forests (49 percent) and urban land (9 percent).  More than 950 winegrape growers have attended sustainability workshops, meetings or other sustainability-related events.  There were 26 sustainability workshops and meetings hosted by the Sonoma County Winegrowers in 2014.  Eight of the county’s 16 AVAs held sustainability workshops in the past year.

As the past year evolved, industry leaders met and the 100 year plan was written.  It is designed as a living document and will be executed through both annual and five-year benchmarks that will identify transformational opportunities for collaboration and seek partnerships with a variety of groups including agricultural, business, community and education as well as government leaders to find tangible solutions and provide flexibility for the unexpected.  The time period of 100 years was chosen as a natural period that touches everyone in a tangible way – it represents two generations before and the next two future generations in essence spanning from grandparents to grandchildren.  The plan addresses such issues as innovation and research, natural resources, the regulatory environment, community engagement and marketing while building coalitions throughout the community in support of sustaining agriculture in Sonoma County forever.

“This effort is charting a path to preserve agriculture in Sonoma County for the next 100 years,” said Brad Petersen, a third-generation grape grower who manages vineyards at Silver Oak Cellars and chairman of the Sonoma County Winegrowers board of directors.   He added, “It provides us and those who follow with a set of guiding principles to ensure agriculture is successfully preserved and that Sonoma County will remain the best wine region in the world for the next 100 years and beyond.”

The Best Canadian Whisky of 2014

The verdict is in. A whisky distilled more than two decades ago, then tucked away and forgotten, is the best Canadian whisky of 2014. A jury of nine independent whisky experts named Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye the Canadian Whisky of the Year at the fifth annual Canadian Whisky Awards. They announced the results of this annual blind tasting competition Thursday evening, January 15, at the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, B.C.

Chairman of the judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, described Collingwood Rye as: “A Canadian whisky connoisseur’s dream come true.” Only 50 barrels of Collingwood 21 Year Old Rye were distilled at the Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood, Ontario. Canadian stocks are almost gone, though limited quantities are still available from select U.S. liquor stores.

Other top winners include Lot No. 40, Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye, Forty Creek Double Barrel Reserve, Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye, and Crown Royal Monarch. Forty Creek distillery’s John Hall received a lifetime achievement award.

“Interest in Canadian whisky continues to grow and Canada’s whisky makers have responded with a wealth of new high-end whiskies,” said de Kergommeaux as he revealed the winners. “For the first time a major legacy brand, Canadian Club, has released 100 percent rye grain whisky as a core offering. Canada’s best-selling whisky, Crown Royal, became the first major brand to release high-proof single barrel whisky, and Collingwood bottled long-aged rye whisky. Overall, distillers have released more small batch and top-end deluxe whiskies than ever before.”

Sales of flavored whisky also remain strong with Forty Creek, Centennial, and Sortilège making strong gains.

The list of all the winners is now available at

Setton Pistachio to Sponsor Griffith Park Run

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., the nation’s second largest pistachio processor and maker of Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites, has become an official sponsor of the first annual Griffith Park Run, taking place in Los Angeles on January 25.

Proceeds from the inaugural event will benefit Los Angeles city parks and over 435 recreational spaces in the L.A. area. Funds raised will help with water conservation efforts, recycling initiatives, park beautification projects, pool renovations, court resurfacing projects and the addition of numerous walking paths.

Event attendees will have the opportunity to run a 5K or half marathon race and a portion or the route will travel through Griffith Park. In addition to being an official sponsor of the race, Setton Farms will have samples of its Pistachio Chewy Bites products available to the 2,000 race participants. Chefs and brand ambassadors, Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg of Spork Foods, will be passing out samples at the brand’s booth while cheering on participants.

“It was an easy decision for us to sponsor the Griffith Park Run,” said Setton Farms COO Mia Cohen. “We are so happy to be able to help provide support for the parks and spaces that offer people a place to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.”

Additional event sponsors of the Griffith Park Run include Subaru of Glendale, Anthem Blue Cross, Clif Bar, The Coca Cola Company, Curb, Los Angeles Magazine, Road Runner Sports, and 100.3fm The Sound of LA.

