Hands up I can’t breathe – Steel Pulse

Some of you know me as a music fan and very much a Reggae fan, especially the old schools guys. Steel Pulse is on that ‘old school’ list and they just put out a brand new single reflecting what has happened in the recent police brutality cases of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. Rather than listening to me pontificate on the subject, let’s have Steel Pulse teach us…


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As a naturalized American, even though I grew up with lots of American kids going to American schools while living overseas, there are things about this culture I did not experience until after arriving for college in 1984. Having grown up around American kids, be it overseas, I got a really good immersion into everything and anything American. I was hooked; from Levi’s to, Pabst Blue Ribbon, to the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and let’s not forget about American girls. Taking all that into account I eventually became an American by choice.

Having grown up on 3 continents and traveled a chunck of the world at at early age opened my horizons. Part of that awakening in my late teens and after several trips to the US, I made up my mind that braving it alone in America and seeking my own American Dream was the way to go. If you’re willing to study, get a college degree, play hard, work hard and diligently taking advantage all that this country still has to offer, you just may make it. As part of that can-do American attitude that is inherent even in most immigrants that land on these shores, is the need to pause and appreciate what we have a be Thankful. Having grown up overseas, as mentioned the one truly American holiday I did not experience or remotely appreciate in full is Thanksgiving.

I met my wife in college, at Hofstra University. She’s a Jersey girl and obviously so are (and then some) our daughters. My wife and I had been together for almost a full year when I got dragged to my mother-in-laws for my first experience of “The American Thanksgiving”. My mother-in-law took over the tradition from her mother and with some variations in the yearly size of the crowd, she still hosts that Thanksgiving big time, just like she will this Thursday. this year, by the sound of it the crowd will be smaller than usual, about 28 by last count, but we’ve had as many as 52. Wow?! Yeah, right? Family comes from Massachusetts, upstate NY, Georgia, Indiana, all over. Enough food and grog to satisfy and entire village. Yet despite the bacchanal, one of the best parts of the day is seeing family and good friends that perhaps we would love to see more often, as life and distance gets in the way. No matter who we are, as Americans on Thanksgiving Day we get together to acknowledge how thankful we are for what we have and celebrate that with family and friends.

I’m thankful for my beautiful and smart daughters, my lovely wife, my Mom and Dad, my wonderful in-laws, family, friends, I’m thankful that I own my own business doing what I love to do, still moving forward, thankful that I get to pop wine corks almost every day, thankful for the roof over my head, that I get to fly-fish and spend time with friends once in a whwile, that I get to enjoy NYC and what the tri-state area has to offer and certainly thankful for all the opportunities America has offered and continues to offer me. I’ve learned to celebrate Thanksgiving for what it truly is, with family. Shopping is not a part of it…

Looking forward to a long and enjoyable weekend. Have fun, be safe.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Welcoming the Marcato family & their wines

In searching for wines to start the Italian part of the Rad Grapes portfolio we got really, really lucky. What can I say, sometimes you just step into it…Basically Goran and Dejan from Vino et Spiritus us. They have a killer little portfolio of artisanal wines from Italy and Spain. I tasted through a bunch of the wines they import and loved most of them. How lucky for us, that they were looking for a NY distributor. Cool!

As an important part of the Vino et Spiritus portfolio is their partnership with the Marcato Family they represent 3 separate Veneto estates owned by Marcato Vini; iPrandi from the Soave are just east of Verona; La Giareta from the Colli Berici appellation and Vigne Lissini. We are proud and honored to be the NY brand Ambassadors for the Marcato family.

Rad Grapes started distributing a number of Marcato family wines in NY as of September 1st, starting with iPrandi Soave 2013, iPrandi Pinot Nero 2013 along with La Giareta Pinot Grigio 2013 and La Giareta Cabernet Franc 2011. All 4 wines have been selling very well. The wines are all incredibly tasty and affordably priced between $12 and $18 per bottle. I’m personally partial to the Soave and the Cabernet Franc, but that’s just to pick two of my faves. The Pinot Grigio and the Pinot Nero are just as delicious…we just all have our favorites. Don’t we? Heck, they are all selling!

In addition to that we will be featuring some of the higher end wines, like the Marcato Cru Soave Classico “Il Pigno” 2012 and the Lessini Durello 36 mesi Brut Metodo Classico for the month December only at Eataly in NYC.

As the situation allows, I expect to add a number for other Marcato family wines to our portfolio in the near future.

More news on several other new Italian wines and producers soon.


