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Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine

News Flash

October 2014


Gov. Brown Signs Groundwater Legislation

On Sept. 16, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed historic legislation that allows local agencies to tailor sustainable groundwater plans to their regional economic and environmental needs. The three bills signed by the Governor (AB 1739 and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319) create a framework for sustainable, local groundwater management for the first time in California history.


TTB Approves New AVAs in Paso Robles

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has published a final rule in the Federal Register establishing 11 new American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) within California’s existing Paso Robles viticultural area. The Districts are: Adelaida, Creston, El Pomar, Paso Robles Estrella, Paso Robles Geneseo, Paso Robles Highlands, Paso Robles Willow Creek, San Juan Creek, San Miguel, Santa Margarita Ranch, and Templeton Gap.


Industry Group Launches Vintage Atlantic Wine Region

A collaborative group of destination marketing organizations, wineries and wine trails has launched the Vintage Atlantic Wine Region. The group, forged in 2013 to create a wine region that links existing wine trails and wineries in various states, represents the first East Coast multi-state wine region, and includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Study Shows 26% of U.S. Wine Drinkers Prefer Premium

Wine Drinkers in the U.S. Market 2014, a new report from the London-based Wine Intelligence, finds that premium wine drinkers in the U.S. (those drinking wine at least once a week and typically spending over $15 a bottle for home consumption) account for 26% of the wine drinking population, but 56% of the total spend. The nation’s 23 million premium drinkers buy four in every 10 wine bottles sold in the U.S. market.


Sonoma State Receives $250K Gift

Fine wine and spirits distributor Young’s Market Co. has made a $250,000 gift to Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., which will support the completion of the Industry Boardroom in the new Wine Spectator Learning Center. The new Center and Boardroom will provide the infrastructure to expand curricula and develop wine industry leadership around the world. Construction is slated for completion in mid-2016.


AVF Announces Scholarship Awards

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) in Napa, Calif., is awarding five grants, provided by the André Tchelistcheff and Dr. Richard Peterson Scholarship Programs, to graduate students conducting viticulture and enology research at UC Davis and Fresno State University. Recipients are working on a host of research projects, including water efficiency measures in vineyard practices and breeding practices for drought tolerant rootstocks.



Sonoma County Vintners Director Steps Down

The Sonoma County Vintners Board of Directors has announced that Honore Comfort will step down as executive director in January, after nine years of leadership. The Board has retained Leap Solutions Group to conduct a nationwide search for Comfort’s replacement.


The Workshop Promotes Jeremy Leffert

Winemaker Jeremy Leffert has been promoted to general manager of The Workshop Urban Wine Collective in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Workshop offers a full range of wine production and promotion services to artisan winemakers and custom crush clients. Previously, Leffert was winemaker for Hearst Ranch Winery from its inception in 2009 to 2014, when he joined The Workshop.


Emily Talley Becomes Bandit Ambassador

Trinchero Family Estates (TFE) is collaborating with pro-golfer and Napa native Emily Talley to be the Bandit wines brand ambassador at numerous golf tournaments and events during the next year, including the Symetra Tour and the Golf Channel’s Big Break Invitational. Talley is hoping to become a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Rookie in 2015.


Dan Hanfland Named AWS Director

The American Wine Society (AWS) in Englewood, Ohio, has named wine industry veteran Dan Hanfland as executive director. Hanfland succeeds John Hames, effective Jan. 1. Previously, he worked with Joseph E. Seagram, Ltd. and Vintners International Company's wine divisions.


The Winery SF Hires Marc Ventre

Marc Ventre has joined The Winery SF as associate winemaker. As the winery’s production has grown, Ventre was hired to assist Head Winemaker Bryan Kane in all areas of winemaking. The Winery SF is located on San Francisco’s historic Treasure Island.


Joseph Wagner Launches New Wine Company

Joseph Wagner, founder/winemaker at Belle Glos and Meiomi Pinot Noirs, has formed Copper Cane Wines & Provisions in Rutherford, Calif. The new wine company will be home to Meiomi Pinot Noir, as well as the newly released Meiomi Chardonnay. Wagner Family of Wine will continue to represent the Belle Glos single-vineyard-designate pinot noirs.


Terravant Hires Mari Kelly, Promotes Laryssa Adame 

Terravant Wine Company in Buellton, Calif., has hired Mari Kelly as the director of sales for the eastern region, and has promoted Laryssa Adame to brand manager of the newly created Terravant’s Wines & Designs Portfolio division. Based in Virginia, Kelly will oversee private label sales and national brand business for the East Coast. 



St. James Winery Places in Top 15

St. James Winery of St. James, Mo., recently placed in the top 15 of the World Association of Wine and Spirits Writers and Journalists annual list of the 100 Top Wineries in the World.


J Vineyards & Winery Expands Footprint

Healdsburg, Calif.-based J Vineyards & Winery has acquired two hillside vineyards in Annapolis, Calif. Both are part of the Sonoma Coast AVA, and represent the first J estate vineyards outside of the Russian River Valley. The new vineyards encompass 44 planted vineyard acres of primarily Dijon clone pinot noir.


Atlas and Price Announce Joint Venture

California’s Atlas Vineyard Management and Price Family Vineyards have embarked on a joint venture with the purchase of Walala Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. They will look to acquire other vineyard properties in the future. Purchased from The Conservation Fund, the Walala Vineyard has been farmed by Atlas since it was planted in 2005, and is comprised of 17 acres of pinot noir.


America’s Oldest Winery Turns 175

Brotherhood Winery, America’s oldest continuously operating winery, celebrates its 175th year of harvest this fall. Since its first vintage release in 1839, the Hudson Valley winery in Washingtonville, N.Y., has survived the Civil War, two World Wars and even Prohibition. To commemorate the 175th Anniversary, Brotherhood will release three new wines, host on-site events and participate in statewide wine and food festivals.


Lula Cellars Opens New Tasting Room

Lula Cellars of Philo, Calif., has opened a new 22-acre property in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley. The new property features a pet-friendly tasting room, a 14-acre pinot noir vineyard and a small-production winemaking facility. Beginning in 2015, a 10,000-square-foot events area will be available for weddings and other private events.


Winemaker Studios Launches in San Francisco

A collective group of urban wineries have come together to provide a one-of-a-kind wine tasting destination on Treasure Island in San Francisco, Calif. The recently launched Winemaker Studios is comprised of San Francisco-based VIE Winery; Sol Rouge from the Red Hills AVA of Lake County; and Sottomarino Winery, a new tasting room housed in a ‘submarine’ that opened in June.


Stag’s Leap Opens FAY Vistor Center 

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa, Calif., has officially opened its FAY Outlook & Visitor Center. Barcelona-based architect Javier Barba created the design for the center, which overlooks Stag’s Leap’s FAY and S.L.V. historic estate vineyards. The new center cost approximately $7 million to build, and was funded by Stag’s Leap’s joint venture owners Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori



Harvey Posert, Wine PR Innovator

Harvey Posert, Jr., an influential leader in the California wine industry for nearly 50 years, died Oct. 3, 2014, after a brief illness. He was 84. Known in the wine business as the “Top PR Man” and “The Wine PR Guru,” the native of Memphis, Tenn., spent most of his career in wine public relations, working on several of the most successful programs in the industry, including the Wine Institute’s award-winning program to educate Americans about California wine and the Robert Mondavi PR program. In 1996, he launched Harvey Posert Public Relations and worked until his passing on major programs, such as publicizing the Charles Shaw wine brand “Two Buck Chuck.” Posert is survived by his three sons, Harvey Posert III, Robert Posert, and Peter Posert, as well as three grandsons and two granddaughters.


