Small Wineries Find Creative Ways to Thrive

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A real-life David and Goliath battle is brewing in California wine country, as smaller wineries fight to compete against behemoth wine companies–corporations and private equity funds that are changing the face of the West Coast’s wine industry forever with a frenzy of acquisitions.
“2016 will be remembered as one of the busiest years in M&A history for California wine, in terms of numbers of transactions and the amount of high-profile purchases,” says George Coope, an analyst for Zepponi & Company.
Higher wine consumption; consumer interest in more expensive, higher-quality wines (known as “premiumization”); and lower interest rates are among the forces driving the trend. Premiumization is perhaps the most important trend shaping today’s U.S. wine industry, according to Coope.
So how do the small vintners thrive and compete? Some streamline the number of wines offered; others focus on building their wine clubs and relationships with consumers who purchase direct. One California winery has taken an unconventional approach–creating a values-based partnership with a like-minded winery in another part of the world.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery, in Sonoma County, and Champagne AR Lenoble in France, recently announced a new kind of collaboration. This one requires no financial investments; just two family-owned wineries sharing expertise and each other’s wines. Jordan now serves guests who attend Jordan culinary events and winemaker dinners Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble. AR Lenoble also serves Jordan wines to its guests at the winery in the village of Damery. Both wineries take pride in being independent in today’s globalized wine world.
“We believe small, independent businesses like ours are stronger if we stick together,” Antoine Malassagne, winemaker and co-proprietor of AR Lenoble says in a statement. Founded in 1920, AR Lenoble remains one of the few houses in Champagne that is 100-percent independent with no corporate investment.
The Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble will be served at Jordan’s special events and will be available for purchase direct from the winery in spring 2017.
“Sparkling wine is a family tradition we just couldn’t let go of,”says John Jordan, proprietor of Jordan Vineyard & Winery. Jordan Winery has a history with sparkling wine dating back to 1987, when John’s father and sister created J by Jordan sparkling. His sister sold J to the E&J Gallo corporation last year.
“Independent businesses need to be nimble to succeed in an increasingly corporatized industry,” Jordan says. Founded in 1972, Jordan remains independently owned, increasingly less common for established mid-sized wineries in Northern California.

How to Bring Movie Magic Home for the Whole Family

How to Bring Movie Magic Home for the Whole Family

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – From 3-D technology to bold, bright visuals, animated movies continue to get better with time and this upcoming season is no exception. If you’re a fan of animated films starring a new collection of fun, colorful characters for the whole family, there are now more ways than ever to bring your next magical movie experience home after the final credits roll.

* Storybook Lane: If bedtime stories are a nightly ritual in your home, get the little ones involved by creating a storybook station in your living room. When you get home from the movie theater, channel your kids’ excitement over the movie into a creative and educational exercise. Developing homemade storybooks based on their favorite movie characters with added storylines that incorporate their own imagination is a great way to bring the magic of an animated movie home, while encouraging kids to think outside the box and practice writing and artistic skills. Type up and print out their dream story while they act as illustrator to their own personalized story for added fun.

* Mom Time: Animated movie fun isn’t just for kids anymore. If you’re looking for a new favorite online game to help liven up downtime, look no further than games inspired by some of your favorite animated movies. Online games such as “Sandwich Factory,” inspired by Warner Brother’s new movie, Storks, and the family-owned deli meat company, Land O’Frost, are a great way to have more fun with your favorite movies in the comfort of your own home. The game will transport you into an interactive sandwich factory with movie characters: Junior, who appears to “save babies,” and Tulip, who grabs the finished meal from the sandwich maker.

* Chef Corner: Get your kids involved in the kitchen by turning lunchtime into a movie experience. When excitement over a new movie is at its peak, encourage kids to put their chef’s hat on and come up with a custom menu inspired by their favorite characters. Once the menu is set, host a lunch for the whole families where the kids get to play king and queen of the kitchen and share their creation with mom and dad.

To play the “Sandwich Factory,” visit www.landofrost.com/storks-game, and for coupons and more information about Land O’ Frost, visit www.landofrost.com.

 

Bates Family Grows as Daughters Become Moms

Bates Family Grows as Daughters Become Moms

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – What is it about families and reality TV that have us tuning in on a regular basis? Is it watching a family dynamic unfold? Is it the drama? Whatever it is, UP TV’s “Bringing Up Bates” has families hooked.