For more information and registration information, visit

Smari Yogurt Gets Even Creamier with Grass-Fed Whole Milk; Also Adds Two Nonfat Flavors


Thick pasture-based and organic Smari yogurt is now even creamier. The yogurt rebel is revolutionizing its roots by keeping the fat. New whole milk Smari is available in Pure and Vanilla flavors. Smari also hits the shelves with two new delicious nonfat flavors, Peach and Coconut.Smari Yogurt Logo

When brand founder Smari Asmundsson came to the U.S., he bit into his first fresh peach. He was so blown away by the lushly foreign, sweet flavor that he had to marry it with his first native love, Icelandic yogurt. With new inspiration came memories of an old favorite, rich moist coconut cake, and the result, Nonfat Coconut Smari, is just as indulgent without any of the guilt.

But Smari yogurt isn’t just about less. For over 1100 years, Icelandic yogurt has been made nonfat…until now. Smari is reimagining its heritage by keeping the fat. For healthy, growing kids and those embracing fat in their lifestyle, a pasture based, whole milk option has finally arrived. Smari’s nonfat yogurt is extraordinarily creamy, but its whole milk yogurt is off the charts creamy.

Thicker than Greek yogurt and containing less sugar than most yogurts on the market, Smari packs as much as 20 grams of protein, more protein per ounce than any other yogurts in the U.S. The result is a thick, rich yogurt that makes each snack or breakfast memorable.

Organic Smari yogurt is made exclusively from organic milk and fruit. Always local and never factory farmed, Smari’s Jersey and Guernsey cows live in Wisconsin and are pastured and fed grass, creating richer, thicker, more nutritious, better-tasting milk.

Anything but plain, savor an even creamier, thick whole milk Smari in Pure, or try Vanilla, made with organic vanilla beans. Smari’s hot selling nonfat yogurt comes in Pure, Strawberry, Blueberry, Vanilla, and now, perfect Peach and island-inspired Coconut flavors.

For more information, visit




Matcha LOVE® Launches CULINARY MATCHA – Trendy New Kitchen Staple

ITO EN, a leading green tea company, debuts its new Matcha LOVE® CULINARY MATCHA in booth #1464 at the Winter Fancy Food Show. With 2015 predicted to be a year of “Matcha Madness” by trend forecaster, Sterling-Rice Group, CULINARY MATCHA is the new must have ingredient for the modern pantry. The new ingredient has an MRSP of $19.95 for 3.5 ounces.Matcha LOVE Culinary Matcha

The finely milled Matcha powder made from shade-grown green tea leaves is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Fast becoming a popular ingredient for its rich umami taste and antioxidant rich benefits, Matcha LOVE® CULINARY MATCHA, packaged in a 100 gram tin, can be used for baking or cooking, whether for sweet or savory dishes. Also a favorite in smoothies and super drinks, Matcha is hailed for its powerful EGCG tea antioxidants, Vitamin C and natural energy boost with a “calm alertness.”

“With more people falling in love with the vitality of matcha, our Culinary Matcha makes it easy for home cooking,” said Rona Tison, Sr. Vice President of Corporate Relations. “Aspiring cooks can now enjoy the purity of the entire green tea leaf in a variety of recipes, both traditional and new.”

Rich in L-theanine, the amino acid necessary to create what scientists and renowned chefs refer to as umami synergy, matcha generates new layers of amplified flavors with a sweet lingering taste sensation. Bold and rich in flavor with an herbaceous finish, a little matcha goes a long way.

The new CULINARY MATCHA joins the Matcha LOVE’s® line of ceremonial matcha powder and convenient on-the-go “no fuss” Matcha drinks, available unsweetened and sweetened. With a modern take on an ancient ritual, the innovative Matcha LOVE® line is making its way into the urban lifestyle for its fresh authentic taste and restorative powers.

Also being introduced are Matcha LOVE® Teabags, a special blend of premium quality green tea leaves and 100 percent Matcha. The teabags will be available in 10 individual envelopes in a small, compact carton.

