Skip to content

Greetings from the Wine Cellar:

It’s a rather long Newsletter this week, but please bear with me.  Lots of small businesses have suffered terribly over the last four to five months as the Corona virus pandemic has descended on this country, but I really believe that no single sector has been affected more deeply than restaurants and bars, which are overwhelmingly owned and operated by independent small businessmen and women, or families.  Simply put, these small businesses have been, and still are being crushed.  The U.S. Government has made some forms of financial aid available, but we as a country are nowhere near through this crisis, and much more needs to be done.  I want to bring everyone’s attention to the RESTAURANTS Act, a bill that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 15, 2020, with accompanying legislation concurrently introduced in the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support.  The bill is entitled Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act of 2020 (use this link if you want to read the full text of the proposed legislation.)

Basically, the RESTAURANTS Act is a stabilization grant program focused specifically on independently owned restaurants.  Even previous Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funding recipients are eligible for this grant, with the stipulations noted below.  The proposed legislation:

  • Creates a new $120 billion grant program to provide structured relief through December 31, 2020;
  • The program will be administered by the Department of the Treasury and available to food service or drinking establishments, including restaurants, bars, food stands, food trucks and carts and caterers, that are not publicly traded or part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name;
  • Grant values will cover the difference between revenues from 2019, and projected revenues through 2020, based on a calendar quarter during 2020 as compared to the same calendar quarter in 2019;
  • PPP or EIDL funding recipients must subtract funds received that do not need to be paid back from the maximum Restaurant Stabilization Grant amount;
  • Restaurant Stabilization Grants do not need to be paid back and funding is made available through 2020;
  • Eligible expenses include: payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials), food, debt obligations to suppliers, and any other expenses deemed essential by the Secretary of the Treasury;
  • Recipients must certify that current economic conditions make the grant request necessary, that the funds will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and make other payments (as specified above), and that the recipient is only applying for, and would only receive, one grant;
  • If a restaurant permanently ceases operations before the end of 2020, unspent funds must be returned. If the grant award exceeds the actual end-of-year revenues, the grant is converted to a loan with a 10-year term at 1% interest;
  • The amount of a grant awarded shall be excluded from gross income of the eligible entity, no deduction shall be denied or reduced, and will not be eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit;
  • The first 14 days of funds will only be made available to restaurants with annual revenues of $1.5 million or less to target local small restaurants, particularly those that are women-, veteran-, or minority-owned and operated eligible entities; and
  • The Restaurant Stabilization Act will provide $300 million to administer the program – $60 million of which is set-aside for outreach to traditionally marginalized and underrepresented communities, with a focus on women-, veteran-, and minority-owned and operated eligible entities.

If you agree that this is critically important, please use the following link to ask your Senators and Representative for their support on the RESTAURANTS Act.  You can use the following link provided by the Arizona Small Restaurant Coalition to contact them and request their support:

Well, I told you it was a long one this time, but I think this is too important not to do something.  So in summary, don’t just Takeout – Take Action!

and finally,


Nickel & Nickel 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Quarry Vineyard (Rutherford, Napa Valley)   $114.99
A classic Napa Cabernet with alluring aromas of sage, cedar, black olive and forest floor, mixed with notes of spicy black fruits.  With ample intensity of fruit on the entry, the 2017 Quarry has moderate tannins that are layered and elegant.  Hints of vanilla, clove and brioche come through on the back of the palate.  The wine creates a lasting impression with its graceful finish.

Fazi Battaglia 2019 Verdicchio (Le Marche, Italy)    $12.99
Pale straw in color with faint jade hues, this central Italian white gives off an intense bouquet of peaches and apples, with just a hint of roses.  On the palate it’s clean and dry, with refreshing acidity and a pleasant touch of bitter almond at the finish, typical of the Verdicchio varietal.

Dutton-Goldfield 2017 Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)    $39.99
Dutton-Goldfield’s Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir has a vivid, deep, black-fruit character.  The nose offers rose petal floral notes followed by black cherries, dark chocolate and a streak of blueberry.  In the mouth, the black cherry dominates a core of sweet ripe fruit, with savory accents of black tea and fresh earth.


Mike Shelhamer
Old Town Wine Cellar
265 S. Main Street, Suite E
Yuma, Arizona  85364

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Every Monday, we send an email newsletter with our weekly wine tastings list and new wine & beer arrivals - right in your inbox.

* indicates required