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Monday, February 24, 2014
by Curtis Phillips | February 24, 2014 | 4:11 PM

2013-14 Current Issues: Best Practices for Vineyard Water Management Feb 20, 2014

 I admit that as a UC Davis alumnus, I am hardly an unbiased source, but VENSource and The Department of Viticulture & Enology have been putting together some fantastic seminars recently. Last week, I attended the "Current Issues: Best Practices for Vineyard Water Management" Symposium". WBM's very own Mark Greenspan was among the presenters. Other presenters included Larry Williams (UCD), Andrew McElrone (UCD), Lars Pierce (CSU Monterey Bay), Mark Battany (UCCE). In addition, there were two panel discussions; one consisting of winegrowers and one of winemakers to round out the day.

VENSource has put the presentations online here.

Handouts to accompany the presentations are in the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) document repository.

Michael Silacci

I found Mark Greenspan's presentation very interesting, but as a winemaker, I was naturally drawn to the winemaker panel-discussion moderated by Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci.

February 24, 2014 | 10:36 AM

Janice Mondavi and Alycia Mondavi of Aloft Wine:

Cathy Corison pours wine at Premiere Napa Valley:

View of the crowd at Premiere Napa Valley:


Friday, February 21, 2014
February 21, 2014 | 2:08 PM

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers' Farmworker Foundation hosted its 13th Annual Napa County Pruning Contest at Beringer's Gamble Ranch on Thursday, February 20th. The industry's best vineyard workers challenged each other's art, skill, and speed at pruning Napa Valley vineyards. More than 13 women competed in the first ever Women's Division, alongside 56 men in the Men's Division. Winners in each division took home more than $2,100 in cash winnings, armfuls of tools, and gift cards.

Here are the winners:


1st Place: Celia Perez, V. Sattui Winery
2nd Place: Maria Romero, Walsh Vineyards Management
3rd Place: Maria Dolores Torres, Promontory
4th Place: Maricruz Gutierrez, The Napa Valley Reserve



1st Place: Omar Perez, Joseph Phelps Vineyards
2nd Place: Victor Silvestre, Renteria
3rd Place: Rolando Esquivel, Beckstoffer Vineyards
4th Place: Jesus Juarez, Moulds Family Vineyard

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.

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