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Thursday, October 9, 2014
October 9, 2014 | 3:28 PM

It's that time of year. Harvest is nearly a wrap and the fermentations are bubbling along (hopefully). We received the following about yeast nutrients and stuck fermentations this afternoon from James Osborne, Enology Extension Specialist with the Oregon Wine Research Institute. Good basic information, and timely too ... links to info from Enartus, Lallemand, and Scott Laboratories, etc.

ps: There's good info on this topic in our online archives. Go to the Wine Business Monthly page, and search Stuck Fermentations for results, articles like this one by Curtis Phillips. ...

Yeast nutrients and stuck Fermentations

 James Osborne - Enology Extension Specialist

Because of the warm and dry growing season we have experienced this year fruit may contain high °Brix and lower than optimal nutrients. This fruit chemistry can cause problem alcoholic fermentations as yeast need to metabolize a greater amount of sugar with a lower amount of nutrients in a high alcohol environment. The end result is often a very slow/sluggish fermentation or fermentations that do not complete fermentation but rather stall out with a few Brix still remaining. While the causes of stuck and sluggish fermentations can be many (including improper yeast hydration, temperature management, microbial competition, residual pesticides as outlined here:, low nutrients and high alcohol content are two common causes.

The major yeast nutrient we are concerned with in the grape is yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN). YAN is composed of inorganic nitrogen (ammonia) and organic nitrogen (primary amino acids). It is important to know what the YAN level in your fruit is prior to fermentation so that you can make appropriate additions. Often by the time you notice a problem fermentation it is already too late to make any nutrient additions. This is because yeast are unable to uptake amino acids late in fermentation due to membrane disruption from increasing ethanol concentrations. You also do not want to add excessive nutrients as this can also cause problems. Large additions of nutrients early in the ferment may lead to over vigorous fermentations and alter the aroma compounds produced by the yeast. In addition, residual nutrients in the wine may contribute to microbial spoilage during aging. So how much YAN do you need? Well, it depends. The general recommendation is between 120-220 mg/L for a 21°Brix must. If you have higher °Brix must or are using a high nutrient demand yeast strain then you may want to consider higher YAN levels. These are not hard and fast rules as many people may have no problems fermenting juice with much lower YAN levels then these. But these YAN levels have been found by researchers to result in fermentations with good kinetics. Aside from nitrogen, the other nutrients that are essential factors for yeast growth are the micronutrients such as the vitamins biotin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin. A simple method for analyzing these compounds does not exist so the general rule is that if your grapes are low in nitrogen they are probably also low in micronutrients. If you just want to increase YAN then Diammonium phosphate (DAP) is an efficient way to do this. However, DAP does not contain any micronutrients so in addition to DAP you also should use a complex yeast nutrient that contains a blend of organic nitrogen (amino acids, peptides) and micronutrients. A balanced approach of both DAP and complex nutrients works best if you need to significantly increase your YAN levels. If only a small adjustment is needed then an addition of a complex yeast nutrient will usually suffice. Nutrient additions should be carefully monitored and recorded as there are legal limits to the concentrations that can be added. For example there are limits to the amount of DAP (0.96 g/L), thiamin (0.60 mg/L), and pantothenic acid (0.048 mg/L) that can be added. For complex yeast nutrients carefully read the manufacturer's instructions carefully to determine the max concentration of the product that can be added.

While preventative strategies such as nutrient additions are often the best way to prevent stuck fermentations what can you do if you have a problematic fermentation that refuse to finish those last few Brix? Just as there are a number of causes for stuck fermentations there are also a few approaches to restart them. In general these strategies entail building up a healthy population of a rescue yeast (typically a vigorous fermenting yeast) and slowly acclimatizing the yeast population to the stuck wine. If the specific cause of the stuck fermentation is known then specific strategies can be taken. For example, if the stuck ferment was caused by a high population of bacteria (Lactobacillus for example) then an addition of lysozyme may be necessary. Often an addition of yeast hulls is also recommended as this may reduce inhibitory substances. Specific procedures for re-starting stuck fermentations can be found at the following

For those of you who are visual learners:

The procedures described follow the same general methods but recommend different commercial products to achieve similar goals. Carefully follow the manufacturers recommended procedures depending on what yeast and nutrient products you use.

