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WINE BUSINESS MONTHLY August 2015 • $5.95

The Industry’s Leading Publication for Wineries and Growers

Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

Three Winemakers Discuss When and Why They Use Additives

Winemaker Trials:

High-temperature Tolerant Yeast

Rethinking Macronutrients for Foliar Fertilization First Drone Approved for Spray Applications in Vineyards How Wineries Provide Targeted, Concierge-style Service to Increase Loyalty and Sales

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month in review WINE BUSINESS MONTHLY August 2015 • Volume XXII No. 8 EDITOR Cyril Penn SENIOR TECHNICAL EDITOR Curtis Phillips MANAGING EDITOR Rachel Nichols

A Rising Tide Floats All Wine Boats things about covering the wine industry for a trade journal is how open winemakers are to discussing their efforts to improve quality. I’ve written about financial markets, technology companies, biotech, energy markets and other business sectors in the past. What’s different about the wine business, besides that it’s more fun? For one thing, wine is fermented grape juice, not a widget. For another, people actually want to talk to reporters—most of the time. Even the wholesalers talk sometimes. The corporateowned wineries and a couple large private wine companies, in particular, tend to hold their cards closer to their vests—but having said that, really, there’s a lot of openness. This culture of openness stems, in part, from the fact that wineries work together, particularly in emerging regions, and because most wineries are small businesses. Wineries sometimes share equipment. They routinely band together to market their regions and varietals; there are so many industry organizations. Winemakers want to learn from each other about what works, and they’re eager to learn. It’s a never-ending process. Wineries compete for attention from consumers and the trade, and competition among the largest wineries is fiercer than ever on the store shelves, but there’s a sense that a rising tide floats all boats. That’s one reason we’re seeing more winemakers sharing results of their internal trials and experiments. It’s why some aspects of winemaking, previously swept under the rug, are now pretty out in the open. Winemakers were wary of discussing their use of oak alternatives and adjuncts in the past, but as their use has grown, winemakers are talking about them very openly. Micro-oxygenation and alcohol removal are no longer dirty secrets either.

ASSISTANT EDITOR Erin Guenther STAFF WRITER Bill Pregler COPY EDITOR Paula Whiteside EDITOR AT LARGE Lisa Shara Hall

ONE OF THE WONDERFUL

AUGUST 2015

WINE BUSINESS MONTHLY August 2015 • $5.95

The Industry’s Leading Publication for Wineries and Growers

www.winebusiness.com

WINE BUSINESS MONTHLY

Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

Three Winemakers Discuss When and Why They Use Additives

Winemaker Trials: Winemaker Roundtable: Additives

High-temperature Tolerant Yeast

CONTRIBUTORS Dan Berger Lance Cutler Mark Greenspan Michael S. Lasky Emily Rasmussen Ted Rieger Jay Silverstein Erika Szymanski DESIGN & PRODUCTION Scott Summers

+ Winemaker Trials

PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER Eric Jorgensen ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Tamara Leon Rethinking Macronutrients for Foliar Fertilization First Drone Approved for Spray Applications in Vineyards How Wineries Provide Targeted, Concierge-style Service to Increase Loyalty and Sales

Winemakers are also talking about additives— enzymes, tannin additives, commercial yeasts and color fixers—with increasing openness, even if so-called “natural” winemaking is getting more attention in some circles. Take for example, the roundtable on using additives featured in this issue. All three of the winemakers who participated were candid and forthcoming about how they use various additives to improve quality. Most of these products are pretty standard across the industry anyway, but there’s considerable variation in when, how, and why they’re used. Cyril Penn – Editor

ADVERTISING Advertising Account Executive Susan Keechler Classifieds Jacki Kardum ADMINISTRATION Vice President – Data Management Lynne Skinner Circulation Liesl Stevenson Operations Manager Melissa Beasley Office Manager/Customer Service Jacki Kardum CHAIRMAN Hugh Tietjen PUBLISHING CONSULTANT Ken Koppel For editorial or advertising inquiries, call 707-940-3920 or email info@winebusiness.com For subscriptions, call 800-895-9463. Copyright 2015 Wine Communications Group, Inc. Short passages can be quoted without permission but only if the information is attributed to Wine Business Monthly. Wine Business Monthly is distributed through an audited circulation. Those interested in subscribing for $39/year, or $58 for 2 years, call 800-895-9463 or subscribe online at www.winebusiness.com. You may also fill out the card in this magazine and send it in.

4 August 2015 WBM


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contents

August 2015 • Volume XXII No. 8 • The Industry’s Leading Publication for Wineries and Growers

www.winebusiness.com

winemaking

sales & marketing

Catering to Your Elite Customers . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives . . . . . 18

Three winemakers discuss balancing natural methods and using additives to make better wine Lance Cutler

Mining your customer sales database to pinpoint your highest spenders lets wineries focus targeted, one-on-one, concierge-style service to foster increased loyalty, a reputation of world class service—and profit. Michael S. Lasky

New Events Resource for the Winery . . . . . . . . 60 New events service offers small and medium wineries a streamlined approach to planning events hosted on-site, from the client’s first web search to the final minutes of cleanup. Emily Rasmussen

Winemaker Trial: High-Temperature Tolerant Yeast . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Daou Vineyards & Winery experiments on Cabernet Sauvignon with yeasts isolated from the vineyard

Retail Sales Off-Premise Wine Sales Increase 5.5 Percent in May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Curtis Phillips

Minimizing the Brettanomyces Aroma . . . . . . . 36 No microbe is an island: Why lactic acid bacteria are part of managing Brettanomyces Erika Szymanski

Insight & Opinion A Quest for Lower Alcohol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Dan Berger

technology & business Succession Planning: Are You Ready for Your Exit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Asking yourself these questions will help you determine your exit readiness and jump-start your planning. Jay Silverstein

grape growing Taking the Macro View on Foliar Fertilization . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Macronutrients may be applied foliarly with beneficial effect. Mark Greenspan

departments month in review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 news . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 what’s cool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Road Dust Suppression and Soil Stabilization Effective, non-toxic and California EPA-approved Bill Pregler

Yamaha RMAX Drone Receives FAA Exemption for Vineyard Use

48

people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 advertiser index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 jake lorenzo Big Easy is Hard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 winemaker of the month . . . . . . . . . . 74 Trey Busch, winemaker and partner,

FAA proposes rules for small drone use

Sleight of Hand Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington

Ted Rieger

Cover Photo: Matt Krause, Uncorked Ventures Cover Design: Scott Summers

Wine Business Monthly (ISSN 1075-7058) is published monthly by Wine Communications Group, Inc., 110 W Napa St., Sonoma, CA 95476. Subscription rates are $39 for domestic; US$49 for Canadian and US$89 for foreign subscribers. Periodicals Postage Paid at Sonoma, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Wine Business Monthly, PO Box 1649, Boulder, CO 80306-1649.


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who’s talking in this issue

August 2015

Steve MacRostie, founder, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards, Winemaker Roundtable: Additives, page 18

“I have flirted with some native yeast fermentations, but my experience showed issues with their ability to finish, and I didn’t see enough qualitative difference worth taking the risk.”

Charlie Tolbert, consultant, Winemaker Roundtable: Additives, page 18 “Working with organically grown fruit, we were prohibited from using DAP, so I got very comfortable using CCOF-approved products and achieving the same results.”

Ken Giles, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, UC Davis, Yamaha RMAX Drone Receives FAA Exemption for Vineyard Use, page 48

“For more targeted spray applications, for hillside vineyards, for small infestations or for small vineyards, that’s where we see this technology being best suited.”

YangQuan Chen, associate professor of engineering, University of California, Merced School of Engineering,

Yamaha RMAX Drone Receives FAA Exemption for Vineyard Use, page 48

“A purpose of this technology is to check crops to determine if they are under stress, and we need research on how to determine that in a quantitative way.”

Larry Maguire, president, Far Niente Winery, Catering to Your Elite Customers, page 54 “The classic definition of world-class customer service is anticipating the needs of your customer and delivering it in a timely fashion.”

8 August 2015 WBM


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news

For daily news you can search or browse by region, visit winebusiness.com/news

California Benziger Family Winery and Imagery Winery Sold to The Wine Group The Wine Group purchased Sonoma Mountain Benziger Family Winery and the Imagery Winery in Sonoma Valley.

“We are honored to bring the Benziger Family Winery and its team into The Wine Group. We look forward to continuing to build on Benziger’s reputation as a producer of some of Sonoma County’s best wines while providing visitors with an unrivaled experience at the beautiful and unique Sonoma properties,” said Brian Vos, CEO of The Wine Group. “As we continue to move into the super-premium category, we have been thoughtful in our search for a winery that produces exceptional wines while sharing our values of integrity, social responsibility and innovation. The Benziger family is not only celebrated for its outstanding wine quality, but their strong team will be a great cultural fit within The Wine Group.” Founded by the Benziger family in 1981, Benziger Family Winery is located on a biodynamically certified 85-acre estate adjacent to Jack London State Park in the town of Glen Ellen. Benziger produces a wide range of wines sourced from Sonoma County, with many of the grapes grown in its six vineyards located in the Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Mountain and Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVAs. The Wine Group will also acquire Imagery Winery and its tasting room on Highway 12 in Glen Ellen, which is approximately two miles east of Benziger Family Winery. In addition to producing high-quality unique wines, Imagery Winery houses a world-class contemporary art collection. “Thirty-five years ago my father and I purchased the Benziger site. I am proud of the work our family has done to grow the Benziger brand and create a destination for consumers that is founded on Biodynamics and green farming practices,” said founder and CEO Mike Benziger. “With the knowledge that we’re selling the winery to a privately held company that shares our values, now is the perfect time for me to pursue other passions. We are certain that The Wine Group will carry on the Benziger family’s legacy of quality.” In addition to winery staff joining The Wine Group, key executives will also join the company to help manage the winery and provide valuable continuity. Mark Burningham, who has worked with the family for almost 30 years, will take over as general manager of North Coast operations. Chris Benziger, brother to Mike Benziger, will assume the role of vice president of trade relations at Benziger Family Winery, and Joe Benziger, also brother to Mike, will maintain his position as Imagery winemaker. Demeter Group, a San Francisco-based investment bank for beverage alcohol companies, acted as Benziger Family Winery’s exclusive financial advisor on the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gary Eberle Regains Control of His Winery More than a year after losing his winery, Gary Eberle and his wife, Marcy, have regained a majority ownership of Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, California. In January 2014, Eberle was replaced as general partner of the group that owns the winery, after majority owners voted him out. Eberle owned 35.5 percent of the company, his sister-in-law held his half-brother’s share (he is being cared for in an Alzheimer’s facility) of 39 percent, and the Flory brothers held 13 percent. With a combined 52 percent ownership, and therefore a majority, the group voted to replace Gary as general partner. Gary claimed that the move was made to make the company more profitable, by producing more wine. He maintained that the winery was never designed to be any different than it is now, and that increasing production would have a serious impact on quality. In June 2015, Gary and Marcy regained the majority ownership, with 84 percent interest of the company. The Eberles obtained a multi-million dollar loan in order to buy out his sister-in-law, and Abe and Rob Flory. The remaining partners are Dick and Claudia Woodland, Marv and Judith Zeidler, Craig and Kathy Bonelli and Howie and Bev Steinbeck.

Meiomi Wines Purchased by Constellation Brands Constellation Brands, Inc. acquired the Meiomi wine brand from Copper Cane LLC , a Joseph Wagner controlled company, for $315 million. No

vineyards are included in the deal, but Constellation will produce Meiomi in several of its facilities. Wagner will serve a two-year stint as consulting winemaker. At press time, the transaction was expected to close by the beginning of August, after nearly a year’s worth of discussion. Wagner reported that the price was a 24-time multiple against the brand’s present and future earnings, and will allow him to purchase between 2,000 and 3,000 acres of vineyards in the next five years. He plans to create a new Pinot Noir at a similar price point. “We are very proud of what our team and organization have accomplished with Meiomi in a relatively short timeframe,” said Wagner. “What began as a labor of love with only modest distribution a number of years ago, has grown to become one of the best-performing and fastest-growing brands across all categories of wine. We are pleased to have found such a great successor with which to carry on the Meiomi tradition.” Since its inception in 2006, Meiomi has quickly positioned itself as a leader in the U.S. wine industry as a differentiated, high-growth luxury brand, outperforming all other brands in its category with IRI dollar sales growth of

news California

Oregon

• PAGE 10 Benziger Family Winery and Imagery Winery Sold to The Wine Group

• PAGE 12 Huge Agricultural Land Transaction in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

• PAGE 10 Gary Eberle Regains Control of His Winery

National

• PAGE 10 Meiomi Wines Purchased by Constellation Brands

• PAGE 12 Wine Business Monthly Acquires WITS • PAGE 12 Supreme Court Makes Industry Altering Decision on Federal Raisin Rules

10 August 2015 WBM


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news more than 50 percent over the last 52 weeks. Meiomi Pinot Noir is also among the fastest growing major Pinot Noir brands across all price points in the latest 12-week period. In 2014, Meiomi added Chardonnay to its portfolio. “Meiomi complements the array of selections we offer consumers by filling a niche in our luxury portfolio,” said Jay Wright, president Wine and Spirits, Constellation Brands. “The rapid growth rate Meiomi has achieved in such a short time is evidence that the brand resonates with consumers, and we’re excited about adding it to our wine portfolio,” he added. Following news of the purchase, and favorable first quarter results, Constellation shares increased more than 2 percent in pre-market trading.

Oregon Huge Agricultural Land Transaction in Oregon’s Willamette Valley The Olsen family announced that they have sold their Willamette Valley farmland and related assets to Farmland LP, an agricultural real estate investment firm. The Olsen family (not to be confused with Olsen Estates of Prosser, Washington) played a pioneering role in the establishment of Willamette Valley agriculture for two generations. Their company farmed more than 6,000 acres of owned and leased land, specializing in blueberries, hazelnuts, grass seed and peppermint, and was one of Oregon’s largest wine grape growers. According to Roger Olsen, managing member at Olsen Agricultural Enterprises, “We have been looking for the right buyer for our extensive Willamette Valley holdings for some time now and with Farmland LP we recognized that we found the right way for our family to transition our farmland. The same team will operate the assets under the new ownership, and that will allow for continuity of our quality programs in our vineyards, orchards and throughout our farms.” “We are delighted to add Olsen’s Willamette Valley farmland to our existing Oregon and California holdings,” said Craig Wichner, managing partner of Farmland LP. “Today’s acquisition expands our capacity to serve the ever growing demand for locally grown organic food, and reflects our long term commitment to Pacific Northwest agriculture.” Farmland LP acquires large-scale, conventional farmland and adds value by implementing high productivity organic and sustainable agricultural practices. Founded in 2009, the firm manages more than 13,500 owned and leased acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. This latest acquisition was made by Farmland LP’s second investment fund, Vital Farmland REIT LLC. International Wine Associates of Healdsburg, California served as exclusive M&A advisors and represented Olsen in the transaction. Olsen received legal advice from Davis, Wright and Tremaine in Portland. “This is the sixth significant transaction that International Wine Associates has completed in the Pacific Northwest,” Robert Nicholson of International Wine Associates, the mergers and acquisitions advisory firm, said. “With the sale of Olsen, IWA has sold over $150 million in Oregon and Washington wine industry assets and wineries, including Hogue Cellars, Pacific Rim Winemakers and The Four Graces. In the last two years IWA has also sold two separate Oregon vineyards to Burgundy’s Louis Jadot and Washington’s Sagemoor Vineyards to Allan Brothers.” Incorporated in 1990 and with companies in California, Oregon and Washington, International Wine Associates has initiated and completed more than $1 billion in transactions.

For daily news you can search or browse by region, visit winebusiness.com/news

National Wine Business Monthly Acquires WITS Wine Communications Group’s Wine Business Monthly announced the acquisition of the Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) in

Napa, California. WITS was founded in 2005 and conducted its 11th annual symposium in July. Eric Jorgensen, president of Wine Communications Group, said, “We have always had a strong interest in how the wine industry uses technology. Smoke Wallin and Lesley Berglund (co-chairs of WITS) have done a remarkable job over the past decade of bringing the industry together around this important topic. We welcome both of them and everyone involved with WITS to the Wine Communications Group family.” J. Smoke Wallin, founder and co-chairman of WITS, said the Wine Industry Technology Symposium has been responsible for raising the level of dialogue and thinking around technology in the wine industry. “I am proud of our efforts at bringing the industry together around these important topics and of playing our small part in improving wine business practices,” he said. “Most importantly, I’m grateful to the many people who have played a role in making WITS a success over the years. It would never have been possible without Kathy and Waunice at the Wine Symposium Group, our winery CIOs and Advisory Board and all the great sponsors going back to the beginning. I have many friends as a result of WITS who have enriched my life in so many ways.” Lesley Berglund, co-chairman of WITS and co-founder and chairman of the Wine Industry Sales Education (WISE) Academy, said, “I have long admired Eric’s team and vision for the Wine Communications Group. WITS will be a perfect fit to their strategic vision, which gives WITS a long-term platform upon which to thrive. This was our most important criteria in a partner for WITS,” said The transaction closed in July. The first WITS produced by Wine Business Monthly will take place in 2016.

Supreme Court Makes Industry Altering Decision on Federal Raisin Rules The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor for upset California raisin producers, stating that the federal raisin supply management program must compensate farmers for raisins held in the reserve. “Raisins are private property, the fruit of the growers’ labor, not public things subject to the absolute control of the state,” Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. wrote. “Any physical taking of them for public use must be accompanied by just compensation.” In question was a decades-old program that required some raisins to be held back in a reserve. Marvin Horne, a Fresno County grower, argued that this reserve violated the just compensation instructions of the Fifth Amendment. The amendment states “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” While the decision will immediately affect the raisin market, it does have some long-standing implications for all agricultural markets and other private property owners. It asserts that the government has broad responsibility to owners. “The government has a categorical duty to pay just compensation when it takes your car, just as when it takes your home,” Roberts wrote, adding that the Fifth Amendment “protects ‘private property’ without any distinction between different types.” WBM

WBM August 2015 13


what’s cool Products that are smart, make your tasks easier and provide cost or labor savings Bill Pregler

Bill Pregler has worked in the winery equipment industry for many years and is a staff writer for Wine Business Monthly.

