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Welcome to Vineyard & Winery Management

Current Issue Highlights
March/April 2015

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News Flash – Wine Industry News Briefs

February 24, 2015

CDFA Announces Dates for PD/GWSS Voting

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has announced dates for this year’s vote on the continuation of the statewide Pierce’s disease and glassy-winged sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) wine grape assessment. Ballots are slated for mailing to growers on or about March 30, and are due back 30 days after mailing. Results will be announced approximately two weeks after the voting period.

Click here to read more wine industry news briefs.

Web Exclusives

March 17, 2015

Central Coast Winemakers Discuss the Diversity Issue
Variety an advantage as consumers seek out new wines

By Laurie Jervis

The temperate climate of California’s Central Coast makes the region alluring to winemakers who farm a diverse palate of wine grape varieties. But is the lack of varietal specialization a marketing disadvantage? As part of the Central Coast Insights program, hosted March 12 in Paso Robles, Calif., by the Wine Industry Symposium Group, four winemakers shared their observations during a panel entitled “Central Coast Diversity: Blessing or Curse?” Click here to read more.


March 2, 2015

Vineyard Labor Shortage Expected to Worsen
Mexico’s agricultural labor force decreasing by 150,000 per year

By Sean P. Sullivan

At this week’s Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland, Ore., Ed Taylor, professor of agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis, painted a bleak picture of the long-term agricultural labor supply in the United States. Taylor said that Mexico’s agricultural labor force is currently decreasing by 1% per year. “That’s a big decrease,” he said, noting that there are 150,000 fewer farm workers coming out of rural Mexico each year. Taylor said this will directly affect U.S. agricultural labor supply. “We could be looking at a decrease of 10,000 Mexican workers on U.S. farms each year,” he said. Click here to read more.


Feb. 25, 2015

Proposed change in appellation labeling laws would have broad impact
Adjacent states would be able to use another state’s appellations

By Sean P. Sullivan

On Feb. 9 the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published a proposal in the Federal Register that, if approved, would significantly alter the nation’s wine labeling laws. The proposal, issued in Notice No. 147, would allow wineries in adjacent states to use the other state’s appellation names on wine labels. Under existing law, wineries may only use an appellation name on a label if the wine is “fully finished” in the state in which the appellation lies. Click here to read more.


February 20, 2015

WAWGG Conference Highlights New Processing Technology
Prototype optical sorter, programmable fermentation tanks among innovations

By Andy Perdue

Tim Donahue, director of winemaking at the college's Center for Enology & Viticulture, revealed the results of two years of trials conducted by his students using VitiSort, a prototype optical sorter designed and built by Key Technology in Walla Walla, Wash. He presented the information during a session covering new processing technology – which also included programmable fermentation tanks and self-cleaning tanks – held Feb. 10 at the annual Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) conference in Kennewick, Wash. Click here to read more.


January 21, 2015

Galloni Aims to Create ‘ESPN of Wine’
International Wine Cellar purchase positions Vinous as significant player in wine criticism 

By Sean P. Sullivan

When Vinous purchased International Wine Cellar (IWC) last November, it created something of a wine criticism supergroup, with IWC founder Stephen Tanzer joining Antonio Galloni – former lead critic for The Wine Advocate – as partner, editor-in-chief and critic. In addition to adding a respected group of writers, the purchase also made Vinous home to more than 1,000 articles and 180,000 professional reviews spanning 30 years. Galloni said his goal is to combine traditional wine criticism with modern technology. Click here to read more.


December 1, 2014

Central Coast Water Studies Released
High nitrate levels found in some regions

By Janet White

New water quality results for surface water and ground water on the Central Coast offered good and bad news for growers at the Sustainable Ag Expo, held in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in late November. In the most extensive release of surface water findings to date, Sarah Lopez, technical program manager of Central Coast Water Quality Preservation Inc., reported that detections of two organophosphate insecticides had declined dramatically from 2005 to 2013. In the same presentation, however, Steve Deverel, hydrologist working for the Central Coast Groundwater Coalition, reported that tests of hundreds of Central Coast domestic wells in 2013-14 revealed high nitrate concentrations throughout the Salinas Valley, and in farming regions in the Pajaro, Gilroy, Hollister and Santa Maria groundwater basins. Click here to read more.