The series stars the Tennessee-based Bates Family, Gil and Kelly Jo, and their 19 children. Over the course of four seasons, viewers have watched the Bates family experience the joys of marriage proposals to health scares to baby showers, as this ever-growing family continues to navigate life’s triumphs and challenges.

Matriarch Kelly Jo has brought up the Bateses a certain way, but viewers have followed Erin Paine, Whitney Bates and Alyssa Webster in their journey through motherhood as they navigate their own way of parenting. In the final episodes this season, fans will see the much-anticipated arrivals of the two newest Bates grandbabies. For Erin, who has a new lullaby piano album coming out soon, growing up in a large family as one of the older children helped her to learn responsibility at an early age. This, she says, has translated to her everyday life.

“Having a little one that comes running to you for comfort, love, and affection, in addition to giving it, is a priceless treasure,” she says.

Whitney Bates, youngest of the three new moms, admits that as a young mother, she has a lot to learn, but relishes the time she gets to spend with Bradley and Kaci Lynn.

“Being a mother to me means investing in my children’s lives and getting to love them more than you ever imagined was even possible.” For an only child, marrying into a family of 19 can be a bit of a culture shock, but Whitney says at the end of the day, watching the Bates’ interact with one another helped prepare her for motherhood.

“When little problems, loud noises, inconveniences or arguments come up, they [the Bates] learned to work through them,” she says.

As for Alyssa, motherhood, she says, has definitely taken her by surprise.

“I don’t think anyone can ever fully prepare themselves for it [motherhood], but growing up with so many younger siblings was like taking a beginner course on parenting times 10!”

Currently expecting her second child, Alyssa says she hopes to raise a generation that has “character and shows kindness to others,” while accepting the inherent challenges that come with being a parent.

“Motherhood is one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced,” she says, “but it requires a lot of dedication and patience.”

“Bringing Up Bates” airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET on the family-focused network, UP TV.

For more information, please visit www.uptv.com.

 

Easy Ways to Make Your Media Space More Enjoyable

Easy Ways to Make Your Media Space More Enjoyable

(NewsUSA) – The holiday season is right around the corner, which makes this the perfect time to spruce up your home before entertaining friends and family. Whether your guests are coming just to watch the big game or to stay for an extended period of time, your media space will no doubt be a popular gathering spot. The American Lighting Association (ALA) suggests a few ways to enhance everyone’s viewing experience.

No matter what kind of space you have, whether it’s a dedicated media room, a simple TV nook or something in between, the fundamental components are comfort and appropriate lighting. For the majority of homeowners, most media-related activity takes place in a multi-use space, which means the lighting must have the flexibility to go from everyday activities to TV viewing.

“One of the primary design objectives in a media space is to create the ability to achieve multiple and varied types of experiences, and lighting provides the key element to achieve that goal,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, AIA, IES, education consultant for ALA and associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design.

Three necessary elements for the ultimate media viewing experience are the source of light, types and placement of light fixtures, and the use of smart dimmers.

Light source

Keep in mind that natural light from outside is as influential as light from indoor fixtures. Multi-purpose spaces generally have windows, which create the need to control that light during the daytime as well as at night when even minor reflections can be distracting.

Erik Anderson, national sales manager for Lutron Electronics Co., says that when it comes to lighting, “the sun is light bulb number one.” He suggests using motorized shades, which can be retrofitted to an existing window, as a convenient and effective way to manipulate ambient light. It is important to consider where your light is coming from as well as the time of day and season, which affect not only the amount of incoming light, but also the angle and intensity of the light.

Fixture type and placement

The types of fixtures used in a dedicated media room are different from those typically used in a family room. Selecting fixtures for any type of media space can be confusing. To get it right, your best bet is to consult with a professionally trained lighting consultant at an ALA-member showroom.

Smart dimmers

Using dimmers may seem like a no-brainer, especially considering they are easy to install and highly impactful. New wireless smart dimmers simply attach to a wall or sit on a tabletop. Anderson explains that Lutron’s Caséta Wireless dimmers are designed for simple, do-it-yourself installation. The inexpensive devices can be synced with a phone to control the lights, window shades and room temperature from a remote location.

“It can be inconvenient to turn each thing on and off every time you enter or leave a room,” says Anderson. “With Lutron’s Caséta Wireless, you can pre-set it to adjust everything at once, so that it all comes to life with one press of a button.”

For more ideas and advice for improving your media viewing experience while maintaining functionality in your multi-use space, stop by your local ALA-member lighting showroom or visit AmericanLightingAssoc.com.

