Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine
Wine Buyers Influenced by Sustainability
Two research studies by San Francisco-based Wine Institute indicate that the eco-friendly attributes of wine can be an important consideration for consumers and trade. Some 34% of wine consumers surveyed said they consider sustainability when making wine purchases. Also, 66% said they identify sustainability at the point of purchase via labels and in-store information. For study details, see www.wineinstitute.org.
Mendocino Vintners Celebrate ‘CORO’ Anniversary
Coro Mendocino recently released its 10th Anniversary Coro Wine. Each wine must contain between 40% and 70% zinfandel. The 2010 vintage was made by: Brutocao, Claudia Springs, Fetzer, Golden, Mendocino Vineyards, McFadden, McNab Ridge, Parducci, Philo Ridge and Ray's Station.
Michigan Vineyards Recognized
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Grand Traverse Conservation District recently recognized seven wineries and four vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula for their verification in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). The vineyards implemented voluntary and proactive pollution prevention practices. To date, more than 1,500 MAEAP verifications have been issued in the state.
Lodi Region Launches Video Series
The Lodi Winegrape Commission has launched LoCA Thoughts, a new video series that demystifies wine. Featuring Lodi grapegrower Ben Kolber, the videos challenge conventional myths about storing, pouring, tasting and cooking with wine, while providing consumers with fun answers to common wine-related questions. The videos can be viewed at www.lodiwine.com/locathoughts.
ASEV Selects Best Papers
The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) in Davis, Calif., has announced the 2013 best enology and viticulture papers. They are: "Foliar Application of Abscisic Acid Increases Freezing Tolerance of Field-Grown Vitis Vinifera Cabernet franc Grapevines" and "Profiling the Yeast Communities of Wine Fermentations Using Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis." Both awards are sponsored by J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.
California Wines Part of China Trade Mission
The Wine Institute reports that California wines were presented at a series of events during Governor Jerry Brown’s Trade Mission to China Apr. 9-12, paving the way for vintner delegations that followed to the country later in the spring. Sales to China helped grow California wine exports to a record $1.4 billion in sales last year.
Antietam Highlands Wine Trail Opens
The Maryland Wineries Association celebrated the opening of the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail on Apr. 16. The Trail stretches across Western Maryland, touching on renowned wineries, historic sites and scenic views. Expected to draw thousands of visitors annually, the Trail also includes 10 state parks, more than 30 museums and five national parks.
BNA Wine Group Hires COO
Mark A. Castaldi has been appointed chief operating officer of BNA Wine Group in Nashville, Tenn. Castaldi has more than 20 years experience in the wine, beverage and food industries, including serving as COO or general manager for Sonoma Wine Company, Schug Winery, Constellation Wine Company, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and Beringer Wine Estates.
New Director for Washington State Wine
Michaela Baltasar, formerly the senior communications manager for Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, Calif., has relocated to Seattle to assume the role of communications director for the Washington State Wine Commission.
Franciscan Estate Names Winemaker
Marla Carroll has been named winemaker for Franciscan Estate Winery in St. Helena, Calif. She joins Director of Winemaking Janet Myers and Winemaker Jay Turnipseed. Carroll has worked at Franciscan for seven years in a number of roles, including enologist and assistant winemaker.
Penner-Ash Appoints Marketing Manager
Newberg, Ore.-based Penner-Ash Wine Cellars has named Jane Box its direct sales and marketing manager. Box brings years of hospitality, wine and culinary experience to the role. A former restaurant manager, Box has also served as a portfolio manager for Southern Wines & Spirits and worked for Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy USA. In 2011, Box founded Janie’s Kitchen LLC, an online personal chef consultancy.
Don & Sons Expands Team
Don Sebastiani & Sons of Sonoma, Calif., has hired Rob McNeill as director of winemaking, a newly created position for the company. Before joining Don Sebastiani & Sons, McNeill worked at Mumm Napa for nearly two decades. McNeill will be based at the winery’s Steelbird Cellars facility in the Napa Valley.
Malbec & Malbec Joins Sodaro Estate
The Napa Valley’s Sodaro Estate Winery has hired winemaking team Malbec & Malbec to take control of its winemaking operations. Malbec & Malbec is the husband and wife team of Denis Malbec and May-Britt Malbec. Both have worked for Chateau Latour in France, Denis as cellar master and enologist and May-Britt in public relations. In 2000, the couple launched their wine consulting business.
Fetzer Names Grower Relations Manager
Ben Byczynski has been named grower relations manager, North Coast, of Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland, Calif. He will manage Fetzer's relationships with winegrowers in Mendocino and Lake counties who grow grapes for the Bonterra and Fetzer-Mendo wines. Byczynski was most recently viticulturist and chief administrative officer at Vimark Vineyards/Trione Vineyards in Geyserville.
Ledson Adds to Winemaking Team
Ledson Winery & Vineyards in Kenwood, Calif., has hired British winemaker Matt Standing to round out its international winemaking team. Standing joins Owner and Head Winemaker Steve Ledson; Consulting Winemaker David Ramey; Australian Winemaker Andrew Bilenkij; and Consulting Viticulturist Dr. Daniel Roberts. Ledson has also announced its recent purchase of the Mountain Terraces vineyard.
Mueller Winery Returns to Healdsburg
Mueller Winery has sold its Starr Road winery facility in Windsor, Calif. The sale does not include the Mueller brand, wine inventory or grape contracts. Production is moving to a new state-of-the-art facility in Santa Rosa in time for the 2013 harvest. The Mueller Tasting Room will now be located in downtown Healdsburg.
Westport Winery Partners with Songbird Vineyard
Westport Winery of Aberdeen, Wash., has announced its collaboration with another Eastern Washington grape grower, Songbird Vineyard. Westport Winery will begin making Surfers Last Syrah from Songbird’s grapes grown in the Red Mountain AVA.
Pend d’Oreille Winery to Relocate
Pend d’Oreille Winery of Sandpoint, Idaho, has announced plans to move its tasting facility to the historic Belwood building across the street from its current location. Belwood will host the tasting room, gift shop and Bistro Rouge Café restaurant. Wine production will move to the winery’s off-site warehouse. The new location is slated to open Sept. 13.
Pinot Noir Summit Sets Record
This year’s 11th Annual Pinot Noir Summit featured some 460 pinot noirs from around the world. Held March 16th at The Presidio in San Francisco, the Summit is the culmination of the Affairs of the Vine Pinot Noir Shootout, which has grown to be the largest head-to-head competition of pinot noirs. For a list of winners, see http://affairsofthevine.com.
North America’s First Wine Tourism Day
Zephyr Adventures, the Red Lodge, Mt.-based organizer of the annual Wine Tourism Conference, has announced the first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America will take place May 11. Participating wineries, hotels, restaurants and other businesses will offer a variety of events to the public to promote the visitation of wine areas. For more information, visit www.winetourismday.org.
