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Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine

News Flash


October 26, 2015

Live Glassy-Winged Sharpshooters Discovered

Agricultural commissioners in California’s Marin and Sonoma counties reported that inspectors in those counties captured two glassy-winged sharpshooters during routine inspections of nursery shipments from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in September. A viable egg mass was also found on the Sonoma shipment. The discovery is especially concerning given California’s serious drought.


Treasury Wine Estates Acquires Diageo Assets

Melbourne, Australia-based Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. has agreed to buy most of Diageo Plc’s U.S. and UK wine assets for $600 million. Under the deal, Treasury Wine acquires U.S. brands including Beaulieu Vineyards and Sterling Vineyards, as well as Blossom Hill in the U.K. The purchase is expected to double the Australian wine company’s U.S. revenue from luxury and premium wines.


Premium-Minded Consumers Split Wine Market

According to the 13th annual wine executives survey, conducted by UC Davis, California's wine industry will continue to split most of its sales above and below the $10-per-bottle mark, enjoying a rise in overall consumption and a growing emphasis on premium, rather than economy, wines. The survey, which polled the heads of 24 wine companies, also found that industry consolidation, along with water and other environmental issues, remain key challenges.


New Survey to Explore Texas Wine

The Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association has announced a new Grape Survey will be conducted this fall. Researchers from Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University are leading the survey efforts to learn the acres grown, varieties of grapes and production amounts in the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Services will complete the initial study.


Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Forms Partnership

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend has announced a new partnership with Community Foundation Sonoma County. The collaboration will leverage the Community Foundation’s non-profit charitable giving expertise to strategically invest the proceeds of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend to create long-term positive impact in Sonoma County. 


SSU Forges International University Partnership

The School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University (SSU) has forged its first international university partnership between SSU and the University of Jinan Quancheng College in Shandong Province on China’s northeast coast. The study exchange will provide opportunity for students from Penglai Wine College to pursue SSU’s Wine Business Management online certificate and enroll in the Global Wine MBA program.


Wine Tourism Day is Nov. 7

Nov. 7, 2015 is the third annual Wine Tourism Day. Organized by wine tour operators Zephyr Adventures and Taste Vacations, the day is designed to promote travel to wine regions and celebrate wineries and related businesses throughout North America and beyond. This year many participants will donate all or a portion of the day’s earnings to a charity or non-profit.


NGWI Helps Secure $6M in Funding

The National Grape & Wine Initiative (NGWI) in Sacramento, Calif., has helped to secure $6 million in funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The funding will be awarded over four years for research to develop and apply new technologies, including digital maps that allow farmers to conduct precision vineyard management.


Social Media Ruling Benefits Wineries

California’s Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 780, which will allow alcoholic beverage producers to identify retailers who carry their products, via social media. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. Prior to this law, wineries, distilleries and breweries were not allowed to communicate directly with customers about where to buy their products.


Social Networking Site Launches

The recently launched AgFuse is a free social media tool created specifically to connect farmers and the agricultural community with one another. Farmers and ag professionals also can use AgFuse to network, learn the latest farming research, participate in groups and discussions, and more. Upcoming site developments include an AgFuse app. Learn more at www.agfuse.com.


Wine-Trade-Only Auction Announced

The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance will debut a new auction for the wine trade in Walla Walla, Wash. on Apr. 17-18, 2016. Reveal Walla Walla Valley Wine will feature 35 wine lots from the AVA at this invitation-only event. Wine trade can taste and bid on lots in a live auction. Proceeds will benefit the non-profit Alliance. See www.revealwallawalla.com for details.


Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction Raises $4.5M

The 2015 Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak, raised a record-shattering $4.5 million in support of Sonoma County charities. The event took place on Sept. 6 at Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood, Calif. The money raised will support numerous Sonoma County non-profit groups, such as the Fund the Future children’s literacy initiative.



Albatross Ridge Appoints Marc Cutino

Monterey County’s Albatross Ridge has named Marc Cutino vice president of sales. The certified sommelier will oversee the sales program for the winery’s estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cutino joins Albatross from Talbott Vineyards, where he was the Pacific Northwest regional sales manager. Prior to Talbott, Cutino spent a decade as the wine director for the Central Coast’s Sardine Factory restaurant.


Matt Rule Joins Hedges Family Estate

Hedges Family Estate of Benton City, Wash., has appointed Matt Rule as assistant winemaker. He joins Hedges from Fresno State’s winery, where he was head winemaker. An enology program graduate of California State University, Fresno, Rule’s education included a part-time position in the University’s on-campus commercial winery. After graduation, he was hired as the full-time assistant winemaker and quickly promoted to head winemaker.


TWE Welcomes Megghen Driscol

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) in Napa Valley, Calif., has hired Megghen Driscol as vice president, public relations and corporate communications for North America. Driscol’s more than two decades of experience includes senior-level positions with Allied Domecq Wines, Diageo Chateau & Estates and Southcorp Wines. Most recently, she was vice president of public relations and event marketing at Constellation Wines.


Frank Family Promotes Todd Graff

Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga, Calif., has promoted winemaker Todd Graff to general manager. He will continue in his role as winemaker in this position. Graff joined Frank Family Vineyards as winemaker in 2003, and has played an essential role in the winery’s steady growth over the last 13 vintages. He also directed the construction of Frank Family's new winery in 2008.


Gilinsky Releases Sustainable Wine Business Book

In his newly released book, “Crafting Sustainable Wine Businesses: Concepts and Cases,” author Dr. Armand Gilinsky Jr., offers a practical resource for practitioners and academics who want to learn how a triple-bottom-line of social, environmental and financial stewardship can lead to long-term business success for wine businesses and others. Gilinsky is a professor at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif.


