For the first time since 2000, California’s Wine Institute has measured the wine industry’s economic impact on the state’s economy, and it’s bigger than anyone thought.
The report, "Economic Impact of California Wine: 2004," was released in late June, in collaboration with the California Association of Grape Growers. The actual numbers were crunched by the Napa-based wine business consulting firm MKF Research.
Despite the recession and sluggish economy of the past four years, the impact of the wine industry on California’s economy has grown by nearly 40 percent. The total cash value to the state—including everything from winery jobs and tourism to trucking, nurseries, barrels and distributors—exceeds $45 billion. That figure is only about 3.5 percent of California’s $1.3 trillion economy, but it’s still a hefty chunk of change.
Among the report’s findings are:
The news prompted Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. Koch to observe: "Wine is not only an economic engine but a wonderful ambassador for our state and nation, and the report helps convey this message to policy leaders and regulators whose daily actions affect the future of thousands of wineries and growers."
— Steve Heimoff
The port city of Genova, in northern Italy, has dedicated a weeks’-long festival to the 70-75 percent of the earth’s surface we know hardly anything about. Sapore di Mare ("Taste from the Sea") kicked off at the beginning of June with fish cook-offs, wine and seafood pairing events and seminars dedicated to fishing practices and the protection of Mediterranean species and their natural habits.
Moreover, the occasion was designed for those who wanted to dig into the tastiest treats of the Mediterranean Sea: branzino (sea perch), calamari (squid), dentice (a vertically flat fish similar to bream), merluzzo (codfish), orata (bream), pesce spada (swordfish), rombo (flounder-like sea fish), sardine (sardines), scorfano (scorpion fish used in soups), sogliola (prized horizontal fish), spigola (sea bass), tonno (tuna) and triglie (red mullet).
Thousands of bottles of Italian white wine such as Greco di Tufo, Vermentino and Pinot Grigio were uncorked for the occasion. But what caught the imagination of sea-loving gourmands was the attention paid by local restaurateurs during the event to "near-extinct" seafood recipes. Long preparation times and an over-fished Mediterranean waters make some dishes near impossible to find on Italian menus. A case in point is the following incredibly intricate vegetable and fish extravaganza from the region of
Liguria: Capon Magro (4 servings)
Heat onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and vinegar with about 2 cups of water until boil. Add codfish, cook for about five minutes and remove from heat. Blanch beans, carrots, celery and artichokes and set aside. Squirt lemon juice and dribble olive oil on top. Boil beets and peeled potatoes for about ten minutes and set aside.
Steam crayfish and lobster and allow to cool.
To assemble the dish: Layer about one third of the beans and vegetables at the bottom of the bread "bowl" and top with mashed cod fish. Top with the sauce and add another layer of vegetables, mashed codfish, sauce, and the final layer of vegetables. Top everything with the lobster and crayfish and dabbles of sauce and lemon juice.
Capon Magro is traditionally served on holidays such as Christmas and Easter and the word magro, or "thin," is a play on words for what is really a very filling dish. The above recipe was given by chef Alessandro Zane of the Ristorante Toe Drue (Sestri Ponente, via Carlo Corsi 44/r, Genova, tel: + 39 010 6500100).
Charles-Camille "himself" and Heidsieck chef de caves Regis Camus led an entourage of horse-drawn carriages from The Omni Royal Orleans through Vieux Carré in time for dinner, and some of Heidsieck’s best vintages, at Muriel’s. Proceeds from the event will benefit the James Beard Foundation.
Pictured, center, is Regis Camus, chef de caves of Champagne Charles Heidsieck; at far left is "Champagne Charlie" himself. Charles Heidsieck marketing and public relations staff, left to right: Ali Schwartz, Joanna Sucharski, Christian Holthausen and Alexandra Rendall.
— D. T.
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