The AWC : Revitalizing The Industry

Specializing in fine and rare wines, the Antique Wine Company serves over 20,000 clients all over the world. For over thirty years the company has thrived and even broken a few records. It all started with Stephen Williams, the CEO of the London based company, when he founded the wine merchant in 1982.

Armed with a dream and a passion for vintage wine the AWC was born. However, CEO Stephen Williams wanted his company to accomplish more than an array of vintage wines. So, the company went one step further. Over the years they’ve acquired current wines they feel are the vintage wines of the future. No matter your thoughts on how they define “vintage”, the company undoubtedly deals in only the finest of wines. For this reason, the fine wine industry hails the AWC as experts. This is why AWC makes it their mission to provide management and assistance to palaces, beautiful hotels, and Chateaux.

Aside from fine wines, the Antique Wine Company is also known for breaking industry records. For example, in the year 2011 they sold the most expensive bottle of white wine in history. The 1811 Chateau d’Yquem sold for $117,000! The buyer (Restaurant owner Christian Vanneque) wanted to display the bottle, but he decided he would rather enjoy it himself. They also created the very first wine drinking application for the iPhone. In addition to breaking industry records, they also plan to educate the masses. AWC offers fine wine masterclasses and assorted wine courses at their AWC Wine Academy, which launched in 2011.

More important than their accomplishments is their product. One such product worth mentioning is the Grand Chateau Series. The AWC consulted cabinet maker Viscount David Linley to give birth to these handcrafted wines. What makes these wines unique is the presentation. They created the series with the idea of miniature architectural recreations of nine chateaux in Bordeaux. Each of these models contain 18 bottles pertaining to the specific building. Plus, some of the bottles date back to the 20th century, some as far back as 1860.

Starting with a vision a revolution in the fine wine industry began. For over 25 years the Antique Wine Company worked its way up to the top of fine wine. Since their creation the AWC has broken into other markets, like the Asian fine wine industry, and plans to keep going up.

Manufacturer’s Beware

In a welcomed move long desired by consumers, France this week ordered that all manufacturers who sell electronics in the country must tell their vendors and consumers how long their products are designed to last. Most companies make money by following a policy of planned obsolescence, which means that they design products to stop working at a particular time because consumers will then have to buy new electronics more often.

Manufacturers will also have to inform their vendors of the exact date they plan to stop producing replacement parts and the vendors in turn will have to inform buyers before any purchase transaction is completed. France also plans later in 2015 to pass a measure that requires manufacturers to replace electronics for free for up to two years. This plan is not surprising as most manufacturers have designed their products to last only one year resulting in many consumers dealing with products that suddenly stop working only a few days after their one-year warranties expire.

Alexei Beltyukov knows that, for consumers, this measure is a huge win in the battle against planned obsolescence. France has helped pave the way for governments in other countries to make similar rules that hold manufacturers responsible for selling substandard products literally designed to fail. Once manufacturers are required to behave this way, it will also save them money to provide the same information and replacement policy benefits to consumers in every country.

Millennials Are Living In A Pile Of Debt

People born between 1980 and the start of the new century are affectionately called “Millennials.” In their short lives, Millennials have the distinction of becoming the generation that surpasses all other generations when it comes to accumulating debt.

They have a staggering $1.2 trillion student loan bill, and seven million students have defaulted on their loans. The carrot dangling in front of Millennials was the advice that a better education would lead to a higher paying job. They thought their student loans would be easy to pay off, but Flavio Maluf says that isn’t the case.

But the carrot may be turning into a rotten egg because the trillion-dollar debt is beginning to drag the economy down, according to Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chairman. Yellen said that, and she backed-up her thoughts by saying,” I think we’re just beginning to understand how Millennials are behaving. They are waiting longer to buy a house, and they are waiting longer to get married. The main reason might be all that student debt.”

Even the record low-interest rates hasn’t motivated the Millennials to buy a home. Only half of them own homes, and 70% of them are expected to get married by the time they hit 40. A senior studying economics at the University of Maryland thought that made sense.

