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Winter Issue 2014


Your Best Viniculture Source Connecting Suppliers With Buyers

From Vine to Wine Wine-Label Hijacking, Pg 4 Wine Pricing: Art, Science or Dartboard, Pg 11 High Tech Winemaking, Pg 22 Spring Frost Protecion in the Vineyard, Pg 30 Pruning Protection: Timing, Technique & Tools, Pg 36

Editorial Content • January - February 2014



ricker Group, LLC


Your Best Viniculture Source Connecting Suppliers With Buyers

President & Publisher

Jeffrey D. Bricker Vice President

Cyndi C. Bowlby

In The Winery

Sales Manager

Bart Crotts Legal

Wine-Label Hijacking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

David Hoffman Marketing

Miguel Lecuona

Practical Brettanomyces Control in the Cellar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Marino Staff Writers

Robert Gluck April Ingram Neal Johnston Jessica Jones-Gorman Nan McCreary Contributing Writers

Chuck Andracchio Thomas J. Payette Judit Monis, Ph.D. Bricker Group, LLC 805 Central Ave., Suite 300 P.O. Box 1590 • Fort Dodge, IA 50501

Wine Pricing: Art, Science or Dartborad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Raising the Perfect Wine . . . . . . . . . . . .15 How America’s Drinking Habits Are Changing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 High Tech Winemaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 TEXSOM Wine Competition Marks 30 Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

E-mail: Website: The Grapevine Magazine targets the national viniculture market and located in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The Grapevine Magazine is printed bi-monthly and distributed to the most qualified buyers. Opinions expressed in The Grapevine Magazine are not necessarily those of the publication personnel, but of the writers who contribute stories to The Grapevine Magazine. ERROR RESPONSIBILITY: The Grapevine Magazine is responsible only for the cost of the ad for the first incorrect insertion of the ad. Each insertion of an advertisement is proof of publication and it is the responsibility of the advertiser to check the correctness of each insertion. The publisher shall not be liable for slight aesthetic changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the intent of the ad. No adjustment can be made for advertisements not published. In the event of any error in an ad for which the publisher is liable, the liability is limited to adjusting that portion occupied by the error in relationship to the entire value of the advertisement. No adjustments will be made 30 days after initial insertion date. All contents of The Grapevine Magazine are Copywright © by Bricker Group, LLC CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please send new address and phone number along with “The Grapevine” mailing label or email changes to

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Around The Vineyard Spring Frost Protection in the Vineyard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Grapevine Trunk Diseases . . . . . . . . . . .34 Pruning Protection: Timing, Technique & Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Parasites in Paradise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Harvest 2013: Big & Rich . . . . . . . . . . . .44 The Grapevine •January - February 2014

Advertiser Index • January - February 2014 Minimize Brettanomyces growth in your wines by using practical control methods in your winery.



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Millenials are changing America’s drinking habits. Do you know how to entice this growing market?

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Matching your grape cultivar with your climate is crucial for frost protection.

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Vineyards are a paradise for parasites, but is there a doctor in the house?

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ON THE COVER: A snow covered vineyard with the hint of the sun promises warmer temperatures will be here soon.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

Advertisers Index AA & K Cooperage, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 A1 Mist Sprayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Ager Tank & Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 All American Containers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Aqua Products Company, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Bechthold Tractor Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Blue-X Enterprises, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Brick Packaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IFC BSG Wine Division . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Cascade Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Cedar Ridge Vineyards Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Hoffman Patent Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 DCI, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Diamond West Farming Co., Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Enartis Vinquiry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 ErtelAlsop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Eurofins/STA Laboratories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Flame Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Flex Tank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Gempler's . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Granbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BC H&W Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Illinois Wine/IGGVA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Infaco-USA, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Jim's Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 JMS Stylet-Oil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 KCI Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Kuriyama of America, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Lavender Crest Winery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Lechler Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Michigan Grape & Wine Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Micro Matic USA Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Minnesota Cold Climate Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Monarch Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Munckhof Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 National Storage Tank, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Orchard Master . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Orchard Valley Supply Co . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Phase-A-Matic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Prairie Vine Vineyard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Progressive Ag Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IBC Pronto Plant, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Raynox 2000 Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 ReCoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Reliable Cork Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Rubber Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 S&A Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 Salina Glass Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Shur Farms Frost Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Shweiki Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Solex Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Sonoma Cast Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Swihart Sales Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Texas Wine & Grape Growers Assoc. . . . . . . . . . .24-25 The Hilliard Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 The Printed Drinkware Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Unitech Scientific . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Vertiflo Pumps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Vine Pro/Tree Pro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Vineyard2Door, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Vintage Nurseries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vintners Global Resource . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Westfall Company, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Whatcom Manufacturing, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Wine Marketing Guide (Miguel) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Winemaking Consultant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

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In The Winery • January - February 2014

Wine-Label Hijacking: Be Careful If You Want To Sell Abroad By David Hoffman


n 2011, wine exports from the U.S. were $1.39 billion. A growing portion of that wine goes to China. Now the fifth-largest market for wine consumption, in 2012 China imported $74 million worth of California wine alone. Foreign markets can create a new source of revenue for wineries, but beware of trademark hijackers. One renowned French winemaker, Castel Freres SAS (“Castel”) learned the hard way. Castel has been making wine since 1949, and thus selling it under that name worldwide. Castel first entered China in the late 1990s, including building a bottling plant there in 1999. In 2001, Castel partnered with Changyu wine, and released the wine label to the right:

In May of 2014, China’s new anti-trademark hijacking law will take effect. This new law probably would have saved Castel from this disaster. However, the new law requires, among other things, that the true trademark owner oppose the trademark application of the hijacker. This puts the burden on trademark owners to keep a watch in China for trademark applications. However, much better than keeping such a watch, is to be proactive upon planning to enter a foreign market. In order to protect oneself from this type of disaster, whenever entering a foreign market, make sure to engage trademark counsel to do a search and to file a trademark application on the winery name and the wine name that appear on the bottle.

For more information contact David Hoffman in the ad below.

Unknown to Castel, a Chinese company named Panati Wine (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (“Panati”) filed a trademark application in China on “KASITE,” a Mandarin phonetic equivalent of “CASTEL.” Since China is a “first to file” nation, the first filer of a trademark application has priority over a later filer. This priority means that even though Castel had been selling in China before Panati filed its application, Panati had priority over Castel. Meanwhile, Castel started selling wine in China with the below label:

In 2003, Panati offered the trademark rights to Castel for one million Euros. Castel refused. It chose to wait until 2005, and then opposed Panati’s application claiming Panati did not use the mark. However, Panati ultimately was able to prove use, and won the opposition. Then, in 2009, Panati Wine (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (“Panati”) sued Castel in China for trademark infringement. Panati demanded about $6 million.

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After years of battling, Castel lost the lawsuit and ultimately lost its appeal. Castel had to pay Panati about 34 million yuan (RMB) or about $5.5 million.

Turning New Ideas, Names, Products & Computer Programs Into Powerful Intellectual Property David Hoffman has been an attorney practicing exclusively in intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights and unfair competition) since 1985. Mr. Hoffman represents multinational companies as well as numerous start up to medium size businesses. He both litigates and procures rights for his clients, and with his philosophy of procuring the broadest rights possible, performing good clearance procedures, and negotiating, has successfully avoided and minimized litigation for clients he counsels. Mr. Hoffman has taught for a patent bar review class, has authored articles and given lectures on intellectual property, and has been named to Who’s Who Millennium Edition and Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans in American Society & Business.

For More Info...


The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

Practical Brettanomyces Control in the Cellar M

By Thomas J. Payette

any winemakers overlook some of the practical control aspects of minimizing Brettanomyces [Brett] growth in their wines. This article will address many of the items and circumstances we should keep in mind while working with our wines. This article is more a reflection of experience than one jammed with technical data. It is assumed the reader knows and is aware of the spoilage yeast Brettanomyces.

Cleanliness No doubt - the first aspect of controlling Brett is cleanliness. A dirty cellar with poor equipment hygiene will make keeping most bacteria/yeast in the wines in check almost impossible to achieve. A sound, clean winery will be the assumed premise of this article.



Most winemakers realize certain pH levels and free sulfur dioxide levels have limiting affects on many bacteria and spoilage yeasts. This article will assume the winemaker has his or her finger on the pulse of their wines’ chemistries and understands these chemistry relationships and their influence on the wine. This article is looking beyond the normal sound winemaking techniques one should already have in place.

Temperature Most wine bacteria grow more rapidly at higher temperatures. If a winemaker keeps their wines stored, after alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, at or near 50 degrees F one will

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014 keep most aroma and flavor damaging bacteria greatly in check. It is the authors understanding Brettanomyces can grow in a free SO2 of 27 ppm when the ambient temperature of the wine is 65 degrees F. The author has greatly used this understanding as a winemaking tool. Often the author will speak with winery owners to negotiate this agreement: “If I can keep the cellar very cold in the summer months I will trade off little to no heat in the winter.” [This does exclude the lab area that should remain near 68 degrees F for most proper lab functions] This is in essence a wash financially, in most regions, but a great help to the wines. In practice, on the average, what may happen is the winery may bottom out in the cold months at 40-45 F and near a short-term peak of 65 degrees F during the summer months. This small upward spike in temp, time wise, is minimal, given the colder months average, which most bacteria, Brett included, have no to little chance to bloom. It is recommended one use this tool to his/her advantage and the author will often use the colder months after harvest to store his red wines at reasonably low free SO2 values to help soften and evolve the wines during the early months of aging the wine. By the warmer months, one should bring the free sulfur dioxide level up to that appropriate to combat undesirable microbes. Try using temperature as your primary tool and if you haven’t already built your winery – please don’t skimp on cooling! When using cold wine storage as your winemaking tool, keep in mind more gases dissolve in cold liquids than warm liquids. This can be used as an advantage to soften or “micro-ox”

some wines but make sure not to exceed what a wine can handle. Also, understand a wine may evolve slower at lower temperatures since most reactions also slow at lower temperatures. Wines are no exception to these rules of science.

Racking Early Aging wines on yeast lees for an extended period of time can be a great stylistic tool in a winemaker’s tool box. Further note these lees may contain unwanted yeast and microbes from the harvested fruit or equipment used to harvest/process the fruit. If a red wine is stored on its lees it may be more likely to have a Brett bloom since most literature cites certain yeast/Brett populations are greatly reduced by racking the wine off the yeast lees. Research tests on these lees may show active Brett populations that may not have bloomed, just after the yeast alcoholic fermentation. If there is any doubt as to the condition of the lees, rack early after fermentation to reduce yeast/bacteria-starting loads.

Vacuum Storage Many winemakers store and age their wines in barrel. Many new cellars have humidity control to help prevent the “angel’s share” loss of wine from the barrel. The same cellars may not be very cool especially in caves since the author has noted some caves to be at between 62 and 65 degrees F without additional cooling. With additional cooling, one should allow the humidity to drop to a level that evaporation does happen.

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

Barrels with a vacuum in them are less likely to develop spoilage issues due to a sound food science principal that few to no bacteria/yeast can grow in a vacuum. With normal topping of the barrels, say every 4-6 weeks, one will keep most unwanted microbes in check, including brettanomyces. [The author has no data whatsoever that Brett cannot grow in a vacuum – only practical hands on data for this statement.]

Topping Barrels As mentioned earlier barrels may be a great aging vessel; yet, many are unclear as to when and how to top. Topping barrels can be a stylistic tool even down to the frequency of topping. In relationship to this article, make sure the topping wine for your barrels is Brett free. One doesn’t want to make the wrong choice of a Brett infected wine source and unknowingly spread that culture throughout the winery spanning a number of barrels. The author chooses to use similar wine known to be free from Brett of filtered wine, to the proper micron level, that Brett should not be an issue. Topping can be a major potential source of cross-contamination if the topping wine is not sound.

Filtrations It is the authors understanding that Brettanomyces yeast has a size of near 1.1 microns. With this in mind, we can understand better what size filtrations may be needed to reduce or eliminate the potential of Brett. Filtration can be done at any-


time during the wines life; but, if successful, with the storage and aging of the wines in the cellar one may just consider the filtration at or near bottling to be the safety net needed as a “just in case” measure. Assuming all malic acid and fermentable sugar have been depleted, one may consider a 0.8 micron absolute pore size filtration. Care must be taken to keep the pressure down during the filtration step to make sure excess pressure doesn’t allow the yeast to formidably shoulder through the filter media. In some cases, winemakers and bottling lines have had to use a 0.65 micron rated filter since the 0.8 micron absolute filter can be difficult to obtain at writing of this article.

Summary It should be clear to the reader that beyond sound winemaking basics the best and less invasive control of Brettanomyces in wine is temperature. If winemakers don’t mind roughing it through the winter months, for the sake of the wine, they will be greatly rewarded in the summer months with a lavishly cool cellar. It is highly recommended we all do this in the honor of fine wine making! Keep the cellar cool and Brettanomyces should be of little to no concern in your clean wine cellar!

References: Amerine, M.A., Berg, H.W., Cruess,W.V. 1972. The Technology of Wine Making

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014 Dharmadhikari, M.R., Wilker, K.L. 2001. Micro Vinification. Zoecklein, B.W., Fugelsang, K.C., Gump, B.H., and Nury, F.S. 1999. Wine Analysis and Production Verbal discussion with: Mr. Jacques Boissenot, Mr. Jacques Recht and Mr. Pete Johns. Quick Pointers : •

Trade cooling in the summer for limited heat in the winter in the cellar.

Let natural barrel vacuum work for you.

Filter when needed.

Don’t cross-contaminate.

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

WINE PRICING: Art, Science, or Dartboard? By Miguel Lecuona, Wine Marketing Guide


ou knew we would get to this topic at some point, didn’t you? Nothing can ruin your grand plans faster than an incorrectly priced wine. Price it too low, and you leave money on the table, sell out too quickly, and blow holes in your portfolio. Price it too high, and you will earn a reputation of loving your own product more than your customers, and see your favorite wine gathering dust in your inventory.

Of course, the answer for most readers of this magazine is E, and so this column is justified! For most products, it can be said that “Price is determined by the Market”. We hear that often enough, and at some level, we know there is truth in this sweeping generalization. But it doesn’t really help us much. What is this so-called Market, and which one are we talking about?

Pricing is one of the four horsemen of the marketing apocalwell that’s a little dramatic, we’ve been watching Sleepy Hollow. Let’s say the four pillars of the marketing mix - the other three being Product, Promotion, and Place (aka distribution). So it certainly deserves our attention. Pricing is a business topic that I personally love to think about, but I am one of those strange marketers who loves numbers as much as letters and colors.

Choose Your Market Wisely

So, let’s begin with a typical question: What is the biggest factor in wine pricing? A. the grape varietal, vineyard source, and AVA B. bottle, cork, label, labor, production C. promotion, commission, advertising D. competition, retail shelf space, Robert Parker E. some other answer that makes this a trick questio


We often say here that wine is an extraordinary product, because it touches so many different parts of economic and societal reality. Agricultural crop, cultural metaphor, historic tradition, mass produced beverage, “Go Local” artisan craft, celebratory symbol, financial investment, power statement, luxury icon -- wine is all of these things. And this leads us to the First Rule of Pricing -- Choose Your Market Wisely. If your objective is to get the best price for your wine over the long term, it is absolutely critical that you spend time thinking about a specific market. You must identify the possibilities, select the one or two that are most appropriate for your product and business plan, be relentless about establishing your position, and defend it well.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014 So before we get to the numbers, let’s consider four different “Wine Markets” -a retail store, a restaurant, your own wine club, and your tasting room. Right away, we can easily imagine important differences between these markets - differences that affect the price you receive for your wine, and the value proposition you can make to the customer. While you can’t control how a retailer prices and displays your wine, you should be quite confident about the prices you directly control. The table on the right, “Wine Markets - Pros & Cons” is a good starting point for our Pricing discussion. The point of the table is to help you determine the level of effort and investment for each Market in relation to the pricing and volume you can reasonably expect. These differences should spark your team to think about not only Pricing options, but promotional and advertising distinctions that support your sales offers. All which lead us to our next phase, pricing by market. Chances are, your wine portfolio is diverse enough (or specific enough) that you can tap into a few different markets, leveraging the inherent strengths of each wine. Simple case in point, consider the differences between sparkling wine, dessert wine, and red wine. Each has a fairly well defined niche, with important differences governing purchase, price, and even the occasion of consumption.

Pricing By Market Given the market’s dominant position in determining Price, is there a role for your business plan? Certainly. Price is also influenced by a well-tuned business plan (you do have a plan, don’t you?). A good plan will help your pricing remain realistic. So as we think about pricing by market, let’s also connect it to our business plan. The most basic connection is to determine what the average price per bottle needs to be so that your production can support the revenue your plan requires. Then you can evaluate the market and build a sales and marketing program to make it happen. Ready to bring this to life? You recall our fledgling winery, Siboney Estates: producing 8000-8500 cases of wine per year across 5 labels, and a business plan that requires $2,000,000 in annual revenue to cover expenses and return a profit (OK work with me here!). This works out to a sales plan of 100,000 bottles per year at an average price of $20 per bottle, round numbers. Simple enough, but we’re not there yet. Given all those different wine markets, the fact that some wines should

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sell for more than $20, others for less, and they flow through the business at different rates and in different ways, how close are we to the $20 per bottle goal? Let’s take one of these wines, the Siboney Sweet Sparkler. It is currently priced at $16 in the tasting room. Siboney also sells it by the glass, in the wine club, and distributes to retailers as well as a few restaurants. Sweet Sparkler is also on the tasting card, which costs $10 to sample all five wines. The Sweet Sparkler is 10% of Siboney’s total wine bottle production, so we have to divvy up the 10,000 bottles among these different markets, price them in each market, and see where we come out. Let’s build a wine pricing table for our spreadsheet (below). Once we understand the mechanics of this process, we can then tailor it to your own portfolios. For now, let’s assume that each of the 5 wines is sold in equal proportions across the different wine markets: 50% sold through the wine club, 15% in the tasting room by the bottle, 15% as part of the tasting card sample, 10% by the glass, and 5% each through retailers and restaurants. Are you with me so far? Good. Now we need to establish price points for each of these markets, start with the Tasting Room Bottle price of $16, which we believe to be a competitive value in our market (more on that in the next column). From there, we can take a run at the rest of the pricing for the Sparkler across our markets. •

By The Glass: Assuming 4 glasses per bottle and a 50% markup on price, that puts by-the-glass at $6, or $24 for

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014 the full bottle. •

Tasting Room Sampler: If tasting room samples are 1 ounce each, and the 5-wine card is $10, we can apply $2 per sample to each wine on the card. At 20 samples per bottle, give or take, this is equal to a $40 bottle price (which may or may not be profitable, actually -- let’s acknowledge that this does not account for the extra cost for the tasting sample in labor, spoilage, selling time, promotions, rebates, membership sales, etc. This one has the most play in it for your own assumptions)

Wine Club: Siboney has a 20% Club discount off the Tasting room price, so $12.80.

Off Premise: Can vary, but a range of 30-50% discount is reasonable. Here we will cut by 40% for retailers, and 30% for restaurants. Look for savvy wine bars with ByThe-Glass too. That gives more pricing margin while lowering the barrier for buyers!

Here is our table, extracted from my own Wine Portfolio Price calculator. We have a price point, and the percentage of the 10,000 bottle production, for each market. With that, we can now determine the weighted average price per bottle of Sweet Sparkler across all markets. Based on our model, the Sweet Sparkler has a blended average of $17.44, reflecting the importance of selling by the glass in the tasting room, as well as a tightly managed paid tasting sampler program. Again, this does not account for costs, but with this calculator, you can make adjustments in price levels, sales mix, or discounts to see how the Average Revenue Per Bottle is affected. Sparing this column of the gory details for each of the 5 wines, we can see the rolled up bottom line line leaves Siboney Estates in good shape, as far as the plan is concerned.

Miguel Lecuona

Wine Marketing Guide At the prices indicated on the Tasting Card, Siboney Estates could meet the $2MM planning goal and achieve a $22.48 average price per bottle if sold according to the plan. Clearly, sales assumptions must vary by wine, and by channel, and that will affect the percentage of wines actually sold. My hope is that, following these concepts, you will find the time to create your own calculator to track your own sales, pricing and forecasting. If you need help, drop me a line. Congratulations -- you made it through the hard part! Next time, we will cover Pricing Promotions. For now, I will leave you with a Pricing puzzle to ponder -- When is a $30 Tasting Room Bottle less expensive than a $12 Retail competitor? Miguel Lecuona is a wine marketing guide working in the Texas Hill Country. If you have sales and marketing questions or comments, please e-mail them to:

Let’s see who is thinking like a marketer! Page 14

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

Raising the Perfect Wine: Tanks, Barrels and Oak Alternatives By April Ingram


ine consumers are growing in number and becoming more knowledgeable, while winemakers have increasingly more options available to create their distinctive products. The challenge is to achieve the perfect balance between keeping costs manageable and product quality high. It is clear that using each type of vessel, whether it is barrels, plastic, stainless or concrete has its own attributes and that the makers of these containers are listening to the winemaking industry to continually innovate and meet their needs. Some companies are breaking tradition, and others are building on the tried and true, to develop the high quality and unique flavors of extraordinary wines that consumers are looking for. A&K Cooperage has been a maker of American white Oak barrels and a family run operation since 1972. To produce these European-style barrels, they use the traditional fire bending technique to make the wood more pliable and then barrels are air-dried for 18 to 24 months. According to co-owner Matt Kirby, creating consistency of their barrels is key, and to ensure this, in 2000 A&K partnered with their largest customer, Silver Oak Cellars of California, to purchase hundreds of acres of timberland which ensures a constant supply and a uniformity of wood for years to come. Matt Kirby has also noticed a rise in interest and popularity from winemakers for their American-French hybrid products which can create both soft and bolder flavors. In their commitment to quality, A&K fires each wooden barrel to the exact specifications and perfect toast level for each customer so that they can achieve the precise flavor they want and ensure its consistency with each vintage. They make certain that quality remains high by producing only about 5000 barrels annually. The uniformity of the firing process is maintained by using a wood fire, fueled only by oak, never gas. The level of toasting allows winemakers to develop the particular flavor profile and sensory notes. The heavier the toast level creates greater caramelization, complexity and intensity of flavor. A&K maintains the strong European tradition of fine barrel making and high customer satisfaction with their commitment to quality and meeting each customers’ specific needs to raise their perfect wine. Napa Valley based ReCoop Barrels pioneered the barrel reconditioning process and is proud of their reputation for delivering a premium product, giving great care to the customer's needs and contributing to a sustainable local economy for over 27 years. While others were discarding used, but viable barrels, ReCoop realized an opportunity and developed a process to recondition barrels making them reusable and more affordable. According to Lori Marie Adams, Director of Business Operations at ReCoop, “By giving barrels a “second life” for reuse in the community benefits everyone - the envi-


ronment, the winery, and the consumer.” ReCoop has patented a unique tool and process to double the useful life of a wine barrel, making it a highly desirable, cost effective and sustainable option. To ensure optimal results, barrels are carefully selected and rigorously inspected to meet the specific criteria prior to the reconditioning process which takes place at their Sonoma Valley warehouse. Using specially designed, highly calibrated machines, the inside of the barrels are planed in the direction of the wood grain. By removing 1/4” of the interior of the barrel, the wood is returned to its original integrity. Adams encourages customers to experience ReCoop barrels and can provide the opportunity for trials. ReCoop barrels gives the small and medium producer the opportunity to be more competitive in the marketplace by keeping costs down while still making good wine. They have also noticed an increase in larger wineries looking for alternatives to offset production costs. ReCoop wishes to sustain their long-term growth, by continuing their commitment to offering a premium product while putting the customer’s needs first. Watch for some exciting surprises from ReCoop coming up for 2014. For more than 3 decades The Boswell Company has been developing innovative solutions to the winemaking industry, supplying exquisite French and American oak barrels and top quality French oak alternatives. The ECLAT French Oak barrel is the result of years of research, perfecting the process of deep ceramic toasting. The barrels are built using 2-3 year old French oak, and then toasted using ceramic elements which produce a radiant heat. This creative approach allows for full, uniform penetration of heat and thermal degradation of the oak throughout the entire stave. Jim Boswell says that the results from ECLAT barrels with Bordeaux wines suggest seamless integration, round oak characters, and "sucrosity." Boswell explains that the ceramic firing for the ECLAT is equivalent to a very precise method of cooking. The accuracy of the toasting process allows for reproducible results and consistency between barrels. A Ceramic radiant heat process preserves and amplifies the pure and natural qualities of the wine. Another innovation from Boswell is the VINEA French oak alternatives. These alternatives were developed in France over a 19 year period and the oak is carefully sourced from the great forests of central France and aged on 1.5 hectares in Poitiers. This commitment to natural drying is crucial and Boswell guarantees a 24 or 36 month seasoning period. VINEA products include both fire-toasted and ceramic toasted oak alternative tools. The Boswell Company has noticed a growing acceptance of oak alternative products and attributes this to their success, particularly found with quality oak alternative like VINEA. Cost-savings associated with oak alternatives can also be an attraction, because at certain price points barrels aren’t an economical solution and alternatives can be

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014

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French & American Barrels Remanufactured in the USA The Barrel Cutter 2010 Barlow Lane • Sebastopol, CA 95472 707.829.7103 used to improve quality, while reducing cost. For over 35 years, the family owned Barrels Unlimited, Inc. has been serving the Wine and Spirits industry, evolving into an all-service barrel company. They are a zero-waste company that specializes in every stage of the barrel business, meaning that they produce new oak barrels and buying back used barrels. The new oak barrels are produced in a large variety of sizes, from 5 to 80 gallons and are exported globally. Used wine barrels can undergo a shaving and charring service at Barrels Unlimited, making them available for use by distillers and brewers. Used oak barrels can be used as planters, or rain barrels but beyond landscaping, barrels find a second life as furniture, taiko drums, or just decoratively intact for use in movies, theme parks and restaurants. Barrels Unlimited, takes special care and great pride in their continued efforts to reduce waste and recycle used materials. They believe that everything comes full circle and this is illustrated by the company’s practice of buying back used barrels and reusing them, to the oak scraps used for the fires that toast the barrels, zero-waste practices are evident throughout Barrels Unlimited. Stainless steel tanks have been used since the 1960s and are very efficient at controlling the fermentation temperature by having a chamber surrounding the tank that holds coolant and external controls to set the desired temperature. During the winemaking process, temperature control is critical, particularly the cooling that is required during fermentation and cold stabilization for tartrate discharges. Insulation of stainless

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steel tanks, using blankets, jackets, foam or panels is often used to mimic the thermal characteristics of wood or concrete. Stainless steel tanks are also efficient at preventing oxidation and monitoring fermentation. Ager Tank and equipment carries new and used stainless steel specialty tanks for wineries are the exclusive West Coast dealer for brand new, precisionbuilt Letina stainless steel tanks. They have a great selection of closed top, variable capacity and blending tanks. At Ager, they pride themselves on being able to offer their customers, from small wineries just starting to experienced and successful vintners the exact equipment that they need to meet their specific needs. DCI Inc. have been designing, manufacturing and servicing of stainless steel and higher alloy vessels since 1955. More recently, DCI Inc. acquired California based Sanitary Stainless Welding Company to create a powerhouse in stainless steel storage tanks and agitators with decades of experience in the wine industry. They work with wineries ranging from the small start-ups to many of the largest in the industry and maintain their commitment to the highest standards of customer service, reliability and a quality product. Further, they understand the importance of being punctual and meeting the scheduling requirements of this time-sensitive industry. Early in the design process they review their customer’s individual scenario and make design decisions based on the size and configuration that will best accomplish the task, while keeping in mind potential growth and area regulations and logistics. DCI carries a complete line of stainless steel indoor tanks up to 40'

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014 Tall (approx. 50,000 Gallons) and field erected tanks up to 700,000 gallons, as well as storage and fermenting tanks, with or without cooling dimple jackets. Westfall Company Inc. is a second generation manufacturer of tanks and valves for heavy industry, headed by President Alan Westfall. They provide 2% high density poly-ethylene tanks, made from high grade, virgin resin, certified for food and water use and are a fraction of the cost of stainless, which is a particularly important to smaller start-ups. These tanks aren’t only being used in smaller operations, they are gaining acceptance throughout the industry, including larger wineries and major breweries, as they continue to prove their worth. Winemakers appreciate the flexibility and increased control over flavor development using the poly-ethylene tanks. A great benefit of the Westfall tanks is that they are available immediately, unlike containers that may take 3-6 months, which can be critical in such a time sensitive industry. Recently, Westfall has released their variable capacity, open top tank with a floating stainless lid. This new tank was tested for over a year and maintains a perfect seal across temperature fluctuations. Needless to say, this variable capacity tank is generating tremendous interest in the wine industry. The entire range of Westfall tanks are easily maneuverable, simple to clean and make good economic and environmental sense as their life expectancy can be decades long and they are recyclable.

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What was old, is new again. Although concrete tanks have been used for thousands of years, there is a rediscovery in North America over the past decade. Winemakers are appreciating the insulating thermal mass qualities of concrete, as well; the micropores in concrete provide placid oxygenation during the fermentation process. This means, the oxygen exchange of an oak barrel without the taste of oak, or controlled oak addition. Sonoma Cast Stone has applied 19 years of concrete finishing experience to produce wine tanks that combine functionality with striking esthetic appeal. Each tank is made to order from a series of standard sizes, customizable to the customer’s specifications, including valve placements, color and tubing set within the concrete, allowing precise temperature control. The thick concrete walls and the cool liquid running in the walls of the tanks maintain a much more even temperature. Steve Rosenblatt of Sonoma Stone believes that the wine produced in concrete tanks speaks for itself, and the industry seems to agree, as an impressive proportion of widely awarded and most expensive wines in Europe and North America are made in concrete. For winemakers that may be hesitant to start using concrete, Sonoma is creating a tank rental program. Watch for the new the 320-gallon classically shaped Amphora, exclusively from Sonoma Cast Stone, this tank is uniquely designed with a tapered bottom to collect the fines as the wine ages. Breaking the trends or recapturing tradition, there are more options for winemakers to work with than ever before.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

How America’s Drinking Habits Are Changing: Focus on Adventurous Millenials By Robert Gluck


ig changes are upon us and the industry is catching on, especially when it comes to wine and the drinking habits of young people.

Those young wine drinkers, known by marketing professionals as Millenials, bring their overall lifestyle to the table, including their love of technology, cell phones and social media. According to some experts, they are more adventurous than the Baby Boomers, do not need their wine bottles to have corks, and drink wine even when there is no birthday or holiday to celebrate. Simply, this is all good for the industry as long as they understand how to market their brand to this up and coming group. Mia Malm, President of Malm Communications, a boutique public relations and social media firm specializing in wine, food and luxury lifestyle, says the mobility of our culture is a huge change. “They are capturing moments on mobile phones, sharing, downloading pictures of drinks to Facebook,” Malm told The Grapevine Magazine. “When people go out to enjoy dinner they’re taking pictures of their food and drinks. They no longer believe they need to have occasions to have a glass of wine.” A transplanted New Yorker and self-admitted "word nerd" and social media omnivore, Mia launched Malm Comm in May 2010. She brings to her clients 12 years of experience in public relations, a passion for fine wine and food, and an insatiable


curiosity that keeps her searching for the newest, most innovative communications tools. “They are drinking wine on a Wednesday night, sometimes having a glass at lunch on a weekend. It is not just for special occasions. In particular, for sparkling wine, the industry has done a lot of work to make sparkling wine less special occasion focused, and they are moving the needle a lit bit on that. Certainly, this is true of Millenials. They are more adventurous.” In New York at Cornerstone Communications, Malm worked on accounts such as Montes, Ruffino, Eli Zabar and the Washington Wine Commission. In 2005, she moved to Napa Valley where she spent five years heading up the public relations department for Icon Estates, the luxury wines division of Constellation Wines US. She also worked on Robert Mondavi Winery, stewarding the brand through the passing of founder Robert Mondavi, and focusing on the winery's future with innovations such as the Taste3 Conference. Malm holds the Diploma in Wine & Spirits (DWS) from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, one of fewer than 200 people in the US to earn the degree. She is a frequent guest panelist on social media and public relations and appears as a guest speaker January 28 at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacremento under the breakout session Mastering the Basics: Ten Things You Can Do Today to Boost Your PR and Marketing Success.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014 Millennial consumers are not the only ones fueling this change, but they are a key target audience and, as Malm notes “every industry is chasing Millenials, not just wine.” Another expert on these changes is John Gillespie, president of Wine Market Council, and one of the most prominent wine market research authorities in the U.S. His career spans more than thirty years, highlighted by his leadership of the Council and direction of the Council’s ongoing wine market research for more than a decade. Gillespie began his career in New York as a wine magazine editor and has worked as a wine journalist, in the retail and restaurant trade, in marketing and public relations for wineries, and as the head of the Bordeaux Wine Information Bureau. He is a founding partner of Wine Colleagues (a wine business consultancy based in St. Helena, CA), and is a founder and the CEO of Wine Opinions. According to Gillespie, there are 70 million Millenials (ages 19- 36) with only Boomers (ages 49-67) having more at 77 million. Wine Opinions is a provider of consumer research to wine producers, importers, marketers, and industry associations. As the only Internet-based research group with a sole focus on the wine industry, Wine Opinions offers research insights and analysis on issues including trends in taste and usage; brand preferences and perceptions; package and concept testing; and

regional awareness and qualitative evaluations. “Our goal each year is to provide our members with an ongoing consumer tracking study and new research insights on topics of importance to them,” Gillespie told The Grapevine Magazine. “The wine market has drastically changed over the past decade and we are transforming with it. With our new website we have the ability to showcase what is going on in the wine world from the perspective of our members, just as we have done with showcasing consumer wine trends over the past 18 years. We help our members build their reach and impact on consumers across all Internet venues.” Wine now accounts for 16.9% of total alcohol supplier revenue, up from 15.8% in 1999, while beer fell to 48.8% from 56%, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. According to Gladys Horiuchi, director of media relations at the Wine Institute, a recent Gallup Poll showed Wine (35%) and Beer (36%) about equal as the alcohol beverage of choice, and spirits came in at 23%. “Wine sales in the U.S. also have grown for the last 19 consecutive years by volume. Wine consumers are increasingly open to experimentation and trying new things,” Horiuchi said. “They are information-savvy and confident consumers and have a desire for experiences. Wine continues to enhance a consumer’s experiences, such as to complement a meal or to enjoy with family and friends.”

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The Grapevine Magazine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

Malm said certainly there are more choices than there ever were when the Boomers were coming up. “Think about the explosion of the numbers of wines and the things that are available and the regions that are producing,” Malm said. “I think that can’t help but change people a little bit. That said, the older people get, the less likely they will change. It makes sense then that the Millenials are driving this change.” A big part of this change is the Millenials near-addiction to social media. According to Gillespie‘s research, in the last few years Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace have seen significant membership changes--increases.

Millenials are very open to wine, and they are adventurous with it, but they are not particularly loyal, and they are more likely to buy a $20 bottle of wine, Malm adds. “They are certainly a demographic that is important to pay attention to,” Malm told The Grapevine Magazine. “No one is ignoring the Boomers, because they are still buying a lot of wine and higher end wine, but you have to look to the future. This is a group that is already predisposed to be interested in wine as opposed to Generation X, which was a bit more cocktail and beer focused. The Millenials like wine. As a group Millenials often describe themselves as being friends with their parents, and they’re parents already like wine.” Malm concluded by going back to the basics.

How does Malm help the wine industry become more successful? Social media is part of her strategy but there is more. “The mistake I see people making is they are jumping into social media with no objectives or strategies,” Malm noted. “What I do is help them tell their story and how that can cut through the noise. There is so much going on out there with the explosion of wineries. I help the client understand what is special about them. Then I help them cut through the noise because of the relationships I have developed over more than a decade in the industry to go to the people who understand and appreciate that story. It will be something they find useful and I connect those things together. That’s how they get through some of that noise.”


“Some things those in the industry can do to address these changes are these basics: find your unique story, and stop using social media to sell. Use it to build, to build relationships with customers and the media. Use it as a voice for your story.”

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014

HIGH TECH WINEMAKING Growers Use Vineyard Software to Monitor Weather, Pests & Grape Maturity By : Jessica Jones-Gorman


ineyard software has been used for years to track weather and organize grape data, literally consolidating and putting piles of paperwork at the grower’s fingertips. While many different versions have been created over the past two decades – some modules monitor moisture and pests while others track grape maturity or even grape content – more modern modules and continual add-ons are constantly updating how the wine industry works. “It’s amazing because so much in this industry has changed while so much is very similar,” noted Lisa Levsen, President of Modular Information Systems, a Martinas, Californiabased provider which has been producing wine software since 1994. “Of course, we’ve added new major modules over the years and some of the core functionality for winemaking has been improved upon. But while the technology and how we get the information has changed, we’re still making wine in tanks and aging in barrels.”

That’s exactly why Levsen’s company produces Vintners Advantage, a comprehensive winery management software package that has been specifically designed and developed for all aspects of winemaking, vineyard operations and cellar tracking. Multiple winery locations are supported allowing for global inventory, grower contract and sales contract and allocations visibility. The company’s software modules include Winery Operations, Vineyard Operations, Grower Contracts, Bulk Wine Sales

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Contracts (for custom crush and custom winemaking), Brandy & Spirits, Barrel Bar Coding, Bottling & Manufacturing, Casegood Sales & Distribution, Financial Management, and Tasting Room. Software modules can be run independently or together for enterprise-wide capabilities. “We provide enterprise-wide software that starts in the vineyard and goes all the way through to production,” Levsen told The Grapevine Magazine. Each of the company’s software modules offers detailed inquiries and reports, user defined tables and on-line documentation. Each application also includes compliance capabilities required to meet TTB, FDA and Excise tax regulation requirements. “Our vineyard information system keeps track of vines, rootstock and soil and tracks activity in any given vineyard block,” Levsen said. “It can be integrated into our harvest system which allows growers to schedule and coordinate; our field sampling software allows winemakers to track the maturity of their grapes. It’s a wonderful indication of the composition and cost of wines and a fairly comprehensive meter of how any given vineyard block is performing.” However, not every software system is the same. “There is a lot of winemaking software out there that doesn’t have the harvest system attached to it,” Levsen continued. “But that’s an important tool. It allows winemakers to look at the composition of their wine and even track what vineyard block it came out of. Extra plug-in modules even offer insight about field

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014 sampling and maturity. Growers and wineries get email updates – all nice triggers that offer up-to-the-minute data on what’s going on with harvest.” The Vintners Advantage system is currently PC-based but the company is rolling out a tablet app in January. Their Cloudbased software is priced at $200 per month while their server edition carries a one-time purchase fee of $7,000. An 18% annual maintenance fee and training fee are the only other outof-pocket costs. “A typical user of our software service is a winery that produces over 5,000 cases,” Levsen told The Grapevine Magazine. “But anybody who cares about the composition of their wine and cares about knowing exactly down to the grower and block where their wine came from is a candidate for this software.” There are a range of other very detailed software systems currently infiltrating the industry. Hayward, California-based Davis Instruments offers an Integrated Pest Management Module for grapes which works in conjunction with WeatherLink software. Weather data is collected using a Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station equipped with a leaf and soil moisture/temperature station. “Using our software, growers can see their specific pest pressures and make informed decisions regarding spraying or otherwise treating their grapes,” noted Susan Foxall, Davis’ Marketing Director. “The grower can recoup the software cost by eliminating one treatment or reducing overall spraying. Pest pressures are determined using weather data gathered at the grower’s location and the software can be customized to show only those pests relevant to the grower’s location. The pest risk is displayed from highest to lowest and is color coded for added impact. The dashboard presentation provides a picture of the pest, a description pane and a data pane that shows the pressure graphically over a period of time.”



