business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB Archive Search

Please Note: Some MNB articles contain special formatting characters, and may cause your search to produce fewer results than expected.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    MNB Content Guy Kevin Coupe always has been pretty tough on McDonald's ... but then Mickey D's came out with a double Big Mac.   (Four all-beef patties, special sauce...)  KC couldn't resist ... and besides, he was happy to talk about something other than the pandemic.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    by Kevin Coupe

    The other day, I got an email from Zupan's, one of my favorite food retailers and a frequent stop during my annual summer adjunctivities in Portland, Oregon.

    I was three thousand miles away, at home in Connecticut, and frankly a little gloomy because of how the pandemic has causes so much upheaval in all of our lives.  But the subject matter grabbed my attention:  "Spring has not been cancelled."

    While acknowledging that "the week has been stressful and the future feels uncertain," the Zupan's email argued that great pleasure can still be found in a nice piece of fish, a terrific bottle of wine, and maybe some flowers for the table.

    I loved it.

    From a business point of view, it was a good reminder that while it is important to have one's eyes open to what is going on all around us, it also can make sense to offer an alternative … or at least a respite.

    Not everybody can do it like Zupan's, which is highly and effectively targeted on a specific share of the market.  But every food retailer can find a way to be aspirational, even in moments that can get you down.  In fact, especially in those moments.

    From a personal point of view, it was an Eye-Opening  reminder not to allow myself to be ground down by events.  I couldn't shop at Zupan's, and they don't deliver to my neighborhood, but I went to the store and got a good piece of fish, opened a bottle of wine and celebrated the spring, which, in fact, had not been cancelled.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    Business Insider reports that Kroger has closed down one of nits Cincinnati stores and turned it into a pickup-only location.  The story says that Kroger "is testing the pickup-only store model in response to surging demand for its online grocery services amid the coronavirus outbreak," and calls it a "brilliant strategy."

    The pickup-only store should help both customers and employees to properly distance themselves and thus potentially reduce the likelihood of further pandemic spread.  In addition, the location should be able to be more efficient at fulfillment of online orders without having to compete with more traditional store operations.

    KC's View:

    If it works, and if the online business maintains its strength once the current pandemic madness has subsided, it seems likely that Kroger - and other companies - could use this model elsewhere and going forward where and when appropriate.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    "If the Covid-19 outbreak provides a global test for buying food online, it is one that supermarkets are by and large failing. Yet their e-commerce businesses should be in a different league after the crisis.

    "Since the pandemic began, the websites of major food retailers have been as inundated as their physical stores. Pressure on these still-small online operations is only likely to increase as more nations place their populations on full lockdown."

    Walmart's website traffic alone grew 55 percent between March 1 and March 20, while "Kroger, Peapod, Instacart, Carrefour and Tesco have also experienced big surges in daily traffic."  However, "although supermarkets have invested heavily in their online businesses in recent years, they are not ready for current levels of demand. Infrastructure is still immature globally."

    The Journal goes on:  "Some retailers are betting that the extra demand will stick. Ahold Delhaize, owner of the Peapod delivery service, has doubled its server capacity in the U.S. since the crisis began. Its website will be able to handle much higher order volumes after the spike subsides.

    "The rush of orders is bringing some benefits. Online grocers are learning how to allocate delivery slots most efficiently in times of peak demand. They are testing in real time how different order-fulfillment methods, such as manual picking in stores or from dedicated online warehouses, perform under stress."

    KC's View:

    It is an unknown whether changed consumer behavior will be sustained when the current situation begins to resolve itself, but my bet would be that many (not all!) shoppers will realize that there is absolutely no benefit in going to the store for Oreos, Tide and Corn Flakes … but that there can be enormous benefits in going to a store with a compelling value proposition and differentiated products and services.

    Which then leaves it up to retailers to actually be compelling and have differentiated products and services.  Don't give me that "we'll always be successful because we're local or hometown proud or from the neighborhood" crap.  Little of that matters anymore, if it is the extent of the value proposition.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    The Los Angeles Times this morning has a piece about what the retail world will look like after the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has passed.

