This Week in Food and Wine News: SF Chronicle Names Winemaker of the Year; NYT Stars in Question; Ban on Mega-Dairies in Oregon

Ian Brand, Winemaker of the Year, Monterey, California []

Ian Brand, Winemaker of the Year []

Winemaker of the Year

Fantastic news on the wine front with the San Francisco Chronicle’s naming of Ian Brand as Winemaker of the Year. As wine critic Esther Mobley wrote, Brand is leading a path in a region long overshadowed by northern California vineyards.

“As our most established regions, Napa and Sonoma, grow more crowded, expensive and inaccessible, innovation necessarily pushes to the geographic fringes.”

Read more about winemaker Ian Brand, and the changing wine region of Monterey, here on Daily Blender.


On Restaurant Reviews – Where Do We Go From Here?

There’s been much discussion since the New York Times’s curious restaurant review for the famed Four Seasons Restaurant. Critic Pete Wells served up the food and drink details, but moreso, the piece brought to light the continued public reveal of well-known harassers within the restaurant industry.

A new turn in reviews, and imperative for industry evolution, some have brought into question how best to proceed with restaurant reviews in the future. Author Andrew Friedman shared his concerns about combining politics with food.

“If I were suddenly declared a critic, and allowed these and other issues to cloud my mind, I constantly would be presented with a minefield, and the only fair, consistent, and logical response, it seems to me, would be to shut it all out and review what I experienced in the dining room, and on the plate, or not review a restaurant where I was incapable of that objectivity, making my decision and feelings known in a think-piece or on social media.”

You can read more of his take at Toqueland.

As Friedman mentions in his post, Four Seasons co-owner Julian Niccolini has since been fired.


Sour Milk

Finally, Northwest writer Kathleen Bauer continues to report from the muddy trenches of the Oregon food producer scene. Bauer wrote this week that in the continuing saga of dairy farms, a coalition of organizations has demanded a moratorium on all expanding “mega-dairies” in the state until further regulations can be implemented to protect the animals and agriculture often destroyed by such productions.

As she notes, “The legislature’s track record on setting limits for these facilities has been lax at best, negligent at worst.”



I’ll be off for the holidays, but roaring back in the new year with news, interviews, and events. Stay tuned. Here’s to an adventurous 2019!

~Jennifer Matthewson