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Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine

News Flash

April 2014


California Wine Exports Reach All-time High

The Wine Institute in San Francisco finds that U.S. wine exports, 90% from California, reached a record high $1.55 billion in winery revenues in 2013, up 16.4% compared to 2012. Volume shipments reached 48.4 million cases, up 7.5%. The European Union's 28 member countries are the state’s largest export market, accounting for $617 million, up 31% from 2012. California’s goal is $2 billion in wine exports by 2020.


Washington State Reports Record Harvest

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual crush report, Washington state’s wine industry experienced a record-breaking harvest in 2013. Its 2013 grape production totaled 210,000 tons, a 12% increase from 2012, and the largest harvest Washington has ever seen. Production of red varieties grew 13% from 2012, while white varieties increased 10%.


Umpqua Valley Celebrates 30-Year AVA

The Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association (UVWA) in Roseburg, Ore., has launched a new brand logo and website in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the approval of the Umpqua Valley AVA in 1984. Visit www.umpquavalleywineries.org to learn more.


Midwest Soil Not Over Drought

University of Missouri (MU) researcher Randal Miles reports that soil in the Midwest has not recovered from the recent two-year drought, despite significant precipitation this winter. The associate professor of soil science says the inadequate soil is hurting farmers, adding that it could take another year of solid rain and snowfall for the soil to return to normal moisture levels.


Texas Winemakers Launch Association

Formed to promote quality Texas wines made from Texas-grown grapes, Texas Fine Wine is a newly launched winery association. Founding members, which include Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery and Pedernales Cellars, plan to open membership to all Texas wineries that share a commitment to using Texas grapes whenever possible, and to labeling wines with the correct place of grape origin.



Laura Orozco and Peter Velleno Receive Promotions

California wineries V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena and Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, have announced the promotions of winemaking staff at both companies. Associate winemakers Laura Orozco at V.Sattui and Peter Velleno at Castello di Amorosa were promoted to winemaker. Orozco and Velleno will have equal responsibilities for winemaking at each winery.


Chris Seithel Joins Hope Family Wines

Hope Family Wines in Paso Robles, Calif., has named Chris Seithel senior vice president of national sales and marketing. Seithel will oversee sales and distribution teams throughout the U.S., developing and implementing strategic sales goals, and growing national and regional accounts. His experience includes managing sales at Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery, Beringer Blass Wine Estates and Rodney Strong Wine Estates.


Celia Perez and Omar Perez Win Pruning Contest

For the first time, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ (NVG) Farmworker Foundation’s 13th Annual Napa County Pruning Contest included a Women’s Division, in which 13 women competed alongside 56 men. Celia Perez of V. Sattui took first place among the women, while Omar Perez of Joseph Phelps won first place in the Men’s Division. The annual Pruning Contest supports vineyard workers and their families.


Chankaska Wines Hires Michael Drash

Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery in Kasota, Minn., has appointed Michael Drash as vice president of winemaking and winemaker. Drash is moving from California’s Napa/Sonoma area, where he worked most recently as the winemaker for Luna Vineyards. He also owned and operated Tallulah Winery in Napa.


WAWGG Elects Board Members

The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) has named Todd Newhouse of Upland Vineyards; Lynne Chamberlain of Spofford Station Vineyards; and Mike Means of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates to its 2014 Board of Directors. Officers for 2014 are: Todd Newhouse as chair, Patrick Rawn of Two Mountain Winery as vice chair, and Ken Lewis of Trail View Farm as secretary/treasurer.


Brian Cheeseborough Joins Chateau Morrisette

Chateau Morrisette Winery in Floyd, Va., has hired Brian Cheeseborough as oenologist and winemaker. Cheeseborough’s extensive winemaking background includes the production of wines for Vignobles Garcin, a collection of five Chateaux located in France's Bordeaux region. His wines have consistently received high ratings. Prior to winemaking in Bordeaux, he was the founding winemaker and business partner for the California winery Grizzly Republic.


Gary Eberle to Remain at Eberle Winery

Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, Calif., has announced that founder Gary Eberle will remain brand ambassador, as the winery looks to position itself for future success. The wines will continue to be made by Partner Ben Mayo. Willis Blakewell assumes general manager duties for the winery. The winery’s ownership group, a partnership of friends, local leaders and business associates, founded the winery in 1983.


Alex Sokol Blosser Named Winemaker

Sokol Blosser Winery in Dayton, Ore., has named Alex Sokol Blosser, son of co-founders Bill Blosser and Susan Sokol Blosser, as winemaker. He takes over for retired winemaker Russ Rosner. Sokol Blosser has been the winery’s vineyard manager since 2006, and served as its co-president with his sister, Alison Sokol Blosser, since 2008.


Wilfred Wong Joins Wine.com

Online wine retailer Wine.com has appointed Wilfred Wong to its San Francisco-based team. As chief storyteller, Wong will research wines and wineries from around the world, and share his findings through the Wine.com website, email newsletters, blog, videos, social media and events. Wong has been in the wine business for more than 40 years, including nearly two decades with BevMo! as cellar master.


Jay McInerney Joins Town&Country

Town&Country has announced that author and critic Jay McInerney will join the magazine as a monthly contributor, covering wine. McInerney’s first column will appear in the June/July issue. McInerney most recently covered the wine industry at the Wall Street Journal. The prolific author won the James Beard MFK Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing for his food and wine work in 2006.


Round Pond Welcomes New Winemaker

California’s Round Pond Estate, the family-owned Rutherford farm and winery, has hired Muiris Griffin as winemaker. Most recently at Ridge Vineyards in Healdsburg, Muiris’ background also includes experience working at Opus One, Chateau St. Jean and Chateau Pape Clement. He holds a degree in viticulture and enology from CFPPA (Centre de Formation Professionnelle et de Promotion Agricole) Bordeaux.


Jamieson Ranch Promotes Dana Epperson

Jamieson Ranch Vineyards in Napa, Calif., has promoted Dana Epperson to winemaker. Epperson’s career path has included work at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards, Edna Valley Vineyards and Artesa Winery, where she became lead winemaker for Artesa’s Elements brand. At Jamieson, her team includes new assistant winemaker Noel Schaff, formerly with Hahn Family Wines and production manager Juan Jose Verdina.


Jackson Family Hires Steve Heimoff

Veteran wine writer, author, blogger and critic Steve Heimoff has joined Jackson Family Wines in Sonoma, Calif., as director, wine communications & education. His responsibilities will include working with the company’s communications, PR, digital/social media and brand marketing teams in all aspects of content generation, consumer engagement and trade support. Most recently, Heimoff served as the California editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine.



14 Hands Winery Opens New Facility

14 Hands Winery, Washington’s third largest wine brand, has opened a new tasting room in Prosser, Wash. The facility includes a tasting bar and a barrel room for reserve wine tastings. The winery, owned by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, also features an expanded collection of 14 Hands “The Reserve” wines, and will offer seasonal selections throughout the year.


VJB Vineyards Purchases Wellington Vineyards

The Belmonte family, owners of VJB Vineyards and Cellars in Kenwood, Calif., has purchased Wellington Vineyards, a nearby Sonoma Valley winery with more than 21 acres of vineyards. VJB will move its production to the Wellington property for the 2014 harvest. Wellington Vineyard’s former owner Peter Wellington will continue to run the tasting room as part of a two-year lease agreement.