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According to Foxall, it’s one of the most important tools that a grower can use. “All growers should invest in the software and a weather station for their vineyard,” Foxall told The Grapevine Magazine. “Weather affects irrigation, is a predictor of frost, affects pest and disease development and can be used to estimate harvest. Tracking the weather conditions, being aware of pest pressures, irrigating based on ET and being alerted to frost conditions can help them make save money and increase crop yield.” New and cutting edge software technology is constantly being introduced to the market. Davis just recently introduced Vantage Connect, a solar power self-contained unit that uses cellular technology to monitor weather in remote locations. “Vantage Connect responds to a grower’s need to get weather data for areas of the vineyard, farm or ranch that are away from the office or other power supplies,” Foxall said. “Data is sent directly to, where the data can be accessed by smartphone, tablet or computer. This allows

(Continued On Page 26) 877-892-5332

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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ccc The 2014 Annual Te x G r o w e r s A s s o c i a t i o n Conf e r e February 13-15, 2014 is the 38th Annual Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Conference and Trade Show. This must-attend event will host over 450 Association members, winery leaders, grape growers, industry vendors, and consumers at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel, Conference Center & Spa located at 7600 John Q. Hammons Drive in Frisco, TX. Attendees will enjoy three full days of educational seminars, one-on-one time with suppliers, and networking…lots of networking. Educational Seminars will cover a wide variety of important topics on Viticulture, Enology, Marketing, Social Media, and Compliance. The Trade Show floor plan includes a stage area for vendor presentations. The 4-Diamond Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco Hotel, Convention Center, and Spa, located in the north Dallas suburb of Frisco, is an all-suite hotel connected to the Frisco Conference Center and adjacent to the Dr. Pepper Ballpark. Only 25 minutes from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), 15 miles from Dallas Love Field (DAL) and 10 miles from Addison Executive Airport, the Frisco hotel offer convenient highway access to numerous restaurants, bars, shopping venues, and sports facilities. The Frisco Embassy Suites offers spacious two-room suites featuring a separate living room with a sofa bed and private bedroom. Enjoy high-speed internet access, two flat-screen TVs, a refrigerator and microwave. Start your day with a complimentary cooked-toorder breakfast. Enjoy a bagel and coffee from Starbucks. In the evening, gather in the tropical atrium lobby for the complimentary Manager’s Reception. The hotel is centrally located next to the Stonebriar Centre Mall, The Container Store, and IKEA. The west rooms overlook Dr. Pepper Ballpark, home of the Frisco RoughRiders. TWGGA Conference Rate: $149.00 per night for single and double occupancy rooms. $159.00 per night for triple/quad accommodations. Call (972) 963-9175 or (800) 921-1443 for reservations. All reservations must be confirmed before January 12, 2014. After that date, the negotiated rate will not be honored. •

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In The Winery • January - February 2014 (Continued From Page 23) multiple stakeholders to view data in real time, receive email and text alerts and continuously monitor conditions.” At SureHarvest, an American agricultural firm providing professional consulting, information technology support and certification to farming enterprises, the focus is on streamlined access. “SureHarvest’s Farming MIS is a comprehensive, integrated farm information management system that helps you gather better farming intelligence for your operation and compiles it in one place for easy access by decision-makers,” noted Sandy Connolly, the company’s Marketing Manager and Sustainability Associate. “The software is user-friendly and completely customizable. We differ from our competition because others are simply providing products for a specific aspect of the grower’s business. SureHarvest stands alone in the market as a single source provider for continual improvement solutions throughout the agri-business supply chain.” Angela Curtis, who serves as SureHarvest’s Farming MIS Customer Support and Sales, says all of a grower’s needs are covered in a personalized software suite. “We have an ability to collect, warehouse and report on moisture, weather, grape maturity, and grape content,” Curtis noted. “We have a suite of activity and scouting modules that cover practically anything a grower needs to monitor, as well as scheduling activities and producing work orders. Our reporting engine is also capable of running reports for all of these categories and also has cross-category reports where growers can see all of this data in one report. The most exciting new development for our software is enhanced mobile data collection and front end user interface. Now infield scouting and notes can be easily collected on your iPad or iPhone and is geo-referenced.”

are all based on how many users there are and how big the operation is – it’s scalable and can range from something very simple to something more complex.” “The cost benefits are difficult to quantify,” Connolly said, “especially when growers attempt to calculate time savings. Some things are measurable but it’s difficult to estimate how much time is saved by having everything in one place. Connolly continued, “One of our customers said it used to take him a couple of weeks to gather and compile all of his information and now it takes just a couple of days. That time savings is significant.” This past year, SureHavest broke into Cloud technology, which Curtis defines as “exciting progress which offers growers the ability to access data from absolutely anywhere.” That’s a trend that many vineyard software companies are also currently exploring. iCropTrak, a mobile farm management app, allows you to track planting, spraying, fertilizer, irrigation, sampling, scouting and harvesting at the fields and zone level. The system uses a dedicated Cloud server and mobile apps to support collaboration and data synchronization and enables growers to analyze that data and then report the results on an iPad or iPhone and on the web. “The first generation of our software debuted in 2004 and our iPad version launched in 2011,” noted Rob Wood, Vice President of Marketing and Sales with Cogent3D, the company which produces the iCrop Trak system. There are base, advanced and complete versions of the system, Wood noted, and clients use the software for everything from pest and disease scouting to quality assurance.

“It’s a more elegant way of handling infield data and scouting,” Curtis told The Grapevine Magazine, “a seamless integration of daily routines and field observations that saves both time and resources.”

“We supply the tools so that growers can store and access their data all in one place,” Wood told The Grapevine Magazine. “Grape quality and assessment is documented right in the field and weather is tracked with Weather Underground, so even if your vineyard does not have a weather station, we can access reports from the nearest source.” Costs for the system varies, but is usually about $50 per user per month, and software experts say the bill is well worth it.

“Our team likes to say it saves windshield time,” she noted. “Instead of driving in ta ruck, heading back to the office to input information, you can collect data in real time, take pictures and completely streamline the entire process.”

“This is precision farming,” Wood concluded. “You’re using technology to capture and organize your vineyard’s every detail and that’s something that gives growers a major advantage.”

Connolly told The Grapevine Magazine the SureHarvest product is made exclusively for farm management companies, individual growers, vit techs and wineries. “We are the leading farm management software provider for vineyard management with over 200K acres using our software,” she said.

Vineyard 2 Door, which provides integrated web-based software to allow wineries to efficiently manage all aspects of inventory and sales transactions and regulatory compliance and reports, recently expanded their software to include modules for vineyard management.

The system is configurable, so winemakers can just buy what they need. Prices are built accordingly.

“We’re working with FarmSoft to add that element,” noted Gary Robertson, Founder and President of Vineyard 2 Door, located in Walla Walla Washington. “The Vineyard Consultant Application will allow the winery to create a detailed profile of the vineyard, to the block and row level, which will allow

“It’s fully integrated data management,” Curtis said. “Whatever you need we build and figure it out. The solutions

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014 tracking of inventory statistics, seasonal inputs and expense records.” The system does not yet have weather tracking capabilities, but Robertson says their focus is to give winemakers a clear image of what is going on within their vineyard. “If there is an infestation or something happening, you will be able to define what’s going on and make the appropriate fix,” Robertson told The Grapevine Magazine. “It’s very task driven – you can document when you put fertilizer down, when any sprayings occurred – it’s a very accurate measure of what you’ve done per acre right down to the lot block and row.” It works in the winery too, as winemakers can document temperature and filter changes, even monitor labor costs. It’s part of a larger trend in the business which has focused on the use of software for production purposes including point of sale and wine club technology. “WineWare Software offers wineries across North America powerful point-of-sale and wine club management systems to track inventory, sales and customer information,” noted Tom Bronson, CEO of Granbury Solutions, a technology solution service based in Grapevine, Texas. “Integrated e-commerce and mobile apps provide WineWare customers with a complete suite of sales technology to serve customers quickly and efficiently,” Bronson told The Grapevine Magazine. “Backed by restaurant technology leader Granbury Solutions, WineWare is the only provider of a fully integrated club management system with both restaurant and retail point-of-sale features. From insightful reporting tools to technology to reduce credit card declines for recurring transactions, WineWare solutions empower winery and tasting room operators to increase profitability during every step of the sales process.”

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Selecting the right software application that properly suits your vineyard can be a challenge but wine technology experts say this type of data management can and should be fully customized to suit each winemaker’s needs. In addition, because of constant evolution and advances, the wine industry can expect consistent technological updates – allowing even more opportunities to document harvest details in the near future. Wine Warehouse in Belle Vernon, PA. & Tampa, FL. • Sales Offices & Warehouses in Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Puerto Rico, NJ and CA


The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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In The Winery • January - February 2014

The Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition Marks 30 Years elebrating its 30th year, The Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition will take place February 17-18, 2014, at the Irving Convention Center with a January 24, 2014 deadline for submissions.


medal picks often translate to sales, particularly in the lucrative Texas market. The association with TEXSOM also provides exposure for medal winning wines to sommeliers and wine buyers nationwide at the annual TEXSOM conference.

The event remains one of the most respected wine competitions in the country and the largest in the southwest, judging 59,456 U. S. and international wines since its inception in 1985.

Consumers have access to the list of gold medal winners in The Dallas Morning News and the entire list of winning wines in a searchable database through The list is also available at and

“The Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition is now one of the top events in the industry,” said Rebecca Murphy, the competition’s founder and chairman. “The status and success of this event has far exceeded our expectations and it is very gratifying to see such a high level of continued interest.” The Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition brings together reputable industry experts as judges, whose

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Wineries can enter The Dallas Morning News and TEXSOM Wine Competition online at for a fee of $ 75 per entry, and will be required to submit four bottles of each wine entered. Entry deadline is January 24, 2014. For more information, go online to, or contact Rebecca Murphy at

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


In The Winery • January - February 2014

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

Spring Frost Protection in the Vineyard

By By Nan Nan McCreary McCreary

s all vineyard managers know, Mother Nature shows no mercy when it comes to weather. And when she’s at her worst, she can drop temperatures low enough to destroy an entire vineyard. This article will focus on one type of cold hazard: the risk of spring frost, when new buds and shoots are most vulnerable. A late, unexpected frost that occurs during or after bud break can be devastating for vineyards, and is a significant production hazard in nearly all locations in the temperate zone.


Passive protection methods can be divided into those which are done prior to vineyard establishment and those which are done after vineyard establishment. White recommends four basic management practices to reduce the potential for frost damage: 1. Site selection 2. Cultivar selection 3. Soil management 4. Long pruning

According to Mike White, Viticulture Field Specialist at Iowa State University, an official frost is defined as a temperature drop to 28 degrees that lasts for four hours. During dormancy, vines can withstand these events. However, as buds begin to swell in the spring, water content increases and the buds lose their resistance to cold temperatures. By the time a bud bursts and becomes a shoot, the plant progressively loses its ability to tolerate a freeze.

Most important, said White, is to match the grape cultivar with the climate. Average dates for bud break among cultivars can vary by as much as several weeks, so choosing a cultivar based on its growth cycle can make a difference in survival rates. Cultivars that have an early bud break could be ruined by a late spring frost, whereas a cultivar with later bud burst could survive that same freeze event.

Basically, there are two types of frost protection: passive methods, which are vineyard practices designed to avoid or minimize spring freeze damage; and active protection methods, which involve modification of the vineyard climate by utilizing atmospheric heat, adding heat or draining cold air from the site to prevent temperatures from dropping into the danger zone.

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Site selection is just as critical, White told The Grapevine Magazine. Vineyards planted on upland slopes will fare much better than those planted in low areas, because cold air flows downhill and accumulates in pockets close to the ground. A vineyard’s exposure to the sun can also make a difference. Vineyards planted on the south-facing slopes will be warmer than those facing away from the sun, and are more likely to bud out earlier in the spring. Planting on north-facing slopes

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 instead south slope can delay bud burst and reduce the possibility of frost damage.

leave just the number of buds you need. It’s basically an insurance policy.”

