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Go for Gusto!

September 06, 2000

From Times Wire Services — The nation's first widely circulated Latino cooking magazine will hit newsstands early next year. Gusto!, which will debut in April 2001, is a project by Cooking Light, the nation's largest food magazine.

Dills Dissed in Minnesota

When Doris Rubenstein visited the preserves section of the Minnesota State Fair and saw that her kosher dill pickles had been set aside in a section marked "disqualified," she demanded to know why.

"Because the water's cloudy," the judges replied. Well, she replied back, that's because--being true kosher dills--they're made without vinegar, they're fermented in a brine. And the liquid is always cloudy. "This was all news to these ladies, who all have names like Johnson and Olson," Rubenstein told Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Doug Grow, who has written several stories on the issue.

Furthermore, "I saw other names on the jars of pickles that had been disqualified--they were all identifiable Jewish names. So, right there I picked up my pickles and opened them. I said, 'Here, take a bite. I'm going to prove to you these are delicious.' They took a taste and said, 'Why, we have never tasted pickles like these. Very good. Delicious.' "

Because of the controversy, Rubenstein has been invited to appear on a variety of radio and television shows in New York and Chicago, including "Moral Court." The state fair, meanwhile, says no offense was intended. "It just looks like a spoiled pickle when compared to all of the standard dills of Minnesota." And next year it is considering adding a separate category for real kosher dill pickles.

New Use for Campaign Speeches

Researchers at the University of Florida say they've found a way to protect against harmful bacteria in food without resorting to taste-spoiling pasteurization. A story in the Washington Post says that a 10-minute treatment with pressurized carbon dioxide eliminated populations of E. coli, salmonella and listeria in samples of fruit juice.

What's in a Napa?

Any wine with "Napa" on the label must be made from at least 75% Napa Valley grapes, according to a new law passed by the California Legislature. That has always been true for point-of-origin labeling, the sometimes easy-to-overlook line on the label that tells where the grapes come from. But there was a loophole that allowed the use of Napa in other ways, including brand names.

What prompted the new law was Bronco Wine Co.'s purchase of Beringer's Napa Ridge label. Bronco, a Central Valley-based bottler of primarily jug wines, argued in essence that using Napa on the label was intended to be more poetically evocative than legally descriptive. Hence, it made perfect sense to the company to have Napa Ridge wines made mostly from grapes grown in, say, Modesto.

This has been an issue for Bronco before. Earlier in the month it settled another case involving its Napa Creek and Rutherford Vineyards labels for $750,000. And in 1994, it paid a $2.5-million fine for selling other mislabeled wines.

The new law applies to the use of the word Napa in any brand name, packaging material or advertising. Pushed by the Napa Valley Vintner's Assn., it does not similarly protect any other place. Sonoma Ridge, anyone?

Wine Bombs in London

Vinopolis, the oenophile's theme park that opened with such a big splash in London last year, is experiencing growing pains. The Financial Times reports that almost the entire board of directors was replaced last month. Wineworld London, the company that runs it, is going through a restructuring aimed at severely cutting costs after attendance failed to measure up to expectations.

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