But marriage, home buying and the things that go with them drive the economy. In a way, our push to educate without federal assistance may have a negative rather than positive impact on the Millennials and their future lifestyle.

Samsung Freezing Employee Salaries

Samsung will be freezing its employee’s salaries this year, the first time the giant electronic’s manufacturer has done so since 2009. The move is in part because of the companies declining smartphone sales.

In 2014, the company’s profit declined for the first time since 2011, the issue, in part, is because Apple has started to regain some of the marketshare that it lost to Samsung several years ago. In contrast, Apple reported its largest ever corporate profit last year.

In recent years, Samsung has seen a lot of success from its Galaxy line of smartphones. Running mostly the Android operating system, the phones cater to customers who doesn’t want to buy into Apple’s ecosystem. The handsets also feature a number of interesting features that attract customers, such as it’s “always on” functionality that allows you to speak to your phone wand get information even when it’s across the room said Dan newlin.

Walmart to Raise Minimum Wage

Walmart announced that they would be raising minimum wages to $10.00 per hour in an attempt to keep their employees from leaving. Besides the chaos caused by not having enough workers, the cost of replacing them is high and with so many people leaving for chances at better-paying jobs it may cost them less.’

Workers who feel that they can quit and find a better paying position is higher now than it’s been since June 2008 before the effects of the financial crisis were felt. This is good news for the economy and for those seeking work as unemployment rates drop and labor once again gains some control over the market. Other retailers who will be raising wages to $10.00 an hour include Gap and Ikea. Others may soon join in increasing the minimum wage as the economic recovery continues to grow.Click here for full article.

Workers in both retail and fast foods have lately been marching and demanding a livable wage. The fast food industry has not yet made any similar announcements but economic observers see this as a trend toward more livable wages. A good part of this trend has to do with the quit rates that have left some industries in a bad position as new workers to replace the ones leaving are becoming more difficult to find at current wages.

Walmart Increases Minimum Wage To $10

Things are starting to look up for minimum wage workers in the United States. A number of different major employers have started to up their lowest wages, making it easier for workers to get by on wages, according to Jaime Garcia Dias.

Walmart is the latest major retailer to bring up its bottom line. the major retailer has announced plans to bring its minimum wage up to $10 an hour for all employees by 2016, that represents a $1 raise over its current lowest wage of $9 an hour. Some managers in the chain will see an increase as well, with a raise to $13 an hour that will increase to $15 over time. For Walmart, the pay increase will effect close to half a million of its employees.

Several other employers have announced similar plans to increase their wages for employees. None of the current announcements have nearly the impact as Walmart does on the country’s workforce.

Igor Cornelson explains why Brazil and other economies are worth investing in

The financial expert Igor Cornelson is on a mission to show investors around the world that there are more areas and countries to invest in than are currently considered by most investors in the US and Europe. The owner of Bainbridge Investments has been vocal in recent years about his thoughts that the economy of Brazil is one of the least considered by investors in the developed World. As the eighth largest economy in the World, Brazil offers investors a number of chances to find a secure investment that should offer large returns in the future, Cornelson is leading his investors to the country and looking outside the traditional US hub of Wall Street.

According to Cornelson one of the major drawbacks many feel when they consider investing in Brazil is a lack of knowledge about the country as a whole and an uncertainty about the financial health of the economy. Cornelson is at pains to point out that the experimental economic policies that were undertaken in recent years are now a thing of the past, instead replaced by a more traditional way of operating the economy that is closer to the one used in the US. The return of a more traditional and conservative approach to the economy will be led by a new finance minister in Brazil, who Cornelson believes will inspire investors to return to Brazil.