White’s third strategy for frost protection (soil management) can be used to provide a natural barrier for frost, or to delay bud burst. In the first instance, soil that is kept firm, moist and exposed to sunlight will improve the ability of the ground to absorb and store heat. This can warm the air in contact with the vine, and decrease the severity of a frost event. One way to take advantage of these natural buffers is to wet the top foot of soil two to three days before a frost event. Another is to closely mow cover crops, as these crops reflect sunlight and deplete water from the soil, causing the soil to hold less heat. On the other hand, if the objective is to delay bud burst, it’s more important to keep the ground cooler, either by using cover crops to draw moisture from the soil, or by mulching the ground around the vines to slow thermal heating. “Soil temperature has more impact on bud growth than ambient temperatures,” White stated. “With these strategies, you can delay bud break by as much as three to five days.”

Active methods of frost protection— such as heaters, wind machines, frost fans, cold air drains, sprinklers or combinations of these — may be necessary to supplement passive methods to ensure risk of frost damage. Active frost protection methods are applied prior to and during frost events to prevent the loss of heat or add sufficient heat to maintain the temperature of the plant above freezing. (For more information, see “Methods of Vineyard Frost Protection, Dr. Paul Domoto, Department of Horticulture Iowa State University,

Pruning practices, too, can help reduce damage on sites that are frost-prone. White recommends “long pruning,” where canes are pruned to long spurs during the winter, and then cut again after bud break once the danger of frost has occurred. “The farthest bud on the tip of the vine breaks out first,” explained White. “If you ultimately want 50 buds per vine, you prune to 100 buds. Then, when you prune again, you


One of the oldest methods of active frost protection is the use of heaters or fires to warm the vineyards. Today, because of environmental concerns, only certain types of heating systems are allowed. Heaters provide radiant heat to the plants around them, adding as much as five degrees to the vineyard. Heaters do have their drawbacks though. Plants must be in direct line of the heat source, which means that many heaters may be necessary to protect the vineyard. Also, heaters can be expensive, with labor costs required to light the heaters and costs of fuel. A more common method of frost protection (a wind machine) is designed to manipulate the air during radiation

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

frosts, which occur on cold clear nights when there is no wind. During these conditions, heat stored in the ground during the day radiates into the open sky, allowing an inversion layer to develop. In an inversion, atmospheric conditions are inverse or opposite of normal daytime conditions when air temperature decreases with height. Rather, cold air collects near the ground while warmer air lies above this trapped cold layer. Wind machines mix these layers to protect against frost. The higher the temperature of the upper air layer, the greater the protection provided by a wind machine. Wind machines are often used in conjunction with heaters. Combined, heaters and wind machines can provide protection down to approximately 26 degrees Fahrenheit, while heaters alone can provide protection down to 27 degrees. (See “Vineyard Frost Protection,a Guide for Northern Coastal California,” Cold air drains, on the other hand, address the problem more directly: they break up the stratified air that forms on a radiant frost night. When the cold air settles near the ground in lowelevation areas, the air becomes trapped, and cannot drain away from the vineyard. As this cold air accumulates, frost damage occurs. Steve Hammersmith, president of Shur Farms Frost Protection ( has developed The Shur Farms Cold Air Drain® to “selectively extract” the cold air. The drain thrusts the cold air upward to a height of nearly 300-feet, allowing the warmer air from above to settle

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

downward. As the cold air rises, it mixes with the above warmer, less dense air layer until it is dispersed horizontally. “When more cold air flows in than can flow out, that air will continue to build up, eventually causing a frost,” Hammersmith told The Grapevine Magazine. “We are manipulating the air flow — and modifying the microclimate —to prevent this build-up from happening.” Cold air drains are most effective in low-lying areas such as valleys and swales where cold air tends to pool. Yet another method of frost protection is an overhead sprinkling system. As the water sprayed on the vine shoot freezes, it releases heat energy, which keeps the temperature of the shoot at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. To be effective, sprinklers should be started before the temperature drops to freezing and run until there is no longer any danger of frost. If water is stopped before the danger has passed, super cooling may occur and cause more damage than the frost alone would cause. Overhead sprinkler systems are only cost-effective for vineyards with irrigation systems in place. Frost protection systems are not limited to the ones discussed in this article. Other options include use of helicopters to mix warm and cold air in the vineyard, microsprayers for sprinkling when little water is available, and thermal blankets and fibrous, semi-porous materials to trap heat at night. In addition, there are new products on the market that, when sprayed on the vines, actually change the metabolism of the plant in order to delay bud break. Whatever method or combination of methods a vineyard operator selects will depend on an evaluation of the microclimate, weather patterns, initial costs of the systems, operating costs, time and labor requirements and risk of crop loss, Remember, Mother Nature always bats last, but you can improve your odds of success by having a strong, defensive system in place.

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

Disease Testing in the Vineyard Grapevine Trunk Diseases By Judit Monis, Ph.D. (Plant Health Services Division Manager)


s the winter season approaches, vineyard managers are preparing for seasonal vineyard activities which include pruning and the planning of planting new nursery stock. This is a perfect time for the assessment of the health status of the vineyard (field or certified) scion selections and rootstock propagation material. Also, it is a good time to test and determine the cause of the vineyard’s poor performance and implement control management strategies. The latter would require that vines displaying symptoms would be flagged prior to dormancy. Various biotic agents and abiotic factors are considered to be major threats to the vineyard’s health. Biotic agents are disease causing (i.e., pathogens) organisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and insects. Abiotic factors include adverse environmental conditions (frost, hail, heat etc.), chemical Agrobacterium infected vine - Note arial symptoms injury, nutrient toxicity or deficiency, improper cultural practices and sanitation. As an example, frost damage can increase the susceptibility of grapevines to certain fungal, bacterial and/or viral disease progression. Many of these pathogens can be spread or propagated by grafting. Many fungal pathogens and pathogens. Some vineyards might be infected with pathogens Agrobacterium spp. can be dispersed by rain or irrigation without showing symptoms until adverse environment condisplashes. Additionally, fungal spores can be moved short and tions compromise the plant defense mechanisms and trigger long distance by wind.

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 and Fusarium spp. can be detected. Our expert team excels at handling special situations and strives to report the most accurate results. To complement the diagnostics, we suggest submitting samples to the lab for the detection of viruses that cause leafroll (e.g., grapevine leafroll associated viruses) and rugose wood diseases (e.g., Grapevine virus A, B, and D; Rupestris stem pitting, etc.), grapevine red blotch disease, and crown gall caused by Agrobacterium vitis. For best results, the samples submitted for fungal testing are destructive (dissection of a whole vine consisting of dormant cuttings or portions of lignified wood from root, rootstock, trunk, cordon, and canes). This type of sample is appropriate for viral and bacterial pathogen testing.

Vine affected by trunk disease caused by fungal pathogen complex To reduce the incidence of trunk diseases in vineyards, disease management and control focuses on applying late pruning if the vineyard size allows. The application of fungicide as a pruning wound protectant (including a second application) has been shown to be an effective measure in reducing the incidence of trunk diseases in California vineyards. When the vineyard is too large to apply late pruning, double pruning – that is the early trimming of the whole vineyard leaving long shoots that are pruned leaving two buds early in the spring is very effective in disease control. However, sanitation of the vineyard with the removal of pruning cuttings is very important in controlling the spread and propagation of disease. At the nursery, sanitation of scion and rootstock grafting material with hot water treatment (50°C for 30 minutes.) has been shown to be an effective tool to improve the health status of nursery vines in Europe and Australia.

At Eurofins STA Plant Health Division, we offer a FallWinter Field Survey, which is a comprehensive inspection of your vineyard. We look specifically for vine decline symptoms associated with pathogen infection as well as devising a plan for testing certified planting material. Please check our website ( for updates and call us at 1-888-752-5220 to discuss your specific testing needs.

The Eurofins STA HealthCheck Fungal Panel was developed to specifically survey and identifies many grapevine fungal pathogens using traditional microbiological diagnostic methods with the aid of a microscope. More recently, we have developed state-of-the-art molecular techniques for the rapid and accurate identification of pathogens by sequencing a portion of the pathogen’s genome. The availability of different diagnostic approaches allows our lab to handle fungi (and other pathogens) that are difficult to identify due to their inability to produce typical spores, lack of specific morphological features, or genetic variation. Therefore our lab can identify any fungal pathogen found in grapevines. Most frequently our lab isolates and indentifies the following: Botryosphaeriaceae spp. (Bot-like canker), Diatrypaceae spp. (Eutypa dieback), Phaeoacremonium and Phaeomoniella, Pleurostopmophora species (young vine decline also known as Petri or Esca diseases), Cylindrocarpon spp. (Black foot Disease), Seimatosporium and Phomopsis spp. (canker disease), and many others. In addition, many soil born pathogens such as Armillaria spp., Verticillium spp., Phytophthora spp.,


The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

PRUNING PERFECTON Timing, Technique & Tools


runing is an essential component of grape production and can significantly influence the wine's quality and next year's growing season. Dormant pruning is the yearly removal of wood during the dormant season and experts agree that it is the most important and most expensive part of the vineyard management practice. In order to achieve the careful balance of a quality crop while controlling productivity, labor costs and reducing injuries, companies such as Orchard Master Tools and Equipment, Orchard Valley Supply, Inc, Infaco-USA, Inc. and Bechtold Tractors are meeting these challenges of vineyard owners and growers, providing innovative and state-of-the-art equipment to meet their customer’s unique needs. As we know, fruit is only produced on shoots growing from the one year old canes, so it is critical to produce healthy new canes each year to maintain and regulate the annual production of fruit. In addition to regulating crop size and avoiding overcropping, pruning also helps to achieve the desired balance between shoot growth and fruit production as well as keeping the vines consistent with the preferred training system.

