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Friday, June 6, 2014
by Curtis Phillips | June 6, 2014 | 5:28 AM

In their Spring 2014 newsletter, Allied Grape Growers (AGG) announced that the San Joaquin Valley bunch count indicates that the 2014 harvest will be smaller than last year. I think this was expected to be the case by most of the industry, but AGG’s analysis and commentary is worth the read (PDF).

Thursday, June 5, 2014
by Curtis Phillips | June 5, 2014 | 3:00 PM

I think Coro Mendocino is one of the best things any part of the US wine industry has attempted. Of course, as a winemaker I’ve long been a proponent of proprietary blends and Mendocino as a winemaking region so I’m hardly an unbiased source. Has it been 14 years already? I have the deepest respect for the winemakers at Barra of Mendocino, Brutocao Cellars, Clos du Bois, Fetzer Vineyards, Golden Vineyards, McFadden, Parducci Wine Cellars, and Testa for their continued participation in this endeavor. 

The official Coro Mendocino 11th vintage press release is here.

June 5, 2014 | 10:59 AM

The June 2014 issue of Wine Business Monthly—now hitting mailboxes and also available online— features a "Checklist: Getting the Winery Ready to Receive Grapes" written by Curtis Phillips. This article is intended to help you prepare for harvest. From his article:

The time to start preparing for harvest is immediately after the previous one. I like to conduct a "post mortem" as soon after harvest as possible. Part of my usual routine is to go through the winery’s crush equipment and note anything that is broken or otherwise in need of replacement. This gives the winemaker as much time as possible to budget, and shop, for any new or replacement crush equipment. One doesn’t want to be panicking about the broken must pump and the torn press bladder discovered while cleaning the winery the day before receiving grapes.

I’ve put together a short checklist for getting a winery ready for harvest. I’ve found in my consulting business that I have to note when during the year particular items on the checklist are relevant. If I don’t, I have found that everything gets put off until the week, or in some cases, until the day before grapes are due to arrive at the scales.

To read the full article, click here to access the June issue.

Also to help you prepare for harvest is a Harvest Help section on If you are looking for help, or are looking to work harvest, check it out.


June 5, 2014 | 7:53 AM

F&H Construction is partnering with the LangeTwins Family Winery to build their New Bottling Facility. With the help of BIM technology and other integrations of technology, this project will have a successful and timely completion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
June 4, 2014 | 3:15 PM

Wine Business Monthly's June 2014 digital edition is now available.

Inside June 2014 you will find:

Are You Ready for Crush?
2014 Closure Survey Report
Industry Roundtable: How to Succeed in the Wine Industry

June 4, 2014 | 11:00 AM

The 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS), taking place June 30 and July 1, offers five different learning tracks— with special programming geared towards your specific issues and challenges as a wine industry technology leader. Early bird pricing ends June 13.


Take Advantage of "Always On" and "Always Connected" to Accelerate Your Business.

Data Breach Drill-Down: Best practices for following the law, avoiding cyber attacks & protecting brand reputations.

Deploying to the Cloud: ERP and Desktops in under an hour!


Confronting the Inevitable? Data Breach Offense, Defense & Playbook
Moderator: John Nicholson, Strategic Negotiator & Global Sourcing, INFOSYS
Panelists: Seth Bromberger, Critical Infrastructure Protection Specialist
Tom Resau, Vice President, W2 Communications

Trending Now: Progressive Tech Trends for Enterprising Businesses
Speaker: Sandy Tungare, Founder & CEO, Vistaar

Tech Trends: Predicting Future Technology that leads to ROI by distinguishing between Fads & Trends
Speaker: Rob Grimes, Founder and CEO, Constrata

For a detailed schedule, click here.

June 4, 2014 | 7:05 AM

“It is fair to say that it takes a lot less time to help, say, an employer improve their practice in the area of safety or in the area of human resources, that it does to come along and fix it after the fact.”
-Ed Kempkey, CEO, Kempkey Insurance Services

From the article "Industry Roundtable: Risk Management Part 2," page 90 in the June 2014 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
June 3, 2014 | 3:10 PM

Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for June 2, 2014 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:

Bulk Wine

Petite Sirah 2013 wine, Livermore, 13,000 gallons at $8.50 per gallon

Chardonnay 2013 wine, Napa Carneros, 2,600 gallons at $15.00 per gallon

Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 wine, Red Hills, 7,500 gallons at $19.00 per gallon

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 wine, Stags Leap District, 3,500 gallons at $41.00 per gallon

Chardonnay 2013 wine, Monterey County, 23,900 gallons at $7.75 per gallon



Chardonnay 2014 grapes, Alexander Valley, 30 tons at $1,920.00 per ton

Merlot 2014 grapes, Mendocino County, 25 tons at $1,300.00 per ton

Chardonnay 2014 grapes, Mendocino County, 300 tons at $1,150.00 per ton

June 3, 2014 | 1:22 PM

Wines of South Africa has been aiming to increase awareness by pairing South African wines with traditional South African BBQ, launching a National US tour of food and wine festivals called “BBQ to BRAAI.” WBM caught up with Siobhan Thompson, chief executive of Wines of South Africa during her first official visit to the U.S. with Wines of South Africa. Thompson joined Wines of South Africa last November after 12 years with Distill, one of South Africa’s largest wine and spirits producers.

