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Tuesday, March 10, 2015
March 10, 2015 | 12:21 PM

For the first time, four acclaimed winemakers who have apprenticed under the nationally renowned DeLille Cellars executive winemaker Chris Upchurch, joined together with their mentor and his current winemaker, Jason Gorski, to celebrate the DeLille Cellars Legacy Winemaker Dinner. Held at Seattle’s World Trade Center on March 5, the evening featured a six-course dinner paired with wine crafted by the DeLille Cellars winemaking team.

Kit A. Singh, Lauren Ashton; Chris Upchurch, DeLille Cellars; Jason Gorski, DeLille Cellars; Chris Pederson, Avennia; Ross Mickel, Ross Andrew; Greg Lill, DeLille Cellars. Not pictured: Mike MacMorran, Manu Propria


The wine line-up

Friday, March 6, 2015
March 6, 2015 | 2:10 PM

Iowa wine growers on Friday attempted to set a record for the longest flight of a sparking wine cork! The winner popped a cork that flew just over 45 feet, 9 inches.

Monday, March 2, 2015
March 2, 2015 | 3:57 PM

The Wine Business Monthly staff spent the day at Charles Krug Winery setting up for Innovation + Quality, a new forum for ultra-premium wineries focused on cutting-edge innovations that advance wine quality. This day-long event will take place March 4, 2015 at Charles Krug Winery in the Napa Valley. Pictured below is inside the 30,000 sq. ft. tent that is taking up the entire parking lot at Krug. This is where the tradeshow and trials tasting will take place.

Wine Business Monthly’s editors believe that trials are the embodiment of a winemaker’s pursuit of quality, and have selected 20 trials to feature at IQ. The winemakers who conducted these trials will be there pouring their wines, so you can walk around, taste the wines and connect with them personally, and provide feedback directly.

We look forward to sharing IQ with you on Wednesday! For more information, visit

March 2, 2015 | 2:22 PM

Wine Business Monthly's March 2015 digital edition is now available. You can view within your web browser or download a PDF. Click here to view the March issue.

Inside March 2015 you will find:
IQ 2015: Innovation+Quality Awards
2015 Winery Equipment Survey Report
Phenolic Analysis in Winemaking
Variability, the Enemy of Quality

Friday, February 27, 2015
February 27, 2015 | 2:26 PM

Innovation + Quality (IQ) 2015 is a new forum for ultra-premium wineries focused on cutting-edge innovations that advance wine quality. This day-long event will take place next week on March 4, 2015 at Charles Krug Winery in the Napa Valley.

We are already starting to set up for the event today. Today is also the last day to pre-register online. We have a lot of great sessions and winemaker trial tastings that we are excited to share with you at IQ! Many of these sessions have sold out already so sign up today to reserve your spot.

See you next week in Napa!

by Curtis Phillips | February 27, 2015 | 5:00 AM

There is nothing new with adding things to wine. The practice is probably as old as the winemaker’s craft itself. Herb, resin, salt, citrus, seawater, or you-name-it and someone has added it to wine at some point. The Greeks and Romans ridiculed the Gauls and Germans who drank their wine unadulterated. The ritual of adding herbs, resins, water and the rest was seen as a signature act of being civilized. Drinking wine straight was something only those "barbarians" beyond the limes Romanus would do. 

I wasn’t terribly surprised to learn that Audacia has introduced a rooibos wooded wine. Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is more commonly known as “Red Tea” or "Bush Tea".

Aside from the fact that the plant is a legume, and therefore fixes nitrogen, there’s nothing particularly special about rooibos. It has decent, but not particularly exceptional, levels of polyphenols but with lower tannin levels than tea (Camellia sinensis) and no caffeine. This has made rooibos popular source for herbal tea. Unfortunately, as anyone who remembers therecent resveratrol hullabaloo, all one has to do is mention polyphenols and the consumer lifestyle press goes nuts about the “new” miracle food.

Certainly, polyphenols can be decent antioxidants, but adding them to wine when most red wines are already nearly saturated polyphenol solutions isn’t likely to yield any of the benefits the more silly portions of the consumer press tout.  There’s nothing wrong with making a rooibos infused wine. It is a great marketing hook for a South African wine. However, I wouldn’t expect the polyphenols from a rooibos extraction to behave significantly different from grape, oak, or wormwood polyphenols except organolepticly due to the lower tannin content.

