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
Thursday, March 27, 2014
March 27, 2014 | 8:21 AM

Across the newsdesk this week is an email from Wine Institute announcing the third-annual Down to Earth Month in California. Wineries around the state are celebrating Down to Earth Month throughout April with hands-on workshops, eco-tours, green-themed events, special offers and tastings of eco-friendly wines.

Whether you're a fan of red wine or white, California is betting you're going to love "green" too! This April, wine lovers can check out "green" wines at dozens of fun eco-friendly winery events and activities during the third-annual Down to Earth Month in California.

Created by Wine Institute—the association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses—this month-long celebration raises awareness of California's leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking. Wineries across the state will engage consumers, policy leaders, media and trade with sustainably focused festivities to learn about California wine's eco-friendly practices and the people and places behind them. From Earth Day festivals and organic wine trails to dog-friendly vineyard hikes, wildlife talks, horseback rides and eco-tours, the state's wineries will highlight what it means to be green this April.

To see all the events going on in April to celebrate Down to Earth Month, click here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
March 26, 2014 | 1:44 PM

The Carneros Wine Alliance held its annual Barrel Tasting Event yesterday at the ZD Wines Barn
on Cuttings Wharf Way in Napa. Wineries and growers from the Carneros Wine Alliance were showcasing current vintages of Chardonnay, barrel samples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - and 2009 library Chardonnay wines.  (Photos by Ashley Teplin, Carneros Wine Alliance) More here

T.J. Evans, of Domain Carneros, Anne Moller Racke of Donum Estate, with Arpad Molnar, Poseidon Vineyard





March 26, 2014 | 7:45 AM

“I was recently blown away to find that some take the ‘big drink’ to the extreme, using something I call the ‘big gulp’ approach. I’ve heard about 24-, 48- and even 72-hour irrigation applications using drip, which equates to roughly as many gallons applied per vine each irrigation. I don’t even apply that many gallons to vines all season!”
-Mark Greenspan, Advanced Viticulture

From the article "Vineyard Water Management During a Drought," page 38 in the April 2014 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

March 26, 2014 | 6:12 AM

WiVi Central Coast took place last week in Paso Robles on March 19 & 20 at the Paso Robles Event Center. Here are a couple photos from the event. Share your WiVi photos with us:

WiVi attendees filled the house at the General Session on Wednesday morning, March 19.

The WiVi/Wine Business Monthly Internet Cafe

The Grenache Varietal Focus tasting. The Grenache Varietal Focus will be published in the upcoming September issue of WBM. Pictured is the January issue, where our last Varietal Focus on Riesling was published.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014
March 25, 2014 | 1:02 PM

Editor Cyril Penn previews the April 2014 issue in his Month in Review. The April issue is on its way to mailboxes now, and will also be available online April 1.

Staying Afloat Amid Changing Technology

When 37-year-old Rudy Kurniawan became the first person ever tried and convicted for selling fake wines in the U.S. a few months ago, the story made headlines around the world. Kurniawan could spend decades in prison for defrauding wine buyers. He’ll be sentenced later this month. It’s a notorious case—a movie about Kurniawan’s life is already in the works—but he wasn’t the first and won’t be the last wine counterfeiter. The problem with wine counterfeiting is actually more widespread than some might think. Expensive and rare bottles are targets, of course, but higher volume wines are vulnerable too. Counterfeiting doesn’t only happen in China either. Several companies have now emerged with technology aimed at authenticating bottles to assure they’re not counterfeit. These companies come at the problem from a variety of angles. We provide a look at these technologies in this issue.

Technology has changed so rapidly, in fact, that there are many inexpensive tools that can help any small businesses—wineries included—to be more productive. To that end, this issue includes an overview of some of the most powerful free office productivity tools. The list changes and evolves continually.

We all know “technology” has been changing the way we live. It’s certainly changed the way we read and interact with each other. It has also changed the way wineries approach public relations. Once upon a time there were newspaper writers with “wine columns” but a scant few are left. Now we have social media, bloggers, and anyone can be a publisher. Have these new tools made things easier? How have such changes affected the art of public relations? The April issue includes a look at how public relations has changed—though the more things change the more some things stay the same. In this fast-paced world, the fundamentals still apply.

