Starbucks, which celebrates its 40th birthday next year, is having a mid-life crisis.
And in true mid-life crisis fashion, it has been flailing about trying to “find” itself. Instant coffee! Flavored coffee! Egg sandwiches! No egg sandwiches! Health conscious! Double frappucino with sprinkles! Now they are testing out a “Starbucks of the Future” concept at at least one Pacific Northwest Starbucks location. It serves regional wine and beer. And offers an expansive plate of locally made cheeses – served on china. Okay, but how ’bout managing a decent blueberry muffin first, guys ??!! Read the USA Today story here.
As snarky as I’d like to be about this, however, I think it’s more or less a good idea. This move seems to me like the “upscale” version of Dunkin Donuts’ wildly successful strategy of merging/partnering with Baskin Robbins to generate more evening store traffic. I am also intrigued with the concept of serving “regional wines and cheeses,” and hope they are on the level about this because I think it could do a lot for small batch wine producers in lesser-known wine making regions.
In his post last week, Tom laid out some of the challenges wine makers in a region such as Virginia have to actually get their wines into the hands of consumers. If a large market driver such as Starbucks began purchasing these wines, they would need to first work out the existing supply chain issues. Once these issues were resolved by Starbucks then, theoretically, they would be resolved for everyone else.
Regional wines aside, I also like the idea of being able to go into a casual non threatening place like Starbucks to have a glass of wine. As a female, particularly when I am traveling alone and would like to have a glass of wine somewhere, I do not necessarily feel comfortable going into a bar by myself. There is a certain appeal to the “tried and trueness” of a Starbucks wine bar both in terms of its atmosphere and the concept of being able to try a wine specific to the region I am in that I know will meet a certain standard.
I really do wish they’d do a little better in the food department though, and I think they could work on this simultaneously. I’d heard a few years ago they were trying to address this but so far I have not seen it reflected in the stores around here. There are so many great suppliers for baked goods these days, it’s hard to believe what a difficult time Starbucks seems to be having with stocking a selection of decent breakfast food!
Now on to a totally unrelated topic, your first slow cooker recipe of the new season with a wine pairing of course! We’re thrilled they’ll be serving some of the Spanish wines we’ve brought over at Taberna Del Alabardero. The “Taberna” is arguably the region’s premiere Spanish restaurant and we are thrilled to be part of it. Join us at the wine tasting launch party on November 15 or, what the hell, skip the party and just order the wine here 😉
Bodegas Fusión was created in 2007. The winery is a collaboration between two established Spanish companies: Rutas de Vino – Vintage Spain, a travel agency specialized in wine and food tourism and Bodega Histórica Don Carlos S.XV, a long time wine distribution company and vinoteca. Cristina Alonso and Fernando Ortiz have combined their experience in the wine industry to create a company that produces exceptional wines. They are made in Peñafiel, in the heart of Ribera del Duero, using 100% Tempranillo grapes from the best old vineyards, and aged in an old cellar from the XV century in Aranda de Duero. First Vine is the company’s first U.S. importer and definitely the first to bring these wines to the Washington, DC area.
The Lara O Crianza is made from grapes on vines that are at least 40 years old. The wine is aged 12 months in oak, then 12 months in the bottle. It has a little toastiness from the oak, and a gutsy, remarkable body that has ultra-ripe fruits, woodsiness, and a little tobacco. It may be the biggest-bodied wine we sell, so if you’re into big wines, give it a try with our slow cooker barbecue brisket. The Lara O can really stand up to its sweet , tangy and rich meaty flavor:
Barbecued Beef Brisket:
- 5 1/2 pounds beef brisket
- 1 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard