From the Tax Foundation (scroll down to see the entire table):
In today's news, Andrew Adams writes about honoring California's living historic vineyards. He refers to California Assembly Resolution HR9 passed in honor of them, and the role the Historic Vineyard Society took in crafting the words of the resolution. Evocative of the state's rich agricultural history and beautifully written, HR9 is worth a read:
WHEREAS, California's living and producing historic vineyards that
were planted in the late 19th century through the mid-20th century
still make a significant contribution to the state's economy and
reputation as a global wine growing region; and
WHEREAS, Historic vineyards are found throughout California, east
from the Sierra foothills and San Joaquin County, west to the Sonoma
coast, north to Mendocino, and south to the Cucamonga Valley; and
WHEREAS, Historic vineyards are beautiful and treasured survivors
that have lived through the ravages of phylloxera, economic
downturns, consumer popularity fluctuations, and in many cases,
prohibition and world wars; and
WHEREAS, These historic vineyards provide an important living
repository for wine grape budwood and genetic material; and
WHEREAS, Historic vineyards often provide a living window on past
vineyard practices including, but not limited to, head-trained vines
and dry farming; and
WHEREAS, The interplanted field blends of grape varieties that
were a common practice of the immigrant farmers who planted
California vineyards in the past characterize an era of agricultural
practice and impart wine attributes that are uniquely Californian;
WHEREAS, Fragile older vines are often less productive than
younger vines and can require special care to maintain; and
WHEREAS, Most historic vineyards are family owned and exist by
virtue of the passion of their caretakers; and
WHEREAS, The wine made from California's historic vineyards
continues to delight wine lovers throughout the world and imparts
prestige to the state as a place to live, work, and visit; now,
therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California,
That the Assembly recognizes the contribution of California's living historic
vineyards to the agricultural and social heritage of the state as
well as to the enjoyment of wine enthusiasts throughout California
and the world; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of
this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.
As the story points out, the Historic Vineyard Society’s 3rd Annual Vineyard Tour and Dinner is set for Saturday, May 11. It will be lead by HVS Board members Mike Officer (Carlisle Winery and Vineyards), David Gates (Ridge Vineyards), Morgan Twain-Peterson (Bedrock Wine Company), Tegan Passalacqua (Turley Wine Cellars) and Bob Biale (Robert Biale Vineyards). A dinner follows at Seghesio Winery, and reservations are limited. For more information: 831-747-0255 or VS@historicvineyardsociety.org.
Husband and wife duo, Michael and Kerry Amigoni, started their urban winery 15 years ago in their Leawood backyard. Now known as Amigoni Urban Winery, the family grows grapes not normally found in the Missouri area. The couple recently opened a new tasting room in the West Bottoms, perfect for special events or an after-work drink.
From KCLive TV:
Michael Amigoni of Amigoni Urban Winery comments on Wines of Uruguay: Finally Ready?
The secret is that CA is planting large acres now of Tannat sourced thru Vintage Nurseries.
Texas is so very proud of these wineries all located in the Hill Country...now referred to as Texas Wine Country. This is the beginning of a new era for Texas winemaking and grape growing. Wineries like Pedernales Cellars, Becker Vineyards, and Flat Creek Estate are proving Texas is now a serious wine region, and the Hill Country an incredible destination for any wine enthusiast.
This just in:
The Family Winemakers of California, an association of family-owned wineries in California, opened trade registration on Monday, May 6 for its annual tasting in San Francisco. The event takes place at the Fort Mason Center on Saturday, August 17 - Sunday, August 18 and is open to qualified members of the trade and media, and consumers.
The event is open to trade from 1 - 6 p.m. on Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Complimentary admission is open to members of the trade and media who register in advance by August 2. After August 2, tickets are available at a trade discount of $40 on-site. Proof of trade or media status, including applicable state liquor license number and valid trade I.D. is required.
Over 250 of California's small, family-owned wineries will be showcasing over 800 wines during the course of the two-day tasting, said Paul Kronenberg, president of the Family Winemakers of California, adding:
"As the nation's largest producer of wines, this is an important tasting event for California. This tasting gives the small, family-owned wine producers who make up the association the ability to debut new wines and gain market exposure. It's a great setting for wine industry trade to taste some of the finest wine produced in California. And, as the farm-to-table movement evolves for wine customers, this is an opportunity for members of the trade to find wonderful wines from the winery table to bring to the consumers table, whether it be at home or eating out."
Tim from Buenes Aires comments on Wines of Uruguay: Finally Ready?
After 5 years in Uruguay including running a summer wine tasting for visiting cruise ships, I very much like Uruguay wines. The wineries have significantly changed the character of the Tannats they produce and some of the whites are outstanding.
As far as export goes, there is a very large market to the north - Brazil - that does not yet drink much wine. Brazil is a natural market for Uruguay.
The wineries here are mostly small with production of 100,000 bottles of fine wine typical. Exporting to the U.S. is to a great extent too much of a pain for the small amount of wine that can be shipped. A few wineries have developed U.S. importers and you can find wines from Carlos Pizzorno on the east coast and the Pisano bodega in much of the U.S. Do not expect a flood of Tannat. Just not enough to go around.