Matcha LOVE® is available in specialty food stores, natural and mainstream markets nationwide. For more information, visit or



Arthur Shuman Launches Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps

Arthur Shuman is launching Whisps Parmesan cheese crisps in booth #4215 at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Whisps contain nothing but savory Parmesan cheese, so each serving of about 15 crisps — about 1/3 of a 2.12-ounce package — packs 9 g of protein. Whisps will be available to ship within the next few weeks.

The product is targeted as a snack food, although the company is also marketing its versatility as an appetizer to accompany olives and charcuterie and a glass of wine, as a base for mini canapes and as a crouton to add a burst of crunch and flavor to soups and salads.

Whisps are all natural, gluten free and wheat free and have no preservatives or additives. There are no artificial colors or flavors and no added sugar — they’re just pure Wisconsin-made Parmesan cheese.

Healthy Indulgences at #WFFS15: The Winter Fancy Food Show

Vendors at the Winter Fancy Food Show are launching a variety of premium products for consumers who want and can afford the best but who are also observant of their own or others’ dietary restrictions. Torani, for instance, in booth #4116 during the San Francisco show, is launching out with Torani Signature, a new line of flavor syrups developed for retailers serving consumers who are looking for a clean-eating experience.  These are made without GMOs, artificial colors or flavors.

Currently, the retail line includes three flavors, Hazelnut, Caramel and Vanilla. The vanilla flavor is sweetened with organic agave as well as pure cane sugar. The company has 18 flavors of the Signature line in foodservice packaging, but there are no immediate plans to expand the retail line, since the line was just launched in July and is just reaching stores now. A 10.1 fluid-ounce bottle retails for $4.99, and the product is currently carried at Sprouts and online. It’s available through UNFI and KeHE.

The Salted Caramel flavor in Torani’s regular syrup line launched last year and is still rolling out in major retailers. Sales are growing as more consumers discover the salty-sweet flavor profile. .

For more information, email

Boat Street Pickles is making a line of pickled fruits, including Pickled Raisins, Pickled French Plums, Pickled Figs, Pickled Apricots and Pickled Cherries, which are the newest addition to the product line. Nine-ounce jars retail for around $10.

The products combine fruits with spices, herbs and peppers to add a flavor kick to finish an otherwise unremarkable meat dish. The cherries and figs pair well with dairy desserts like panna cotta or ice cream, and all four work with cheeses. They’re all available for immediate shipment.

The figs are also newly available in a 64-ounce foodservice pack that will wholesale for around $40. The raisins and cherries will be the next to be offered in foodservice packaging, but there’s no timeline on that yet.

For further information, email or call 206.321.9319.

Emmi Roth is wooing home cooks who understand that the best ingredients make the best food but who don’t have time for a lot of prep work with Roth Ultimates: three quality blends of shredded cheese, and Shredded Grand Cru. Grand Cru is Emmi Roth’s brand for its cheeses made in the gruyere tradition.

The three Roth Ultimates blends include Ultimate Mac & Cheese, which includes Grand Cru, Havarti and sharp Cheddar cheeses. The Ultimate Firehouse blend includes Grand Cru, 3-Chile Pepper Gouda and Smoked Fontina, while the Ultimate Flatbread blend combines Grand Cru, mild Provolone and Fontiago cheeses. All of those and the shredded Grand Cru Original are offered in 6-ounce gusseted and pegboard-ready packs to retail at prices comparable to what consumers expect to pay for premium cheese.

These products are made from the same high-quality well-aged cheeses that Emmi Roth is known for and are packaged without added preservatives to appeal to home cooks who want to prepare restaurant-quality food at home. They’ll be available to ship in early spring of this year.


Stacy’s Snacks Turn Up The Heat With New Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips

A new pita chip is heating up snack time. Stacy’s Pita Chips is bringing an exciting new kick with the introduction of its latest flavor: Stacy’s Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips. Real jalapeno peppers are baked right into the pita chips for a unique flavor experience delivering authentic spice and a subtle heat that can’t be missed. Stacy’s Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips are the perfect complement to seven layer dips, hummus, guacamole or salsa, and also pair well with white wine or hot chocolate for a unique snacking experience during those cold winter months.Stacy's Pita Chips

Stacy’s Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips are made using the brand’s time-honored approach, which includes using carefully selected, high-quality ingredients such as real jalapenos and red peppers, baked right into the dough. They also contain no artificial colors and no artificial flavors. Each batch of Stacy’s pita chips takes up to 14 hours to bake, giving pita chip lovers both a flavorful and carefully crafted eating experience each time they bite into the chips. It’s the harder way, but it’s the better way. “That’s The Stacy’s Way.”