Ste. Michelle Acquires Willakia Vineyard

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, Wash., has acquired Willakia Vineyard in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills for its Erath Winery. The 298-acre parcel includes 119 acres planted to pinot noir and chardonnay. The property also offers the potential to plant an additional 30 vineyard acres, and to accommodate a winery.


New Tasting Salon at Patz & Hall

Patz & Hall recently opened Sonoma House at Patz & Hall in Sonoma, Calif. The Sonoma House features a tasting salon that welcomes guests for private, by-appointment seated tastings of Patz & Hall’s vineyard-designated wines, paired with food. The new location also includes a drop-in tasting bar, a member-exclusive reserve room and a patio surrounded by 12 acres of estate vineyards.


LCF Wines to Promote Family-Owned Brands

A collaboration of three wine industry families – LangeTwins, Coors and Ficeli – the recently launched LCF Wines in Acampo, Calif., is a sales and marketing company focused on promoting its diverse collection of family-owned brands. The LCF Wines portfolio includes LangeTwins, Goosecross, Assembly, Caricature, Caminada and others. Plans are underway to expand availability of Goosecross wines and launch new Caricature SKUs.



March 2014


Horse Heaven Hills Land to Sell at Auction

Approximately 694 acres of productive land in Washington state's Horse Heaven Hills AVA will sell at auction on April 4, through Musser Bros. Auctions and Real Estate. The land – approximately 335 acres of which are planted to wine grapes – will be offered in four parcels. The AVA is home to Columbia Crest, McKinley Springs, Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate, Chateau Champoux, and other notable producers. For more information visit www.mbauction.com.


TTB Updates Gluten Policy for Beverage Alcohol

As the result of a review and consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has updated its policy on gluten labeling. Under the new policy, alcohol beverages made from ingredients that do not contain gluten (such as wines fermented from grapes or other fruit) may continue to make “gluten-free” claims in the same way allowed in the new FDA regulations for inherently gluten-free products.


WAWGG Breaks Records

The 2014 convention of Washington state grapegrowers and wineries set a record with more than 2,500 attendees. The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) Annual Meeting, which included a convention and trade show, was held in early February at the Three Rivers Convention Center and Toyota Center in Kennewick.  Another record was broken at the sold-out industry banquet with the sales of $4,600 in raffle tickets to support the Walter Clore Scholarship Fund.


Unified Symposium Celebrates 20 Years

Celebrating its 20 year anniversary, the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium drew a record-breaking crowd to the Sacramento Convention Center in January. The 2014 conference and trade show attracted a total of 14,000 attendees and a record 668 exhibitors.


Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Raises More Than $1 Million

A record-breaking total of $1,086,350 in contributions to 44 Sonoma County non-profit organizations was distributed following the 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The amount included over $700,000 from the Fund the Future initiative to support children’s literacy programs. In addition, over $385,000 in community grants were awarded to 41 charitable groups located across Sonoma County.



Steve Tamburelli Named Flora Springs CEO

Flora Springs Winery & Vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., has appointed Steve Tamburelli as chief operating officer. Reporting to the winery’s president and proprietor John Komes, Tamburelli will assume responsibility for all winery operations including winemaking, production, marketing and sales. He most recently served 11 years as general manager for Chappellet Vineyard & Winery.


Jeff White Named Virginia Grower of the Year

In late January, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore presented the Virginia Vineyards Association’s Grape Grower of the Year award to Jeff White, owner and winemaker of Glen Manor Vineyards, in Front Royal, Va. The award was presented to White during the association’s Winter Technical Meeting. The award criteria requires that the recipient be an active member of the Virginia Vineyards Association, have a history of service to the state’s wine industry and be well respected by his or her peers.


Truchard Vineyards Names Anthony Truchard II General Manager

Truchard Vineyards of Napa, Calif., has appointed Anthony Truchard II as its general manager. Truchard, an attorney and youngest son of founders Tony and Jo Ann Truchard, will oversee all aspects of sales, marketing and day-to-day operations of the winery, including working alongside winemaker Sal De Ianni. He was previously the winery’s sales and marketing director.


Paul Hobbs and Johannes Selbach form partnership in Finger Lakes

Winemakers Paul Hobbs of Sebastopol, Calif., and Johannes Selbach of Zeltingen, Germany have purchased a 65-acre property on the east side of Seneca Lake in New York's Finger Lakes AVA. Site preparation has already begun at the vineyard, which will be planted predominantly to riesling starting in 2015. Paul's brother, David Hobbs, a long-time resident of Rochester, N.Y., will oversee daily operations of the new venture. Details of long term plans, including a wine brand name, are yet to be determined.


Parallel Napa Valley Appoints Paula Kornell General Manager

Parallel Napa Valley has appointed Paula Kornell to the position of general manager for the winery. A Napa native, Kornell grew up immersed in wine business on her family’s vineyard in St. Helena, Calif. For the last 30-plus years, Kornell has held management, sales and leadership positions throughout the wine industry. Most recently, she was the general manager at Oakville Ranch, and previously at Carmenet and Vichon wineries.


Chankaska Wines Recruits Michael Drash

Minnesota’s Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery has hired Michael Drash as its vice president of winemaking. Drash spent 17 years working in production and winemaking at Northern California wineries including Far Niente and Luna Vineyards, and owns Tallulah Winery in Napa, Calif., with his wife, Tracy.


C. Mondavi & Family Announces Three Strategic Hires

C. Mondavi & Family, parent company of Charles Krug Winery, has hired Kathy DeVillers as chief financial officer, Jim Russell as vice president of national sales and Pamela Hiett as vice president, guest services and direct sales. Hiett formerly worked for Jackson Family Wines and the Robert Mondavi Winery. DeVillers most recently worked with the Vincraft Group as managing director of finance. Russell spent eight years in sales at Constellation Brands.


National Grape & Wine Initiative Elects Officers

In late January, the National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI) announced its leadership team for 2014. By unanimous vote of NGWI members at its annual meeting, Rick Stark of Sun-Maid Growers was elected as chair of the initiative, which represents all segments of the grape industry. The organization also elected the following people as officers: John Aguirre, California Association of Winegrape Growers, vice chair; Richard Smith, Paraiso Vineyards, secretary-treasurer; and Vicky Scharlau, Washington Association Wine Grape Growers, past chair.


Duckhorn Wine Co. Names Renee Ary Winemaker

Duckhorn Wine Company has promoted Renee Ary to winemaker for Duckhorn Vineyards. Ary joined Duckhorn Vineyards in 2003, and spent years working alongside her predecessors, honing her craft and refining her palate. She has worked in every area of production in a multitude of roles, including lab manager, enology manager, assistant winemaker and most recently, associate winemaker. Ary will be responsible for the entire Duckhorn Vineyards portfolio.


Global Wine Partners Announces Addition of Ray Chadwick as Principal

Ray Chadwick has joined Global Wine Partners as a principal. The company, based in St. Helena, Calif., provides strategic advisory, merger and acquisition, and valuation services exclusively to the wine industry. “Adding Ray Chadwick to the team is a perfect fit,” said president and CEO Vic Motto. “Ray has managed some of the most important companies in the world of wine, and his understanding of the wine business is among the best."



Bronco Wine Company Nears 100% Recycling

After a decade of recycling efforts, Ceres, Calif.-based Bronco Wine Company has achieved a landfill reduction of 50%. “Other than compacted trash, there are no materials that are removed from our facilities that are not recycled,” CEO Fred Franzia reported. The company’s focus on energy savings includes efficient lighting, innovative HVAC systems, extensive insulation and alternative power sources.



