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Wednesday, January 13, 2016
January 13, 2016 | 8:32 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

Starting today, we are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Dominus Estate Napa Valley

2012 Napanook Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
True, Honest, Complex, Not Overdone

Christian Moueix pursued his own path and combined a Bordelaise heritage with Napa’s climate to produce exemplary wines. Dominus and Napanook have demonstrated that an excellent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon need not be a flabby, dead-fruit, high pH, low TA wine.

A minimalist approach to making wine is employed, though that doesn’t mean hands-off: the winemaking involves intense observation and awareness of every step to allow the most important things to shine through. “Our philosophy is always about looking at the very small details and being meticulous, making very small tweaks but always remaining on the same path of allowing the grapes to express themselves,” winemaker Tod Mostero said. “We want to peel the layers away so that fruit expression and essence of terroir shine through—so the consumer tastes something that seems true and honest and not overdone, fake or pretentious—anything but that.”

The full story on Dominus Estate Napa Valley ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.
 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
January 12, 2016 | 10:26 AM

January 12, 2016, Sausalito, CA – On Friday, January 22nd, Madrigal Family Winery Tasting Salon in Sausalito will host a reception to celebrate the opening of its third art and wine installation, entitled “The American Car: A Family Portrait”. The Salon exhibit features large paintings focusing on the American car and its role as a “beloved member of the family” as interpreted by recognized local Northern California painter Gale S. McKee. The installation will be on view through February 19, 2016.

In countless vintage photos, families, couples, and even dogs are posed in front of their cars -- as if the vehicle itself is a member of the family. These photographs show both pride and affection and Americans’ on-going love affair with the automobile, since it’s inception, as an integral part of American life. Fascinated with the car as a symbol of status, movement and freedom, McKee uses them as the starting point for a series of works conveying the human relationship with the machine.



McKee’s work has been exhibited extensively in both solo and group juried shows at museums and galleries, including Triton Museum of Art, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Bedford Gallery, Icehouse Gallery, Atrium Gallery, and Gallery Route One, She has won many competitions and received numerous awards. A San Francisco native, McKee attended the Croydon College of Art in London, and received a BFA from the University of Denver.



Entrance to the Madrigal event is complimentary.
RSVP to Patricia Gatti sausalito@madrigalfamilywinery.com

The Madrigal Sausalito Tasting Salon & Gallery is open from 12-8pm Thursday through Tuesday.
For information, contact Patricia at (415) 729-9549 or pgatti@madrigalfamilywinery.com

About Madrigal Family Winery

Located on Highway 29, halfway between Calistoga and St. Helena in the renowned Napa Valley, the Madrigal Family Winery continues the family tradition of viticultural leadership and wine production. Since the 1930s, the family has been building its reputation and earning recognition for their vineyard management program as well as their wines. Situated on 40 acres of estate vineyards, the state of the art Madrigal Winery specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and small lots of single vineyard and estate wines. Today, Madrigal Family Winery is run by Chris Madrigal, the family’s 3rd generation.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016 | 11:23 AM

a reader comments on this post:

What was the FTC thinking?
#1 and #4 merger is only adding to the empire that SWS already has.
In some states like NV, SWS already has a monopoly, legalized by its lobbyist and the laws that are being enacted effectively changing the rules of alcohol distribution as they see fit.
This is a just an example in one state, the same applies to the majority of the states in which SWS operates.
The FTC must know that and yet has closed its eyes on it...Politics at its best!

 

Monday, January 4, 2016
January 4, 2016 | 10:27 AM

In a notice posted on December 28, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission granted early termination of the waiting period for the merger of Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer's. This effectively means that the FTC has approved the merger. Early Termination is one of the ways the FTC lets companies know that their proposed merger does not pose antitrust concerns. (The other way is to simply let the waiting period expire.)

In late October, Shanken News Daily reported that Southern and Glazer’s signed a letter of intent to form a “strategic alliance,” noting that the alliance would unite the country’s first- and fourth-largest spirits and wine wholesalers with combined revenues of more than $16 billion.

Neither company confirmed or denied the story after it was published, however, and company executives didn’t return repeated calls for comment. There was also speculation that there might be less to the merger story than met the eye as the two companies announced a merger several years ago that was never consumated.

Editor’s Note and clarification: This morning’s Daily News Links email from winebusiness.com carried a link to the FTC notice with a caption saying, “It looks like the Southern/Glazer's Merger Isn't Happening, At Least Not Now.” From the perspective of the FTC, at least, that is not the case.

For more about the potential merger, see “Mergers Continue for Major Distributors” in the December 2015 issue of Wines & Vines.