“Stacy’s pita chips are known for their incredible flavors and the authentic pita chip crunch,” said Nicole Cavin, senior director of marketing for the Stacy’s brand. “New Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips bring a whole new level of flavor to the brand, combining both of those elements. It’s perfect for those who enjoy a little kick with their mid-day snack or want to liven up their entertainment spread.”

Stacy’s Fire Roasted Jalapeno Pita Chips are available now in 7.33 oz bags for a suggested retail price of $3.99.

For more information, visit, or


A First Exploration of the Exhibit Hall at #WFFS15, the Winter Fancy Food Show

By Lorrie Baumann


Every new Fancy Food Show brings so much that’s new and exciting that it’s hard to know where to start. It’s always a safe plan to start exploring the booths on the aisles with  the low numbers and just keep walking until you reach the stratospheric numbers, especially since in the first few aisles you’ll see that way you’re sure to find the booths belonging to Robert Rothschild Farms (booth #640), Stonewall Kitchen (booth #534)  and Rabbit Creek Products (booth #409), all of which are staffed with the kind of gracious folks that set the standard for friendliness and understanding of the specialty food trade that’s everywhere here at the show. If you have a little trouble finding Rabbit Creek Products, it’s because their freight company failed to deliver the booth, but Donna Cook and her team are wiling to make that up for you with a show special that’s extra-good, so stop by the booth to let them know there that you can certainly commiserate with freight problems but, together, you can overcome.

There’s more of interest there than the opportunity to commiserate, of course, because Rabbit Creek Products is bringing out an even dozen new products, all of which are available to ship immediately. Among them are a Parmesan Southwest Beer Bread Mix,  a Cheese & Pesto Olive Oil Bread Mix and a Triple Cheese Wine Bread Mix. There are a couple of new brownie mixes, including the Bombshell Brownie Mix and Caramel Toffee Wine Brownie Mix. A Cappuccino with Chocolate Chips Muffin Mix and Lemon Cream Cheese Scone Mix take care of breakfast. For the cocktail hour, there’s Dilly Bacon Cheese Ball Mix, Garlicky Parmesan Cheese Cook n Serve Dip Mix, Mustard Vegetable/Pretzel Dip Mix and The Pigs ran thru the Dill Patch Veggie Dip Mix. And for plain old anytime snacking, Rabbit Creek Products offers Granola Seed Crunch. For more information, call 800.837.3073.

Just down the way, Stonewall Kitchen is taking care of summer with a pair of new Bloody Mary mixes and a trio of great barbecue sauces that ensure that no matter which barbecue tradition has your allegiance, whether you like heat or sweet, Stonewall Kitchen can offer you a sauce that you’ll be proud to serve up with your meat. The three sauces are Raspberry Chipotle, Honey Sriracha and Boozy Bacon Barbecue Sauce. Even though these contain some sugar, the sweetness is not the dominant flavor on any of these — they’re all nicely balanced with big, smoky flavors that will work on pork, chicken or beef. The spicy heat is not overwhelming — there’s just enough to give each of the sauces a nice depth of flavor and let your taste buds know they’ve been to a party.

The summer barbecue or tailgate party continues in the Robert Rothschild Farms booth, where Fancy Food Show attendees are tasting and loving four new open-and-serve dips that pioneer new territory for that category. The four include an Organic Hot Merlot Cherry Dip, Organic Pepper & Garlic Dip, Organic Chile & Cilantro Dip and Organic Blueberry Lemon Ginger Dip. You’ll recall that Robert Rothschild entered the organic field with a dedicated organic production facility whose launch was announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show, and these new dips are additions to the line that includes the organic pasta sauces that premièred last summer. Like all certified organic products, these contain no GMOs, and they have a thick texture that would work well to dress up a crudité tray as well as to sit next to the cheese board. The 12.8-13-ounce jar is plenty for a party, and any leftovers will find their way into recipes after the party. The two fruity varieties would pair particularly well with cheese, while the two peppery varieties would also make a great impromptu topping for pasta, rice or couscous on one of those night when you’ve arrived home from work without a dinner plan. Each of them retails for $9.99.

