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Tuesday, July 21, 2015
July 21, 2015 | 8:06 AM

The Missouri Wine and Grape Board commissioned an economic impact study and found that the local wine industry has grown just over 150% in the last decade. See more results from the study in the infographic below.

Click here to read the full report.

Monday, July 20, 2015
July 20, 2015 | 2:29 AM

Rotary lobe pumps are a type of positive displacement pump. The internal structure of the pump generally consists of two intermeshed, counter-rotating, gear-like rotors in an ovoid chamber. Typically the lobes are equilateral trefoils, but bi-lobed, winged bi-lobe and helical lobe designs are available. The tolerances between the two rotors and the chamber are tight, but usually not airtight. This means that, unlike flexible impeller pumps, most rotary lobe pumps are not self-priming.

The rotary lobe pump design is considered to be one of the most versatile pumps in the winery. The rotary lobe design moves wine (or must) at high flow rates while subjecting it to a low amount of shear and cavitation. They can also be used to lift wine for pump-overs or for filtration. In addition, they can be combined with a decent control system and variable frequency drive, both standard features that can be used for filling barrels. Rotary lobe pumps can even be used to pump destemmed must, provided that the pump is sufficiently large. The rule of thumb is that only three-inch pumps or larger (meaning that the inlet and outlet ports are at least three inches in diameter) should be used to pump must.

Sunday, July 19, 2015
by Curtis Phillips | July 19, 2015 | 2:26 PM

Thanks to ColloPack Solutions, the Francesca rotary piston pump has been available in the US since 2006. The Francesca Pompe Enologiche company was formed when Roberto and Oscar Manzini left the Manzini company.

The Francesca rotary piston pump is an attempt at combining the best features of traditional piston pumps with those of rotary-lobe, positive-displacement pumps. Like rotary vane and flexible impeller pumps, the liquid path through the Francesca pump is fairly straight due to its rotary design. Rotary pistons are so-called because the piston heads revolve around a central shaft rather than plunging up and down in a cylinder.

Although the Francesca pump has been compared to a Wankel rotary engine, the internal design is completely different. Instead of the Wankel's single offset rotor, the Francesca employs two quarter-circle pistons. The rotary motion is not constant, but rather, the pistons rotate more quickly through the bottom two-thirds than through the top third of a given rotation. When the two pistons are together, the remaining half of the pump forms the cavity for moving the wine. As the lead piston sweeps through the bottom of its cycle, it pushes the wine ahead of it out through the outlet port of the pump. Since the lead piston travels through the bottom of the cycle more quickly than the following piston, the cavity compresses, thus pushing the wine through the pump. At the same time, a new cavity is formed for the next half rotation. The motion of the rotary pistons is very gentle with whole berries passing intact through the pump cavity.

The Francesca product line has expanded considerably since 2006 with pumps ranging up to 15,000 gallons per hour in capacity being available.

Friday, July 17, 2015
by Curtis Phillips | July 17, 2015 | 1:40 AM

Although progressive cavity pumps (AKA progressing cavity pump) are frequently fed by an Archimedes screw, the actual pump in not an Archimedes screw per se. Instead, the pump design has a helical rotor inside of a helical cavity. As the rotor turns a void, specifically in the shape of a helical annulus, moves along the cavity thus displacing the wine forward. These pumps are becoming very common as portable must pumps. These pumps are fairly gentle and minimize further maceration of the must during transfer.

Thursday, July 16, 2015
by UC Davis | July 16, 2015 | 2:44 PM

Venue change for UCD 2015 Crush Strategies to Maximize Quality:

Save the Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Where: UC Davis, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, Sensory Theater in the West Building
Registration: Details are below

 There are still spaces available for the annual Crush Strategies to Maximize Wine Quality seminar at UC Davis.

This year, the focus will be on two areas of critical importance:

1) Techniques shown to improve the extraction of phenolics and flavors, with the simultaneous removal of negative compounds.

2) The choice of yeast to match intended style.

The I've put a copy of the updated seminar announcement flier here, but those wishing to sign-up immedately may do so here.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015
July 15, 2015 | 10:32 AM

Cameron Hughes comments on "Rumors of a Prosecco Shortage Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"

This is a totally manufactured crisis. Each year Prosecco DOC controls the amount of wine producers can "classify" as Prosecco and forces them to "declassify" a certain amount as White Table wine. The "holdback" amount is revisited certain times throughout the year (my understanding is usually just twice, once in the winter after harvest and then again in May/June after fruitset) depending on projected tonnage. Why? Simply to provide pricing stability for growers and, more recently, to stop the downward pricing trend in the UK and US as Prosecco has gotten more popular.

