The recent news that, "grapes and the wines they produce are also the product of an unseen but fairly predictable microbial terroir" may not come as much of a surprise to anyone studying soil and vine microbiota, but all the same "Microbial biogeography of wine grapes is conditioned by cultivar, vintage, and climate" (PNAS November 25, 2013) should stand as a fairly significant piece of research.
In the long run, the potential ability to distinguish the source region of a must is likely to prove the most notable result of this research. However, it should be noted that the experiment was conducted on newly crushed and inoculated must and not on finished wine. As such the main potential benefit would be for wineries looking to verify the provenance of grapes that they are receiving and not to verify the regional authenticity of any finished wine.
UCD Press Release link: news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10762
Original article at PNAS Early Edition (PDF): pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/20/1317377110.full.pdf
“If we can keep going in this direction and keep the quality, it’s the future of high-volume winemaking in Washington. I’m thrilled and excited. It’s pretty cool.”
-Juan Muñoz-Oca, Columbia Crest
From the article "Case Study: Washington Winery Installs Self-emptying Tanks," page 26 in the November issue of WBM. The November issue can now be viewed online here.
Tables to Farms, a program launched by Front Range chefs and restaurateurs as a direct way to help Boulder County farmers whose crops were lost or severely damaged by the September floods, has already raised over $40,000. Diners can still give to the cause at www.tablestofarms.com, or by booking their next reservation online at OpenTable.com and clicking on the “Tables to Farms” link. The idea came from a conversation Bradford Heap, chef/owner of SALT Bistro in Boulder and Colterra Food and Wine in Niwot, had with his neighbor, John Bachman of Big Red F Restaurant Group. SALT and Colterra will donate $1 for every reservation made through the month of November.
North Carolina's Biltmore Estate Wine Company has relaunched its Pas de Deux sparkling wine as a separate brand, and will target younger female wine buyers. A sec-style sparkling wine, Pas de Deux was first released by Biltmore in 2004.
The company said the wine was inspired by the sparkling wines of Italy, and Sharon Fenchak is the winemaker responsible for crafting the 100% Muscat Canelli sparkling wine. Originally released under the moniker Pirouette, the wine was renamed Pas de Deux – a ballet term translating to ‘step of two’ – to evoke images of shared celebration.
“Sparkling wine is trending very strongly right now, especially with younger wine consumers,” says President of Biltmore Estate Wine Company, Jerry Douglas. “We try to stay on top of what our customers want, and our new Pas de Deux is just that: a fun, lively sparkling wine of exceptional quality, priced for any occasion.”
The two-day AgWISE Symposium, presented by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, in partnership with AgSafe, will focus on farmworker safety, health, and human resources issues specifically tailored to agricultural operations located in Northern California. The AgWISE Symposium features 40 sessions, available in both English and Spanish.
The deadline for early registration deadline at a discounted rate is today, Friday, November 22, 2013.
Click here for more information and to register.
At a Special Olympics benefit at the winery last weekend, Willamette Valley Vineyards debuted a wine it created for Governor Kitzhaber and his wife, Cylvia Hayes.
Known as the Governor’s Cuvee, it is 100% Pinot Noir, the state’s signature variety.
The Governor’s wife wanted a big, bold wine and this delivered. Most of the fruit came from the Momtazi Vineyard, of the Maysara Winery. The wine is very closed and tight right now and will need time to evolve.
The Governor and his wife seemed very pleased with the wine.
Willamette Valley Vineyards only bottled one barrel of the wine. Attendees at the Special Olympics dinner each received one and the remaining bottles are destined for the Governor’s wine cellar.
Across the newsdesk this morning:
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Canada's organic and biodynamic winery, started its harvest of Icewine at their estate Summerhill vineyard last night. Following an already excellent table wine harvest, the ideal weather situation occurred that allowed the team to harvest Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt from the winery's estate vineyard.
Vineyard manager Willem Semmelink suggested, "After a challenging growing season that saw heavy rain in June, followed by damaging hail in some parts of the Okanagan Valley, the weather ultimately delivered a long, warm Autumn that produced wonderful grapes. We are pleased that the arctic express has arrived so early, allowing us to capture this amazing fruit so early in the season and avoid damage to nature's gift."
Pickers bundled up to pick frozen grapes at Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Frozen grapes are poured into a bin at SummerhIll Pyramid Winery
Icewines are generally more expensive than most table wines for several reasons. Labour costs are higher than normal as a large group of grape pickers must be assembled with sometimes little notice, who are able to pick the entire crop within a few hours before the grapes begin to thaw, often in the middle of the night. The potential for damage to grapes left on the vine also increases due to weather, predators, rot and disease. Conditions in the cellar are also more challenging as the grapes must be pressed while still frozen and special equipment may be used. Fermentation also takes months instead of weeks and unique varieties of yeasts must be used in the process.
Since many of the world's wine growing regions will not experience such extreme temperatures, Canada and Germany produce most of the world's Icewine, usually sold in 375 or 200ml bottles.
Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for November 18, 2013 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:
Pinot Noir 2012 wine, Monterey County, 2,200 gallons at $11.00 per gallon
Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 wine, Mendocino County, 4,200 gallons at $17.00 per gallon
Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 wine, California, 10,000 gallons at $6.50 per gallon
Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 wine, Napa Valley, 6,500 gallons at $22.00 per gallon
Sauvignon Blanc 2013 wine, Yountville, 6,400 gallons at $10.50 per gallon
Red Blotch: Challenges and Opportunities, a seminar by Dr. Mark Fuchs, Cornell University, was presented last week at the UC Davis Convention Center. Here's a link to the video. Fuchs spoke for more than an hour, providing an overview of current information about Red Blotch disease of grapevines and the virus causing it. To see more videotaped seminars, go to Integrated Viticulture Online The website is a huge source of educational information.
An overview of digital marketing trends as well as Constellation Brands' digital marketing initiatives in 2012 from Constellation's YouTube channel. It will be interesting to see how these trends have changed in 2013.