Bill Leigon Purchases Jamieson Ranch

Bill Leigon, president of Jamieson Ranch Vineyards since February 2013, has purchased the Napa winery, effective Sept. 18, 2015. Purchase price was not disclosed. Bill Spear, who had managed sales and marketing, was named general manager and co-partner. The purchase includes all existing brands and inventory. Ken Laird of Laird Winery purchased the property, winery buildings and vineyards, which Leigon will lease back.


Tammie Buchanan-Herron Joins Balboa Winery

Balboa Winery in Walla Walla, Wash., has appointed Tammie Buchanan-Herron general manager and controller. Her role will include day-to-day operations, long-term planning and oversight of all financial and business service activities. Buchanan-Herron comes to Balboa from Abeja, where she was the controller. Prior to that, she spent over 14 years at the Costco corporate office in various roles.


Wine Creek Hires Douglas Allan

Douglas Allan has joined Wine Creek LLC in Healdsburg, Calif., as brand manager for its Quivira Vineyards and La Follette Wines. Allan joins Wine Creek from Crimson Wine Group in Napa, where he was the brand manager responsible for Seghesio Family Vineyards and Chamisal Vineyards. Previously, he was the managing director and co-founder of Stacked Wines.



APWG Names Virginia Dare Winery

American Pioneer Wine Growers (APWG) has named its new property Virginia Dare Winery. Located in Geyserville, Calif., Virginia Dare Winery pays homage to the influential people, places and stories that are part of the origins of early American winemaking. Over the last year, APWG has released four other wines in the series: The White Doe, Two Arrowheads, Manteo and The Lost Colony.


Finger Lakes Wineries Collaborate on Solar Project

Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, Hunt Country Vineyards, O-Neh-Da and Eagle Crest Vineyards, and Wagner Vineyards are collaborating to install the first large-scale solar power systems in the Finger Lakes, N.Y. wine region. Collectively, the wineries will create a half a megawatt of solar – enough energy to power hundreds of homes. Suzanne Hunt, president of the energy advisory firm Hunt Green LLC, initiated the collaboration.


Hahn Family Wines Celebrates 35 Years

Soledad, Calif.-based Hahn Family Wines has unveiled a new package for its namesake ultra-premium wine, Hahn, as the winery celebrates 35 years of winemaking in Monterey County. Formerly, the wines were named “Hahn Winery.” Specific changes to the front label include a larger “Hahn” name, a larger rooster icon embossed in two-toned ink, and the words “Family Owned.”


Don Sebastiani & Sons Wins Best Place to Work

For the third year in a row, Don Sebastiani & Sons in Sonoma, Calif., has earned a “Best Place to Work in the North Bay” award from the North Bay Business Journal. The award seeks to identify the best employers in the North San Francisco Bay area. Winners are selected based on the results of anonymous employee surveys and a review of worker comments.


Bronco Wine Debuts 750 mL PET Bottles

Bronco Wine Co. of Ceres, Calif., is field testing its Green Fin and Hacienda 750 mL wine brands in lightweight polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles from Amcor Rigid Plastics. The fourth largest winery in the U.S., Bronco is considering a major packaging switch from glass to plastic to capitalize on PET’s sustainability, light weight and shatter resistance. The field tests are being conducted exclusively through Trader Joe’s.


Tom Eddy Opens New Winery

Winemaker Tom Eddy and his wife, Kerry, officially opened their new Calistoga, Calif., winery in time for the 2015 harvest. The new Tom Eddy Winery sits on the Napa/Sonoma County line, and includes a 4,000-square-foot cave with room for 550 barrels and a 6,000-square-foot crush pad. The winery is open for private tours and tasting by appointment.


Okanagan Receives Craft Distillery License

Okanagan Crush Pad winery in Summerland, B.C., has received a craft distillery license and has recently launched its first Narrative Distilled Small Batch, a grape-based spirit. The spirits program is being run under the direction of Chief Winemaker Matt Dumayne. The Distilled Small Batch was created from a blend of red and white wines.



Walter Schug Dies at 80

Walter Schug, the German-born winemaker who brought his passion for Pinot Noir to Sonoma County, died in his Sonoma home on Oct. 10, from complications related to a recent stroke. He was 80. Schug came to California in the late 1950s after growing up on a Pinot Noir vineyard in Germany’s Rhine River Valley. After moving to the United States, he worked for Julio Gallo before joining Joseph Phelps of Napa Valley, where he helped create the iconic Insignia blend. A tireless champion of Pinot, Schug began growing it on a small plot his boss gave him, before founding his own winery, Schug Carneros Estate, in 1980. In addition to Pinot Noir, he produced Chardonnay, Riesling and other varietals. Schug and his late wife Gertrud raised three children: Axel Schug, Claudia Schuetz and Andrea Vonk.


Sept. 11, 2015

Oregon Wine Production Surges

According to the 2014 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report recently released by the Oregon Wine Board (OWB), overall production in the state jumped 39% to more than 78,000 tons last year, marking the third straight year of double-digit production gains. Sales are also on the rise. New York-based Nielsen reports that Oregon wine sales are up 11% for 2015.


PD Bacteria Discovered in France

In late July, the Xylella fastidiosa bacteria known to cause Pierce's disease (PD) was discovered on France’s island of Corsica, a little more than 18 months after its first recorded appearance in Europe, in olive groves in Italy. The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) responded by immediately implementing eradication measures.