An interactive video discussion of Wine Business Monthly and Silicon Valley Bank's 2013 Tasting Room Survey will be held on Tuesday, May 21, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
Rob McMillan, EVP & founder of Silicon Valley Bank's Wine Division, will review the survey results and interpret industry trends with a panel of experts, including:
Cyril Penn - Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly
Brian Baker - VP Sales & Marketing, Chateau Montelena
Ahin Thomas - Co-founder & President, Vintners' Alliance
Some of the topics covered will include:
Direct sales through tasting rooms and revenue generated
Fees and fee reimbursement
Staff compensation and benefits
Detailed wine club metrics
By signing up for the presentation, you will receive a link to the replay and the complete Silicon Valley Bank 2013 Tasting Room Survey results after the webinar.
To read an in-depth article about the 2013 Tasting Room Survey Report in the digital May issue of Wine Business Monthly, please go here.
When tastingroom.com announced it was “partnering” with Lot 18 earlier this year, I assumed partnering was just code for shutting down. Tastingroom.com suspended its club service, issued refunds, let staff go and basically threw in the towel. I figured Lot 18 would just liquidate inventory because Lot 18 was in flash wine sales.
Winetasting.com’s demise was disappointing because the concept of reformatting large bottles into small ones for commercial distribution was really, really cool. With decades in Silicon Valley doing startups and a background in agriculture, Tim Bucher had the vision and was crazy enough to make it happen. He came up with an idea, raised money, and put a process together: technology for a “total anaerobic sample transfer” of wine in 1.7 ounce bottles that from a sensory standpoint would be a perfect match with the larger vessels from which they came – no small feat. It works with most, but not all wines - I think aromatic whites can be a little tricky.
Bucher deployed pharmaceutical technology working with the company that built the first semi-conductor clean room. I watched with interest. There were many possibilities, including B2B applications for sampling wine.
We thought the little sampler packs would compliment our Wine Business Monthly varietal reviews nicely.
The venture obviously didn’t catch on as hoped. I’m not sure why but I did hear winemakers saying they thought the costs of working with tastingroom.com were high.
It turns out that Lot 18 purchased many of tastingroom.com’s assets, including the name and the machine that transfers wine into small bottles, which is now operating at a winery in Napa Valley.
Lot 18 has announced that it is using the machine to create a wine club combining the winetasting.com technology with personalization technology.
One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to sell wine online is customers can’t taste it before they buy it. In most clubs members receive whatever wines the club deems worthy of sending. With this new club, “Tasting Room” will send consumers a Wine Sampler Kit containing six miniature bottles of wine – two bottles of white and four bottles of red. Members can then log on to TastingRoom.com for instructions on how to taste and rate the wines. Member ratings will allow Tasting Room (Lot 18) to capture nuances of the member's taste and generate a wine preference profile. Profiles include the “Thrill Seeker,” “Big Red,” the “Adventurer,” the “Class Act,” the “Diplomat,” the “Life of the Party,” the “Naturalist,” “Philosopher,” “Critic,” the "Golden Child," and more.
Down the line, consumers will be able to rate bottles they receive – again - so future shipments are geared toward their taste preferences. It’s a work in progress but there could be eventually be a scenario where little kits represent different types of tasting experiences that are weaved into the club experience.
Positioning-wise it’s designed for a moderately sophisticated consumer interested in knowing more about their palate. Lot 18 CEO Jay Sung told me he’s trying to create a club for people who drink wine but may not know much about it. “We’re going for what I would call the upper-middle market on wine,” he said.
It’s interesting to note that Lot 18 is putting a lot of effort into a new club and it says something about the state of flash sales.
“It’s no mystery to anyone that’s been following the news about Lot 18 that it’s been a challenging business to scale from a flash business point of view,” Sung said. “That’s not unique to wine. I think a lot of the flash players are having a tough time sustaining growth in a flash-only type of business.”
“We’re continuing to operate our flash business and we think it’s an important part of our offering, but it’s important to have a number of irons in the fire,” Sung said.
“Everything we’ve been doing over the last six months has been about supporting the flash business, which we’ll continue to support, and customers will have the same experience they’ve always had,” Sung said. “But we’re also putting energy into what we view as the future growth engine of the business, which is to attract customers to our platform – a club platform, through these sampling kits and personalization of wine.”
Speaking of consumer choice in direct to consumer wine shipments – I should point out that the 2013 Wine Business Monthly Silicon Valley Bank Tasting Room Survey showed that wineries who allow their club members to choose their wines receive more revenue per member - $362 annually versus $324 on average for clubs when members aren’t offered a choice. Thirty-five percent of wineries said their clubs offer some choice and 87 percent of wineries now have wine clubs. Results are in the May WBM.
From Paso Robles Wine Country: The 2013 Varietal of the Month Series continues with the May Paso Wine Man Video showcasing Viognier.