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Friday, January 22, 2016
by Cyril Penn | January 22, 2016 | 1:00 PM

Allied Grape Growers just released its latest Newsletter, offering a quick glimpse into the 2016 Nursery Survey as well as a preview of what to expect during next week’s discussion of the “state of the industry” during the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

Some of the top findings of the nursery survey are that red varieties are still predominant, with Pinot Noir being the primary variety being planted, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and – this one surprised me - Petit Sirah coming next. Chardonnay plantings have cooled and Pinot Grigio appears to be the white grape that was most planted this year.

Even while considerable planting is going on, mostly in Coastal regions, vines are being removed in the Central Valley. Allied estimates that 10,000 acres have already been removed since the 2015 harvest.

From the report (page 6):

The bottom line is that, following the 2015 crop, we will still need to remove about 36,000 acres from the central and southern valley in addition to the equivalent of any new acres coming into production from 2016 and on (which are very minimum, based on lack of planting since 2013). If we were to see one more year (2016-2017 winter) of pullouts at the rate we have seen since 2014, the 2017 Central Valley winegrape market may be healthy once again

Read the entire report here


 

January 22, 2016 | 12:11 PM

Here’s an interesting announcement to hit the wires today: Landmark Vineyards is buying Hop Kiln Vineyards from an investment group.

Landmark was purchased a couple years ago by a company controlled by Stewart Resnik, who has a net worth of $4.3 Billion according to Forbes. I’ve been wondering what Resnik would do to be disruptive in the wine business ever since he purchased Justin Vineyards, and then Landmark.

The Resniks are behind the whole pomegranate craze, among other things. They recently renamed their company, formerly known as Roll Global. Now it’s “The Wonderful Company.”

One interesting thing The Wonderful Company did after getting into the wine game was to quickly become the largest supplier of grapevines to the California Wine Industry, purchasing Vintage Nurseries, then Mercier.

“We’re excited because it’s such a landmark property,” The Wonderful Company’s vice president of marketing Clarence Chia said of the Hop Kiln purchase. “It’s a nice addition. Our hope is to grow our current luxury portfolio.” I asked if more acquisitions would follow. “We’re always looking,” Chia said.
 

January 22, 2016 | 7:24 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Savage Grace Wines

2014 Cabernet Franc  
Cool-climate Wines and a Minimalist Approach

Savage Grace Wines was established in 2011 by Michael Savage (his wife is named Grace), with an inaugural vintage of Cabernet Franc. Savage’s vision was to make Old World-style, lower-alcohol, balanced and expressive wines. As he deepens his understanding of the winemaking process, he’s putting his philosophy of low-intervention winemaking into practice.

Savage is a musician and an engineer that records music. He said great recordings have been made by engineers who capture the essence of the artist without getting in the way. That philosophy spills over into winemaking, where he’s looking to create wines where the vineyard shines through. Savage began his wine career by studying for the WSET, but along the way discovered that he should just start making the kind of wines he enjoyed. His first wine, the 2011 Cabernet Franc, sold out within two tasting events.

The full story on Savage Grace ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
January 21, 2016 | 8:00 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Post Familie Vineyards

2011 Chambourcin Dry Red Table Wine
Setting the Standard for Arkansas

Few people realize that wine is made in Arkansas, let alone that one can find well-made wines that aren’t sugary sweet. People who prefer sweeter wines may enjoy it too, though, because it’s an easy drinking wine with relatively low alcohol and smooth tannins. This 2011 Chambourcin is a great example of a Midwest dry wine. The fruit comes from Lowell, in northwest Arkansas, is fermented in half-ton macro bins and is punched down by hand.

Arkansas has 18 bonded wineries, mostly very small tourist destinations. Post Familie Vineyards farms more than 100 acres of grapes and produced more than 130,000 cases of wine last year, most of it Muscadine wines—low alcohol, Prosecco/Frizzante-style wines, with sparklers bottled under screw caps. There are experimental varieties and hybrids too, as well as Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay made with California grapes. Most of the wine is sold in Arkansas.

The full story on Post Familie ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
January 20, 2016 | 7:59 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

NakedWines.com

NV Eponina Brut by Wayne Donaldson
A Unique Business Model and Wine That Sparkles

Naked Wines has a unique business model, and Wayne Donaldson is a unique winemaker.
Naked Wines is an online wine retailer founded in the U.K. in 2008 by Rowan Gormle, employing a unique spin on crowdsourcing. Customers, called Angels, fund independent winemakers from around the world in return for wines at wholesale prices.

“Naked Wines has a great business model,” Donaldson said. “You are part of a collective team but have great freedom in the winemaking space. It’s dedicated to funding independent wine ventures to create a portfolio of wines that is unique in its offerings and really allows winemakers to truly express their passion.”