Road Dust Suppression and Soil Stabilization Effective, non-toxic and California EPA-approved

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY PZS STABILIZATION, LLC

A standard water truck spreading a slurry of PennzSuppress D creates a durable road base. Environmentally benign, the binding agents help keep vines dust-free.

was the consensus of vineyard professionals I contacted about dust suppression. They offered a litany of reasons that growers should pay attention to road dust: controlling mite habitats, promoting chlorophyll, keeping your neighbors happy and not wasting water by creating muddy roads (which return to dust anyway). PennzSuppress D, a nationally distributed, environmentally safe, cohesive spray application from PZS Stabilization, LLC in St. Helena, California, solves all of these problems. First, one cannot discuss road dust without talking about the strength of a road base, and that means talking about cohesion. Application of this resinous, water-based material results in a durable, moisture-permeable surface with several inches of cementatious penetration into the soil. With that, vineyard managers can now discuss the strength of summer and winter roads by eliminating excess run-off and rain erosion. Over the years there have been other materials available, but many were acrylic-based emulsions. Others contained asphaltenes, polymers, solvents, or magnesium chlorides and salts; and if puddling occurred with run-off, vines could be burned. PennzSuppress D is a patented, viscous resin that when diluted with water, works its way into the soil (4 to 6 inches) and remains a binder once the transport water evaporates. “ P R E T T Y N O N - S E X Y B U T I M P O R TA N T ”

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The product is manufactured to ISO 9001-2000 quality standards, has undergone extensive testing and is proven to be: • Non-inhibiting to plant growth • Non-toxic to aquatic sediment and ground water • Non-carcinogenic • Non-hazardous according to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard • Non-corrosive to metal (can be driven on within minutes) • The first dust suppressant to be certified by the California Environmental Protection Agency for any characteristics relating to water or air contamination. What is totally cool is that its stabilizing and benign qualities make it suitable for erosion control while promoting plant growth. Even on steep slopes of sandy soil (up to 50 percent grade) the product is used as a “hydraulic mulch” to help secure grass seeds and prevent them from washing away. Talk about organic.


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Application and amounts will vary according to vehicle weight, amount of traffic, soil composition, existing compaction and weather conditions. The average duration of dust control (as advertised) allows for 7,000 generic vehicular passes in a three-month period, far beyond most vineyard road requirements. Company representatives are available to recommend the correct application rates to your specific needs and help with site improvement if necessary. If you are in a remote area, the company will simply need soil samples and some photographs. With the help of MeasureMapPro (an Apple app) you and the company will be able to communicate via an iPad or iPhone and GPS map your vineyards precisely. In turn PZS Stabilization will have visual information about the number, length and exact location of roads or equipment yards, right down to topography and elevation to anticipate erosion issues. Cost is obviously quantity sensitive. PennzSuppress D can be delivered via common carrier in 330-gallon totes, tanker trucks or 26,000-gallon rail cars. The company even offers spray bar attachments from 6 to 14 feet wide with the proper micron nozzles. Clean-up is with soap and water. The company already has a considerable following in the mining and construction industries, as well as with federal and state parks. One application I found interesting is its use by the U.S. Border Patrol. If on patrol, most likely on a dirt road, the last thing you need is to produce billowing clouds of “warning dust.” What’s Cool: I have written about dust suppression before, most often

when promoting alternative soil management, such as “no-tilling” versus ruining soil tilth by over-discing. While that will be open to debate, one thing everyone agreed upon was to (first) stabilize your “vineyard avenues” and reduce traffic dust. In a nutshell, the work of PennzSuppress D begins where the pavement ends. Naturally, my first thought is vineyard access roads with tractors and trucks. You can just as easily apply it for event and winery parking areas, road shoulders and equipment yards. Pricing is site-specific, so a phone call will be the first step. I was told $160 for a half mile of dust control as a reference point. But an advantage in the “mite-mare” wars makes the cost worth it. For more information contact Bruce Coulthard, president, at 707-2876111 or www.pzsstabilization.com. WBM


winemaking

Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

Three winemakers discuss balancing natural methods and using additives to make better wine Lance Cutler Lance Cutler has been a working winemaker in Sonoma County for 35 years. He has been a contributing editor for Wine Business Monthly for more than 10 years. His unique perspective on winemaking has led to our Industry Roundtable series and our Varietal Focus series. Lance is also the author of four books, including The Tequila Lover’s Guide to Mexico.

a straightforward endeavor. Grapes come into the winery. They are destemmed, crushed or pressed and fermented. Finished wine gets racked, sometimes filtered and then bottled. Simple. Then again, there are all kinds of things that can interfere with or enhance the process. One of the key contributions that winemakers provide is to decide when to step into the process and when to let it alone. At every step, winemakers can choose to add products that may make a wine taste better, give it darker color or make it more stable in the bottle. We were interested in how winemakers made those choices regarding what to add and what to leave out. So, we got some very experienced people, sat them down at the roundtable and went through the winemaking process from start to finish. At each stage we asked what additions they made, when they made them and why. The three participating winemakers have close to 100 years of experience making wine.

WINEMAKING IS PRETTY MUCH

Jeff Sternfeld is the assistant winemaker at Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Vineyards where his primary responsibilities are for the fermentations and monitoring of adjustments along the way, from the arrival of the grapes through bottling. He’s had this position for 10 years, previously working at Carmenet Vineyards and Kendall-Jackson.

Steve MacRostie founded MacRostie Winery & Vineyards in 1987. His present title is founder/consultant. Prior to that he worked 12 years for a small winery in Sonoma Valley. His entire career encompasses 42 years.

When grapes arrive at the winery, what is your approach to using SO2? MacRostie : There are two ways to look at it: Whether your philosophy is

to add no SO2, or whether you want to make a prescriptive small addition of SO2 just to ward off any errant microbes that might affect your wine. If there are serious problems with the fruit, then you would want to increase the SO2 addition. Sternfeld : We have a protocol that all red grapes, when they arrive at the

hopper, get a 40 ppm addition of SO2. The whites go directly to the press without any SO2. After the juice settles for two days, we will add about 50 ppm SO2 the day we add our yeast. We take the temperature down to about 50° F during settling and then add the yeast four to six hours after our SO2 addition. If the grapes come in moldy, which doesn’t happen often, we may increase the SO2 a little bit.

18 August 2015 WBM

Charlie Tolbert’s first harvest was as a vineyard laborer in 1972. He has moved up the ranks, working for Dick Arrowood, Peter Haywood, Benziger Family Winery, Delicato Family Vineyards and Fetzer Wines, among others. Currently he is retired but continues to work with vineyards and growers through his consulting winemaking company.

Tolbert : One school of thought is that by using little or no SO2, any oxida-

tive things, like browning occurring in the juice, will fall out and not present itself as a problem with the wine. MacRostie : So by using no SO2 or minimizing it, you allow lots of browning

to go on, which we know doesn’t seriously affect the long-term quality of the wine and will eliminate future browning issues. Tolbert : You know, if we go back in time when everyone had a new winery, we got away from any SO2 additions with reds or whites. In the intervening time, we encountered problems. I will add 35 to 45 ppm to sound red grapes in the fermenter. With white grapes I would wait until post-fermentation unless the grapes presented a challenge, in which case I would bump up the addition and add it sooner.


D I S C O V E R I N G

POTENTIAL S I N C E

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1 9 7 8


Winemaker Roundtable:

BUY SELL

Additives

Are you adding anything during settling of white juice? MacRostie : Yes, we will add bentonite to white juice as it comes out of the press, about 1 pound per 1,000 gallons in the press pan. It helps settle the juice before going to barrel for fermentation and gives a good kick for protein stability of the wine. Sternfeld : For whites, we usually add bentonite when the fermentation is

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about 10° to 15° Brix. Generally that addition will be 3 pounds per thousand and is used for both clarification and heat stability. After fermentation, we very rarely have to add more bentonite for heat stability. Tolbert : I will add a couple pounds per thousand, just before the yeast goes

in, because you already have it all mixing up. The primary reason is for heat stability. You are going to have to add it anyway. Instead of having to add more when it is wine, why not get a head start on it while it is juice.

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What about enzymes during settling or fermentation?

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Tolbert : Recently, I’m using color enzymes on red wines. Where those

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enzymes come in handy is when you are getting grapes from a more challenging location. If you are growing grapes on a hillside in Sonoma Valley, you are not going to have a problem getting color out of your red grapes. But if you are growing Merlot in Merced, then you are faced with a challenge extracting color. It’s kind of like, “Why not? Why not get everything you can, color-wise, from that grape.” MacRostie : There are also a whole host of clarifying enzymes that make for easier extraction of juice from white grapes. We have experimented with them and generally don’t use them, but they exist. The only red wine we produce these days is Pinot Noir; and like Charlie, we work on experiments using color-extracting enzymes. Our results show that it is not completely predictable, when you compare fermentation lots of the same grapes with and without the enzymes. You assume the enzyme will give you darker, more tannic wines, but that often doesn’t happen. It may also produce wine that is inferior or superior to the control in unexpected ways. I still think color-extracting enzymes are a useful tool in fine winemaking. Sternfeld : If I don’t state this, then our winemaker will have my head.

It is the winery’s philosophy not to add any tannins or enzymes during fermentation or the aging process. For the most part, since we are using very ripe Rhône grapes and Zinfandels, we don’t really have an issue with color. And we have Alicante Bouschet and a bit of Petite Sirah; so if we need more tannin and color, we can use that. MacRostie : That was more or less my philosophy, to add nothing, but the

color enzymes are an exception. One more thing, if you have a Botrytis year making white wine, and you have rotten fruit despite all best efforts to sort, PVPP can be used effectively to get rid of browning precursors. Tolbert : In a year like 2011, where there was a lot of rain-damaged fruit,

I think there was a lot of lysozyme used. Who knows what is on that fruit when it is fuzzy? MacRostie : Lysozyme can help and be used to prevent growth of pediococcus or lactobacillus bacteria, which might cause high volatile acidity. 20 August 2015 WBM


How about using grape tannins or oak tannins to set color in fruit?

Native yeast or commercial yeast? Unanimous : Absolutely commercial!

MacRostie : We experimented with it very briefly several years ago, but it is not a practice we use. I am amazed at the variety of products out there in this category, but I am not a believer and don’t use them. Tolbert : I’m not using them because the fruit I’m working with today

doesn’t need a boost. I have used them working with large producers. We would co-ferment wood chips, hoping it would help mask pyrazine. It was hard to tell, if it worked, because I think it sneaks back in later, but you’ve got to do something. Sternfeld : We don’t use any of that at Cline or Jacuzzi, but at a different winery we tried manipulating tannin and color on high-end Cabernets. We had three different tanks from the same vineyard with different tannin additions. My job was to check the phenolic levels. In each of those tanks the tannin and color levels changed and were different almost exactly as the manufacturers had predicted. However, after three months in barrel, there was almost no difference. The difference disappeared, and it was the characteristics of the particular vineyard that showed through. So the effects of some of these additives are just temporary.

Tolbert : I choose yeast strains with a specific purpose and based on past

performance. What I am looking for is a yeast that is going to complete the fermentation. There is nothing more discouraging than a stuck fermentation. Then, I am looking for characteristics from that yeast strain that are desirable. I will use a different yeast strain for Zinfandel than I will use for Merlot. MacRostie : I have flirted with some native yeast fermentations, but my

experience showed issues with their ability to finish, and I didn’t see enough qualitative difference worth taking the risk. We use different selections of yeast in various lots. The goal is to blend these different lots to gain complexity. Sternfeld : Considering that between our two wineries we bring in 38

different varieties of grapes and there are more than 52 different types of wine, completion of fermentation is our number one priority. The Zinfandels and Rhône varieties coming in from Oakley are extremely difficult to work with because they come in at very high Brix and they were planted in very sandy soils, so they come in with very little nitrogen. Preventing a stuck fermentation is very important.

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Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

Depending on the variety, I might use eight to 10 different yeasts. I use various yeast strains for the Zinfandels, but I might do some Rhône lots with yeast strains promoted as Mediterranean-style yeast. For the Italian varietals I will select an Italian-style yeast that has been proven to be good for Sangiovese versus Nebbiolo or Sagrantino. We use different yeast for different purposes and flavors.

Sternfeld : If our fermentations start to stick, we might use 100 percent

autolyzed yeast additive and yeast hulls, but I found even adding a nutrient blend with DAP in it will finish the fermentation. Those high-Brix, lownitrogen grapes just need a lot of nutrition.

Do you add H2O when the grapes come in? How are you using nutrients?

Unanimous : Always!

Sternfeld : Especially with our Oakley grapes we have a very aggressive nutrient program. We will do three different additions using nutrient blends of Superfood, Superferm, Startup and DAP. Sonoma County grapes don’t need as

Tolbert : We’re just continuing the irrigation cycle. Especially with Zinfandel,

many nutrients, so we may just do one or two additions during fermentation. MacRostie : Yeah, I would say aggressive is our headline as well. We learned

the hard way, as winemakers, how to dial in all of the nuances of nutrition for a happy and healthy fermentation. We use Goferm and a general nutrient, a micro-nutrient and lastly a bit of DAP. We run YAN numbers to help direct us. Even if the numbers are satisfactory, we will add some nutrients prescriptively as well. Tolbert : You have to adjust the nutrient levels. Working with organically

grown fruit, we were prohibited from using DAP, so I got very comfortable using CCOF-approved products and achieving the same results. I think it is better not to add it all at once but in several stages and never below 8° Brix because you want it to be consumed.

for example, which can be 24.5° Brix in the crusher, is 25.5° the next day, is 26.5° the third day and the Brix goes up even at the beginning of fermentation. If you are not adding water, then you will end up with 18 percent alcohol or a stuck fermentation. It is a no brainer with Zinfandel. The trick is not over-adding or under-adding. The rule of thumb is 7 gallons of water per ton for 1° Brix drop, but the challenge is that the higher the Brix, the harder it is to know what the real sugar is. I would never add post-fermentation. MacRostie : Charlie covered it well. If you are picking grapes based on the

winemaker’s palate and you are tasting grapes, making a timely pick at say 25.5° Brix, you might be concerned about 15.5 percent alcohol. A modest amount of water can be added to achieve an alcohol level that gives proper balance to your wine. In California, we always have sugar ripeness that gets ahead of other things, so we are faced with that challenge every year. Picking ripe fruit with good tasting grapes and delivering balanced wine without excessive alcohol is the ultimate goal.

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22 August 2015 WBM


Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

Sternfeld : With our high-Brix grapes, we are often dealing with 26° to 28°

Brix. We usually let it soak overnight before we do our final Brix analysis to determine how much water to add. We would theoretically like to start fermentation around 25.5° Brix. We’ll look at it 24 hours later to see if it needs a bit more. We have to use water, or it won’t ferment to dryness.

Do you make acid additions and why? Sternfeld : We also make acid additions as appropriate for the grapes. A lot

of grapes coming in are low acid and high pH. We try to get the acids up to 0.7 TA. Then after the fermentation is over, before we start putting it on wood, we’ll do a second tartaric adjustment if it is required. MacRostie : We have access to a proprietary software program that allows

us to do a buffering titration on the must to predict how much tartaric acid you need to add to the lot to achieve the desired pH after malolactic completes. It works pretty well. It has taken some time to get to know it, but we’ve learned to work with it. Like Jeff, we sometimes need to make tweaks after fermentation. Tolbert : I’ve pretty much gotten away from adding acid. Sometimes you

are not happy with the TA number. It might be lower than you are used to. To me pH is more important, and I don’t get too nervous unless I see like a Syrah around 4.0 pH, but I live with what I get, pretty much. To me it is about, “How does the wine taste?” more than what the analysis says.

What do you add for malolactic fermentation, if anything? Sternfeld : We always have high alcohol wines to deal with, so the first juice

that is produced goes to an inoculum tank. We add the malolactic bacteria cultures to that with nutrients. Some years it works great, others not so much. We use that inoculum to dose the red tanks as they finish alcohol fermentation. Then we use some of the freshly pressed off juice to re-feed the inoculum. Tolbert : I’ve had good luck with the Christian Hansen Viniflora CH 16.

Although it is against conventional wisdom, I like to inoculate concurrent with fermentation at around 12° to 15° Brix. The fermentation is in the ideal spot for the malolactic bacteria to grow because it is warm, there’s lots of stuff for it to eat, and the alcohol is not too high. The risk is that if the ML finishes before the primary, you could have potential problems with VA, but I haven’t encountered that. MacRostie : We used to do that but no more. We wait until our wines are

dry before inoculating. We do use both types of Christian Hansen Viniflora. one for lower alcohol and one for higher alcohol. We also do full malolactic on the Chardonnay, which can be hard to get through ML.

24 August 2015 WBM


Winemaker Roundtable:

“Cleanliness is the basic condition for wine quality.”

Additives

What types of fining agents have you used or do you know about?

- Emile Peynaud

MacRostie : Our winery does very little fining on red wine. Egg whites are preferred, but we don’t normally have tannin issues with Pinot Noir. Chardonnays do require some fine tuning. Isinglass is the go-to product to clarify before bottling. We often use bentonite at the same time. Lately we have used some casein, which helps prevent browning and darkening of the wine. It keeps the color fresh and straw-like as long as possible. We use potassium bitartrate (KHT) for cold stability. The new carboxymethylcellulose is intriguing, but I have not worked with it to provide cold stability.

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Sternfeld : We use no fining agents outside of bentonite for the whites, but

every tank of white and red wine goes through cold stabilization before any oak aging. We add the KHT and crank the chillers down to 28° to 30°. The wine is usually cold stable in two to three weeks. Tolbert : I’ve gotten away from fining any red wine because the new processing equipment gives more whole berries and the presses are so efficient that we are not getting excessive tannins. For white wines, we do heat stability. I have seen some real success on cold stability with electrodialysis at a larger producer. It is one pass, and it is done. You are not chilling the wine down and then heating it back up to bottle using enormous amounts of energy. The taste tests we did were triangulated, and no one could tell the difference. MacRostie : Unfortunately, that is cost-prohibitive for a small winery.

