As the 2016 wine grape harvest gets underway, a new 57,000 square foot custom crush facility is opening in the northern part of Sonoma Valley just outside of Santa Rosa, specifically designed with the small, hands-on winemaker in mind. The facility, still under construction, will process an easily manageable 450 or 500 tons this fall, though its use permit allows for 125,000 cases, or about 2,000 tons.
The project was just an idea 20 months ago, building permits were issued seven months ago, and the facility – abuzz with activity - is already processing Sauvignon Blanc. It's organized chaos.
Sugerloaf Crush is specifically designed to handle small lot fermentations with some of the latest equipment: A Vaslin-Buher Oscillys press, an optical sorter, small-lot concrete-stainless steel tanks, multiple membrane presses, and for one client - oak fermenters, along with three separate temperature controlled barrel rooms.
General Manager and Winemaker Ronald Du Preez, (left) previously with Jordan Vineyards & Winery joined Sugerloaf Crush in March. He’s been in the custom crush business since 2012 and studied viticulture and enology at Stellenbosh University in South Africa. The 10,000 hectoliter Buher press at Sugerloaf Crush is the same model Du Preez worked with at Jordan for 12 years, simple, easy to work, and capable of handling whole clusters in batches or 8 or 10 tons.
To be ready for the 2016 crush, contractors focused considerable attention on creating a covered crush-pad outside of the main building. Eventually the tanks will move inside.
Outside sit ten open-top tanks, ideal for 3.5 to 5.5 ton lots, that can be picked up with a forklift. Next to them are another ten specially designed custom hybrid open top tanks with 36” doors on top that swing open for punch downs. Du Preez worked with Santa Rosa Stainless Steel and custom designed the tanks. The hybrid tanks can be used for Pinot Noir, and work well for cold soaks. They’re good for pump-overs with Cabernet Sauvingon too. With the tops down, they can be pressurized so work for storage, blending or for filtering before bottling. Next year, the winery will likely add a pneumatic punch-down device.
The building is designed with built-in flexibility specific for the custom crush industry. A huge cold room can keep a couple of trucks of fruit in storage at 40 degrees if unexpected equipment issues ever cause a delay. Tanks connect to a heating and cooling system with spring loaded ball valves, not solenoid valves, so they automatically close yet can be manually opened in the event of a system failure.
“In this business, there are no mistakes,” De Preez said. “There cannot be mistakes – so you always have to be 100 percent perfect.”
All of the tanks in the winery will eventually be connected through Tank Net. The vision is for the winery to be completely accessible. Clients will have access the status of their lots via their phones. Sugerloaf Ridge went with InnoVint wine cellar management software (see Product Review: Cellar Management Software, WBM, February 2016).
There will be a bottling area in the future – probably be 2018 – so for now, clients are working with mobile lines. Sugerloaf Crush has a 5-ton minimum.
What makes Sugerloaf Ridge truly unique, however, according to De Preez, is that a second construction phase will include hospitality facilities with a licensed kitchen so custom crush clients can entertain. The winery is permitted to host up to 20 events per year.
Custom crush capacity is increasingly difficult to find, in part because big wineries - one from Modesto in particular - have been buying it up (see "Will Custom Crush Prices Increase?" in the February 2016 Wine Business Monthly and WBM’s Directory: Custom Crush Facilities, June 2014).
“A custom crush business looked like a good business and a bunch of things fell together. We found a piece of land, we found Ronald, the investors, a bank, a general contractor, the subs, and found the clients,” Sugerloaf Crush founder Joe Reynoso said. “It was a piece of cake,” he quipped. “57,000 square feet in Sonoma County? Anybody could do that.”
via Kay Bogart, Program Director V&E Extension – Department of Viticulture & Enology, UC Davis
Invitation to a Memorial Service for Prof. Emeritus Vernon Singleton
UC Davis V&E has lost a prominent member of our family. Prof. Emeritus Vernon Singleton passed away last Friday, surrounded by Kay, his wife of 69 years, and his children. We will miss him as a true scholar, teacher, colleague, and friend. He contributed so much to the department and to the global wine industry from his trailblazing research on phenolic chemistry and wine aging to his textbooks that are still used throughout the world today educating future generations of wine professionals.
