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Thursday, February 20, 2014
February 20, 2014 | 3:58 PM

The "Wooley Weeders" are back at Cline Cellars in Sonoma!

According to Cline: "We believe we utilize the most efficient methods towards retaining healthy vineyards by employing the use of organic cover crops, compost teas, crushed volcanic rock and oyster shell, natural mined sulfur and sheep grazing. ...To assist in removing harmful weeds from the vineyards, we employ grazing sheep. Hand pulling weeds and an under row cultivator that uproots weeds are often used as well." Read more about Cline's farming practices here.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014
February 18, 2014 | 8:35 AM

Our very own Cyril Penn was interviewed on NPR this morning regarding the Crush Report and the drought in California.

"There are some grape growers that are making contingency plans for if they don't have enough water—which blocks of grapes will they water and which ones won't they water. Fortunately, grapes use relatively little water compared to other crops," said Penn.

Listen to the interview here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014
February 13, 2014 | 1:20 PM

Posted this morning on Lifehacker: 

"Part of the barrier to really getting into wine for many people is the language. Sure, the taste is the issue for others, but all the flowery language, like "wine tears," "cry," "aerate," and "corked" are all pretty specific. This video, narrated by Dr. Gavin Sacks, of Cornell University's Viticulture and Enology Program, helps you understand what they all mean."

Read the full article here.


February 13, 2014 | 9:50 AM

A new infographic from illustrates Wine Excise Tax Rates by State for 2014.

Wine taxes are highest in Kentucky at $3.56 per gallon. Rounding out the top five are Alaska ($2.50), Florida ($2.25), Iowa ($1.75), and Alaska and New Mexico tied at $1.70. The lowest-taxed states are Louisiana ($0.11), California ($0.20), Texas ($0.20), Wisconsin ($0.25), and Kansas and New York (tied at $0.31). Note that this doesn’t include the states where government controls all sales (these can still be subject to ad valorem mark-up and excise taxes). Check out the wine tax map below to see where your state falls.

A few states saw changes in rates since the last time we published data (See the 2013 edition of our Facts & Figures booklet for last year’s data.) Kentucky’s tax increased by forty cents, while North Carolina’s was 21 cents higher. Minnesota’s tax decreased slightly (-2 cents).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
February 12, 2014 | 1:38 PM

we received this via the Sonoma County Winegrowers:

You are invited to A Celebration of Saralee's Remarkable Life 

Champagne Toast at 1 p.m.
Sunday, February 16

Wells Fargo Center
50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa

In loving memory of the spirit of Saralee, all men and women are invited to wear hats

casual attire

If you haven't seen it already, check out the Press Democrat's story about Saralee's remarkable life

Monday, February 10, 2014
February 10, 2014 | 12:11 PM released a report detailing wine job posting trends as of January 2014. As the wine industry’s leading online job site, has a unique vantage point over industry trends. The index indicates that job postings by wineries in January increased 26 percent from January 2013, and were 22 percent higher than January 2012.

The increase in the winery job index was driven by increases in winemaking, sales and marketing, and hospitality jobs.

The winemaking job index increased 50 percent from January 2014, and was 53 percent above January 2012.

The hospitality index increased 34 percent from January 2014, and was 45 percent above January 2012.

The sales and marketing index increased 17 percent from January 2014, but was 4 percent below January 2012.

February 10, 2014 | 10:40 AM

Across the newsdesk this week is an update from the PD/GWSS Board about the Nursery Program Statistics for 2013 :

From January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, there were 45,808 nursery stock shipments from GWSS generally-infested areas to non-infested areas of the state. This is up slightly (1,197 shipments) from 2012. Six regulatory actions were taken in 2013 by receiving counties for shipments that contained viable GWSS life stages, compared to two regulatory actions taken in 2012.

From January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, there were 10,902 ATP shipments consisting of 2.65 million plants. No viable life stages of GWSS were detected in any shipments. ATP shipments were up slightly from 2012 (680 shipments), while the total number of plants shipped was down by 182,432.