    "Although analysts predict a rebound by the end of the year, the new retail landscape may look different from the old one, as mandated closures knock out weak malls and merchants," the story says.  "Online shopping is likely to permanently grab an even bigger share of buyers’ money, particularly for groceries because house-bound consumers grew comfortable getting their food picked out by someone else and delivered."

    Meanwhile, the Times writes, "the outlook is terrible for businesses closed by the pandemic. Landlords face a wave of missed rent payments from tenants who were ordered by public officials to lock their doors to slow the rate of infection."

    Industry observers expect a number of retailers and restaurants "to invoke provisions in their leases including 'force majeure,' contract language that excuses them from meeting their financial obligations because of extraordinary circumstances beyond their control. Current circumstances are decidedly unusual for a majority of stores, restaurants and other businesses such as gyms."

    Some landlords are being understanding - to a point.  "The largest commercial landlord in Orange County, Irvine Co., told tenants in an email Sunday that they could delay making rent payments for three months but must eventually pay the money without interest over a 12-month period starting next year.  Many retailers in Irvine and elsewhere want more than a rent delay. They want to skip rent for the time they can’t operate."  And Rick Caruso, one of Southern California’s biggest independent shopping center owners, tells the Times that "he is still figuring out how to best help his tenants, the majority of whom have been closed for several days."  Caruso says he would like figure out a way to equitably share the pain.

    KC's View:

    It is ironic.  People - including me - used to toss around the phrase "new normal" when referring to some of the retailing and shopping changes that we've seen over the past few years.  Little did we realize that a virus could creep into the business and the culture that potentially changes everything

    Force majeure, indeed … in every sense of the phrase.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    An MNB reader passed along this Texas Monthly story yesterday, along with the comment, "This is why H-E-B should run the country."

    Maybe the world.

    An excerpt:

    "We’ve seen chains struggle with the challenges the current crisis presents. Some stores are instituting policies limiting the numbers of shoppers allowed in at a time, creating long waits to enter. Perhaps even worse, other stores are not, leaving their shops a free-for-all without adequate social distancing measures. Staples like flour and yeast, to say nothing of hand sanitizer and toilet paper, are proving difficult to find on shelves. Supply chains are taxed. And the conditions faced by employees vary wildly by chain, with stores developing new (sometimes controversial) policies around sick leave for the workers who have proved themselves essential, and often doing so on the fly.

    "San Antonio-based H-E-B has been a steady presence amid the crisis. The company began limiting the amounts of certain products customers were able to purchase in early March; extended its sick leave policy and implemented social distancing measures quickly; limited its hours to keep up with the needs of its stockers; added a coronavirus hotline for employees in need of assistance or information; and gave employees a $2 an hour raise on March 16, as those workers, many of whom are interacting with the public daily during this pandemic, began agitating for hazard pay."

    Justen Noakes, H-E-B's director of emergency preparedness, tells Texas Monthly that the company has "been working on our pandemic and influenza plan for quite a while now, since 2005, when we had the threat of H5N1 overseas in China."  He says that H-E-B started working on preparation for the coronavirus pandemic "the second week in January, when it started popping up in China as an issue. We’ve got interests in the global sourcing world, and we started getting reports on how it was impacting things in China, so we started watching it closely at that point. We decided to take a harder look at how to implement the plan we developed in 2009 into a tabletop exercise. On February 2, we dusted it off and compared the plan we had versus what we were seeing in China, and started working on step one pretty heavily."

    You can read the story here.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    USA Today has a story about a study done by Unacast, a Norwegian company that is able to use smartphone data to figure out the degree to which Americans are taking seriously instructions to practice social distancing or stay at home during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

    According to the story, "Overall, the study found that since Feb. 28, Americans have reduced their mobility by nearly 40%. Washington, D.C. topped the list, reducing its average mobility by 60% followed by Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey and Rhode Island, which all earned an A.

    Meanwhile, Wyoming – the only state to receive an F – ranked 51st, with virtually no change in average mobility. Rounding out the bottom five states were Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho and Montana."

