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Thursday, June 4, 2015
June 4, 2015 | 1:51 PM

Free Flow Wines announced that they are now accepting nominations for the first-ever “KEGGY People's Choice" Award that recognizes exceptional accounts pouring wine on tap. Anyone can nominate a favorite restaurant, bar, hotel, winery, or any other type of account, who offers wine on tap.

Nominations can be submitted online form here or through social media. To nominate via social media post a photo featuring the nominated account on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Include the hashtag #KEGGYAwards and tag @FreeFlowWine and @TryWineOnTap in the post.

Nominations will be accepted now through June 30, 2015. Voting will be conducted online throughout the month of July and the winners will be announced at the second annual KEGGY Awards, taking place October 22, 2015, at the Free Flow Wines headquarters in Napa, CA.

Free Flow Wines created the annual KEGGY Awards to recognize wineries for their achievements in wine on tap, especially sustainability achievements. Last year’s winners include Au Bon Climat, Qupé, Constellation Brands, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Hahn Family Wines, King Estate Winery, and The Wine Group. These wineries each saved at least 100,000 wine bottles, for a total of well over 1 million bottles, from landfills sine they began kegging their wine with Free Flow Wines. The KEGGY Award winners are presented with their trophies at an intimate event at the Free Flow Wines headquarters in Napa.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
June 3, 2015 | 9:21 AM
Monday, June 1, 2015
June 1, 2015 | 2:13 PM

Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for June 1, 2015 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:

Bulk Wine

Pinot Noir 2014 wine, Santa Barbara County, 4,300 gallons at $16.00 per gallon

Chardonnay 2014 wine, Sonoma Carneros, 17,000 gallons at $12.50 per gallon

Pinot Noir 2014 wine, Solano County, 14,000 gallons at $7.50 per gallon

Zinfandel 2014 wine, Lodi, 26,000 gallons at $6.75 per gallon


Sauvignon Blanc 2015 grapes, Rutherford, 100 tons at $1,750.00 per ton

Merlot 2015 grapes, Napa Valley, 15 tons at $2,900.00 per ton

June 1, 2015 | 10:13 AM

Wine Business Monthly's June 2015 digital edition is now available.

Inside June 2015 you will find:

-Survey Reports: Closures + Facilities
-Low Alcohol Winemaking
-Dwindling Water Resources for Agriculture

Click here to view the June issue.

Sunday, May 31, 2015
May 31, 2015 | 7:30 PM

This weekend marked the official Grand Opening of the historic tool museum at Buena Vista Winery, celebrating the conclusion of the dramatic restoration and revitalization of California’s oldest commercial winery, dating back to 1857. Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Boisset Collection, purchased the winery in May 2011.

The museum, located on the third floor of the historic building, includes a collection of rare and authentic 19th and 20th century European viticulture tools: picks, secateurs, grafting knives, and presses, along with pomace cutters, and specialized tools that were used for making barrels. There’s a twenty-minute show that presents the story of winemaking through the use of these tools and tells the story of the “Count of Buena Vista,” founder Agoston Haraszthy. (The reincarnated count is pictured below, third from the left).

Speakers on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony included: Congressman Mike Thompson, Supervisor Susan Gorin, Sonoma Mayor David Cook; Sheriff John Robertson of the California State Sheriff’s Association; John DeLuca, Ph. D., former president and CEO of the Wine Institute of California from 1975 – 2003; Wine historian Charles Sullivan, Val and Kyle Haraszthy, representing the 4th and 5th generation of the Haraszthy family; and others.

Thompson presented a resolution marking the occasion that was read into the congressional record.

DeLuca among other things recalled Jean-Charles Boisset toasting the late Julia Childs as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., commemorated the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.

The restoration of the Buena Vista facility included a seismic upgrade that very likely saved the historic building from the Napa earthquake of 2014, and credit was given where it was due: Sonoma Mayor David Cook presented a resolution pointing our that while other historic buildings toppled, the Champagne Cellars at Buena Vista Winery suffered no structural damage.


May 31, 2015 | 7:00 PM
CEO Jason Eckenroth kicks off ShipCompliant's 2015 Direct Conference in Napa

In the beginning the ShipCompliant users conference was a scrappy effort to convince wineries the company had users. ShipCompliant’s three users received awards. When the team came out to Napa from Boulder Colorado that first year, Director of Compliance Jeff Carroll slept on a deflated air mattress.

It was 2006, and the Granholm decision had just been handed down by the Supreme Court. There were 26 ‘reciprocal states’ so that it was legally possible, in theory, to ship to 51 percent of the U.S. population, once states “leveled up”.

ShipCompliant held it's tenth user's conference late last week. Ten years later wineries, in theory, can ship to 92 percent of the U.S. population.

Some 21 million packages have shipped through ShipCompliant with 2014 DTC Shipments valued at an estimated $1.8 billion. ShipCompliant is handling 10 communications a second 24 hours a day, year round, with weekly deployments of new capabilitites.