* Warmer growing seasons can result in grapes with high °Brix and low YAN that potentially could result in stuck or sluggish fermentations
* Assessment of YAN is crucial to determine appropriate nutrient additions
* Balance of DAP and complex yeast nutrients recommended to provide YAN and micronutrients
* Nutrients added late in fermentation unlikely to be utilized by yeast - perform additions early and at 1/3 fermentation
* Excessive use of nutrients can cause over vigorous fermentations and change aroma profile - legal limits for some nutrient additives
* Re-starting stuck fermentations involves treating wine with SO2/lysozyme/yeast hulls if necessary followed by preparation of a healthy rescue yeast population-
* Slow addition of stuck wine to yeast preparation in step-wise manner

If you have additional questions please contact me at 541-737-6494 or email

by Cyril Penn | October 9, 2014 | 1:30 PM

Spain’s D.O.s of Rueda and Ribera del Duero, known for their white wines, and red wines respectively, just announced they’re launching a strategic co-marketing partnership this fall in the U.S.

"We have to involve all of the players in the 3 tier system.”
- Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon.

The dominant grape in Rueda is Verdejo while most vineyards in Ribera are planted to Tempranillo.

Rueda and Ribera already coordinate sales efforts in Spain, where fifteen companies operate wineries in both regions. The U.S. partnership came together after being proposed by Fernando Vegas of Avelino Vegas, a member of the council of each region. Funding is coming from the two regions  themselves each contributing €750,000 annually, and the EU matching them with €1.5 million, for an annual €3 million total. Given exchange rates, the budget works out to roughly $4 million a year or $20 million through 2019.

Ribera sells roughly 100,000 cases in the U.S. each year, while Rueda also sells roughly 100,000 cases – so the investment is considerable – more than $15 per case currently sold.

Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon (of the Gonzalez Byass family) is serving as the newly appointed U.S. director for the partnership, based in New York.

“The regions have made a huge commitment. We want to jump start the business and help the wineries connect with importers, distributors, generate consumer awareness, and work at all levels,” Gonzalez-Gordon said. “We have to be very smart and careful about how we decide to spend these funds – that’s the process we are going through now.”

Gonzalez-Gordon said the plan is to manage the program so sales are generated and business growth is achieved in a sustainable way, not based on pricing but on raising brand awareness, engaging consumers, partnering with the trade, etc. “Sometimes these programs are image-based,” Gonzalez-Gordon said. “There has to be some of that, but at the same time, we have to involve all of the players in the 3 tier system.”

With Rueda, the focus is on light crisp, white wine, much of it priced at $ 12-$18, some priced higher. It’s the largest white wine appellation in Spain, where the emphasis is on the region, not the type of grape – but Gonzalez-Gordon said there will be an emphasis on the varietal in the U.S. – in this case Verdejo, where it will appeal to Sauvignon Blanc enthusiasts. In the case of Ribera, where Tempranillo dominates, the positioning is a bit different, more serious perhaps, but with an emphasis on the varietal. Most Ribera wines are priced at $15-$20, though some wineries in the region are well recognized internationally and demand higher prices.

The regions were represented at Spain’s Great Match tasting in New York City yesterday. Next up is a  Great Match tasting in Los Angeles on November 10. Members of the wine trade and press may register to attend at:


Spain’s Great Match in Los Angeles
The Bazaar® by José Andrés
465 S La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills,
Los Angeles, CA 90048

The walk-around press and trade tasting is from 12-5:00 PM. Wine Educator Steve Olson will lead a trade tasting on the wines from Ribera and Rueda from 12-1:15 PM.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014
October 8, 2014 | 1:44 PM

Today marks the halfway point of the 2014 Harvest season and we celebrated by picking the first of the Riesling! So far we've completed the Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Cayuga White, Seyval and De Chaunac. With just Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Lemberger and Catawba left to pick the end is nearing as we keep this well oiled machine moving! Cheers to all and Happy Harvest!

October 8, 2014 | 10:52 AM

Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for October 7, 2014 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:

Bulk Wine

Zinfandel 2013 wine, Lodi, 16,000 gallons at $4.00 per gallon

Merlot 2013 wine, Napa Valley, 6,500 gallons at $14.50 per gallon

Chardonnay 2013 wine, Russian River, 3,200 gallons at $9.50 per gallon


Tuesday, October 7, 2014
by Cyril Penn | October 7, 2014 | 10:30 AM
For Chuck Williams' 99th Birthday: Specially designed bottles of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Coming Home: Chuck Williams pioneered American cooking, bringing tools and techniques from all over the world which most Americans really didn't know anything about at the time. It was the 1950s - the era of the TV dinner. And wine? They knew even less. Long story short: Williams settled in Sonoma in 1947, bought a hardware store, and opened Williams-Sonoma in 1956, selling French kitchenware. Two years later he relocated the store to San Francisco, then a store opened in Beverly Hills, and then there was a catalog. Last year revenues topped $4.3 billion.

It makes sense that the newest Williams-Sonoma store is part store, part museum, and that it's  located in the exact spot that housed the original. The new site opened over the weekend. Chuck Williams lived behind the store with his mother, and the new incarnation includes an upstairs bedroom and backyard modeled on the original footprint.