    USA Today writes that "the company said in a blog post that it plans to update the social distancing scores as it gets more data to show changes in the number of encounters for a given area, a change in the number of locations visited, and adjusts its home assignment algorithms … The dashboard does not identify any individual person, device or household, but rather extrapolates population level data using 'tens of millions of anonymous mobile phones and their interactions with each other each day,' according to Unacast."

    KC's View:

    I dearly hope that the reason the folks in Wyoming are not changing their mobility behavior is because they need to move in order to do basic things like get grocery and medicine.  (Though you'd think the same thing about Alaska, and it ranks near the top for talking the recommendations seriously.)  It is no accident that the states at the bottom of the list are largely rural.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    From Bloomberg:

    "Delivering food to New York City’s supermarkets isn’t easy even in normal times.  Now, it’s become a supply chain conundrum that’s testing the nerves of grocers, truckers and manufacturers alike.

    "Some truckers are refusing to carry orders into the city and surrounding suburbs like New Rochelle that have been hard hit by the coronavirus, even as demand for groceries is double or triple normal levels as shoppers stockpile soup and other everyday goods."

    According to the story, "The White House’s call for all those leaving New York City to self-quarantine for 14 days has spooked and confused some drivers, according to people monitoring shipments, while delivery curfews and requests to register 'essential employees' have created additional friction. Some warehouse operators are even insisting on taking truck drivers’ temperatures as they pull into depots."

    One thing positive that is happening is that "big grocery wholesalers are boosting capacity and borrowing from others. Mike Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., which supplies groceries to Target Corp. and Stop & Shop, has brought on employees from fellow wholesaler US Foods Holding Corp., which typically serves thousands of restaurants that are now closed.

    "Duffy said he’s not had a problem getting food to New York, but has heard that some truckers are remaining inside their rigs during deliveries or simply dropping goods off at the curb."

    KC's View:

    I totally get why people are nervous … and I also think that if a company wants to take truckers' temperatures on a frequent basis, that's a good thing - it allows them to access health care when and if they need it, as opposed to wandering around infected and infecting others.

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    Random and illustrative stories about the global pandemic, with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  The United States yesterday became the nation with the most confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus - 85,749.  (China is second, followed by Italy, Spain, Germany and Iran.)  There have been 1,304 deaths and 1,868 reported recoveries in the US.

    Globally, there have been 549,430 coronavirus cases, with 24,872 deaths and 128,701 recoveries.

    FYI … New York State alone, with 38,977 cases of the coronavirus, has more infections than most countries, exceeded only by the US, China, Italy, Spain and Germany.

    There are two stories you should read about how the US is dealing - and should deal - with the coronavirus, both by Donald G. McNeil Jr., a New York Times correspondent who specializes in epidemics and disease.  You can access them here and here.

    •  CNBC reports that Walmart "is offering help to its small business partners" hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, waiving rent for the more than 10,000 "hair and nail salons, optometrists, restaurant franchises, veterinary clinics and local and regional banks" that operate inside Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs.

    “It’s our hope that this rent relief will help these businesses financially weather the current situation and take care of their employees,” Walmart said in a statement. “We’ll continue to monitor the need for additional support past April. We’re also working with many of our partners to encourage their impacted employees to apply for the 150,000 temporary jobs we plan to fill in the coming months.”

    Walmart also reportedly "is making changes to its supply-chain financing program to help qualified suppliers get payments faster," saying that "more than two-thirds of our 18,000 suppliers are small and medium sized businesses who could benefit from this newly enhanced program."

    •  From CNN:

    "The coronavirus is crippling most American industries. But it's also creating opportunities for some unexpected businesses.

    "Grocery Outlet, an 'extreme value' supermarket chain with around 350 stores, mostly on the American West Coast, is capitalizing on shoppers stockpiling groceries during the outbreak and the havoc across supply chains.

    "The grocer, which does not sell online, went public last year and sells its products 40% below conventional supermarket prices. It said Tuesday that sales at stores open for at least one year increased 5.1% during its most recent quarter. Like other grocers and retailers that have stayed open during this crisis, Grocery Outlet's sales accelerated in March as the virus spread across the country. The company also drew new customers to stores."