Winery Owner Robert L. Hall

Robert L. Hall, owner of Robert Hall Winery, passed away from complications related to an extended illness on Oct. 4, 2014. He was 85. Originally from St. Paul, Minn., Hall invested in a variety of business ventures including bowling centers, travel agencies, apartments and shopping centers. In the 1970s, he and his family took a trip to Southern France and discovered a new passion – wine. After researching various areas, he settled in Paso Robles for the location of his vineyards and winery. His vision came to fruition when he began making wine in 2001. He is survived by his spouse, Margaret Burrell Hall, and his three daughters. His wife will continue running the winery and hospitality operations.


News Flash September 2014


California Water Bond Approved for November Ballot

California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN) reports that California’s recently approved new water bond for the November ballot includes $100 million for water use efficiency projects in agricultural and urban areas. At a time of severe drought, the water bond would bring funding for conservation, water recycling, groundwater and safe drinking water projects.


China’s Wine Consumption Drops

China’s imported wine volume had been on a meteoric rise, increasing 28% in 2011 and 8% in 2012, before dropping by 4% in 2013, according to Impact Databank. Sales and volume are down again this year, apparently the result of the Chinese government’s new policy against intra-governmental entertaining and high-end gift giving. Domestic wines saw the biggest volume decline last year, while imports fell by 2 million cases.


A Wine Incubator Comes to Texas

Texas wine entrepreneur Mike McHenry, a managing partner of Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba, plans to open an incubator for incipient Texas wineries in the fall of 2015. From label designer contacts to grape sourcing to a winery facility, the incubator plans to offer a range of services to startup wineries. It will even offer retail space for clients to market their wines.


Loophole Bans Imported Wine Shipments to Massachusetts

The American Wine Consumer Coalition in Washington, D.C., has released a statement alerting its members and other wine advocates that the Massachusetts direct shipping provision signed into law on July 11, contains a loophole that prevents consumers in that state from having any imported wine shipped to them. For details see www.wineconsumers.org.


WSU Expands Teaching Vineyard

Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Wash., has expanded its teaching vineyard, planting some 800 syrah vines and installing new irrigation systems at the campus vineyard, which now spans 1.5 acres. The expansion will provide students with the opportunity to explore the different ways vines are trained around the world. The Washington Wine Industry Foundation funded the new vineyard block.


Bloggers Conference Largest on Record

July’s Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton, Calif., marked the annual event’s seventh year. With more than 350 registrants, the 2014 conference was the largest on record. Zephyr Adventures, organizers of the Wine Bloggers Conference, attributes the strong attendance to a global interest in wine, as well as what is communicated about wine brands, products and lifestyle.


LPVA Awards Bruce Simpson Scholarships

The Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) in Peninsula, Mich., has awarded its first recipients of the Bruce Simpson Winemaker Scholarship. Four recipients each received $1,000 for the 2014-2015 school year, awarded during the Michigan State University orientation at Northern Michigan College. The financial assistance benefits Michigan students interested in pursuing careers as winemakers and viticulturists in Northern Michigan.


WI Joins Gov. Brown’s Mexico Trade Mission

Last month, Wine Institute (WI) President and CEO Robert Koch joined Governor Jerry Brown's trade mission to Mexico City to help spur sales of California wines. U.S. wine exports to Mexico, 90% from the Golden State, reached $21.5 million in 2013, up 21% from the previous year. Since the 2011 repeal of the 2009 tariff increase on California wines, the state’s wine sales in Mexico have been on the rise.


Wine Library Celebrates Anniversary

The Sonoma County Wine Library in Healdsburg, Calif., recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a gala and auction. Wine Librarian Bo Simons, who served for most of the library’s first 25 years, was honored. Founded by Millie Howie in 1989, the Wine Library has grown, with holdings of 5,000 books dating back as far as 1512.


Marking the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail

The more than 20 wineries of California’s Santa Clara Valley recently welcomed a new signage program directing visitors throughout one of the state’s oldest viticultural regions. Earlier this year, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail Route, which will feature more than 70 directional signs with the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley logo. 


Washington Wine Creates Intern Protocol

The Education Consortium, a group of Washington State education institutions, the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and the Washington State Wine Commission, has created the “Washington Grape and Wine Industry Employer Guide to Internships,” a document designed for employers looking for student interns. Visit www.wawgg.org, and click on “Education and Internships” for more information.


IGGPRA Announces Scholarship Winners

The Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area (IGGPRA) has announced its two local scholarship winners for the 2014-2015 academic year. Linda Jaimez and Adam Hinrichs each receive $3,000 toward college tuition, as they pursue degrees in viticulture-related fields. IGGPRA scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence and financial need.



Rudy Kurniawan Convicted for Counterfeiting Wine

Notorious wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a U.S. federal court on August 7. He is the first person to be tried and convicted in the United States for counterfeiting wine. He was ordered to pay $28.4 million to his victims, and forfeit $20 million in property. Kurniawan was arrested in Arcadia, Calif., in March 2012.


Lise Asimont Named ASEV President

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) Board has confirmed Lise Asimont as its 2014-2015 president. Asimont, director of grower relations for Francis Ford Coppola Winery, has been an active ASEV member since 2001, serving on its Board of Directors, and on a variety of committees including the National Conference Program Committee. Asimont succeeds Dr. James Kennedy


Matthew Crafton Promoted to Winemaker

Chateau Montelena Winery in Calistoga, Calif., has promoted Matthew Crafton from assistant winemaker to winemaker. He will continue to work with CEO and Master Winemaker Bo Barrett. Crafton has been Chateau Montelena’s assistant winemaker in charge of the chardonnay program since 2008. An East Coast native, he has worked in vineyards and cellars on both coasts for more than a decade. 


David Mounts Appointed to WDCV Sustainability Committee

As part of its commitment to become 100% sustainable within the next five years, the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley (WDCV) in Healdsburg, Calif., has appointed third-generation winegrower David Mounts as chair of its new Sustainability Committee. Mounts will work with winegrowers to implement a three-phase sustainability initiative that includes getting all Dry Creek Valley wineries and vineyards third-party certified sustainable.


Aura Bland Joins Charles Krug Winery 

Aura Bland has joined Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, Calif., as vice president, direct to consumer (DTC) sales. A seasoned DTC and hospitality expert, Bland was most recently the director of consumer sales and marketing at St. Francis Winery, where she helped to develop its acclaimed wine and food program. Previously, Aura was the visitor center manager at Rosenblum Cellars.


MacRostie Winery Hires Don Davis

MacRostie Winery and Vineyards on California’s Sonoma Coast has appointed Don Davis sales and hospitality director. He will guide the launch of the MacRostie Estate House, scheduled to open later this year, as well as oversee its guest services and wine appreciation programs. Davis is the founder of both the BIN 38 wine bar and restaurant in San Francisco and Uncorked Events.


Steve Tamburelli Named Clos Du Val President

Clos Du Val Winery has named Steve Tamburelli as president in charge of operations for the Napa Valley winery. Tamburelli has held many executive roles in the wine business. He joined Stags Leap Wine Cellars as chief operating officer in 1998, spent 11 years as general manager at Chappellet, and most recently was chief operating officer at Flora Springs Winery.