Genomics Research to Benefit Wine

Two new research projects at Australia’s University of Adelaide will use leading genomic expertise and technologies to benefit the wine industry and biodiversity conservation. The two projects, which have won funding from the Australian Genome Research Facility, aim to provide the first definitive scientific explanation of wine terroir. Researchers will investigate the interplay of genetics, plant physiology, environment and wine quality.


Nova Scotia Allows Wine Imports

Nova Scotians are now permitted to import locally grown and produced Canadian wines for personal use without going through the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation. The new regulation took effect on June 25. Only wines that are 100% Canadian grown and at least 85% derived from fruits or other agricultural products grown in the province can be imported. 


California to Receive Dislocated Worker Funding

In response to California’s ongoing drought, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced up to $18 million in National Dislocated Worker Grant funding to provide jobs for workers dislocated by the state’s drought. Initially $3 million will be released. A recent UC Davis study estimates 18,000 people lost jobs because of drought.


Wine Institute Files Suit in Illinois

California’s Wine Institute, Chimney Rock Winery, Miner Family Winery and Staglin Family Vineyard have filed suit against the “Illinois False Claims Act” lawsuits that were filed against wineries selling directly to consumers in that state. The lawsuits claim that the wineries should have charged tax on the shipping fees for online purchases. The defendants are the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Attorney General.


Sonoma Commits to Conserve Water

According to Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), Sonoma County’s winegrape growers have voluntarily committed to conserve water by 25% from 2013 levels in the four key water sheds: Mark West Creek, Green Valley Creek, Dutch Bill Creek and Mill Creek. Thus far, growers representing some 2,000 acres of land have enrolled in the voluntary water reduction plan. 



Wente Hires Robbie Meyer

Wente Family Estates in Livermore, Calif., has appointed Robbie Meyer as director of winemaking for Murrieta’s Well. Meyer will focus on small lot harvesting and blending. Prior to joining Murrieta’s Well, he worked at Peter Michael Winery, Lewis Cellars and Jericho Canyon Vineyards. Additionally, he is a consulting winemaker for several projects in Napa Valley and Sonoma County.


Kristen Barnhisel Joins J. Lohr

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines of San Jose, Calif., has named Kristen Barnhisel winemaker, white wine. Her past experience includes winemaking roles at Columbia Crest, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Belvedere Winery and Handley Cellars. Most recently, she was the quality control manager at Inglenook. Barnhisel is also the director for the American Society of Viticulture and Enology.


ASEV Appoints Mark Greenspan President

The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) in Davis, Calif., has named Mark Greenspan, president of Advanced Viticulture Inc., as its 2015-2016 president. Greenspan succeeds Lise Asimont of Francis Ford Coppola Presents. ASEV has also confirmed two new directors: Patty Skinkis, an associate professor at Oregon State University, and Hans Walter-Peterson, viticulture extension specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension.


Vintage Wine Hires Karen Diepholz

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Vintage Wine Estates has hired Karen L. Diepholz as chief financial officer. Diepholz was most recently vice president/CFO for Equinox Payments. Prior to that, she was vice president, corporate financial planning and analysis, for Hypercom Corporation. Diepholz will lead Vintage Wine Estates’ finance and accounting, IT and human resource teams, as well as serve on the Executive Leadership Committee. 


Kristy Melton Launches Melton Wines

Kristy Melton, former director of winemaking at Clos Du Val Winery, has launched Melton Wines LLC, a self-directed winemaking consultancy based in Napa, Calif. Melton plans to expand her existing client list, which includes Varozza Vineyards and Taylor Family Vineyards, with additional appellation-oriented, family-owned wineries in the super premium and luxury space.


Paul Hobbs Welcomes Rick Bonitati

Paul Hobbs Wines in Sebastopol, Calif., has appointed Rick Bonitati as chief operating officer. He will assist in the oversight, development and growth of Paul Hobbs Winery, CrossBarn Winery, Paul Hobbs Imports, Viña Cobos and Crocus. Bonitati has more than 30 years of fine wine business experience, and most recently served as president of von Mandl Family Estates.


Jordan Promotes Emmanuel Padilla

The Healdsburg, Calif.-based Jordan Vineyard & Winery has implemented a new organizational structure for its North American sales, dividing the country into three geographical territories and appointing a new national sales director, Emmanuel Padilla, to lead both the winery’s U.S. sales team and export business. Padilla has been Jordan’s southeast regional sales director since 2011.


Erik Goodmanson Joins Bouchaine

Bouchaine Vineyards of Napa, Calif., has announced the appointment of Erik Goodmanson to assistant winemaker. Goodmanson began his career in 2007 at Robert Sinskey Vineyards. He comes to Bouchaine from Staglin Family Vineyard, where he was assistant winemaker.


Texas Wine Honors Dr. Ed Hellman

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Viticulturist Dr. Ed Hellman has earned accolades twice in recent months for his educational efforts supporting the Texas wine industry. Earlier this year, Hellman received the T.V. Munson Award from the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. In August, he was honored with the Outstanding Extension Educator Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science.


Dry Creek Vineyard Appoints John Doxon

John Doxon has been appointed global sales director for Dry Creek Vineyard in Healdsburg, Calif. In this newly created role, Doxon will oversee the winery's domestic and international wholesale business and manage the winery's national sales agency, V2 Wine Group. His experience includes roles as export manager for Crimson Wine Group and the fine wine director of Heartland Vintage Wine.


