Wine Business Blog Wine Business Follow us on Twitter Wine Business Blog RSS Subscribe to Wine Business Blog by Email Wine Industry Blogs Wine Industry Classifieds Wine Industry Events Wine News Archives Wine People News Vineyard Weather Wine Jobs
Monday, September 29, 2014
September 29, 2014 | 11:40 AM

Yeast Rehydration Protocol from Laffort

September 29, 2014 | 7:29 AM

Pictured: The scene Friday night in the Brown's Valley area of the City of Napa, photos by Burke Pedersen

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
September 24, 2014 | 10:20 AM

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has officially opened the doors to its new FAY Outlook & Visitor Center.Winery visitors will taste in the elegant and modern new space while enjoying sweeping views of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars historic estate vineyards – FAY and S.L.V.  See the full release on the new facility here.

Monday, September 22, 2014
September 22, 2014 | 11:22 AM

"On Saturday, September 13, Madrigal Family Winery hosted its Annual Harvest Party and Grape Stomp to kick-off the harvest season. Club members, friends old and new danced the day away to T-Luke and the Tight Suits Zydeco inspired music and feasted on traditional Cajun fare: spicy pulled pork sliders, chicken kebabs & grilled veggies. Despite the 100 degree heat, everyone stayed cool while enjoying Mark Ray’s barrel tastings of the 2013 Levine Vineyard Cab (Atlas Peak) and the 2013 Garnacha under the shade of Chris Madrigal’s 100-year-old oak tree.

Our grape stomp had a record 50 participants with winner Sarah Merkel stomping out 9100 ML of juice, beating out the reigning winner from last year, her boyfriend Jerrod. A huge thank you to everyone from near and far for making our party a huge success!" -- Madrigal Family Winery

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
September 17, 2014 | 9:59 AM
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
September 16, 2014 | 4:15 PM

The Vinitech-Sifel Innovation Award winners were announced September 11. The Innovation Awards highlight the most game-changing products in winemaking and fruit and vegetable farming—19 products, processes and technologies were chosen from more than 60 entries. Below is a sneak peek at some of the winners. Wine Business Monthly will highlight a wider selection of products from the show in an upcoming issue.

Vinitech-Sifel Bordeaux will be held December 2–4, 2014 at the Exhibition Center of Bordeaux. For more information visit

Special Jury Prize
Category: Vines, Orchards and Vegetable Farming

Mini-digger with pile driver

The mini-digger with pile driver is designed for trellis installation in the vineyard. The system is completely automated with GPS guidance to an accuracy of one centimetre. It enables an operator to work alone and greatly reduces the strenuousness of the task. Handling is reduced to a minimum; the operator only has to take the posts off the truck at the front of the digger and position them under the machine. The machine is also equipped with a decoiler for installing the trellis wires. This ground-breaking innovation represents a major development in precision farming, a cost-effective solution which also improves working conditions for dangerous tasks which put strain on the operator.

Gold Award
Category: Wine

CALIBAIE grape grader

CALIBAIE is a system for grading the grapes as they come out of an automatic sorting machine. It consists of a chain-driven roller table with parallel rollers which rotate towards the front of the machine. Carried by the moving rollers, the grapes are separated and spread out across the width of the machine. They continue to roll until they reach a gap wide enough to let them through without being compressed or crushed. Grapes larger than the size set are carried to the end of the roller table and fall into a tray, pump or lift. It is possible to adjust the machine according to the number of different grape sizes associated with the variety. Calibaie is a simple, efficient way to grade the harvest after prior sorting by stage of maturity (i.e. on exit from the Tribaie machine). It makes optimum use of the grape harvest by allowing different vinification processes according to grape size. The machine can be set to the appropriate processing speed to work autonomously in complete safety. The system is already fully operational and represents a real innovation which optimizes overall wine quality.

Gold Award
Category: Vines, Orchards and Vegetable Farming

EASY TURN steering system for grape harvesting machine

The Easy Turn steering system enables the operator to move to the row adjacent to the one just completed without any special manoeuvring; it also offers a significant productivity gain and better visibility. The innovation lies in the mechanical design: absence of tie rods, one reversing inner rear wheel and a 95° turning angle.