The full story on Naked Wines ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
January 19, 2016 | 7:53 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Mathis Wine

2009 Sonoma Valley Grenache
Toward the Unique Potential of Grenache in California

Peter Mathis has been making wine at Ravenswood for more than 20 years, so he’s made more than a little Zinfandel, among other wines. But when he’s not making wine for Ravenswood, he’s showing us what Grenache can do in Sonoma. He started making Grenache in 2004. The nose of this 2011 Grenache has been described as “a blend of fresh fruits, raspberry jam, white pepper and a kiss of thyme, followed by a zingingly vibrant compote of cherries, framboise and dried currants in the mouth.”

The full story on Mathis ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Monday, January 18, 2016
January 18, 2016 | 1:09 PM

Dear Wine Business,

I run a 1,000 case pinot noir production from the Russian River valley and recently had an event happen that is quite unusual and scary. A retailer from Fiji posing as "Jason Borowiskia" contacted me asking for 15 cases to be sent to the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji. He got me in touch with Transcorp Logistics, their "shipping" company and asked that I pay for the shipping for the 15 cases. When I saw the shipping bill, a red flag was raised; they wanted to 2-day air freight the wine for $3,800.

Jason said that he only pays with a credit card so we will have to pay the shipping bill. I told Jason that he would have to pay me first as I would not forward that bill and he provided a credit card. The credit card was refused. Then he sent a second credit card and it too was refused. I contacted the hotel in Fiji and they told me that five wineries had been in touch with them and the whole thing was a scam. I also contacted Transcorp Logistics in Mader, CA and they said that they had heard a similar story and their company was being used by the scammer.

I believe that this guy posing as Jason Borowiskia is contacting small wineries in the Napa valley and asking them to do the same thing. It may be a good thing to raise awareness of this issue. I called the St. Helena police and they informed me that because of the strength of the Dollar many foreign companies are attempting to scam Napa wineries.

Their story seems believable and I can forward you the emails that I had with them if you would like. I even moved the wine to be shipped out!

They set-up a false account for the shipping company as well and created  "transcorplogistic@yahoo.com" as their email, which is believable if you do not pay attention to the fact that they created the email through yahoo.

I hope that this story can help others in the industry.

All the best,
Nick Maloney
Father John Winery
fatherjohnwinery.com

January 18, 2016 | 8:00 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Kinero Cellars

2014 Alice Grenache Blanc
Interesting Whites from the Central Coast

Anthony Yount attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, interned at Denner Vineyards and went to work for Villa Creek Winery in Paso Robles after he graduated. When fruit became available, he started making Grenache Blanc and Roussanne from the James Berry Vineyard. Yount says his passion for white wine stemmed in part from his father’s preference for reds. He wanted to find interesting whites. When presented with an opportunity to make his own wine, it was an easy decision to focus on white wines. His website, by the way, is notplonk.com.

The full story on Kinero ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Friday, January 15, 2016
January 15, 2016 | 8:00 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Lovingston Winery

2014 Petit Manseng
Virginia’s Next Signature Grape?

While Viognier has emerged as Virginia’s signature white wine (some say Cabernet Franc, while more recently others say Petit Verdot for the reds), there’s excitement building about Petit Manseng, a white wine variety primarily grown in southwest France. It does very well in Virginia, so vintners there are embracing it and planting it. Some of the state’s leading viticulturists like it, in part, because it is seen as bulletproof in the vineyard and easy to manage. Some even predict it will overtake Viognier as Virginia’s most-planted white.

“Petit Manseng grows extremely well here,” said Stephanie Wright, assistant winemaker and daughter of Ed and Janet Puckett. “It’s proven itself to be a versatile varietal with various producers making dry to off-dry to dessert-style wines out of it. It’s also one of the only white varietals that will hang well into late October in Virginia, with sugars reaching well up towards the 30° Brix mark. That’s unusual for most varietals here.”

The full story on Lovingston ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Thursday, January 14, 2016
January 14, 2016 | 7:58 AM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year. Some of the common threads with this year’s list: people who had an idea, went for it and made it happen; industry veterans with vast experience doing something extra special on the side; and though this isn’t usually a drum we typically beat, some of the winemakers on this year’s list are proponents of what one might call “non-interventionist winemaking.”

Ultimately, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Indeed, that’s exactly what we do, as each of these wineries was on-hand to serve their wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual Bottle Bash party at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in January.

We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (the first Hot Brand was released January 13). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at cafeteria 15L.

Guffy Family Wines

2009 Mendocino Petite Sirah
Small Lots of the Highest Quality from Industry Vets

Whether you’re in the wine trade or not, it’s always a pleasure to discover unique, small-lot wines that are vibrant and expressive. This is one, and it’s a Petite Sirah. The Guffy family makes an estate Napa Valley Syrah from their home vineyard as well as the Petite Sirah, which is from Mendocino’s Talmadge Bench. It’s a small project, a labor of love—one where long hours, hard work and sacrifices pave the way. The Petite Sirah is about small-lot winemaking: grapes are hand-sorted, fermented in small bins, basket-pressed into French oak and aged for about 16 months.

The full story on Guffy ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2016 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.
 

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