While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and see Plocky’s Mediterranean Munchies Hummus Chips in booth #563. A new display shipper comes with 24 3-ounce begs of the Original with Sea Salt variety and 24 3-ounce bags of the Roasted Red Pepper variety. Each 3-ounce bag retails for about $2.99. Snack-size 100-calorie bags retail for $.99 to $1.29. Plocky’s is celebrating 25 years of bringing tasty, all-natural snacks to the market, and Plocky’s products are currently sold in nine countries. The Mediterranean Munchies Hummus Chips are made from real hummus and olive oil. They’re all natural, gluten free, non-GMO and certified kosher. For more information, call 630.323.8888.

For a little taste of something sweet, stop by Dancing Deer Baking Co. In booth #652 to try the new line of Dessert Bites. The Dessert Bites are launching in eight flavors, of which two are available year-round, and six will be seasonal. The year-round Everyday Bites are Chocolate Chip S’more and Chocolate Sea Salt flavors. Then for spring, there’s Coconut Bliss and Zesty Lemon. Fall flavors are represented with Caramel Apple and Pumpkin Spice. And for the winter season, there are Chocolate Peppermint and Traditional Gingerbread. The Dessert Bites are packed in 7-ounce tubs to retail for $5.99 to $6.99 in the bakery department. They’re shipped frozen with a six-month shelf life. Once they’re thawed for display and sale, they have a 14-day shelf life. They’re made with nothing artificial and certified kosher. Call 888.699.DEER x 501 for more information.

Seattle Chocolates Celebrates 2015 with Delicious New Bar Flavors


Seattle Chocolate Company is adding two truffle bar flavors to its premium line of carefully curated chocolate for 2015. The new flavors, alongside current Seattle Chocolates offerings, will be available for pre-sale and sampling in Booth 989 at the Winter Fancy Food Show January 11-13, 2015. Both bars continue the company’s signature combination of fresh, approachable ingredient pairings with creamy, responsibly-sourced chocolate.

Rounding out Seattle Chocolates’ spring seasonal bars, Spring Surprise joins Fluffy Toffee and Fresh Mint in a trio of bars that celebrate longer days, sunny afternoons and the first flowery blooms of the year. Spring Surprise pairs roasted almonds and coconut with dark chocolate, and is packaged in a pastel lavender wrap adorned with cherry blossoms, rain puddles and ducklings all in a row. With a suggested retail price of $3.50, the entire spring seasonal collection is available now.Seattle Chocolate Company Logo

Inspired by owner Jean Thompson’s favorite childhood snack, the new PB&J bar combines crunchy peanut butter with strawberry fruit jellies in delicious dark chocolate. Available at retail summer 2015, the all-natural PB&J bar is high in protein and tastes like a real peanut butter and jelly sandwich – just the way mom made it, only better! The PB&J truffle bar has a suggested retail price of $3.50.

“At Seattle Chocolate Company we have always had an unparalleled commitment to fresh new flavors and the finest ingredients,” stated Owner and CEO, Jean Thompson. “We source only the best tasting, ethically sourced chocolate and create recipes inspired by the traditions, cultures, memories and personal celebrations of our friends, family and staff.”

Both new Seattle Chocolates truffle bars are made from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa which is thoughtfully prepared in small batches, without preservatives, additives or extenders. Both the Spring Surprise and PB&J wrappers proudly display the official Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.

In addition to sourcing cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, all Seattle Chocolate Company products are 100 percent natural and certified Kosher. Seattle Chocolate Company has also made the switch away from palm kernel oil, the harvesting of which is a major contributor to global deforestation, and now uses only sustainable coconut oil for its signature smooth meltaway texture. To learn more about Seattle Chocolate Company and the new bars, visit, or stop by Booth 989 at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show January 11-13.


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