Gold Award
Category: Vines, Orchards and Vegetable Farming

GUIDALEX: Inter-vine tool chassis with automatic row guiding
and depth adjustment

GUIDALEX is a front-mounted tillage system designed for orchards that can have rows planted more than 5 metres apart. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that the positioning of the right and left mounted tools is controlled independently and automatically, enabling two half-rows to be worked simultaneously. The independent depth adjustment for each side is controlled either by a SOLTRONIC power regulator or a cylinder with integrated position sensor. The top speeds can be up to 5 km/h for unearthing and 8 km/h for earthing up.

Silver Award
Category: Wine

SMART GLASS: The first automatic liquid transfer controller for wineries

Smart Glass is an intelligent electronic monitoring system. The concept consists of distinguishing between liquids passing through a tube by means of a patented sensor based on impedance spectroscopy. Must, wine, must deposit, lees and water all have specific electrical signatures. Used during sedimentation, racking and flushing with water, the sensor detects changes in the liquid and controls the pump via a wireless connection. Smart Glass is the first automatic liquid transfer controller for wineries. It optimises winery operations and offers significant time savings. It is a remarkable development in precision winemaking.

Silver Award
Category: Vines, Orchards and Vegetable Farming

EcosatelYt inter-vine hoeing machine

EcosatelYt is an inter-vine hoeing machine which uses draft power to rotate a trihedral ploughshare support mounted off-centre. The blades stay aligned with the direction of travel, independently of the rotation caused by the wheel that supports the blade coming into contact with the vine stock. The work is finished by chains which break up clods and level the ground. A hydraulic system centres the machine in relation to the position of the row for each side independently. The current version of this machine is suitable for tilling vines planted between 1.5 and 2 metres apart.

by Cyril Penn | September 16, 2014 | 4:00 PM

What is biochar and is it useful?

Basically, biochar is charcoal that can be used as a soil amendment.

In a recent issue of Wines & Vines, columnist Cliff Omart concludes:

Given the potential of biochar to sequester carbon for a very long time, along with its properties of nutrient and water uptake and exchange with plants, I feel it is a product worth keeping tabs on as a potentially important soil amendment for vineyards in many situations. As more research is done and prices stabilize, it may prove to be an economically viable treatment option to improve vineyard soil quality

Sounds like we'll be hearing more. We hear rumors that some vineyard operators are looking into it - Monterey-Pacific in King City, Elieo Vineyards in Windsor, and possibly Paradise Ridge. Trials are underway. There are potential water savings to the extent that soil has more water holding capacity, and there's an expectation that the associated nutrients are good for the vines. Randall Grahm even thinks biochar helps intensify terroir. Here's a video posted by Ask a Winemaker where Randall Graham talks biochar.


September 16, 2014 | 12:02 PM

Grammy nominated singer Jewel performed an acoustic set at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Napa Valley as part of the Staglin Family's 20th Annual Music Festival for Brain Health, which raised nearly $3.5 million in 2013/2014 to benefit the IMHRO/One Mind Institute and ONE MIND™. See the full press release here.


Thursday, September 11, 2014
September 11, 2014 | 2:07 PM

In this month's issue of Wine Business Monthly, writer Theresa Dorr takes a look at point-of-sale systems for the tasting room and includes a detailed table of what many POS providers offer. We inadvertently left out Microworks in our POS Providers matrix. The table has been corrected and updated in our digital edition, which you can read here.

Here's a preview of Theresa's story: 

Once upon a time, the cash register, or point-of-sale (POS) system, was thought of as a tool that simply rang up sales. Over time, it evolved into a business management and marketing tool. POS solutions are expected to support staff members and optimize each customer interaction. They are expected to easily capture consumer information, help build lasting relationships, support marketing promotions, manage club memberships, provide status on wine shipments and real-time inventory and easily report out to accounting. The POS has become a one-stop shop for customer relationship management (CRM) and has evolved beyond a point of “sale” solution into more of a point of “service” tool. Newer features can help increase the average value of a sales transaction and even increase repeat visits to the winery, so it’s worth reviewing some of the newer features and how they can be leveraged in a winery.

Read the rest of the article, and much more, in the September 2014 edition of Wine Business Monthly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
September 2, 2014 | 2:12 PM

Paso Robles Wine Country is a region with no passwords, secret handshakes or other drastic measures required. Watch as Paso Wine Man explores this welcoming atmosphere in the latest Paso Uncorked video - No Reservations.

Got a tip? Tell us
Search WB Blog
Recent Posts
Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz
Cement Suitcase ~ A Wine Sojourn
East Bay Vintners Alliance
A new home for R&B Cellars
A listing of all the blogs monitored by our editors on a daily basis.
Email your comments to