On a camping trip in Big Sur in 2016, Jan and Marsh Mokhtari witnessed a Gray Whale and her calf swimming along the California coast on their 12,000-mile annual migratory journey. The couple had been discussing a legacy project, and inspired by the beauty of these magnificent mammals, they created Gray Whale Gin. Its distinctive aqua blue bottle is the color of the sea, with a whale tail logo that includes an image of the California coastline and a list of the gin’s botanicals, all of which are sourced from the Gray Whale’s migratory path.
While Gray Whale was originally available only in its home state of California, today it is sold in 17 states (California, New York, Connecticut, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Michigan, Indiana, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia), thanks to a 2019 partnership with Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. Gray Whale is the first gin in DFWS portfolio, which also includes Luksusowa Vodka, Bib & Tucker Bourbon, Masterson’s Rye, and Redemption Whiskey. While production in 2019 was around 24,000 bottles, Deutsch has increased scale and national market penetration in three waves, and it will be in 17 markets within the coming months. Suggested retail is $40. In a press release, DFWS president Tom Steffanci stated, “We believe there’s significant opportunity to grow Gray Whale as we move to national distribution.”
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What Are The Best-Selling Wines Of The Pandemic?
As we all take to fueling our pandemic fugue state with alcohol, what wine has been commanding consumer interest?
In fifth, juicy California standout Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. “During the pandemic consumers have concentrated their wine purchases with brands they trust and wines that they know are delicious,” says Tom Steffanci, president of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, the company that owns Josh Cellars. “We are fortunate that Josh Cellars is among the most beloved wine brands and we’ve seen our sales Skyrocket growing 61% since the start of shelter in place orders began.”
Josh Cellars’ Cabernet Sauvignon continued to rank as the fourth most popular bottle by volume. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have increased our marketing spend to speak even more directly to consumers through digital and social media advertising and via promoting our partnerships through e-commerce partners Drizly, Instacart and Minibar,” says Steffanci. “We have also increased investment with Ibotta to deliver digital offers directly to consumers. At a time when many are pulling back, we are investing and we’re grateful to be meeting their needs and bringing some enjoyment during these difficult times.”
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Provençal rosé brand Fleurs de Prairie is awarding grants to creators and artisans who are endeavoring to grow their businesses. Now in its second year, “Seeds of Beauty” is accepting submissions from business-minded creative spirits in fields such as art, design, food and writing. Applications may be submitted through August 31st. Three seed grants of $5,000 each will be given to individuals who embody the brand’s mission to add beauty to one’s environment.
In addition to the cash grants, Fleurs de Prairie will also support the winning applicants through its #FleurishTogether Mentorship Program. This year’s program will be led by three businesswomen with large social media followings. Grace Atwood is the founder of the women’s lifestyle site TheStripe.com, which is now in its tenth year, and she also co-hosts the Bad on Paper podcast. Hayet Rida describes herself as lifestyle influencer at HayetRida.com and also runs the influencer learning platform theridacollective.com. In addition, she is a creative strategist at Facebook/Instagram. Kate Arends, a graphic designer and brand strategist by trade, founded the digital media brand Wit & Delight, which explores the intersection between lifestyle and mental health. The three will provide one-on-one business lessons and offer guidance on how to grow and propel the winners’ careers.
The team behind the Fleurs de Prairie brand believes in celebrating and supporting those creating beauty in their own communities. Announcing the call for submissions, Brand Manager Martha Dzwonkowski stated, “Fleurs de Prairie rosé is a tribute to the splendor of Provence, and Seeds of Beauty recognizes and supports individuals who are using their passion and talent to make the world a more beautiful place. Now more than ever, we are excited to support creators who are powered by kindness, strengthened by generosity, and inspired by beauty.”
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Rosé and summer go hand in hand. Warm weather, lazy beach days and fiery sunsets call for a glass of the pink, but with countless varietals and eye-catching bottles being released each year, it’s hard to know which ones to buy.
That’s why we did the hard part for you and narrowed down the list to these very drinkable—and Instagrammable—rosé wines and champagnes. Get ready to break out the ice bucket and toast to the start of #roséallday season (along with International Rosé Day on June 13), because if there’s one thing you want to sip on the porch, by the pool, or on a roof somewhere in the middle of summer, it’s rosé.
Fleurs de Prairie ($20): One of those wines that gets it right—from the very first sip. “Fleurs de Prairie” means “Wildflowers” in French and we’re wild for it, thanks to its bright, refreshing acidity. The grapes are sourced from select Provençal vineyards, with ideal growing conditions, and the result is delightfully fresh.
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Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits and [ yellow tail ] have pledged to donate $100,000 to José Andrés World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) Chefs for America initiative, a pilot program putting restaurants back to work preparing fresh meals for those in need. Already, Chefs for America has delivered 3.1 million meals to frontline healthcare workers, families and seniors in vulnerable communities. This donation is in addition to the $500,000 [ yellow tail ] already pledged to donate to WCK this year to support wildfire relief efforts in Australia.
For more information on the latest updates of World Central Kitchen’s efforts, please click here.