Luca Paschina Inducted into Order of Merit

The president of Italy's Council of Ministers has inducted Luca Paschina, winemaker and general manager of Virginia’s Barboursville Vineyards, into the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. The Order recognizes occupations that honor Italy and the Italian people. Paschina’s designation honors his leadership in developing the wine estate in Barboursville, Va., with the Zonin family, of Veneto.


Tyler Eck Joins Fess Parker

Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara, Calif., has hired Tyler Eck as assistant winemaker. Eck, a UC Santa Barbara graduate, received his graduate diploma in viticulture and oenology from Lincoln University in New Zealand. His past experience includes work at France’s Domaine Francois Villard; Stefano Lubiana Wines in Tasmania; Church Road and Waipara Downs in New Zealand; and Sonoma Coast’s Peay Vineyards.


Alma Rosa Hires Tom O’Higgins and Elaina Kroll

Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards in Santa Barbara, Calif., has hired Tom O’Higgins as general manager and Elaina Kroll as national sales director. Most recently, O’Higgins was part of the executive management team at V. Sattui.

Kroll joins Alma Rosa from work as a national sales director, managing imports for Domaine de Cristia, and representing McPrice Myers’ Barrel 27 line. 


Benovia Winery Welcomes Jeff Shaeffer

Jeff Shaeffer has joined Benovia Winery in Santa Rosa, Calif., as the direct to consumer sales manager in charge of online sales and tasting room business. Shaeffer’s passion for wine led him to start a wine import business in 2006. That same year, he joined Siduri Wines and Novy Family Winery as a production assistant. Most recently, he was Siduri's sales and hospitality manager.


Thrace Bromberger Joins WALT Wines

WALT Wines has added Thrace Bromberger as tasting room manager at its facility in Sonoma, Calif. He will be responsible for developing the continued growth of WALT Wines, a sister winery to HALL Wines. Previously, Bromberger was the co-owner of the boutique Napa winery GustavoThrace, and later held tasting room manager positions at Villa San-Juliette and Charles Creek.


Anna Maria Ponzi Named President

Anna Maria Ponzi has been named president of the Sherwood, Ore.-based Ponzi Vineyards, which was established in 1970 by her parents Dick and Nancy Ponzi. For more than 20 years, she has directed the company’s sales and marketing programs. She owns and operates the business with her sister, winemaker Luisa Ponzi.


Hess Collection Appoints John Grant COO

John Grant was appointed chief operating officer for The Hess Collection in Napa, Calif. He was most recently the managing director for Treasury Wine Estates Beringer portfolio. A native Australian, Grant was president of Constellation Wine Australia, and also served as president of Kendall Jackson Wine Estates. He has twice been named Australian Marketer of the Year.


Testarossa Winery Hires Mitchell Glick

Mitchell Glick has been named the new vice president of sales for Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos, Calif. Glick served as the former national accounts manager with Freixenet USA/Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, where he also held numerous distributor management positions. He previously worked in sales with major distributors in both Florida and New York, and co-founded a wine retailer in Singapore.



Becker Vineyards Named “Tall in Texas”

At the 28th Annual GrapeFest on Sept. 6, A Wine Experience bestowed its annual “Tall in Texas” award, given to a Texas winery in recognition of exceptional leadership. The 2014 recipient is Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas. From the winery’s launch two decades ago, owners Richard and Bunny Becker have been supporters of the Texas wine industry. 


Oliver Winery Launches Hard Cider

Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Ind., has introduced BeanBlossom Hard Cider, crafted from the juice of gently pressed Midwest apples. Oliver Winery recently invested more than $1 million in a technologically advanced filling machine, to make and bottle its hard cider. It is available in original and peach, in 25.4-ounce bomber bottles.


Madrigal Family Opens Tasting Room

Madrigal Family Winery, a small family winery in Calistoga, Calif., recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with the opening of a new tasting room in the heart of Sausalito, Calif.


La Crema Crowd-Creates Wine

On August 11, Santa Rosa, Calif.-based La Crema Winery launched Virtual Vintner, a digital experience that engages consumers in an interactive, crowd-created La Crema wine. Users can embark on a choose-your-own-adventure-style winemaking journey, while taking an active role in its creation. Popular vote will determine the finished wine, which is slated for a late fall 2015 release.


HALL Wines Awarded LEED Gold

HALL Wines has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold Certification for its modern tasting room and high-tech production facility in St. Helena, Calif. This marks the second LEED Gold award for the HALL Wines St. Helena property, which was previously recognized as the first winery in California to earn LEED Gold for its fully sustainable production facility in 2009.


New Winery for Epoch Estate

Epoch Estate Wines of Paso Robles, Calif., has opened a new winery atop York Mountain. The 17,000-square-foot winery, designed by Lake|Flato Architects, was constructed to preserve the natural beauty of York Mountain. Using a cut-and-cover method, most of the winery is tucked beneath the earth, allowing it to blend into the surroundings, and providing the barrel room with natural temperature control.


MWC Settles with Paul Dolan

Mendocino Wine Company (MWC) has announced a resolution to all legal issues with its former president Paul Dolan. Per the settlement, Paul Dolan has relinquished his minority ownership in MWC, and confirmed MWC’s ownership of all right, title, and interest in and to the Paul Dolan® brands, as well as all related trademarks and intellectual property.


Paul Dolan Vineyards Updates Packaging

Paul Dolan Vineyards, a Mendocino Wine Company (MWC) brand, has announced the release of an updated package design. According to MWC, the new design conveys a cleaner and more contemporary image that more closely aligns with Paul Dolan Vineyards, founded by MWC in 2006.



Vera Trinchero Torres

Family-owned Trinchero Family Estates (TFE) has announced the passing of Vera Trinchero Torres, who died July 22. Remembered as a generous wine pioneer, Torres was 76. She was born in New York City to Mario and Mary Trinchero. At the age of 10, her family purchased the Sutter Home Winery and they moved to St. Helena, Calif. Over the years, Torres held key roles at Sutter Home Winery, including company secretary and overseeing the company's charitable activities, while raising her two sons, Anthony “Tony” Torres and Robert “Bob” Torres with her husband, Ray Torres. She and her brothers, Bob and Roger, worked together to build Sutter Home into one of the top-selling premium varietal wine brands in the U.S. A breast cancer survivor, Vera Torres helped raise more than $1 million for the fight against breast cancer through the Sutter Home program. She is survived by her brothers, her sons and four grandchildren.


Industry Mourns Kerry Manahan-Ehlow

Kerry Manahan-Ehlow, a successful sales and marketing executive with 30 years of experience in the wine industry, passed away on July 20. She was 53 years old. Manahan-Ehlow began her wine career at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1984. She went on to work as a sales and marketing executive for Kendall-Jackson, Matanzas Creek Winery, The Thomas Jefferson Wine Company, and Sebastiani Vineyards. In 2002, she launched the consulting firm KME Solutions Group, where she developed her own Amusant Wines brand. After the sale of Amusant in 2007, she became vice president of sales and marketing for Foley Family Wines. Most recently, she served as vice president of global sales and strategy at J Vineyards & Winery. Manahan-Ehlow is survived by her husband, Albert C. Ehlow, Jr.; son Andrew and daughter Aryn; four grandchildren; her parents and her brother.