Otto & Sons Nursery in Ventura County is working with county and PDCP staff on the qualification requirements to become an ATP participant. This includes increased trapping levels and preparation of a Pest Management Plan. Once approved, they will become the eighth nursery to ship under the ATP.

Our viticulture columnist Mark Greenspan wrote his 100th consecutive column for WBM in the March issue and discusses Pierce’s Disease and the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter. "The disease hasn’t gone away. Research points to a multi-pronged approach towards solving the problem," Greenspan writes.

Look for his report on the PD/GWSS research symposium, which took place December 17 and 18 in Sacramento, in the upcoming March issue of Wine Business Monthly. Subscribe to WBM here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014
February 6, 2014 | 1:52 PM

“When I taste a wine, looking at the balance between acid and sugar, if I think it is dry, then the customer is going to think it is bone dry and bitter. If I think it’s sweet, they’re probably going to think it is rich and easy on the palate.”
-Jeff McBride, VP, Benziger Family Winery

From the article "Industry Roundtable: White Wine Balance," page 110 in the February 2014 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

February 6, 2014 | 7:39 AM

Well, this looks like a fun industry event!

The seventh annual Cellar-Tek Winemakers Cup Ski Race is the World’s only annual ski challenge weekend for the wine industry and it takes place for the benefit of industry networking, peer camaraderie and palate appreciation.

The seventh annual weekend of festivities takes place on Saturday March 15, 2014 at Big White Ski Resort in the Okanagan Valley of B.C. Big White has put together deep discounts on lift tickets, hotels and events to make this a cost-effective experience for everyone in the Wine Industry.

Close to one hundred wine lovers, including winemakers, cellar hands and vineyard managers, tasting room staff, restaurateurs, sommeliers, hoteliers and many other industry people will race head-to-head on the ski slopes and then drink wine, après-ski style while reliving the hilarious antics of the day. They will be participating in several events as part of the weekend in the heart of the Okanagan, one of the world’s most scenic and beautiful wine regions.

Previous winners of the Winemakers Cup include:
2008 Bill Eggert, Winemaker, Fairview Cellars
2009 Stephen Wyse, Winemaker, Burrowing Owl
2010 Herb Alex, Cellarhand, Jackson-Triggs
2011 Bill Eggert, Winemaker, Fairview Cellars
2012 Stephen Wyse, Winemaker, Young & Wyse
2013 Charlie Baessler, Winemaker, Corcelettes Winery

Who will win the trophy in 2014?

After a six-year run of the Winemakers Cup being hosted at Mt. Baldy, the fun-loving folks at Big White Ski Resort have opened their arms and agreed to host the event in 2014. “We are thrilled to be hosting the Wine Industry of B.C. at Big White for this great weekend of skiing, après-ski and industry camaraderie. The Wine Industry in B.C. is so important to the mosaic of the provinces ski tourism experience, and it is great to be able to show our thanks by being host for this seminal weekend.Big White has put together deep discounts on lift tickets, hotels and events to make this a cost-effective experience for everyone in the Wine Industry.” said Michael J. Ballingall, Senior VP of Big White Ski Resort.

The Winemakers Cup was created and organized as a partnership between Cellar-Tek, Black Hills Estate Winery, and Big White Ski Resort.

For tickets and information, call Pauline at (250) 498-0666. If you’re interested in the race, spots are available right up to race day. For further information on the Winemakers Cup, go to!/groups/107638049304712/
For information on Big White Ski Resort go to

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
February 5, 2014 | 12:11 PM

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers are hosting its 13th annual Napa County Pruning Contest. For the first time, they will also include a women's division. Contestants in this division will be eligible for the same prizes, but will compete only against other female pruners.

This exciting annual event highlights the fine art, skill, and speed exhibited by those who work in Napa Valley's vineyards. It is a time of competition and pride, where many growers hold competitions within their own company before sending their top pruners to the prestigious county competition. Growers and vineyard managers are encouraged to attend to help us cheer on contestants and enjoy lunch a delicious taco lunch.

Entries limited to 2 men & 2 women per employer, per division. Deadline to enter: February 17. Register in English or Spanish.

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