John Parducci Dies at 96

Pioneer winemaker John Parducci died Feb. 4 at his home near Ukiah, Calif. He was 96. Parducci was a champion of Mendocino County grapes, and is credited with being the first to put Mendocino County and the Anderson Valley on wine labels. The cause of death was “old age,” according to family members.

Having lost a legal battle in the 1990s to regain control of the family winery founded by his father, Parducci and his wife Margarett purchased the Zellerbach Winery near Ukiah and renamed it McNab Ridge Winery. There Parducci made wine with his grandson, Richard Parducci, until just a few years ago, when his health began to decline.

Parducci is survived by his wife of nearly 77 years, Margarett Parducci, along with his brother, Dolph Parducci, son Bill Parducci, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.


January-February 2014


CAWG Commends Drought Declaration

Following California Governor Jerry Brown’s declaration of drought on Jan. 17, the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) issued a statement commending the declaration as an important step forward. CAWG said that while California’s estimated $61.5 billion industry is committed to conservation and research, these efforts are not a replacement for additional water storage, which California agriculture is likely to require.


Colorado Wine Industry Triples

A new study commissioned by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board and conducted by Colorado State University shows that the Colorado wine industry’s economic contribution has more than tripled to over $144 million since 2005. The study found that Coloradoans consume 24% more wine than the U.S. average, and buy local, spending more than 5% of their wine budget on Colorado wines.


Direct Wine Shipments Outpace Retail

Growing at a rate far exceeding the overall growth of the American wine retail sector, winery-to-consumer direct shipments of wine grew to $1.57 billion dollars in 2013 according to a recent report by Boulder, Colo.-based ShipCompliant. The report also detected the first reduction in average price per bottle of wine shipped since 2010. Download the report at www.shipcompliant.com/shippingreport.


Sonoma County Economic Research Released

Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Vintners retained Stonebridge Research Group to measure the economic impact of wine production in Sonoma County. Initial findings suggest that the economic impact of wine production in Sonoma County totaled $13.4 billion in 2012, compared to $7.6 billion in 2005, an increase of 76%. Total U.S. retail value of all wines produced in Sonoma County is $7.6 billion.


New Edition of Grape Pest Management

The third edition of the book “Grape Pest Management” – the first update in more than a decade – is now available. Published by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources and authored by Larry Bettiga, the 623-page updated guide reflects new research about the biology of grape pests, and how to treat them. More than 70 researchers, scientists and crop advisors contributed to the guide, available here: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3343.


100% Cork Launches Campaign

100% Cork, the non-profit behind the movement to educate wine drinkers and winemakers about the benefits of natural cork, is launching a new campaign to show wineries how to increase revenues and market share by sealing bottles with natural cork. The campaign offers marketing tools, including access to the 100% Cork Facebook page (with more than 60,000 followers), marketing collaterals and news media placements.


Pest-Resistant Receptor Discovered in Plants

Researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., have found an ATP receptor (adenosine triphosphate) in plants that may be a vital component in the way plants respond to pests, environmental changes and wounds. This discovery could lead to herbicides, fertilizers and insect repellants that naturally work with plants to make them stronger. Researchers screened 50,000 plants over two years to identify the receptors.


Sonoma County to Become 100% Sustainable

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission/Sonoma County Winegrowers has announced that Sonoma County is committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region through a three-phased, five-year program. The plan is to assess 15,000 vineyard acres per year for the next four years until all planted vines are under assessment or certified sustainable, with a goal of 100% sustainability by 2019.


B.E.V. NY Launches Joint Conference

The New York Wine Industry Workshop and Finger Lakes Grape Grower Conference have combined to form a joint conference, called B.E.V. NY, designed to provide the New York grape and wine industry with current and relevant research-based information. The event will be held from Feb. 27-March 1 at the Waterloo Holiday Inn in Waterloo, NY. For details, visit http://events.cals.cornell.edu/bevny2014.


Free Soil Health Forum Feb. 18

Join the live broadcast of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health to discuss how to build soil health and farm resilience, improve yields, curb erosion and manage pests. On Feb. 18, locations in every state will host Cover Crops and Soil Health Forums for the farming community. For details and a list of forum locations, visit www.SARE.org/covercropconference.


WWS Raises $10,000 in Scholarships

The Napa/Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense (WWS) has named Laura Jones and Tina Beveridge as the UC Davis recipients of its scholarship program this year. The program aims to help students with financial challenges in enology and viticulture studies at UC Davis, Sonoma State University, Napa Valley College and Santa Rosa Junior College. This year’s $10,000 scholarship is double the amount raised in 2012.


Vinexpo Announces Tokyo Debut

Vinexpo is launching Vinexpo Nippon, a new exhibition exclusively for the Japanese wine and spirits trade. The first show will be held in Tokyo on Nov. 1-2, 2014 at Prince Park Tower. Created for professionals working in the Japanese market, Vinexpo Nippon will host 200 international exhibitors and feature B-to-B-focused turnkey exhibit space.


Researchers Explore SO2 Alternative

Researchers, led by UC Davis Professor Andrew Waterhouse, examined alternatives to adding sulfur dioxide to wine to prevent oxidation. Looking at the oxidation catalysts in wine – mostly transition metals iron and copper – they reasoned that binding these metals with ions, known as chelators, could prevent this catalyzation. Their findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


New Home for SSU’s Wine Business Institute

Sonoma State University (SSU) in Rohnert, Park, Calif., has announced its Wine Business Institute will have a permanent home on campus in the former University Commons building. Gary Heck, president and owner of Korbel, is personally gifting $1 million on behalf of Korbel to seed the renovation of the building, which will include classrooms, a student commons and an industry center.


Paul Hobbs Seeks Lawsuit Dismissal

Attorneys for Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol, Calif., have filed a legal motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Watertrough Children’s Alliance (WCA). The WCA suit claims that county permits issued to Hobbs for re-planting on his Watertrough Road property should be subject to California’s Environmental Quality Act regulations. The winery believes the WCA suit stands to erase county standards for protecting water, soil and air.



Jess Zander Named Fidelitas GM

Fidelitas, a family-owned winery in Benton City, Wash., has promoted Jess Zander to general manager. Zander joined Fidelitas in May 2008 as wine club manager. In August 2009, she assumed responsibility for marketing programs as well. Zander will now oversee the winery’s direct-to-consumer sales; coordinate product development; manage distributor relations and sales; and provide financial oversight of the business.


Squire Fridell to Head SVVGA

The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) has elected Squire Fridell of GlenLyon Vineyards and Winery as board president for 2014. Other board officers include: Danny Fay of Envolve Winery, vice president; Cathleen Gorham of Rabobank, N.A., treasurer; and Becky Jenkins of Madrone Vineyard Management, secretary. New 2014 board directors are Gary Buffo, Richard Idell, Jon Parker, Alan Ross, and Dan Zepponi.


Mayacamas Hires Jimmy Hayes

Jimmy Hayes has been named estate director for Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif. In this newly created position, Hayes will manage day-to-day business operations. Most recently, Hayes served as vice president of sales and marketing at Araujo Estate. Trained as a sommelier, Hayes is also a former associate beverage director for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group.