The department and Prof. Singleton’s family will be hosting a gathering on campus on Saturday, September 10 to celebrate Vernon’s life and career. Here are the details:
Saturday, September 10, 2016
11:00 am to 12:30 pm
UC Davis Conference Center
550 Alumni Lane
Davis, CA 95616
Immediately following the program, there will be a reception and lunch in the Conference Center from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm. All are invited to join, though it’s important that you register at this link for our planning:
Memorial Service for Prof. Emeritus Vernon Singleton
Directions to the Conference Center can be found here: https://cru.ucdavis.edu/content/339-location-amp-contact.htm
Parking is free on weekends. The large parking structure is across the street from to the Conference Center, east of the brand new JanShrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Using 550 Alumni Lane on Google Maps, all parking near the Conference Center is clearly marked.
We are hoping to collect stories, photos and videos of Vern to share with his family during and after the program. If you have ones that you would like to share, they can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Yolo Hospice (http://yolohospice.org/support-us/make-a-donation/) or to the Vernon Singleton Memorial Scholarship Fund in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. For the latter, checks can be made out to the UC Regents and addressed to:
Prof. David Block
Vernon Singleton Memorial Scholarship Fund
Department of Viticulture and Enology
University of California
595 Hilgard Lane
Davis, CA 95616
NOTE: Remember, please, given the short notice, it’s important that you register at the link above for our organizational efforts, so we can accommodate everyone. Kay
UC Davis Professor of Enology, Emeritus Vernon Singleton died on Friday, August 26, 2016.
Singleton and his understanding of grape and wine phenolic chemistry were highly influential. Dr. Singleton published 214 works over four decades, greatly improving knowledge of wine and plant phenolics.
Dr. Singleton retired in 1991, continuing to consult with industry organizations, students and fellow scientists; reviewing books and papers; and occasionally presenting papers, including 'Barrels for Wine, Usage and Significance' p. 4-9 in Proc. Symp. Oak from Forest to Glass, 15-16 July 1999, ASEV/ES ST. Louis, MO
The American Society for Enology and Viticulture honored Dr. Singleton in 2007 at a phenolics symposium following the Unified Grape & Wine Symposium with eight internationally known phenolics experts, each in some way connected to Singleton, using aspects of his work as a springboard for discussion.
Singleton was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2011:
From the Vintner's Hall of Fame:
An expert on wine chemistry, Professor Singleton spent more than four decades in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, retiring in 1991. He published more than 220 papers and four books. Wine: An Introduction for Americans, co-authored with Maynard Amerine, remains among the most widely read books of its kind, even decades after its last printing. Principles and Practices of Winemaking,co-authored with three UC Davis colleagues, is a textbook used worldwide. Professor Singleton is best known for his identification, characterization and transformation of the many phenolic substances in wine, including tannins. He also studied the contributions of barrel aging to wine phenolic composition and the role of oxygen in wine maturation.
We will have more information as it becomes available.
Harvest has started in Sonoma County as reported by Chris Cottrell, who told us that he harvested Chardonnay in Sonoma today for his Under The Wire Sparkling project.
"The vineyard is Vendemmia, or as we call it, 'Chuy.' The Chardonnay is at a 1,000 feet in the Moon Mountain AVA off Nelligan Road. As with all Under The Wire wines, this will be made into a single vineyard, sparkling wine via methode champenoise," said Cottrell, partner at Bedrock Wine Co. and Co-Founder/Owner of Under the Wire.
Wine Business Monthly's August 2016 digital edition is now available.
Inside August 2016 you will find:
Recent Research: Yeast
-Yeast of a Different Breed
-Can Vineyard or Inoculated Yeasts Overcome Those in a Winery?