Posted in New Wines, New York, Rad Grapes News, Wine Apellations, Wine Business News, Wines Tasted | 2 Comments

John Maynard Keynes Is the Economist the World Needs Now

Is there a doctor in the house? The global economy is failing to thrive, and its caretakers are fumbling. Greece took its medicine as instructed and was rewarded with an unemployment rate of 26 percent. Portugal obeyed the budget rules; its citizens are looking for jobs in Angola and Mozambique because there are so few at home. Germans are feeling anemic despite their massive trade surplus. In the U.S., the income of a median household adjusted for inflation is 3 percent lower than at the worst point of the 2007-09 recession, according to Sentier Research. Whatever medicine is being doled out isn’t working. Citigroup (C) Chief Economist Willem Buiter recently described the Bank of England’s policy as “an intellectual potpourri of factoids, partial theories, empirical regularities without firm theoretical foundations, hunches, intuitions, and half-developed insights.” And that, he said, is better than things countries are trying elsewhere.
There is a doctor in the house, and his prescriptions are more relevant than ever. True, he’s been dead since 1946. But even in the past tense, the British economist, investor, and civil servant John Maynard Keynes has more to teach us about how to save the global economy than an army of modern Ph.D.s equipped with models of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium.



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U.N. Climate Change Report Sees Risks Of Irreversible Damage

Have we gone past the point of no return? Listening to ignorant people who continually bury their heads in sand (conservatives) is going to mean the end of us all.

This article from the Business Insider spells it our in plain English – Unless we start making drastic changes on a mass scale, we and our planet are SCREWED!

“Climate change may have “serious, pervasive and irreversible” impacts on human society and nature, according to a draft U.N. report due for approval this week that says governments still have time to avert the worst.

Delegates from more than 100 governments and top scientists meet in Copenhagen on Oct 27-31 to edit the report, meant as the main guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to fight climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015.

Many governments want the 32-page draft to be more clearly and punchily written in warnings of more powerful storms, heat waves, floods and rising seas. The United States said some tables “may be impenetrable to the policymaker or public”.

In a paragraph summing up the risks, the draft says that a continued rise in world greenhouse gas emissions is “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

It adds that “a combination of adaptation and substantial, sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can limit climate change risks.”



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Even normal rain won’t end California drought, expert says

“California will likely remain in a drought this winter even if most areas receive normal rainfall, according to an expert from the federal Climate Prediction Center. The center issued its annual winter outlook, which predicts warmer weather throughout the West and less winter rain than normal in the Pacific Northwest.”
No matter how you slice it, this is very concerning for the people and the grapes in California…
Read the rest of the article…
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Why it’s so agonizingly painful to be a NY Jets fan

We support & root for our favorite sports teams to get away from life’s hardships, pitfalls, let downs & day to day humdrum. Not Jets fans…we watch our team play for the last 40+ years and that seems more painful and depressing than life itself. Why? Why are the Jets so bad continuously? Why do we masochists keep watching and supporting this team?

Last night’s game against the Patriots was ‘the same old Jets’ all over again; in the 1st half we had 4 drives into New England red zone and the best we could muster was 4 field goals. Our defense, as lauded as it was under Rex Ryan has repeatedly given up 90+ yard drives for scores, as they did yesterday. The ‘heart attack Jets’ were at it again with seconds to go, raising hopes of desperate Jets fans, that maybe we had a shot. Calls by the refs don’t have a habit of going our way. Patriots should have been flagged for illegal formation on the last second field goal attempt by the Jets, but alas, those calls either don’t get made favoring the Jets or they get bungled by the refs.

Look, we didn’t lose yesterday because of the blocked field goal, we lost because we can’t score touchdowns and our red zone offense is a joke. We suck. You will hear ‘Jets suck’ more often than not from die hard Jets fans that just keep on suffering. We support a team that doesn’t give us joy, but stress & heart burn…it’s like the Stockholm Syndrome – we get abused regularly and yet we keep going back for more. Stupid mental mistakes, horrendously bad penalties, ineptitude, inconsistency and just ugly football, that’s the Jets for ya…

The real problem with the Jets has been utterly inept ownership. Hess was a mess and Woody Johnson is worse – rich, spoiled brat with boatloads of money and no clue of how a successful football team must be run. Clueless owners hire even more clueless General Managers. Look at the team Woody Johnson and John Idzik are fielding and the one question that keeps popping up is, why do the Jets still have $24 million under the cap not spent on players the team obviously needs? Why do we put up with a GM who has one draft pick  form the last two years playing – Sheldon Richardson, as good as he is proves how inept our GM is and what a waste the 12 picks we had from the NFL draft were. Not one is playing…most didn’t even make the team.

I’ve had it. Woody Johnson can charge the highest PSL and ticket prices in the NFL and all we get is a garbage team? I am shocked that Jets fans have not walked away en masse from the PSL’s and stuck it the clueless owner. How does he sleep at night? He must have no shame showing his face in public? I’m done supporting this team blindly. It’s just not good for my health. I will still go to a couple of games and enjoy the tailgate like I usually do, but I’m making more Sunday time to fly fishing more – a much more relaxing, cheaper, enjoyable and healthy alternative than watching the ‘heart attack Jets’. It’s become too painful and football is supposed to be a fun pass time – it has gone way beyond being that for Jets fans. I don’t see why we should support a team that at this point doesn’t look like they can beat anyone, but themselves. There’s only so much this Jets fan cane take. Woody, you can the shove the tickets…

added note: Percy Harvin trade is great, but why now? we’re 1-6, for crying out loud! Idzik couldn’t have made a move two, maybe three weeks ago?

