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Wednesday, December 3, 2014
December 3, 2014 | 12:11 PM

A meeting to discuss proposal for changes to the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Grapevine Registration and Certification Program is scheduled for December 18 in Sacramento.

The review process comes in response to wine and grape industry concerns about the potential presence of Grapevine Red Blotch-associated virus GRBaV, and variants of leafroll viruses in certified nursery stock sold in California.

see previous coverage

CDFA Plans Review of Grapevine Certification Program

FPS Research Shows Red Blotch in Calif. Since 1940

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
December 2, 2014 | 7:43 AM

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

A few articles you will find inside December 2014 you will find:

Cement Tanks: Who's Using Them and Why
Year in Review: Notable News, Deals and People Moves
The Role of Trials in Improving Wine Quality


Click here to subscribe to the print edition

Monday, December 1, 2014
December 1, 2014 | 3:41 PM

Selected Recent Sales of Grapes & Wines in Bulk for December 1, 2014 courtesy of Turrentine Brokerage:

Bulk Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 wine, Napa Valley, 7,700 gallons at $29.00 per gallon

Petite Sirah 2014 wine, California, 19,500 gallons at $7.50 per gallon

Merlot 2013 wine, North Coast, 12,500 gallons at $6.50 per gallon

Muscat 2014 wine, California, 6,400 gallons at $4.50 per gallon

Zinfandel 2013 wine, Lodi, 13,000 gallons at $5.50 per gallon

Sauvignon Blanc 2014 wine, Lake County, 6,400 gallons at $7.50 per gallon

Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 wine, Napa Valley, 4,700 gallons at $26.00 per gallon


Monday, November 24, 2014
by Cyril Penn | November 24, 2014 | 12:24 PM

Wow, the Coalition for Free Trade has shut down. That’s great news, kind of anti-climactic, actually, but of note - a sign of how far things have progressed since CFT formed in 1995 - a real milestone.

CFT, a non-profit organization seeking judicial relief from laws prohibiting direct-to-consumer
shipments, was the litigation part of the wine industry’s three pronged strategy that also involved lobbying - Wine Institute - and public relations, i.e. Free The Grapes!

CFT just announced it has ended all activities after achieving victories for wineries and wine lovers.

Many people in the wine industry today probably don’t realize that CFT did a lot of heavy lifting

Back in the early 1990s, the organized opposition to direct shipping by wholesalers ramped up. Wholesalers got Kentucky and Florida to pass laws making shipping wine to consumers a felony. Yes, direct shipping wine was made a felony! Felons aren’t allowed to operate wineries.

At the time, there were fewer than a dozen states where a winery could legally ship to consumers, and that was through a limited system of “reciprocity” with California and select states that had been negotiated by the California Wine Institute.

Over the next decade, CFT helped coordinate lawsuits in seven states. Cases from Michigan and New York – where the states allowed intra-state shipments from wineries to consumers but denied that same privilege to out-of-state wineries—were ultimately considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in late 2004. The court found that the practice violated the Commerce Clause.

CFT’s work wasn’t finished after the Supreme Court ruling. The wheels of litigation and state law turn slowly. In light of the Granholm decision, a number of states enacted capacity caps on out-of-state shipments that essentially banned direct shipping anyway.

Just today, there’s news about new guidelines for wineries shipping to Massachusetts. That state just opened up - a big deal for wineries - and this was made possible by recent changes to state law that are a result of litigation.

Other organizations like Family Winemakers were involved, but many people in the wine industry today probably don’t realize that CFT did a lot of heavy lifting. Between 1995, when CFT was founded, and today, the number of U.S. wineries increased from less than two thousand to more than eight thousand, the lion's share of which depend on direct sales. Think of all the fulfillment houses, compliance companies, and even software vendors that didn’t exist back then.

“We have so many positive examples of what it’s done in terms of consumer access, collecting taxes and fees,” said Dennis Cakebread of CFT's board. “(Direct Shipping) isn’t the boogie man it once was. Just think how much the internet’s grown up over the last 15 years.”

There are details involved in keeping a non-profit going. With its mission arguably accomplished, it was apparently time to dissolve CFT.

It doesn't neccesarily mean an end to litigation. Wineries could always pool resources and launch a new non-profit. Also, with retailers facing hurdles in places like New York, litigation involving consumer-direct wine shipping will likely continue. One difference with the issue of retail shipping, though, is that in-state retailers haven't suported the rights of out-of-state retailers to ship. Local wineries in various states supported opening their borders to wineries located outside of their states.


Thursday, November 20, 2014
November 20, 2014 | 1:50 PM

Here's a video that just went up regarding a petition to extend the eastern boundaries of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, which TTB put out for comment. The video was posted by the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance, which opposes expanding the appellation.

John Sebastiano Vineyards and Pence Ranch Vineyards proposed expanding the established AVA.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
November 19, 2014 | 12:57 PM

Back in January Bentley University released survey results detailing the way Millennials think of their workplace and careers. This infographic has made the rounds recently, and provides a good insight into the minds of the next generation workforce.

For more information on the study and results, click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
November 18, 2014 | 7:45 AM

A video by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, filmed on location on the North Fork of Long Island. This introductory video to the Long Island wine region includes interviews with Anna Lee Iijima, Contributing Editor at Wine Enthusiast; Thomas Pastuszak, Wine Director at The NoMad; Rich Olsen-Harbich, Winemaker at Bedell Cellars; and Kareem Massoud, second generation Winemaker at Paumanok Vineyards

Friday, November 14, 2014
November 14, 2014 | 2:00 PM

At the inaugural Rootstock event, hosted by the Napa Valley Grapegrowers on Thursday, Nov. 13, Central Valley Builders Supply demonstrated several electronic pruners. These pruners are capable of increasing productivity, protecting workers' health and cutting costs in the vineyard.

For more information on electric, hand-held pruners, please see Bill Pregler's Product Review here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014
November 13, 2014 | 12:12 PM released a report detailing wine job posting trends as of October 2014. As the wine industry’s leading online job site, has a unique vantage point over industry trends. The index indicates that job postings increased 6 percent from October 2013. The index is up 15 percent so far this year.

The October increase in job postings was driven by hospitality and winemaking jobs. The hospitality index increased 73 percent from its level in October 2013, and is up 26 percent for the year.

The winemaking job index rose 43 percent from its level in October 2013, and is up 26 percent year-to-date.

The sales and marketing index decreased 23 percent from its level in October 2013, and is down 10 percent year-to-date.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
November 11, 2014 | 11:11 AM

Nielsen released sales figures for the top 100 premium wine brands based solely on closure type, showing significant improvements for wines sealed with a natural cork. Since the start of 2010, the volume market share for wines closed with cork rose 29 percent. Alternative closures also saw an increase, but of 9 percent in the same time period. While the numbers do not necessarily mean that consumers are making their purchase based solely on closure type, the data does show an improvement in sales of wine closed with cork.

Trend Analysis of Case Sales for Top 100 Premium Brands


When breaking out case sales by closure type and top brands, those finished with a natural cork have seen significant improvement in volume moved.

The top 10 brands finished in natural cork performed better in both volume movement and sales compared with the top brands closed with synthetic. Eight of the top brands closed with cork saw an increase in case sales and nine saw an increase in revenue, averaging an 8.9 percent increase in volume and an 8.5 percent increase in value. For synthetically sealed brands, six of the top 10 brands saw a decrease in volume, however the average across all 10 remained an increase of 1.3 percent. In dollar sales, another six percent saw a drop in revenue, though as a group, it was up 1.1 percent.

However, the total cases sold in the 52 weeks leading to Sept. 13, 2014 were much higher for synthetic cork—about 5.57 million to natural cork's 4.3 million cases.

Sales by Price Point

For the four week period ending Sept. 13, Nielsen figures show that cork closures out-performed synthetics and screw caps in the $10 to $15, $15 to $20 and the over $20 categories. Synthetic-closed wines saw a slightly higher revenue than its natural counterpart, with just over $35,000 in the $6 to $10 range.

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