Washington Wine Elects Board

Longtime industry leaders elected to the Cashmere, Wash.-based Washington Wine Industry Foundation Board include reappointed board members Tom Waliser of Beresan Winery, Rob Sullivan of O-S Winery, Carol Munro of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Simon Siegl of Coefficient Consulting. Officers elected for 2014 included Roger Gamache, board chair; Munro, vice-chair; and Sullivan, secretary/treasurer.


Jason Jardine Joins Clos du Val

Goelet Wine Estates has appointed Jason Jardine as president of Clos du Val Winery in Napa, Calif. He will be responsible for all aspects of winery operations, including winemaking, vineyards, marketing, sales and finance. Most recently, Jardine was the president, director of winemaking at Flowers Vineyard & Winery and an executive team member of Huneeus Vintners.


PLCB Appoints John E. Metzger

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has appointed John E. Metzger as acting executive director, filling a vacancy created when former CEO Joe Conti retired. The board changed the position from CEO to executive director. Metzger will direct the administrative and business operations of the agency and the management of the executive team. Since 2010, Metzger has been the PLCB’s supply chain director.


Sue Straight Launches DTC Wine Coach

Wine industry direct-to-consumer expert Sue Straight has launched a new full-service company, DTC Wine Coach in Healdsburg, Calif. For nearly 30 years, Straight has helped wineries achieve their DTC goals and build their brands. Her new company offers services such as personalized hands-on staff coaching, retail space optimization, social media marketing programs and event training.


Lambert Bridge Promotes Jill Davis, Jennifer Higgins

Lambert Bridge Winery in Healdsburg, Calif., has appointed winemaker Jill Davis to vice president and general manager. Davis, a more than 30-year veteran of the California wine industry, has been with Lambert Bridge since 2005, leading the winemaking improvements in both the vineyards and cellar. Jennifer Higgins, who has worked in tandem with Davis since 2010, will become head winemaker.


Daniel Cohn Appointed B.R. Cohn CEO

B.R. Cohn Winery’s owner and founder Bruce Cohn announced that his eldest son, Daniel Cohn, has been named chief executive officer. Dan Cohn, a veteran wine industry executive, will share ownership of the Sonoma Valley estate winery with his father. As CEO, he will concentrate on the winery’s national wholesale and direct-to-consumer businesses, as well as B.R. Cohn’s Olive Hill estate and wines.


John Ratcliffe to Head Accolade Wines

Global wine business Accolade Wines has appointed wine industry executive John Ratcliffe as its chief executive officer. For more than a decade, Ratcliffe has provided operational and strategic expertise to the boards of multinationals, major financial institutions, distributors, retailers and brand owners across the globe. Additionally, he is a former managing director of Seagram UK.


Sonoma County Vintners Names Board

Sonoma County Vintners has named its new officers and Board of Directors for 2014. They are: Pete Seghesio, Journeyman Wines and Kim Stare Wallace, Dry Creek Vineyard. Officers for 2014 are: Corey Beck of Francis Ford Coppola Winery, president; Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne Winery, vice president; Russ Joy of Patz & Hall Winery, secretary and treasurer.



New Acquisition for Jackson Family Wines

Jackson Family Wines has acquired Yverdon Vineyard and Winery in the Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District AVA, from Terra Valentine owners Angus and Margaret Wurtele. The transaction included the 77-acre property, Yverdon Vineyard, Winery and Villa. The sale does not include the Terra Valentine brand or Wurtele Vineyard. Terra Valentine will continue under its current ownership and management. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Duckhorn Sets Sights on Washington

Duckhorn Wine Company of Napa Valley, Calif., has acquired a 20-acre vineyard site in Washington state’s Red Mountain AVA. The unplanted site is located just above Col Solare, the vineyard partnership between Tuscany’s Marchesi Antinori and Washington’s Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Once developed, the new vineyard will serve as a source of estate fruit for Canvasback, the winery’s new Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.


Lula Cellars to Expand

Philo, Calif.-based Lula Cellars plans to open its new 22-acre Mendocino County property and hospitality center this spring. The property, located along Hwy.128, will feature a tasting room, 14 ready-to-plant acres (slated for 13 acres of pinot noir and 1 acre of gewürztraminer), a small-production winemaking facility, guest cottage, pond, organic vegetable garden, and a 10,000-square-foot events area.


Geyser Peak Relocates

Accolade Wines has announced a new home for its Geyser Peak Winery and tasting room at the former Alderbrook property, within walking distance of downtown Healdsburg, Calif. A grand opening, tentatively slated for spring 2014, will follow a light remodel of the tasting room. The current Geyser Peak tasting room in Geyserville will remain open until the new facilities are complete. The Geyser Peak winery facility has been purchased by Francis Ford Coppola.



Saralee Kunde Passes Away

Respected Sonoma County grapegrower Saralee McClelland Kunde died on Jan. 26, 2014 at the age of 66. She had been battling cancer since 2012. Kunde was renowned not only as a grapegrower, but also for her efforts in promoting Sonoma County grapes, wine, milk and other products, and for her efforts to preserve agricultural land. Kunde was a dynamic force behind the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, the Select Sonoma County marketing campaign and the Russian River Valley Winegrowers. She is survived by her husband, Richard, and their children Matt and Catherine Kunde.


December 2013


Oregon Wine Board Ends Sustainable Program

The 2012 vintage appears to be the last for the Oregon Wine Board’s Certified Sustainable Wine Program. Launched in 2008, the program aimed to make it easier for consumers to find sustainable wines. Staff changes had left the program in limbo, and the board decided recently to end its support, and grant its remaining revenue of $10,600 to Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE).


Jerry Baldwin to Keynote Unified Symposium

Former owner of Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks Co-Founder Jerry Baldwin will present the keynote address on Jan. 28 at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Baldwin learned the coffee trade from Alfred Peet, whose store, Peet's Coffee & Tea, was the inspiration for Starbucks in 1971. Baldwin also owns and operates J. Baldwin Wines in Sonoma Valley, Calif.


Sonoma Calls for Grant Applications

Sonoma County non-profit organizations are invited to submit applications for $370,000 in community grants from the proceeds of the 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, the foundations that work with Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, will donate the funds to non-profits early next year. To apply, visit info@sonomawinecountryweekend.com.


Sommelier Journal Back in Print

Owner of TPM Custom Publishing, Meridith May, has acquired Sommelier Journal. Rebranded as The SOMM Journal, the Encino, Calif.-based publication plans to launch a redesigned website in Q1 of 2014, and the first edition this spring. Anthony Dias Blue joins as editor-in-chief, David Gadd as managing editor, and founder David Vogels as consulting editor. SOMM content will cover wine, spirits, beverage and food.


Registration Open for Oregon Wine Symposium

Registration has opened for the Oregon Wine Symposium, to be held Feb. 25-26, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Tickets are available for purchase at www.symposium.oregonwine.org. The event’s keynote will be delivered by Steve McCarthy, founder of Clear Creek Distillery. Attendance is expected to surpass last year’s record of more than 1,400 attendees, exhibitors and media.


WineAmerica Expands National Network

WineAmerica Inc., the National Association of American Wineries in Washington, D.C., is expanding its State Associations Council (SAC) to allow both state and regional wine groups better access to policy information, and enhanced networking opportunities nationwide. The council will be renamed the State and Regional Associations Advisory Council (SRAAC). The changes take effect Jan. 1.