Margrit Mondavi Honored by California

California Assemblymember Bill Dodd and Senator Lois Wolk recently presented Margrit Biever Mondavi, Robert Mondavi’s widow, with a resolution honoring her contributions to the state. A longtime champion of the arts and local charitable causes, Biever Mondavi is credited with helping build the Napa Valley into the art and wine destination it is today.


Dr. Liz Thach Receives Award

The School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., has announced that Dr. Liz Thach, MW received the “Excellence in Education” award from leaders of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and its members. In addition to teaching, Dr. Thach has published more than 120 articles and six wine textbooks.



New Winery Facility for Siren Song

Seattle-based entrepreneurs Holly Brown and Kevin Brown recently opened their new Siren Song winery and event facility in Lake Chelan, Wash. The opening of the multi-million-dollar property coincides with the rebranding of their Siren Song Wine label. The Browns have also co-invested with Betz Wines, and have purchased property in downtown Lake Chelan with plans to develop a food and wine marketplace.


Arizona Debuts a Value-Priced Wine

Eric Glomski, winemaker and founder of Arizona Stronghold Vineyards and Page Springs Cellars in Cottonwood, Ariz., has announced the release of a new label called Provisioner. The recently launched 2014 Provisioner White retails for less than $10 a bottle, a price point that Glomski believes is a first for Arizona wines. Glomski expects to release a Provisioner Red this fall.


Gallo Acquires Asti Winery

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has sold its Asti Winery in Sonoma County and Souverain brand to E. & J. Gallo of Modesto, Calif. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. With the acquisition, Gallo gains 275 planted acres of vineyards in the Alexander Valley, a winery with the capacity to crush 35,000 tons of grapes, and the well-established Souverain brand.


Gundlach Bundschu Announces Staff Changes 

Gundlach Bundschu Winery of Sonoma, Calif., has announced that CFO Shandra Knego is now CFO/COO. Katie Bundschu has been promoted to vice president of sales and marketing. Taylor Eason has joined as director of marketing. Leila Curtis Pearson and Tait Manchuca have been brought on as California sales manager and Midwest sales manager, respectively.


David Hill Celebrates Oregon Wines

In celebration of 50 years of Oregon wine, David Hill Vineyards & Winery of Forest Grove, Ore., recently held a tasting of its library wines. David Hill’s 50-year-old vines were planted in the Willamette Valley by industry visionary Chuck Coury in 1965. The winery poured library releases from the blocks planted in 1965, including estate-grown Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Riesling and the Coury-clone Pinot Noir.


Robert Talbott Sold to Gallo

Robert Talbott Inc. has reached an agreement to sell the Talbott Vineyards business and related assets, including its Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in Monterey County's Santa Lucia Highlands, to E. & J. Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif. International Wine Associates is representing Talbott in the transaction, the terms of which are not disclosed.


Dobbes Promotes and Expands Team

Dundee, Ore.-based Dobbes Family Estate Winery/Wine by Joe has appointed Travis Proctor as production winemaker. Andy McVay was promoted to associate winemaker for Dundee Vintners. Lauren Barnes was promoted to marketing director. Kristen Rice has joined as marketing coordinator. Michele Dupont has been named direct & on-premise sales manager, and Matt Daley and Paxton Roy have been appointed tasting room supervisors.


Russian River Partners Acquires Platt Vineyard

Windsor, Calif.-based investment fund Russian River Partners has acquired Platt VineyardEric Flanagan, owner of Flanagan Vineyards, heads Russian River Partners, which will source fruit from the Sonoma Coast’s Platt Vineyard for its vineyard-designated wine program. The Platt Vineyard is comprised of 31.5 acres planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.



Indy International Wine Awards Announced

Nearly 2,100 wines competed in the Indy International Wine Competition, July 29-31, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Wines from 40 states and 12 countries were blind-judged by 42 international judges. The Wine of the Year Award was given to Easley Winery of Indianapolis for its 2014 Traminette. For a complete list of competition winners, visit www.indyinternational.org.


St. James Winery Wins Governor’s Cup

St. James Winery won the Governor’s Cup trophy for its 2014 Vignoles at the 2015 Missouri Wine Competition, an event held exclusively for Missouri wineries. This year’s competition received 270 entries, all of which were judged during the two-day event held July 14 and 15. The St. James Winery 2014 Vignoles also won Best Vignoles at the competition.



Cole Danehower Dies at 61

Longtime wine writer and journalist Cole Danehower died Aug. 21 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 60. Author of “Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest,” a frequent wine competition judge, and a correspondent for Washington, Oregon and Idaho to “Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book,” Danehower was one of the most prolific wine writers in the Pacific Northwest. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and after college worked in the computer industry. In 1998, he moved north and launched the “Oregon Wine Report.” In 2004, his wine writing was honored with a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for the most-outstanding food and wine newsletter in the country. In 2013, he launched Pour The Passion, a consulting business that focused on Northwest wine communications and marketing. He is survived by his wife, Andrea Danehower.


July 15, 2015

California Extends PD/GWSS Funding

Last month California’s winegrowers voted to continue the assessment on wine grapes to fund research on Pierce’s disease, glassy-winged sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) and other pests and diseases that threaten California’s wine grapes. The vote was 83.44% in favor of continuing the assessment, which is currently set at 75 cents on every thousand dollars of value, until March 2021.


New Wine Trade Alliance to Launch  

Women of the Vine President Deborah Brenner is launching a new, membership-based Women of the Vine trade alliance, governed by an advisory board of beverage industry executives. With the mission to empower and equip women worldwide to advance their careers in the alcohol beverage industry, the group will launch later this summer, anchored by a new website.