New Center for Wine and Civilization
The endowment fund supporting the Cité des Civilisations du Vin (Center for Wine and Civilization) has established a twin organization in the United States. The non-profit will be named American Friends of the Center for Wine and Civilization. The non-profit is currently seeking financial support for the construction of the proposed attraction dedicated to promoting the culture of wine. For details, see www.citedescivilisationsduvin.com.
Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have discovered how to dry and grind the pulp from crushed wine grapes, turning it into a natural food preservative, biodegradable packaging materials and a nutritional enhancement for baked goods. The pulp or pomace is packed with dietary fiber and phenolics, which have antioxidant effects. OSU researchers foresee wineries selling their pomace rather than paying for its disposal.
Study of Frequent Wine Drinkers
The results of research commissioned last fall to study consumption and perception of Sonoma County wines among high-frequency wine consumers are in. The WineOpinions survey of some 900 respondents found that more than half (56%) consumed Sonoma County wine on a monthly/plus basis, following closely behind Napa Valley wines (60%) and higher than any other top national or international wine region.
Washington Winegrowers Set Record
The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers annual convention in Kennewick set a new record this year, drawing nearly 2,200 attendees to the sold-out trade show. Each year, the group honors a Grower of the Year. Servando Rodriquez, production manager at Sagemoor Farms, received the 2012 Erick Hanson Memorial Wine Grape Grower Award.
Millennial Career Guide for the Beverage Biz
The Napa Valley’s Mutineer Magazine has launched a 60-day Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise money for its new guide: “Drink Careers 101: How to Get a Job in the Beverage Industry.” Through the creation of the guide, Mutineer hopes to raise awareness among Millennials about employment opportunities in the beverage industry. The guide is slated for release this fall. To contribute to the fund, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/mutineer/drink-careers-101-how-to-get-a-job-in-the-beverage.
Elkton Designated an AVA
Elkton Oregon has become the state’s newest American Viticultural Area after receiving approval from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in February. Contained within the Umpqua Valley AVA, Elkton’s vineyards tend to be cooler and foggier than Oregon’s other southern appellations. The new AVA is home to more than 100 planted acres, mostly pinot noir.
Cornell Names New Wine Grapes
Cornell University Professor Bruce Reisch introduced two new wine grapes at Viticulture 2013 in Rochester, N.Y., on Feb. 7. After a grape naming challenge drew more than 1,000 suggestions, the new grapes were introduced as: Arandell and Aromella. Arandell is a mash-up of “arandano,” the Spanish word for blueberry, and “ell” from Cornell. Aromella was named by winemaker and songwriter Michael Borboa.
Indiana Gains First All-Inclusive AVA
The Indiana Uplands American Viticultural Area (AVA), encompassing 4,800 square miles of South Central Indiana grape-growing terrain, became the state’s first all-inclusive AVA in February. The Indiana Uplands AVA runs in a swath from the Morgan-Monroe County line near Bloomington south to the Ohio River, a distance of just over 100 miles.
CSWA Releases Progress Report
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has issued its 2012 Progress Report and Third Edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook. This is the first time the complete workbook has been publicly available. The report includes highlights of the Performance Metrics project, an online tool to help California growers and vintners improve their use of natural resources. See www.sustainablewinegrowing.org for details.
Near Record Premiere Napa Valley
The Napa Valley Vintners' 17th annual Premiere Napa Valley garnered $3.04 million, nearly matching last year's record-breaking event. The auction's 211 lots, donated by 218 NVV members, were purchased in just over three hours at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The more than 1,000 total attendees included 600 trade and media members from 35 states and 9 countries.
Rosé by the Bay Set to Launch
The Rosé Consortia has taken over the duties of Rosé Avengers & Producers (RAP), and replaced the annual Pink Out! San Francisco event with Rosé by the Bay. The event, slated for Tuesday, April 23, will be hosted by Chef Rob Lam of Butterfly restaurant. Winery, trade and media registration is now open. Details are available at www.theroséconsortia.com.
New Website for SLO Wine
SLO (San Luis Obispo) Wine Country’s recently launched website at www.slowine.com, features a new SLO Wine logo and enhanced content. The site signals a fresh chapter for the San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association, formerly the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association. The website also offers information on the region’s inaugural Farmfest on The Coast event to be held on April 26.
California Calls for EGVM Eradication
The California Association of Winegrape Growers, the Wine Institute and Family Winemakers of California have asked the USDA for $6.5 million in federal funding for European Grapevine Moth (EGVM) eradication efforts in 2013. A plan proposed by experts last year estimated eradication costs at $8.2 million. Officials with the California Department of Food and Agriculture have indicated they will contribute $1.7 million toward that plan, leaving a balance of $6.5 million.
Paso Robles to Showcase Cabernets
The Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective (PRCC), a grass-roots collaboration of Paso Robles appellation wineries who produce cabernet and Bordeaux varietals, will showcase their efforts at the inaugural CABs of Distinction events on April 26-27, 2013. The slate of events includes winemaker dinners, media and trade tastings and a Saturday gala. Learn more at www.pasoroblescab.com.
Study Explores Wine Closure Preferences
According to a research study by Evan Goldstein, MS and Full Circle Wine Solutions in San Francisco, Calif., there is growing acceptance of a variety of wine closures among trade and consumers. Study participants were questioned about DIAM closures, natural corks, synthetics and glass closures. The study found that the greatest factor working against non-traditional wine closures is lack of exposure and knowledge.
Randall Grahm Receives Lifetime Award
For the first time, the Rhône Rangers organization has recognized the significant contributions made by an individual to the American Rhone wine movement, creating a new award in his name. This Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Bonny Doon Vineyard Founder Randall Grahm. Dubbed “The Rhône Ranger” by the Wine Spectator, Grahm has introduced Rhône-style wines to the American public for three decades.
New Winemaker for Archery Summit
The Dundee Hills winery Archery Summit in Dayton, Ore., has named Christopher Mazepink its new general manager/winemaker. He will manage all vineyard and winemaking operations, working with Director of Vineyard Operations Leigh Bartholomew. Most recently, Mazepink was director of winemaking and viticulture at Benton Lane Winery, where he oversaw all vineyard and winemaking operations.
Rutherford Dust Elects New Board
Members of the Rutherford Dust Society elected a new board of directors at their 12th Annual Membership Meeting in Rutherford, Calif. Regina Weinstein of Honig Vineyard & Winery was named president; Gretchen Brakesman of The Ranch Winery, vice president; Michelle Curtis Harris of Caspar Estate, treasurer; and Paul Wagner of Balzac Communications & Marketing, secretary.
NVG Names Grower of the Year
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) has named Frank Leeds the 2013 Napa Valley Grower of the Year award. Leeds is vice president and director of vineyard operations at Frog’s Leap Winery, and the managing partner of Chavez and Leeds Family Vineyard in Rutherford. As president of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Leeds helped develop sustainability, organic and pest management programs.