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What is being added to your wines during aging? Sternfeld : All of our oak flavoring is done with oak staves in tank. That

usually takes one to three months, depending on the wine and wine style we are trying to produce. We do have several thousand oak barrels, but they are older. All of the wine rotates between the tanks and the barrels. We make sure that the high-end and Ancient Vine series go into oak for the micro-ox aging that you can only get from barrels. We have experimented with bags of oak cubes instead of tank staves but haven’t changed protocols. Tolbert : Where I am now, we are using barrels. I like to use between 25 and 30 percent new barrels for Zinfandel. For Merlot, I like 35 to 45 percent new oak. I do incorporate barrel staves, not because of the economics but because I like that element of the particular producer I am working with. It is a small percentage. It allows you to tune up wines a couple of months before bottling, which is a very useful tool to have. MacRostie : Current practice at our winery is 100 percent French oak barrels for aging our red wine and fermenting and aging our whites. We use 20 percent new oak for Chardonnay and 35 percent new oak for Pinot Noir. We have used staves in neutral barrels in the past, which worked well, but trying staves in small tanks for white fermentations and aging proved unsatisfactory.


Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

Do you add CO2 or other gases to your wine? MacRostie : It is something you should pay attention to with any wine.

There are optimum levels of CO2 for various types of white wine and red wines too, so I think every thoughtful winemaker should pay attention to CO2 levels. You can either take it out or in some rare cases put it back in. Sternfeld : We have optimum levels of CO2 for our wines at bottling. We will

strip it out with nitrogen if needed. We also adjust for DO at bottling.

What kinds of additives are used to solve problems? MacRostie : The two that come up on my radar screen are Brettanomyces

and sulfides. There is a proprietary product to deal with Brett. A single lot of Cabernet for a consulting client showed significant levels of 4-EP and 4-EG. Sure enough, there were active cells of Brett shown by plating. I used this product, and it did work. It was a fining agent, and it contained the viability of the cells growing in the wine although it did not reduce the Brett character. As for sulfides, we now have tools to determine what type of sulfides are in a wine. It may be expensive, but they can tell you exactly what you have. Copper sulfate solves most of those problems. The real meddlesome are those with the disulfide bond that is so hard to get rid of and requires some ascorbic acid to break the bond so the copper sulfate can get at it.

28 August 2015 WBM

Tolbert : Brett, VA and sulfides. You have to head these things off at the pass. You know that SO2 and colder temperatures inhibit Brett. There are some vicious strains of VA that can be very challenging, especially when you are shipping wine around in tanker trucks, which increases the risk of contamination. Cross-flow filtration is pretty effective at removing those bugs causing VA along with elevated SO2 and cold temperature. A friend of mine used to say, “SO2 is the poor man’s heat exchanger.” With the reductive compounds, that is where prevention is really helpful. If you can prevent that from starting, whether it comes from residual sulfur on grapes or nutrient deficiencies in the fermentation, catching that early is essential. When you make CCOF wines, you can’t use copper, so it is critical that you prevent that stuff. Sternfeld : Well, so far, we’ve never had a Brett problem. Our problems would

be sulfide, which we will treat with copper if necessary. VA is probably our big bugaboo, especially with the older barrels. We are now totally automated for SO2 checks. Every barrel lot and every tank gets checked every month for SO2 levels and VA. The other thing that we can do is remove high VA wine out of the barrel lots. Because we own the Olive Press, any nasty barrels go to an off-site barn where we let it go completely over to vinegar and then sell the vinegar.


Winemaker Roundtable:

Additives

There is a fine balance between making wine decisions based on what you have learned, and making wine that is controlled and produced to be “safe.”

an interesting roundtable. All three winemakers were candid and forthcoming about how they used various additives. Even though there were definite stylistic differences in the wines they chose to produce, they dealt with many of the same problems and decisions. They all agreed, and I believe them, that they only used additives in an attempt to make better wine. I noticed that most of the additives used were pretty standard, but the ways they used them varied a bit. They might add them earlier or later in the process, but for the most part they used similar products in similar ways. As I transcribed and edited the story, a feeling seeped out through their comments. Although it was not stated directly, I got the definite feeling that these winemakers tried to make their wines as naturally as they could. Over the years, they had gone through periods using no SO2. They had tried native yeast fermentations and native malolactic fermentations. They experimented with different enzymes, tannin additives and color fixers, and they had been burned. As natural as they preferred to be with their winemaking, they were more and more sticking with what worked. They were reluctant to believe the wild promises of product suppliers, preferring to run their own experiments and judge for themselves. Changes to their winemaking regimens occurred slowly and bit by bit. Maybe this is the gift that experience brings to winemakers. They have worked on the edges, lived dangerously and now use what they have learned to make the best wine possible. They add things they think work well and make their wine better. They choose not to add things with unproven promises or short-term effects. This is a sensible way to make wine, so long as experience doesn’t make you too conservative. There is a fine balance between making wine decisions based on what you have learned, and making wine that is controlled and produced to be “safe.” It seems that some of the most interesting wines are made involving quite a bit of risk. Pushing that boundary makes a lot of sense, as long as you learn from your experience and adjust your winemaking accordingly. WBM THIS PROVED TO BE

30 August 2015 WBM


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winemaking

Winemaker Trial:

High-Temperature Tolerant Yeast

Daou Vineyards & Winery experiments on Cabernet Sauvignon with yeasts isolated from the vineyard

Curtis Phillips, an editor for Wine Business Monthly since 2000, is a graduate of UC Davis, and has been a winemaker since 1984 and an agricultural consultant since 1979.

Curtis Phillips

W I N E M A K I N G I S , O R C A N be, an interesting avocation. It is a profession that lies at the intersection of art, craft and science. The best winemakers combine the mind of a scientist with the soul of an artist with the discipline of a craftsman and, ideally, the skepticism of an iconoclast. I’ll expand on this point later on, but I think winemaking trials can be a means by which the winemaker finds his or her preferred balance between art and science, craft and iconoclasm.

Winemaking Trials Pretty much every winery conducts some sort of winemaking trial as a matter of routine. Unfortunately, a lot of the results from this experimentation remain in-house and unshared with other winemakers. Just as importantly, winemakers rarely receive the benefit of an outside perspective for their winemaking trials. In order to foster increased dialog between winemakers, we included an informal forum for winemakers to share their winemaking trials at our inaugural Innovation+Quality (IQ) conference. I’ll be featuring a selection of these trials in the coming issues of Wine Business Monthly.

My Take Some years ago yeast selected for higher alcohol tolerance were isolated from spontaneous Syrah fermentations in the Rockpile AVA and commercialized as RP15. Similarly the commercial yeast strain Uvaferm 43, which was used as the control yeast in the Daou Vineyards & Winery trial, was selected for it’s alcohol tolerance. The Daou Vineyards yeast trial is interesting because rather than selecting for alcohol tolerance, they were looking for heat tolerance. While there are several yeast strains that are sensitive to low temperatures, and several strains, including the alcohol-tolerant strains listed above, that are pretty tolerant of high fermentation temperatures, I can’t recall any commercial yeast strain that was selected for hot fermentations as a primary attribute. To my mind, Daou’s stated reasons for pursuing a high-temperature yeast strain are valid. Alcohol and temperature appear to exert a large influence on phenolic extraction and solubility.

32 August 2015 WBM

High-temperature Tolerant Yeast Trial by Daniel Daou, winemaker and proprieter, Daou Vineyards & Winery

DESCRIPTION Having ascertained that fermentation temperature can produce a significant impact on phenolic extraction, we began a program of isolating strains of yeast from the property in order to conduct experiments hopefully leading to the discovery of a strain with higher temperature tolerances. Our first trial was on fruit from 2014. We conducted two fermentations of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, one with the commercial yeast Uvaferm 43® and the other with a yeast isolated from Daou Mountain designated 7113. Both tanks were set to allow a maximum temperature of 95º F. LOT DESCRIPTION 2014 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented with a yeast isolated from Daou Estate Vineyard. CONCLUSION The hope that we had isolated a yeast that could ferment to dryness at temperatures upwards of 95º F was not realized. Both the Uvaferm 43 and the Daou isolate 7113 stopped fermenting at around 4 g/l and 3 g/l respectively. Other measures were required to complete the fermentations. However, the Daou yeast did achieve a higher maximum fermentation temperature (93º F) than the Uvaferm 43 (91º F), and resulted in a greater level of phenolic extraction and bound anthocyanins. The Daou yeast yielded 199 ppm [total phenols] whereas the [total phenols for the] Uvaferm 43 was 181 ppm. This is further evidence that fermentation temperature can have a significant effect [on] the resulting wine’s phenolic profile. * This trial was originally presented at Wine Business Monthly’s Innovation+Quality conference in March 2015. For more on trials featured at IQ, visit www.winebusinessIQ.com.


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I suspect that my first bit of advice will be repeated a lot in future articles, but more trials are needed. I would like to see more replicates per individual trial. The fact that both the experiment and the control fermentations stuck is significant. I suspect that the fermentation regime can be modified to be more successful. In particular I would closely monitor the temperature in the cap. If the fermentation hits temperatures between 91º F to 93º F it is likely that the cap temperatures exceed 100º F. Perhaps moving to a submerged cap or more frequently irrigated-cap fermentation regime would enable the winemaker to wring another couple degrees out of the yeast. As a general rule, I would do everything possible to build up the cell walls in the yeast cells during the early phases of fermentation. I would be generous with the oxygen an YAN early in the fermentation. Also, I would 16:55 closely monitor the fermentation and run a pump-over through a tube-intube heat exchanger to bring the temperature down a couple degrees if the fermentation got sluggish.

The Role of Effective Winemaker Trials in Intentional Winemaking As I noted above, winemaking is, or at least can be, an interesting avocation. The fact that it is a profession that lies at the intersection of art, craft, and science can allow a winemaker to scientific experimentation to bring an artistic vision into existence provided one can keep the two in balance. If the best winemakers combine the mind of a scientist with the soul of an artist with the discipline of a craftsman and, the skepticism of an iconoclast, they have to keep these attributes in balance despite, or perhaps because of, the inherent tensions between them. This may not be a conscious process, but I don’t think it happens by accident. Neither is there merely one single way to strike a balance between these ideas. Wine, quality wine, comes out the intersection of these conflicting impulses:

Artistry Craft

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Iconoclasm

Science


Using a slightly different vocabulary, we might perceive this conceptual cruces like this:

Intuition Traditional

Intuition needs to be leavened by knowledge. Knowledge is sterile without intuition. Without a knowledge of tradition, the newfangled merely repeats forgotten mistakes of the past. Left unexamined, however, tradition stultifies into mediocrity. One has to know “the rules” in order to be able to break them to good effect. In winemaking terms one could say that wines made “by the numbers” (knowledge alone) or “by recipe” (tradition alone) will usually be inferior to wines where the winemaker is able to use his or her knowledge to bring the wine he or she envisions into existence.

Getting More from Your Winemaking Trials

New

As we are gearing up for crush, here are some of my tips for getting more useful results from your winemaking trials. • Control: One cannot expect to determine if the winemaking trial was

successful unless one has something with which to compare it. • Measure: Laboratory analysis and numbers aren’t everything, but one

Knowledge

should still measure as much as one can. This includes sending samples from any wine trials out to an outside laboratory service provider for analysis. The informal sensory analysis conducted in most wineries is usually untrustworthy for a number of reasons including too few tasters, lack of double-blind (even just blind) sensory trials, and cellar-palate. • Focus: An experiment that attempts to examine everything, examines

nothing. • Repeat: A one-shot experiment doesn’t really tell us much. Any results may just be a one-off fluke. WBM

WBM August 2015 35


winemaking

Minimizing the Brettanomyces Aroma No microbe is an island: Why lactic acid bacteria are part of managing Brettanomyces Erika Szymanski

Erika Szymanski is a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Science Communication in Dunedin, New Zealand, where she studies the connection between researchers and wine practitioners and how science communication could better serve the industry. She previously studied microbiology, rhetoric and composition, and wine in eastern Washington state and upstate New York.

C O M B A T I N G B R E T T A N O M Y C E S , L I K E C O M B A T I N G most spoilage microbes, means using one of three basic strategies. First, exclude it: try to keep the yeast out of wine in the first place. Second, discourage its growth: make wine a less Brett-friendly place by keeping pH low, minimizing oxygen and adding anti-microbial chemicals. Third, minimize its stink potential: if the biggest problem with Brett is its signature aroma, try to prevent the bug from making it. Research into lactic acid bacteria used for malolactic fermentation (MLF) has found a new and wonderfully simple way to take that third approach. Brettanomyces bruxellensis (“Brett,” colloquially, also known as Dekkera in its spore-forming version) can be responsible for unwanted microbial growth after bottling. Far and away its main crime, however, is producing animal/medicinal/smoky notes that many tasters find objectionable and can obscure fruit. That defect is the result of Brett metabolizing precursor molecules naturally found in grapes and wine. Reducing the pool of precursor molecules then limits the amount of stink Brett can create. At least one lactic acid bacteria strain used for MLF can increase that pool. A winemaker’s choice of MLF bacteria can therefore increase or limit the potential amount of stink that can follow a Brett infection.

How Brett Produces its Signature Scent Grape juice naturally and invariably contains hydroxycinnamic acids (albeit in differing quantities), the precursor molecules that Brett metabolizes to create the volatile phenols 4-ethylphenol (barnyard/medicinal) and 4-ethylguiacol (clove/leather), which constitute the main components of “Brettyness.” But the bulk of hydroxycinnamic acid molecules are out of Brett’s reach. In both grape juice and wine, most are chemically bound to tartaric acid, and Brett can metabolize them only when they are not bound. The hydroxycinnamate-tartrate bond breaks every now and again under acidic conditions, so small amounts of those pre-volatile phenols are gradually freed up during normal winemaking and aging. Even that fairly slow, spontaneous reaction can be enough to fuel a sensory change if Brett is around. Brett typically produces 4-EP in quantities several times higher than 4-EG, but 4-EG has a lower sensory threshold, and both are a substantial part of “Brett” character. Sensory thresholds for the two molecules can

36 August 2015 WBM

vary widely with the specific wine and the taster, but 4-EP can usually be detected at 300 to 600 µg/L and 4-EG at 50 to 150 µg/L. Brett is the only wine-related microorganism capable of producing those volatile phenols in any relevant amounts.

What Lactic Acid Bacteria Have To Do With It If you want a chemical bond to break faster, add an enzyme. Lactic acid bacteria can produce one—cinnamoyl esterase—that specifically breaks the hydroxycinnamic acid-tartaric acid bond with the effect of increasing the available pool of free hydroxycinnamic acid. That enzyme can have a dramatic effect on how much 4-EP and 4-EG Brett creates and the resulting sensory impact, according to recent research by James Osborne. Osborne, an assistant professor and microbial enologist at Oregon State University, was focusing on a different question about lactic acid bacteria in wine when a student made an interesting, accidental observation. Among many bottles of lactic acid bacteria-plus-Brett he was growing for a different study, one smelled drastically worse than the rest. Even though the wine and the Brett in all of the bottles were exactly the same, that bacteria—Viniflora oenos, an Oenococcus oeni strain from Chr. Hansen —was creating what would be, for a commercial wine, a much bigger problem. Brett grew well in all of the wines, regardless of which lactic acid bacteria had been responsible for MLF. Brett also metabolized essentially all of the available free hydroxycinnamic acids in all of the wines over a 40-day incubation period. (Not all Brett strains will metabolize all available hydroxycinnamic acids so effectively.) But because the wine inoculated with Viniflora oenos contained more available acids when Brett began to act, the final concentration of 4-EP in that wine was more than five times what was found in the other wines. In the company of an MLF strain without this enzymatic activity, Brett inoculation resulted in 4-EP concentrations below a realistic sensory threshold (260 µg/L). With a strain containing the enzyme, 4-EP concentrations exceeded that sensory threshold (300 to 600 µg/L) more than three times over (1,580 µg/L). Choosing a bacterial strain for MLF that doesn’t increase free hydroxycinnamic acids won’t keep a wine Brett-free. Choosing one that does increase them won’t cause Bretty-ness. The bacteria is only an accomplice to Brett’s


crime: it can make matters worse—much worse—but it can’t create the problem on its own. Without Brett in the wine, whether your MLF bacteria make cinnamoyl esterase is irrelevant. Thus far, only one of the commercial strains that Osborne’s lab has tested demonstrates the enzymatic activity, though cinnamoyl esterase has also been found in Lactobacillus strains used in cheese making. The lab is continuing to test both commercial MLF strains and isolates from wines that undergo MLF spontaneously. It’s thought that the enzyme may help bacteria break down plant cell walls for better nutrient access in the wild, but Osborne has no idea whether having the enzyme offers a competitive advantage in the wine environment or what other factors it might be associated with. Investigating these questions in the future may help identify where else to look for the enzyme in addition to building better general understanding of MLF bacteria.

Brett in Context In addition to the immediate practical implications, this finding makes a bigger point. Spoilage microorganisms are sometimes a problem not because of the presence of the microbe, but because of what the microbe does. When that’s the case, preventing the problem can be as much about limiting the microbe’s activity as about limiting the microbe’s growth. Those aren’t necessarily the same things. Brett grew well in the presence of all of the lactic acid bacteria Osborne’s lab tested but only caused a sensory defect in one. Moreover, the effect was so strong in part because Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which Osborne’s lab routinely uses for these trials, typically contains lots of hydroxycinnamic acids in the bound form and very little in the free form. Both the total amounts of those acids and the ratio of the bound to the free form vary widely with grape variety and origin. Work back in the 1970s found a greater than three-fold difference in bound hydroxycinnamic acids among grapes grown in several vineyards across eastern Washington: Gewürztraminer, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon came in at the low end; Riesling, Pinot Noir and Muscats at the high end; Chardonnay in the middle. On the other hand, similar analyses in Australian reds found higher hydroxycinnamic acid concentrations in Merlots and Cabernets than in Pinot Noirs. The difference may have to do with ripeness: as for other phenolic compounds, hydroxycinnamic acid concentrations increase with increased ripeness. There’s clearly space for more research documenting total and free versus bound hydroxycinnamic acid ratios, and the results are bound to help us understand why Brett is so much more of a problem in some settings than in others.