Bold Wine Labels Attract Consumers in China

According to the China Label Design 2015 report by Wine Intelligence, while traditional labels dominate in China’s wine shops, new research suggests that consumers are attracted to original, contemporary labels. Wine Intelligence tested eight labels among 1,000 urban, upper-middle-class drinkers of imported wine, and found that bolder labels could be more compelling to these consumers, provided that the labels remain elegant.


Empire Wine Bill Passes

The “Empire wine bill” passed in both New York’s Assembly and Senate on June 15. The bill limits the ability of the state liquor authority to penalize licensees based on perceived violations of the laws of other states, such as shipping wine to consumers in states where direct-to-consumer shipping is prohibited. Its sister bill, S04446A, is still pending in the state’s Senate.


SSU Launches Wine Research Journal

Sonoma State University (SSU) in Rohnert Park, Calif., announced that its Wine Business Institute has launched a new Wine Business Case Research Journal (WBCRJ). This first-of-its-kind, open-access, electronic journal is dedicated to advancing wine business practices and pedagogy through the enhancement of case research and publishing of exceptional case studies. The first issue is slated for a spring 2016 release.


Wine Market Council Issues Research Grant

The St. Helena, Calif.-based Wine Market Council has awarded its first-ever research grant. Texas Tech University doctoral student Nicholas Johnston received $10,000 from the Council to research how Millennials respond to traditional and less traditional wine packaging. Johnston will present his findings at Wine Market Council’s 2016 Consumer research conferences.  


Auction Napa Valley Raises $15.8 Million

Auction Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Vintners’ (NVV) annual charity fundraiser, garnered $15.8 million in proceeds last month. Auction Napa Valley enriches the lives of more than 90,000 clients annually in Napa County through the funding of community health and children’s education programs. Since its inception in 1981, the NVV has donated more than $145 million in Auction Napa Valley proceeds.


The Clever Root Magazine to Debut

The Los Angeles, Calif.-based publishers of The Tasting Panel magazine and The SOMM Journal have announced the fall 2015 launch of The Clever Root, a new quarterly magazine about everything good that grows. A chef-driven, farm-to-table and ingredient-focused publication, The Clever Root intends to lend an informed and educated voice to the world of growables, including cannabis.


The ICCWS Calls for Abstracts

Organizers of the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS), to be held in May 2016 in Brighton, U.K., are now accepting abstract submissions from prospective presenters on the topics of viticulture, oenology and wine business. Abstracts must be based on original research. While the deadline for the first call was July 3rd, there may be a second call in September 2015. Learn more at www.iccws2016.com/programme/first-call-for-abstracts.


Empire Wine Bill Passes

The “Empire wine bill” passed in both New York’s Assembly and Senate on June 15. The bill limits the ability of the state liquor authority to penalize licensees based on perceived violations of the laws of other states, such as shipping wine to consumers in states where direct-to-consumer shipping is prohibited. Its sister bill, S04446A, is still pending in the state’s Senate.


Muscadine Research Receives $20 Million

Pink Hill, N.C.-based Carolina Wildest, Inc., producers of the first national muscadine juice brand, is applauding an anonymous $20 million gift for clinical trials and research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center using muscadine products to fight cancer. The research will involve 26 faculty members from multiple disciplines at Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, N.C.


Chinese Lexicon Project Helps Wine Producers

The Chinese Lexicon Project, a research initiative funded by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, has identified the Asian fruit and vegetable flavors that are equivalent to the Western ones used to describe wine. The research also found that generic wine descriptors are three times more likely to be used than specific wine descriptors by Chinese wine consumers. Learn more at www.agwa.net.au.



Greg Coleman Elected to Wine Institute Board

Greg Coleman, vice president of grower relations at E. & J. Gallo Winery, was elected Wine Institute Board Chairman for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Other board officers elected were Margie Healy of Korbel Champagne Cellars, first vice chairman; Steve Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, second vice chairman; Chris Indelicato of Delicato Family Vineyards, treasurer; and Hank Wetzel of Alexander Valley Vineyards, secretary.


Nicole Carter Joins Hess Collection

The Hess Collection Winery in Napa, Calif., has named Nicole Carter its chief marketing officer in charge of leading marketing efforts for the winery’s California-based brands, as well as those in Salta, Argentina and South Africa. For the past two decades, she has served in increasingly responsible management roles at Treasury Wine Estates, most recently as vice president, international marketing.


Penner-Ash Hires Patrick Connelly

Newberg, Ore.-based Penner-Ash Wine Cellars has hired Patrick Connelly as general manager to guide the winery’s wholesale and retail business plan, and oversee day-to-day operations. The newly created position will allow Lynn Penner-Ash to focus solely on winemaking, and Ron Penner-Ash to expand his industry relations and philanthropic initiatives. Connelly’s management experience includes roles at Clos Pegase, Pine Ridge and Jackson Family Wines.


Brianne Engles Joins Adelaida Cellars

Adelaida Cellars in Paso Robles, Calif., has hired Brianne Engles as assistant winemaker. Most recently the enologist at Quintessa Winery, Engles brings more than 10 years of local and global winemaking experience to her new role. In other winery news, Adelaida’s Winery and Vineyard Ambassador Glenn Mitton recently became a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.


Spottswoode Appoints James Revie

Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery in St. Helena, Calif., has named James Revie assistant winemaker. Revie hails from Australia, where he worked as laboratory manager and enologist for Voyager Estate Winery. In 2012, Voyager sponsored him to work a harvest at Spottswoode, and in 2014 he rejoined the team. Revie takes over for Landon Donley, now winemaker for Titus Vineyards.



