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Welcome to Vineyard & Winery Management

2017JF CoverCurrent Issue Highlights
January/February 2017

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News Flash – Wine Industry News Briefs


Sonoma County Barrel Auction Sets Record

The Sonoma County Vintners in Santa Rosa, Calif., are celebrating after 75 unique Sonoma County wine lots fetched a total of $693,800 at the 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction, increasing the event’s fundraising total by more than 50% over last year. More than 250 wine professionals and media attended the event, which featured small lot wines from 16 of Sonoma County’s 17 appellations.

Click here to read more wine industry news briefs

Web Exclusives

Franzia’s Unified Keynote Speaks to Past, Present and Future

By Deborah Parker Wong

In a rare and much anticipated public address, Bronco CEO Fred Franzia delivered the January 26 keynote speech and, with it, set the stage for the 2016 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Franzia paid homage to the founding figures of the California wine industry, including his uncle Ernest Gallo, with a look back at their history and, with his characteristic candor, tackled some of the trade’s most relevant topics. Click here to read more.


USDA Grant Goes to Precision Ag Research
$6.2 million invested in developing new vineyard management tool 

By Linda Dailey Paulson

A four-year, $6.2 million grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) will fund research and development of technologies designed to help grapegrowers achieve greater productivity through precision agriculture. The research, which has been actively supported by The National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI), is focused on developing digital mapping tools growers can use to make informed crop management and harvesting decisions.  Click here to read more.


California Governor Amends Social Media Bill
AB-780 seen as a step in the right direction

By Shana Bull

On Oct. 1, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 780, authored by Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), which eases tied-house restrictions on social media use by wineries, breweries and distillers. As of Jan. 1, 2016, alcoholic beverage producers will be allowed to identify retailers that carry their products, via “electronic media.” Click here to read more.



Fires Damage West Coast Winery Operations
From British Columbia to California, Wary Industry Watching Flames
By Linda Dailey Paulson

West Coast wildfires burned across seven states and British Columbia this summer, destroying and threatening vineyards and wineries, and disrupting winery operations. As of Sept. 13, according to National Interagency Fire Center data, 34 active and uncontained wildfires burned on roughly 1.6 million acres in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Click here to read more.


Increased Internet and Social Media Use Fail to Translate into Wine Sales
U.S. buyers like online wine discounts, but not shipping costs

By Linda Dailey Paulson

U.S. consumers are increasingly using the Internet to obtain information about wine, but according to a recent survey, this is not yet translating into sales. There has been a steady rise in the Internet’s influence on the U.S. wine market since 2011, according UK-based Wine Intelligence, which conducted an online survey of 2,227 wine consumers in the United States. Forty-one percent of those surveyed stated that they use wine merchants’ websites, and an additional 37% said they utilize newspaper or magazine websites for wine information. Thirty eight percent said they use social media to get updates about wine discounts and promotions. Click here to read more.


Pennsylvania Privatization Vetoed
Bill killed at Governor’s desk, yet advocates hopeful of change
By David Falchek
On July 6, Pennsylvania came as close as it ever has to privatizing the state’s wine and spirits retail and wholesale monopoly when both houses of the legislature sent a privatization plan to the governor’s desk. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the bill, but coyly left the door open to changes in the current system and continued negotiations as the state faces a budget feud. The move pushed privatization near the forefront, giving advocates a boost and creating a new sense of inevitability. Click here to read more.


ASEV National Meeting Tackles Rootstocks, Pests and Diseases
International crowd gathers at annual conference in Portland, Ore.

By Linda Dailey Paulson

The wine industry assembled in Portland for the 66th American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) National Conference, held June 15-18. Despite the word “American” in the organization’s name, attendees and speakers from Canada, South Africa and other nations participated, sharing information alongside United States-based researchers and industry professionals. Research presentations addressed a wide range of enology and viticulture topics affecting the industry, many of which were included in the general viticulture session.  Click here to read more.


FAA Approves Yamaha Drone for Agricultural Use
Exemption gives farmers reason for optimism

By Jennifer Strailey

As drones increasingly become a part of daily life, is the approval of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for widespread commercial use on the horizon? On May 1, agriculture took a step in this direction, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 – granted the Yamaha Motor Corporation of Cypress, Calif., an exemption to conduct agricultural operations in the United States using its remotely piloted RMAX helicopter.  Click here to read more.


North of the Gate Competition Names Best Wines from California Counties
Lewis Grace Grenache wins top award 

After judges in the annual North of the Gate Wine Competition tasted through 255 wines from across Northern California, they awarded 216 medals, including 27 gold and 10 double gold. The Lewis Grace 2013 Grenache from the Sierra Foothills was named the competition’s Best of Show winner.
Click here to read more.


U.S. Wine May Face Retaliatory Tariffs
World Trade Organization rules U.S. country of origin labeling rules discriminatory

By Tim Teichgraeber

On May 18, the World Trade Organization ruled that country of origin labeling of certain meat products is discriminatory in violation of the NAFTA trade agreement, and violates WTO rules. That ruling opened the door for Canada and Mexico to impose retaliatory tariffs on a number of U.S. products beginning as early as this summer or fall. Wine would not be the only product export hit with stiff tariffs, but because if its value, it could be hit hard.
Click here to read more.


California Subject to Mandatory Water Reductions
Agricultural water users required to report more information to state regulators

By Tina Caputo

It was no joke. On April 1, following the lowest snowpack ever recorded, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions across California to reduce water usage by 25%. While many of the requirements in the Governor’s executive order apply specifically to private residences, it also addresses water usage by campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other entities. Depending on the source of water used to irrigate their lawns, wineries may be subject to the new restrictions. Click here to read more.


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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Vineyard & Winery Management, Inc.  |  707-577-7700  |  421 E Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95404  |  PO Box 14459, Santa Rosa, CA 95402-6459