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Stonedwino server crashed…now back up!

The Stonedwino server became unresponsive ( LOL!!) a few weeks back. I suspected it was the motherboard, but felt that such technical diagnostics should be left to the pros, so I called in my buddy Josh. He did his thing and figured out that it was indeed the motherboard. Since all else seemed to be working just fine on the server a few hundred bucks seemed like a fair deal to get the server back up and running.


I got the server back about two weeks ago, but have been having a hard time getting the NetBios updated, slearing the ACH Cache, and messing with some settings to get it all right. After several false starts, the Stonedwino server seems to be functioning again. As you can see the blog is back up, but I’m still finding a few things not quite up to par with the actual server, but I guess it will have to do for now. I will get the rest cleaned up eventually.


There’s quite a few new wines that have arrived and new happenings to post about. Hopefully I can get to a few posts this weekend.



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More wines from the Medditerranean

We’ve been actively looking to expand our old world portfolio, especially Spanish and Italian wines for some time. In that quest, I have tasted quite a few wines over the last few years and few seemed to click. Sometimes you get lucky…

A few months back I was contacted by a fellow Serbian, who it turns out is doing just about the same thing I do, with his partner, except their wine portfolio is mostly Italian, some Spanish and Serbian wines. They were looking to expand their reach as an importer, looking for distribution partners in NY and NJ. Well, how about that?

Vino et Spiritus is based out of Illinois and has a wonderful portfolio of quality artisanal wines, at very good prices. To me the key is always to taste the wines and see what they have to offer. Dejan sent us two cases of samples earlier in the summer. We tasted all the wines over a period of several days and were very pleasantly surprised by the quality, almost entirely across the board, when it comes to both the Italian and Spanish wines. It seemed almost too good too good to be true. Almost. Sometimes you get lucky…

Do you have any idea how long it would take me to put together a nice little Italian portfolio with 7-8 producers? Fuggedaboutit! Vino et Spiritus to the rescue. If Rad Grapes is to jump into selling Italian wines for the first time, we had to make sure we had the right quality, price variety and producers. The same applies for expanding our Spanish portfolio and we found a few wines to fill that void as well. The wines have finally arrived and we have just started selling them this week.

These are the brand new additions to our NY and NJ portfolio from Vino et Spiritus (forgot to mention that it looks like we will finally start selling in NJ next month too. minor detail…LOL) :

Colognole Chianti Rufina DOCG

La Giareta Pinot Grigio and Cab Franc

iPrandi Soave and Pinot Nero

Nicante Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

Musella Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso

Tantas Riber del Duero Barrica

Senorio de Rubios Albarino

Pago Dominio de Tharsys Cava Brut Nature


I’ve taken out all of the above listed wines over the last couple of days and they are all showing magnificently. The winners so far are the iPrandi Soave, La Giareta Pinot Noir, Dominio de Tharsys Cava and the Ripasso. I will hopefully get the chance to cover all the wines one by one, in detail at some point. We will most likely be adding some more Italian wines, including a great Barbera from Villa Giada soon. Beyond that there some more interesting Spanish wines and some great VALUE priced Serbian wines – I’ve vented before how most good Serbian wines available in the US, are overpriced, so it is going to be awesome to bring in some well priced wines from the motherland.


Posted in New Jersey, New Wines, New York, Rad Grapes News, Wine Apellations, Wine Business News, Wines Tasted | Leave a comment

New wines from the Languedoc – Domaine de Cabrials

We have represented a number of wines from Bob Shack at HB Wine Merchants over the years and most have sold rather successfully. Bob has been practicing the art of hand picking well priced artisanal wines and lately almost every wine of his we have added to our NY portfolio has done very well. That is also the case with the latest additions from Domaine de Cabrials in a 2013 Chardonnay and 2013 Pinot Noir from their Beziers estate.

Located in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon, Domaine de Cabrials lies on chalk and clay terraces just to the west of the town of Béziers. The domaine mansion was built in the 19th Century on the site of a medieval château, which is still occupied and its large vineyard farmed by Benard Julien. The domaine has a beautiful 19th century cellar with huge oak casks, today used for the ageing and storage of the wines.

Domaine de Cabrials 2013 Pinot Noir

Domaine de Cabrials 2013 Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes

The Chardonnay is elegant, with crisp apple, pear and citrus fruits, with a medium bodied, slightly creamy mid-palate and a long refreshing finish helped along with the firm acidity.

The Pinot Noir is elegant, perfumed, with red cherry fruit, silky tannins and lingering finish again balanced with great acidity that is almost reminiscent of a Cotes de Nuits.


We have been selling both wines for the last two months and have had universally good feedback. Both wines retail for about $14 per bottle. A steal. More great value priced wines…How Rad are Your Grapes?




Posted in New Wines, New York, Rad Grapes News, Wine Apellations, Wines Tasted | 1 Comment