Nov. 24, 2014

Waiting the Hardest Part for Paso Robles AVA Petition
J. Lohr CEO Steve Lohr explains the challenges and payoffs of waiting seven years

By Tina Caputo

On Oct. 7, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved 11 new American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) within California’s existing Paso Robles viticultural area. At 614,000 acres, Paso Robles was previously California’s largest un-subdivided AVA. Speaking at the Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles on Nov. 8, Steve Lohr, chairman and CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines and former chairman of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, explained the challenges of the TTB application process. From the time of submission, it took seven years for Paso’s petition to gain approval. Click here to read more


October 21, 2014

Wine Still Dope in Colorado and Washington State
But will sales slump with the legalization of recreational marijuana?

By Jennifer Strailey

Coloradoans like wine, consuming 24% more, or 3.1 gallons per capita annually vs. the national average of 2.5 gallons. But many of them also like weed. According to the state Department of Revenue, recreational marijuana dispensaries garnered more than $14 million in sales in just the first month after legalization. Will access to recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington state cause the thriving wine economies in those states to go to pot? Click here to read more.


October 15, 2014

Lessons from the Global Wine Wars
Wine economist Mike Veseth identifies factors that will shape the future of the U.S. wine industry

By Deborah Parker Wong

In addressing the 23rd annual Wine Industry Financial Symposium, held on Sept. 23 at the Napa Valley Marriott, wine economist Mike Veseth presented a 30,000-foot view of both short- and longer-term scenarios that could spell boom or bust for domestic winegrowers and producers. Armed with the latest industry data courtesy of Nielson, as well as Rabobank and feedback from his popular blog, WineEconomist.com, he provided attendees with insights into the current state of the global wine industry. Veseth tackled the broad topic by breaking down his insights in to three areas of interest: the economy, salient trends and the ever-shrinking supply chain. Click  to read more.


October 1, 2014

Washington State Vintners Gauge Future Labor Force
Industry will require 6,500 new workers by 2018

By Gary Werner

Washington state grapegrowers and winemakers are justifiably proud of their impressive trajectory during the past decade. Vineyard area has nearly doubled to almost 50,000 acres, and bonded winery numbers have more than tripled to over 800. But industry leaders are curious about whether they can sustain such growth. Are there enough skilled workers coming down the training pipeline?  To answer that question, a consortium of the state’s agricultural colleges hired Prosser-based Agri-Business Consultants to complete an industry-wide employment and educational needs assessment – the first since 2001.
Click  to read more.


September 12, 2014

Tax Relief for Earthquake-Affected Wineries
Federal and state aid approved for Napa businesses

By Michael Ricioli, Moss Adams Wine Tax Partner; and Renee Bartlett, Moss Adams State and Local Tax Senior Manager

And now it’s also caused federal action: On September 11, following urging from Governor Brown and local officials, President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the state of California, releasing several federal aid measures and a few key federal (on top of existing state) tax relief provisions that could help winery and vineyard owners recover. Let’s take a look at the assistance now available. Click to read more.


September 8, 2014

Napa Rebuilds Following Earthquake
Recovery ongoing for wineries and workers

By Tim Teichgraeber

Reporters heard two resounding sentiments in the two weeks following the sobering 6.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Napa in the early hours of Aug 24. While national news media painted a picture of widespread disaster, locals pointed out that the situation could have been a lot worse. And instead of helplessly waiting for government aid to arrive, the community swiftly rose to the challenge of recovery. Click to read more.


More articles:

Large California Harvests Create Capacity Crush
Tank and barrel suppliers turn away orders
By Sean P. Sullivan
Click to read more.

Experts Predict Tech Trends
Annual wine technology conference separates fads from trends
By Tina Caputo
Click to read more.

Cornell's Terry Bates Earns ASEVs First Extension Distinction Award
Researcher recognized at National Conference in Austin, Texas

By David Falchek
Click to read more.

Oregon Winegrowers Combat Herbicide Drift
Growers association hopes to raise awareness through signage
By Sean P. Sullivan
Click to read more.

CDFA Secretary Addresses California Drought Issue
Karen Ross calls for increased conservation, groundwater management

By Rayne Wolfe
Click to read more

Wine Executives Told to Look to Other Industries for Innovation
UC Davis Wine Executive Program examines winery and vineyard of the future
By Ted Rieger
Click to read more.

Growers and Vintners Gather for Oregon Wine Symposium
Hot topics include water management, capitalizing on Oregon Wine Month
By Susan G. Hauser
Click to read more.

Chardonnay in Focus at Washington Grape Grower conference
Changing perceptions of the state’s most-produced grape variety 
By Sean P. Sullivan
Click to read more.


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