Wine in Moderation Launches Website

The new Wine In Moderation website (www.wineinmoderation.com) aims to provide relevant information to consumers and stakeholders about the culture of wine, the concept of moderation and WIM’s commitment to its growing movement. The website launch marks the two-year anniversary of Wine in Moderation – Art de Vivre (WIM) aisbl.


Oregon’s Wine Industry Grew in 2012

The number of Oregon wineries reached 545 and production exceeded 50,000 tons, according to the “2012 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report” recently released by the Oregon Wine Board (OWB), and produced by the Southern Oregon University Research Center. The number of vineyards in the state also grew to 905 in 2012. Pinot noir and pinot gris remain the largest-production varieties.


Napa and Sonoma Save $60 Million Annually

According to a report from UC Davis researchers, providing disease-free grape vines and rootstock to California's North Coast wineries saves more than $60 million annually. Researchers arrived at the cost analysis by conducting a case study, the findings of which have been released by the Center for Wine Economics at UC Davis' Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. Learn more at http://vinecon.ucdavis.edu/publications/cwe1306.pdf.


Huge Potential for Hispanic Wine Market

A new report by Wine Intelligence indicates that the young and growing Hispanic population in the U.S. will become increasingly important to the wine industry over the next few decades. The report establishes the wine drinking behaviors and attitudes of America’s 50 million people of Hispanic origin. The report also notes that Hispanic regular wine drinkers account for 12% of American regular wine drinkers.


Sustainable Winegrowing Award Call for Entries

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth is accepting applications for its 2014 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing, honoring wineries that demonstrate a commitment to the environmental, economic and social tenants of a sustainable business. It is the only international award of its kind. Completed submissions are due on or before Mar. 31, 2014.


Woodinville Introduces New Visitor Guide

Washington State’s Woodinville Wine Country has introduced a new visitor tasting guide and updated touring map to help wine enthusiasts navigate the area’s 100 wineries and tasting rooms. The guide features touring articles, an events calendar, maps, a dining guide and a directory of winery and affiliate members. For a digital copy, visit www.woodinvillewinecountry.com


New Study Examines Microbial Terrior

A new study led by UC Davis researchers offers evidence that grapes and the wines they produce are not only the product of a vineyard’s soil, water and climate, but also of an unseen microbial terroir. Results from DNA sequencing revealed patterns in the fungal and bacterial communities that inhabit the surface of wine grapes.


Bay State Legislators Address Wine Shipping

On Nov. 12, Massachusetts State legislators held a hearing on House Bill 294, which addresses the direct shipment of wine. Authored by Representative Theodore (Ted) C. Speliotis, H. 294 includes language similar to wine direct shipping laws now in place and working well in the majority of U.S. states, says Free the Grapes!



Heidi Scheid Elected CAWG Chair

Heidi M. Scheid, senior vice president of Scheid Vineyards Inc., has been elected chair of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), taking over for Bill Pauli, who completed a two-year term. The board also elected Aaron Lange of LangeTwins Family Vineyards and Winery, and Dennis Wittchow of Lent-Burden Farming, as vice chairs.  J.D. Harkey of Drake Enterprises was elected secretary.


Tony and Stephanie Correia Launch Company

Husband and wife, Tony and Stephanie Correia, have launched a new real property appraisal and consulting services firm, The Correia Company. The Sonoma, Calif.-based firm focuses on defensible litigation and tax work in the wine space, and consults with buyers, sellers and brokers on transactions. Mr. Correia, who founded Correia-Xavier Inc., says that firm will continue its own separate business.


Dave Whitmer Receives Weber Award

Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) in Napa, Calif., has selected Napa County Agricultural Commissioner Dave Whitmer as the first recipient of the Ed Weber Award, an honor given to an individual or organization in recognition of superior service, groundbreaking research, or exceptional advocacy for the Napa Valley viticulture and wine industry. Whitmer plans to retire this month.


New Hires and Promotions at Purple Wine Co.

The Graton, Calif.-based Purple Wine Company has promoted Carlton Scott, manager of the Mid-Atlantic region, to southern division manager. Lynn Mahlebjian, manager of the Atlantic region, has been promoted to northern division manager. Two new hires, Jack Eastman and Ryan Conner, will oversee the Gulf and Southern California regions. Jeff Lubin has been hired as vice president, marketing.


Arizona Stronghold Promotes Michael Pierce

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards has promoted assistant winemaker Michael Pierce to the position of winemaker at the Cottonwood-based company. He will take over all winemaking and custom crush responsibilities. Pierce’s past experience includes work in New Zealand, as well as at Delegat’s Wine Estate in Oregon. He began as a cellar hand at Arizona Stronghold in July 2010.


Excelsior Wines Appoints John Dougherty

Old Brookville, N.Y.-based Excelsior Wine Company has named John Dougherty its national sales director. He will be responsible for the ongoing development of the expanding sales division. Dougherty, who brings to his new position over 20 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, joined Excelsior Wines in 2011 as southeast region manager.



Truett-Hurst Debuts Paper Wine Bottle

Healdsburg, Calif.-based Truett-Hurst Inc. has released the first paper wine bottle in the U.S. Branded PaperBoy, the wine container features a molded outer shell in the shape of a wine bottle, made from recycled cardboard with a plastic liner. The recyclable package is 85% lighter than a glass bottle. PaperBoy is a line of appellation–based, super-premium wines sourced from Mendocino and Paso Robles, Calif.


Paul Hobbs Winery to Fight Lawsuit

Officials at Paul Hobbs Winery in Sebastopol, Calif., say the company will fight a lawsuit filed last month against Paul Hobbs Winery and Sonoma County, which contends a permit issued to the Winery by the County should be subject to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) rules. Winery reps say they followed longstanding county and industry regulations with regard to the permit.


Renwood Winery Releases Sparkling Wines

Renwood Winery of Plymouth, Calif., is celebrating the release of two new sparkling wines. The new additions include the 2012 Proclamation Sparkling Cuvee and the 2012 Jubilance Sparkling Rose.


November 2013


N.Y. Teaching Winery Gets Underway

Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) in Geneva, N.Y., recently broke ground on a new building to teach vineyard management and winemaking. Part of the $3.6 million, 8,900-square-foot Finger Lakes Community College Viticulture Center, the teaching winery, enology laboratory, aging rooms, classroom and crush pad are scheduled to open in fall 2014.


Massachusetts Seeks Passage of Wine Bill

The American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) is asking lawmakers to amend and pass H.294, a bill that would allow the shipment of wine to Massachusetts consumers from out-of-state wineries. The AWCC is also seeking an amendment to the bill, which currently bans the shipment of imported wines from out-of-state wine stores.


Amazon Expands Wine Shipping

Amazon.com customers can now place orders on Amazon Wine (www.amazonwine.com) for delivery in New York, Michigan, Arizona and Louisiana. Amazon Wine offers wine delivery to 20 states and the District of Columbia, adding eight states since its launch last year. With the addition of the four new states, customers can purchase directly from more than 700 wine sellers offering over 5,000 labels.


Washington Launches iPad App

The Washington State Wine Commission has announced the launch of a multi-platform national marketing campaign known as "The Recommendeuer." The launch includes the release of an iPad app that pairs wine with humor through an in-depth, interactive wine education led by actor and comedian Greg Proops from “Whose Line is It Anyway?” The free app is downloadable from the Apple app store.


Continued Growth in Russian Wine Sales

The Russian wine industry is expected to see continued growth up to 2017, according to researchers at Canadean, which forecasts a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 2.8% during 2012–2017. The biggest gains (4.9% for value and volume) are expected in sparkling wine through 2016. Still wine remains the largest category, accounting for 58.8% (volume) of the Russian market in 2012.