LMR Acquires Anderson Valley Vineyard

Long Meadow Ranch (LMR) in Rutherford, Calif., has acquired a 145-acre property in Anderson Valley, Calif. It is one of the appellation’s largest viticultural land purchases in the past decade. Stephane Vivier will serve as winemaker for the new estate's 69 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The purchase price of the Anderson Valley Estate was undisclosed.


Olsen Family Sells Farmland

The Olsen family of Monmouth, Ore., has sold their Willamette Valley farmland and related assets to Farmland LP, an agricultural real estate investment firm that manages more than 13,500 acres in the Willamette Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. Olsen Agricultural Enterprises farmed more than 6,000 acres, and was one of Oregon’s largest wine grape growers. The ownership change is effective immediately.


Pepperwood Grove Launches Green Campaign

Sonoma, Calif.-based Pepperwood Grove of Don Sebastiani & Sons has announced the Greening Communities Campaign to support the non-profit American Community Gardening Association (ACGA), which promotes community greening. For every 750 mL or 3 liter sold in participating states from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2015, a portion of the proceeds will be do


June 15, 2015

AVF Announces Over $1 Million in Funding

The American Vineyard Foundation (AVF) in Napa, Calif., has announced funding of over $1 million for viticulture and enology research again this year. The AVF, which relies on voluntary contributions, maintained support for ongoing projects and provided funding for several new projects. It is also collaborating with the National Grape and Wine Initiative to fund a larger scale project. 


Oregon Wines Fly Free Extended 

Oregon Wines Fly Free, a program that allows visitors traveling from Oregon on Alaska Airlines to check a case of Oregon wine for free, has been extended through 2017. Through this Oregon Wine Board, Travel Oregon and Alaska Airlines collaboration, Oregon was the first state to launch a statewide wines-fly- free program in September 2013.


Seneca Lake Wineries Support Wine Center

The 35 winery members of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail have donated $1,000 each to support the construction of the Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) Viticulture and Wine Center in Geneva, N.Y. The donation will be matched by the state for a total of $70,000 toward the construction of the 9,000-square-foot building, which opened to students at the start of the spring semester.


Wine Institute Launches Sustainable Course

Wine Institute in San Francisco, Calif., has launched the California Sustainable Winegrowing Ambassador Course, a new online certificate class that provides education about sustainable practices for California wine. The free, one-hour course helps wine professionals, from retailers and restaurateurs to distributors and hospitality staff, learn and test their understanding of the sustainable practices of California wineries and vineyards. The course can be accessed at http://ambassador.discovercaliforniawines.com.


California Green Medal Winners Announced

The first annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards winners included Fetzer Vineyards (Green Medal Leader); Benziger Family Winery (Green Medal Environment); Nord Vineyard Services (Green Medal Community); and Trinchero Family Estates (Green Medal Business). The Green Medal was developed by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Vineyard Team and Wine Institute.


Study Reveals Status of Women Winemakers

A new case study reveals the steady progress of women moving into lead winemaking positions at California’s established wineries. The study, published by professors at California’s Santa Clara University, found that despite the small number of California wineries with lead women winemakers, their wines are more highly acclaimed, proportional to their representation in the field. Download the full study at www.womenwinemakers.com.


USDA Initiative Addresses Climate Change

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senior White House Advisor Brian Deese recently announced the department’s pledge to help America’s farmers, ranchers and foresters address the threat of climate change. The announcement builds on the 2014 Farm Bill emphasizing the use of clean, renewable energy across rural America, while strengthening conservation and land stewardship programs that conserve natural resources.


Sonoma County Barrel Auction Raises $461,700

The Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) raised $461,700 at the inaugural Sonoma County Barrel Auction. Held on May 1, the tasting and auction event was attended by more than 250 trade and media guests, and featured rare, small-lot wines representing 14 of Sonoma County’s 17 appellations. The 71 lots were created for and sold exclusively at the inaugural barrel auction.


Napa Valley Celebrates English Literacy Program

The Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation recently celebrated its third year of graduates from its groundbreaking English literacy program. Fifty-two farmworkers graduated from the free, four-month course designed specifically for Napa County farmworkers to assist them with their English literacy and communication skills in the workplace. More than 65% of employers compensated their employees while they were taking the class.


Report Finds Earth’s Soil Resources Depleted

According to a new paper by some of the country’s top soil scientists, humans are depleting Earth’s soil resources faster than the nutrients can be replenished, notes Ronald Amundson, a UC Berkeley professor and lead author. In the paper, published in the journal Science, the authors say that we're now entering a period when the ability of soil to support the growth of our food supply is plateauing.


Sonoma County Winegrowers Launch Grant Program

Sonoma County Winegrowers in Santa Rosa, Calif., has committed up to $100,000 in grant funding to help support growers’ sustainability certification. The organization is offering 250 vouchers, each worth $400, to be used by its grower members to offset the costs associated with completing certification. Only grape growers who pay an assessment to the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission are eligible to participate.


University of Adelaide Launches Research Centre

Australia’s University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus is home to a new wine research center that will help the industry face the challenges posed by climate change, water restrictions and changing consumer preferences. The ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production will target objectives such as managing flavor and alcohol content in Australia's wines, despite growing environmental and cost pressures.



Mike Wolf Named NVG Grower of the Year

Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), which celebrated its 40th anniversary at its annual dinner held at Round Pond Estate in May, has named long-time grapegrower Mike Wolf as the 2015 recipient of the Napa Valley Grower of the Year award. Congressman Mike Thompson recognized Wolf by reading a Congressional Resolution noting the contributions he has made to Napa Valley farming.