Another story constantly making headlines in the wine industry these days is the drought in California. It’s no joke. A severe lack of rainfall is a threat to agriculture, winegrape growing included. Winemakers and growers, already stewards of the land and mindful of the environment, are more concerned about water use than ever. Two articles in this month’s issue are notable here. Bill Pregler looks at rainwater harvesting for wineries. On this front there’s good news: new regulations mean wineries can use rain collection for potable applications throughout the entire winemaking process. Meanwhile, Mark Greenspan discusses efficient vineyard irrigation during a drought. As with so many things, it’s difficult to manage a problem if you can’t measure it.

Already the drought appears to have changed the way people in the wine industry are farming. Results of our soon-to-be published Winery Facilities Survey indicate that the number of wineries that are measuring how much water they use is greatly increasing.

Cyril Penn, Editor

Click here to subscribe to WBM

March 25, 2014 | 10:57 AM

Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for March 24, 2014 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:

Bulk Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 wine, Monterey County, 52,000 gallons at $10.00 per gallon

Pinot Noir 2013 wine, Napa Carneros, 6,600 gallons at $20.00 per gallon

Sauvignon Blanc 2013 wine, Russian River, 5,700 gallons at $12.50 per gallon

Chardonnay 2013 wine, Napa Carneros, 8,000 gallons at $16.00 per gallon


Pinot Noir 2014 grapes, Sonoma Coast, 30 tons at $4,000.00 per ton

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 grapes, Napa Valley (Wooden Valley), 30 tons at $4,750.00 per ton

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 grapes, Mendocino County, 50 tons at $2,200.00 per ton


Monday, March 24, 2014
March 24, 2014 | 4:25 PM

Across the newsdesk this week is a press release from Food Tank about World Water Day, which is this Saturday, March 22. On World Water Day this year, Food Tank honors the projects, people, and programs working tirelessly to achieve more with less water and creating innovative systems for the future. Read more about the objectives of World Water Day here. Below is a release from Food Tank.

This Saturday, March 22nd, the world celebrates World Water Day. Water and agriculture are inextricably interlinked and interdependent. Agriculture is a major user of both ground and surface water for irrigation—accounting for about 70 percent of water withdrawal worldwide.

Europe uses, on average, 44 percent of water for agricultural use. In the United States, agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of consumptive water use. And in Western U.S. States, such as California, over 90 percent of water use is for agricultural purposes.

California is also facing the worst drought since records began, 100 years ago—approximately 95 percent of the state remains in a drought, with about 23 percent experiencing “exceptional” drought. The state also happens to be America’s breadbasket, supplying nearly half the country's fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and is a major producer of almonds, artichokes, grapes, olives, and other products.

But all over the world farmers are using innovative practices to utilize water more efficiently and in lesser quantities to produce more nutritious foods. And eaters can profoundly reduce water waste and consumption through the food choices they make each day.

In Syria, in the four regions hit hardest by groundwater shortages, the FAO helped the Ministry of Agriculture improve irrigation technology and management techniques. The project benefited 2,750 farmers by providing drip irrigation systems and training farmers on their installation. Drip irrigation saves both water and fertilizer inputs by allowing water to drip slowly through a network of tubing to the roots of plants. And it’s something that can be used on both small large farms all over the world.

Drip irrigation was also introduced on Cape Verde, helping boost the island’s horticultural production from 5,700 tonnes to 17,000 tonnes over an eight year period. And now more than 20 percent of the country’s irrigation has been converted to drip irrigation. Rethinking crop production has helped conserve water resources as well—farmers on the island converted their sugar cane plantations, which are water-intensive, to more diverse crop production, including cultivating peppers and tomatoes, that require less resources and are more suitable to the region’s climate.

In Israel and Spain, farmers have started re-using drainage water from urban areas mixed with groundwater for supplying water to crops. And in California agricultural waste water from irrigating crops is being reclaimed and treated for re-use, benefiting the environment by avoiding discharge of chemicals into surface water and helping retain soil nutrients by preventing them from being washed away with the run-off water.

Across India, the Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) regenerates watershed communities by harvesting rain water, organizing communities to sustainably manage the land, optimizing irrigation, and planting crops based on water availability. WOTR has reached more than 300,000 people in 300 villages, rejuvenating 200,000 hectares of land.


March 24, 2014 | 12:12 PM

Mary Maher of Harlan Estate has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Napa Valley Grower of the Year award by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers. Maher will be honored for her broad contributions to Napa Valley agriculture and the community on May 16 at the 39th NVG Annual Dinner Celebration at Artesa Winery in Napa.

2014 marks Maher’s 30th year in Napa Valley vineyards, and her contributions have helped shape the quality and the style for which Napa is known. Click here to read more about Mary. Nominations for the Napa Valley Grower of the Year come from the NVG membership and the recipient is chosen by a Selection Committee made up of Past Presidents of the organization and current committee members.

Photo courtesy of Olaf Beckmann

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
March 18, 2014 | 6:57 AM

Video: The founders of the Garagiste Festival in scenic Paso Robles welcome us to their bazaar of independent wineries and let us know how the event has grown from its inaugural run the year before, as well as clue us in to the directions they are taking it.

The next Garagiste Festival is taking place March 29th and 30th, and returns to the beautiful, Mission-style Veterans Memorial Hall in the heart of Solvang, California. Get tickets here.

Monday, March 17, 2014
March 17, 2014 | 2:03 PM

Via the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources:

The latest research-based advice on weathering a drought is now available free online

Spring is here, and California farming is in full swing. But this year, the agriculture industry is operating under the burden of unrelenting drought.

The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is working to help farmers cope with the unwelcome outcome of historically low rainfall the last three years. UC scientists, with support from the California Department of Water Resources, have recorded video presentations on high-priority drought topics that are available for viewing on the UC California Institute of Water Resources drought webpages.

"We are bringing the latest research on drought and water from the UC system's leading experts to as many farmers, farm industry representatives, communities and students possible," said Doug Parker, director of the UC California Institute of Water Resources. "People working in the ag industry are busy this time of year. They can get information from these videos whenever and, using mobile devices, wherever it is convenient for them."

The first seven presentations in the "Insights: Water and Drought Online Seminar Series," each about half an hour in length, are now ready for viewing at Topics are:

Groundwater and surface water interactions under water shortage
Thomas Harter, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis.

Crop water stress detection and monitoring
Kenneth Shackel, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis

Surface irrigation management under drought
Khaled Bali, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Imperial County

ET-based irrigation scheduling and management considerations under drought
Richard Snyder, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis

Salinity management under drought for annual crops
Stephen Grattan, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis

Salinity management under drought for perennial crops
Stephen Grattan, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis

Water-use-efficient tillage, residue and irrigation management
Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis

Some of the topics that will soon be added to the online drought series are:

Managing deficit irrigation
Marshall English, professor emeritus at Oregon State University

Managing rice systems with limited water
Bruce Linquist, UC Davis

Climate change and paleoclimatology: 2013/1014 in perspective
Lynn Ingram, UC Berkeley

Available tools for estimating soil suitability to groundwater banking
Antony O'Geen, UC Davis

Irrigation management of tomato under drought conditions
Eugene Miyao, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

How Will Monitoring Soil Moisture Save Me Water?
Dan Johnson, USDA-NRCS California State Water Manager

Winegrapes water management under drought
Paul Verdegaal, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Irrigation management of fruit and nut crops under Sacramento Valley conditions
Allan Fulton, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Alfalfa water demand and management under drought
Daniel Putnam, UC Davis

Field irrigation monitoring for maximum efficiency under drought conditions
Blake Sanden, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Subtropical orchards management under droughts
Ben Faber, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Additional valuable information from California academic institutions for dealing with the drought in the short-term and long-term is available at California Drought Resources, The pages are regularly updated to bring new developments from the state's university and colleges to a broad range of communities, including farmers, ranchers, landscaping professionals, policymakers and California residents.

For more information on Insights: Water and Drought Online Seminar Series, contact Faith Kearns, UC California Institute for Water Resources,

Got a tip? Tell us
Search WB Blog
Recent Posts
Jordan Vineyard & Winery: the journey
Time lapse video: 365 days with a Cabernet grapevine
Artisan Family of Wines
Telling wines apart
A listing of all the blogs monitored by our editors on a daily basis.
Email your comments to