Rob Moshein - The Austin Wine Guy

Big Big Big Changes are A'Comin'

May 18, 2011

Big News 1: Trader Joe's is coming to Texas. Dallas this year, Austin in 2012.  We of California residency know and LOVE Trader Joe's.  Think Whole Foods meets Costco the size of a corner Mom n Pop Grocery. Wonderful selections of nuts, cheeses, gourmet foods and yes, wine. At redunculously low prices. They "created" Two Buck Chuck, which is now Five bucks in California and Six bucks in Arizona.  Sit back and watch the fun kiddies as Whole Paycheck and Central Market scramble.  The real fun will be with Spec's, Centennial and Twin Liquors, the mega-chain dominatrixes of alcohol. Now, in Texas, TJ's can't pull of their direct buy program, and will be forced to clear their wines thru a local distributor, so expect to see Six Buck Chuck or Seven buck Chuck, but their aggressive pricing will cause some rivals to have headaches.  Now, some might say "Well, people will still shop where they used to..." Trust me, I've seen the Trader Joe's syndrome first hand. My late Dad, who could afford to shop where he wanted and have it delivered, would get in the car weekly with Mom's list and head over to the local TJ's and stock up on their snacks and wine.  My sister still uses TJ's for her wine buying aside from the special occassion stuff. I get calls regularly "Hey little Bro, I'm at Trader Joes and here is what they have that I'm looking at. Which ones should I buy?" She too can afford t shop where she wants to.  Now, the local fine wine guys, they're not going to be in a world of hurt, they have Trader Joe's beat on selection and will still always provide the cool n groovies to an appreciative audience.   It should be fun to watch though, everyone I know who has been IN a Trader Joes and lives in Texas can not WAIT for them to open their doors. The word will spread quickly.

Big News 2 : The Hill Country Wine & Food Festival is now the "Austin Food & Wine Festival".  Food & Wine Magazine is pairing with C3, who puts on th Austin City Limits Music Fest.  Food & Wine puts on some of the biggest and most important Food and Wine events in the nation.  I'm not surprised given the amazing success of the 2011 Hill Country Festival, which was the BEST one in a decade and the first one to actually make money in years. My friend and colleague Addie Broyles posted some "unsolicted advice" for the new venture, which is quite sound and on target.  Please read it here:  I can only add a few words of my own. First, don NOT forget the Austin in Austin Food & Wine Festival.  As AB pointed out, Saveur tried this a few years back with disastrous results. Talk to Mike Thelin, who worked on this year's event, better yet, bring him on board. The man totally "got" what Austin and its food and wine community are about and this was reflected in the event. Also, don't forget that AUSTINITES are part of any "Austin Food & Wine Festival", so reach out to the locals as much, if not more than out of towners. Not just as chefs/participants, but as attendees. If it isn't attractive to ME, living downtown, I'm not going to attend.  THIS year was outstanding on that score. Don't throw out the 2011 playbook. It was the start of many good things to come.

News that's big to me: Yr Mst Hmbl & Obdt Svt is going back to New York City in June for four days, as I have been asked to be on the Today's Bordeaux 2011 Jury, to select the 45 best Bordeaux sold in the US under $45, which will, obviously, be this years "Today's Bordeaux".  I'm really honored and thrilled that the CIVB wanted me and my fellow Le Wine Buffs, April Bloom, Mollie Battenhouse, Ward Kadel, Rebecca Chapa, Megan Wiig, "newbie" Erin McGrath and me as the Judging Panel.  Should be a blast for "Buffs take Manhattan part Deux!".  Will keep you posted.

Rob Moshein
Austin Wine Guy

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Raves, rants, musings, ponderings and wine whines... trends, tasting notes, the Austin Wine Guy Rob Moshein shares his world of wine and thoughts about it with you.

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