In fact, Williams, now 99, was on hand last Thursday for the ribbon cutting. That was followed by press  tours Friday, and pancakes on the Sonoma Plaza on Saturday.

I attended one of the press tours, led by Williams-Sonoma brand president Janet Hayes, with Sonoma store GM Emily Kendis, along with head of brand marketing Jean Armstrong, and Monica Bhargava, leader of the design team for Williams Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, and Pottery Barn (which Williams-Sonoma owns).

“I want to tell you that we don’t view this as a big business coming back to Sonoma. We wanted to come back to the community that helped us start, and to really to honor our founder, Chuck Williams," Hayes said. "Chuck Williams had and still has incredible vision, incredible passion, and a commitment to quality and service that we have never waivered away from. We are so proud to be back here." 

Tyler Florence, who is partnering with the company to create new tools for chefs, went off on innovation, describing new approaches for making develled eggs without cooking the eggs in the shells, new ways of making rissotto (faster), and for baking bread (yeast with no CO2). He said the goal for his partnership with Williams-Sonoma is to demystify cooking while making it easier for people.

"We scare people off with our information," Florence said. "We are victims of our own information. Where is the innovation? Technology changes every 18 months. Cooking tools haven’t changed in 500 years. We want to create a blue sky committee inside Williams-Sonoma where we think through what hasn’t been thought through.  We have produced information that is intimidating more than it is inspiring. It’s our job to demystify the whole situation, reapproach it from a different standpoint, and actually get people cooking again based on good technique that’s easy."

And Florence had kind words for the man who started it all ... of course.

"Our mission now is to take Chuck Williams and to turn him into the American icon that he deserves to be," Florence said. 

Chuck Williams' desk calendar from May 1958. The San Francisco store opened Monday the 26th


October 7, 2014 | 9:58 AM

Many thanks to Alex Hillsberg and for use of the infographic. For more information, click here.


October 7, 2014 | 5:47 AM

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers has developed the Viticultural Best Practices Video Series highlighting farming techniques and practices used throughthe growing season. The first three videos in the series feature Cordon/Spur Pruning, Cane Pruning and Suckering ...

Monday, October 6, 2014
October 6, 2014 | 11:08 AM

Harvey Posert, "Dean of Wine Industry PR," passed away from cancer the morning of October 3, after nearly half a century spreading the wine message. He will be missed by many in the wine industry. Below are some of the comments WBM has received and some messages left on Twitter. To submit your memories or stories of Posert, email

So sad to learn of Harvey's passing. He was a savvy PR professional, a brilliant raconteur, and the consummate mensch. I met Harvey in the wake of "Two Buck Chuck" when we served on a panel together. He taught me tons about the wine industry over the past 10 years and even asked me to write a chapter in his and Paul Franson's PR book. I had the honors of roasting him at his 80th birthday party and calling him friend. He was truly a blessing. We will all miss him dearly.

-- Marc Engel, Engel Research Partners

Friday, October 3, 2014
October 3, 2014 | 11:45 AM

It is with sadness that we report that Harvey Posert passed away from cancer this morning. We will have more information as it is available.

Harvey Posert spent more 40 years in wine public relations, working with several of the most successful programs in the industry. From 1965-1980, he supervised Wine Institute's  program to educate Americans about California wine. In 1980 he took over the Robert Mondavi PR program; and in 1997 he started his PR consultancy, retaining Robert Mondavi as a client while working with other wineries and groups.

Below is the text to the forward Posert wrote for Spinning the Bottle, co-authored and edited with Paul Franson. Spinning the Bottle is a collection of case studies with guidelines on promoting wine, wine companies and wine-related issues.

An Insider's Perspective:

Introduction by Harvey Posert

This introduction tells the story of my career in wine public relations, which began in 1965. It appears that I was born to do this work, although I never drank wine until college (English majors drank Taylor Dry Sherry), and I never heard of PR until I worked for the PR Director of the American Bar Association while at the University of Chicago Law School. Those of you who know the story can move on to the book.

Thanks to a sports editor uncle, I began writing sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal at age 14, and thanks to him and another newspapering uncle I worked on the paper for 10 summers during school and after Army Counterintelligence. I filled in for beat reporters during their summer vacations, so I worked on the food, business, agriculture, travel and feature desks at some time.

I left law school and joined the Daniel Edelman PR agency in Chicago, working with consumer products like Sara Lee and Lava Lite, some trade associations and Sargent Shriver, manager of the Merchandise Mart where our office was located. That time and place has been dubbed “The Chicago School” of PR –heavy in product publicity but light on counseling and issues communications.

Returning to Memphis for three years, I operated an agency which handled some products and political campaigns. Then Dan Edelman hired me back to run his NY office, and that gave me major media work and trade association issues experience.