Leelanau Peninsula Wins “Best of Class”

Eight “Best of Class” honors were awarded at the 37th Michigan Wine Competition held on Aug. 5 in East Lansing, Mich. Leelanau Peninsula wineries took home six of the awards. Winners included: Aurora Cellars, Blustone Vineyards, Gill’s Pier Vineyard & Winery, Black Star Farms, 45 North Vineyard & Winery, and Chateau de Leelanau. Overall, Leelanau Peninsula took home 137 medals.

Maryland Wineries Win at Two Competitions

The Maryland Wineries Association in Baltimore, Md., has announced that “Best in Class” honors at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition went to Bordeleau Vineyards & Winery, Port of Leonardtown Winery and Boordy Vineyards. Slack Winery earned a gold medal. At the 2014 Indy International Wine Competition, held in conjunction with the Indiana State Fair, Big Cork Vineyards and Bordeleau Vineyards took home multiple medals.


NY’s Governor’s Cup Winner Announced

The annual New York Wine & Food Classic wine competition, organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, has selected Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes as the 2014 Governor’s Cup winner. The cup represents the top prize from 863 entries. In addition, Macari Vineyards & Winery from Long Island won “Winery of the Year.”


News Flash August 2014


Massachusetts Toasts DTC Bill

Wine lovers in Massachusetts are toasting Governor Patrick’s signature on the latest budget bill, which includes provisions allowing for limited, regulated winery-to-consumer shipments. Starting January 2015, Massachusetts’ adult residents can purchase wines directly from wineries licensed by the state to ship. The budget language is based on the model direct shipping bill used by the majority of U.S. states.


California’s ‘Sip and Spit’ Bill

Winemaking students under the legal drinking age will soon be able to sample wines legally, as California’s state senate has voted to pass Assembly Bill 1989. The “sip and spit bill” requires students to be over the age of 18, to drink the wine in an education institution and to spit the wine out. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill into law, effective January 2015.


Wine Spectator Donates to SSU

The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation has pledged a $3 million gift to Sonoma State University to support the construction of a new home for SSU’s Wine Business Institute, which will be named the Wine Spectator Learning Center. Upon completion, the 15,000-square-foot building will be organized around classrooms, a student commons area and an industry center.


Fresno State Breaks Ground on Research Center

Fresno State broke ground on the 30,000-square-foot interdisciplinary Jordan Research Center on June 13 in Fresno, Calif. The $24 million center brings together the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology with the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

At the groundbreaking, three donations were announced:  Alumnus Dr. Harry B. Moordigian Jr. established a $200,000 endowment to enhance the Center’s microbiology laboratory. Olam Spices and Vegetable Ingredients donated $200,000 to support the sensory evaluation lab, and alumni Earl and Beverly Knobloch donated to the instrument/robotics lab. The project, made possible by a $29.4 million gift from the Jordan family, is scheduled for completion in fall 2015.


Washington Works with USDA to Trap Moths

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) continues its program with the USDA to search for four species of moths destructive to grapevines. Between May and July, some 1,000 traps were placed for each of the four moth species in most of the state’s major winegrape growing regions. Similar WSDA surveys conducted in the past two years yielded no detection of the pests.


Wine Sampling OK at California Farmers’ Markets

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a measure allowing winegrowers who bottle their own wine to conduct tastings at California farmers’ markets. Assembly Bill 2488 requires wine tasting areas to be separated from the rest of the farmers’ market by a rope or other barrier, and limits tastings to three ounces per patron per day.


New York Passes Craft Act

New York State has passed the Craft Act, allowing farm wineries to make 250,000 gallons of wine annually (up from 150,000) and produce more beverages under one roof. Initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo and drafted by State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen and Special Counsel Tom Donohue, the Craft Act also allows farm wineries to sell by the bottle or by the glass.


New Requirements for GO TEXAN Wines

On June 12, 2014, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) ruled that future use of the GO TEXAN mark on wine packaging will require that 75% of the grapes used to make the wine come from Texas. This replaces the existing rule that requires none of the grapes to be from Texas, and makes GO TEXAN labeling consistent with Federal appellation labeling.


Northwest Beverage Seminars Kick Off

Ferment Marketing of Portland, Ore., is introducing a new series of interactive training seminars designed to boost the sales and marketing effectiveness of Northwest beverage industry professionals. Each seminar covers a subject vital to the success of craft wine, beer, spirits, cider and sake professionals. Learn more about the seminars held at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore., by visiting www.fermentmarketing.com/professional-education.html.


New Trends Among Japanese Wine Drinkers

According to Wine Intelligence in London, England, the number of Japanese consumers who drink wine every day (or most days) has almost doubled to 11% compared to two years ago. Japanese regular wine drinkers are also becoming more adventurous, with 21% saying they enjoy trying new and different styles of wine, as compared to 15% two years ago.



Wente Named WI Board Chairman

Wine Institute (WI) in San Francisco, Calif., has announced the election of Carolyn Wente of Wente Family Estates, as its 2014-2015 Board Chairman. Other elected officers include: Greg Coleman of E. & J. Gallo Winery, first vice chairman; Margie Healy of Korbel Champagne Cellars, second vice chairman; Steve Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, treasurer; and Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards, secretary. Bobby Koch is president and CEO.


LIMA Appoints Epperson-McCarthy

The Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) in Cutchogue, N.Y., has appointed wine consultant Robin Epperson-McCarthy as research fellow. McCarthy will work with members to conduct research that will be instrumental in the advancement of the Long Island appellation. Most recently, McCarthy was a senior sommelier and director of education at Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead, N.Y.


Crafton Promoted to Winemaker

Chateau Montelena Winery in Calistoga, Calif., has promoted Matthew Crafton to winemaker. Crafton joined the Chateau Montelena team in 2008 as assistant winemaker, and began leading its chardonnay program. Crafton holds a B.S. in viticulture and enology from UC Davis and a B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia.


Verdina Joins Jamieson Ranch

Napa, California’s Jamieson Ranch Vineyards has named Juan Jose Verdina director of winemaking. Chilean born Verdina previously worked at Hahn Estates as assistant winemaker, and then as winemaker for Copa Del Rey Wines, a Chilean brand created by a joint venture between the Hahn family and the Canavaggio family in Panama. He later became winemaker for Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator Winery.


Groth Vineyards Hires Parry

Cameron Parry has joined Groth Vineyards and Winery in Oakville, Calif., as winemaker. Winemaker Michael Weis will continue on as director of winemaking through the succession. Parry spent the last 10 years at Chateau Montelena, where he directed winemaking for the Calistoga winery. He has also made wine at Etude in Carneros, Vina de Larose in Chile and Sonoma’s Gundlach-Bundschu Winery.

Guinness McFadden Receives Golden Bear

On June 24, 2014, Guinness McFadden accepted the Best of Show Sparkling Wine golden bear trophy on the steps of the Capitol from the California State Fair Wine Competition for his NV McFadden Sparkling Wine. The California State Assembly and Senate then honored him with a Joint Resolution recognizing his over 40 years of organic and eco-friendly farming in Mendocino County.


Ledbetter Family Honored

The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) has awarded the Ledbetter family, owners and operators of Vino Farms, as its 2014 Grower of the Year. Headquarted in Lodi, Calif., Vino Farms is a vineyard management business that farms wine grapes throughout California. The Ledbetters are the third recipient of this award, which is CAWG’s highest honor for excellence in viticulture and management.



