Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine
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.
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.
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.
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.