Marc Goodrich Joins Excelsior

Marc Goodrich has been named president of Excelsior Wine Company in Old Brookville, N.Y. Goodrich joins Excelsior Wines from Banfi Vintners, where he most recently served as chief operating officer. Excelsior is an independent importing, sales and marketing venture established between Concha y Toro and its former U.S. importer, Banfi Vintners. Goodrich continues to serve as VP and treasurer at Banfi.



Charles Banks Acquires Qupé

Santa Barbara County, Calif.-based Charles Banks and Terroir Selections have acquired a majority stake in Santa Maria Valley’s Qupé Winery. Qupé’s founder and winemaker Bob Lindquist assumes the role of partner, while Louisa Sawyer Lindquist will continue to assist with sales. Qupé will join Banks’ Terroir Selections portfolio, which includes Sandhi, Mayacamas and Leviathan, among others.


N.Y. Vintners Launch European Joint Venture

Three vintners from New York’s Finger Lakes – Scott Osborn of Fox Run Vineyards, John Martini of Anthony Road Wine Company and Chris Missick of Villa Bellangelo – have joined with European partner Christian Claessens to create the first-ever Finger Lakes European importing company. Based in Luxembourg, the company will import and distribute wines from the respective cool-climate wineries into European markets.


Jess Jackson Biography Published

Jackson Family Wines has announced the publication of the authorized biography of company founder Jess Stonestreet Jackson, entitled "A Man and His Mountain; The Everyman Who Created Kendall-Jackson and Became America's Greatest Wine Entrepreneur." Published by PublicAffairs Books, the biography reveals how he built Kendall-Jackson from nothing and turned it into an ultra-premium wine success story.


WALT Purchases Anderson Creek Vineyard

Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall, owners of Sonoma’s WALT and HALL wines, have purchased a 175-acre Anderson Creek vineyard property. Planted to 33 acres of pinot noir and 2 acres of chardonnay, the vineyard has been a source for WALT’s Anderson Valley AVA wines since 2010. Grapes from the vineyard have also been sold to producers including Littorai and Paul Hobbs.


Truett-Hurst Hip to be Square

Healdsburg, Calif.-based Truett-Hurst Winery has released a new line of California Square fine wines available nationwide and in Canada. California Square comes in three varieties of appellation-based wines packaged in a square bottle for a retail price under $20 each. Created by design firm Stranger & Stranger, the square bottles also offer an eco advantage, taking up less space in shipping and storage.


Trinchero Launches Duck Commander Wines

Trinchero Family Estates of St. Helena, Calif., has collaborated with the Robertson family of Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty fame, to produce Duck Commander Wines. The first vintage will include Triple Threat 2011 Red Blend, Wood Duck 2012 Chardonnay, and Miss Priss 2012 Pink Moscato. Duck Dynasty is A&E’s No. 1 unscripted cable show.


Arbor Mist Scores a Million Fans

Constellation Brands’ Arbor Mist wine-with-fruit recently reached a milestone with its 1 millionth Facebook fan. Designed to create brand advocates, the Arbor Mist digital marketing program invited Facebook fans to choose its new flavors launched earlier this year. According to the Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation, 35% of Arbor Mist fans have increased their brand purchases since joining the Facebook community.



Charles Bacigalupi

Longtime Russian River Valley winegrower Charles Bacigalupi has died after a brief fight with cancer. He was 89. A dentist and self-taught winegrower, Bacigalupi sold grapes from his 121-acre Westside Road vineyard property to countless wineries over the years. His family is most noted to have sourced chardonnay grapes to the 1973 Chateau Montelena that won the Paris Tasting in 1976.

Born on Sept. 9, 1924, Bacigalupi grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif., where he lived until he was drafted for WWII at the age of 18. He joined the navy and was assigned the duty of dental assistant. After the war, he met his future wife, Helen Long. They settled in Healdsburg, where Bacigalupi practiced dentistry for 39 years.

Charles and Helen were recently honored by the Healdsburg Library and Historical Museum. In addition, the Sonoma County Wine library recorded and printed their oral history. Charles Bacigalupi is survived by his wife Helen, his son John Bacigalupi, and his granddaughters. 


October 2013


NGWI Aids in Red Blotch Detection

The National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI) is participating in the USDA's APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine red blotch technical working group (TWG) to develop pertinent questions for APHIS scientists, and to recommend scientists for the APHIS panel. TWG participants include Franka Gabler of the California Table Grape Commission, Dan Martinez of Martinez Orchards, and Jean-Mari Peltier, NGWI president.


Montana DTC Applications Available

Applications for wineries to ship table wine directly to consumers in Montana are now available on the Montana Department of Revenue and Wine Institute websites. Effective, Oct. 1, 2013, wineries holding a Direct Shipment Endorsement can ship up to 18 nine-liter cases of table wine to a Montana consumer during the license year (Oct. 1 - Sept. 30).


AVF Announces Scholarship Winners

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) in Napa, Calif., is awarding five grants funded by the André Tchelistcheff and Dr. Richard Peterson Scholarship Programs to graduate students conducting viticulture and enology research. The students include Kayla Burns, Claire Heinitz, Scott Frost and Anna Mantheakis from UC Davis, and Clinton Nelson from Fresno State University.


Washington Wine Awards Students

The Washington Wine Industry Foundation has awarded nearly $12,000 in scholarships to eight students hoping to join the Washington wine industry following their studies. The funds were awarded from three scholarships: the Walter J. Clore Scholarship, the Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers Scholarship and the S. W. (Bill) Preston Scholarship. This year’s recipients attend Washington State University, UC Davis and Yakima Valley Community College.


Arroyo Seco Celebrates 30 Years

Monterey County California’s Arroyo Seco district is celebrating its 30th anniversary as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) this fall. One of the smallest AVAs in California, the Arroyo Seco is home to the estate vineyards of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines and Wente Family Estates. In 2007, the Arroyo Seco Winegrowers & Vintners Association was established.


California Honors Hispanic Heritage and Wine

Kicking off California Wine Month and national Hispanic Heritage month, the California legislature honored the Napa Sonoma Mexican-American Vintners Association (NS MAVA) for its contributions to the state’s wine industry at the State Capitol on Sept. 4. The resolution, sponsored by State Senator Noreen Evans, along with 26 senators and assembly members, was read before the NS MAVA representatives in attendance.


Red Mountain AVA Land for Sale

The Kennewick Irrigation District (KID) is preparing to sell 670.08 acres, including approximately 518.76 acres located inside Washington state’s Red Mountain appellation, at auction on Nov. 23, 2013. The KID, which recently obtained water rights to land, plans to sell it in 22 parcels using Musser Bros.' Power Parcels bidding system. The auction will take place at Musser Bros. in Pasco, Wash.



Brad Petersen Elected SCW Chairman

The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) has announced its 2013/2014 commissioners, including the election of Brad Petersen of Fall Creek Vineyards and Rawah Vineyards as chairman. The SCW also elected Kevin Barr of Redwood Empire Vineyard Management as vice chairman, and Richard Mounts of Mounts Vineyard as treasurer. Glenn Proctor of Puccioni Ranch and Ciatti Company joined as a new commissioner.


