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hope for haiti

Three items of note and certainly link-worthy:

  1. My very good friend Jeanne is organising H2Ope for Haiti, an online raffle to raise funds for Concern Worldwide's relief effort in Haiti. She writes that she has selected

    "Concern Worldwide because of its long track record and quick response after the quake to provide clean drinking water and water purification tablets. This non-governmental international humanitarian organisation founded in 1968 works around the world to reduce suffering and work towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world's poorest countries. Concern International has been working in Haiti since 1994 and had over 100 staff members on the ground when the earthquake struck. Despite losing several team members in the tragedy, they have been quick to act with distribution of supplies. Concern Worldwide estimates that its initial response to the emergency will last at least six months."

    The money raised by this raffle will be paid directly into Concern Worldwide's account by Justgiving and will be used exclusively for the Haiti relief effort.

    Tickets cost just £6.50 each and the list of over 30 prizes includes £200 worth of Virgin vouchers, an iPod shuffle, original artworks, many signed cookbooks by authors such as Skye Gingell, David Lebovitz and Simon Majumdar.

    A worthy effort indeed that I trust you will support.

  2. Dynamic/Internet savvy retailer Naked Wines has released details of a £5 million investment fund for talented winemakers looking to set up in business.

    "We're looking to commission experienced, proven winemakers, who are looking to go it alone, to create stunning new wines for UK wine drinkers. And through the overwhelming support of our key investors, our community of Angel customers, we've been able to pledge a significant sum to launch the project.

    We will cover production costs, pay a salary, guarantee an order, market the wines, pay a profit per bottle sold... In other words, provide all the tools an independent winemaker needs to create their own wine, under their own label, without the risks usually associated with being self-employed in the wine world.

    All that remains is to raise awareness and get recruiting."

    Interested winemakers can find out more about the project, and apply for a slice of the pie, at

  3. A little late in highlighting the discussion over on Guardian Food after my other friend (I'm sure I had more than two last time I looked...) Oliver Thring posted a thought provoking article on wine and the role of the critic - Wine Critics's Advice is Unchallenged Bunk. The follow-on reader comments, particularly those on food-wine matching are well worth reading. I've long attempted to explain the that wine education is worthy of pursuing; best summed up I feel by this comment by Fiona Beckett

    "Most people in my experience do appreciate a steer towards a food and wine combination that works just as if they're cooking something for the first time it helps to follow a recipe. No-one gets riled if you say that mozzarella goes with basil and tomatoes. Why get worked up if you suggest that oysters might go with Muscadet?"

    Basically, if you are happy to be guided by recipes or combining certain ingredients why the hostility towards a critics guidance on certain wine and food combinations?

    "Of course we need wine critics. And restaurant critics. And movie critics. And critics of the critics! Complex, provocative topics (like wine) will naturally inspire debate... around the dinner table, in the pub, on the internet, wherever. Whether I agree or disagree that a particular wine smells like "freshly cut tomato vines" doesn't matter. What's important is that there is open discussion and dialogue. The value is in the sharing of information. The listener/reader decides for themselves what's useful and what's not."

    The last quote from curlyluddite.

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