Paul Hobbs Appoints GM
Paul Hobbs Imports, a Sebastopol, Calif.-based importer of estate wines from Argentina, has appointed Serge Lozach as general manager. Lozach joined the Paul Hobbs Imports team in 2010, serving as director of sales and marketing. Previously, he was managing director at Sopexa USA, where he promoted French wines in the U.S. market.
Brassfield Estate Hires Winemaker
Quincy M. Steele has been named associate winemaker of Brassfield Estate Winery & Vineyard in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. Steele has been winemaker with his father at Steele Wines since 2002, and was head winemaker and co-founder of Writer's Block Wines and Calvino Jones wines. He has also consulted for Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Argentina.
New Directors at NVV
The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) in St. Helena, Calif., has appointed two new directors. Patsy McGaughy has become NVV’s communications director, while Teresa Wall is the new marketing director. McGaughy, who has worked for NVV since 2000, was the organization’s marketing director. Wall, who was also hired from within, had been responsible for NVV’s education, trade and consumer initiatives.
Wine Reviewer Launches Website
Wine reviewer Antonio Galloni, who recently announced his departure from Robert M. Parker Jr.’s influential The Wine Advocate, has launched his own wine website at www.antoniogalloni.com. The site, aimed at younger wine consumers, features videos, wine reviews and more.
Sonoma Co-op Names Director
Nicklas Wilson has been named director of operations and logistics for the Sonoma County Vintners Co-op. He is responsible for all warehousing and patron services in Sonoma, Napa, Paso Robles and Santa Maria, Calif. He will continue to report to CEO and General Manager Stephen Schwitalla in Windsor, Calif.
Auffrey Joins Drink Local Board
Drink Local Wine LLC, the Boston-based organization whose goal is bringing greater attention to regional wines, has appointed food and wine columnist Richard Auffrey to its board of directors. Author of The Passionate Foodie blog, Auffrey is also a certified Spanish wine educator, a certified wine location specialist and a certified sake professional.
SCW Welcomes New President
The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) Board of Directors has appointed Karissa Kruse as president. She replaces Nick Frey as he retires. Kruse, who will assume the new role on May 1, 2013, has been the organization’s marketing director since last year.
Virginia Honors Wine Person of the Year
The Virginia Wineries Association named Marybeth Williams, Esq., Wine Person of the Year at its annual Governor’s Cup awards ceremony. Williams, a beverage alcohol attorney and founder of Williams Compliance and Consulting Group, volunteers her time by educating Association members about regulatory issues. She and husband, Jeff Williams, also own Five Dogs Vineyard in Hanover, Va.
Tri-Valley Tourism Names President
The Tri-Valley Tourism Bureau in Pleasanton, Calif., has hired Barbara Steinfeld as president. She replaces Grant Raeside, who stepped down last September. Steinfeld joins Tri-Valley after 16 years as vice president of tourism sales at Travel Portland. Previously, she was the international tourism manager at the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Evening Land Sells Operations
Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Evening Land Vineyards has reached an agreement to sell its 40-acre vineyard and small-lot-production winemaking operations in the Santa Rita Hills and Lompoc to a partnership led by Sommelier Rajat Parr. CEO Greg Ralston says the agreement will allow Evening Land to focus on its Occidental Vineyard. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter this year.
Crush 94. Adds Bottling Line
Spelletich Family Wine Company’s Crush 94. in West Napa, Calif., has invested in a bottling machine designed for 50 mL and 100 mL bottles, offering clients a more cost-effective format for disseminating wine samples. The machine is designed to fit small bottles in an airtight enclosure. The result, says Spelletich, is T.A.S.T.E technology (Total Anaerobic Sample Transfer Environment).
La Follette Wines Opens Tasting Facility
Winemaker Greg La Follette recently opened a new tasting facility in Sebastopol, Calif., to showcase his portfolio of small-lot, single vineyard wines.
The facility, the first public tasting venue for La Follette’s two-year-old label, is located at The Barlow, a new marketplace featuring restaurants, microbreweries, wineries and more.
Jackson Family Expands in Oregon
Jackson Family Wines, the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based producers of the Kendall-Jackson brand, has purchased nearly 400 acres of land in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The acquisition marks the first major move into Oregon for a California wine producer. Industry insiders speculate that the purchase is part of Jackson Family’s strategy to diversify its popular La Crema California pinot noir line.
Barboursville Four-Time Cup Winner
The 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor's Cup has been awarded to Barboursville Vineyards’ 2009 Octagon 12th Edition. With this win, Barboursville becomes the first Virginia winery to receive the award four times. Barboursville also won in 1992, 1999 and 2007. Made only in top vintage years, Octagon is a Meritage-style blend of the winery’s best Bordeaux varietals.
Jim Barrett, proprietor of Chateau Montelena in the Napa Valley, died on March 14, at age 86.
Barrett’s 1973 chardonnay brought fame to the winery and the region by taking first-place honors at the “Judgment of Paris” tasting in 1976.
Born in Chicago, Barrett practiced law for 20 years before moving to Napa Valley in 1972 to open the winery, which became known not only for its chardonnay, but perhaps even more so for its age-worthy estate cabernet.
Barrett is survived by three sons – including Bo, who runs Chateau Montelena –his wife, Judy, two daughters and five grandchildren.
Unified Draws Record Attendance
More than 13,000 international wine and grape professionals attended the 19th annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (Unified), surpassing last year’s record audience by 1,000. In addition to a trade show featuring nearly 650 exhibitors, the three-day event offered educational programs and a “State of the Industry” address, during which analysts forecast a strong year for the American wine industry.
Lodi Rules Raises the Bar
The Lodi Winegrape Commission has announced that Protected Harvest has accredited its Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing. The original standards, approved in 2005, were California’s first appellation-wide sustainable winegrowing standards, which have become a benchmark for vineyard certification. The revised guidelines include 22 new measures on issues such as energy management, employee incentives and benefits, soil conservation, water quality and disease management.
WineAmerica Partners with TIPS
The Washington, D.C.-based national association of wineries WineAmerica and Health Communications, Inc (HCI), providers of the TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) program out of Arlington, Va., have formed a partnership to promote responsible consumption of wine in U.S. wineries. WineAmerica is rolling out a customized TIPS program to their members, as well as launching a web page dedicated to TIPS implementation.
New Campaign for Sonoma Valley
The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) recently launched “Roots Run Deep,” a new brand and multi-faceted marketing campaign. The new logo features “Sonoma Valley Wine – Est. 1857” as well as iconic Sonoma Valley symbols: a bear and crescent moon. The tag line: “In Sonoma Valley the Roots Run Deep,” will serve as an umbrella for sub-messages of the campaign.
CSWA Releases 2012 Progress Report
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) in San Francisco has issued its 2012 Progress Report, highlighting the release of its third edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook, updated CSWA program participation numbers, and an overview of a new performance metrics tool measuring vineyard and winery energy use. For a copy of the report, see www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.