WBM: Does Wines of South Africa Have a Strategic Plan?

We do. We normally look at our strategy every year. We put together our top level market plan in terms of strategy. That gets tiered down to the various countries or regions.

Wines of South Africa’s mandate is to lift the South Africa category in terms of image and provenance. Our focus area now and going forward for the foreseeable future is to focus on what we call our well-established markets, at the heart being Europe: the UK for instance being 21 percent of our volume; Germany where there’s a strong affiliation; Sweden and the Netherlands.

Then we have our markets we look to for development and growth. One of those markets is the United States. We’re putting a lot of investment, time and energy in the U.S. We roughly probably hold one percent market share, but we know it’s an area of tremendous potential for growth. The other area of focus is Africa, our backyard, exploring Africa and looking at the hubs within Africa – (Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola to name a few). Then the east is an area of exploration and potential – namely China as a new market and Japan as a more-established market.

WBM: How is the organization funded?

WOSA was set up by the industry to promote the industry outside of south Africa. So when the doors opened in about 1991 we realized we need to have a body that could promote south African wine outside of south Africa. A statutory levy was set up so every liter that is exported, be it bottled, or bulk, contributes toward the funding. That levy is based only on exports, because our body is there to promote exports. We get some funding from the department of trade and industry, but it’s not a large amount, and they do support some small and medium enterprises.

WBM: What’s the strategy in the United States?

The strategy in the United States is to look at focused areas and to promote South African wine in a way that the American consumer can relate to it - establishing South African wine into their lifestyles. One of the big activation platforms we’re using at the moment is what we call “BBQ to BRAAI.”
To resonate with the American Consumer you have to speak to them in a way that they understand: their language, their humor, and their emotional hooks. We’ve found one of the biggest hooks is barbeque. Everyone in the United States barbeques.

Barbeque is big in South Africa. We call it Braai. It’s a great platform to bring people together and explore our lifestyle and how it meets the American lifestyle, and how wine is incorporated in it. We’ve done quite a few activations around America. In New Orleans, Scottsdale, Atlanta, and Chicago we’re running events where consumers can understand who we are and how it relates to their lifestyle in the way we eat and with our wines. You can call them consumer tastings, but they’re almost like consumer emersions. It’s really about enjoying wine in a way that you can relate to it.

We’ve also managed to align ourselves with PBS. For each event we go to we are filming the event and talking about South African wines and where they come from. It’s become a series of programs.
When did the focus on the U.S. increase?

We opened an office two-and-a-half years ago in New York, so this is the second full year of momentum. We realized we really needed to put time and effort and resources behind the United States. We tried working with the trade and publications. We felt the connection needed to be made with the consumer as well. So we tried these barbeque events that really kicked off full steam at the beginning of this fiscal for us.

This year we’ve tried to look at areas where we could have an advantage in terms of links to consumers, or food shows, or food hubs. We haven’t gone to the big areas where there’s a lot of competition – we’ve gone to the areas where we know we’ll have strong affiliation and will be able to establish a program. By the time the end of the year comes, you will see events starting to happen in certain hubs of America.

WBM: What’s the outlook going forward?

We’re starting to see momentum in the market. We understand it’s a huge job within the United States, but South Africa as a country is starting to be recognized around the world as the new kid around the block. We are showing we can produce good quality wines – we can stretch across price bands. We’re starting to see a migration to higher price bands. We’ve seen some great ratings. I think we are starting to be recognized around the world, and that is spreading in terms of influencers, as well as producers. We can achieve great things.

June 3, 2014 | 12:32 PM

Former NFL quarterbacks Dan Marino and Damon Huard have launched a new winery project that has been 15 years in the making: Passing Time, a new Washington Cabernet Sauvignon brand. From the news release:

The partners officially launched the brand this week when the Passing Time website went live, enabling people to pre-order the wines in advance of the wine’s release. The wine will be bottled in June and released in late 2015, Huard said. The winery’s first release will be 500 cases and may eventually grow to 1,000 cases.

The spark for Passing Time ignited in Marino’s living room in 1997 when the veteran Miami Dolphins’ quarterback invited Huard, then a second-year quarterback with the team, over to his house for drinks. Marino started to share bottles from his cellar – Quilceda Creek, Woodward Canyon, Andrew Will and others – and Huard was smitten. Although Marino retired from the NFL in 1999 and Huard left Miami to play for other teams, the two continued to talk about their mutual love for Washington wine. The conversation eventually evolved into a discussion about starting a winery.

The 2012 vintage of Passing Time is primarily cabernet sauvignon from ‘that property,’ better known as Discovery Vineyard, one of the state’s most acclaimed new vineyards. The cabernet sauvignon leads the way with 86 percent and is blended with a healthy 9 percent dollop of merlot from Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain. The remainder of the blend is robust Cab Franc from the famed Champoux Vineyard near Prosser. Passing Time is being made at Avennia’s production facility in Woodinville by winemaker Chris Peterson.

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