 

Friday, December 11, 2015
by Curtis Phillips | December 11, 2015 | 10:05 AM

In-bottle precipitation of tartrate salts is one of those things the market won’t tolerate. Of course, consumers of a high-end and hard to get luxury wines know that “wine stars” are harmless and a sign that a wine probably hasn’t been overly manipulated, but most consumers don’t recognize tartrate crystals as a perfectly natural part of winemaking. They will reject wines with any tartrate deposits as having sand, glass, or some other unspecified contaminant. To that end most wines on the market go through some sort of process to ensure that tartrates do not precipitate in the bottle. The easiest way to do this is to seed the wine with cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) and chill the wine for an extended period. Unfortunately this takes time, is energy intensive, and is therefore expensive. This has led to a number of alternative treatments and products, including electrodialysis, specialized absorptive resins, yeast mannoproteins, gum arabic, and carboxymethylcellulose, that aim to either remove excess tartrate or increase it’s solubility.

Stabiwine is a EU project is looking at potassium polyaspartate (PPA), which is a polymer of L-aspartic acid, as a wine additive for tartrate stability. I’m seeing a fair amount of hype around PPA, but even though the approval process for PPA is reported as being “well advanced” for both the OIV and the EU, I would note that PPA has not been approved yet. Furthermore, even after the OIV and EU approve PPA as an additive, US winemakers will not be able to use it until the TTB, and possibly the FDA, give their approval as well. Although PPA is a fairly common fertilizer additive, to my knowledge PPA is not currently permitted as a food additive or food-contact substance in the US. The process for US approval of PPA may lag several years behind its introduction to the marketplace.

Links:
Infowine article about the Stabliwine project: www.infowine.com
 

Stabliwine summary of results: www.stabliwine.eu

PubMed abstract of Stabliwine Project Research published in J. Food Chem: www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov

The article itself is behind the Elsevier research-inhibiting paywall: www.sciencedirect.com

Similar article published in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research (Wiley paywall): onlinelibrary.wiley.com

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
December 9, 2015 | 6:45 AM

Organized for the third year, the Vintage Report Innovation Award is accepting applications until December 20th. The aplication form can be found here.

This award celebrates the most groundbreaking method, practice or sustainable approach used during the 2015 vintage. The Vintage Report Innovation Award raises the profile of approaches and celebrates innovation and experimentation in viticulture. A panel will determine the winner.

This year's judges include:

Dr James A. Kennedy, formerly Professor and Chair, Department of Viticulture and Enology, California State University, Fresno

Helen Keplinger, Winemaker, Keplinger Wines

Linda Reiff, President and Chief Executive Office, Napa Valley Vintners

Luis Sanchez, Senior Research Scientist, E. & J. Gallo (Winner of the 2014 Vintage Report Innovation Award Presented by Bank of the West)

Mike Wolf, Vineyard Manager and Owner, Michael Wolf Vineyard Services

In addition to bragging rights, the winner will be celebrated in full-page ads in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, and Vineyard & Winery Management, announced in a news release and promoted via social media and have the opportunity to present their innovation at the Vintage Report Conference in Napa on January 19th, 2016.

Monday, December 7, 2015
December 7, 2015 | 1:50 PM

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

Inside December 2015 you will find:

Annual Barrel Issue
-Cooperages Innovate to Achieve Consistency

-Winemakers Discuss Whether to Use Steam or Ozone to Clean Barrels

-2015 Barrel Survey Report

Plus:

-Recent Research: How to Irrigate Less and Maintain Quality and Yields

-Flash Détente for Improving Quality in Small-Production Wines

2015 Year in Review:
Top News • Top Deals • Top Hires

Click here to subscribe to the print edition.

Monday, November 23, 2015
November 23, 2015 | 1:45 PM

The 2016 ASEV National Conference will take place June 27–July 1, 2016 at the Portola Hotel & Monterey Marriott in Monterey, California. They have announced a Call for Abstracts, which can be submitted here. The deadline to submit Abstracts is February 16, 2016.

From: James Harbertson, Technical Program Director, ASEV

On behalf of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, I am pleased to offer this Call for Abstracts for the 67th ASEV National Conference in Monterey, CA. The technical abstracts that are accepted will be presented June 29–30, 2016, during the ASEV National Conference at the Portola Hotel & Monterey Marriott.

All abstracts submitted are reviewed by the Technical Abstracts Review Committee. Accepted abstracts will appear in the Technical Abstracts section of the conference  program. Abstracts will also be posted on the  ASEV website for authors who meet the  oral and poster presentation requirements.

We encourage submitted abstracts based on original research and research updates
in all areas of viticulture and enology.

Abstracts related to water management are also encouraged. We welcome suggestions for research sessions topics and for Industry Seminars. 