Inaugural Wine Program in Napa
The Napa Valley Wine Academy recently launched its inaugural wine program with classes that bring students out of the classroom and into winery and food centers, placing them closer to the subject matter at hand. Academy instructors are industry professionals who use hands-on activities to inspire wine enthusiasts and educate students studying for certification classes. Visit www.napavalleywineacademy.com for details.
2013 Virginia Wine Guide Released
The newly released 2013 Virginia Winery Guide, produced by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office in Richmond, Va., has been updated this year to feature 230 wineries, cideries and meaderies. Along with a detailed driving map of Virginia wineries, the guide includes a comprehensive list of winery names, locations, hours and contact information.
New Certification at Sonoma State
The Wine Business Institute of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., is offering a new Wine Industry Finance and Accounting Certificate. The program provides an overview of finance and accounting concepts taught by wine industry professionals in the finance and accounting fields. Each seminar is designed to deliver core quantitative concepts presented within the context of the wine industry.
Chandler Named WineAmerica Executive Director
Washington, D.C.-based WineAmerica, the national association of American wineries, has named Mark Chandler its executive director. Chandler’s experience includes a 20-year post as executive director of the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission. He is also a former president of the Society of Wine Educators.
VVA Names Grower of the Year
The Virginia Vineyards Association (VVA) has named independent grape grower Len Thompson the 2012 Grower of the Year. An active VVA member for more than a decade, Thompson has served as vice president, treasurer, secretary and communications chair. Retired from the VVA board, Thompson, who is also an employee of Rockbridge Vineyards, is currently vice president of the Virginia Wineries Association.
CAWG Honors Grower, Leader of the Year
The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) has presented its 2013 Grower of the Year award to Steve McIntyre, co-founder of the vineyard management company Monterey Pacific, Inc. CAWG’s highest honor, the award recognizes excellence in viticulture and management. McIntyre is a respected leader on sustainability and a founding member of the Central Coast Vineyard Team’s Sustainability in Practice program. Ben Drake, president of the farm management company Drake Enterprises, Inc., in Temecula, was named the CAWG’s 2013 Leader of the Year. Drake is credited with taking a leading role in Temecula’s fight against the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease.
Rhonda Motil Joins J. Lohr
Central Coast winegrower and producer J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines of San Jose, Calif., has appointed Rhonda Motil to the position of senior marketing director. Motil joins J. Lohr after 10 years as the executive director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association. Her experience also includes nearly a decade in the tech industry with a specialization in marketing.
Miller and Tancer Launch Forte 47
Longtime wine professionals Darryl Miller and Forrest Tancer have founded Forte 47, a new wine business consultancy in Healdsburg, Calif. A brand builder and winegrower respectively, Miller and Tancer offer producers of fine wine – from start-ups to established wineries – their services in viticulture, winemaking, wine marketing and brand building. Both men have more than 35 years of industry experience.
NWGGA Hires Montgomery as Executive Director
The Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association (NWGGA) in Omaha, has hired Jennifer Montgomery as executive director. Montgomery joins NWGGA after 10 years with WineAmerica, where she served as director of grassroots and political affairs. Prior to WineAmerica, she worked for the Lindl Corporation, a public relations and lobbying firm in Richmond Va. Montgomery is the NWGGA’s first full-time executive director.
Friends of Colorado Wine Honored
The Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE) in Grand Junction recently honored four members as official Friends of Colorado Wine. Debbie Kovalik and Barb Bowman (Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau); Sylvia Sharpe (CAVE staff supporter and volunteer); and Dave Tewksbury (Tewksbury and Co.) were recognized for their role in the growth of Colorado’s wine industry.
Hahn Family Names Cairns Director of Marketing
Napa, Calif.-based Hahn Family Wines has promoted Joshua Cairns to director of marketing. He will manage all trade and consumer marketing initiatives for the company’s nine wine brands, including Hahn Estate and Cycles Gladiator. For the past five years, Cairns has served as Hahn’s direct-to-consumer, e-commerce and website manager.
New Directors for Oregon Wine Board
Steve Thomson of King Estate Winery and Juan Pablo “JP” Valot of Silvan Ridge Winery were appointed to the Oregon Wine Board (OWB) for three-year terms. Leigh Bartholomew of Archery Summit and Michael Donovan of RoxyAnn Winery were re-appointed to new terms. Bill Sweat of Winderlea Vineyard & Winery was elected vice chairman and Ellen Brittan of Brittan Vineyards was named treasurer.
Constellation Appoints Morham as New President
Constellation Brands, Inc. in Victor, N.Y., has announced that Eric Morham, president of the company’s Canadian business, will retire effective May 31, 2013, after 40 years in the beverage alcohol industry. Succeeding Morham is Ben Dollard, currently SVP, International. His appointment is effective Mar. 1. Dollard will be based in Mississauga, Ontario. Philip Kingston replaces Dollard as SVP, International.
ZAP Selects Heritage Winemaker
Napa Valley’s Trinchero Family Estates has learned its Terra d’Oro Winemaker Chris Leamy is the official winemaker for the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) 2012 Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project. Each year ZAP selects a distinguished winery member to craft a zinfandel from the Heritage Vineyard. The 2012 Heritage Zin’s official release will take place at Terra d’Oro Winery in Amador County in 2014.
Wente Celebrates 130 Years
Wente Vineyards of Livermore, Calif., celebrates its130th anniversary this year, making it the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. The company was founded in 1883 when German immigrant Carl H. Wente purchased 48 acres of vineyard land in the Livermore Valley. Today’s winery, owned and managed by fourth and fifth Wente generations, draws from 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed estate vineyards.
14 Hands Winery to Open
Washington-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has announced its 14 Hands wine brand will get its own winery in Prosser this fall. The new facility will help meet demand for the brand, which shipped more than 1 million cases nationally in 2012. 14 Hands will be located at the former site of Snoqualmie winery. Major renovations are planned to make 14 Hands a destination.
Landmark Year for Davis Bynum
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Healdsburg, Calif.-based Davis Bynum Winery making the Russian River Valley’s first single vineyard pinot noir. In 1973, Bynum stated where its grapes were grown, setting the stage for today’s vineyard designated wines. The winery’s current owner, Rodney Strong Wine Estates, has produced a tribute video to Bynum, and celebratory dinners and tastings will be held throughout the year.
Messina Hof Scholarship Announced
Messina Hof Winery has announced the "Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo Grant" presented by the Wine Society of Texas' (WST) non-profit educational program. The $1,000 award, named for the Bryan, Texas-based Messina Hof co-founders, was presented to Nicole Gabler, a Sam Houston State University graduate bound for A&M. In the last 11 years, the WST has provided $34,000 in scholarship grant assistance.
Laird Family Acquires Silverado Hill
Laird Family Estate winery has acquired Silverado Hill Winery. The acquisition adds a third facility to the Laird custom crush operation, previously comprised of Laird Family Estate and Andretti Winery in Napa. The three facilities will bring the winery’s crush capacity to more than 6,000 tons. The additional space will also provide Laird’s clients with a presence on the Silverado Trail.