    The story notes that Grocery Outlet also will be able to expand its selection because of the pandemic, since "'non-traditional suppliers' have recently approached Grocery Outlet, such as food service companies who don't have restaurants to sell to during the crisis, health and nutrition companies that don't have as many gyms open, and suppliers that sell to retailers that have closed."

    •  The BBC reports this morning that in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus and "is experiencing mild symptoms."

    Johnson said he will self-isolate at 10 Downing Street but "can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus."

    •  Add Southeastern Grocers, parent company to Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie, to the list of retailers that have "proactively implemented additional safety measures by beginning the installation of protective Plexiglas partitions in all stores."

    The company said that it "will also enforce additional social distancing protocols and adhere to stricter store occupancy regulations to further safeguard customers and associates from the spread of COVID-19 in the communities it serves."

    •  Reuters reports this morning that Target is saying that "it saw a more than 50% rise in same-store sales so far in March for certain essential goods, joining a list of grocery chains benefiting from consumers hunkering down for an extended period due to the coronavirus outbreak."

    According to the story, "UK’s biggest retailer Tesco said the coronavirus-led panic buying has put the company in 'uncharted waters,' while Ocado, UK’s top online grocer, said on Tuesday orders currently were 10 times normal rates. The biggest global names are cautious in admitting it, but after a decade of an e-commerce induced 'retail apocalypse,' the coronavirus outbreak is providing the relief that big-box supermarket operators have been hoping for."

    Axios reports that "China will temporarily suspend entry for foreign nationals with visas or residence permits beginning at midnight on March 28 in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Thursday … It's a sign that China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, is seeking to curb the number of imported cases in order to stop its epidemic from flaring up again."

    •  Fast Company writes that "as the world faces ventilator shortages in the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Dyson - the U.K. company known best for making vacuums, air purifiers, and hair dryers - is collaborating on a ventilator in coordination with The Technology Partnership (TTP). Dubbed CoVent, it’s a bed-mounted, portable ventilator that can run from battery power in field-hospital conditions."

    Dyson reportedly will produce 15,000 ventilators as soon as regulatory approvals some though.

    The story points out that "while American companies including GM, Ford, and Tesla have expressed a willingness to produce ventilators to address current shortages, the medical technology used by existing ventilators is proprietary, and most reports say it could take months to convert such vehicle manufacturers to ventilator production."

    If Dyson can make a $400 hair dryer, they should be able to make a ventilator.

    •  Fashion designer Ralph Lauren said today it will "produce 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns to help with COVID-19 efforts," Newsweek reports.

    "The fashion house is also donating $10 million to various charities, including the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to assist with its response to the coronavirus outbreak."

    •  To help provide assistance for the youngest members of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic,Ahold Delhaize-owned  The GIANT Company announced  "a donation of $250,000 to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn State Children’s Hospital, The Janet Weis Children’s Hospital at Geisinger, Children’s National Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center will each receive $50,000."

    •  From CNN:

    A woman purposely coughed on $35,000 worth of food at a Pennsylvania grocery store, police said. She likely faces criminal charges for coughing, one of the primary ways the novel coronavirus spreads.

    "The unnamed woman entered small grocery chain Gerrity's Supermarket in Hanover Township and started coughing on produce, bakery items, meat and other merchandise, chain co-owner Joe Fasula wrote on Facebook.  Staff quickly removed her from the store and called Hanover Township Police, who found her a few hours later and took her into custody, Police Chief Albert Walker told CNN.

    "Hanover Township police said the woman 'intentionally contaminated' the food, and they plan to file criminal charges against her once her mental health treatment concludes."

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    …with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  Brick Meets Click is out with z new survey, indicating that "31% of U.S. households (about 39.5 million in total) have used an online grocery delivery or pickup service during the past month …  Monthly users have more than doubled since Brick Meets Click’s August 2019 survey, which found 16.1 million, or 13% of households shopped this way."