 

Natural Stone: Discovering New Forms of Art

Natural Stone: Discovering New Forms of Art(NewsUSA) – Art can take on many different shapes and sizes in a variety of media. From watercolor paintings and bronze sculptures to still-life photographs and wood carvings, art can become the focal point of any interior living space. But, what if art could become part of a home’s architecture in unexpected ways? The answer is yes, it can, and it comes in the form of natural stone.

Perhaps it’s the allure of the exotic location from which it originated, or an unusual texture or uncommon color — representing that single event in time illustrating when and how the stone was created. Whether it’s a rare stone that is one in a million or one that was uncovered from the depths of the earth, natural stone can truly make a beautiful and exotic piece of art.

“Mother nature definitely has defined and shared her art with us through her supply of natural stone,” says Tom Harty, director of procurement at Stone Source, a company that specializes in curating natural stone and a member of MIA + BSI: The Natural Stone Institute. “The beautiful and creative veining found in natural stone is like a painting on a canvas.”

Whether natural stone is used to draw attention to a fireplace design, or is carefully selected as a standout countertop in a bathroom, the ways in which it can be used are endless. Some homeowners even enjoy mounting stone slabs on interior walls as pieces of art.

Chris Schulte, president of Las Vegas Rock, Inc., a quarry that concentrates on extracting metaquartzite stone and also a member of MIA + BSI, explains that the company’s “rainbow gardens” offer a multitude of natural stone colors ranging from purples and reds to yellows and browns. Some of these stones are so beautiful, they can stand alone as art. “We have many customers who have purchased slabs as wall art,” he says. “In fact, in the cities of Henderson, Nevada and Las Vegas, government buildings have slabs of metaquartzite displayed on the walls.”

Onyx is another type of exotic natural stone that can be used in artful ways. “The translucent character of many onyxes lends them to be backlit and incorporated as decorative pieces,” says Harty. In fact, popular uses of onyx include bar backsplashes, built-in wall cabinets, bathroom countertops, staircases, and fireplaces.

Those who find beauty in nature might see natural stone as more than just another building material; they see it as a unique piece of fine art. For more information about natural stone, visit www.usenaturalstone.com.

 

Streaming Content Box Cuts Your Cable and Costs

Streaming Content Box Cuts Your Cable and Costs

(NewsUSA) – Cable TV? That was so three years ago.

These days, consumers are opting to cut the cable cord and stream their TV live.

According to a study by Deloitte in Nov. 2014, the stronghold that cable, satellite and telecommunications companies have held over TV programming is giving way to subscription streaming services and products that use this platform.

Some common complaints and reasons for dropping cable service include the high cost of packages, having to watch programs when they are aired, and the inconvenience of multiple desirable shows airing at once.

While cable subscribers have cited live sports as a reason to stick with traditional cable, various professional sports organizations are detecting the shift away from this model, as noted by the NFL’s recent interest in providing streaming content to its consumers.

“The NFL has always been committed to being at the forefront of media innovation,” says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “[W]e are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape.”

To this end, one company is doing its best to lure customers away from their cable boxes and satellite dishes and, to date, the virtual monopoly that has been in place.

ZUMMBOX 2.0 is a 4K streaming media player with a built-in digital antenna, which allows users to enjoy all of their traditional streaming content, while providing access to free television programming.

The way it works is this: the box essentially serves as a content- aggregating device, featuring a built-in app store, allowing consumers to download a variety of apps and other software that provides access to a diverse range of TV shows, movies, sports, gaming, podcasts, and radio.

Other key features include voice command recognition, Bluetooth compatibility, built-in DVR, and an optical import for surround sound, as well as four USB ports and three memory options.

For parents who are concerned about certain programming, the device includes a parental control feature and complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The device also complies with the Online Privacy Protection Act, and does not distribute personal information to outside parties without the consent of the user.

Unlike its competitors, there is no contract, no monthly fees and a two-year warranty. The product is available for a one-time payment of $159 and available online exclusively at Fundingotc.com.

Zumm and the creators of the ZUMMBOX 2.0 have been working with Fundingotc.com, a unique full-service crowdfunding platform, to help launch this device.

The difference between Fundingotc.com and other crowdfunding sites is that, instead of a large quantity of campaigns with questionable viability and best efforts deliverables, Fundingotc.com only posts time-to-market technologies and opportunities that have been proven to deliver.

“Time-to-market” means that the companies and products offered on this platform are already tested and past the initial development stage. Fundingotc.com also provides access to extensive marketing capabilities spanning print, radio, TV, affiliate marketing and other media outlets.