Pomar Junction Vineyard Expands
The Merrill family, owners of Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery and Mesa Vineyard Management, has purchased 278 acres (formerly the Weyrich estate) in the El Pomar District of the Paso Robles AVA. Currently, 93 acres are planted with Rhône, Bordeaux and Italian varietals. Vine maturity will allow for immediate production of wine. Plans are underway to certify the vineyard Sustainable in Practice.
2013 Iowa Wine and Grape Awards
The Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) will host the 2013 Iowa Wine and Grape Awards in honor of Iowa’s outstanding vineyards, wineries, industry partners and professionals. This will be the inaugural year for the awards presentation slated for Mar. 16 during the 2013 IWGA Annual Conference in West Des Moines. Deadline for entries is Feb. 15. To submit nominations, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IWGA2012Awards.
Messina Hof Named ‘Top Winery’
For the first time in the history of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) Uncorked! International Wine Competition, a Texas winery was named “Top All Around Winery.” The award went to Messina Hof Winery of Bryan, which received 24 additional wins. The “Top” award goes to the winery with the greatest number of wines submitted, winning the most awards.
Oregon Wineries Set Record
Oregon’s $3 billion wine industry continues to outpace much of the U.S. wine industry by topping the $2 million case sales level for the first time in its 50-year history, according to the 2011 Oregon Winery Census Report released by the Oregon Wine Board. The census, conducted by Southern Oregon University, found that Oregon’s 463 wineries saw an overall sales increase of 9%, both in volume and sales revenue, making 2011 the biggest year in Oregon history. Total case sales, including the sale of bulk wine, reached 2.2 million cases. The 2011 results benefited from a record harvest of 42,033 tons.
Alcoholic Beverages to Register with FDA
Companies involved in the manufacture, processing, packaging, or storage of food products – including alcoholic beverages and some agricultural products – must register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Jan. 31, 2013, or be in violation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Further information can be found at www.fdasolutionsgroup.com.
First Wireless Fermentation System Launches
UC Davis is now home to the world's first wireless wine fermentation system. The $3.5 million network was designed and built by T.J. Rodgers, founder of the San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp., who donated the system to the school. Each fermenter in the network is individually equipped with automated temperature control, an automated system for pumping juice and a sensor that monitors Brix.
Wine Trade Publications to Merge
Wines & Vines has merged with Practical Winery & Vineyard (PWV), both based in San Rafael, Calif. Beginning in April, PWV’s editorial content will be published in a special monthly section within Wines & Vines. Don Neel, publisher and editor of PWV, will continue to source and edit content for the new section. Sonoma-based Wine Communications Group owns both companies, as well as Wine Business Monthly.
Monterey County Vintners & Growers Restructures
The Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association (MCVGA) has announced plans to restructure. Rhonda Motil has left her role as executive director. Stacie Jacob, owner of Solterra Strategies, has been named interim executive director. A membership survey is underway to gain feedback before the next phase of restructuring. A search for a permanent executive director is also pending.
ProWein Study Spotlights Asian Wine Markets
ProWein organizer Messe Düsseldorf recently partnered with Wine Intelligence to survey Asian wine markets. The resulting study, “Asia — Opportunities in China and Beyond,” points to China remaining the most attractive Asian market for wine exporters in the next five years. The survey also identified opportunities in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Trends include affordable imports that appeal to younger consumers and in-country marketing.
New Brand Campaign for Paso Robles
The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance has selected Los Angeles-based David&Goliath to brand the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area. For the last 20 years, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance has worked on branding Paso Robles as a source for high quality wines and tourism. The Alliance plans to launch the campaign this month.
AWS Announces Pinot Tasting Results
The American Wine Society (AWS) released the results of its annual National Tasting Project (NTP). California pinot noirs proved the favorites in blind tastings of 14 pinots from around the world. More than 1,400 AWS members participated in the tastings. Top performers included 2009 Twomey by Silver Oak, followed by the 2010 Belle Glos "Meiomi," 2010 Decoy, and 2009 Deloach.
Paul Hobbs to Consult for Juanicó Wines
International winemaker and consultant Paul Hobbs has announced that he will serve as consulting winemaker for Juanicó Wines in Canelones, Uruguay. Hobbs will work with the Deicas family, who founded the winery in 1979, to improve the portfolio of wines, including the Don Pascual and Pueblo del Sol brands. Hobbs currently consults for wineries in California, Argentina, Chile, France, Canada and Armenia.
Terry Culton Joins Peachy Canyon
Peachy Canyon Winery of Paso Robles, Calif., has announced that Josh Beckett, winemaker and son of owner Doug Beckett, will move to a consulting role to become winemaker for his own brand. Terry Culton, formerly of Adelaida Cellars, has been named winemaker of Peachy Canyon. Culton’s experience includes winemaking at Calera Wine Co., Willamette Valley Vineyards, Edmeades and Wildhorse.
CAVE Adds New Board Members
The Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE) in Palisade, Colo., has named three new board members to help oversee the non-profit’s support of the Colorado wine industry. CAVE’s membership elected Linda Brauns, a Palisade vineyard owner; Jay Christianson of Canyon Wind Cellars; and Doug Caskey of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board to three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
Cakebread Leaves Spottswoode
Rosemary Cakebread has stepped down from her consulting role at Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery in St. Helena, Calif., to focus on her own wines and vineyard project under the Gallica label. Cakebread began as winemaker with Spottswoode in 1997. She became consulting winemaker in 2007.
Robert Mondavi Appoints Winemaker
Oakville, Calif.-based Robert Mondavi Winery has appointed Nova Cadamatre as winemaker. Cadamatre most recently served as luxury winemaker for Souverain, Chateau St. Jean and Beringer Knights Valley. One of the first graduates of Cornell’s viticulture and enology program, Cadamatre relocated to California to work as both the assistant winemaker and winemaker at Mission Bell Winery.
Ryan Patrick Hires Manager
Mattawa, Wash.-based Ryan Patrick Vineyards hired Clay Kriss as national brand manager to increase sales and distribution of the brand. Kriss joins Ryan Patrick after 18 years with Beringer Wine Estates and 30 years in the wine industry. He has held multi-state supplier positions with both domestic and import wine companies.
Bonny Doon and NakedWines ‘Crowdsource’ New Wines
NakedWines.com, a customer-funded winery, has brought together more than 150,000 angel investors to raise $150,000 to launch two new wines with wine industry veteran, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard. As Grahm's new wines are crowdfunded by his customers, there are no marketing or sales costs. This allows NakedWines.com to invest heavily in grapes and talent.
Long Meadow Launches Rutherford Estate
Long Meadow Ranch has announced the creation of a 90-acre estate in the heart of the Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA). The new holding, which totals 74 acres of estate vineyards, will be one of the 10 largest estates in the AVA. The estate was created through a transaction involving two purchases, existing properties and a multi-party lot line adjustment.