Monday, July 13, 2015
by Curtis Phillips | July 13, 2015 | 1:24 PM

I usually refrain from commenting on consumer wine tchotchkes. Most won’t deliver what they promise, but confirmation bias means most “believers” genuinely think the latest gizmo is doing something. It’s really hard to demonstrate an negative result, particularly when you lack the resources to conduct any sort of experimentation. No one seems to like it when you point out that the whatchamacallit can possibly function as advertised without violating at least two Laws of Thermodynamics.

More specifically, we’ve seen a modest uptick in the number of “sulfite-removing” gadgets hit the market in the past few months. I think the Wineoscope offers a pretty good thumbnail analysis of the Ullo. I would have been more long-winded but would have covered the same ground.

Friday, July 10, 2015
July 10, 2015 | 11:17 AM

The following Op-Ed piece was written by Stefano Zanette, President, Prosecco DOC Consortium

Prosecco: A Victim of its Own Success

By Stefano Zanette, President, Prosecco DOC Consortium (Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco)

As has been widely reported, global sales of Prosecco reached 306 million bottles last year, compared to 241.5 million bottles the previous year. Even with this documented increase, there have been reports in the media that there is a current shortage. We felt the need to issue a statement to refute this report because despite the fact that the 2014 harvest was hit with some harsh weather, the total certified production was up 17.9% as compared to the previous harvest

Less widely reported than the alleged shortage is the disappointing though perhaps unsurprising fact that many imitators are jumping on the Prosecco bandwagon. Imposters marketing themselves as Prosecco are reportedly being produced all around the world, from Brazil to Romania, from Argentina to Australia.

We would like to set the record straight: Just like Champagne or Barolo, Prosecco is a wine of place. For hundreds of years, Prosecco has been produced in specific areas of Italy’s Veneto and Friuli regions, to the north and northeast of Venice. Those areas are now the protected DOC and DOCG production zones for Prosecco. The primary grape in Prosecco is Glera, which is indigenous to this region of northeastern Italy and can be blended, according consortia rules, with percentages of secondary white wine grapes.

Any bottle that says Prosecco on the label must be produced in approved, designated growing regions according to the strict standards of the Prosecco DOC and Prosecco DOCG Consortia. Prosecco cannot be made in Brazil or Australia (as reported erroneously recently), or anywhere other than these designated regions. The specific environmental conditions of the area are what give Prosecco its characteristic qualities.

It is critical that we protect Prosecco’s centuries-old heritage and, most importantly for American wine drinkers, protect the quality standards of this wonderful wine. If we don’t expose imitators, consumers won’t be able to trust that the Prosecco they purchase is of a guaranteed quality based on the strict regulations and processes to which our producers are held.

Before Prosecco becomes a victim of its own success, we call on those who write, market and educate people about wine to do their part to inform the public about what Prosecco represents as a specific wine of place — and to advocate for truthful labeling so that when consumers buy a bottle that says Prosecco, they are getting the real thing and not an imitation.

Exports to the United States comprise 18.5% of total Prosecco exports, making the US the third-largest market for Prosecco DOC sales behind the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively. The global demand highlights an increasing interest in and demand for Italian sparkling wine, with which the Consortium’s productions are prepared to keep up for an extended period of time.

We invite you to enjoy Prosecco this summer while celebrating with family and friends as well as throughout the year.

Thank you.

Stefano Zanette is president of the Prosecco DOC Consortium (Consorzio Tutela Prosecco DOC), established in 2009 to coordinate and manage the Prosecco Controlled Designation of Origin. The Consortium brings together growers and producers of Prosecco to ensure that the designation continues to grow and that production regulations are strictly followed.

by Curtis Phillips | July 10, 2015 | 2:16 AM

Terry Prichard at UC Davis has a a lot of good advice for winegrape regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) on the UCD Agriculture Irrigation Water Management website. The website gives a brief summary and provide a link to a more detailed reference.

Thursday, July 9, 2015
by Curtis Phillips | July 9, 2015 | 1:32 AM

I’m not a viticulturist, but I’ve built and maintained my share of irrigation systems over the years. I’ve been interested in deficit irrigation (DI) and regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) ever since our the big drought in 1976-77. Back then, I had only the crudest measurements of tree, vine, and soil moisture status. I could look at leaf turgor, dig a hole and look at the soil, or I could install Irrometer Tensiometers.

Fast forward: Reinier van der Lee made this sweet Open Source Aduino hardware-hack for his vineyard which he has dubbed the Vinduino. The project is also described on

As a side note, the other thing I remember about the ’76-77 drought was that there were a lot of empty swimming pools in Southern California. Combined with the relatively new urathane skateboard wheels, those empty pools changed the face of skateboarding forever.


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