Practical Implications There are two ways of using this research. The first: relying on specific bacterial strains to complete MLF—we know of one, but there may be others—can dramatically worsen the resulting sensory defect if you have Brett in your wine. If you suspect that Brett contamination may be an issue, you’re best to avoid choosing this strain simply as an extra measure of insurance in an overall Brett prevention program. The second: whether Brett is a problem isn’t a factor just for the presence of the yeast itself but how the yeast interacts with its environment. Microbiology and sensory research are increasingly making the Brett conversation more nuanced. Brett isn’t universally undesirable; even if you’re in the anti-Brett camp, you have to acknowledge that some winemakers and some consumers are accepting, even welcoming, of some degree of Brett

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DO YOU RECOGNIZE THESE YEASTS? WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE CAN HURT YOUR WINE

Left: Kloeckera (Hanseniaspora) is the most common yeast on grapes, though up to 100 other non-Saccharomyes species can come from grapes, and most are undesirable in wine. Kloeckera produces ethyl acetate and acetic acid, often causing stuck ferments. The problems start before fermentation and although the yeast itself dies, the effects can last throughout the wine’s life. Middle: Zygosaccharomyces, a difficult problem in bottled wines. Insensitive to SO2 and sorbate, Zygo can live in bottling lines, causing months or years of fermenting wines. Zygo often comes into wines from grape juice concentrate. Right: Brettanomyces Brettanomyces is ubiquitous in barrels in wineries that make red wine, so every winemaker should be aware of the likelihood of Brettanomyces in the cellar. It is not as difficult to identify as those who sell expensive genetic tests say. OUR Brettanomyces culturing takes only 7 DAYS (sometimes even less), unlike other methods that take 10 or more days. We often train winery lab staff to do in-house cost-effective culturing. TALK TO US ABOUT BRETTANOMYCES! WE HAVE STUDIED IT FOR 40 YEARS. Contact Lisa Van de Water, 707-953-7072, badwinelady@aol.com

WBM August 2015 37


Minimizing the Brettanomyces Aroma

There’s clearly space for more research documenting

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total and free versus bound hydroxycinnamic acid ratios, and the results are bound to help

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us understand why Brett is so much more of a problem in some settings than in others. character. With increased interest among some members of the other camp in “complexity”—or less sparkling-clean wines, if you’d rather—and in using fewer chemical inputs, it makes sense to think about Brett as a spectrum of possible outcomes, some potentially positive or neutral, rather than a universal negative. The un-ignorable problem with courting positive-impact Brett is control: there’s no sure way of stopping Brett before things get overtly stinky. But if we can quantify the amount of hydroxycinnamic acids Brett has at its disposal as a function of grape variety and origin, and then avoid increasing those amounts by adding enzyme activity in the form of MLF bacteria, we should be able to set a maximum threshold for the amount of 4-EP and 4-EG Brett can potentially make. Regardless of whether you see Brett as a universal negative, it’s easy to observe that the sensory impact of a Brett infection varies widely. The availability of substrate molecules is a major part of calculating those risks and predicting outcomes. That reasoning, and lactic acid bacteria, will be part of the picture we’re slowly drawing about the difference between sub-threshold Brett infection, sometimes-agreeable Brett-y complexity and hold-yournose-awful spoilage. WBM

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Bin to Bottle is Ready.

Bring It.

References Chattonet, P.; Dubourdieu, D.; Boidron, J.-N.; and Pons. M. (1992) The origin of ethylphenols in wines. J. Sci. Food Agric. 60(2):165-178. Chescheir, S.; Philbin, D.; and Osborne, J.P. (2015) Impact of Oenococcus oeni on wine hydroxycinnamic acids and volatile phenol production by Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Am. J. Enol. Vit. doi: 10.5344/ajev.2015.14108.

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Guglielmetti, S.; De Noni, I.; Caracciolo, F.; Molinari, F.; Parini, C.; and Diego, M. (2008) Bacterial cinnamoyl esterase activity screening for the production of a novel functional food product. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74(4):1284-1288. Nagel, C.W., Baranowski, J.D., Wulf, L.W., and Powers, J.R. (1979) The hydroxycinnamic acid tartaric acid ester content of musts and grape varieties grown in the Pacific northwest. Am. J. Enol. Vit. 30(3): 198-201.

WBM August 2015 39


winemaking

Insight & Opinion

A Quest for Lower Alcohol Dan Berger Dan Berger began writing about wine in 1976 and has been nationally syndicated since 1979. He earned a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for The Associated Press for 10 years. After other newspaper stints, he was The Los Angeles Times staff wine columnist for eight years. Today he produces a weekly wine newsletter, Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences, and contributes to numerous other publications. He is a wine judge both in the United States and internationally, has been a keynote speaker at numerous wine conferences, and is a vice president and on the board of directors of the International Riesling Foundation. He also runs the Riverside International Wine Competition and has been named to the New York Wine Writers Circle Hall of Fame.

escalating alcohol levels, mainly in red wines that aim to garner high scores, a quiet move is afoot in many locations around the globe to produce full-flavored wines with less alcohol. A lot less in some cases. The evidence seems to be everywhere, though you have to look on various obscure websites and in research laboratories of some fairly innocuouslooking companies to find it. But evidence is mounting that after more than 20 years of a marketplace filled with table wines that tasted more like high proof, wineries are seeking a way to deliver more approachable wines that do not have the heat of a fire-breathing dragon. In most cases, the sought-after alcohol levels are even less than the typical 10 percent of many German Rieslings. I got a taste of this two years ago during the Riesling Rendezvous at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington state, where Dr. John Forrest of New Zealand and I spoke about a vineyard technique he was working on with a team of viticulturists. This technique removes certain leaves from the canopies of various winegrapes to reach a state where the fruit has less overall sugar. The target: to make a full-flavored wine without the alcohol. Forrest, who owns the New Zealand house of Forrest Estate, said he had already made both a Riesling as well as a Pinot Noir with lower alcohols, yet both wines had the same sort of flavors as more traditional wines. His project is under careful review by New Zealand wine scientists, and preliminary scientific papers have been published that indicate the value of his research. Four months after meeting with Dr. Forrest, I was the only U.S. judge at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Auckland. During that trip, I flew to Marlborough and visited with two of the men who were working on Brancott Estate Wine’s Flight Song, two wines—a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir—with well under 10 percent alcohol each. Both of the wines have been released to market, and there is good U.S. distribution. AFTER TWO DECADES OF

40 August 2015 WBM

The wines are so mainstream in character that I was hard-pressed to tell which one was the “regular” bottling and which was the lower-alcohol version (the comparison was Brancott’s regular bottling versus the Flight Song). This spring I interviewed Richard Lee, project marketing manager for the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW), who is heading up marketing efforts for a consortium of New Zealand wineries that all are working on lower-alcohol wines. This joint venture between NZW and the New Zealand government’s Ministry of Primary Industries aims to develop a complete tier of premium, lower-alcohol wines. Lee said there is still some resistance worldwide for lower-alcohol table wines but admits that the task of making such wines remains in its infancy. He said there are various methods of making lower-alcohol wines, including use of alcohol-lowering equipment such as reverse osmosis or the spinning cone, use of careful water additions, early harvested fruit and development of yeast strains that produce lower alcohols. All such ideas have been in use in Australia for some time, and were mentioned in an Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) summary of concepts issued recently. These are part of ongoing work undertaken by AWRI researchers, and the report began with the reason for its interest in the topic: “High alcohol content can be problematic because it potentially compromises wine flavor, increases export costs in countries where taxes are levied according to ethanol content, and raises health concerns associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Therefore, the wine sector is pursuing strategies to lower the ethanol content of wine without compromising quality or increasing input costs,” the report stated. In Australia, the Lindeman’s brand has already sent a Chardonnay called Early Harvest to the United States market that is light, elegant and full flavored, with just 7 percent alcohol.


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A Quest for Lower Alcohol

Low Alcohol in the United States The idea of making low-alcohol wines in the United States has been around for decades and was pioneered into a well-accepted idea 40 years ago by German-born and -trained winemaker Ed Friedrich of San Martin Winery in California’s Central Coast. Friedrich, an expatriate of the Mosel Valley, loved the lower alcohols of Mosel Rieslings, so he developed a line of what he called “soft wines,” with 7 to 9 percent alcohol. The so-called light wines followed. Some of the marketing for these wines sounded like an appeal to those on diets: low-alcohol wines had less alcohol, thus fewer calories, and dieters would benefit. A six-ounce glass of dry wine with 14.5 percent alcohol has about 150 calories. That figure drops to 70 calories if the wine has only 7 percent alcohol. The problem is that many people who consume wine are not concerned about the calories. Past efforts to make it appear that low-alcohol wine was healthier failed because of the implication that consumers would get a lessthan-satisfying beverage.

Wine and Health Research Health and low-alcohol wines are at the heart of a research project that has been ongoing at Pirramimma Wines in Australia’s McLaren Vale since the late 1990s. It may have started with ideas that were floating around with people who liked using reverse osmosis to remove alcohol from traditional table wine, such as California winemaker Clark Smith. Using a technique called evaporative perstraction, winemakers put the wine through a distillation process and later take the permeate that had been removed and put it back into the lower-alcohol wine. The process called for use of a large still, which was unwieldy. So Australians came up with the idea of heating the permeate, which could also lower the alcohol in wines without a loss in flavor. That technology led to the creation of a company called Memstar, which uses various membranes connected to one another to remove flaws from wines, in addition to lowering alcohol. Some of the original work in this area was done by Geoff Johnston, winemaker for Pirramimma Wines, who noted that Asians and some other ethnic groups genetically generate lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase, the element that helps deal with the body’s alcohol metabolism. It’s one reason certain ethnic groups have a greater sensitivity to alcoholism. Johnston developed a line of lower-alcohol wines for Pirramimma called Pirra. In that line is a red wine, a Grenache-Syrah blend, that has only a bit more than 11 percent alcohol. A decade ago, Michael Paetzold of Cadaujac, France developed and began marketing a product called Lir, with about 6 percent alcohol. Paetzold said the wine was made using a proprietary method and didn’t elaborate.

alcohol is ongoing in many countries using various techniques, and it remains to be seen which tactic will turn out to be the best one in terms of quality. But the real news isn’t which technique is best but which wines become consumer favorites. Some of the early versions are already proving to be successful, with more on the horizon. WBM

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42 August 2015 WBM


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grape growing

Taking the Macro View on Foliar Fertilization Macronutrients may be applied foliarly with beneficial effect. Dr. Mark Greenspan has two decades of scientific viticulture research and viticultural field experience. He specializes in irrigation and nutrition management, yield and canopy management, fruit maturation, vineyard climate and microclimate, and vineyard technology. He is the founder of Advanced Viticulture, LLC, based in Santa Rosa, California (www.advancedvit.com), providing consulting services to wineries, winemakers and wine growers devoted to producing premium wine products. Please direct queries to mark@advancedvit.com or 707-838-3805.

Mark Greenspan I have been stressing to my clients, and in these WBM columns , that foliar fertilization is a cost-effective and often necessary method of applying micronutrients to vines, but the method was not useful or recommended for macronutrients. I have recently changed my mind and actions about foliar application of the macros and have seen them used effectively as an adjunct or replacement for soil-applied nutrients. As you probably know, nutrients are essential elements for plants, most of which are obtained from the soil solution by the plant roots. However, most soils are not complete reservoirs of nutrients for all but native species of plants. We must supplement the deficient ones through application of fertilizers. Micronutrients, including Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), Boron (B), Manganese (Mn) and Zinc (Zn)—though Chlorine (Cl) is also in the list as are sometimes Nickel (Ni) and Cobalt (Co)—are needed sparingly, usually fractions of pounds per acre per year. They often serve as enzyme cofactors and messengers, so they affect many critical plant processes, even though in small quantities. Macronutrients, including Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg), are needed in much larger quantities by the vines, on the order of tens of pounds per acre per year. They are found in structural and enzymatic proteins, chlorophyll and other molecules, or are used as energy carriers, ions used for movement of water between the apoplast and symplast (outside and inside of plant cells, respectively) and serve other functions as well. As you probably know, the typical ways to supplement macronutrients are though soil amendments (preferably prior to planting), soil applications to the vines (by spreading dry material) but more commonly by injection in the irrigation system. With micronutrients, they are commonly applied foliarly, blended in the tank along with some of the standard fungicide applications. Because they are needed in small quantities, it is very easy to get vines into nutrient balance easily and at a fairly low cost. But, I have always touted the foliar nutrient applications as part of the micronutrient world and have said that it was a waste of time to apply the macronutrients in this manner. I must stand corrected as I have seen others FOR YEARS AND YEARS 1

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successful in using foliar macronutrients and have done the same with positive effect. But first, I should state that foliar fertilization is not necessarily a replacement for good soil nutrition—it can be a useful and cost-effective adjunct to it, however.

Why Bother with Foliar Nutrient Applications? My general preference is to apply nutrients to the soil and to build a balanced reservoir of nutrients for the vineyard this way. But, there are some good reasons to use foliar fertilization for macronutrients. Here are a few: 1. You don’t want to irrigate or can’t irrigate. Dry-farmed vineyards don’t

have the luxury of fertigation, so foliars can be a great way to supply nutrition. And sometimes we simply do not want to irrigate at certain times of the year, such as when we are trying to constrain vegetative growth by restricting water application. So while we may want to apply that earlyseason K fertilization, we are not restricted from applying it because of a desire not to irrigate at that time. This 2015 season in the North Coast was dealt a rather dry spring, creating a dry upper soil profile. Because most nutrients are cycled in the upper levels of the soil profile, vines were struggling from N and K deficiency. We got out of some deficiency situations by using foliar fertilizers. 2. Except for those who use primarily sulfur dust for mildew control, we’re spraying anyway, so including some nutrient in the tank requires very little additional cost. 3. Soil chemistry may not allow for good uptake of specific nutrients. There

could be many reasons for this. High or low soil pH can immobilize many nutrients, not the least of which is P. High Mg soils can limit uptake of K and sometimes Ca. Conversely, high K soils may limit Mg uptake. It is best


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Taking the Macro View on Foliar Fertilization

to amend soils so these situations do not arise, but not everyone does their homework before planting a vineyard. And frankly, some soils should never be planted because their chemistries are not practically correctable. But unless one wants to abandon the vineyard, foliar fertilization may be able to keep the vineyard going. 4. Water chemistry may not allow for application of certain nutrients. For

instance, water high in carbonates/bicarbonates cannot be used to inject Mg or Ca, or precipitation could occur. Water high in Ca can cause precipitates with phosphate fertilizers. While this can be a problem for sprayers also, it is easier to correct the lower volume of spray water or change the form of nutrient to reduce the risk of clogging.

A Few Basics for Foliar Applications 1. Don’t listen to me, I’m not a chemist. I’m giving you advice here based on my experiences, very good knowledge of grapevine nutrition but only limited knowledge of chemistry (although I got As in chemistry, that was a long time ago).

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2. Use a good surfactant and don’t skimp on the rate. Foliar nutrients are

water-soluble, and water does not naturally stick to plant foliage, let alone allow the solution to penetrate into the leaf pores and into the plant’s vascular system. Most spreader/stickers used for fungicides are also good for nutrients. As plant nutrients are mostly dissolved salts, I think a non-ionic surfactant (as opposed to cationic or anionic) is the best material to carry the nutrient. 3. Don’t try to do too much with foliar fertilization. You can’t get nearly

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as much nutrient into the vines foliarly as you can through the drip irrigation system. If you apply too much, you may not be causing harm but are wasting material. Fertilizer that falls to the ground will not go away, except for nitrogen, which can form volatile forms and vaporize over time. However, some materials could cause leaf burn so read the label and don’t go with higher than recommended rates. Fertilizers are not EPA registered like pesticides are, so their labels are not standardized and regulated and are not always very informative—but most will provide guidelines for rates. Low volume, electrostatic sprayers are very useful to apply fertilizers efficiently, but rates per acre need to be reduced, or phytotoxicity could result. As a rule of thumb, I generally do not try to put out more than 2 pounds per acre of any nutrient foliarly. 4. Don’t try to cover all bases in one spray. I find it better to apply only one

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or two nutrients at a time. There are blends available, specifically intended for foliar application, and they will work, but they can be pricey. Fortunately, nutrients are needed at different times by the vines, and we rarely need to apply more than one or two at any given time. We can select some rather inexpensive materials if we focus on specific nutrients. 5. Time the applications when the vines need the nutrient. Early season, the

vines may need some N to encourage growth so apply N early (but not too close to bloom and set). Potassium can be in short supply during the spring so apply it then, as well as later on if tissue tests indicate a need. Mg is often deficient later on in the year so wait until then to apply it. In California, we rarely spray after veraison, so we are limited at that time; therefore it’s important to get nutrition adjusted before veraison.


6. Don’t spray when it’s hot and dry to avoid leaf burn. Spraying at night

Magnesium: This one is easy. For organic and conventional vineyards,

and early morning is ideal so that water does not evaporate quickly, allowing the material to diffuse into the leaves for a longer period of time. Contrary to some discussion, which I also wrote about1, nutrients are not necessarily moved into the leaves through the stomata, so it’s okay to spray at night when those pores are closed.

Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) is effective as a foliar fertilizer and is dirt cheap. It only contains 10 percent elemental magnesium, so it requires a lot of material for a little bit of correction. Still, there are few alternatives, other than the phosphites, which are great, but are more expensive and not organic.

Materials There are numerous proprietary blends available out there, and they are largely very good products. The only problem is their price tags. I’m not saying they are overpriced, but I am saying that many nutrients can be applied effectively using simple materials that can be purchased inexpensively. I’ll suggest a few generic ones here, refraining from mentioning any brand names. Usually, the dry-soluble materials are less costly than the liquid blends, so I emphasize these. Organic options can be limited, and some require the use of liquid blends, costing more money than their inorganic counterparts. Nitrogen: It’s very easy to get nitrogen into the vines. I prefer to use urea for non-organic vineyards. Use low-biuret forms of urea for foliar applications. Biuret is essentially two urea molecules linked together and is phytotoxic. Foliar grades of urea will have low amounts of this compound. I usually apply no more than 4 pounds per acre of this material at one time and have found it to be very effective and quite cheap. While urea is an organic molecule, it is not an organic fertilizer. For organic vineyards, I have used fish emulsion with poor results. Fish emulsion has too much N in organic form, which is not readily absorbed by the leaves. Rather, I have seen good results with hydrolyzed soy protein available in some commercial products, often in blends.

Calcium is probably the least effective, when applied foliarly, because it

moves only in the xylem and not in the phloem. Foliar-applied nutrients are most effective when they can translocate throughout the vine, and calcium applied to the foliage will not move around within the plant. Choices are rather limited also, and calcium could cause problems in the spray tank.