The dormant period for vines begins with leaf drop and ends at bud break so pruning can be done at any time during this stage, but vine health and labor availability need to be carefully considered when deciding when to start. Grapes are best pruned in early spring but in some regions it is recommended to wait until April to avoid a late hard frost that can damage the canes and buds. Fall-pruned vines are also more susceptible to winter injury than unpruned vines so this delay until spring can allow for compensation if winter injury does occur. It is suggested to always prune the hardy varieties before the tender ones and be sure to wrap up initial pruning before bud swell begins, otherwise you risk bud breakage. Often with later pruning you might see some sap ‘bleeding’ from the vines, but not worry, this isn’t harmful. Selecting the canes to remove takes careful consideration. The few remaining canes will need to provide a good balance of those that will serve as a fruiting spur and produce fruitful shoots in the upcoming season and those that act as a renewal spur and will produce the vital shoots that will create good fruiting canes in the following dormant season. It is recommended to try to retain canes of diameter ?” to ?” in prime positions that are exposed to the sun and located on outside of vine canopy as well as those with good wood maturation and intermodes of approximately 4” to 6”. Bud counts are based on the number of dormant buds left

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By April Ingram

after pruning and usually include only those buds that have clearly defined internodes in both directions because basal buds often do not produce fruitful shoots. Too many shoots can result in a heavily crowded canopy and cast too much shade on the maturing crop. It has also been found that vines with very high bud counts tend to compensate for the excessive number of shoots by producing less clusters for each shoot. Of course, keeping too few buds by extreme pruning can lead to undercropping. To help find this critical balance, bud count and pruning formulas have been devised in some regions to be applied to specific varietals. The number of buds retained, as the bud count, depends on the weight of 1-year-old cane prunings; also referred to as “vine size”. As an example, some American varietals use the formula 30 + 10 which means that 30 buds should be retained for the initial pound of pruning weight removed and an additional 10 buds should be kept for every extra pound thereafter. Therefore, a vine with pruning weight of 2.5lbs, 45 buds would be left. Because hybrids tend to be more fruitful they typically require more careful management to find the optimal vine balance, for example, in some French hybrids a 20 + 10 or 15 + 5 formula is recommended. Some vineyards prefer a target crop load approach in which vines are pruned and thinned to 40-50 shoots each and then long-term cluster weight data is used to calculate the desired crop load ratio from the vine size and clusters are thinned as needed. Formulas and pruning strategies differ for grape variety, seasonal factors and growing region, leaving it up to each vineyard to find the reliable pruning plan that provides the desired quantity and quality. Classically cordon-trained vines are usually spur-pruned, meaning that all the fruiting and renewal spurs arise from the established arm positions and all fruiting wood from the previous season should be removed. It is preferred that the spurs are well positioned on the arm, arising close to the trunk and maintaining a compact arm. Fruiting and renewal spurs are selected on similar criteria as with cane pruning and the fruiting spur will be left with 2-4 buds, and only one bud is retained on the renewal spur. It is recommended that cuts be made at a 45 degree angle with the lower end of the cut angled away from the bud, at least 1” past the last retained bud. This cut often occurs directly through the nearby node, which will inhibit shoot production at the node site. In order to maintain efficient and effective pruning practices, all the tools must be sharp and well maintained. Orchard Valley Supply, Inc. has been at the forefront of

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 pruning and vineyard supplies since 1986. Ike Eichman, Owner and President of Orchard Valley is proud to be able to provide customers with a full range of orchard and vineyard supplies, as their motto says, “No Vines…No Wines…Just Everything In Between.” Ike knows the importance of having the right tools for the job and those that are well made and reliable, like the well-known line of Felco Pruners, globally acclaimed for years as THE pruner to have in the vineyard. Felco has a reputation for being heavy duty, industrial pruners with easily replaceable parts, making them last a lifetime. Orchard Valley carries more than 10 models, so the right pruner can be fitted to perfectly meet the customer’s needs and quickly shipped to anywhere. These pruners are known for durability and providing outstanding cutting power and precision from a smooth tight action. Customization for dominant hand (right or left), and factors such as hand size and handle rotation/position can go a long way to reduce fatigue and injury of workers. Learn more about the wide range of pruners and other supplies available at Labor costs continue to rise for vineyards and shortage of reliable workers continues to be a challenge. As well, laborers are at risk for acute injuries while pruning and long-term repetitive strain injuries. A desire to increase productivity and reduce operating costs in a competitive market has lead growers to look a bit more carefully toward the prospect of mechanized and semi-mechanized pruning and thinning operations.


Orchard Master Tools and Equipment has been providing pruning equipment to vineyards and orchards in the US, Mexico and Canada since the fall of 2012. Relatively new to the equipment business, this Montana based company carries pruners that have been carefully researched and tested, with a very personal interest, because owner Bud DeSmul had just

The "Vineyard Pruner" from Orchard Master. Powerful, light, with a comfortable rubberized grip, this high-tech electric pruner has a 30mm (1.2) inch cutting capacity and can be used all day with the comfortable backpack battery pack.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 Trim-N-Prun’ BTS-104HD

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undergone his fifth surgery for tendinitis from a pruning related, repetitive motion type injury. Unfortunately this type of injury is not uncommon in vineyard laborers, but the cost of electric pruning shear can be prohibitive, particularly in smaller or start-up operations. DeSmul discovered an overseas company that had developed an electric pruning shear that was comfortable, reliable and effective and at a price point less than $1500. The pruners have a lightweight lithium-ion battery, which is both durable and powerful, allowing a full work day on a single charge. The safety is on par with a pneumatic pruner because these pruners do not have a progressive trigger. Customers are highly recommending these pruners, “Electric Pruner is a Must Have at an Excellent Price!” and “I prune all weights of vines, from Syrah to Cabernet (if you have to prune Cab, you know how hard it is), and these pruners work great!”, “No more pain in my hand and the battery pack is so light I don't even notice it's there. The pruners themselves are light and very easy to handle. I highly recommend!” Orchard Master is committed to providing a quality product, which increases efficiency and decreases risk at an affordable price. Be sure to check out the pruner and the impressive 5-day service guarantee at Orchard Master Tools is so confident with the quality of their pruners that they provide a 30 day money back guarantee, and to date have not had a single pruner returned. Livermore-based Infaco-USA, Inc. is a company that is continually innovating to create semi-mechanized pruning options that are efficient, effective, and safe. The Electrocoup F3010 shears and the companion safety glove bring speed and the assisted power of an electric pruner while virtually eliminating

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The F3010 Electrocoup pruning shear along with the conductive glove, known as the "DSES Safety System" from Infaco-USA, Inc.

the possibility of injuries to workers. It is operated solely by pulling a trigger with one finger and can easily cut through 2 inch diameter branches. The Electrocoup F3010 runs off of an ultra-light battery pack worn Camelback style by the operator and remains charged throughout a full day of pruning. The safety glove eliminates injuries, thanks to the interwoven metal fibers which grounds the device, halting the blades if the fibers

The Grapevine Magazine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

come into contact with any metal part of the Electrocoup F3010. Ananda Van Hoorn, Operations Manager at InfacoUSA reports that growers that are using the Electrocoup shears state that their productivity has improved by up to 33% and workers are experiencing minimal fatigue and are choosing the correct cuts, rather than the easiest cuts which translate into increased vine quality and overall better product. Watch for the 2014 release of Infaco-USA’s latest innovative masterpiece, a suckering tool, the EPAv2, which can operate from the same battery pack as the F3010, providing double the battery life, and a full pound lighter and even more effective at knocking off suckers than previous models. Learn more at Tractor mounted devices are leading the charge in mechanized trimming and pruning in the vineyard. Bill Stokes, co-

Trim-N-Prun' BTS-102HD from Bechtold Tractors. This versatile trimmer is designed for skirting and pre-pruning in a variety of trellising systems. A 12' hydraulic cylinder in the frame allows for height adjustments of the cutter bars from the tractor seat. Each cutter bar is manually adjustable for width and angle. All frames feature anti-friction material between the frames.


owner of Stokes Farms, has been trimming more than 3000 acres of grape vines exclusively using the Trim-N-Prun cane cutters from Bechthold Tractors in Lodi, California. For generations, Bill and his family have preferred the Trim-N-Prun trimmers, of which they currently use 8 of them on their farm, because they are reliable, simple to run, economical and made of all American parts. Stokes farms are not alone, for nearly 60 years, vineyard operators have respected the ruggedly built, clean cutting Trim-N-Prun series from Bechtold. These cutters feature formed steel frames, are simple to use because they mount to the front of any tractor and designed to be quickly and seamlessly adjusted for different vineyard applications. The entire family of versatile BTS trimmers is also available from Bechthold’s, including the BTS-102 is an extremely adaptable trimmer and is ideal for most growers with a rugged 2 + 3 tube and formed steel frame construction. This trimmer is designed for skirting and pre-pruning in a variety of trellising systems. It has a 12" hydraulic cylinder in the frame which allows for height adjustments of the cutter bars, directly from the tractor seat and each cutter bar is manually adjustable for width and angle. See the whole Trim-N-Prun’ line at Achieving the desired balance between cropping level and shoot growth can be challenging. Additionally, growers are faced with uncertainty about labor sources and escalating costs. Durable, tried and tested tools as well as innovations in mechanized and semi-mechanized tools are addressing pruning challenges, creating competitive potential through technology.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

Parasites in Paradise Is There a Doctor in the House? By Mike Marino


edical professionals take the Hippocratic Oath seriously with it's principles of maintaining human health and prologning human life. Then there are those other doctors, you know the ones, the Dr. Frankensteins dabbling with the dead, bringing them back to life with a jolt of electricity, and unleashing monstrous havoc in a superstitious Bavarian mountain town where everyone drinks wine and beer while dressed in costumes resembling an ensemble cast for a German opera. We can't forget Dr. Jeykll and his deranged alter ego, Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll develops a potion to bring out the yin to the yang of his personality deciding it's more fun to be Jack the Ripper than Hippocrates! Today doctors are more important then ever in maintaining our physical health as new diseases are discovered regularly that can incapacitate us. Pro-active preventative measures in healthcare include routines of eating the right foods, scheduling regular check-ups, and embarking on an exercise program designed to keep the body healthful and functioning to it's maximum potential. It's the same with the vineyard. It's a living arganism that requires a healthy environment to produce not only the delectible fruit of the vine, but healthy bottom line profits as

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well. Disease can vacation in the vineyard in Virginia, terrorize the terroir of the grapes of Georgia, and turn California vineyards into a Cancun for disease making it the perfect place for Parasites in Paradise. It's time to combat poor health of a vineyard, before it becomes a disease nightmare on Elm Street! So, it's time to save the Vineyards. Is there a doctor in the house? Dr. Monica L. Cooper, Farm Advisor of Viticulture, University of California also works for the Cooperative Extension in Napa County working with vineyard owners. There are many disease problems that can occur in a vineyard, but, with proper management programs it's a battlefield where the enemy can be defeated. Dr. Cooper explains. "The powdery mildew pathogen is common, widespread and persistent, although it does not typically cause disease issues because of the management programs that are consistently implemented by grape growers in California. The trunk disease pathogens (Eutypa, Botryosphaeria, Esca, and Phomopsis) are also widespread in California, resulting in lost fruiting positions and yield reductions. Susceptibility varies by variety. Botrytis is