    The report goes on:  "Twenty-six percent of the online grocery shoppers surveyed (or the equivalent of 10.3 million U.S. households) indicate that they’re using a specific online grocery service for the first time. This rate of new users jumps to 39% for shoppers 60 years and older.

    "Overall monthly order volume has surged 193% versus August 2019 levels.  This significant increase is due to the increased number of households using grocery delivery and/or pickup services and a jump in monthly order rates, which is up 19% compared to August 2019."

    •  Advertising Age writes that "Amazon sales should seemingly be soaring during the coronavirus crisis, amid panic buying and shelter-in-place orders, but web traffic measures show the e-commerce giant’s overall visits flat or growing slower than other major multi-line retailers in recent weeks. Survey data and experience from one seasoned Amazon consultant even indicate sales have fallen lately across most Amazon categories.

    "While the traffic and sales impacts may be temporary, they’re part of a host of factors in recent weeks that could lead to a shakeout in the number of third-party sellers on Amazon and the number of sellers leading brands will allow to sell their products."

    •  In Oregon, KATU-TV News reports that people on food stamps there now will be able to buy groceries online from Amazon and Walmart and have them delivered.

    While being implemented now as a way to help slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, state officials say that the plan as been under development for some time and would have been instituted regardless of the pandemic.

    “We are grateful that these retailers expanded their grocery services to all Oregonians receiving SNAP benefits,” said Dan Haun, Self-Sufficiency Programs director at the Oregon Department of Human Services. “Convenience, quality and fresh groceries should not be determined by how someone pays. The expansion will increase food access for those who experience challenges visiting brick-and-mortar stores.”

    Such innovations would seem to be inevitable, and will gain momentum as online grocery shopping continues to build market share.  

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    Regarding the astronomical unemployment figures that came out yesterday, one MNB reader wrote:

    And to think this doesn’t include all of those members of the gig economy (contract) or part time workers who don’t qualify.

    Scary stuff.

    Responding to the story about people who somehow thought it appropriate to cough on store employees and then say they were infected with the coronavirus (and ended up being arrested), MNB reader Jackie Lembke wrote:

    Coughing on someone or licking anything in a store that isn't ice cream or a lollipop is gross no matter the situation. It isn't just the current COVID 19 but anything airborne could be on the surface. I just find this disgusting on so many levels I can't imagine why as a person you would think this is funny. I, too, always hope for the best and have heard story after story of people rising to the occasion. I hope that not too many decide to show how low you go. 

    And, a much appreciated email from MNB reader Chris Grathwohl:

    A short note to say thank you for your daily insights.

    Also, I used to be a daily reader of your column, but now am using the video instead.

    Why?  It’s a version of human, adult interaction.

    Not that the bar is set very high, but it is way more stimulating than any of the talking heads on TV. And my high school age son doesn’t have much interest in frequent discussions.  Go figure.

    Working from home has its benefits – there is no morning commute, showering is optional ( J ), there is a ready and unlimited supply of coffee.

    But it also has its detriments.  I find myself sitting longer, taking fewer steps, and I truly miss the personal, face-to-face interactions with coworkers.

    Your daily video is, at least for me, filling a void that would otherwise be left wanting.

    Stay safe!

    You, too.

    Doing more videos wasn't part of a grand plan.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.  I tend to fly on instinct, and that's where this took me.

    Sort of like posting daily puppy pictures.  (Though that may have run its course.  I may do those weekly after today.)

    Here's the bottom line, for me….

    Distancing shouldn't mean distant.  

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    More details on something we're going to try tonight between 5:30 and 6:30 pm EDT - an MNB Virtual Happy Hour.

    You can join us by going to Zoom, and going here.  (Don't do it until this afternoon!)

    One of my favorite things over the years has been to, while traveling around the country, mention here that I'd be in this bar or that restaurant at a specific day and time, and invite MNB readers to come by to join me for a drink.  It's always been great fun … and now that I'm pretty much grounded for the duration, I kind of miss it.

