News

  • March 09, 2017 1:44 PM | Cecily Raiborn (Administrator)

    AT DALLAS LIQUOR STORE CHAIN SIGEL'S, TEXAS WINE MEANS TEXAS WINE

    by Andrew Chalk

    Sigel’s, one of the largest wine sellers in the Dallas area, has taken a pathbreaking decision to promote Texas wine. Going forward, only wine legally appellated as Texas (or a sub-division within Texas) will be placed on the Texas shelves in all eight stores. Wines designated For Sale in Texas Only™ (FSITO, pronounced “footso”) will not be placed on the Texas shelves. Furthermore, most FSITO wines will be dropped in order to make shelf space for Texas wine. In accordance with the new policy, existing inventories of FSITO wine are being run down and the chain has placed orders with several Texas wineries to replace them, including Brennan Vineyards, Lost Draw Cellars, and Trilogy Cellars.

    FSITO wines are bulk wine (typically from California’s central valley) that are labelled to look like Texas wine. By embellishing the back label with For Sale in Texas Only (typically in a tiny, difficult to read typeface) the wines are exempt from Federal labelling laws that require the origin of a wine to be shown on the front label. Instead, FSITO sellers use symbology such as long-horned cattle, the colors of the state flag, allusions to Texas poets, claims of Texas Style, etc. on the label to mislead consumers into thinking that they are buying a Texas wine. By trading on state pride, the bulk wines sell at higher prices and volumes. The conceit has fooled a Master of Wine, the nation’s largest wine retailer, Costco, restaurant critics, and wine buyers. If the FSITO mechanism did not exist bulk wine sellers would be forced to honestly label their wine (usually as “American”, the most generic designation).

    The Texas wine industry is damaged by FSITO wine all down the supply line. Sales of FSITO wines subtract (as a first approximation, bottle-for-bottle) from Texas wine sales. When consumers discover that they have been duped, many just give up on Texas wine, figuring it is all FSITO. That leads to lower prices for Texas wine and lower plantings for Texas grapes. In recent years the improving quality of Texas wine has allowed the industry to make some headway against the FSITO sellers.

    Commenting on the new policy, Sigel’s Director of Wine & Marketing, Jasper Russo, said “Part and parcel of what we as retailers do is to educate and inform our customers about the wines they are purchasing. Offering what we feel are the best examples and best values available from the differing wine regions around the world is made harder by such manufactured categories such as FSITO. We feel our customers are better served by the transparency inherent in the classical geographic appellations. Also we find that California wineries do a better job of making California wines and feel it is time for the Texas wine industry to stand proudly behind what they do best within the context of the rich winemaking heritage that the state has developed. The crutch of FSITO is a detriment to the continued evolution and progression of Texas wine.”

    Sigel’s has served Dallas since 1905 and has a disproportionately large share of wine sales by virtue of its active tasting program, knowledgable staff, and sourcing of exclusives. It has held Texas-themed events in its stores as well in the past, such as a Texas spirits festival. Hopefully this policy change is a bellwether encouraging other wine sellers to separate out Texas wine from FSITO wine on their shelves.  

    An example of a  wine. The head of long-horned cattle (symbol of the University of Texas) adorns the front label but the wine is neither made in Texas nor made from Texas grapes. You recognize this as a FSITO wine by looking for the For Sale In Texas Only designation buried deep in the back label. Last year, in a public letter, I asked this producer where the grapes came from and if any percentage was Texas grapes. They refused to say. My guess is that this is bulk wine made in California’s central valley and shipped to Texas by tanker truck for bottling.

    Source: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12Q6Zkog3W2moZJrqgk2wOZxaFx_tax_0U0eLscvvjrU/pub

  • September 19, 2016 7:39 AM | Cecily Raiborn (Administrator)

    Do you have any ideas for speakers? (You? A friend? Someone from a particular type of organization?)

    Do you have any ideas for speaker topics? (Yes, ethics is on the list! Other thoughts: interviewing; IT fraud; hacking; risk assessment; fraud against seniors; locating hidden assets; failure to detect fraud…  Your preferences?)

    Do you have any ideas for a good networking/social event for chapter members?

    Do you have a charity/community event with which the chapter could assist in some way?

    Would you be willing to assist the chapter in activities during International Fraud Awareness Week (November 13-19, 2016)? (Would your company be interested in being a sponsor for one or more activities?)

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, please get in touch with me (craiborn1030@att.net) or one of the other board members. We'd love your input!

  • September 19, 2016 7:35 AM | Cecily Raiborn (Administrator)

    There will be a drawing held at the January 9, 2017, meeting for two $500 stipends to help Austin Chapter members defray their costs to attend the Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference in Nashville, TN, from June 19-21, 2017. If you're interested in participating, please send your name and email address to Marci (mbsundbeck@yahoo.com) no later than midnight January 8, 2017. The stipend will be paid after the conference upon proof of attendance. 

    Good luck to everyone!

  • September 02, 2016 8:12 PM | Billy Petty (Administrator)

    We are rolling out a new and more interactive website for our members.  Your board recently voted to move the chapter website and payment gateway to the "Wild Apricot" website to better serve our chapter members.

    This new site will allow members to self-register and immediately pay online for all of our chapter events.  This should streamline both the registration and payment process, and also the sign-in process at all of our training meetings.  It also will give members access to a members only section of our website and the ability for members to manage their membership better.

    The roll-out of the new website is ongoing and improvements will continue in the upcoming weeks.  Some of the things that will be done over the next few weeks are pointing our domain name (austinacfe.com) to the new website, improved content (as soon as I can get Cecily to write it for me), additional content and more member specific content. 

    In the meantime, you should always be able to reach the new website at: http://acotaocfe.wildapricot.org.

  • July 13, 2016 10:00 AM | Billy Petty (Administrator)

    Results for the July 2016 board election are in.  Our thanks to everyone for participating in the 2016 Austin Area Chapter of the ACFE Election.  Voting is now closed after being open for one week. 

    Your new board is:

    President, Cecily Raiborn
    Vice President, Joe Collins
    Treasurer, Billy Petty
    Secretary, Marci Sundbeck
    Director, Jared Jordan
    Director, Tracy Bohmer
    Director, Andy Prough

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