Jar Testing One last comment I’ll make that I left out of the rules of thumb list, mainly because I wanted to emphasize it. It’s also a disclaimer for me so I don’t get a bunch of calls and letters complaining about precipitation and clogging issues. Do a jar test. Take a small jar and add the materials you will be using to the jar in proper proportion. Close securely and shake vigorously and then leave the jar to settle out for about an hour. Check to see if there are any precipitates or insoluble materials. There is more detail than that to a jar test, but the idea is to test this stuff out before dumping a bunch of stuff in your spray tank. WBM REFERENCES 1

Greenspan, M. Is Nighttime Not the Right Time for Foliar Fertilization? Wine Business Monthly, April 2014.

Phosphorus: This nutrient is classically very difficult to get into vines

by foliar application. However, I have seen some positive results with phosphite-based fertilizers. Phosphite, having one less oxygen atom in its molecule than phosphate, is not a plant nutrient. However, it is better at entering the plant and eventually gets converted to phosphate inside the plant, where it is available as a nutrient. The nice thing about phosphite is it is an anion and can be used to carry cationic nutrients (K, Ca, Mg) into the plant with it. Phosphite has some antimicrobial properties also, though it is not clear what the specific benefits are for that property in the grapevine. Nevertheless, it can be useful as a form of foliar phosphorus in non-organic vineyards. For organic vineyards, the only real option I know of is finely ground rock phosphate, which also provides Ca. However, the material is not very soluble, and spray solutions must be acidified to maintain the material in solution. Nevertheless, I’ve seen good correction using this material in organic vineyards. Potassium: Another nutrient I thought would not be useful as a foliar nutrient,

I have seen good corrections of potassium. Potassium sulfate is somewhat soluble, so ultra-fines of it may be used as a foliar fertilizer. However, it may be better to use liquid versions instead, just because one does not want to clog a sprayer or erode nozzles with suspended, non-solubilized sulfate of potash. Potassium carbonate can be obtained in liquid fertilizer form, sometimes accompanied by humic acid. It is an alkaline product, so it can cause foliar burn—be sure not to use a high rate. Potassium thiosulfate (KTS) may be used as a foliar fertilizer, though the label says not to apply to Concords. There is a new form of potassium fertilizer, potassium acetate, which is purported to have good ability to get into the plant. I am anxiously awaiting the results of such applications to see how it works. For organic vineyards, mined sulfate of potash (ultra fines) is the primary material that can be used.

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Yamaha RMAX Drone Receives FAA Exemption for Vineyard Use FAA proposes rules for small drone use Ted Rieger

Ted Rieger, CSW, is a Sacramento, CA-based wine journalist and a writer for wine industry media since 1988.

TED RIEGER

Demonstration of spray application by the Yamaha RMAX unmanned helicopter over vines at the UCD Oakville Vineyard

expected to help open United States agriculture to the use of unmanned aircraft, or “drone” technology, Yamaha Motor Corporation received approval May 1 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial use (with certain limitations) of its unmanned RMAX helicopter. Yamaha representative Steve Markofski, who has conducted vineyard spray field trials using the RMAX with the University of California, Davis (UCD), said Yamaha intends to begin collaborations with vineyard management companies to offer the RMAX as a service for vineyard customers. Under Yamaha’s FAA permit, the RMAX must be operated only over uninhabited areas during daylight hours, it must be within visual line of site at all times of the pilot and a visual observer (spotter), and it may not operate within five nautical miles of an airport reference point as denoted by the FAA. The RMAX cannot be airborne for any flight longer than one hour, and may not operate at airspeeds over 45 mph or at an altitude more than 400 feet above ground level. The pilot in command (PIC) must hold either an airline transport, commercial, private, recreational or sport pilot certificate. I N A R E G U L AT O R Y B R E A K T H R O U G H

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Background and Regulatory Issues Though commonly called drones, unmanned aircraft (UA) are known by several terms: unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—the term used by the FAA, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and remotely piloted vehicles (RPV). UAS weighing 55 pounds or less are considered small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). In recent years, UAS have received attention for their potential use in vineyard data gathering and management operations but, to date, have been limited from legal use in commercial applications in the U.S. because they have not been approved by the FAA. The FAA is responsible for the safety of aircraft in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) and the ground over which they operate. Regulatory issues the FAA is charged with addressing include: the design of UAS and the airworthiness of aircraft models, potential training and licensing of aircraft operators and operation and scheduling of UAS flights for air traffic safety. Drone use in civilian NAS and over populated areas has raised concern among many parties due to safety and privacy issues. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 mandated the integration of sUAS into the civil NAS by 2015. This act also provided for exemptions


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Yamaha RMAX Drone Receives FAA Exemption for Vineyard Use

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UCD agricultural engineering researcher and commercial pilot Ryan Billing maneuvers the RMAX unmanned helicopter during a demonstration at the UCD Oakville Vineyard.

under Section 333, for parties to petition FAA to receive approval for use prior to FAA completing its formal sUAS rulemaking. The Yamaha RMAX received approval for use under a Section 333 exemption. The FAA released a proposed draft rule for sUAS (under 55 lbs.) in February 2015, and concluded the 60-day period for receipt of public comments on April 24, 2015. Given the volume of public comments received (more than 4,500), each of which requires FAA review, a final rule is not likely in 2015. Should the FAA revise the proposed rule, the process will be extended further, and a final rule may not be effective until 2016 or later. There is also the possibility of creating an additional, more flexible framework for “micro” UAS under 4.4 lbs. FAA administrator Michael Huerta said, “We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules. We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry.”


The proposed rule would require the sUAS operator to maintain visual line of sight of the sUAS during the entire flight. The operator would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an FAA UAS operator certificate. The operator would have to pass the FAA knowledge test every 24 months to maintain certification. Flights would be limited to daylight operations, 500 feet above ground level and speeds no faster than 100 mph. The sUAS could not fly over people, except those directly involved with the flight, and operators must stay out of airport flight paths and restricted airspace. More information on FAA regulations and the proposed UAS rule is at www.faa.gov/uas.

RMAX Established Record for Ag Use The RMAX helicopter has been used commercially in agriculture in Japan since 1997 and, more recently, in South Korea, Australia, Thailand and New Zealand. In Japan, RMAX aircraft are spraying 2.4 million acres annually and are used for more than 35 percent of the country’s rice fields. More than 2,500 RMAX helicopters are in use worldwide, and they are the most commercially used UAS. There have been no injuries related to use of the aircraft, and there have been no collisions with other aircraft. During its nearly 20-year history of use in Japan, the RMAX has logged more than 2 million flight hours. “That 2 million hours of use went a long way with FAA when they evaluated our permit,” Markofski said. Also significant is that the RMAX is one of the largest and heaviest UAS. Its take-off weight is 207 pounds, its dimensions are 9 feet long and 3 feet, 6 inches tall, and its main rotor is about 10 feet in diameter. The unit can fly for slightly less than one hour with a full fuel tank, but flights are more commonly 15 to 30 minutes in order to change spray chemical tanks. The RMAX carries 4.2 gallons of chemical, equally divided between two tanks mounted on each side of the aircraft. The plastic chemical tanks are easily removed and replaced with full tanks, with landing and downtime completed in five minutes or less. Markofski said the RMAX is usually flown no more than 25 feet above ground. For vineyard spray applications, it is flown about 10 feet above the canopy at a maximum speed of 12 mph in flat areas and covers from 6 to 12 acres per hour. In hillsides, it is used at slower speeds of 6 mph and may only cover 3 acres per hour. During a recent demonstration at the UCD Oakville Vineyard in Napa Valley, UCD agricultural engineering researcher and commercial pilot Ryan Billing put the RMAX through its paces, showing its ability to fly forward, backward, hover and apply spray along the length of a vineyard row with both forward and reverse passes. Although the unit can be used to target specific pest or disease outbreak locations in a vineyard, it can also effectively apply spray in a 5 meter swath flying over each vine row. Markofski observed, “It’s moving at a maximum speed of 12 mph in a very controlled flight, but compared with a ground tractor, it’s very fast.” The RMAX is Yamaha’s model with the longest track record and is the model approved under the current FAA permit, but Yamaha also has a newer model, FAZER, with the same dimensions but an improved engine that Markofski said will likely be the model of the future.

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Yamaha RMAX Drone Receives FAA Exemption for Vineyard Use

UCD Researchers Test UAS Dr. Ken Giles of the UCD Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering specializes in research and evaluation of spray technologies for agriculture. He has conducted vineyard spray field trials with the RMAX helicopter for the past three years. Work is ongoing, and he continues to evaluate the RMAX for the same parameters as other spray technologies: efficacy of control of the targeted organism; productivity of application related to acres per day or acres per hour, tank size and gallons per acre; environmental effects related to spray drift, operator safety and regulatory concerns; and economics related to equipment payback, cost of application, labor and chemical costs. Giles cited several potential benefits of UAS spray applications: increased safety by removing the human operator from potential contact with the chemical during the application process; for hillside vineyards or hard to access locations, where tractor safety is an issue, or it may otherwise require manual labor to apply chemical; targeted and timely treatments to address pest problems early; reducing soil compaction from vineyard ground equipment; and potential economic and environmental benefits by reducing chemical use and material and application costs. Summarizing observations on the RMAX to date, Giles said, “For more targeted spray applications, for hillside vineyards, for small infestations or for small vineyards, that’s where we see this technology being best suited.”

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The Outlook for Drone Use in Vineyards Markofski said the RMAX can be fitted with a camera and used for aerial imagery and remote sensing. However, given the choices in UAS platforms, it is more likely smaller and more affordable UAS will be the primary aircraft for these functions. “If a smaller platform is not enough for the equipment payload or the conditions, the RMAX can provide a greater level of stability if needed,” Markofski said. “It can fly in up to 20 mph constant winds,” he added. Markofski said the price of an RMAX is about $150,000. He noted that outright ownership by growers is currently rare outside of Japan, and even there, an RMAX is more commonly owned by a coop of five or more rice growers who share its cost and use. More commonly, an ag service company owns and operates an RMAX as a contract service to growers. Describing the business model in Australia, Markofski said Yamaha offers franchise territories to spray applicator companies that provide RMAX services for growers within a region. A number of companies have developed sUAS aircraft in different sizes and formats, from fixed-winged models to small lightweight craft that can hover and are highly maneuverable. Quadcopters with gyro-stabilized camera mounts are used for aerial photography and monitoring. Some UAS can be computer programmed for specific flight patterns and to perform operations based on GPS location. Some are being used for ag monitoring in other countries where they are permitted for use. The FAA has issued exemptions in recent years for specific UAS models and applications. Some commercial

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UAS operators have FAA permits for operations, such as aerial photography. Small UAS are permitted for personal and recreational use if flown no more than 400 feet above ground. Daniel Bosch, senior viticulturist for Constellation Wines U.S., discussed the potential of drone technology for precision agriculture in vineyards at the 2015 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Bosch said the size of the drone will determine the function it performs in vineyard management. Larger drones (such as RMAX) could be used for spraying and for seeding cover crops. Smaller drones could be used for functions that include: imagery, placing traps, surveying for virus problems, locating broken irrigation emitters or system leaks, counting missing vines, monitoring spray drift and collecting data from ground sensors. Bosch emphasized, “Any sensors or technology we use, or data we collect, should be part of a larger management decision-making process.” He advised vineyard managers to evaluate drone use based on whether it will improve management from a quality or efficiency standpoint, or reduce costs to gather data or perform operations. The use of smaller drones for localized aerial imagery, such as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to monitor vine stress, is an area viticulturists see potential to reduce costs and increase monitoring frequency, compared with current methods that use satellite data, or by contracting with piloted aircraft and imaging companies that fly over vineyards to provide data and graphics for decision-making. However, experiments using UAS with sensors and imaging equipment have indicated that data accuracy is dependent on factors such as sensor calibration, differences in seasonal crop growth, and UAS flight patterns and altitudes.

Research Needed to Develop Useable UAS Tools The University of California, Merced School of Engineering has established a drone teaching and research program with plans to become a major institution for drone research and development. Associate professor of engineering Dr. YangQuan Chen, who spoke at the 2015 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, is founder and director of the university’s Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation Laboratory (MESA Lab). MESA Lab is a multi-disciplinary group that focuses on research in several areas, including the development of UAS for civil remote sensing applications for precision agriculture. In 2013, Chen proposed creation of the California Institute of Drone Engineering Research (CIDER) at UC Merced with a focus on agricultural and environmental sectors. Remote sensing with UAS for agriculture would involve early detection of crop stresses due to drought, nutrient status, heat/frost, salinity, pests, heavy metal toxicity, etc. Another objective of CIDER would involve developing a multi-UAS crop dusting network. Chen emphasized the need for more research as drones are developed and deployed and suggested focused research on several aspects: platforms, sensing payload/sensor packages, precision applications for spraying, downstream processing of data for decision-making, operational issues, and compliance and regulatory issues, including operator certification and training. He explained: “A research emphasis is to make scientific sense of data. We need research to certify drone information for accuracy and use, and to date, we haven’t seen a lot of verified field data.” Chen added, “A purpose of this technology is to check crops to determine if they are under stress, and we need research on how to determine that in a quantitative way.” WBM

WBM August 2015 53


sales & marketing

Catering to Your Elite Customers Mining your customer sales database to pinpoint your highest spenders lets wineries focus targeted, one-on-one, concierge-style service to foster increased loyalty, a reputation of world class service—and profit. Michael S. Lasky

toward a model of providing conciergelevel service, especially for their loyal customers who spend a lot of money purchasing their wines. High spenders will continue to buy wine, but they are, more than ever, seeking wine experiences. Wineries, if they choose, are capable of providing enriched experiences to their elite customers, which can further ingrain loyalty to the brand. “Experiences become a part of us,” said Jason Cohen, executive vice president for luxury branding agency The O Group. “They also provide more engaging content for discussion. It’s generally more engaging to talk about something you’ve done versus something you own,” Cohen told Adweek magazine in May 2015. Wineries that want to cater to VIPs need look no further than the designer shops on Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive. As The Wall Street Journal reported on May 7, 20151, “The confluence of heavy-spending tourists and regular big spending customers makes VIP salons an ideal accoutrement. Getting into one of these luxury private suites set apart from the main floor, usually requires an invitation; and once inside, the guest is made to feel ‘extra special.’” High-end customers expect highly focused and unique service each time they walk through the winery doors, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help wineries accomplish this. MANY WINERIES ARE MOVING

Your CRM Software is a Gold Mine “It’s really important to have a way of identifying who you want to give special services to,” said Barbara Talbott, a member of the board of directors of Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute and CEO of Glenlarkin Advisors. Talbott is also the former executive vice president of the luxury Four Seasons Hotel chain where she transformed personal service into a source of superior profitability, reputation and growth. “Often it will be loyal wine club members, and in other cases it’s just understanding a customer’s purchase history in a club or separately out of the club. Or it can be whether they visit often or if they are referring a lot of people to you. There are many ways they can show they have a high level of commitment to your winery. But it is important to recognize them as special even if they didn’t join your wine club,” explained Talbott. The best way to pinpoint your elite customers is by referring to their purchase history and their profile captured in your CRM database. The more fine-tuned information about your customers you have, the more you can personalize your involvement with them.

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Michael S. Lasky is the former editor of AppellationAmerica.com and is the author of hundreds of articles for national magazines and newspapers.

“If you have a wine club, you most likely have the information already; and if you have this information, you are sitting on a tremendous asset. You can’t treat people in a special way unless you know who they are and why you want to do this for them. Their spending history and the visitation can also help customize the recognition. The next time they visit or when you talk to them on the phone, you can show them you know who they are and how you appreciate how important they are to your business,” Talbott said. “Time is the ultimate luxury. There is no substitute for time. No matter how successful a person is, they can’t make more of it. If you can save time for them you have given something very valuable. The other thing you can do with their time is enrich it. If it’s making a great memory, a great experience, then the things you do to enrich that time are just as important as the time you save for them,” Talbott added.

Service is a Powerful Differentiator After years of honing her marketing skills to the affluent demographic staying at the Four Seasons hotels, Talbott is equally aware of extending gracious hospitality to all customers. “It’s always important to make everyone feel valued and welcomed. But if you want to have an elite level of service, it is usually done discreetly—such as an exclusive phone number for the people you want to do more for—or you might extend private invitations to them. “People realize they get what they pay for. For example, in a hotel people know that there are those who stay in the Presidential Suite and those who stay in other rooms. If you are well taken care of in a standard room, you are not going to feel badly about the extra service that guests in a suite receive,” Talbott added. Similarly, winery guests are not going to complain about services to big spenders if the service they receive is welcoming and sincere. “You want to stay in touch with customers in a way that is meaningful— whether they are active purchasers in the near term or recently in the past,” said Talbott. “Sending an email to keep in touch is always a good idea, but emails can backfire if they are not addressed right or appear impersonal.” So, for example, having two versions, one for people who have visited recently and another for people who have not, can be productive, especially if coming from the owner or the winemaker. One can say, “We have missed you, but we wanted you to know about a new wine we are excited about.” For the recent visitor, a personal “thank you for visiting” note keeps your winery in the customer’s memory.


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Catering to Your Elite Customers

Here’s another tip: “A handwritten note adds an appreciated personal touch. A handwritten envelope always gets opened. It stands out in the mail, and it stands out that you have gone to a personal level to communicate with the recipient. If there is a person on your team who interacted with them on their visit to the winery, it’s best if the note comes from them. It’s a nice personal touch that gets remembered and reinforces loyalty.”