A to Z Wineworks Earns B Corp Certification

Newberg, Ore.-based A to Z Wineworks has become the world’s only winery certified as a B Corporation. Certified B Corps use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. To be recognized as a Certified B Corporation, A to Z had to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance with regard to impact on employees, suppliers, community and the environment.



Remembering Holly Eve Brooks

Holly Eve Brooks, who co-founded and ran Pence Ranch Vineyards and Winery with her longtime life partner, Blair Pence, was killed on Saturday, June 14, when the all-terrain vehicle she was driving on their private property flipped over. She was 54. Her passenger, 28-year-old Alyssa Whitcraft, was only slightly injured in the crash. A private service for Brooks, who is remembered fondly by the many who knew her in the wine industry, was held the following Saturday.


Doug Lehmann, Dies at 62

The Australian wine industry remembers Doug Lehmann, deputy chairman of Peter Lehmann Wines, past managing director, and son of founder Peter Lehmann, who passed away on Sunday, June 29, following an apparent heart attack. He was 62. A sixth generation Barossan, Doug Lehmann joined Peter Lehmann Wines in 1990 to grow the business his father founded in 1979. As managing director, he opened markets in Europe and the U.S., and established Peter Lehmann Wines as one of Australia’s most respected wine producers. He is survived by his wife, Ingrid; sons, Michael and Harry; and daughter Annika.


Long Island Mourns Ann Marie and Marco Borghese

The Long Island wine region mourns the loss of two colleagues. Marco Borghese died in a tragic car accident less than two weeks after his wife, Ann Marie Borghese, lost her battle with cancer. The Borgheses purchased Long Island’s first vineyard from the Hargraves in 1999, and named it Castello di Borghese. Marco was elected president of the Long Island Wine Council, and in 2005 was awarded the Unity Award by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Ann Marie promoted the family’s wines and devoted significant time, expertise and resources to local community organizations and causes.  


NewsFlash June 2014


U.S. Becomes Top Global Wine Market

Last year, the United States overtook France as the world’s largest wine market with volume up 1% to 329 million cases, according to Impact Databank. The U.S. market has expanded 18% since 2005. France, now No. 2, posted a 7% decline last year, while Italy (No. 3) experienced a 4% drop. Germany was the only top-five market to post an increase (1.5%). China (No. 5) saw its first decline in recent history, falling 6% to 187 million cases.


California GMO Bill Advances

The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed SB 1381 (Evans). The bill now goes to the Floor for a full Senate vote. Senate Bill 1381 would require GMOs to be labeled in all foods produced for human consumption. While the bill has faced opposition, the issue also has strong support. Ninety-three percent of Americans polled in support of labeling protections in 2013.


Researchers Make Powdery Mildew Discovery

Researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., have made a discovery that may be important in the development of powdery mildew-resistant grapevines. Using unfertilized frog eggs to test grapevine genes, researchers found that a specific gene in cabernet sauvignon contributes to its susceptibility to the disease. The fungus essentially tricks the grapevine into providing nutrients, allowing mildew to grow.


SWE Changes Certification Process

The Society of Wine Educators (SWE) has partnered with Pearson VUE testing centers to give certification candidates the ability to schedule the CSS and CSW exams on demand at any of Pearson’s more than 5,100 centers in 175 countries. Candidates receive exam results immediately upon completion. SWE will continue to offer some 100 different testing dates in the U.S., Toronto and Hong Kong.


Auction Napa Valley 2014 Sets Records

The 34th annual Auction Napa Valley 2014 raised $18.7 million for healthcare and children’s education nonprofits. The event culminated with the Live Auction Celebration, which, among other highlights, garnered $3.8 million for the Fund-A-Need lot supporting Napa County youth. An e-auction of more than 175 lots also broke records, raising nearly $500,000 for charity.


Wine Institute Receives Green Award

Wine Institute of California was given the 2014 Amorim Sustainability Award for a generic organization by The Drinks Business, a London-based industry trade publication. Wine Institute established the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago to promote wide adoption of sustainability practices in the state.


Sonoma County Vintners Tour Asia

Last month, Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) led a delegation of 22 wineries to Mainland China and VinExpo Hong Kong as part of its global educational outreach. SCV presented the series of educational tastings, events and seminars in conjunction with the California Wine Institute’s Mainland tour, which included Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. SCV also joined the largest-ever California delegation at VinExpo Hong Kong.


Change to Colorado Wine Laws

Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed an historic bill at The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery in Denver that will allow Colorado wineries to bottle, can or keg wines from other wineries, including out-of-state producers, before being distributed locally or regionally. The law, spurred by Infinite Monkey Theorem owner Ben Parsons, is expected to foster significant growth in the State’s wine industry.


NWGGA Receives Design Award

The new logo for the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association (NWGGA) recently received a Prism Award from the Lincoln chapter of the American Marketing Association in the category of Corporate Identity-Logo for non-profit organizations. This category honors exceptional work related to company name, logo design and corporate identity standards. The logo was the designed by SCORR Marketing in Kearney, Neb.


Maryland Wine Launches Classifieds Service

The Maryland Wineries Association has launched a new classifieds site that provides a platform for growers to post available or wanted grapes, helping connect growers and buyers. Industry members may also post equipment for lease or sale, and employment opportunities. Listings are complimentary for Association members and Maryland wineries. Non-member listings are complimentary for a limited time. View the service at www.marylandwine.org/listings.


The Merliance Wine Trail Debuts

The Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) in Cutchogue, N.Y., has launched the Merliance Wine Trail to celebrate the release of its 2011 Merliance cooperative red blend, the only cooperative wine made on Long Island. Wine Trail maps are available at the area’s seven participating wineries. Visit all seven to receive a free bottle of Merliance wine made from 100 percent merlot from LIMA-member wineries.


Sonoma County Establishes Saralee’s Ag Camp

Inspired by Saralee McClelland Kunde’s lifelong passion for agricultural education, the Sonoma County Winegrowers and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have established Saralee’s Sonoma County Ag Camp to help the region’s leading agricultural teachers incorporate sustainable agricultural education into their high school classroom curriculum. The inaugural Camp will take place on July 11, 2014. In 2015, the program will expand to a three-day camp.


Paso Robles Groundwater Bill Update

The Wine Institute-supported District Water Board for Paso Robles Groundwater Management – AB 2453 (Achadjian, R-Paso Robles) was passed by the Assembly on May 28, and now moves to the Senate for further deliberation. AB 2453 provides that the proposed Paso Robles Basin Water District be comprised of a diverse group of nine directors. Stakeholders have agreed to these terms.


CWGGF Awards College Scholarships

The California Wine Grape Growers Foundation (CWGGF) in Sacramento has awarded seven high school seniors $25,000 in college scholarships. Through donations and participation by the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), the foundation awards scholarships each year to students whose parents are vineyard employees of wine grape growers. Scholarship selection is based on financial need, scholastic ability, community involvement, leadership and an essay.



New Leadership for WineAmerica

New officers were appointed at WineAmerica’s recent Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C., including Board Chair Caroline Shaw, executive VP and chief communications and marketing officer of Jackson Family Wines, as well as Board Vice Chair Trent Preszler, CEO of Bedell Cellars of Long Island, N.Y. Among existing staff members, Michael Kaiser will serve as director of public affairs, and Tara Good as director of operations.


Brad Vassar Named COO of Southern

Brad Vassar has been appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer of Southern Wine & Spirits. President and CEO Wayne Chaplin, who had been serving as COO, announced Vassar’s promotion. Chaplin remains Southern’s chairman.