-Winemaker Trials: Daou Vineyards Develops a Custom Yeast to Allow for Better Aging and Drinking
New Developments in Vineyard Mechanization and Precision Management
Winemaker Business Decisions: Becoming a Part of the Oregon Wine Business
Industry Roundtable: Getting the Message Out
How do you effectively market wines from a great, but lesser-known, wine region?
Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for July 27, 2016 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:
Pinot Noir 2015 wine, Lake County, 4,000 gallons at $14.00 per gallon
Merlot 2015 wine, Lodi, 4,900 gallons at $5.00 per gallon
Pinot Noir 2015 wine, Monterey County, 3,300 gallons at $18.00 per gallon
Petit Verdot 2015 wine, Paso Robles, 6,100 gallons at $13.00 per gallon
Merlot 2016 grapes, Oak Knoll District, 15 tons at $3,500.00 per ton
Barbera 2016 grapes, Paso Robles, 10 tons at $1,600.00 per ton
|Tim Mondavi, front, wearing a white shirt, speaks to a guest during the 50th Anniversary of Robert Mondavi Winery. The late Robert Mondavi started the business with a modest loan. "My father was able to make great things happen out of nothing - other than great spirit," Tim Mondavi said Saturday.|
Hundreds of visitors came to Oakville Saturday to celebrate Robert Mondavi Winery’s 50th anniversary with wine, food, music and cheers.
The festivities, which drew an estimated 2000 people, included a special event for dozens of present and former employees and other guests.
Speakers recalled the contribution of the winery under founder Robert Mondavi in establishing the Napa Valley into a world-renowned wine region and introducing the American palate to fine wines.
“There was a great spirit that brought this place to life and brought California wine to life from a time that was very quiet,” said Tim Mondavi, who was 15 when his late father Robert Mondavi founded the winery next to To Kalon Vineyard.
His older brother, Michael, would slow down traffic and invite visitors to tour the winery. Michael Mondavi drew laughs from the crowd gathered at the Vineyard Room when he recalled how his father had listed his “wife, three children and clothes” as assets before managing to obtain a loan to break ground. “We were not bankable back then,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon, were both teenagers in the Napa Valley on July 16, 1966, when the ground breaking of the future Robert Mondavi Winery took place.
On Saturday, Thompson saluted the employees, past and present, and the Mondavi family, including Robert Mondavi’s wife, Margrit.
“Robert Mondavi did so much for our valley,” said Thompson who presented the winery’s general manager, Glenn Workman, with a framed copy of his remarks he read into the record on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on July 16. Thompson praised the winery for having achieved “great success in producing high quality wines and advancing the art of winemaking” and for having been “a notable leader in pioneering environmentally sustainable agricultural practices to preserve our valley’s land for future generations.”
Thompson on Saturday highlighted the contributions of past and present employees to the success of the winery. “Employees make or break you and there is no question that the Mondavi family understood that and Constellation is carrying on.” Constellation Brands Inc. has owned the winery since 2004.
Dillon presented Workman with a copy of a proclamation that will be read at the next Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.
She noted the winery opened two years before the establishment of the agricultural preserve to protect the valley from development. At the time, the valley risked being paved over like Santa Clara, said the supervisor. “In many ways, what happened here was a demonstration of what the valley could be.”
Genevieve Janssens, director of winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery, raised a glass of Gamay Rosé to the present and former staff members before the festivities continued outside where music played and wine and food were served to the general public.
“The future of the Napa Valley is bright,” she said as people cheered.
Former employees gathered Saturday greeted one another. Many recalled Robert Mondavi as a great boss, one who would take time to thank the dishwasher at major diners, encouraged the staff to share ideas with other wineries and spur their entrepreneurial spirits, serve meals to the personnel in the vineyards to celebrate harvest and made sure they were well paid.
Employees at Robert Mondavi Winery were close, many said Saturday as they sipped ones and chatted in the Vineyard Room.
Nancy Jacobs, a former executive assistant at the winery from 1976 until 1992, when she left to work for author Danielle Steel, said the winery was the focus of employees’ lives.
“It was my social life. It was my business life,” she said. Having lost a father young and with her family still on the East Coast, Robert Mondavi was also like a parent, she added. He made sure employees were well paid.