Paul Hobbs Acquires Tourmaline
Paul Hobbs, founder of Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol, Calif., and Richard Magnuson, of GI Partners, have purchased the 90-acre Tourmaline Vineyard located in Napa Valley's new Coombsville AVA. The property was first planted to Bordeaux varietals over a decade ago. The new vineyard is Paul Hobbs Winery's first acquisition in the Napa Valley.
Smithsonian Opens Food History Exhibition
Last month, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., launched a new major exhibition on food history entitled, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950–2000.” The exhibition explores the rise of centralized agriculture, food production and processing, the evolution of winemaking and more. The 3,800-square-foot gallery is scheduled to remain open for at least two years.
Growth in Michigan Wine
Michigan’s wine grape acreage doubled over the past decade, according to a recent report by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, increasing from 1,300 to 2,650 acres. The report, based on the 2011 Michigan Fruit Survey, found that riesling is the most widely planted wine grape, with acreage nearly tripling in the past decade. For complete survey results, see www.michiganwines.com/fastfacts.
Accolade Wines Moves to Napa
Accolade Wines has relocated its North American offices to Napa, Calif. The new location, according to Tim Matz, managing director, “offers a greater radius of recruitment prospects for all levels of positions and provides easy access for national and international travel.” Accolade’s marketing and sales team will be located in Napa, along with most of its finance group.
Top Buyers Attend Sonoma Summit
Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrowers, in partnership with Full Circle Wine Solutions, presented the fifth annual Sonoma Summit Nov. 5-7 at wineries and vineyards throughout Sonoma County. The event, designed to raise awareness for Sonoma County wines, drew 31 wine decision makers from the U.S. and Canada. Post-event surveys indicated that most attendees intended to carry more Sonoma County wines after completing the program.
BRIT Calls for Sustainable Winegrowing Entries
The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) is accepting nominations for its 2013 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing, recognizing wine organizations committed to conservation, sustainability and stewardship of the land. Submissions are due by Mar. 31, 2013. The award will be presented at BRIT’s annual fundraiser on Oct. 5, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas.
Arista Appoints Winemaker
The McWilliams family, owners of Arista Winery in Healdsburg, Calif., has named Matt Courtney their winemaker, beginning Jan. 1. Most recently, Courtney made wines for Marcassin Wine Company. His experience includes crafting pinot noir and chardonnay wines. Courtney holds a degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis.
Heil Joins Wagners and Hopes
Matthew Heil has been appointed the director of grower relations and grape supply management for two grapegrowing/winemaking families: The Wagners of Napa Valley and the Hopes of Paso Robles, Calif. Heil will be responsible for sourcing grapes and managing internal and external fruit supply and quality control for the Caymus, Meiomi, Mer Soleil, Conundrum, Liberty School, Treana and Troublemaker brands, among others.
Milbrandt Vineyards Names Director of Viticulture
Jason Schlagel has been promoted to director of viticulture for Milbrandt Vineyards in Mattawa, Wash. Schlagel joined the Milbrandt team in early 2012 as the senior viticulturist, responsible for the day-to-day management of the organization’s 10 estate vineyards. As director, Schlagel will oversee all of Milbrandt’s site operations, manage outside grower relations and develop practices to ensure quality fruit.
New Director of Sales for Arrow&Branch
Pamela Jessup-Carter has been named director of sales for Arrow&Branch Estate Vineyard in Napa Valley, Calif. Jessup-Carter is known for her work as a vintner with Jessup Cellars and for opening the first tasting room in Yountville in 2004. Most recently, she was director of sales at Porthos, an Internet-based wine retailer, and a member of the Wine Insiders tasting panel.
Society of Wine Educators Names Director
The Society of Wine Educators (SWE) Board has appointed Sharron McCarthy as director emeritus. McCarthy is only the fourth recipient of the SWE director emeritus honor. During McCarthy’s tenure as SWE president from 2007 to 2010, she expanded SWE’s presence in Asia, helped to secure an unprecedented increase in SWE certifications, and oversaw a major re-write of the CSS Study Guide.
Jackson Family to Purchase Saralee’s Vineyard
The Jackson Family of Sonoma County, Calif., has agreed to purchase Saralee’s Vineyard and Richard’s Grove from Saralee and Richard Kunde. The approximately 260-acre Russian River Valley site has a reputation for producing some of the finest grapes in California. Completion of the sale is expected later this month. The Kundes, who still own three vineyards, will remain in the wine business.
Sebastiani Completes Winery Upgrade
Don Sebastiani & Sons has completed work on a new Napa Valley facility called Steelbird Cellars. Named "Steelbird" for its proximity to the "birds of steel" living at the nearby Napa Airport, the Sebastianis have made this facility their production home since the company's inception in 2001. The newly renovated state-of-the-art facility will showcase the winery and its business-to-business custom services.
Brutocao to Develop Hospitality Center
Brutocao Family Vineyards has engaged real estate developers Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank in Santa Rosa, Calif., to market an approximately 7-acre site, known as the Hopland Schoolhouse Plaza, for the creation of a hospitality destination venue. The property is slated to include lodging facilities. The tasting rooms for Brutocao and Bliss Family Vineyards will remain at Schoolhouse Plaza.
Christopher Creek Under New Ownership
Healdsburg, Calif.-based Christopher Creek Winery, formerly operated by Fred and Pam Wasserman, has been sold to Two Kings Wine Company, LLC owned by Robert Dahl and Dominic Foppoli. The 11-acre Russian River winery currently produces 3,500 cases of estate wine. The new owners have said they plan on keeping the winemaking “as is,” focusing instead on opening the estate grounds to visitors.
Frank J. Prial
Credited with introducing many Americans to wine in the 1970s through his “Wine Talk” column in The New York Times, Frank J. Prial died on Nov. 6 from complications of prostate cancer. He was 82. Prial’s influential column ran for more than three decades, and his accessible approach to wine appealed to a broad audience. In 1977, the column became a fixture in the Times’ “Living” section. Prial, who had continued to be a news reporter during this time, took a leave of absence from Wine Talk in 1979 to become a correspondent in Paris. He resumed the column in 1984 and retired in 2004. In addition to his wife, Jeanne, he is survived by three sons, Frank Jr., Mark and Dunstan, as well as seven grandchildren.
The Missouri Wine and Grape Board in Jefferson City, Mo., has reported the death of Anthony Peccoux, who was recently hired by the University of Missouri to help revitalize the Missouri wine industry through grapevine research and outreach. Professor Peccoux was killed in a car crash on Saturday, Nov. 17. He was 32 years old. Peccoux had an M.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Bordeaux, France. Peccoux specialized in the study of grapevine roots and their ability to withstand harsh conditions.
Management at the Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman is in the midst of a major restructure that includes the departure of Chief Marketing Officer John K. “Kris” Sirchio at the end of 2012. His position has been reshaped into a chief brands officer, which Lawson Whiting, senior vice president of Brown-Forman International, assumes on Jan. 1. Executive VP and COO Mark McCallum becomes executive vice president, president for Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and travel retail; Executive VP, chief production officer Jill Jones has been promoted to executive VP, president for North America and Latin America; and Jane Morreau, currently senior VP, director of finance, accounting and technology, will move to senior VP, chief production officer.