Rick Casqueiro Retires from Ste. Michelle Wine

Rick Casqueiro has announced his retirement from the Woodinville, Wash.-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, where he served as sparkling winemaker for Domaine Ste. Michelle for the last 19 years. During his tenure with Ste. Michelle, Casqueiro increased Domaine Ste. Michelle production, helping the winery to become the fourth largest methode champenoise sparkling wine producer in the United States.


Gary Farrell Winery Hires Emery Bodell

Healdsburg, Calif.-based Gary Farrell Winery has named Emery Bodell to the newly created position of tasting room and business development manager. Bodell brings years of luxury wine brand experience to the winery, where she will oversee the tasting room, visitation programs and the winery-direct sales team. Previously, Bodell at Lambert Bridge Winery and Medlock Ames Winery.


Mark McKenna Returns to Andis Wines

Andis Wines of Amador County, Calif., has announced the return of Founding Winemaker Mark McKenna. Over the last five years, Andis Wines has produced Semillon, Barbera, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, and a wine-on-tap program.


Elaine Chukan Brown Joins JancisRobinson.com

The London-based wine information website JancisRobinson.com has appointed Elaine Chukan Brown as a specialist writer to extend its coverage of American wine. Brown will write for JancisRobinson.com and review U.S. wines, with a particular focus on California. Based in Sonoma, Brown has won acclaim for her WakawakaWineReviews.com and contributions to Wine & Spirits and The World of Fine Wine.


Victor Vineyards Hires Mark Fedorchak and Mark Chandler

Mark Fedorchak and Mark Chandler have joined Victor Vineyards in Lodi, Calif. Fedorchak, who was instrumental in the introduction of Fetzer’s Bonterra brand, will serve as Victor’s director of sales & marketing. Chandler, who was head of the Lodi Winegrape Commission for 20 years, will manage trade and media relations, and the overall direction of the company.


Jordan Winery Hires Nick Holmes

Nick Holmes has been named western regional sales director for Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg, Calif. Holmes will be responsible for distributor management, Jordan sales initiatives and Tastevin tablet wine list integration in 10 western states. Most recently, he served as region manager for The Spire Collection, a division of Jackson Family Wines.


Accolade Wines Appoints MJ Loza for North America

Australia’s Accolade Wines has appointed MJ Loza, currently head of its New Zealand operations, as its new general manager for North America. Accolade is a global wine company with brands including Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak and Banrock Station. Loza’s appointment supports Accolade Wines’ strategic goal to maximize New Zealand brand growth opportunities in the North American market.


Jeff Chaney to Join Thornhill Companies

The Thornhill Companies of Santa Barbara, Calif., has hired Jeff Chaney as project manager. Chaney will oversee development of private label and custom-designed brands, as well as manage new product and package-change initiatives. Previously, Chaney was the wine director/sommelier for The Cliffs Resort in Avila Beach, where he managed one of the largest fine wine inventories on the Central Coast.


Trefethen Promotes Bryan Kays, Dan Blakely, Brendan Brambila

Napa, Calif.-based Trefethen Family Vineyards has promoted Bryan Kays to winemaker. He joined Trefethen in 2006 as a viticulture intern, and worked his way up to assistant winemaker, and now winemaker. Dan Blakely is being promoted from enologist to assistant winemaker. Brambila, who has been with Trefethen as viticulturist since 2009, has been promoted to director of viticulture.


Karissa Kruse Receives Marshall Memorial Fellowship

Sonoma County Winegrowers in Santa Rosa, Calif., has announced that President Karissa Kruse is the first Sonoma County resident to receive a Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a leadership development program. Kruse was selected from more than 700 nominations across 39 countries. She will participate in the fall program from Sept. 30 to Oct. 25, 2015.


Crimson Hires Shannon McLaren, Nathan Stern

Crimson Wine Group, Ltd., of Napa, Calif., has named Shannon McLaren chief financial officer, overseeing financial and business service activities with Crimson's luxury wine portfolio. Most recently, McLaren worked as the senior corporate controller at Wente Family Estates. Nathan Stern joins as vice president direct to consumer sales. He comes to Crimson from BevMo!, where he was head of customer relationship management.


VWE Promotes Lesley Larson, Stephanie Peachey

Lesley Larson, formerly director of marketing for the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Vintage Wine Estates (VWE), has been promoted to vice president of marketing, managing all brand marketing activities for Clos Pegase, Cosentino, Middle Sister, Purple Cowboy and others. Stephanie Peachey has been promoted from director of marketing for Windsor Vineyards and Viansa to senior director of marketing – direct to consumer.


Marty Peterson, Amy Ludovissy Named VWE Winemakers

Previously winemaker at Vintage Wine Estates’ (VWE) Viansa Winery, where he managed grower relations and winemaking projects, Marty Peterson is now winemaker in charge of production for VWE's Cosentino Winery located in Napa Valley's Yountville district. Amy Ludovissy has been promoted to winemaker for Viansa Winery in Sonoma, Calif. Ludovissy was assistant winemaker for Girard.


Hedges Promotes Sarah Hedges Goedhard

Hedges Family Estate in Benton City, Wash., has appointed Sarah Hedges Goedhart as head winemaker. Daughter of winery founders and proprietors, Tom and Anne-Marie Hedges, Hedges Goedhart has worked as assistant winemaker for the winery since 2006. Her experience includes cellar work at Preston Winery of Dry Creek, where learned winemaking and biodynamic and organic agriculture.


