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California wineries can now legally ship wine directly to consumers in Florida, the second-largest wine market in the nation, Florida officials announced Thursday.
The state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation said California and other out-of-state wineries will need to follow state laws designed to protect minors, such as requiring shipments be signed for by an adult, and rules ensuring all taxes are paid.
"We are pleased that Florida has acted in favor of its citizens by allowing them to access the wines of their choosing," said Robert Koch, president of the Wine Institute, the San Francisco-based trade group. "This is a victory for consumer choice, fair trade and U.S. wineries."
The move follows the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year barring states from preventing out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to consumers, but allowing it for in-state wineries. The court found states have wide authority to control the flow of alcohol across their borders, but cannot discriminate against other states in the process.
Florida was not named in the high court's May 16 decision, but a federal judge ruled the state's law unconstitutional in August. The wine industry has been waiting since then for clarification of the rules, said Steve Gross, director of state relations for the Wine Institute.
Florida joins several other states - including Michigan and New York - that have amended their laws in the wake of the court ruling, Gross said. Including Texas, which changed its laws just before the ruling, the market for direct shipping has expanded dramatically. (By Kevin Mccallum, The Press Democrat)

During February and March, Four Seasons Hotel Miami joins other Four Seasons hotels around the world to celebrate the cuisine of Latin America. At Acqua, Latin American cuisine will be part of the piccolo menu which is offered with or without matching wines ($38 food only, $55 with wines). To celebrate one of the world’s hottest cuisines, selections will include special recipes inspired by chefs from the Four Seasons Restaurants in Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, Mexico City, Brazil, etc… such as Chilled Green Gazpacho, Tempura Lobster, Seafood Ceviche, Red Snapper or Bacon and Pepper Crusted Argentine Beef, Chocolate and Chili Cake, Lemon Chiboust, Churros and Compote or Nicoyan Vanilla Bean Brulee. Among cocktails listed from the sister properties in Bahia and 14-Thirty-Five, Miami’s outdoor Bar: a Punta Mitini, Caballo Loco, Guaro Sour or Tamarindo Margarita. Choose. Guest will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a 3-night stay and 2 economy tickets on American Airlines to the Four Seasons property in Latin America of their choice. Acqua is open daily for breakfast lunch and dinner. Bahia is the Hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 11pm. 14-Thirty-Five is the Hotel’s signature martini bar, offering live music from Monday to Wednesdays. It is located on the 7th floor lobby, 1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami. (305) 358-3535

The American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers , established to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants, has announced their 2006 schedule of programs for wine and service professionals:
Introductory Sommelier Course/Exam, ( the first step in the four-tiered process of earning a Master Sommelier Diploma) $495.00, will be offered in fourteen cities across the US and Canada.
Certified Sommelier Exam, to set a minimum standard of service and knowledge for the Hospitality Industry and to provide students with credentials to show employers their skills.
Certified Sommelier Exam, a one-day exam with three portions: a written exam, a blind tasting, and a service exam. $195.00. Candidates must pass the Introductory Sommelier Exam before taking the Certified Sommelier Exam. Master Sommelier Advanced Course/Exam, (the third step in attaining the Master Sommelier diploma) will be offered three times in the US this year: Anaheim, CA; Cincinnati, OH and San Francisco, CA.
Master Sommelier Diploma Exam (the final step in becoming a Master Sommelier) will be offered February 6-9 in San Francisco and is by invitation only to those who have successfully completed the Master Sommelier Advanced Course.
For information and admission details:

The husband and wife team Chefs Andrea Curto and Frank Randazzo have introduced a new winter menu at their South Beach restaurant based on comfort foods such as seared New Zealand venison loin crusted in lavender, black peppercorns and herbs with a rich porcini-leek bread pudding and ancho-glazed Japanese eggplant, and deep-fried Chesapeake Bay oysters served on the half-shell with watermelon and blackened corn salsa as well as old favorites like Franks’ famous grilled Sonoma Valley foie gras and Andrea’s risotto of the day. Other hearty meat additions are “Frank’s Chophouse Specialties” – a steakhouse-style a la carte menu including marinated hangar steak and a 14 oz. bone-in dry aged ribeye, served with beer battered onion rings and a Cabernet Sauvignon demi-glace. For desserts: Chocolate-banana bread pudding comes topped with peanut butter ice, and vanilla panna cotta is combined with a warm poppy seed cake and passion fruit sorbet, and bittersweet chocolate cake oozes with dark chocolate crème anglaise topped with dulce de leche ice cream. Talula is located at 210 23rd Street, Miami Beach. Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday, noon – 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday, 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Brunch is served every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (305) 672-0778.

Another husband and wife team, Dale and Chef Dewey Losasso are offering a three-course prix-fixe supper menu at their restaurant North One 10, every evening from 5:30–7:00pm. First course includes: Mushroom stuffed mushrooms with Chayote slaw, smoked tomato vinaigrette or Caesar salad; for entrées there is Pan seared chicken paillard with a chiffonade of greens, or Grilled mahi mahi fillet with yuca mash,smokey lime butter, roasted mango puree. Desserts: Flourless chocolate torte or Marscapone ricotta cheese cake. $28.00 per person, (not inclusive of beverage, tax and service). North one 10 also offers a $18.00 priced fixed lunch menu available Monday through Friday. North One 10, 11052 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, 305-893-4211

Every Sunday from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. brunch will be served at Cioppino, The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, with a display of more than 100 culinary specialties served indoors and al fresco on a garden terrace overlooking the ocean. In addition to traditional breakfast and brunch fare, Executive Chef George Fistrovich takes a culinary journey through the United States, Europe, Asia and South America with delicacies including seafood zarzuela, thyme and citrus roasted cornish game hens, stuffed veal breast, slow roasted beef strip loin, roasted saddle of lamb, traditional “churrasco” and grilled meats, sushi, fresh seafood, caviar, international cheeses, appetizers, carvings, pasta, risotto, decadent desserts, breakfast favorites and individual specialty presentations lavishly spread among ten presentation stations. For a finale, the brunch offers a selection of 20 desserts by French Master Pastry Chef, Frédéric Monnet and his culinary team.
The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne Sunday Brunch is offered from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and is $63 per adult, $31 for children ages five to 12, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended by calling (305) 365-4286.

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