Luxury World-class Service in Action At Far Niente Winery, world-class customer service is extended to anyone who enters the estate grounds. “The classic definition of world-class customer service is anticipating the needs of your customer and delivering it in a timely fashion,” noted Larry Maguire, the longtime president of the ultra-premium Napa Valley winery. “The way we execute here starts with the culture, not just with hospitality but with a company-wide culture. For our guests, it starts at the entrance gate. So when they arrive at our winery doors, they are welcomed by ‘Hello Mr. Smith,’ and the guests wonder, ‘How did they know my name?’” At Far Niente there are two places guest names are remembered. All tastings are by appointment only and when guests announce themselves at the driveway gate, the staff is ready for them when they come inside the tasting room a few minutes later. Far Niente also has a welcome board facing the front door with guests’ names. “How you receive someone is extraordinarily

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important. When they walk through the tasting room doors, there is the board personally greeting them,” Maguire said. Members of the Far Niente team actually went to Champagne, and not to learn how to make it. The region is known for its attention to detail and world-class service, and the team wanted to learn news ways to provide it. They spent time there to see how guests were received. “We have over 4,000 wine club members and we support them with special events that cater to their interests. But there are those that want a closer, more personal relationship, and we know them by name. They know staff members by name. They can call and ask for them by name to get personal service for their requests. In many cases we know their children, when they like to visit, and we clear tour space for them even when we are already entirely booked. If they have family or friends that want to visit, we plan in advance for them with just a member’s request. If they want personal wine service—maybe they love a single vineyard designate wine that is a limited release wine not generally served—we will open a bottle for them,” Maguire noted. “If they have a favorite wine from year to year, we let them know in advance when it is being released or is about to be sold out. If before their visit they mention they want to take wine home, we ship it to them in advance. We will help them with their Christmas gift lists and make reservations for them. I am not saying you have to be a high-value customer to get this type of service; but as it happens, it is the higher spending customers that seem to be the ones that ask for it,” said Maguire.

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Catering to Your Elite Customers

By Example: Concierge Services as a Wine Club Perk Wine club members of luxury Napa winery, Darioush, have at their disposal a dedicated concierge department to cater to their every need when visiting the winery and the surrounding Napa Valley. “Our concierge service for our First Offering Reservation membership sets us apart from the wine clubs you find at other wineries. It is a reflection of the hospitality culture of Darioush. We have three teams in our hospitality department, one of which is the concierge service comprised of five members who provide the same style and level of concierges you find in five-star hotels,” explained Marc Moynier, Darioush’s hospitality manager. Moynier continued, “We offer to these members full itinerary building. We get to know exactly what they like, what style of wine they like, what experiences they enjoy, what accommodations they prefer, the car services they want, the restaurants they like to go to, and we take all this info, and we build an itinerary for them anytime they visit, complete with all the advanced reservations to complete the itinerary. We have developed extensive relationships in our 10 years of this service, and we take our referrals very seriously, vetting our partners and guests so we don’t send people to the wrong facility. Accordingly, our guests are very satisfied with our referrals, and the partners are pleased as well.” Moynier said they typically reserve their in-depth planning to members. “Our membership is unlike most wine clubs in that we don’t send out a regimented selection of wines on a periodic basis but instead send only the specific

wines that a member selects from our portfolio as they are released They get exactly what they want and just those. We don’t discount the wines but add extra value in other ways, the concierge service being one,” Moynier explained. Then, according to Moynier, there’s the winery’s private client manager who handles VIPS and high-spending customers who aren’t interested in joining as members. “If they need the services of a concierge, we refer them to one of ours. These are people who we want to have an enduring relationship with and assist their needs accordingly.” A more egalitarian concierge service is provided to wine club members at the San Luis Obispo-based Tolosa Winery & Vineyards. According to wine club manager Brittany O’Brien, when the winery hosts events for its members, “We will work with area hotels to offer discounted rates. We also will call restaurants that serve our wines to make reservations for visiting members. We call the hotel in advance to assure the member gets the best ‘winery’ rate, but we let the member finalize the reservation with their credit card.” “For high-spending customers we extend private winery tours and tastings with the winemaker or the owner. We want to give them an enriching experience. We have brought in a picnic for some of these frequent customers to give them a special, memorable experience,” said O’Brien. “We know it’s important to show these top, loyal spenders who is behind the label. It helps make an enduring, strong connection. Through their frequent visits to the winery and the special events, the owners and the winemaker know these customers, and they, in turn, want to go out of their way to connect with these big supporters with private barrel tastings or hotel accommodations,” O’Brien concluded.

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High Tech: Better Customer Records, Better Service “Technology has improved to the point now that we have better customer records. So now before they walk in the door, we already know when they were here last, what they bought. When they arrive, we can say, ‘Last time you were here you tasted the XYZ Cabernet, and today you can try the latest vintage.’ Or knowing what they liked, we can go to the wine library and pull a bottle that we ordinarily would not pull because of its limited supply. We are not always effective with this, but the staff has been given wide latitude to take a bottle as long as it is not scarce,” explained Far Niente’s Maguire. That’s exactly the mantra that Barbara Talbott recommends. “A combination of high-tech and high-touch aims the focus on the anticipated needs and desires of repeat consumers. The more information you can input about the customer into your database, the more you can be ready for them on a personal level,” she said. However, you can have all the high-tech data about your customers, and it will not further your efforts to maintain their loyalty if your staff is not ingrained with a world-class service ethic.

Proactive Recruitment is the Ultimate Key to Well-served Customers “It is about how you recruit these employees more than how you train them and how you instill this service ethic,” explained Talbott. “In my experience at the Four Seasons hotels the qualities that make a great service person are innate. It is someone who genuinely enjoys seeing people well taken care of. You discover that through a process of interacting with them in a series of interviews. It takes time. And it is not just an HR function but [requires] people in various parts of the business to participate in these series of interviews.” According to Talbott, you can learn about prospective employees as you ask questions, such as what they have been proudest of in their work life; giving them situations and how they might deal with them; finding out why they want to work at your winery and what they know about it. “You learn if this person has a true service motivation,” he said. “If you are looking for the person that will deal with an elite customer, you are looking for one more quality—a commitment to excellence. They have ideas about how to do something better for a guest. They are happy to go the extra distance to make the guest pleased. “Many times you want to hire a person who has previous experience, but more often you hire for attitude and then help the person learn what they need to know to mesh in your particular company,” said Talbott. WBM

References 1

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-the-vip-dressing-room-1430947934?KEYWOR DS=shop+and+lounge

=($"%)78,)18()7&%()&%*/41",)-$"1%("4)7&18)2"$*(>/+4( !!!"#$%&'()*+'",-./0/123456743893

WBM August 2015 59


sales & marketing

New Events Resource for the Winery New events service offers small and medium wineries a streamlined approach to planning events hosted on-site, from the client’s first web search to the final minutes of cleanup. Emily Rasmussen Born and raised in small-town Iowa, Emily Rasmussen moved to Sonoma County in 2011 with an English degree and a bright-eyed fandom for the wine industry. She has lived and worked in Sonoma Wine Country ever since, with the exception of one harvest spent in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Now with an Advanced Certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, Rasmussen works as a full-time communications manager in Carneros and lives outside of Glen Ellen with her husband Cody and their golden retriever.

a wedding venue, a business professional researches off-site team-building activities, a group of friends plan a birthday celebration—the stories are the same today as they were 10 years ago. However, the ways these clients plan their events are resoundingly not. The scene was thus set for Marshall Bauer to found his company, Milestone Events Group, in early 2014. “The client had changed dramatically,” Bauer said, “but the ways people were serving the market hadn’t. That’s where we saw the opportunity.” The opportunity was to create a streamlined way for wineries to plan the events hosted on their sites, from the client’s first web search to the final minutes of clean-up. Bauer’s familiarity with the world of winery events stemmed from his tenure at Wine Country Party & Events, which he owned from 2003 to 2013. There he saw tens of thousands of events take place, and with that, countless rental orders change based on last-minute decisions and disorganized event planning.

AN ENGAGED COUPLE SEEKS

A Different Approach to Event Planning Small- to medium-sized wineries have two options when it comes to their on-premise events: hire a staff member to manage them or hand the reins of their space over to each event’s respective planner. As difficult as it is for wineries to sustain full-time event staff through the slow season, it’s an equal challenge to work with a different planner for each event, which results in explaining the same information over and over again. Milestone Events Group is Bauer’s proposed alternative. While event planning companies are typically hired by a client to manage the details of an event, including finding a venue, Milestone Events Group leans the opposite direction: their primary client is the winery itself. “Our job is to become a business resource for the winery to enable them to do less work, reduce their expenses and increase their profitability,” he said. The Milestone Experience strives to offer a different approach to event planning through three factors.

60 August 2015 WBM

FACTOR 1: PROVIDING ALTERNATIVES

Today’s event client undergoes varying levels of research before contacting an event venue, requesting quotes and scheduling site tours. Meanwhile, the winery is investing time and funds to market their event space. “The problem with that set-up is that it’s a binary decision,” said Bauer. “If the site isn’t a good fit, all the time invested [for both the winery and the client] and dollars spent [by the winery] are lost.” Milestone’s solution is simple: make the event client’s decision not a binary one; when one space doesn’t work out for an event client, Milestone presents a number of others. “We call this the network effect,” added Bauer. “We are a growing source of multiple sites, so you only have to tell your story once.” FACTOR 2: ENHANCING THE VENUE

Upon joining the Milestone portfolio, the winery client first receives an “event audit,” in which the Milestone team undergoes a full assessment of the winery’s event history and configuration. They then present a detailed report with recast event metrics, a competitive set containing secret shopping data and a property assessment with recommended enhancements, from trimming the hedges to painting a wall or replacing furniture. Enhancing the brand occurs on the digital sphere as well: Milestone Events Group hires photographers, oversees the creation of a professionally assembled digital brochure, creates virtual fly-overs and CAD systems, and offers to manage each winery website’s event pages as well. By the time the client arrives on-site, the theory is that very little selling occurs. Cooper Henderson, chief operating officer at Trendadue Winery, said that the client is “almost pre-qualified. We are spending a lot less time meeting with people. Instead, we are working mostly with those we know are going to do business.” Bauer added that across their portfolio of active event properties, the close rate of client visits to events booked has doubled as the number of site visits have decreased.


FACTOR 3: MASTERING LOGISTICS

When plans for an event are in motion, the Milestone team interfaces with the event client on every item, including high-quality brand preservation for the winery. “Our folks are trained by the winery to conduct the wine tastings and to work with the caterers to help recommend the food and wine pairings,” Bauer said. This extends to the event’s bar staff and waitstaff as well: part of the Standard Operating Procedures for a Milestone Event is to train the staff on the wines and level of service needed. “The wine is not produced on a casual basis, so we don’t produce their events on a casual basis,” said Bauer. At the time of the event, Milestone sends one or two members of their eight-person team to be day-of coordinators. “They handle the food. They handle the rentals. The music, the setup, the clean-up—they literally do everything,” said Steve Cousins, chief operating officer at Sbragia Family Winery.

How it Works The business model for Milestone Events Group is simple: their only revenue source is a percentage of the site fee paid by the event client. While the winery covers the cost of any property enhancements they choose to implement, they pay no incremental cost to Milestone. This means the upfront marketing expenses for Milestone are significant, but Bauer explained that due to the number of wineries that benefit, the financial aspect makes sense: in the aggregate, they spend more; on a percentage basis, they spend less. “It’s an economy of scale,” Bauer said. “As the number of sites increase arithmetically, the number of lead options increase geometrically, so this ‘network effect’ gets more and more powerful. There is a large investment to make this work—but it’ll work.” Steve Cousins of Sbragia said, “When I became engaged with the details of the program, it became clear to me that this was a really good idea and may be the perfect solution for small- to medium-sized wineries.” Cooper Henderson of Trentadue added, “We’ve been thrilled working with them so far. They see the bigger picture—not just about their events. They want to see the winery succeed, and, in turn, they are succeeding as well.” WBM

WBM August 2015 61


sales & marketing

Retail Sales

Off-Premise Wine Sales Increase 5.5 Percent in May sales increased 5.5 percent from the same period of the previous year in the four weeks ending May 23, 2015, according to Nielsen-tracked data. In the 52 weeks ending May 23, wine sales increased 3.9 percent. Domestic wine sales increased 6.4 percent while imported wine sales increased 3.3 percent in the four weeks ending May 23. In case volume during that same period, domestic case volume grew 2.4 percent while imported case volume dropped 0.3 percent. The New Zealand, French and South African categories lead the growth for imported wines: New Zealand wines are up 17.5 percent in sales and 16.2 percent in volume; French wines are up 10.5 percent in sales and 6.9 percent in volume; and South African wines are up 9 percent in sales and 7.9 percent in volume. Sales and case volume for wines from Australia, Chile and Germany decreased in the four weeks ending May 23. Sales for wines in the $15 to $19.99 price point segment had the most growth, increasing 18.7 percent in sales and 16.7 percent in volume. All price point categories had good growth in the four weeks ending May 23: the $9 to $11.99 segment grew 8.2 percent in sales and 8.4 percent in volume; the $12 to $14.99 segment increased 15.3 percent in sales and 15.4 percent in volume; and the over $20 segment grew 10 percent in sales and 7.7 percent in volume. O F F - P R E M I S E T O TA L TA B L E W I N E

$millions

By Varietal RosĂŠ table wine above $7.99, as a category, saw a 35.6 percent increase in sales and a 34.3 percent in volume in the four weeks ending May 23. The category now holds just a 0.7 percent market share in sales and 0.4 percent market share in volume. Blended table wine, as a category, is up 8.7 percent in sales and 3.1 percent in volume in the four weeks ending May 23 and holds a 12.8 percent market share in sales and a 13.3 percent market share in volume. Of all the blended table wine, blush leads the growth. In sales, blush blended table wine sales are up 45.1 percent, and volume is up 29.3 percent. Red blended table wine is up 6.9 percent in sales and 1.8 percent in volume, and white blended table wine, meanwhile, is down 3.9 percent in sales and down 4.7 percent in volume. Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio/Gris and Sauvignon Blanc also showed good growth in the four weeks ending May 23. Pinot Noir grew 11.7 percent in sales and 9.2 percent in volume; Pinot Grigio/Gris grew 7.1 percent in sales and 7.3 percent in volume; and Sauvignon Blanc grew 12.9 percent in sales and 10.3 percent in volume. Cabernet Sauvignon grew 9.7 percent in sales and 5.7 percent in volume. Cabernet Sauvignon was the second largest selling varietal on the market in the four weeks ending May 23, representing 15.8 percent of all wine sales and 13.2 percent of case volume.

Total Table Wine (last 13 4 week periods)

1,200

2014

1,000

2015

800

Year Ago 600 05/24/14

06/21/14

Source: Nielsen. 4 Weeks Ending 05/23/15

62 August 2015 WBM

07/19/14

08/16/14

09/13/14

10/11/14

11/08/14

12/06/14

4 W EEK S EN D I N G

01/03/15

01/31/15

02/28/15

03/28/15

04/25/15

05/23/15


A Package Speaks a Thousand Words

Chardonnay, the top-selling varietal on the market, holds a 19.7 percent market share in sales and a 19.9 percent share in volume in the four weeks ending May 23. During that period, Chardonnay grew 3.9 percent in sales and 1.1 percent in volume. Sales and volume for Syrah/Shiraz, White Zinfandel and Merlot have all decreased in the four weeks ending May 23. WBM

Let your wines speak directly to their target markets through premier packaging.

Nielsen Table Wine Category Segments U.S. Expanded All Outlets Combined Plus Liquor/Convenience/AAFES weeks ending: May 23, 2015

4 WEEKS ENDING 5/23/15

52 WEEK ENDING 5/23/15

PERCENT CHANGE vs. YEAR AGO 4 WEEKS 52 WEEK ENDING ENDING 5/23/15 5/23/15

TOTAL TABLE WINE

$961,884,886

$12,844,702,525

TABLE WINE 187 ML

$21,395,268

$265,268,875

4.6

3.8

TABLE WINE 375 ML

$1,136,545

$14,015,265

24.3

15.5

TABLE WINE 750 ML

$670,482,645

$9,022,720,357

7.2

4.9

$2,500,325

$33,639,268

32.0

44.8

$172,509,535

$2,291,814,379

(0.4)

(1.2)

$38,439,138

$496,305,211

9.1

8.7

$29,668,257

$366,192,937

18.5

16.3 0.1

TABLE WINE 1 L TABLE WINE 1.5 L TABLE WINE 3 L Premium 3 L Box >$10

5.5

TABLE WINE 4 L

$8,192,516

$109,009,424

(3.0)

TABLE WINE 5 L

$38,947,793

$512,635,403

(0.7)

1.1

$130,412

$656,456

433.8

115.4

TABLE RED WINE

$473,860,143

$6,576,220,568

6.6

4.8

TABLE WHITE WINE

$429,722,125

$5,513,707,314

5.0

3.3

$57,829,209

$743,497,076

0.9

0.4

DM TABLE WINE

$701,440,137

$9,356,042,671

6.4

4.8

IMP TABLE WINE

1.4

TABLE WINE REM SZ

TABLE BLUSH

$260,444,753

$3,488,659,842

3.3

ITALIAN TBL

$83,952,596

$1,116,004,161

7.6

4.8

AUSTRALIAN TBL

$53,557,134

$741,406,822

(5.8)

(7.0)

ARGENTINE TBL

$30,484,230

$425,842,128

0.6

1.2

NEW ZEALAND TBL

$26,477,538

$310,568,587

17.5

15.8

CHILEAN TBL

$20,467,106

$279,658,927

(3.1)

(2.0)

FRENCH TBL

$21,107,626

$274,953,723

10.5

4.4

SPANISH TBL

$11,269,232

$157,970,299

0.0

(1.2)

GERMAN TBL

$7,120,340

$100,650,014

(4.0)

(5.4)

A/O IMP COUNTRY TBL

$1,864,040

$28,356,301

13.9

14.7

SOUTH AFRICAN TBL

$2,152,200

$27,817,324

9.0

6.1

PORTUGUESE TBL

$1,992,711

$25,431,628

1.4

10.4

VARIETALS

$823,316,723

$10,979,943,155

5.6

3.7

GENERIC

$138,568,165

$1,864,759,353

5.1

4.7

CHARDONNAY

$189,917,714

$2,431,060,973

3.9

2.0

CAB SAUVIGNON

$151,612,263

$2,084,060,581

9.7

7.8

BLENDED TABLE WINE

$123,204,792

$1,675,805,092

8.7

8.6

$100,356,501

$1,377,476,285

11.0

10.3

$8,987,620

$117,227,828

6.9

5.4

$20,486,822

$277,450,568

(3.9)

(0.1)

BLENDED TABLE WINE RED SWEET RED BLENDS BLENDED TABLE WINE WHT BLENDED TABLE WINE BLUSH

$2,361,472

$20,878,222

45.1

29.7

PINOT GRIGIO/GRIS

$89,198,979

$1,129,841,431

7.1

5.5

PINOT NOIR

$64,003,820

$884,646,083

11.7

8.2

MERLOT

$62,431,634

$872,273,684

(2.1)

(3.6)

SAUVIGNON BLANC

$57,154,830

$689,632,075

12.9

10.0

MOSCATO/MUSCAT TBL

$51,101,997

$681,457,731

5.5

6.0

WHT ZINFANDEL

$26,288,739

$358,222,621

(6.5)

(7.0)

MALBEC

$20,489,581

$288,177,621

4.0

4.9

RIESLING

$19,520,931

$268,443,052

1.1

(0.4)

ZINFANDEL

$17,250,927

$240,784,790

5.4

(0.3)

SYRAH/SHIRAZ

$10,877,293

$160,695,430

(9.3)

(12.2)

$6,815,709

$62,560,673

35.6

34.8

ROSE TABLE 750ML BE >$7.99 GLOBAL TBL BE $0-$2.99

$62,099,300

$838,345,791

(3.0)

(0.1)

GLOBAL TBL BE $3-$5.99

$300,975,299

$4,006,242,262

0.1

(0.7)

GLOBAL TBL BE $6-$8.99

$125,489,962

$1,688,673,900

1.2

(2.9)

GLOBAL TBL BE $9-$11.99

$217,625,497

$2,921,629,811

8.2

8.0

GLOBAL TBL BE $12-$14.99

$128,429,936

$1,661,139,497

15.3

11.8

GLOBAL TBL BE $15-$19.99

$69,907,756

$916,751,886

18.7

13.2

GLOBAL TBL BE >$20

$56,807,422

$807,667,498

10.0

8.2

Source: Nielsen

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707-681-5700 WBM August 2015 63


technology & business

Succession Planning:

Are You Ready for Your Exit? Asking yourself these questions will help you determine your exit readiness and jump-start your planning. Jay Silverstein

the buzzword in the consulting world for a number of years as Baby Boomers age and transition their businesses and wealth to the next generation. Over the years, most business owners I’ve met have at least four things in common: They’re concerned about growing and preserving the value of their winery or vineyard; they want to make sure they’re financially secure; they want to provide for the welfare of their business; and they hate paying taxes. All these elements come down to succession planning. Yet many winery and vineyard owners—due to time constraints, the perceived complexity of succession planning or concerns about their own mortality—fail to adequately address their succession planning needs, which means they can’t fully achieve their business and personal objectives. For each of the statements below—and depending on which ones are true for you—asking yourself these few questions will help you determine your exit readiness and jump-start your planning.