Joe Shebl Returns to Renwood Winery

Renwood Winery in Amador County, Calif., has appointed Joe Shebl as director of winemaking and general manager, replacing Dave Crippen. He will oversee winemaking, production and the winery and tasting room management. Shebl, who became Renwood’s winemaker in 2002, left his post in 2009 to gain experience with other Amador County wineries. As director of winemaking, Shebl also will work with consultants Kent Rosenblum and Jeff Cohn.


Haak Promotes Lastowska to Winemaker

Marta Sanchez Lastowska, formerly assistant winemaker for Haak Vineyards & Winery in Santa Fe, Texas, has been promoted to winemaker. Originally from Spain, Lastowska earned a master’s degree in enology at the Agronomic Engineering School of Madrid. Her past experience includes work in New Mexico as a winery lab supervisor, and in North Carolina, where she developed an enology program at Appalachian State University.


Tim Hanni to Promote Wine to Chinese

The Chinese Food Culture Research Association in Beijing has named Tim Hanni, MW vice-chairman for western outreach. The association is responsible for food and beverage certification and promotion in China. A wine consultant in China and author of "Why You Like the Wines You Like" (2013, Amazon), Hanni was selected for his consumer-friendly approach to wine. The association also named Dr. Joe Chuang as chairman.


Jon Ruel Appointed Trefethen President

The Napa Valley’s Trefethen Family Vineyards has promoted Jon Ruel to president. Ruel, who was initially hired as a viticulturist at Trefethen in 2004, was appointed vice president of operations and director of viticulture and winemaking in 2008. Most recently, he served as Trefethen’s chief operating officer. Ruel is also the current president of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers.


J. Lohr Promotes Karl Antink

San Jose, Calif.-based J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has promoted Karl Antink to white winemaker. Antink joined J. Lohr as assistant winemaker in 2006. He will work with Winemaker Jeff Meier to guide the winery’s white wine portfolio in the company’s San Jose facility, and its nearly completed Monterey County winery. Red Winemaker Steve Peck will continue at J. Lohr’s Paso Robles winery.



Vintage Wine Estates Buys Viansa

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Vintage Wine Estates has purchased Viansa Winery and Marketplace. The adjacent 168-acre estate vineyard and a 113-acre wetland preserve were included in the sale. Vintage says it plans to make a significant investment in the marketplace, estate and event facilities. It also plans to establish a partnership with Ducks Unlimited to initiate restoration of the property’s wetlands.


Paul O’Brien Starts Production

Paul O’Brien Winery, founded by wine industry veterans Dyson Paul DeMara and Scott O’Brien Kelley, has begun production. Their facility, to be located in downtown Roseburg, Ore., will be Umpqua Valley’s first urban winery. Kelley was most recently GM/director of winemaking for Estancia Estates. DeMara is the current owner and winemaker of HillCrest Winery and Distillery, Oregon’s oldest estate winery.


Domaine Ste. Michelle Becomes ‘Michelle Sparkling Wines’

Previously known as Domaine Ste. Michelle, Michelle Sparkling Wines of Woodinville, Wash., offers a fresh take on its wines and new packaging. The Michelle sparkling wines are available nationwide for the suggested retail price of $14. In addition to enhancing wine quality, the packaging was updated to have a more feminine look. 


Appellation Acquires Esser Vineyards

Appellation Ventures LLC of St. Helena, Calif., has purchased Esser Vineyards, the winery known for its Monterey County wine portfolio on wine by-the-glass programs at The Ritz-Carlton and The Four Seasons. Manfred Esser, the former Cuvaison Estate Wines president who founded the brand, and his family will serve as brand ambassadors, while Ben Esser Calvi will continue as consulting winemaker.


Balverne Launches New Portfolio

Balverne Winery in Healdsburg, Calif., has launched a new series of wines in select U.S. markets. The new wines, made by Margaret Davenport, include a Chalk Hill-designated 2012 Rose of Sangiovese, a 2012 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc and a 2012 Russian River Chardonnay. A 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir produced by Davenport’s predecessor Julie Lumgair completes the portfolio.



Maryland Governor's Cup Winners Announced

Winners of the 23rd Annual Maryland Wine Governor's Cup were recently announced, with the Best in Show Governor’s Cup awarded to Black Ankle Vineyards of Mt. Airy, Md., for its 2010 Crumbling Rock, a Bordeaux blend. Winemaker Sarah O'Herron accepted the award. Judges from the retail, wholesale, restaurant and press evaluate the wines in this blind competition of Maryland wines.


Virginia Earns Gold in San Francisco

Three Virginia wineries, Barboursville Vineyards, Trump Winery, and Narmada Winery, took home a total of six gold medals at the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition. The San Francisco International Wine Competition judged 4,539 wines this year from 29 states and 30 countries. In all, Virginia wines earned 43 medals: six gold, 14 silver and 23 bronze.




September 2013


OSU to Expand Fermentation Science Program

Lawmakers approved $1.2 million for Oregon State University (OSU) to enhance the Agricultural Experiment Station's fermentation sciences program. The funding will support OSU research in the production of high-value wine, beer, cheese, breads and distilled spirits, as well as help establish a research distillery. When complete, OSU will be the first university in the nation with a working research winery, brewery and distillery.


PA Reports Record Spirits Revenue

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board reports that revenues at fine wine and spirits stores reached $2.17 billion in fiscal year 2012-2013, a $93 million or 4.5% increase over the previous year. Retail wine sales showed the strongest growth with a 6% increase. The agency paid a record $512 million in sales tax, liquor tax and transfers to the General Fund.


CANVAS Launches Hospitality Awards

The Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley and Sonoma (CANVAS) has launched the CANVAS Hospitality Excellence Awards, a new annual program to reward exceptional customer service. Hospitality professionals can be nominated by their colleagues for providing "above and beyond" customer service in one of seven categories: Concierges, Tour Guides, Outdoor Activities, Beauty & Health, Restaurant, Retail, and Winery. See www.conciergealliance.com for details.


Oregon Named Friendliest Wine State

Oregon received the No. 1 ranking in the nation for its friendliness to wine consumers, according to a new report by the American Wine Consumer Coalition. Oregon was one of only six states (along with California, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Virginia) whose regulatory environment received an A-plus rating. Among the criteria considered were access to products, government control, blue laws and winery-to-consumer shipping.


VA Wine Sales at All-Time High

According to recent data compiled by the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in fiscal year 2013, increasing by more than 5% from FY2012. Virginia wineries sold more than 511,000 cases of wine in FY2013. Since FY2010, sales of Virginia wines have increased by more than 23%.


New Organization Touts Sauvignon Blanc

Summertime in a Glass (SIAG), a new organization devoted to the promotion of sauvignon blanc, has launched. The group, based in Sunol, Calif., takes an advocacy stance promoting sauvignon blanc within the wine industry and to consumers through marketing campaigns and events. The group is also using the web and social media to spread the word about sauvignon blanc.


AWCC Supports Internet Wine Sales

In hearings held last month to evaluate Internet sales of wine, the American Wine Consumer Coalition (AWCC) asked the New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) to consider the interests of wine consumers. While the NYSLA had expressed intent to "solicit industry input regarding the regulation of Internet wine sales," no consumers testified at the hearing on Aug. 19.



Cannonball Hires Ken Powers, Expands Team

Healdsburg, Calif.-based Cannonball Wine Company has named Ken Powers vice president business development; Heidi Maul, as assistant winemaker; and the Trellis Group as its national account partner. With more than 26 years of experience, Powers comes to Cannonball from Classic Wine Imports, where he was VP of sales. Maul was formerly an enologist at Sonoma Cutrer and lab technician at Fetzer.