One year, she was among 17 employees Mondavi flew to Europe to visit the wine world there. “It was an amazing experience,” she said. Going anywhere with “Mr. Mondavi” was always an experience, she added. “He had more energy than anybody.”
The 50th Anniversary Celebration tasting menu included 2014 Napa Valley Fume Blanc, 2015 Napa Valley Rose, 2013 Maestro, 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2014 Moscato D’Oro. River School World of Percussion and Ballet Folklorico el Valle were among the entertainers during the afternoon. Visitors also watched cooking demonstrations with Cindy Pawlcyn, Bob Hurley, Victor Scargle and Giovanni Guerrera.
we received the following statement this afternoon:
Media Contact: Steven Clark
June 24, 2016
As the owners of JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, we try to instill in our local team a neighborly spirit, environmental responsibility and entrepreneurial independence, but when we learned of the terrible situation at our Sleepy Farm Road property, not to mention our poor reputation within the community, we were ashamed and are sorry. We were asleep at the wheel.
Over the last few days, we’ve been conducting an internal review of the project and learned that while genuine efforts to meet county ordinances were made, unfortunately, there were absolutely unacceptable lapses of judgment. We’ve also talked to local residents to better understand the issues and our standing within the Paso Robles community and found that our actions are an embarrassment, and for that, we take full responsibility. We are horrified by the lack of regard for both neighbor and nature that has been exhibited, especially the removal of native oak woodlands, and we hope that the community will accept our deepest and most sincere apologies and find it in their hearts to forgive us. We want to make things right, starting now.
We have already been in active and positive discussions with the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building leaders and shared our plan to donate this 380-acre parcel of land at Sleepy Farm Road, and we’re actively exploring the best possible ways to make that happen, in addition to looking for other conservation opportunities in the greater Adelaida area. As part of this preservation, we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to conserve this land in cooperation with county and local officials. Also included in this re-mitigation process will be the implementation of immediate sedimentation and erosion control measures; the elimination of our pond project and restoring it to its natural grade; implementing measures to permanently protect oak woodlands from being removed on at least 100 acres of our property; and planting 5,000 new oak trees across our properties.
These actions are just the beginning of our commitment to being a better, more engaged neighbor, a true steward of the land, and a local voice that lives up to the spirit of Paso Robles. We want to walk arm-in-arm with our neighbors to ensure the future of sustainable farming in the region. We know that proof of this will be in our actions, not just our words, and we look forward to working together to earn the support and trust of the Paso Robles community.
Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for June 20, 2016 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:
Petite Sirah 2015 wine, California, 13,000 gallons at $7.25 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Russian River, 1,900 gallons at $16.50 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Monterey County, 6,500 gallons at $9.50 per gallon
Chardonnay 2015 wine, Central Coast, 15,000 gallons at $11.00 per gallon
Pinot Noir 2015 wine, California, 56,500 gallons at $7.50 per gallon
Sauvignon Blanc 2015 wine, California, 13,000 gallons at $7.00 per gallon
Chardonnay 2016 grapes, Sonoma Carneros, 20 tons at $2,000 per ton
Chardonnay 2016 grapes, Sonoma Coast, 30 tons at $2,069 per ton
Merlot 2016 grapes, Lake County, 75 tons at $1,250 per ton
Merlot 2016 grapes, Lodi, 550 tons at $450 per ton
On May 18, Trinchero Napa Valley’s new 5,000 square foot tasting room was unveiled at a sneak peek event. The tasting room will open to the public in mid June. This marks the third phase of a series of buildings that comprise the Trinchero Napa Valley Estate, which brings the entire property together. The first phase, the winery facility, was completed in 2007 and the second phase, the hospitality center, was completed in 2009. The architect for the new tasting room was BAR Architects.
Here are some photos (courtesy David Matheson) from the unveiling in late May.
Bob Torres, Principal, Vice Chairman & Director at Trinchero Family Estates
The tasting room bar
Roger and Bob, Sr. Trinchero