Cornelson looks to the recent investment in the infrastructure of Brazil for the FIFA World Cup as a starting point for the economy to turn around. From there Cornelson believes the further investment for the upcoming Olympics will see the creation of more jobs and a stable economy for future years. The financial expert also explains that the economy of Brazil is not as different from the US and Europe as many believe, with major global economic institutions backing the majority of banks and financial companies in the country. The major banks in Brazil are backed by well known names like CitiBank and HSBC, Cornelson explains, which should provide faith for investors in the financial futures of most institutions.

Walmart to Raise Wages in 2015

Walmart has announced they will be raising their minimum wage starting in April. According to Doug McMillion, the minimum wage will be raised to $9.00 per hour starting in April, and to $10.00 an hour the following year. Department managers’ wages will increase to $13.00 in the summer of 2015.

Walmart, the biggest private employer in the country, has been in hot water in recent years for their failure to treat employees fairly. Several years ago the retailer was in the news for cutting hours to avoid offering health benefits to employees. They have also been largely criticized for offering sub-standard wages and poor working conditions.

The wage increase is likely an attempt to increase the brand’s public perception, which has fallen on hard times as of late. Walmart has also been largely criticized for their lack of charitable efforts Brian Torchin had said.

The wage increase news comes at a time when several major retailers and companies are being criticized for their treatment of employees. Staples, just last week, was in the news for a private memo that focused on keeping part time employees below 25 hours a week to skirt health insurance rules and regulations. McDonald’s has also found their way into the news in recent months due to unlivable wages offered to employees.

The Benefits Of Unemployment

Everyone who has struggled to maintain a job and launch a successful career can relate to the fear of unemployment and the instability that it can so often bring. Unemployment can be a self-destructive cycle due to attitude changes that can occur to a person who inappropriately internalizes the situation which left them without pay. A new study suggests that there are basic personality changes that arise in an unemployed person that they may not otherwise experience said Bernardo Chua. According to period without a job is capable of making a person less conscientious, agreeable and open.

There are personality traits known as the Big 5 and they are: conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion and openness. The research performed on a sample of German citizens showed that men were able to increase their agreeableness during the first two years of unemployment due to the psyche change in looking for new work. However, after that 2 year timeframe there was a significant decrease in agreeableness which put them below their employed counterparts. It seems that the incentive to be more agreeable in order to obtain work decays into depression as the search wears on.

Conscientiousness was another area where the unemployed men began to go into a downward spiral. This is most likely linked to the ability to enjoy one’s income that has been removed for the unemployed man. There are more interesting findings in the complete study linked above.

Arkansas’ 25-Cent Minimum Wage Increase Won’t Change Lives, but Is a Start


Pine Bluff, Arkansas is a small town of about 48,000 citizens, most of whom struggle daily to survive on minimum wage paychecks. Since 2009, Arkansas state legislature has tried twice to pass an increase in the states minimum wageamount and failed, until now. With a 66 percent approval vote, the referendum was passed last November, making Arkansas one of four, mostly Republican states, to approve a boost in pay.

Arkansas’ 25-cent hike from $7.25 an hour to $7.50 an hour won’t change lives, or even pull the tens of thousands of poor families out of poverty. The reaction to the minimum wage increase by one of Pine Bluff’s residents, 43-year old Shanna Tippen, was unenthusiastic. In response to her newly added $2.00 daily pay increase, Tippen says, “Not much difference.” Tippen’s household consists of herself and two adult children in their early 20’s who are unemployed, along with a two-year old grandson, with another grandchild on the way.

Last year, when Tippen showed her support of the minimum wage hike by adding her signature to the other 62,507 needed to place the issue up for vote, she thought, ‘Yeah, this is great.’ But, while working the night shift at the local Days Inn, Tippen’s paycheck, even with the increase, still leaves her $200 short of her monthly expenses.

The minimum wage increase that Arkansas has adopted will come to workers in phases. This year’s 25-cent hike, another 50-cent increase to $8.00 an hour next year, and a final 50-cent raise to $8.50 an hour in 2017. The additional money for the working poor can’t hurt, but top strategists at New York’s Forefront Capital Group stated that wages need to match inflation if this countries poverty level is ever going to diminish.