High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace

High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace – Liz Palmer

This traditional afternoon tea is surrounded by over 300 years of royal history.

A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with my daughter and daughter-in-law devouring a lovely selection of finger sandwiches, tea cakes, scones, jam and clotted cream.  We chose the ever-popular Earl Grey Blue Flower tea and a flute of champagne to sip while overlooking the manicured gardens at Kensington Palace.

We all had a taste of what it’s like to be a royal!  Great experience and highly recommend it.

The History of Afternoon Tea

Prior to the introduction of high tea into Britain, the English had two main meals: breakfast and dinner. By the middle of the 18th century, dinner for the upper and middle classes had shifted from noon to an evening meal served at a fashionably late hour. This did not suit the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857). She seemed to suffer from ‘a sinking feeling’ at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few bread stuffs but then began inviting friends to join her at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course, tea. The summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London and high tea was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

Wine Origins Alliance Welcomes Missouri Wine & Grape Board (US) and Yamanashi Wineries Association (Japan)

The Wine Origins Alliance announced March 17th that the Missouri Wine & Grape Board (United States) and Yamanashi Wineries Association (Japan) joined their global efforts to protect wine place names. The Alliance now includes 25 members representing wine regions in 10 countries spanning North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. It welcomed its newest members at a meeting during the ProWein trade fair, where members discussed ways to continue to push governments to recognize the distinctiveness and value of wine regions to the global economy and the need to legally protect the names of these regions.

“As the home of the oldest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the United States, Missouri has long known that unique places produce unique wines,” said Jim Anderson, executive director of the Missouri Wine & Grape Board. “We are proud to join alongside our colleagues from around the United States and indeed the world in the important fight to ensure that all wine region names are protected and not abused. We look forward to championing our efforts with our Missouri representatives and those in Washington.”

In early 2018, the Wine Origins Alliance released a consumer survey that found that 94 percent of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from misleading wine labels. The survey, conducted by GBA Strategies from February 6-13, 2018, interviewed 800 American wine drinkers. The group also released a short film featuring winemakers explaining how the complete environment of a wine region’s location makes their wines unique.

“Yamanashi is the first recognized geographical indication by the Japanese government. Since 1874, we have produced great wines that cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world,” said Shigekazu Misawa, Vice Chairman of the Yamanashi Wineries Association. “Yamanashi stands with its global partners to send a clear message that when it comes to wine, location matters. We look forward to telling our story beyond the Japanese borders and to governments across the globe.”

Since 2005, the Wine Origins Alliance efforts have led to increased attention around the protection of wine place names. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution, S. Res. 649, acknowledging the distinctiveness of American wine regions and AVA’s and the contributions they provide to the U.S. and global economy. In 2019, the Alliance will work to get a similar resolution passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Wine Origins Alliance, previously known as the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin, works to ensure wine region names are protected and not abused or miscommunicated to consumers worldwide. Members represent regions in Barossa, Bordeaux, Bourgogne/Chablis, British Columbia, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Long Island, McLaren Vale, Missouri, Napa Valley, Oregon, Paso Robles, Porto, Rioja, Santa Barbara County, Sonoma County, Texas, Tokaj, Victoria, Walla Walla Valley, Washington state, Willamette Valley, Western Australia and Yamanashi. For more information, visit origins.wine or follow the Alliance on Twitter and Facebook.

IronGate.Wine becomes the first online wine retailer to accept cryptocurrency

IronGate.Wine, a leading online retailer of private, rare wine collections, has announced that they have completed testing and will immediately begin accepting Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as payment methods for their online inventory of vintage wine. Utilizing the processing system provided by BitPay, IronGate.Wine will allow buyers from all over the world to shop for vintage wine from the cellars of private collectors using this form of currency.

“We are very excited to be the first online retailer of our kind to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for the incredible wines that we have available,” said IronGate.Wine President, Warren Porter. “Our research has shown that the adoption of cryptocurrency is on the rise and we want our customers to be able to use whatever payment form they prefer. We view Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash as a currency, not unlike the Dollar or Euro and know that our customers would like the option of spending it on this luxury item.”

Porter continued, “aside from convenience, the fraud-proof nature of crypto compared to credit cards will completely eliminate fraudulent transactions. In addition, accepting crypto payments greatly decreases our processing fees compared to credit cards. IronGate.Wine is consistently one of the lowest-priced providers in the United States of fine and rare wine, but we can be even more competitive by further reducing our processing costs by several percentage points.”