    So, we're going to do it virtually.  The folks at GMDC-Retail Tomorrow have agreed to sponsor and host it … Hopefully, you can put it on your calendar … choose a libation for Happy Hour … and then prop up your laptop or warm up your computer on Friday for a conversation and a drink.  (I'm probably going to go with great Oregon Pinot Noir … and I'm hoping the weather is good enough to light the fire pit.)

    Among the folks scheduled to join us will be Michael Sansolo, Kate McMahon and Tom Furphy - all regular MNB contributors.  If you want to, feel free to email me to let me know you're coming.

    Some suggestions…

    •  If you have not used ZOOM before, you will be asked to download the app to your phone or computer to join the virtual room.

    •  Please try entering the virtual room at least 5 minutes ahead of time to ensure that your mobile device or computer is setup properly.

    •  Do not use two devices at once to enter the room. If you join by computer, please keep your mobile phone at a distance to avoid any feedback.

    •  When you are not speaking, please mute yourself to avoid unintended background noises that may disrupt the conversation.

    •  You have the option of joining with your camera turned on, or off. Either way, you can still connect with your audio.

    See you later!

    Published on: March 27, 2020

    "Star Trek: Picard" completed its 10-part first season yesterday, streaming on CBS All-Access, and I think it is fair to say that while there were moments that were uneven, some episodes that were better than others, and even in the end a little deus ex machina to help bring the story to a conclusion, "Picard" for me has been one of the highlights of the season.

    Admittedly, I'm a Trekker.  Not obsessive or fanatical - I've never worn a Star Trek uniform, for example, and while I can give the Vulcan salute, I cannot speak Klingon.  (Unlike my son, who years ago did "A Christmas Carol" in Chicago, and still knows a few phrases.)  But I've seen every episode of every "Star Trek" series (except the animated version) and all of the movies, multiple times.  So I'm familiar with canon.

    Easily the best thing about "Picard" - no surprise - has been the performance of Patrick Stewart in the title role - no longer a Starfleet officer, self-exiled to his family winery in France, and beginning the series wondering what has happened to his life's work and commitment.  Watching Picard in his early nineties (Stewart is 79) begin to gain energy and purpose as the series as proceeded has been, well, energizing … Stewart is a masterful actor, capable of working big and small, and he simply owns the screen.

    There have been numerous pleasures, not least of which has been the return of Brent Spiner as Data, Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine, and especially Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis as Will Riker and Deanna Troi.  (Picard's reunion with the latter two was heart-stopping for longtime Trek fans.)  

    The new regular cast - especially Michelle Hurd and Santiago Cabrera - has grown on me, and I'm totally ready for their second-season adventures.

    As is usual with "Trek," the show works on two levels.  There is the plot … and there is the overarching narrative, which places the show in a kind of ethical continuum established from the very beginning and giving every series and movie a kind of backbone.  "Trek" - and "Picard" is one of the best examples of this - always has been about good people (and aliens and androids) trying to do their best.  It is that simple.  Sometimes they fall short, sometimes they succeed, and usually there is a great and stirring speech by a captain that encapsulates the franchise's essential vision of tolerance and kindness and inclusion.  The first season of "Picard" has taken place in a darker place than we are used to in "Trek," as the United Federation of Planets has become isolationist and bigoted, with intellectual rigor giving way to suspicion and ideology.

    The final frontier, I think the makers would argue, may in fact be the mind and heart and soul.  When we live up to our potential, when we transcend our limitations, we are capable of greatness and goodness … and "Trek" is about people exploring that frontier, figuring out what it means to be human.

    "Star Trek: Picard" has been particularly focused on this exploration, poetic and ironic in unequal doses.  It is a wonderful and satisfying addition to one of popular culture's most enduring franchises, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.

    I have two wines to recommend to you this week … a terrific little Italian red blend - the 2014 La Maia Lina Gertrude Toscana from Tuscany, which is a versatile pizza or pasta wine that goes for about eleven bucks … and the 2016 Dieu Donne Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz blend from South Africa, which is bold and dry, perfect with a grilled steak, and goes for about thirteen bucks.

    That's it for this week.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday … unless I see you tonight at our MNB Virtual Happy Hour.

    Stay safe.  Be healthy.