Swanson Vineyards Appoints Robin Akhurst

Oakville, Calif.-based Swanson Vineyards has named Robin Akhurst to the role of winemaker. Chris Phelps, director of winemaking for 12 years, will transition to a half-time consulting role as winemaker emeritus. Akhurst will lead day-to-day winemaking at Swanson. His experience includes work at Outpost Wines.


Keith Hock Launches New Venture

After 11 years at Napa Valley’s Schramsberg Vineyards, Winemaker Keith Hock has launched a full-time winemaking consultancy known as Hock Wines. Current clients include the Piper Sonoma brand by Remy CointreauSkywalker Vineyards in Marin County, as well as the Napa Valley’s Tognetti Family Winery and Roubaix Vineyards. Hock also continues to consult for Schramsberg.


Don Sebastiani Promotes Andrea Staby

Sonoma, Calif.-based Don Sebastiani & Sons has promoted Andrea Staby to director of marketing. She will oversee all design, creative, marketing, trade promotions and new products for the family company. Staby had served as brand manager for the winery since 2014. Additionally, Polina Burns was promoted to assistant brand manager, New House Vintners. Cassie Rodriguez is now assistant brand manager, Foundation Wine Collection.


Shawn Bavaresco and Ian Burch Join Scott Paul Wines

President and Partner Shawn Bavaresco and Winemaker Ian Burch have joined Owner Cameron Healy to revitalize the brand of Scott Paul Wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The team also plans to redesign the Scott Paul tasting room in Carlton, Ore. Healy founded Kettle Foods Inc. and co-founded Kona Brewing Co. He became a partner in Scott Paul in 2005, and purchased the remaining shares in 2014.



Fetzer Vineyards Launches .Green Domain

Fetzer Vineyards has launched its new website at Fetzer.green. Fetzer, a pioneer in sustainable operations, is the first in the wine industry to claim the .green domain and establish a .green website.


Ste. Michelle Wine Launches Rhône Project

Woodinville, Wash.-based Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has launched Tenet Wines, a joint effort with Rhône winemakers Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie, to elevate Rhône varietals from Washington. Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Bob Bertheau and Michel Gassier are co-winemakers for the three Tenet Wines. Philippe Cambie is consulting oenologist.


Pomar Junction Inducted into IGHOF

Pomar Junction Winery in Templeton, Calif., was among the 16 companies inducted to the International Green Hall of Fame (IGHOF) during its April 16 conference. Pomar was recognized for the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) third-party certification of its grapes and wine, as well as its solar electric generation.


Jackson Family Wins Partners with Tesla

Jackson Family Wines (JFW) in Santa Rosa, Calif., has installed one of the first large-scale Tesla stationary energy storage systems. JFW has 21 Tesla systems at its Kendall-Jackson winery and systems at several of its other wineries, accounting for 4.2 MW of total storage capacity that alleviates energy spikes associated with refrigeration and cooling, lighting, compressed air, and process water treatment.


Paul O’Brien Winery Launches Spanish Wine

Paul O’ Brien Winery of Roseburg, Ore., has entered into an agreement with Abadia de Acón Winery to produce a proprietary wine in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. Beginning with the 2013 vintage, Fino Tinto will be produced from Acón’s 100 acres of estate vineyards. Paul O’Brien winery will be the exclusive importer of Abadia de Acón’s wines in Oregon.


Allegro Winery Expands Vineyards

York County’s largest winery, Allegro Vineyards of Brogue, Pa., will expand its vineyard over the next two years from 6 acres to 16 acres. Approximately 13,000 new vines were planted last month. The new planting joins the 35-year-old winery’s existing vineyard and shares the soil with vines established as early as 1973. Allegro currently grows Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


Duckhorn Acquires Three Palms

Duckhorn Wine Company in Napa Valley, Calif., has acquired Napa Valley’s Three Palms Vineyard planted to Merlot. Duckhorn made its inaugural Three Palms Merlot in 1978, and has purchased all of the grapes from the 83-acre vineyard since 2011. Three Palms was acquired from Sloan and John Upton for an undisclosed price. Fruit from Three Palms will be used exclusively in Duckhorn Vineyards wines.


Schramsberg Celebrates 50 Years 

Schramsberg Vineyards in St. Helena, Calif., will celebrate its 50th anniversary throughout 2015. In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies revived the Schramsberg winery with a vision to create the first American sparkling wine from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes using secondary bottle fermentation. Schramsberg was the first American winery to produce a Blanc de Blancs in 1965, followed by a Blanc de Noirs in 1967.



Debra Wallace passes away

Debra Wallace passed away on July 10, after a battle with cancer. Wallace was the wife of Jon Johnson, sales manager for winery equipment supplier Carlsen & Associates. As manager of Shiloh District Cemetery, her caring spirit helped others endure trying times. Along with her husband, Jon, she is survived by her mother, Uzella, her father Al, her brother Ron and Jon’s children Alissa, Jason and Tim. Wallace’s family is planning a “celebration of life” in place of a funeral service.

Wine Pioneer Joseph Phelps, Dies at 87

Joseph Phelps, founder of California’s Joseph Phelps Vineyards, died Apr. 15 at the age of 87. Phelps was an industry pioneer, founding his wine business in 1973, and leading a new era of excellence in California wine. In 1974, he produced Insignia, a blend of classic Bordeaux varieties that would become a signature Napa wine. Phelps was also one of California’s early ambassadors of Rhône-style reds. For three decades, Phelps guided his winery and expanded his vineyards. Today the winery owns eight vineyards in Napa, and 100 acres on the Sonoma Coast. In 2005, his son Bill Phelps took over for the family and now serves as president. Phelps is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.



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