Well, this looks like a fun industry event!
The seventh annual Cellar-Tek Winemakers Cup Ski Race is the World’s only annual ski challenge weekend for the wine industry and it takes place for the benefit of industry networking, peer camaraderie and palate appreciation.
The seventh annual weekend of festivities takes place on Saturday March 15, 2014 at Big White Ski Resort in the Okanagan Valley of B.C. Big White has put together deep discounts on lift tickets, hotels and events to make this a cost-effective experience for everyone in the Wine Industry.
Close to one hundred wine lovers, including winemakers, cellar hands and vineyard managers, tasting room staff, restaurateurs, sommeliers, hoteliers and many other industry people will race head-to-head on the ski slopes and then drink wine, après-ski style while reliving the hilarious antics of the day. They will be participating in several events as part of the weekend in the heart of the Okanagan, one of the world’s most scenic and beautiful wine regions.
Previous winners of the Winemakers Cup include:
2008 Bill Eggert, Winemaker, Fairview Cellars
2009 Stephen Wyse, Winemaker, Burrowing Owl
2010 Herb Alex, Cellarhand, Jackson-Triggs
2011 Bill Eggert, Winemaker, Fairview Cellars
2012 Stephen Wyse, Winemaker, Young & Wyse
2013 Charlie Baessler, Winemaker, Corcelettes Winery
Who will win the trophy in 2014?
After a six-year run of the Winemakers Cup being hosted at Mt. Baldy, the fun-loving folks at Big White Ski Resort have opened their arms and agreed to host the event in 2014. “We are thrilled to be hosting the Wine Industry of B.C. at Big White for this great weekend of skiing, après-ski and industry camaraderie. The Wine Industry in B.C. is so important to the mosaic of the provinces ski tourism experience, and it is great to be able to show our thanks by being host for this seminal weekend.Big White has put together deep discounts on lift tickets, hotels and events to make this a cost-effective experience for everyone in the Wine Industry.” said Michael J. Ballingall, Senior VP of Big White Ski Resort.
The Winemakers Cup was created and organized as a partnership between Cellar-Tek, Black Hills Estate Winery, and Big White Ski Resort.
For tickets and information, call Pauline at (250) 498-0666. If you’re interested in the race, spots are available right up to race day. For further information on the Winemakers Cup, go to http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/107638049304712/
For information on Big White Ski Resort go to bigwhite.com.
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers are hosting its 13th annual Napa County Pruning Contest. For the first time, they will also include a women's division. Contestants in this division will be eligible for the same prizes, but will compete only against other female pruners.
This exciting annual event highlights the fine art, skill, and speed exhibited by those who work in Napa Valley's vineyards. It is a time of competition and pride, where many growers hold competitions within their own company before sending their top pruners to the prestigious county competition. Growers and vineyard managers are encouraged to attend to help us cheer on contestants and enjoy lunch a delicious taco lunch.
Across the newsdesk this week is an announcement from the Rhone Rangers, making its second annual Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, April 5.
This year’s award, which recognizes the significant contributions made by an individual to the American Rhone wine movement, will be given to Robert Haas, Partner and Founder, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA.
Read more about the award here.
And speaking of Rhone varieties and Paso Robles, have you signed up for the Grenache Varietal Focus tasting at WiVi Central Coast in March? Find out more about WiVi Central Coast and Wine Business Monthly's popular Varietal Focus series here.
“We’ve moved from an oversupply a few years ago to what I would call much more balanced, to a little bit of undersupply.”
-Jay Wright, executive vice president and president, wine and spirits division, Constellation Brands
From the article "Industry Outlook & Trends," page 22 in the February 2014 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.
Breaking News: The U.S. Senate today passed a H.R. 2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014, which sets farm policy and spending levels for the next five years. It's a sweeping bill that ultimately affects all Americans, and there are parts of it which directly affect the wine industry.
“The Farm Bill helps California vintners in the very competitive world marketplace for wine," Wine Institute President and CEO Bobby Koch said. "This is long overdue, and we’re pleased that with its passage, California wine promotion around the world will not be interrupted."
According to the California Wine Institute - which was active in working with legislators, the California Congressional delegation and the Specialty Crop Alliance to ensure its passage - the bill:
One week ago, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) outlined plans for managing Napa’s 45,200 acres of grapevines in current drought conditions during a press conference.