Trunk Disease Initiative Announced
The National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI) announced that $1.8 million in federal research funding has been earmarked for the trunk disease epidemic, which costs the wine and grape industry $200 million each year. The funding will support the first multi-crop project to tackle trunk diseases, and will seek methods to detect disease symptoms in grape leaves and shoots.
UFW Sues State of California
Last month, lawyers for United Farm Workers (UFW) filed suit against the State of California and its Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal-OSHA) for its “systematic failure” to enforce the regulation that requires growers to provide water, shade and rest to their employees in order to prevent heat illness or death. The lawsuit includes workers who have lost family members to heat stroke while working on California farms.
DrinkLocalWine Hosts Wine Week
DrinkLocalWine will hold its fifth annual Regional Wine Week from Nov. 12 to 16, 2012, celebrating "The Other 47" states (excluding California, Washington and Oregon) by asking writers who’ve penned stories, blogs and websites about their favorite regional and local wines to submit them to DrinkLocalWine.com. DrinkLocalWine will announce the site and dates for its national conference during Regional Wine Week.
Rhone Rangers Partner with James Beard
The Rhone Rangers of Albion, Calif., recently announced a new scholarship in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation. Chefs and sommeliers with an interest in American-grown Rhone varieties can apply for the travel-study grant (up to $5,000) through the Foundation. In support of the grant, a percentage of the proceeds from Rhone Rangers events will be donated to the Foundation. For details, see www.rhonerangers.org.
China Awards Napa GI Status
The People's Republic of China has recognized the Napa Valley with Geographic Indication (GI) status. Napa Valley is the first region outside of China to receive the designation, providing consumer protection against illegitimately labeled wines. The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) worked for years with the Chinese government to achieve GI status. Nearly 25% of NVV member wineries export to China.
AJEV Expands Editorial Team
The American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (AJEV) in Davis, Calif., has appointed Susan E. Ebeler, professor and chemist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, as the enology editor. Linda Bisson, also of UC Davis, continues as science editor, but with an enhanced role of expanding the content and features of the online journal.
Staff Changes at Lodi Winegrape Commission
The Lodi Winegrape Commission has appointed Matthew Hoffman as grower program coordinator and promoted Jenny Heitman to marketing and communications coordinator. Heitman, who previously worked as the Commission’s marketing assistant, will be responsible for the organization’s marketing, PR and communications. Hoffman will work on grower education and outreach, research and sustainability, as well as the Lodi Rules program.
CAWG Hires Government Relations Director
The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) has hired Brenda Coleman as its new director of government relations. Most recently, Coleman was a policy advocate with the California Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, she was a legislative consultant with a lobbying firm. She is also the former legislative director of the California Restaurant Association.
ARS Award Recipient Announced
Plant pathologist Dr. Lance Cadle-Davidson of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Grape Genetics Research Unit at Geneva, N.Y., has been selected to receive the ARS 2012 T.W. Edminster Research Associate Award.
His grape genomics project, focused on isolating the Ren4 gene to control powdery mildew resistance in grapes, was rated the best among the 50 proposals selected for agency funding.
Monterey Wine Services Owner Arrested
Brenda Jo Kibbee, owner of Monterey Wine Services, a bonded wine cellar in Salinas, Calif., was arrested last month and arraigned in federal court on 11 counts of failure to pay federal excise tax on wine. According to the indictment, Kibbee intentionally failed to pay excise tax due to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in the amount of $581,177.
California Bountiful Foundation Honors Napa Visionaries
The California Bountiful Foundation honored Andy Beckstoffer and Ted Hall for their leadership in the Napa Valley wine community, at a celebration last month. Beckstoffer, founding director of the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association and one of the region’s top wine grape producers was honored for his farmland preservation. Hall, president and general manager of Long Meadow Ranch & Affiliates, was recognized for his entrepreneurialism and business leadership.
Coquelicot Estate Names Winemaker
Coquelicot Estate Winery of California’s Santa Ynez Valley has appointed Michael Larner winemaker. A winemaker and viticulturalist in the Valley for the past 15 years, Larner has also worked for E. Guigal in France, Marchesi Antinori in Italy, and for Australian estates. He is a member of the Santa Barbara Vintners' Association and a founding architect of the proposed Ballard AVA.
Rudd Hires VP Marketing & Sales
Oakville, Calif.-based Rudd Winery has selected Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks as vice president of marketing and sales. Hendricks will serve as the company’s brand ambassador, sharing the Rudd story with sommeliers, distributors, retailers and other industry partners. Most recently, Hendricks was the wine director at Pappas Restaurants. He is also a past wine director at Charlie Palmer in Dallas.
Trefethen Earns Sustainability Award
The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) honored Napa, Calif.-based Trefethen Family Vineyards with its 2012 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing at its annual Fête du Vin fundraiser last month. The award honors wine organizations taking a leading role in sustainability. Trefethen programs include wastewater recycling and reuse, wetlands restoration natural pest control, solar energy and more.
J. Davies Estate and Davies Vineyards Relocate
The St. Helena, Calif.-based J. Davies Estate and Davies Vineyards recently kicked off its first harvest season in a new winery building. The property, formerly the site of a car dealership, was renovated into a fully operational winery for the production of still red wines. For the 2012 vintage, the winery expects to process 155 tons of fruit at the new site.
Messina Hof Teams with Texas A&M
Messina Hof, one of the fastest growing wineries and resorts in Texas, announced the release of six new exclusive Aggie Network Private Reserve wines in partnership with Texas A&M University's (TAMU) Association of Former Students. A portion of the proceeds from the Bryan, Texas-based Messina Hof's Aggie Network Private Reserve wines will support TAMU student programs, scholarships and traditions.
Santa Barbara Vintner Found Dead
On Sept. 20, the body of Santa Barbara vintner, attorney and investment advisor Christopher Marks, 60, was found by a dog walker on a Shoreline Park beach. Marks was the owner of Sweeney Canyon Vineyard. Initially, his death was ruled accidental, but when the autopsy pointed to the possibility of either suicide or foul play, the Santa Barbara Police Department and the FBI returned to the beach for clues. At Marks’ well-attended memorial service on Sept. 29 in Santa Barbara, he was remembered as a loving father of five. A longtime and active member of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association, Marks was also the vineyard manager of his family vineyard, and his wife, Kristi, was the winemaker, when the first Sweeney Canyon wines were released in 2006.
‘Sue the Farmer’ Legislation Vetoed
California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed AB 2346 (Butler), the “Sue the Farmer” legislation, stating that revising the existing Cal/OSHA regulations rather than adopting additional legislation is the way to improve heat illness prevention standards for farmworkers. According to the Wine Institute in San Francisco, the legislation would have exposed farmers to increased harassment and litigation.
Amazon Returns to Wine
Online retail giant Amazon has partnered with WineDirect to offer an enhanced compliance and wine shipping system. Reportedly, Napa and Sonoma County vintners have agreed to be part of the new Amazon Marketplace for wine, which will require a $39.99 monthly fee to be part of the program plus a 15% commission. The Amazon/WineDirect program reportedly will provide vintners with shipping discounts.
Wine Sweepstakes Bill Passes
Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Wine Institute sponsored SB 778 (Padilla) bill that allows manufacturers or licensed suppliers of wine, beer or spirits to conduct consumer sweepstakes and contests in California. The bill, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, will allow California consumers 21 years or older to participate in a variety of sweepstakes.
TTB Approves Vintage Dating
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will now allow wines labeled with a country appellation of origin, including American appellation wines, to disclose their vintage. This amendment, according to TTB, will provide greater grape sourcing and wine labeling flexibility to domestic and foreign winemakers, while ensuring that consumers receive adequate information as to the identity and quality of wines they purchase.
Middleburg Virginia AVA Approved
Last month, Middleburg Virginia became the newest American Viticulture Area (AVA) designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in the Federal Registry. The seventh AVA in Virginia, the Middleburg AVA is located 50 miles west of Washington, D.C., and encompasses the Town of Middleburg. It covers approximately 121,600 acres, and contains 229 acres of commercial vineyards, 14 wineries and 10 vineyards.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Raises $1.6 Million
The fifth annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, held Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2012, drew more than 5,500 attendees and raised in excess of $1.6 million for Sonoma County non-profits. That figure is up more than $350,000 from last year. The Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean served as the grand finale of the weekend.
Kentucky Ruling May Change Wine Sales
The U.S. District Court in Louisville, Ky., has entered a non-final order in Maxwell’s Pic-Pac, Inc. v. Dehner. The case examined the constitutionality of Kentucky’s prohibition of the licensing of food stores to sell spirits and wine, despite the fact that drug stores in the state are permitted to sell both. The court ruled that there was no rational basis for the difference in licensing laws.
International Wine Guild Partners With WWCC
The International Wine Guild, with headquarters in Denver, Colo., has signed an agreement with Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) to begin teaching Guild programs through the WWCC Center for Enology & Viticulture. The Guild is the only wine vocational school in the country that offers technical, educator and wine judge diploma and certification programs for both enthusiasts and professionals.
Cornell Vineyard Certified Organic
Cornell Orchards in Ithaca, N.Y., now boasts a block of about 500 grapevines that are certified organic by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. Students planted the vineyard in 2010. Many of the vines are NY95, a new, disease-resistant variety developed at Cornell University. The vineyard is expected to be in full production in 2014.
NY Extends Direct-to-Consumer Permits
The New York State Liquor Authority announced that the duration of Out-of-State Direct Wine Shipper licenses will change from one to three years beginning Jan. 1, 2013. The duration of wine licenses was extended to reduce license renewal paperwork. The fee for the three-year license has been adjusted from $125 for one year to $375 to reflect the new license term.
Gary Farrell Appoints Sales Manager
Stephanie Friedman has joined the Healdsburg, Calif.-based Gary Farrell Winery as direct sales manager, handling the winery’s wine club and other consumer-direct sales programs. Previously, Friedman managed direct sales and hospitality for Quivira Vineyards & Winery and also launched La Follette Wines.
Aiken Wines Launches in Napa
Veteran Napa Valley winemaker Joel Aiken, whose career at Beaulieu Vineyard spanned some 27 years, has launched his own wine brand, Aiken Wines. His intention is to create an evolving portfolio of site-specific cabernet sauvignons and pinot noirs from Napa and Sonoma vineyards. One of the first wines in his portfolio is a pinot noir from the Silver Pines vineyard in Sonoma Mountain.
Wilson Daniels Names PR Director
Jennifer Brown has been appointed director of public relations and communications for Wilson Daniels in St. Helena, Calif. Brown brings 16 years of wine industry experience in public relations, brand marketing and wine education, with an emphasis on the luxury segment. She is a sommelier, a member of the Society of Wine Educators, and is pursuing entrance into the Master of Wine program.
Artesa Promotes Assistant Winemaker
Artesa Vineyards & Winery in Napa, Calif., has appointed Dana Epperson as assistant winemaker for Artesa Lead Winemaker for Elements. Epperson has worked at Artesa since 2009 as an enologist and will report to director of winemaking Mark Beringer to support cellar operations, viticultural management and staff management.
New Winemaker for Tamber Bey
Tamber Bey Vineyard LLC of St. Helena, Calif., has appointed Frederic Delivert winemaker of the company’s portfolio of estate-grown Napa Valley wines. Delivert will oversee all winemaking production and work in concert with Clark Vineyard Management to manage Tamber Bey Vineyards’ properties in the Oakville and Yountville appellations. Most recently, Delivert was winemaker for Martin Estate from 2008 to 2012.
Lake County Winegrape Commission President Retires
After 20 years with the Lake County Winegrape Commission in Kelseyville, Calif., Shannon Gunier is leaving her post as president to pursue other interests. Pointing to Lake County’s record-high wine grape tonnage and prices, Gunier, who will continue to consult for the Commission, said it was a good time to retire from her position. The Commission is seeking a new president.
Gallo Makes Lake County Debut
E & J Gallo Winery has made its first property purchase in California’s Lake County, buying Snows Lake Vineyard, one of the area’s well-known cabernet sauvignon producers. The land purchase in Lower Lake includes 2,000 acres, of which 800 are planted. While specific terms of the sale were not disclosed, they are said to be “significant.”
New Look for Hess Select
The Napa, Calif.-based Hess Select wines have a new, more contemporary design and feature line extensions in the $15-$20 pinot noir and red blend categories. The line includes a malbec, planned for early 2013, sourced from the Hess family’s vineyards in Argentina. The “Next Generation” brand refresh is designed to appeal to both traditional Hess drinkers and younger consumers.
Duncan Family Acquires Sausal Vineyard
The Duncan Family of Oakville, Calif., owners of Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars, have acquired Sausal Vineyard and Winery, one of the Alexander Valley's oldest boutique wineries and vineyard sites. Sausal Vineyards has been owned by the Demostene family since 1956. The vineyard is planted primarily to zinfandel, some of which is 130 years old.
Remembering Kenneth Wesley Cameron
Longtime Sonoma County ag man Kenneth “Kenny” Wesley Cameron died suddenly on Aug. 13, 2012. He was 50. Cameron was born and raised in Santa Rosa and was part of a large and longstanding Sonoma County agriculture family. He is survived by his daughter, Shelby, and son, Keith; parents: Al and Bev Cameron; brothers: Al, Clyde and Gerry; sisters: Lee Ann and Barbara. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, and his children's mother, Jeri. He was active in the Kenwood Yacht Club, Fulton 500, the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and numerous other industry organizations.