SUCCESSION PLANNING HAS BEEN

I don’t know whether I want to sell my winery or vineyard or transition it to my family members. What do I want for myself personally? Understanding your personal

needs, both pre- and post-retirement, and when you want to retire will help narrow your strategic alternatives.

Jay Silverstein, a partner at Moss Adams LLP, has more than 20 years of experience serving the wine industry. He specializes in business succession and estate planning. Jay can be reached at 707-535-4115 or jay.silverstein@mossadams.com.

diligence inquiries. However, we’ve found that performing your own diligence prior to going through the sale process allows you to find the skeletons in the closet and either rectify the problems or be in a better position to respond to the issues. Either way, this generally results in a higher purchase price and a better chance of a successful close of the transaction. Do I know what a sale at full value will mean to me after fees, taxes and debts? Many sellers are fixated on the sales price and not the net cash

they’ll receive from the sale after debts, fees and taxes. Understanding the estimated net cash you might receive well in advance of a transaction gives you a better understanding of whether the net after-tax proceeds can meet your personal goals and objectives. Doing this well in advance of a transaction gives you time to implement advantageous tax planning strategies that may not be available once a letter of intent has been delivered. How much of the net cash will I need to meet my personal financial goals and objectives post-transaction? Once you know what the esti-

mated net cash proceeds may be, you can determine if that cash is adequate to meet your personal goals. If it’s not, you’ll have time to determine whether you can execute on a plan to increase the value of your winery or vineyard or decrease the tax burden enough to make up the difference. If the net cash is well in excess of your needs, then you—with enough time before a transaction—can explore estate and charitable planning strategies that may not reduce estate and income taxes, as effectively, if implemented at or after the transaction.

What do I want for my winery or vineyard? Understanding how impor-

tant the maintenance of your legacy is will help determine which strategic alternatives are consistent with your business goals and objectives. What do I want for my family? It’s important to understand how you’d like

I’ve decided to transition my business to some or all of my children.

to provide for your children and when you would like to do so.

Are my children capable of running the business? We often have a biased

I’ve decided to sell my winery at some point in the future.

view of our children’s abilities to manage our business. In addition, we may have never asked our children whether they truly want to run the family business. Assessing these factors well in advance of a transition will give your children time to develop the skills required to manage the business.

Have I done sell-side due diligence? Most often, a buyer will perform

diligence in the course of the purchase. You may not want to expend the funds to perform your own diligence, preferring to respond to the buyer’s

64 August 2015 WBM

How will I treat my children equitably if not all of them will be actively involved in the business? Wineries and vineyards can be valuable assets

that may not produce a steady cash flow. Many owners want to treat their


0

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27

1

9

5

4

3

99

76

65 5 28 4 8 2 59 8

8 5

9 3 1 4 211 5 1

3 7 3 1

8

It all adds up.

7

1

9

8

1

4

5

2

What goes into your bottles matters. So do the numbers that go into your business.

Our trusted advisors have been providing tax and integrated business solutions to the wine industry for over 30 years, so you can focus on what you do bestâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;wineâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and leave the numbers to us. W W W. M O S S A D A M S . C O M / W I N E


Are You Ready for Your Exit?

children equitably. If all the children will have equal ownership in the winery or vineyard, it can lead to tensions between working and nonworking children and may affect their relationships. It can also affect the value of the winery or vineyard. Exploring various alternative ownership structures can help alleviate these concerns. How much cash flow will I have to fund my retirement and where will it come from? If you’re transitioning your business to the next generation,

know what your cash flow needs will be after the transition. Depending on the cash flow from the business for an extended period of time can lead to conflict between the older and younger generations, which may affect the value of the winery or vineyard. Enough time and planning can at least minimize these conflicts. Does it make sense to transfer some or all of the ownership of my winery or vineyard during my lifetime? The need to make lifetime gifts

has been somewhat reduced now that the amount a husband and wife can leave to their children free of estate tax has increased to more than $10 million. However, for estates larger than this threshold, lifetime gifts continue to help reduce future estate taxes. Give care to how those gifts are made to prevent causing conflicts among your children and to help preserve the value of your business in the next generation.

I want to be prepared for the unexpected. What will happen to my assets if I, my spouse or both of us die unexpectedly? In the event of an unexpected death, who will own the business? Are the individuals who will succeed me capable of managing and preserving the value of my business? If your spouse or children inherit

the business, do they have the capacity to run the business? If not, are there funds available to hire competent management? Will my current estate plan lead to conflicts between my heirs? If your

children are to inherit your business, will its ownership and management create tension? Have an estate plan that proactively addresses these potential conflicts. Will estate tax be due upon my death? In the event of an unexpected

death, do you know what your exposure to estate tax will be and where the funds will come from to pay those taxes? Certain methods allow you to borrow the money to pay estate taxes or pay them in installments. Addressing these issues in advance will give some comfort to your heirs, assuring them the operation and management of the business are in good hands and that cash flow needs have been adequately addressed so that no rash action is required. a daunting task, and it takes time to develop a successful succession plan. Still, your CPA and other advisors will be able to guide your attention to important areas, explain and analyze your options, and ultimately help you implement a strategy that aligns with your vision and objectives. By asking yourself these questions, you’ll start to ascertain your exit readiness; and if there are questions you can’t answer yet, don’t worry: You’ve given yourself a great place to start. WBM SUCCESSION PLANNING CAN BE

66 August 2015 WBM


people Wineries & Winemaking Constellation Brands, Inc. announced that executive vice president and chief financial officer Bob Ryder is leaving the company after the completion of the company’s first quarter 10-Q filing. David Klein has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer. As the new CFO, David Klein will join Constellation’s executive management committee. Klein joined Constellation in 2004 and most recently served as CFO for the company’s beer division. His previous roles with Constellation include SVP, treasurer and controller, as well as CFO for the company’s former European business. Prior to his tenure at Constellation, Klein held the CFO role at Montana Mills. Ryder and Klein will work together to ensure a smooth transition. Stephen Cass, president of Cass Winery in Paso Robles, announced the promotion of Sterling Kragten to the position of head winemaker. A graduate of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Sterling has held winemaking positions at Justin Winery and Eagle Castle Winery in Paso Robles, plus stints in Australia. Jonathan Strommen, a former tasting room manager, will now step into the role of Southern California sales representative for Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards. Strommen, who was for years behind the tasting room bar at Fess Parker Winery and later, at the Epiphany Tasting Room, will take his talents on the road to California, where the Central South Coast and the Southland will be his territory. Former wine director at EOS in San Francisco, Hector Osuna has been promoted from brand ambassador at Fess Parker Jonathan Strommen Winery to director of hospitality at Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard. Osuna will oversee consumer education and hospitality at various Fess Parker holdings, including the Epiphany Tasting Room in Los Olivos, California, the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards on the Foxen Canyon Corridor of Santa Ynez Valley, the Santa Barbara Wine Collective’s Fess Parker stall in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone and an emerging tasting platform at the Fess Parker Resort on the waterfront in downtown Santa Barbara. Bogle Vineyards appointed Chris Poulos Eastern regional manager for offpremise chains. Poulos’ most recent position was at Castle Rock Winery as vice president, East Coast. Prior, he was a founding member of 585 Wine Partners and held a variety of senior positions over a 17-year tenure at Brown Forman Beverage Corporation and Fetzer Vineyards. Poulos will be calling on most eastern-based national chains and working closely with the Bogle distributor network. He is based in Asheville, North Carolina.

68 August 2015 WBM

Nicole Carter has been appointed chief marketing officer for The Hess Collection Winery, leading the marketing efforts for California-based brands of Hess Family Wine Estates, as well as Amalaya and Colomé from Salta, Argentina, and Glen Carlou from the Paarl region in South Africa. For the past two decades she has served in increasingly responsible management roles at Treasury Wine Estates, including team leadership of luxury marketing, public relations, events and sponsorships, direct-to-consumer and hospitality, focusing both domestically and internationally on iconic global brands. Most recently, she served as vice president, international marketing, expanding the global market for U.S. wineries in the Treasury portfolio. Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars have brought on a general manager, Patrick Connelly, allowing Lynn to focus solely on winemaking and for Ron to expand his industry relations role and yearround philanthropic initiatives. Connelly is a multi-generational native of Napa Valley and brings a successful track record of strategic positioning of premium brands in the wine industry. He has experience in every aspect of the wine business, from farming and winemaking to marketing, sales and hospitality. His management experience includes Clos Pegase and Pine Ridge wineries in Napa Valley, Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, and Kristine Ashe Vineyards and Entre Nous in Oakville. Nick Picone has been appointed chief winemaker of the Villa Maria Group after 18 years with the winery. The position oversees all of Villa Maria Group’s winemaking, which includes Villa Maria, Vidal Estate, Esk Valley, Te Awa Collection, Thornbury, Riverstone and Wise Owl. With several prestigious awards to his name, including an Australasian award for Young Winemaker of the Year, Picone has been responsible for making hundreds of the winery’s global trophy- and medal-winning wines for many years. Raised in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand, his first wine job was at boutique producer Esk Valley Estate. From there he moved to Marlborough and then later to Auckland to oversee Villa Maria’s Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne winemaking operations. He has also completed two vintages at DeLoach Vineyards in California. Chilean winery Santa Ema has partnered with highly acclaimed Santa Barbara winemaker Joey Tensley to invigorate their winemaking program as part of their overall focus on building towards the future. Tensley brings a fresh international perspective to the 60-year-old winery, where he has encouraged Santa Ema to implement innovative vineyard practices in order to gain more structure, color and extraction from the fruit. Joey Tensley is a master at blending vineyard components and has demonstrated this skill through the wines of his own brand, Tensley Wines. Together with Santa Ema’s chief winemaker, Andres Sanhueza, the new team lets the vineyards do the talking by blending their best elements. The 2012 Catalina blend and 2013 Reserve and Amplus tiers will be the first vintages made with Tensley’s influence and are available nationwide.


For people news you can search or filter visit winebusiness.com/people

Aubrey O’Quest

Greg O’Quest

Greg O’Quest has been named vineyard manager at French Camp Vineyard; one of California’s most historic vineyard sites, located in the Paso Robles Highlands AVA. Formerly viticulturist at French Camp Vineyard, O’ Quest will step in to replace Greg Phelan, a long-time Thornhill Companies employee who will be joining his family business full-time. His brother, Aubrey O’Quest, has also received a promotion within the Thornhill Companies, as leader of grower relations for Turn Key Wine Brands. Also a graduate in fruit science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Aubrey started at French Camp Vineyards in 2004 as an intern but was later appointed pesticide application manager in 2007. Moving up steadily from there, O’Quest was named agronomist for French Camp Vineyard in 2011. Sandra Tavares da Silva and Francisca van Zeller have been appointed joint wine directors of Six Senses Douro Valley. The two award-winning winemakers represent the new generation of winemaking in Portugal. Combining impressive skill, experience and energy, they bring a fresh and creatively interactive approach to the Wine Program at Six Senses Douro Valley. Tavares da Silva studied at Piacenza University in Italy and was then recruited to join Quinta Vale Dona Maria, an ancient estate in the heart of the Douro Valley, producing the finest Port and Douro wines. In addition to her role at Vale Dona Maria, she also worked alongside her parents at her family vineyard, Quinta de Chocapalha, in the Lisbon wine region. Francisca van Zeller was born into the winemaking business. Van Zeller pursued a bachelor’s degree in history and journalism before rejoining her award-winning family business at Quinta Vale Dona Maria. In 2015, she finished her post-graduate course in enology and viticulture, the study of all aspects of wine, before transitioning to her new role as a joint wine director at Six Senses Douro Valley.

WBM August 2015 69


people Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden promoted Josh Kimball to national sales manager, responsible for launching and expanding markets for Cowhorn wines throughout the U.S. Kimball joined Cowhorn in 2011 as the winery’s first Sales Manager, overseeing direct sales and distribution within Oregon. He added California to his responsibilities in 2013 and by early 2015 was addressing national sales. Before coming to Cowhorn, Kimball managed direct sales at King Estate Winery and Van Duzer Vineyards. Neil and Lance Ellman, proprietors of Ellman Family Vineyards, hired Adriana Chinsky as director of sales. Chinsky brings over 20 years of wine industry experience to EFV. Specializing in Napa Valley wines, she spent several years at Caymus Vineyards, managing 11 distributors in seven states. In 2011, she founded Adavino, a boutique brokerage focused on Napa properties. In Florida, she solidified herself as the trusted “go-to” person for luxury vineyards.

Distributors, Importers & Retailers John Sellar will take the lead as the new president of Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd., Previously, Sellar was vice president in charge of Wildman’s Wholesale Division. A Colgate University graduate, Sellar worked in many of New York’s great restaurants and was further exposed to fine wine when he enrolled in Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine School. While attending film school, Sellar managed a wine shop in Manhattan’s lower east side and continued his wine education receiving his diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. In 1997 he joined Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. as a sales representative. In addition to Sellar’s appointment, Bill Seawright, vice president northern division manager, will now manage the 30-person strong U.S. sales force as vice president national sales manager. Seawright joined Wildman over a decade ago. Benjamin Kirschner will replace John Sellar as the new director of sales for the Wholesale Division in NYC and New Jersey. Current vice presidents, Martin Sinkoff (marketing), Jim DiCicco (finance), Kevin Murphy (operations) and Greg Taylor (wholesale upstate NY), remain in their roles and with their teams in place. Guarachi Wine Partners appointed Brock Harris to regional sales manager of California and Hawaii. Harris joins Guarachi Wine Partners after rising through the ranks of E&J Gallo’s divisional sales leadership. After leaving Gallo, Harris held the regional sales manager position for Independent Distillers USA, where he effected strong regional sales volume during his tenure. In this new role, Harris will strategically implement Guarachi Wine Partners’ annual sales plan across the California and Hawaii distributor network.

70 August 2015 WBM

Industry Suppliers & Services Beth-Anne Kline has been appointed as a regional sales manager for Saxco International, LLC. She will be directly responsible for the day-to-day sales functions and new business development for Saxco customers in the beer, wine, spirits and food industries located in the Northeast region of the United States, north of Washington, D.C. through the New England states. Kline joins Saxco International with eight years of experience in the glass and PET bottle manufacturing sales industry, most recently with Graham Packaging in York, Pennsylvania, where she was responsible for developing and executing sales strategies for the personal care division of the plastic bottle packaging manufacturer. TradePulse announced the addition of several new members to its team. Katie Zelman has been bought on as project manager. Most recently, Zelman worked for Clos Du Val Wine Co. where, as a sales analyst, she managed pricing, bill-backs, sales/financial reporting as well as sales planning and forecasts. Ravindra Kumar Bhartiya, development manager, has held key engineering positions in various prominent companies for more than 16 years, including senior engineer at Intuit from 2000 to 2003. Steve Lilak, director of sales, joined TradePulse at the beginning of 2015. He is an industry veteran with extensive experience at E&J Gallo, Southern Wine & Spirits and Safeway, working both in sales and managing business intelligence solutions. Kenny Johnson, sales and marketing associate, worked with TradePulse as an intern in the summer of 2014 while completing his degree in computer science from Stanford University. He is involved in a wide variety of activities involving sales, marketing, alliances and customerrelated projects. Mike Zuppa has joined San Francisco Wine Exchange (SFWE) as vice president and national sales manager. He is also a member of the company’s executive team. He was trained at E&J Gallo Winery, then spent 10 years with Constellation Brands, and most recently, managing a portfolio of more than 50 premium suppliers for Europvin U.S.A. SFWE promoted Olivier Portet to vice president of marketing. Portet, a California native, comes from a long winemaking tradition, as his family has been in the business for 10 generations. SFWE has hired four sales managers. Aaron Schifferle is the Southwestern regional manager. He is responsible for sales in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii. Wayne Cheeseman is the Southeastern regional manager, responsible for sales in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee. Samantha Lincoln is the New York and New Jersey sales manager and a certified specialist of wine. Marcke Lhyle is the Northwest regional manager, in charge of SFWE sales in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Maverick Enterprises, Inc. promoted Fred Koeppel from vice president of operations to vice president of sales. Koeppel will partner with the executive vice president of sales and business development to build on existing relationships and forge new ones in the marketplace. As vice president of sales, Koeppel will lead the technical services team to ensure continued industry leading support and will oversee and drive a newly formed partnership. Koeppel will also begin working closely with many accounts, visiting customers at their facilities and making sure everyone has the support they need to help customers continue to succeed.