“Bitcoin is a global currency and will allow international buyers to purchase wine cheaper and more quickly than credit cards and bank wires,” said Sonny Singh, Chief Commercial Officer at BitPay. “One of the biggest headaches merchants have today is chargebacks, and for online merchants this headache is compounded with the added risks of identity theft and fraud. BitPay leverages the promise cryptocurrency provides with transactional transparency. It is impossible to use cryptocurrency for fraud as every transaction is verified, recorded and stored on the blockchain. Further, as a push transaction, similar to taking cash out of a wallet, the user sends the exact amount of Bitcoin needed to pay the bill. This eliminates traditional credit card fraud and identity theft risks associated with credit cards. As a result, there are no chargebacks.”

In addition to Bitcoin, IronGate.Wine accepts all major credit cards, ACH and wire transactions, and will soon be expanding to accept AliPay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay to round out the most comprehensive array of payment options in the industry.

Based in upstate New York and shipping worldwide, IronGate.Wine is an online retailer of vintage wines meticulously sourced from private collectors throughout the United States and Canada. Currently, there are over 2,500  unique wines available for purchase through the website, which will grow to over 4,000 in the next four weeks.

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 2019 at NEO Exchange – Toronto

It was thrilled to attend the #internationalwomensday2019 event at NEO Exchange last week. Many inspiring speeches by Jos Schmit, CEO and President NEO Exchange, Anne Le Guellec, Consul General of the Netherlands and Deborah Frame, CFA – Co-Head Women in ETF.  Followed by an outstanding panel discussing investing in Gender Diversity.  Topics discussed and debated were: women on boards, what public disclosures are required to evaluate companies on GD, and Canadian ETF providers who introduced gender-focused investment products and their performance. Panel participants included: Clare O’Hara, Moderator, Jennifer So, Lindsay Patrick, Florence Narine and Raj Lala.

A Special Congratulations to Heather Zordel who was recently appointed Commissioner at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)!

#iwd2019 #genderdiversity #etfs #fairness #equality #diversitymatters #womenonbaystreet #baystreet #speakup #womenonboards #bebold

Meredith uses AI to sell wine

Meredith Corporation the US largest brand-powered food, lifestyle and entertainment media company, and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the third-largest premium wine company in the U.S., are exclusively partnering to position the remarkably broad and deep Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio as the perfect wine pairings of choice through the use of Meredith’s smart technology capabilities, including proprietary first-party data, real-time consumer insights and predictive advertising capabilities. This alliance marks the first time a major advertiser has joined forces with Meredith to create and deliver a program rooted in artificial intelligence.

The program taps machine learning techniques to automatically classify recipes on Allrecipes, the world’s largest recipe site with a reach of 55 million consumers, and the diverse wines in the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates portfolio. An AI-based algorithm then combines the classifications to automatically generate specific wine pairings for each recipe. Suggested pairings appear adjacent to recipes and are automatically linked directly to local grocery stores or to e-commerce partners such as Instacart and Amazon Fresh for fulfillment using Meredith’s proprietary Shopper Marketing platform. Automated wine and side dish pairings can also appear in interactive meal plans which permit users to customize various elements of the meal based on their personal preferences.

Real-time insights generated from this program include user location store proximity, impressions by channel, trending products and trending recipes to help create usage occasions that reinforce the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates wines of choice, keeping the brand top of mind for all entertaining purposes. As part of the campaign, high-impact and targeted media also engages users with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates across Meredith platforms, including strategic video alignments, custom native content, high-impact media and editorial sponsorships.

“We are very excited to partner with Meredith to accelerate consumer engagement with our portfolio of world-class wines,” said Jim Mortensen, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “This data-driven approach represents a smarter, more impactful, results-oriented form of advertising, allowing us to reach high-value consumers at the point at which their wine purchasing decisions are made.”

Corbin deRubertis, Head of Innovation for Meredith, commented, “Consumers are increasingly expecting media platforms to do more than just present search results. They’re gravitating to smart platforms that take into account all available data to make intelligent recommendations. Picking the perfect wine to pair with a new dish is exactly the type of challenge we can solve at scale, and we’ve combined our deep, first-party insights, including our unparalleled context taxonomies, with new machine learning and AI techniques to deliver a next-generation consumer experience that also drives brand equity and product purchase for our client.”

In addition to investing with Allrecipes, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates will leverage Meredith’s scale by extending its exclusive partnership across the company’s O&O assets. Meredith owns the largest premium content digital network for American consumers, reaching 175MM engaged consumers across its platforms.