Benovia Winery Hires Jen Walsh

Jen Walsh has been named assistant winemaker of the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Benovia Winery. She will work alongside Benovia Winemaker Mike Sullivan. Previously, Walsh worked for a number of notable California wineries, most recently, as enologist for Miner Family Winery in Oakville. She also has worked for wineries in New Zealand and Chile.


Lynn Krausmann Joins Pellegrini

Pellegrini Wine Company at Olivet Lane Vineyard in Healdsburg, Calif., has appointed Lynn Krausmann as winemaker. Most recently, Krausman was winemaker for Esterlina Vineyards for three years. Prior to that she was winemaker at Williams Selyem and Clos du Bois Wines.


Terry Hall Named Oak Knoll Director

The board of directors of the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) has retained the services of Terry Hall and his TH-ink communications firm. Hall is a former communications director for the Napa Valley Vintners. Prior to that he worked in marketing and communications at Trefethen Family Vineyards.


Heron Hill Hires Eric Frarey

Eric D. Frarey has been appointed director of sales at Heron Hill Winery in Hammondsport, N.Y. Frarey will lead Heron Hill's wholesale sales team, as well as assist in the management of winery operations. He brings 29 years of industry experience in all three tiers: supplier, wholesale and retail, with execution in both on- and off-premise marketing channels.


Fess Parker Appoints David Baird

David Baird has been named assistant winemaker for Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara, Calif., working under the guidance of winemaker Blair Fox. Baird will manage Fess Parker's enology lab and cellar staff. Previously, he was cellar master at Justin. He began his winemaking career as an intern at Edna Valley Vineyard and Halter Ranch Winery.


J. Lohr Promotes Steve Lohr and Jeff Meier

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in San Jose, Calif., has named second-generation family member and winery co-owner Steve Lohr CEO and chairman of the board. Jeff Meier, a 29-year J. Lohr winemaking veteran was promoted to president and will continue as COO in charge of winemaking facilities. Steve Lohr, previously EVP/COO, will assume overall management. Founder Jerry Lohr will manage the estate vineyard holdings.


Jon-Mark Chappellet Leaves Family Business

After 22 years at Chappellet Vineyard & Winery, Jon-Mark Chappellet has announced he is leaving the day-to-day operations of the family business to pursue entrepreneurial passions. Throughout his tenure, Chappellet served roles in financial management, sales and marketing, brand development, sustainability, quality control and facilities management. As the founder of Chappellet's wine club, he also helped grow the winery's direct-to-consumer business.



Renteria Purchases Brown Ranch

Denise and Oscar Renteria of Renteria Wines have purchased the Brown Ranch Vineyard in the Los Carneros District of Napa Valley from Silverado Premium Partners. The 40-acre parcel has 29 acres planted to pinot noir and chardonnay. The Renterias also own properties on Mt. Veeder and in Pope Valley. An additional 1,500 acres is farmed under contract to their portfolio.


Keel and Curly Announce Contest

In celebration of its 10th anniversary and millionth bottle, Keel and Curley Winery of Plant City, Fla., is launching a Golden Cork Contest a la Willie Wonka. Ten golden corks will be sent out to stores in Keel and Curley wine bottles. Customers who find golden corks will gather at the winery on Oct. 10, 2013 to compete for the grand prize trip to Northern California.


Jadot Buys Resonance Vineyard

Maison Louis Jadot has purchased the 20-acre Resonance Vineyard planted to pinot noir in Oregon's Willamette Valley. This marks the first time that Jadot will produce wine outside of Burgundy. Jacques Lardiere, former Jadot winemaker, is responsible for winemaking with the 2013 harvest. Initially, Jadot will use the Trisaetum Winery facilities near Newberg, Ore. Transaction terms were not disclosed.


Siduri Begins Gluten Testing

Siduri Wines in Santa Rosa, Calif., has begun gluten testing on its Siduri pinot noirs. This information is accessible through wine notes posted on the Siduri website that are linked via QR code from the bottle labels, allowing consumers to review ingredients, winemaking processes and more. The 2012 Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir is the first wine featuring the QR code-linked notes.


Laetitia Turns 30

Thirty years after its first vintage of Old World-style sparkling wine, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery is celebrating with a limited edition etched magnum series for purchase. Additionally, the winery will host a Dual Winemaker Dinner on Sept. 14, 2013, featuring the library wines of winemakers Dave Hickey and Eric Hickey paired with dishes from Et Voilá Restaurant.


Inc. Recognizes Cecchetti's Growth

For the third consecutive year, Cecchetti Wine Company of Sonoma, Calif., has been named to the Inc. 500/5000, a list of the nation's most successful private companies. In 2012, Cecchetti sold 340,000 cases of its affordably priced Line 39, Backhouse, Redtree and Exitus wines. Portfolio-wide sales volume increased 30% compared with 2011. This year, the company expects to sell some 380,000 cases.



Milner Heritage Wins Minnesota Gov.'s Cup

The 2012 Little Iza wine from Millner Heritage Vineyard and Winery in Kimball, Minn., won the Minnesota Governor's Cup top-prize trophy at the 2013 International Cold Climate Wine Competition, held at the University of Minnesota. Other "Best of Show" awards went to Wisconsin's Parallel 44, Vermont's Shelburne Vineyard, and the Illinois Sparkling Company.


NY Wine & Food Honors Top Winners

The New York Wine and Grape Foundation announced that McCall Wines of Cutchogue, N.Y., has been named "Winery of the Year" at the annual New York Wine & Food Classic competition. McCall entered seven wines, all of which received medals. Keuka Spring Vineyards 2012 Riesling from the Finger Lakes region took home the Governor's Cup, recognizing the Best of Show or top prize of all 875 entries in the Classic. Find full results at www.newyorkwines.org.


Indy International Award Winners Announced

Huber's Orchard, Winery & Vineyards of Starlight, Ind., topped over 2,300 international entries to win "Wine of the Year" honors for its 2012 Vignoles at the Indy International Wine Competition. Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards of Sonoma, Calif., was awarded the Winery of the Year Trophy for the Best International Brand. Washington state's Maryhill Winery won the Winemaker of the Year Trophy for receiving the most gold medals. For more results, visit www.indyinternational.org.


Record Entries for Michigan Wine Competition

At the 36th annual Michigan Wine Competition, open only to wines produced from Michigan fruit, 55 wineries entered a record 450 wines. Judges awarded the top "Best of Class" awards to six wines: Black Star Farms 2012 BeDazzled; Chateau Fontaine 2012 Pinot Blanc; Peninsula Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc; Boathouse Vineyards 2012 "Knot Too Sweet" Riesling; Karma Vista Vineyards 2012 Devil's Head Red; and Brys Estate 2011 "Dry Ice" Riesling Ice Wine. See www.michiganwines.com for more winners.


2013 World of Wine Medalists Announced

The 2013 Southern Oregon World of Wine Festival recently concluded its wine competition, featuring 179 wines from 46 wineries. A total of 13 gold medals were awarded this year, including 6 double-gold medals. Best of Show honors went to Pebblestone Cellars for its 2012 Viognier and to Spangler Vineyards for its 2010 Claret. Cuckoo's Nest Cellars won Best of Show/Other Wine for its 2012 Fizzé.

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