In 1965 Wine Institute initiated a total PR review, firing three agencies which had handled the “premium wine” (Almaden, Paul Masson, Inglenook, Krug), “popular wine” (Gallo, Italian Swiss, Guild) and wine-and-health programs. Of the 60-plus agencies competing, WI hired Harry Serlis from the group and told him to make the selection. Because the “enemies” of wine at that time were believed to be ignorant of wine in general and prejudiced against California wine in particular, Harry chose Dan’s firm for our apparent publicity capabilities and our ignorance of the wine business –we didn’t know enough to argue. He said then, and I’ve found it true, that you can teach someone about wine but you can’t teach PR judgment and skill and enthusiasm for publicity work.

Dan had made the usual promises –cover of Time, offices we didn’t have at the time, etc. –for our largest agency fee of $60,000 a year; Harry wisely raised it to $90,000 but said he wanted it all done. I moved to San Francisco and we put a team together –many are authors in this book –with media and market programs in New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We hired traveling wine experts for media calls in other markets and targeted special programs for movie production, minority communities, and government officials in the federal and state capitols.

Harry and I set out to build the wine writer community. At that time there were a few: Bob Misch, Bill Clifford, Philip Wagner and Creighton Churchill. Soon there were also Bob Balzer, Hank Rubin and Phil Hiaring working from Wine Institute. But Harry’s salesmanship and my knowledge of newspapering (you could walk into newspapers then) combined to bring in a group which now reaches over 1,000. Of course this work is never done –the Academy of Wine Communications exists to help current wine writers and bring more into the field.

Those were halcyon days. Wine was getting better and more popular; the producers and the enthusiasts were an influential group; and then there was the Tasting of Paris and the Time cover story after all.

We learned that harvest news conferences worked well and treating wine like a business did not. I believe that between WI’s PR budget and Robert Mondavi’s commitment to PR I’ve spent around $25,000,000 over 38 years figuring out what does work.

In 1975, in one of the typical intra-industry squabbles, Italian Swiss Colony left Wine Institute, the agency was fired, Harry left and I was hired by WI as PR director. I inherited a lot of good programs left behind by Roy Taylor, Julius Jacobs, Larry Cahn and Marjorie Lumm. We launched some excellent programs: the PBS wine tasting series; Wine Media Day, which brought wineries and media together on a large scale for the first time; the Winery Guide to Public Relations; the Society of Wine Educators; the California Wine Program for U.S. Embassies and Consulates; and an outreach to the alcohol issues community.

But then the industry trade association’s priorities were pruned to only one –politics –as Gallo and John De Luca decided to focus on government work alone. (Don’t get me started on this subject.) So when Bob Mondavi married his PR director, Margrit Biever, Harry Serlis recommended me for that position.

In addition to quality wine and a marvelous winery site, public relations played a major role in building the winery. Bob had a vision and a commitment to tell his story as often and in as many places as he could. My job was to extend the reach and to help based on my experience. As Wine Institute shrank its role, we expanded ours.

In l986 Bob launched his Mission program with the avowed purpose of defending wine against its anti-alcohol opponents. Among other aspects, we hosted a series of conferences featuring health researchers, sociologists, anthropologists and other scientists and artists who examined the basic soundness of wine in positive lifestyles for most people. One of our early speakers was Dr. Curtis Ellison of Boston University, who was thus brought into the wine community, enjoyed it, and through a chain of circumstances became the protagonist for the famous 60 Minutes pro-wine program that changed the role of wine in America.

Time moves on and programs wax and wane. The Robert Mondavi Winery went public, marketers often want the specificity of advertising buys, and it was time for me to move on as well. I went back 50 years to my own agency days, keeping Robert Mondavi as a client but specializing in reviewing and consulting on public relations programs for wineries and wine organizations. And so the story should have ended.

But one afternoon a close friend from the Mondavi days, Gary Ramona, called and asked me to come and talk to his boss, Fred Franzia, who was building a facility in Napa and had a number of brands. We began to work together successfully, so when Fred called and said he was bringing back the Charles Shaw brand for Trader Joe’s, I just started a new file and waited for Fred or Gary or marketing consultant Brian Loomis to give me some details.

The details never came, but this latest chapter is in the book. So far Charles Shaw has had neither press release nor tasting program but the story has reached over 100,000,000 people and broken out of the wine columns and into general media. Writing its story for Wines & Vines gave me the idea for this book, and you know the rest.

I appreciate the collegiality of mostly all of us in wine PR, the support of my family, and the fun we’ve had along the way.

Harvey Posert
Napa Valley


Tuesday, September 30, 2014
September 30, 2014 | 12:02 PM

EQX Global participated in a test of sliding base-isolation technology on a standard 6-high stack of wine barrels at Kyoto University. See more here.

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