Hess Collection Remodels Sales Organization

The Hess Collection in Napa, Calif., is refining its go-to-market strategy, adding a sales division, bringing increased focus to national accounts and recruiting new sales team members. VP Brian Batridge will now head national field sales, while VP Chris Ireland creates a national accounts division. Senior VP and national sales director Jill Goodrich-Collas is leaving the winery to focus on family.


Bacchus Promotes Gretchen Boock and Quinton Jay

Bacchus Capital Management has announced new leadership at Oregon’s Wine by Joe / Dobbes Family Estate and Panther Creek Cellars. Gretchen Boock, currently GM of Dobbes, will assume the responsibilities of wholesale sales and business operations. Panther Creek Managing Director Quinton Jay becomes president.  Anthony Van Nice, former COO of Dobbes and president of Panther Creek, joins Solena Estate.


Jason Jardine Becomes President of Hanzell

Jason Jardine has been named president of Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma, Calif. Jardine will succeed current President Jean Arnold Sessions, who recently announced that she will continue private consulting work with the Jean Arnold Group. Jardine brings an extensive resume of experience managing vineyards, directing winemaking and overseeing strategy for a number of high profile wineries around the world.


Deborah Brenner Appointed to LIMA

The Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) in Cutchogue, N.Y., has named Deborah Brenner its executive director. She is currently implementing an expansion plan to refine the mission and vision of the Alliance, as well as launching the Merliance Wine Trail. An author and former wine consultant, Brenner founded the industry’s first cooperative wine brand with six female winemakers from California.


Nessia Flugger Joins Fog Crest

Fog Crest Vineyard in Sebastopol, Calif., has hired Nessia Flugger as director of consumer relations.  She is responsible for all direct-to-consumer sales, wine club management and daily operations of the winery’s new tasting room. Flugger brings extensive wine knowledge and management experience to her position, including on-premise and retail sales. She holds an executive MBA in wine business from Sonoma State University.


VJB Vineyards Hires Mike Nicholls

VJB Vineyards and Cellars in Kenwood, Calif., has hired Mike Nicholls as its new tasting room manager. Nicholls comes to VJB after 36 years in wine retail management. A Bay Area native, Nicholls has a business and marketing degree from Sacramento State University.


Trinchero’s Jim Huntsinger Retires

Jim Huntsinger, executive vice president of production, is retiring from Trinchero Family Estates (TFE) in Napa Valley at the end of this year. A more than 50-year veteran of the wine industry, Huntsinger joined TFE’s Sutter Home in 1987. During his tenure, Huntsinger oversaw the development of new vineyards from a few hundred acres to nearly 10,000 acres today.


Wente Hires Tyson Overton

Wente Family Estates in Livermore, Calif., has hired Tyson Overton as senior vice president of global sales. He will be responsible for leading the company’s U.S. and export businesses. Previously, he spent 10 years in sales and marketing in the E&J Gallo network.


Thomas Price and Sur Lucero Join Jackson Family

Master sommeliers Thomas Price and Sur Lucero have joined Jackson Family Wines to champion its diverse wine offerings. Working closely with sales and marketing teams, Price and Lucero will serve as brand ambassadors across the portfolio to help deepen relationships with influencers and provide education for consumers and wine trade. They join the winery’s five master sommeliers currently working as ambassadors and educators.


Archery Summit Hires Tim Scott and Eleni Papadakis

Dayton, Ore.-based Archery Summit has hired Vineyard Manager Tim Scott and Assistant Winemaker Eleni Papadakis. Longtime veterans of Oregon's wine industry, both Scott and Papadakis bring particular expertise in the Dundee Hills AVA and are established leaders in the region. Scott comes to Archery from Domaine Drouhin, while Papadakis was most recently a winemaker for Domaine Serene.


Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo Honored

Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Boisset Family Estates, and his wife, Gina Gallo, winemaker for Gallo Signature Series Wines, were awarded the Chuck Smith Award for Global Entrepreneurship by the John F. Kennedy’s University’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership. They were selected as the next generation of entrepreneurs leading the wine world with a bi-continental, global approach.


Todd Alexander Joins Force Majeure

Force Majeure Vineyards in Washington’s Red Mountain AVA has appointed Todd Alexander as its first head winemaker and general manager. Alexander comes from Bryant Family Vineyard in Napa Valley. Initially, Alexander will oversee the blending and bottling of the Collaboration Series wines in barrel. With the 2014 vintage, he will assume responsibility for the Force Majeure estate wines.


NFL Player Tackles the Wine Business

NFL Center Kyle Cook of the Cincinnati Bengals recently became co-owner of Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard & Winery in Suttons Bay, Mich., with Owner Matt Gregory. Gregory, who originally purchased the winery in 2009 with family business partners, has been operating the winery ever since. Cook, a Michigan native, recently bought out the previous investors, creating a partnership with Gregory.


Joy Merrilees Moves to Shannon Ridge

Shannon Ridge Family of Wines in Lower Lake, Calif., has appointed Joy Merrilees as director of winemaking and production. Merrilees has both domestic and international winemaking and production experience. She previously worked at Steele Wines in Lake County, Kelsey Creek Brewing in California, Margaret River Vintners in Washington, and J. Christopher Wines in Oregon. She has also worked in New Zealand.



Hess Collection Enhances Solar Power

The Hess Collection Napa Green-certified winery and distribution warehouse in American Canyon has added a roof-mounted solar power system that will provide nearly all the winery’s energy needs. Northern California’s SolarCraft designed and installed the system, which is expected to generate 945,450 kilowatt hours of energy annually. Hess Collection will also add solar systems to the winery’s historic Mount Veeder home.


Ménage à Trois Launches Vodkas

Ménage à Trois, part of the Trinchero Family Estates, in St. Helena, Calif., has launched a line of triple filtered vodkas in three varieties: Ménage à Trois Straight Vodka, Ménage à Trois Triple Berry Vodka and Ménage à Trois Triple Citrus Vodka. Triple Berry Vodka is a blend of raspberry, pomegranate and cranberry, while Triple Citrus Vodka is a blend of lemon, orange and lime.


Grand Opening for Hamel Family Wines

Hamel Family Wines celebrated its grand opening in Sonoma on June 2. The 7,500-square-foot winery features limited-production premium wines from estate-grown, organically farmed vineyards. Vintners Pam and George F. Hamel, Jr., Managing Director George F. Hamel III, and Winemaker John B. Hamel II lead the winery. Martha McClellan is winemaking consultant and organic viticulturist Phil Coturri assists in the vineyard.


Westport Winery Tours Honored

King 5 Evening Magazine has named Westport Winery in Aberdeen, Wash., the Best Northwest Wine Tour for the fourth time. The 2014 Best Northwest Escapes awards are based on more than 43,000 votes from local Northwest Washington-area experts. Westport Winery is a family business in Grays Harbor County.


Arizona Stronghold Vineyard Renamed

Under the new ownership of Maynard James Keenan, the Arizona Stronghold vineyard in Jerome, Ariz., will be renamed the Buhl Memorial Vineyard. Earlier this month, Keenan became the sole owner of the historic, award-winning 70-acre vineyard. The name change honors Albert K. Buhl, a trailblazer in Arizona winegrowing, who died last November.