For people news you can search or filter visit winebusiness.com/people

Erica Harrop, president and founder of Global Package LLC, welcomed Anne-Marie Ammann back to the Global Package team. Ammann will be working as part of the sales team to provide customers with glass options from around the world. Ammann’s long experience in the glass field began in 1994 when she worked with the original Demptos Glass team, where Harrop was president at the time. After opening and managing Vetri Speciali’s U.S. sales office from 1998 to 2007, she rejoined Harrop in the early days of Global Package, and later honed her logistics and administrative skills at Wine Bottle Renew, and H&A Financing and Services. She returned to bottles, as well, at Bruni Glass, where she was managing sales for the Central Coast and outside areas. Ammann’s areas of expertise include new business development, strategic planning and implementation, global ventures, market analysis, and client relations and retention. She has advised business owners on issues impacting business development, operational strategy, and business expansion. The Marx Group and Marx Group Advisors named Kristine “Krisey” Banton executive assistant. In that role, Banton is not only responsible for supporting Tom Marx, president and CEO of The Marx Group and CEO, Marx Group Advisors, she is the key support person to make sure both companies run smoothly. Her additional responsibilities include office management and client support. Banton spent six years working for The Capital Group Companies, an investment bank where she supported top level management and assisted analysts with financial research for a leading buy side investment private equity firm. Westfalia Technologies, Inc. hired Jose Ferreyra as quality assurance manager. With more than 15 years of experience, Ferreyra is tasked with troubleshooting system issues, assisting in the development of systems designs, specifications and costing, and managing projects and job sites as needed. Ferreyra previously spent almost 10 years with the company, serving as a project manager, vice president of operations and business development manager. In between his time with Westfalia, Ferreyra worked as senior project manager for a global industrial equipment manufacturer and as a regional commercial director for a logistics and materials handling solutions provider. Strike & Techel, a San Francisco law firm, announced the addition of attorney Melani L. Johns. Johns will advise alcohol industry clients on a wide range of legal matters, including business formation, contracts and licensing. Prior to joining Strike & Techel, Johns was a founding partner of a boutique law firm that focused on providing legal services to restaurants, bars and other businesses in the hospitality industry. Johns received her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, where she was editor-inchief of the law review. Allen Wine Group LLP named Sandy O’Shea a partner in the firm. She joins partners Timothy Allen, Gina Carte, Deanna Partridge and Jennifer Schiavone. O’Shea comes to Allen Wine Group after five years as the director of finance and accounting at J Vineyards & Winery. Prior to that, O’Shea spent six years as audit senior manager for Moss-Adams, where she primarily worked with winery clients, and seven years at KPMG, where her focus was software companies. She earned her degree in accounting from Santa Clara University and holds an active California CPA license.

Associations & Education Greg Coleman, vice president of grower relations at E&J Gallo Winery, has been elected as Wine Institute board chairman for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Other board officers elected were Margie Healy of Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, first vice chairman; Steve Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines in San Jose, second vice chairman; Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards in Napa, treasurer; and Hank Wetzel of Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg, secretary. Robert P. (Bobby) Koch is president and CEO of Wine Institute. Coleman is a third-generation member of the Gallo family, as well as the third-generation of family members who have served as Wine Institute’s board chairman, following in the footsteps of his great uncle, Ernest Gallo (1957-59), his uncle, Bob Gallo (1977-78) and his cousin, Joe Gallo (1988-89). He is a member of the Gallo Winery’s board of directors and a past board chairman of G3 Enterprises. Coleman’s priorities, as incoming board chairman, include defeating state tax and fee increases on wine, and working on international trade and water policy. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail welcomed their newest team member, Kyle Anne Pallischeck, as marketing communications manager. Pallischeck will assist in further development and implementation of a vigorous marketing and communications plan for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail in support of its member wineries. She will directly support the existing efforts of the executive director and office manager while also executing projects in conjunction with the vision of the Trail’s marketing committee. The Lake County Winegrape Commission board of directors seated three recently elected directors who are looking to advance Lake County’s wine industry through increased local involvement, expanded sustainable winegrape growing and renewed energy. Two new directors, Keith Brandt and Bruce Merrilees, joined incumbent David Weiss in taking their seats on the board, which comprises eight directors, seven of whom are Lake County winegrape growers elected by other eligible growers, and one public member, appointed by the board chair. Other directors include Jonathan Walters, Brassfield Estate Winery; Broc Zoller, Zoller Vineyards; Bill Oldham, Oldham Vineyards; Bonnie Sears, Beckstoffer Vineyards; and Bill Brunetti, public member. The board also elected its officers for the coming year, with Walters serving as commission chair, Zoller as vice chair and Sears as secretary-treasurer. WBM

Applications for ABC and TTB licenses

Distribution agreements & direct shipping advice for all states

ABC and TTB Business Practice Counseling

Accusation, Defense and Protest Hearing Representation

Regulatory clearance of promotions, point-of-sale material, labels and advertising

ATTORNEYS: John Hinman • Lynne Carmichael • Beth Aboulafia Sara Mann • Rebecca Stamey-White • Suzanne DeGalan

260 California Street, Suite 700 • San Francisco CA 94111 Telephone 415.362.1215 • Facsimile 415.362.1494 BeverageLaw.com

WBM August 2015 71


advertiser index Thank you to all of our advertisers! Company

web address

page

Company

web address

page

ACH Foam Technologies

www.achfoam.com

56

Hinman & Carmichael, LLP

www.beveragelaw.com

71

Ager Tank & Equipment Co.

www.agertank.com

26

Innovation + Quality

www.winebusinessIQ.com

12

Alain Fouquet French Cooperage

www.alainfouquet.com

30

Live Oak Bank

www.liveoakbank.com/wcb/

66

All American Containers

www.aacwine.com

53

Microworks Technologies, Inc.

www.winesoftware.com

59

American AgCredit, CoBank, Farm Credit West, Northwest Farm Credit Services

www.agloan.com

49

Monvera Glass DĂŠcor

www.monvera.com

9

American Tartaric Products, Inc.

www.americantartaric.com

21

Moss Adams, LLP

www.mossadams.com

65

American Vineyard Foundation

www.avf.org

52

Napa Valley Grapegrowers

www.napagrowers.org

46

Arrowhead Systems, Inc.

www.arrowheadsystems.com

17

Nomacorc

www.nomacorc.com

23

AWS/Prospero

www.prosperocorp.com

50

O-I (Owens-Illinois)

www.o-i.com

7

Barrel Safe Cellar Racks

www.barrelsafe.com

63

P&L Specialties

www.pnlspecialties.com

Benchmark Consulting

www.benchmarkhr.com

69

Portocork

www.portocork.com

3

Bergin Glass Impressions

www.berginglass.com

5

Pro Refrigeration, Inc.

www.prochiller.com

22

Bin to Bottle Winery

www.bintobottle.com

39

Rack & Maintenance Source

www.rmswinebarrelracks.com

24

Bucher Vaslin North America

www.bvnorthamerica.com

20

Ramondin USA, Inc.

www.ramondin.com

27

Chamberlin Agriculture

www.chamberlinag.com

29

Ranch Winery

www.ranchwinery.com

2

C-Line Express

www.c-linexp.com

50

Revolution Equipment Sales

www.revoquip.com

20

Diablo Valley Packaging

www.dvpackaging.com

57

Saverglass, Inc.

www.saverglass.com

55

Duarte Nursery, Inc.

www.duartenursery.com

45

Scott Laboratories, Inc.

www.scottlab.com

26

East Coast Crush & Co-Pack

www.crushandcopack.com

42

Sonoma Cast Stone

www.concretewinetanks.com

43

Electro-Steam Generator Corp.

www.electrosteam.com

42

Spec Trellising

www.spectrellising.com

16

Enartis Vinquiry

www.enartisvinquiry.com

34

St. Patrick's of Texas

www.stpats.com

28

ETS Laboratories

www.etslabs.com

19

Tom Beard Co.

www.tombeard.com

47

Fermentis

www.fermentis.com

35

www.tradepulse.com

59

Fleetwood-Fibre Packaging & Graphics

www.fleetwood-fibre.com

25

Trust International Corp.

www.barrelmakers.com

30

G3 Enterprises

www.g3enterprises.com

75

Vinotec Napa

www.vinotecnapa.com

37

Ganau America, Inc.

www.ganauamerica.com

76

Vitro Packaging, LLC

www.vitropackaging.com

41

Global Package, LLC

www.globalpackage.net

63

Watermark Labels

www.watermarklabels.com

61

Granbury Solutions

www.granburyrs.com

58

Winejobs Summit

www.winejobsSUMMIT.com

11

Grapes & Bulk Wine

www.winebusiness.com/ grapesbulkwine

34, 38

Winejobs.com

www.winejobs.com

67

Gusmer Enterprises

www.gusmerenterprises.com

33, 34

Wines & Vines Packaging Conference

www.wvpack.com

31

WiVi Central Coast GW Kent, Inc.

www.gwkent.com

www.wivicentralcoast.com

15

Pacific Coast

TradePulse

72 August 2015 WBM

51

(Division of Winery Exchange)

Wine Industry Conference & Tradeshow

16


Big Easy is Hard in the world is New Orleans. It is not so much a small city as it is a big town. It is a visually striking place with its own food, music and customs, but what makes it so special is the attitude. People who are born in New Orleans tend to stay in New Orleans. Go anywhere with a local, whether it is a restaurant, a hair salon or a dentist’s office, and you can be assured your local friend will bump into people they know. People from New Orleans go out in New Orleans. They go to the bars to drink, to restaurants to eat and to nightclubs to hear music. When they go out, they go out hard. They spend money, laugh, get loud and have fun. In fact, having a good time is the mantra of the city: “Let the good times roll, Cher.” There must be something about living in a bowl below sea level with the Mississippi River on one side and Lake Pontchartrain on the other that makes people supremely aware that life is short. Perhaps it is the stifling summer heat, the airplane-sized mosquitos and the vicious biting gnats that drive them to party like there is no tomorrow. It could even be the hurricanes that slam into the city on a regular basis, ripping off roofs and leaving stinking, silty water in their living rooms that force them to grin and bear it and look for entertaining diversions. Whatever it is, the people of New Orleans are tougher than those giant outdoor cockroaches you see climbing their walls. They don’t give up, and they always come back for more. Jakelyn’s mom and I have just returned from another glorious two weeks there; and once again, I was reminded nothing is easy in the Big Easy. For one thing, traffic is a mess. More than a year of construction on Napoleon St. has thrown a monkey wrench into Uptown traffic. This week they are closing a big stretch of St. Charles Ave., which will make traversing the city all but impossible. The Crescent City Connection bridging New Orleans and the West Bank usually looks like a parking lot. Pot holes are so big and prevalent that locals have started decorating them to warn unsuspecting drivers. Still, they will brave the traffic and search an hour for a parking spot just to go to a restaurant for Happy Hour and eat $0.50 oysters or catfish sliders with glasses of half-price wine. Weather can be spectacular in New Orleans. On three occasions we were treated to tornado strength winds pushing sideways sheets of rain so thick you couldn’t see a foot in front of you while lightning crackled and thunder roared. Those three storms could have ended the drought in California, but the locals just gazed out at the rain and drank Sazeracs until the storm passed. Wine prices in New Orleans restaurants are insane. Jake Lorenzo often sees mark-ups as high as five or six times. Here in California that kind of thing drives me crazy. I will kick and scream and make a scene until Jakelyn’s mother drags me away from the bar. In New Orleans, they just grin and say, “I’ll have another of those $0.50 martinis (at Commander’s Palace) or a $5 specialty cocktail (at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse).” One night we were in Borgne Restaurant for Happy Hour with Enrique Fonseca and his family, eating the incredible turkey necks and duck jalapeño poppers, when Enrique asked if he could pay corkage and open a bottle of tequila for us to taste. The chef came over with a tray full of shot glasses, tasted the tequila with us and refused to charge anything so long as we allowed some of his staff to join us. That’s attitude; but if you think drinking J A K E L O R E N Z O ’ S FAV O R I T E C I T Y

an entire bottle of tequila at a restaurant in one sitting is easy, then you’ve never done it. You could go to Bullet’s Sports Bar, and you won’t get any decent wine, but they will bring a half-pint bottle of whatever brand booze you like with cups, ice and any mixes you’d like for a very reasonable price. Then, of course, there’s the live music at Bullet’s with the likes of Kermit Ruffins, James Andrews and Trumpet Black. Trumpet Black. There’s a New Orleans story. Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill was a New Orleans musician. His grandfather was R&B legend Jesse Hill of “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” fame. His cousins include James Andrews, Glen David Andrews and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Trumpet Black’s life was not easy. Arrested for armed robbery, he served close to nine years in prison. Released in 2011, he charged into a music career. He worked in the community, volunteering for the Trumpets Not Guns organization where he talked to neighborhood young people about his life and about options that they might not know they had. He was doing great, and his band Trumpet Black and the Heart Attacks played every Monday night at the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar, where the cover charge was just $10 and included all of the red beans and rice you could

Those three storms could have ended the drought in California, but the locals just gazed out at the rain and drank Sazeracs until the storm passed.

eat. On the eve of a trip to Japan, Trumpet Black visited his dentist with a toothache. He had a minor procedure and took off for his gigs. Once in Japan, his tooth got infected. They put him in a hospital, but the infection traveled to his heart. Trumpet Black died. He was 28 years old. We were in the Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar on a Monday night. Cousin James Andrews was sitting in with the Heart Attacks for his cousin. For no particular reason, but as if it had been announced, everyone drifted outside. Thirty musicians appeared from nowhere and started to play trumpets, trombones, tubas and drums. The sound was incredible, vibrating our bodies and seeping and reverberating in our bones. After a few minutes, the musicians entered the bar, continuing to play mind-blowingly loud music that was raucous, joyous and soulfully sad. They were saying goodbye to Trumpet Black. It was a real New Orleans second line for one of their own. The emotion was palpable in the music, and the interplay between musicians was otherworldly. It was an attitude. They were saying, “We are going to celebrate Trumpet Black’s life. We will play the music he loved. We will play it with every ounce of talent and emotion we have.” It was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Jake Lorenzo doubts he will ever see anything like it again. When the music finally stopped, the musicians were spent. Many were crying. It was an astonishing moment, one that Jakelyn’s mom and I will never forget. Astonishing…but certainly not easy. WBM WBM August 2015 73

ILLUSTRATION BY BOB JOHNSON

jake lorenzo


winemaker of the month

Trey Busch, winemaker and partner, Sleight of Hand Cellars, Walla Walla, Washington NAME AND TITLE: Trey

Busch, winemaker and partner

WINERY NAME AND LOCATION: Sleight

of Hand Cellars in Walla Walla WA (est. 2007), The Renegade Wine Co. (est. 2008), and The Underground Wine Project (est. 2012 with Mark Ryan Winery). Our tasting room in Walla Walla boasts a record collection of more than 1,600 albums, and our motto at the winery is “Punk rock wines for Punk rock minds.” We take our winemaking very seriously, but not ourselves. Music “frames” the wine experience for our customers so they can relax and have a great time listening to their favorite album. We have partnered with Sub Pop Records in Seattle to put together a playlist of their newest artists for our wine club members twice a year. And in the winery, we will often have KEXP radio out of Seattle streaming over the many speakers. A happy winemaking team will ultimately make better wines!

I read Wine Business Monthly cover to cover every month, and love how the magazine is always discussing what is relevant in the wine business today. The recent article on concrete was perfect timing for us, as we have been discussing using concrete eggs in our program for a few years now. After visiting with a few wineries in Washington, California, and Bordeaux that utilize concrete in their wine programs, we purchased two eggs this year for the upcoming 2015 harvest to make and age Chardonnay and Grenache. Super excited about seeing how they turn out!

ANNUAL CASE PRODUCTION: 8,000 cases for Sleight of Hand Cellars, 15,000 cases for The Renegade Wine Co., and approximately 5,000 cases for the Underground Wine Project. PLANTED ACRES:

• 16.7 acres planted (Partner in Stoney Vine Vineyard in the new Rocks District of Milton Freewater AVA) Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre • 5 acres leased (Elene’s Block at Phinny Hill Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills AVA), 4 acres Cabernet (3 clones), 1 acre Cabernet Franc • 8 acres leased (Binaural Block at Blue Mountain Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley AVA), 3 acres Merlot, 3 acres Cabernet Franc, 2 acres Cabernet Sauvignon. • 6 acres leased (The Sonic Block at Red Mountain Vineyard in Red Mountain AVA), 3 acres Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 acre Cabernet Franc, 2 acres Merlot We also source fruit on long term acreage contracts from Lewis Vineyard, French Creek Vineyard, Les Collines Vineyard, Seven Hills Vineyard, Va Piano Vineyard, Upland Vineyard, and Blackrock Vineyard. CAREER BACKGROUND: I

entered the wine business in 2000 when I went to work with Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars. I had exactly zero experience in the wine business or winemaking, but Eric took a chance on me and hired me to be his assistant winemaker (a glorified name for a janitor and barrel monkey). I left my corporate job at Nordstrom in Seattle and moved my family over to Walla Walla so I could learn how to make wine. Eric was an incredible mentor, teaching me the art of making wine, not just the science, and I have made that the basis for how I make wine today. I brought a sales and marketing background to the table and helped Eric and his family grow their brand. In 2002 I was hired to make the wines for Basel Cellars in Walla Walla, and in 2007, decided to start my own brand with my great friends and business partners Jerry and Sandy Solomon. That was the genesis of Sleight of Hand Cellars.

Establishing and maintain a brand (or three, in our case) in today’s market is very challenging. There are so many choices for consumers. So to launch a brand, and have it become as successful as ours, is certainly something that I have much pride in.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE?

VARIETALS THAT YOUR WINERY IS KNOWN FOR:

Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend @sofhcellars 74 August 2015 WBM

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Profile for Wine Business Monthly

WBM 2015 08 August  

WBM 2015 08 August  

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