Fundingotc.com clients receive full service from copy and posting, to media and advertising. So unlike every other crowdfunding platform, they work to drive traffic to client campaigns.

 

Continue reading “Streaming Content Box Cuts Your Cable and Costs”

The Dream Vacation Tour for Beatlemaniacs

(NewsUSA) – If you were one of the 73 million Americans who tuned in to “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 as the Beatles irrevocably changed rock ’n’ roll, prepare yourself for perhaps the perfect vacation idea.

Did you embrace Beatlemania and never look back? If the answer is an enthusiastic “Yes,” the CIE Tours’ “Icons of Britain” may knock your Paul-loving socks off. While it’s not quite All Beatles, All The Time, the tour has several other must-sees in London, Scotland and Wales. One big draw is seeing where the Fab Four got their start and recapturing what’s described as “the fevered feel of the early ’60s in Liverpool.”

Here’s some of what you’ll see:

•    The Beatles’ Boyhood Homes. It’s easy to imagine the teenaged Paul and John writing the lyrics to “I Saw Her Standing There” in the living room of the future Sir Paul McCartney’s humble 20 Forthlin Road house. As McCartney recalled: “I’d start off with ‘She was just 17, she’d never been a beauty queen.’ And he’d be like, ‘Oh no, that’s useless.’”

•    The Cavern Club. Still a live-music venue today, the club hosted the Beatles 292 times. It’s especially packed when a tribute band dons mop-tops and “yeah, yeahs” their hearts out. There was supposed to be a 293rd time—promised by manager Brian Epstein before the group ventured to America—but it never happened.

•    Jaw-Dropping Castles. You will glimpse inside The Queen’s official residence, Windsor Castle, including recent—and possibly juicy—tidbits from a local tour guide about the goings-on there. Furthermore, a boisterous evening banquet at Cardiff Castle will explain what’s meant by “Welsh hospitality.”

•    The Beatles Story. Nestled in the heart of Liverpool’s revitalized wharf district, this state-of-the-art attraction includes a behind-the-scenes look at Abbey Road Studios, an underwater trip on the Yellow Submarine and a “Fab 4D” extravaganza that uses the latest technology to bring the group’s music to life.

•    A Taste of Scotland. Adventurous eaters can enjoy a dinner of Scottish specialties—including the infamous haggis—and a lively show featuring songs, stories and a display of traditional step-dancing.

If You Go: The respected CIE Tours has escorted millions of Americans on motorcoach tours of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for more than 81 years. For more information on the fully inclusive “Icons of Britain” package, contact your travel agent, or call CIE at 1-800-243-8687 or visit www.cietours.com.

Online Platform Promotes Partnerships Between Businesses and Investors

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Historically, specialty businesses had limited ability to expand beyond their immediate geographic region. However, current technology allows such businesses to promote themselves to a larger audience. Touch Up Teak is one example of how successful online investment partnerships can grow a business.
Touch Up Teak, based in Hollywood, Florida, provides a full range of services for preservation, repair, restoration and maintenance of exotic wood used for high-end furniture, home decor, decks and other areas requiring style and durability. The company also serves the resort and restaurant industries, and the yachting/boating community.
“I have wanted to expand for some time into markets beyond Florida,” Touch Up Teak CEO Paul Murray noted. “We decided to list our offering on the internet, and wanted to make sure we could reach as many possible capital sources in the most efficient and cost-effective manner we could.” To help expand its business, the company used DPOUSA, an online financial platform that makes information about up-and-coming businesses available to potential investors at any time, day or night. DPOUSA is visible to the public, and also maintains a growing database of 30,000 investors with over $500 billion in investment-ready capital.
“Since listing, we have begun discussions with accredited investors who just happen to own yachts, and see the value our business brings,” Murray said.
Touch Up Teak maintains additional facilities in Miami and Naples, but the company’s management has plans to expand the services offered and the geographic areas served, starting with high-end southeast markets in Orlando. Such expansion will require capital for facilities, marketing and advertising, and the company hopes to partner with additional investors online via DPOUSA.
As part of the expansion plans, Touch Up Teak has developed proprietary wood-finishing and restoration technologies tailored to the high-end woods used in demanding applications such as high-gloss yacht finishing and interior/exterior patio furniture, trim and decking. As an exotic-wood specialty company, Touch Up Teak is qualified to restore and maintain many different species of hard and soft woods including teak, ipe, walnut, mahogany, cypress, tiger, Patagonian rosewood, cumaru, burl and bubinga.
“Now that we have engaged in discussions with investors, our future expansion plans in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern California are closer to becoming a reality,” said Murray.
For more information about Touch Up Teak, please visit touchupteak.com. For details about how DPOUSA provides online investment opportunities for Touch Up Teak and similar companies, visit www.dpousa.com.