St. James Introduces 3L Boxes

Missouri’s St. James Winery has begun selling its Velvet Red and Velvet White wines in three-liter boxes. Each box contains the equivalent of approximately four bottles of wine. Once open, a box of wine stays fresh for up to four weeks. The introduction of boxed wine is part of St. James Winery’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.


Hazlitt 1852 Enters Hard Cider Market

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards of Hector, N.Y., has entered the hard apple cider market with Hazlitt's Cider Tree. At 6.6% ABV, Cider Tree is available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and single 750 mL bottles at liquor stores, grocery and convenience stores.


Michael Mondavi Winery Sells Carneros Facility

Michael Mondavi Family Winery of Napa Valley, Calif., has sold its 100,000-case Carneros winery facility, tasting room and adjacent 13-acre vineyard to Kieu Hoang Winery for an undisclosed sum. Kieu Hoang, which has exported wine since 2012, had been reportedly looking for a Napa Valley facility to call home. Meanwhile, Mondavi Family is said to be looking for a boutique Napa Valley winery and tasting room.



Bob Sessions Dies at Age 82

Bob Sessions, the pioneering vintner best known for his more than 41 years at Hanzell Vineyards, died peacefully in Sonoma, Calif., on Tuesday, May 13, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 82 years old.

Sessions’ winemaking career began in 1964, when he became manager and winemaker at Mayacamas Vineyards. Eight years later, Sessions left Mayacamas to become the production manager at Souverain Cellars, where he realized his preference for small, family-run operations.

Sessions became winemaker and general manager of Hanzell Vineyards in 1973. With legendary attention to detail, he created wines that could be cellared for decades. In 2002, he retired and assumed the role of winemaker emeritus.

Sessions is survived by his wife, Jean Arnold Sessions (former president of Hanzell), and his children and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his long-time wife and partner, Molly Cross Sessions.


Tim Patterson Dies at 68

Wine writer Tim Patterson, the author of “Home Winemaking for Dummies,” a contributor to WineMaker magazine and a longtime columnist for Wines & Vines magazine, died May 17 of a brain tumor. Patterson was known in the industry for his wit and intelligence, along with his signature Panama hat.

Born in 1946, Patterson earned a bachelor’s degree from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and a master’s degree from Stanford University.

After working for Wells Fargo as a programmer and technical writer for many years, he embarked on a second career as a wine writer in the early 2000s. He was also a skilled amateur winemaker, and earned awards for the wines he produced in his Berkeley, Calif. garage under the Subterranean Cellars label.

At the time of his death, Patterson was working on a book exploring the subject of terroir.

Patterson is survived by his wife, Nancy Freeman, and step-son Diego.



May, 2014


Pierce's Disease Legislation Introduced

Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) has introduced AB 1642, legislation to re-authorize the Pierce's Disease Control Program (PDCP), the PD/GWSS Board, PD/GWSS winegrape assessment, and the PD Advisory Task Force. The California Association of Winegrape Growers, the Family Winemakers of California and the Wine Institute are sponsoring the bill. If passed, growers can decide if assessments and the Board should continue for five years.


California Wine Sales See Growth

Wine Institute in San Francisco reports that California wine shipments within the U.S. were 215 million cases in 2013, up 3% from the previous year, with an estimated retail value of $23.1 billion, up 5%. California wine sales to all markets, both domestic and international, increased 3% by volume to 258 million cases in 2013. This followed two record wine grape harvests in 2012 and 2013.


ASEV Names Best Paper Awards

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) has named its Best Paper Award winners for 2014 from all research articles published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture in 2013. The Viticulture Paper Award addressed “Postveraison Application of Antitranspirant Di-1-p-Menthene in Sangiovese.” The Enology Paper Award explored “Sensory Impact of Extended Maceration and Regulated Deficit Irrigation.”


WWS to Hold Annual Workshop

The Napa/Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense (WWS) will hold its annual professional members-only event on June 12 at Chimney Rock Winery in Napa. The workshop, entitled “Your Network Determines Your Net Worth,” will feature author Maile Collmer, franchise owner of The Referral Institute Contra Costa. Visit www.womenforwinesense.org for details.


New Sustainable Winegrowing Book

Wine Institute has released a new book, “Down to Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California.” The consumer-friendly guide to environmentally and socially responsible practices shows how sustainability influences California vintners and growers throughout the year. Written by Janet Fletcher and photographed by George Rose, the book can be purchased at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.



WineAmerica’s Mark Chandler Resigns

WineAmerica Chairman Eddie O’Keefe has accepted the resignation of the Washington D.C.-based organization’s Executive Director Mark Chandler, effective May 15. Chandler had a one-year contract with WineAmerica. Moving forward, O’Keefe says the organization plans to engage a contract lobbyist to oversee wine industry legislative matters. It also continues to retain the services of staffers Michael Kaiser and Tara Good.


ASEV Honors Dr. Terry Bates

The American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) named Dr. Terry Bates, senior research associate at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, the recipient of its first-ever Extension Distinction Award. The award recognizes an extension educator for excellence in one of two areas: The contribution of enology or viticulture information, or the translation of novel research findings into commercially applicable tools.


Chloe Asseo Joins L'Aventure Winery

L'Aventure Winery in Paso Robles, Calif., has announced that Chloe Asseo, daughter of owners Stephan and Beatrice Asseo, has joined the family business as the new sales, marketing and communications director. To her new role, she brings training in visual communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, along with brand merchandising experience gained in Paris and Bordeaux.


Madera Vintners Honors Year’s Best

At the recent 3rd Annual Evening of Accolades, the Madera Vintners Association in Madera, Calif., named Anna Marie dos Remedios of Idle Hour Winery as Winemaker of the Year. Ralph Fäsi of Fäsi Estate Winery was named Winegrower of the Year. Westbrook Wine Farm Vineyard and Winery Proprietors Ray and Tammy Krause received Winery of the Year.


Halter Ranch Promotes Molly Strupp

Halter Ranch Vineyard and Winery has promoted Molly Strupp to assistant winemaker. Hired by the Paso Robles-based winery in 2011 as lab manager, Strupp was later promoted to enologist. Her experience includes work at JUSTIN Winery and Orcutt Road Cellars. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University, she majored in Earth Science with a concentration in Wine and Viticulture.


Scott Peterson Launches New Label

Scott Peterson, former Kendall Jackson winemaker and veteran wine consultant, has announced the launch of an independent range of wines under his own label. In addition to making wine for Kendall Jackson, Peterson consulted for Argentine producer Catena, on the production of more than 100,000 cases of high-altitude luxury wines. His independent project will start with 2,500 cases.


Mike Grgich Establishes Scholarship Program

Vintners Hall of Famer and Grgich Hills Estate Founder Mike Grgich has established the Miljenko “Mike” Grgich American Dream Scholarship to provide deserving young wine professionals an opportunity to succeed through a professional wine studies program accredited by The James Beard Foundation. Additional scholarship details can be found at www.jamesbeard.org.


Ana Scofield Joins Balzac Communications

Napa, Calif.-based Balzac Communications and Marketing has hired Ana Scofield to handle media and public relations for domestic and international clients. Scofield, who most recently worked for Destination Cellars, launched her career as the co-creator and managing producer for Rudy Maxa’s World, a luxury travel and lifestyle media brand for television and radio.


AGG Appoints Ryan Stapleton

Allied Grape Growers (AGG) in Fresno, Calif., has appointed Ryan Stapleton a grower relations representative, serving the North Coast region from the Healdsburg office. His experience includes work as an executive chef and wine and spirits manager at major restaurant chains. He is also a past grower relations rep for Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Stapleton replaces Richard Schoenstein, who retires in June.