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 another disease that occurs in California vineyards; infection rates and severity vary by year, as influenced by climatic conditions. Pierce’s Disease (PD) is still prevalent; in Napa/Sonoma areas that are most commonly affected by PD are those near riparian and ornamental plantings because they contain refuges (alternate hosts) of the bacterium and vector. Grape varieties with resistance to PD (developed by Dr. Walker at UC Davis) have the potential to mitigate disease issues. Of the viral diseases, fanleaf, leafroll, and red blotch are of concern. Fanleaf disease can greatly reduce fruit set. Leafroll disease impacts yield and fruit and wine quality; disease management involves an integrated strategy of removal of infected vines, vector management, and clean plant material. Regional management programs for leafroll disease in neighborhood groups are being implemented in areas of Napa. Red blotch is a newly discovered virus that impacts fruit quality. It has been shown to be transmissible by grafting. Future research will determine if/how it could be moving in the vineyard, physiological impact and potential mitigation strategies. Current information on vineyard pests and diseases can be found on the UC Integrated Viticulture website and also the UC IPM website," she said. Napa Valley is a visual feast for the eyes. One unique aspect of area is that some vineyards are encased in a perimeter of colorful and frangrant rose bushes. When I lived in Napa Valley, I always wondered if they were purely decorative or did they serve some other agriculturally beneficial functionality. According to Dr. Walker, it does both! "Powdery mildew pathogens have very specific relationships with particular plant species, so the powdery mildew pathogen that attacks grapevines does not attack roses. If roses developed signs of powdery mildew, then it could be presumed that the conditions are right for grapevines to also develop mildew. However, mildew programs should focus on prevention rather than eradication, so a better strategy is not to wait until you have disease in the field to begin treatments. There are powdery mildew models that assess the risk of disease development by relating it to air temperature; the models are useful in predicting disease onset and determining selection of chemical sprays and timing. Additionally, recently developed powdery mildew spore detection technology has been implemented in select vineyards to provide additional information on pathogen levels and inform powdery mildew management programs." Pro-active preventative programs is the best approach to take as is it harder to eliminate disease once it starts. "Prevention and disease forecasting are hallmarks of an IPM program. It starts when the vineyard is planted—with clean plant material, continues through the use of sampling and tools to predict pathogen presence and disease incidence, and includes practices to avoid or prevent disease before it establishes, as well as treatment for pest and disease problems." Dr. Walker told The Grapevine Magazine, it also takes a knowledge of disease cycles. "The first step in any program is to understand the disease cycle: what pathogen(s) cause disease? When are they present? Are there certain climatic or other conditions that increase the likelihood of disease developing? Is the pathogen moved in the vineyard by a


The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 vector (human or insect or nematode)? Is there a way to sample for the disease or vector? Once the grape grower has an understanding of the disease cycle, the next step is to look for ways to avoid disease, such as the use of resistant material and clean planting stock or avoidance of certain sites where disease pressure is high. Disease prevention practices such as delayed pruning and pruning wound protectants for trunk diseases, or preventative sprays for powdery mildew and Botrytis, should also be utilized when appropriate. Fungicides may be part of an integrated program to manage disease, and if so, then a resistance management program should be implemented," Walker said. Insects also have been a problem since winemaking began and California has been in the vanguard of battle. According to

Dr. Walker, "Invasive insects such as vine mealybug (VMB) and European grapevine moth (EGVM) have been pests of concern in Napa in the last decade. In Napa, vine mealybug (VMB) has been a pest issue of concern since it was discovered in the County in 2002. Feeding damage from VMB compromises fruit quality, and can negatively impact the photosynthetic capacity of the vine through defoliation and secondary pathogens such as sooty mold. Recommended management programs for VMB include sanitation, mating disruption, biological control and insecticides targeting VMB and tending ants that exacerbate VMB populations." Other problems exist but are easier to manage said Dr. Walker. "Leafhoppers, grape mealybug, European fruit Lecanium scale, false chinch bug, and moth pests other than EGVM are occasional issues in Napa vineyards. In general, these insects are not a recurring concern because their populations are controlled by resident natural enemies, and do not

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require additional management practices on the part of the grape grower. The most impactful practices can be those that protect or encourage natural enemy populations. Grape phylloxera can still be found in Napa soils, although populations are not typically damaging because of the use of resistant or rootstocks. Pesticides are not typically used for phylloxera management in Napa because the chemicals do not penetrate the heavy soils that this pest prefers. Although grape mealybug is not a direct economic concern, it and other vineyard mealybugs are a concern as a vector of grapevine leafroll-associated virus-3. As described previously, this disease can be quite damaging. Mealybug monitoring and control practices can be part of an integrated disease management program." Paul J. Mierzejewski of PJM Vineyard Consulting in Virginia is an expert in the field of vineyard control of pests and disease. His experiences in the field and on the job began in 1980. "I pursued a bachelor's degree in Viticulture at California State University at Fresno (CSUF). Then I received a Bachelor Degree in Vitculture in 1982 and moved to Virginia where I was given the assignment of starting up and nurturing a 40+ acre vineyard. At this time, growing grapes in central Virginia for wine was a relatively new concept for this size vineyard. During this time I gained the knowledge that is required to make growing grapes on the East coast financially possible." he explained. "East coast viticulture is very challenging but the potential rewards are great. We are showing East coast viticulture can compete with the world in wine quality and value. I started consulting under the name of PJM Vineyard Consulting in 2002. Currently I make wine for a small winery and consult for several vineyards." The other big question is whether East and West vineyards suffer from the same disease problems. "The most prevalent diseases in East coast vineyards are powdery mildew, downy mildew, black rot and botrytis. These diseases can show up on viniferia, French hybrids and American varieties. (Although viniferia are more susceptible.) Occasionally phomopsis or anthracnose can be a problem. With the higher humidity in the East, the disease pressure increases, especially with black rot and downy mildew. However, powdery mildew is prevalent in most regions of America. On the East coast, we need to spray on a 7 to 10 day schedule up to fruit set, then on a 10 to 14 day schedule up to harvest, depending on the weather. Always rotate your chemical input in the vineyard to avoid resistance.

The Grapevine • January - February 2014


Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014 Air blast sprayer usage insures better penetration of the chemical to the fruit and foliage," exlained Mierzejewski. Garden pests are invasive to say the least, and like any army on the march, counter force is needed to wipe out the enemy. Mierzejewsi expanded on how best to attack. "Japanese beetles, Grape Berry Moth and leafhoppers have been the major insect problems in the vineyard and have been controlled successfully with rotation of various insecticides. Recently we have new invaders in East coast vineyard with the Brown Marmorated Stink bug and the Spotted Wing Drosophila-fruit fly. The Spotted Wing Drosophila has proven to be very difficult to control. We are still figuring out how to deal with this recent problem. Not all vineyards are created equal and each has different problems that require different solutions so consulting for them is not a one size fits all propostion. I work with most of my clients on a monthly basis during the growing season. I usually walk the vineyard, make observations and adjust the spray schedule or vineyard work schedule as needed monthly. Once a problem occurs, life become more difficult. We try to avoid preventable problems by sticking to a recommended spray schedule, adjusting for the weather and working the vine canopy. If a questionable plant indicates a problem such as Pierce disease, we have that confirmed with a lab test," he said in conclusion.

There are many diseases that can attack your precious product in the vineyard, but as you can see there are many early warning signs as well, and many experts who can help you win the battle of vineyard disease. Use preventative measures at all times but rely on the experts to guide you. If you're health is in question, you call a physician, so if you suspect a problem in your vineyard just remember these words..."Is there a doctor in the house?"

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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Around The Vineyard • January - February 2014

Harvest 2013: Big & Rich Laetitia Vineyard & Winery reflects on what will be a bold, concentrated vintage


ith Laetitia Vineyard & Winery’s harvest wrapped up, President and Head Winemaker, Eric Hickey, projects that wines from 2013 will be “big, rich, intensely colored and balanced.” “Each harvest is like anticipating a new baby’s arrival and this year’s harvest was no exception,” Hickey shares, “except it was like anticipating the arrival of a baby elephant! We had a pretty good idea the crop was big, but you never know until you start picking and sure enough it was every bit the size we thought, plus some.” Like most California vineyards, Laetitia experienced early ripening this year, which made for long hang-time and fully matured flavors as well as logistical challenges– in other words, a fantastic problem to have. “We have handled large harvests before, but the difference this year is that many of the blocks were stacked up on each other in terms of ripening,” says Hickey. “So, the effort to get

everything picked in a timely manner and more importantly, to have the fermentation space to handle the crop was immense. But we pulled it off, somehow.” Vice President Vineyard Operations, Lino Bozzano, is quick to dispel the notion that large yields result in less-than-spectacular wines. “The old misconception in the wine business is that the larger the yield, the worse the wine. But the truth is that yield, or ‘tons per acre,’ means nothing. There are many factors contributing to yield. The key to growing the best wine is balancing all of the factors or vine balance.” “The main factors that control actual yield are the cluster weights,” Bozzano explains. “This year, our grapes simply weighed more than average. Nobody knows why this happens – it’s just a part of farming that remains a mystery. Ironically, some of the best vintages are the years that have these ‘mystery yields.’” Hickey concurs. “Once we started draining the first tanks and tasting the wine, we knew immediately there was no concern about a big crop affecting the quality of the wines. Big, rich, intensely colored and balanced wines have come from the vintage. This goes for both Laetitia and Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. We are very pleased.” Since 1982, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has produced elegant wines that champion the exceptional character and diversity of the Arroyo Grande Valley AVA. Originally founded by an established French Champagne house, the Laetitia estate carries on in the longstanding traditions of Burgundy and Champagne with a focus on small-lot Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. Valuing legacy, balance, innovation and sustainable practices from harvest to glass, the Laetitia team works meticulously from vintage to vintage to ensure that every bottle of Laetitia wine is as expressive as the land from which it originates. For more information about Laetitia Vineyard & Winery please call 805-481-1772, 1-888-809-VINE, or visit Laetitia Vineyard & Winery 453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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The Grapevine • January - February 2014


The Grapevine • January - February 2014


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The Grapevine • January - February 2014

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