If you will be a student presenter, please refer to the Student Presenters section in  regard to registration reimbursement, an expense stipend, and presentation awards, including flash talk presentations. Please review the enclosed instructions. The deadline for all submissions is February  16, 2016. We must adhere strictly to this date. If you have any questions regarding your submission, contact our office. Inquiries will be directed to a program  committee member as appropriate. We ook forward to receiving your abstract and hope that you will be able
to participate.

Read his entire letter here. For more information, visit www.asev.org/2016-national-conference

Thursday, November 19, 2015
November 19, 2015 | 2:16 PM

Music licensing in the tasting room seems to be a timely topic these days. Not only did we publish an article about it in our upcoming December issue of Wine Business Monthly, but today we received an email from the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association about the issue.

A number of Sonoma and Napa wineries have recently received legal notices from copyright owner groups regarding songs subject to copyright protection being played, according to Chris Passarelli, senior IP counsel at Napa’s Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarti law firm. "It’s actually an ongoing saga,” he told Wine Business Monthly.

These legal notices come from a performing rights organization (PRO), such as ASCAP, SESAC and BMI, which exist in order to liaise between a collection of musical artists and the commercial establishment seeking to play that artist’s music. Passarelli said that PROs have been targeting restaurants for quite some time, but the increase of winery targets “simply correlates to the popularity of wine industry tourism."

The email from the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) regarding the impact of music licensing in the tasting room also had a lot of good information for wineries.

From the TWGGA Email:
Last week, Tara Good, Director of Operations for WineAmerica and Fran Boyd of Meyers & Associates met with Congressional staff to raise awareness regarding the impact of music licensing on wineries.

Thank you to all the WineAmerica members who contacted us with your stories regarding music licensing. As this issue progresses, we will continue to meet with the members of the Judiciary Committee and members of Congress. In the meantime, there is action each winery in the U.S. can take:

The antitrust division of the Department of Justice (DoJ) is requesting comments on music licensing "Consent Decree." The Consent Decree regulates the business practices of Performance Licensing Organizations (PRO), specifically ASCAP and BMI. SESAC is not subject to the Consent Decree. The Consent Decree prohibits PROs from engaging in anticompetitive practices, including price setting. ASCAP and BMI are lobbying the DoJ to undo or loosen the Consent Decree. This would be very bad for wineries. Link to Request page on DoJ Website

All comments would be submitted by electronic mail to ascap-bmi-decree-review@usdoj.gov no later than close of business Friday, November 20, 2015. Comments will be posted for public review on the DoJ website. Information that parties wish to keep confidential should not be included in your comments. Individuals can send comments, for next day delivery, to Chief, Litigation III Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 5th Street NW, Suite 4000, Washington DC 20001.

How WineAmerica Works on Music Licensing
Lobbying might be a new experience for many wineries. We put together an infographic (see below) showing how WineAmerica makes it's member's voices heard in Washington D.C.

Survey for Wineries
If you have not already done so, consider completing the WineAmerica survey on music licensing in wineries. It is your story that we want to tell--and we want to tell it right. Take the survey here.

Look for our full article on music licensing written by Emily Rasmussen and how it affects wineries in the December issue of WBM, which is already hitting mailboxes. We already heard from one of our readers in Vermont who received the issue and read the article. He reached out and told us that they have been purchasing licenses from BMI and ASCAP for several years now but that this year for the first time he received many, many mailings, phone calls, emails from SESAC. He requested that we continue to cover this topic, and we will plan to do a follow up as we get more information.

The December issue will be available online at winebusiness/com/wbm on Dec. 1. To subscribe to WBM, click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
November 11, 2015 | 2:42 PM

The Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon took place on Halloween in Sonoma County's wine country. There were 1800 runners, many in costume, that participated in the end of harvest and Halloween-themed race, which ran through the Alexander and Dry Creek valleys in Healdsburg. The race included a Half Marathon route as well as a "Hallo-wine" 5K.

Many Sonoma Country wineries were represented at the event weekend: A Welcome Reception took place at Truett Hurst Winery, a Pre-Race Dinner was held the night before the race at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, and the Finisher’s Celebration was at Trentadue Winery. At the Finisher's Celebration 18 wineries, including Carol Shelton Wines, Comstock Wines, Martorana Family Winery, Sbragia Family Vineyards, SIMI Winery, Thumbprint Cellars and more, showed up to pour wine for thirsty runners. There were also three wine stops on course: Mauritson, Martorana and Mazzocco wineries.

Destination Races, which puts on the Wine Country Half Marathon series, is based in Sonoma, California. The series consists of eight races across wine regions in North America. Other races include Temecula Valley, CA (November 21, 2015), Santa Barbara (May 7, 2016), Northern Virginia (June 4, 2016), Napa-to-Sonoma (July 17, 2016), Oregon (August 8, 2016), Kelowna, B.C. (Sept TBD), Healdsburg (Oct TBD) and Woodinville, WA (Sept TBD).

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