Robert LaVine Named SCW Manager

The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) in Santa Rosa, Calif., has appointed Robert LaVine as sustainability manager to help the organization reach its goal of becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region. A viticulturist with more than 30 years of experience, LaVine was most recently director of sourcing for Fetzer Winery. He was director of winegrower relations for two decades at Robert Mondavi.


Mary Maher Named Grower of the Year

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) has selected Mary Maher, vineyard manager of Harlan Estate, as the 2014 recipient of the Napa Valley Grower of the Year award. An industry leader, mentor and early adopter of organic farming practices, Maher has worked in Napa Valley vineyards for 30 years. She joined the team at Harlan in 2001.


Micole Moore Elected RVVA President

The Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA) has elected vintner Micole Moore of Ramona Ranch Winery its 2014 president. Moore plans to resume local wine contests, grow membership and promote the San Diego County, Calif.-based region’s wines. The RVVA has also named two new vice presidents: Dave Billick of Ramona Valley Wine Region Magazine and Ian Vaux from Turtle Rock Ridge Winery.


New Role for Hanzell’s Jean Arnold Sessions

Jean Arnold Sessions, who has served as president of Hanzell Vineyards since 2002, is transitioning to a new role as Board director and brand consultant.  A new president will be announced in the coming months. Arnold Sessions will continue private consulting work with the Jean Arnold Group and Jean Arnold Group Foundation. She plans to announce a new initiative this fall.


Villa San-Juliette Hires Justin Tooley

Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery in Paso Robles, Calif., has appointed Justin M. Tooley as director of finance. Most recently, Tooley worked for Roll Wine Holdings LLC, where he managed the daily finance and compliance operations for JUSTIN Winery, Roll Vineyards and Landmark Winery. Additionally, Tooley has worked as controller for Rusack Winery and as a senior associate for Deloitte & Touche.


Jason Ledbetter Joins Double Canyon

Crimson Wine Group’s Double Canyon, a limited production winery in Prosser, Wash., has hired winemaker Jason Ledbetter. He comes to Double Canyon from Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa Valley, where he worked as assistant winemaker for four years. Ledbetter will focus on expanding the cabernet sauvignon program, using fruit from the estate vineyard that is located in Horse Heaven Hills.


Cinnabar’s Suzanne Frontz to Retire

Cinnabar Vineyards and Winery in Saratoga, Calif., has announced the retirement of its president and general manager, Suzanne Frontz, effective Aug. 1. Frontz, who has been with Cinnabar for 18 years, says she plans to remain active in the wine industry, most likely as a consultant.


Flora Springs Appoints Sean Gallagher

St. Helena, Calif.-based Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards has appointed Sean Gallagher to the position of director of national sales, reporting to COO Steve Tamburelli. In his new role, Gallagher will oversee wholesale sales and distributor relationships nationwide for the family-owned Napa Valley winery.
He comes to Flora Springs from Chappellet  Winery, where he was national sales manager.


Christopher Sawyer Becomes a Consultant

Sommelier Christopher Sawyer has left Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar at the Lodge in Sonoma to focus on private wine consulting, wine education, corporate events and journalism. Sawyer was recently voted 2014 Best Sommelier in Sonoma County by readers in The Bohemian’s “Best of the North Bay” issue. He has also been a frequent judge for wine competitions. Follow his new blog at sawyersomm.com.


Misty Roudebush Joins B.R. Cohn

B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, Calif., has appointed Misty Roudebush as director of direct to consumer and marketing for the Sonoma Valley winery. Prior to joining B.R. Cohn, Roudebush was in charge of member and guest experiences at Foley Family Wine’s Luxury Estates, which included the retail teams at Chalk Hill Estate, Lancaster Estate and Roth Estate.



Chalone Block Receives Historical Status

Chalone Vineyard in Monterey, Calif., has announced that its 3.79-acre block of chenin blanc, originally planted in 1919, has received Historical Vineyard status by the Historical Vineyard Society. Widely regarded as the oldest vineyard in Monterey County, the site was first planted by original owner Lucius Charles Tamm. Chalone Vineyard bottles a limited number of cases from this historic plot each year.


Gallo Expands in Solano County

Modesto, Calif.-based E. & J. Gallo Winery has purchased Ledgewood Creek Winery and Vineyard in Solano County for an undisclosed price. The 400-acre ranch, located in the North Coast AVA, consists of approximately 230 acres of vineyards planted to premium wine grapes including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. There are no immediate plans to operate the Ledgewood Creek Winery or tasting room.


Foley Family Acquires Four Graces

Foley Family Wines in Healdsburg, Calif., has purchased The Four Graces in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In addition to The Four Graces business, Foley has acquired the tasting room, the Black Family Estate Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, and the Doe Ridge Estate Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The purchase marks Foley’s first acquisition in Oregon.


WineWave and Hazlitt 1852 Form Partnership

Jack Cacciato, president of Jericho, N.Y.-based WineWave, and John Keeler, president of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, have announced a new U.S. sales and marketing partnership. Located in the Finger Lakes, Hazlitt’s brands include Red Cat, White Cat, Cabin Fever, Bramble Berry and Cider Tree Hard Cider. WineWave and Hazlitt are currently rolling out their sales and marketing plans to distributors.


Allan Brothers Acquires Sagemoor Vineyards

Yakima Valley fruit packer and grower Allan Brothers is entering the wine business with its purchase of Sagemoor Vineyards. Sagemoor will maintain its management team under the new ownership. The property includes 883 acres of wine grapes, 230 acres of cherries and 190 acres of apples. Sagemoor grapes are sold to more than 70 Washington wineries.


New Tasting Room for Geyser Peak

Geyser Peak and its parent company Accolade Wines celebrated the grand opening of its new tasting room near downtown Healdsburg, Calif., on April 12. The newly renovated tasting room is situated near a number of Sonoma County sub-appellations from which Geyser Peak has made wine for years, including Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley.


New Vineyard Acquisition for Guarachi Family

Los Angeles-based Guarachi Family Wines has purchased Meadowrock, a 62-acre vineyard in the Atlas Peak appellation in Napa Valley. Meadowrock, Atlas Peak, is the second Guarachi Family Wines vineyard acquisition, following last year’s purchase of Sun Chase vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. The Atlas Peak vineyard previously housed Meadowrock Winery and Astrale E Terra Winery.


J. Lohr Celebrates 40 Years

Last month, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in San Jose, Calif., kicked off a celebration of 40 years of family winemaking with the unveiling of two new 40th anniversary wines at Pebble Beach Food & Wine. The new limited-release wines include the J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Red Wine from Paso Robles, and the J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Pinot Blanc from Arroyo Seco in Monterey County.


Claar Cellars Earns Sustainability Award

LIVE, a certification of environmentally and socially responsible winegrowing in the Northwest, recently presented Claar Cellars with the 2014 Award for Excellence in Sustainability. The Pasco, Wash.-based Claar was recognized for developing proactive and preventative, sustainable agricultural practices including the use of integrated pest management, beneficial cover crops and manual weed control.



St. James Winery Wins at Pacific Rim

The 2014 Pacific Rim Wine Competition selected Friendship School White from Missouri’s St. James Winery as its Grand Champion, besting approximately 1,200 other wines entered in the 29th annual competition held in San Bernardino, Calif.


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