Friday, February 20, 2015
February 20, 2015 | 1:24 PM

“We were inadvertently throwing away good fruit with hand sorting, and with 2 percent more Opus to sell, it made payback on the equipment very quick.”
-Mike Silacci, winemaker, Opus One

From the article “Product Review: Optical Grape Sorters,” page 108 in the February 2015 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

February 20, 2015 | 7:14 AM

Rack & Riddle Custom Wine Services, one of the largest custom crush operations in Northern California and one of just a handful in the nation specializing in sparkling wine, co-hosted a sparkling winemaking seminar with Laffort USA on Wednesday. Approximately 120 guests attended the event, including many distinguished winemakers and winery owners from across the Sonoma and Napa winegrowing region.

The seminar, held at Rack & Riddle’s Healdsburg facility, featured presentations by Laffort Spark Range Manager Francois Botton on “Méthode Champenoise Production: How to Improve Mouthfeel in Sparkling Wine” and by Rack & Riddle Executive Director of Winemaking Penny Gadd-Coster on “Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Winemaking.” The seminar ran from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and ended with a Champagne and Cava tasting trial of five sparkling wines, led by Botton, as well as a tasting of Rack & Riddle’s award-winning sparkling wines available for private label.

Laffort Spark Range Manager Francois Botton presenting on méthode champenoise winemaking to
about 120 attendees at the “Sparkling Wine Seminar” co-hosted by Laffort USA and Rack & Riddle
on Wednesday at Rack & Riddle’s Healdsburg custom crush facility.

Laffort USA General Manager Shaun Richardson pours a sample for attendee Tom Atkin, a
Sonoma State University Wine Business Program professor, during the educational tasting trials
of Cava, Champagne and sparkling wines during the seminar.

Rack & Riddle Executive Director of Winemaking Penny-Gadd Coster discusses sparkling winemaking
techniques with winemakers attending the Laffort USA and Rack & Riddle “Sparkling Wine Seminar.”
Pictured here, attendees tasted through trials of Cava and Champagne, as well as Rack & Riddle
sparkling wine available for private label.



Thursday, February 19, 2015
February 19, 2015 | 3:23 PM

this just in, stop the presses ... the ridiculous press release of the day.

See our post here, for background ...


Sughera, conglomerate with thermoplastic polymer, is fully recyclable and is the answer to the concern of substances considered potentially carcinogenic

It comes from Italy the answer to the US alarm against micro-conglomerate corks containing substances considered potentially carcinogenic. The patent of the company Labrenta based in Vicenza says in fact no to polyurethane adhesives in the corks. Sughera is the line of closures that are made from a mixture of thermoplastic materials that, thanks to a particular compacting/conglomerating agent, are able to conglomerate and effectively hold the cork particles in contact with alcoholic liquids for a long period. This type of closures, the result of 10 years of Italian research and manufactured completely in Italy, contain thermoplastic polymer and are therefore fully recyclable. They are made from a granina cork quality, perfectly sterilized in order to remove possible contaminants. The patent Sughera allows to say <<stop>> to the contact of the adhesives with wine. The company Labrenta based in Vicenza has already opened the doors to the US market, where the product is distributed through an agreement with Bruni Glass.

This patent made in Italy is the alternative to conglomerate corks, which are under the analysis of the Food & Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, which have raised concerns on the adhesive used for the production of these caps and the risk that it may contain a chemical compound, the toluene diisocyanate, which is suspected to be a potential carcinogen.

The research of the Italian company could become important in this context. Each year in the United States, there are more than 350 million bottles with conglomerate corks, although there are no reliable data on how many and which companies use this substance in their production cycle.

The incessant pursuit of quality is the main goal of Labrenta who made of the high level of its products its greatest strength. The company is constantly dedicated to achieve the highest standards of quality, using instrumentation and control equipment of latest generation. In line with all regulations which rule the production of materials for food, the company got in 2000 the certificate Iso 9004, which describes a company's productivity of excellence. Labrenta is also certified UNI EN ISO 9001 and ISO 22000.

Pr agency: Gheusis Srl – tel. 0422 928954 – - 334 2413080
Gheusis Srl
Sede operativa: Piazza Sordi, 2
31027 Spresiano (TV)
Tel: 39 0422 928954
Cell: 39 334 2413080
Fax: 39 0422 928245

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
February 18, 2015 | 2:39 PM

“We don’t know what grows here. And just because something grows well doesn’t mean a winemaker can do something with it. We are all trying to figure out what is going to put Arizona on the map.”
-John McLoughlin, owner, grower and winemaker at Cellar 433/Fiddlebender

From the article “Hot Brands of 2014,” page 84 in the February 2015 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

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