Last year’s big news was Autofile, which has generated some 22,000 reports with 99.9995 percent accuracy, says the company.

Labelvision, another recent product, is being used by 7 of the 10 top wine producers, by most beverage law firms, by beer companies, and more. The average users does 230 searches a week.

The firm was just acquired by Sovos Compliance, which puts the sales tax on receipts around the world. With more resources, the rate of innovation will likely accelerate.

TTB processes 500 label registrations daily, and the latest rollout involves ‘provisional approvals’ so once TTB approves a label, suppliers can secure state approval to get their products to market that much faster.

The company is also working to improve the delivery experience for its customers. Re-order rates are higher when the package arrives on time the first time.


Thursday, May 28, 2015
May 28, 2015 | 9:36 AM

At its 10th annual DIRECT conference, Jason Eckenroth, president and founder of ShipCompliant, announced the latest update to its shipping and compliance software.

The company discovered a correlation between deliverability on the first attempt and reorder rates. Based on proprietary data, ShipCompliant found that customers were 27 percent more likely to order from a winery again if the wine was delivered successfully on the first attempt. Winery customer service staffers report that half of the calls they receive revolve around shipments and package tracking. Adult signature requirements, high freight costs, temperature concerns, compliance regulations, and multiple carriers are just some of the challenges wineries face in delivering seamless and personalized customer experience.

“The luxury experience we are so very carefully cultivating stops at delivery. We don’t need to accept that,” said Eckenroth. “I think we can extend that luxury experience and fill the gap.”

With “On time the first time” as the motto, ShipCompliant developed a set of tools that will help wineries step in and ensure a safe, successful delivery to their customers. The Deliverability Score is based on the number of packages that arrive on time, the first time over the past three months. The company reports an industry average of 78 percent.

Wineries can send customized, personalized emails to customers to directly deal with tracking concerns, rather than forcing the customer to deal with shipping carriers.

For more information on the new tools, visit

Thursday, May 21, 2015
May 21, 2015 | 3:06 PM

Photo of the Day: Columbia Crest winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca and 4th generation Argentine vintner Laura Catena catch up at the first Innovation + Quality conference last March in Napa Valley.

photo credit: @LauraCatena: With the talented @munozoca from #columbiacrest #washington at #IQ2015 #wine symposium @WineBusiness @alevigilmalbec

The date for next year's Innovation + Quality conference has been announced: March 2, 2016. For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
May 13, 2015 | 11:25 AM

Silicon Valley Bank's Rob McMillan leads an interactive discussion and review of The 2015 SVB/Wine Business Monthly Tasting Room Survey. For a full report, see the July 2015 Wine Business Monthly. Click here to subscribe.

Topics covered include:

* Conversion rates of visitors to buyers
* Impact of venue choice on tasting room success
* Regional tasting room comparisons
* Club metrics
* Expert panel analysis

During the broadcast, Rob McMillan is joined by Sonyia Grabski, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Sullivan Vineyards; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief of Wine Business Monthly; and Craig Root, Founder of Craig Root and Associates

Monday, May 4, 2015
May 4, 2015 | 6:30 AM

“This is overdue. It should have happened before,” BevMo!’s SVP of Wine Bob Paulinski MW said.

It was a sentiment echoed again and again throughout Friday’s inaugural Sonoma Barrel Auction.

Paulinski along with Evan Goldstein and a team of master sommeliers evaluated the wines weeks prior to the auction to weed things out and provide clarity about what they had.

It was a wide selection of collectible wines, cult Sonoma wines: A range of styles of Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Bordeaux blends, and Zinfandel, in addition to a handful of whites that showed exceptionally well, 71 lots ranging between 5 and 20 cases - unique wines the likes of which hadn’t been created before: blends from multiple vineyards and multiple blocks, and unique collaborations. Ginny Lamrix of VML wines, for instance, created a Pinot noir from her favorite 30 vineyard blocks; Joseph Swan Vineyards, Kosta Brown and Williams Seylum collaborated on a never-before, never-again blend of Pinot Noir; Winemakers John Raytec, Ehren Jordan, Akkiko Freman, Damain Parker, Ted Lemon, Vanessa Wong, and Carroll Kemp worked together to create a unique blend representing West County; Joel Peterson blended the mother of all field blends from four different field blends. On it went.

The event - which kicked off Thursday April 30th with a VIP trade and media preview event at Williams Selyem Winery celebrating Sonoma County wine industry icons - raised $460,000.

“Our relevancy in the marketplace is growing,” Sonoma County Vintners executive director Carolyn Stark said as the inagural auction began. “The time is right to kick off the Sonoma Barrel Auction.”

(pictured, Carolyn Stark, photo by George Rose)

A reader comments:

I guess they don't recall the "Hospice of Sonoma" barrel auction that went on for years, in Santa Rosa....

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