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by Cyril Penn | July 12, 2013 | 3:10 PM

Applications are being accepted for the first annual Vintage Report Innovation Award to be presented by Bank of the West to celebrate innovation and sustainability in viticulture and in the winery. The award recognizes the most groundbreaking method, practice or approach used during the 2013 vintage. The winner will be announced at Fruition Sciences’ 2013 Vintage Report conference in January 2014.

“As a leading bank to the wine industry, we want to foster and celebrate the spirit that’s driving that innovation,” Adam Beak, head of Bank of the West’s Premium Wine Group said in announcing the new award. “We hope this annual award will inspire even more experimentation and innovation in the years ahead.”

To be eligible for the award, approaches must be used during the 2013 vintage, though they may have started earlier.

Each year, Fruition Sciences organizes the Vintage Report, a conference that brings together winemakers, viticulturists and scientists to share information about the vintage and technical advances in the field. The award winner will be announced next January and will be invited to present the project and results at Fruition Sciences’ 2013 Vintage Report conference.

Judges include Dr. Jan Krupp, founder of Stagecoach Vineyard; Jim Barbour, founder and owner of Barbour Vineyards; UC Davis Professor Mark Matthews; Andy Beckstoffer, the founder and owner of Beckstoffer Vineyards; in addition to Wine Business Monthly senior technical editor Curtis Phillips.

The deadline for award submissions for the award is December 6, 2013.

“We’re a major lender to the wine business, a long-term lender to the business, and we’re always watching for and seeing the innovative things our clients are doing,” Beak told “We’re looking for a way to celebrate that. We felt that partnering with Fruition Sciences and tying it to the Vintage Report Conference was a great way to do it.”

“Basically anybody in the U.S. wine business can apply, and we’re hoping they do.”

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