Decorating to Make Your Holidays Sparkle

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We all have a neighbor who goes overboard with the novelty outdoor lights around the holidays, but what if you want a more subtle, sophisticated approach to herald the season? The American Lighting Association (ALA) offers some proven tips for holiday decorating with refined style, inside and out.
First of all, consider a grand entrance. Adding a few easy-to-install landscape uplights to highlight trees and shrubs, or path lighting to illuminate a sidewalk or driveway, will immediately add a sense of elegance and sophistication.
Once your company comes inside, it’s really time to shine. Little touches can inspire a cheery mood and make guests feel comfortable and merry.
“Decorating for the holidays doesn’t always have to be sparkles and glitz,” says Bruce Hathaway, national sales manager for the Vermont-based lighting manufacturer Hubbardton Forge. “Sometimes a little understatement goes a long way.
“Entertaining in your home involves managing the flow of a room, so be careful not to over-clutter the space -; especially when you’re hosting a group of people,” says Hathaway. “Recessed lighting should be dimmed, and accent and cove lighting should be used to create highlights and drama. And don’t forget that portable table and floor lamps help set the perfect stage.”
Focus attention on a tree and other holiday decorations with portable spotlights. These small, inexpensive fixtures are available at most ALA-member showrooms and can usually accommodate a tabletop dimmer. Create pretty silhouettes by placing a spotlight beneath a Christmas tree so that it shines up through the branches. For an especially warm and intimate feel, shine a spotlight toward framed photos of family members and past holiday gatherings, and fill a corner with a basket of children’s holiday books.
One easy and quick change that will have maximum impact is to switch out a few lampshades. Replacing a neutral lampshade with one that is red or gold will soften the light and create a holiday atmosphere. Try adding a few shade charms, available at many craft stores, to add some sparkle and fun. You can even buy an inexpensive plain shade and decorate it with whatever suits your style and particular occasion.
Visit your local ALA-member lighting showroom to discover all the items and expertise you need to make simple, low-cost changes to make your home beautiful and inviting. For more information about all aspects of home lighting, go to www.AmericanLightingAssociation.com.

3 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The number of children who read digitally is on the rise, according to a report called “The Children’s Digital Book Market: The future looks bright.” In both the U.S. and Canada, e-book sales for children have increased substantially for some companies. No matter how you may feel about digital books, this is great news.
More kids reading is always good news — especially when reading achievement levels are so abysmal. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress says that only one-third of all students entering high school are proficient in reading.
It’s no secret that children who read tend to be more successful in school. Reading helps instill an interest in learning, exercises the brain and improves concentration, critical thinking and vocabulary.
“As a parent of three, I’m constantly looking for new ways to encourage the love of reading in my kids. At the same time, I am also trying to manage the amount of time that they spend on electronics and in front of screens,” said Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer of Kobo Inc., an e-reading service. “Even with a range of ages, they have all found books they like, so the e-readers in our house are now filled with Percy Jackson, Emily Windsnap and Geronimo Stilton.”
Use the following tips to encourage youngsters to read more and enjoy it.
1. Read to children as much as possible. This may seem obvious, but reading to your kids helps them develop their own interest in books. Read to them at all ages, as babies, toddlers, young kids and pre-teens. Discover what types of books they prefer, carve out reading time and then teach them to make time for it, too.
2. Consider using an e-reader. These days, kids tend to be more technologically advanced than their parents. Use that to your advantage, and give your child an e-reader with a digital library.
For instance, the Kobo Mini eReader is lightweight, portable and perfect for first-time
readers — The Huffington Post says it’s lighter than this week’s issue of The New Yorker. The Kobo Mini (www.kobo.com/kobomini) also has a touch-screen and Wi-Fi, so young readers can look up unfamiliar words, make notes on the page and access free books.
“E-readers, like Mini, let them have instant access to their favorite stories without the distractions that other devices provide,” says Tamblyn.
3. Read all kinds of materials. Books aren’t the only way to encourage reading. Depending on your child’s interests, find related comic books, graphic novels, magazines, poetry, recipes, board games with reading cards and movies with subtitles. Get creative!