During 2013, Napa Valley measured four to eight inches of rain, the driest year on record; so far in 2014, there has been no rain. Typically, annual rainfall is 12-25 inches, with an average of eight inches falling in January.
“The biggest challenge we’re immediately facing is an early bud break – the growing season is starting more than a month early,” said Domenick Bianco, Member, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Vineyard Manager, Renteria Vineyard Management. “Now we’re forced to adopt vineyard management practices to slow bud break. This year, we’re going to have to be more vigilant than ever – all eyes on the vines at all times – in order to assure a high quality harvest.”
• Hal Huffsmith, Director, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Director of Vineyard Operations, Trinchero Family Estates
• Domenick Bianco, Member, Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Vineyard Manager, Renteria Vineyard Management
Press conference topics include:
• Current data and comparisons with last major drought of 1975
• Various growing conditions - valley floor vs. hillside
• Current Napa groundwater situation
• Water policy and strategies
• How growers are mitigating drought challenges with water management best practices
To watch the press conference, click here.
Wine Business Monthly's ninth Varietal Focus features Grenache, and the tasting is happening right now! For each Varietal Focus article, contributing writer/winemaker Lance Cutler selects a varietal, picks three regions known for that variety and invites three winemakers from each region to participate in discussing their vineyard and winemaking practices as well as taste and critique each other's wines.
Winemakers on the Grenache panel include:
• Central Coast: Bob Lindquist, Qupé Winery; Craig Jaffurs, Jaffurs Wine Cellars; and Mikael Sigouin, Beckmen Vineyards.
• Sonoma County: Steve Edmunds, Edmunds St. John; Greg Stach, Landmark Vineyards; and Anne and Michael Dashe, Dashe Cellars.
• Sierra Foothills: Chris Pittenger, SkinnerVineyards; Tracey and Jared Brandt, Donkey and Goat Winery; and Chuck Mansfield, Four Fields Wines
Wine Business Monthly's popular Varietal Focus Series is published twice a year in the January and September issues. The Grenache edition will be published in the September issue of WBM. Go to the WBM archives page to check out past Varietal Focuses, including, Syrah: (Feb 2011), Pinot Noir: (Sept 2011), Chardonnay: (Jan 2012), Zinfandel: (Sept. 2012), Cabernet Sauvignon: (Jan 2013), Red Blends: (Sept 2013) and Riesling: (Jan 2014).
There will also be a Grenache tasting at the upcoming WiVi Central Coast in Paso Robles in March. Click here for more details on the tasting and find out how you can participate.
Here is a photo of the Foothills Grenache tasting. The folks I the photo are: Chuck Mansfield (tasting the wine) from Four Fields Wines (he is also the winemaker at Hop Kiln Winery in Sonoma); Chris Pittenger, winemaker at Skinner Vineyards; Ron Mansfield (back to camera), grower and vineyard manager; and Lance Cutler.
Each year in our February issue, Wine Business Monthly publishes its Top 10 Hot Brands. Then we serve those brands at Bottle Bash—the party we throw to kick off the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium.
This year, our Hot Brands included:
Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden: 2012 Spiral 36 Viognier/Marsanne/Roussanne, Applegate Valley, Oregon
Drew Family Cellars: 2011 Syrah, Valenti Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, California
Frogtown Cellars: 2009 Petit Verdot, Dahlonega, Georgia
Lake Sonoma Winery: 2010 Dry Creek Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California
LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards: 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi, California
Matthiasson: 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California
Rack & Riddle: North Coast Blanc de Noirs, North Coast, California
Riverbench Vineyard and Winery: 2011 Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Maria, California
Rôtie Cellars: 2011 Southern Blend (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault), Walla Walla, Washington
Vino Noceto: 2008 Noceto Sangiovese, Amador County, California
See our February issue for the full story. Here are some photos from the Bottle Bash party on Tues., Jan. 28 at Cafeteria 15L. Our attendance for the party nearly DOUBLED this year, by the way. Thank you to everyone who made it out to see us and taste the Hot Brands.
“We need to understand that even if we make what we think is a balanced wine, it’s not going to be balanced for everyone.”
-Zeke Neely, winemaker, Trefethen Family Vineyards
From the article "Industry Roundtable: White Wine Balance," page 110 in the February 2014 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.
Photo of the Day comes from @sdfoodfarmwine Instagram account: