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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.

June 3, 2014 | 7:24 AM

“One thing we do see is that a mobile-optimized cart experience will sell 28 times more wine than a non-mobile experience on a mobile device. We see essentially a near-zero check-out rate with mobile devices on sites that do not deliver a mobile experience.”
-Andrew Kamphuis, president, Vin65

From the article "How to Design a Successful Winery Website," page 94 in the June 2014 issue of WBM. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

Monday, June 2, 2014
June 2, 2014 | 11:46 AM

The Missouri Wine and Grape Board announced that for the entire month of June, the Missouri wine industry celebrates the versatility and uniqueness of the Vidal Blanc grape varietal.

Vidal Blanc is a French-American hybrid grape that can thrive in the demanding weather conditions of Missouri wine country and contributes greatly to the state's internationally-recognized wine industry.

Vidal grapes are used to make a range of wines, including semi-dry to dry, dessert and sparkling with fragrances of a fresh summer garden. This wine encompasses clean, citrus fruit flavors of apples and lemon. Simple, fresh ingredients like basil and garlic, as well as seafood and poultry, are best with this wine.

Missouri's award-winning wine industry has grown exponentially since its near demolition during prohibition. The state now has more than 125 wineries and more than 1,700 bearing acres of grapes, producing more than 900,000 gallons of wine annually, and employing 14,000 Missourians.

During the month of June, Missouri wineries will feature Vidal with wine releases, special events, themed tastings and much more. There are nine wine trails in Missouri wine country. Everyone from wine enthusiasts to those new to the wine scene will have the opportunity to get acquainted with this quintessential Missouri varietal through those special promotions, as well as through the Winery Explorer available on the Missouri Wines website,

June 2, 2014 | 7:23 AM

“Our decision to not rack is based on why I call Pinot Noir the ‘especially’ variety. Almost any general platitude you can say about winemaking, you can then add, ‘and especially Pinot Noir.’”
-Steve Edmunds, winemaker, Edmunds St. John

From the article "Industry Roundtable: Legends," page 30 in the June 2014 issue of WBM, which is on its way to mailboxes now. The issue will also be available online June 1. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

Friday, May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014 | 1:41 PM

Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit a beautiful property located in the Capay Valley AVA in northwest Yolo County, California. The 6,000-acre Casey Flat Ranch, nestled in the Blue Ridge Range of the Vaca Mountains, borders the eastern side of Napa County. The property has been owned by Robert and Maura Morey for more than a quarter of a century, but it wasn't until 2003 that they got into the wine business when viticulturist Tom Prentice studied and discovered pockets of soil and climate combinations that he felt were ideal to produce great wines. With a focus on sustainable farming methods, and business savvy daughter Alison Morey Garrett (now managing partner) on board, the family planted grapes in 2004. In 2008, Laura Barrett joined the team as winemaker.

The family is committed to the preservation of the property's ecosystem, and therefore will not develop more than 5 percent of the land. Vineyard blocks are situated in the hills of Casey Flat (named after local frontiersman, John Casey), 2,000 feet above sea level. Vines benefit from a climate that compares to that of St. Helena and are planted in well-draining, silty clay loam soils underlain by standstone and shale.

At the Ranch we tried the 2013 Rosé of Syrah, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Viognier, and two blends—the 2013 Casey Flat Ranch Red Wine blend and the Open Range red wine blend, made from a combination of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals—all beautiful wines paired with a delicious lunch prepared by chef Thomas McNaughton of flour + water and central kitchen.

Laura Barrett, winemaker, speaking about the 2013 Rosé



May 30, 2014 | 7:17 AM

“I joined Ridge for Cabernet. That’s all I knew. I had heard of this thing called Zinfandel, but at that time I’d never had a decent bottle.”
-Paul Draper, winemaker, Ridge Winery

From the article "Industry Roundtable: Legends," page 30 in the June 2014 issue of WBM, which is on its way to mailboxes now. The issue will also be available online June 1. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

by Curtis Phillips | May 30, 2014 | 5:09 AM

Just a quick reminder for those members of the wine industry lucky enough to be close enough to attend that the 34th London Wine Fair is next week (June 2nd through June 4th). The list of this year's exibitors may be found here. I do recommend that winemakers currently, or considering, exporting to Europe attend this Trade Fair when they can.

Note that this event is free to visit, but "strictly trade only" (ie producers, distributor, importers, and retailers) and is not open to the public. Register here if you would like to attend.

Thursday, May 29, 2014
May 29, 2014 | 7:13 AM

“The closure is the final barrier to protect the wine. You can always work on a wine in tank; when you bottle it, it is out of your hands.”
-Florent Merlier, winemaker, Van Duzer Vineyards

From the article "2014 Closure Survey Report," page 18 in the June 2014 issue of WBM, which is on its way to mailboxes now. The issue will also be available online June 1. Click here to subscribe to WBM.

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