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Monday, November 5, 2018
November 5, 2018 | 11:32 AM

The article regarding Oregon Vintners Pushing Back on Copper Cane's Labels generated a lot of interest, as did last week's Joe Wagner Responds: Copper Cane owner explains his side of the story, published by the Oregon Wine Press and included the daily roundup

In the latter, Wagner made a number of claims about his dispute with the Oregon Winegrowers Association and Jim Bernau, the CEO of Willamette Valley Vineyards, which he founded 1983.

Jim Bernau sent the following response:

Why is the Oregon Winegrowers Association challenging Elouan and “The Willametter” marketing? 

JB: The marketing is deceptive, violating federal and state law. For example, printed prominently on the Elouan case boxes is “Oregon Coast Pinot Noir,” appearing to play off prominent California Coast AVAs. No Pinot Noir is grown on the Oregon Coast (or successfully can be). Three leading Oregon AVAs, the Willamette Valley, Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley are listed as if they are nested in this larger, fictitious AVA.

The branding on “The Willametter Journal” and a number of Elouan labels, packaging and marketing materials illegally state or deceptively infer Oregon AVAs. This branding has created market confusion and is devaluing our distinctive AVAs. Consumers are being led to believe these wines are made in Oregon, they are not.

Federally approved American Viticultural Area designations are based upon unique geology, soils and climate taking much research and a lengthy process to obtain from the federal agency, the TTB. They are especially so in Oregon as their use or inference on labels and marketing materials require strict adherence to the highest AVA and variety standards in the nation.

The wine must be made in Oregon with 100% Oregon grapes, only one AVA may be stated or implied with the grapes being a minimum 95% from the named AVA and at least 90% Pinot Noir (and other varieties) when those varieties are named.

Oregon winemakers have worked together for 35 years adhering to these standards and paying the highest tonnage tax in the country to support them.

On Standards of AVA content:

JB: Joe Wagner’s actions threaten the AVA system of unique geographic pedigrees federally adopted in 1978 with now 242 distinct AVAs in the United States.

He is illegally listing AVAs, allowing him to capitalize on the reputation they have achieved. Wagner now is advocating he be allowed to list percentages of grape content from the named AVAs, but this approach would gut the unique, individual distinctiveness of each AVA.

Isn’t this what he did with Meiomi?

JB: No, the Meiomi label relies on a provision in the federal code allowing up to three counties to be listed with percentages. As these California counties are well known, the marketing worked. While the Oregon counties Marion, Josephine and Jackson can be used to market Elouan, they are not well known. Joe Wagner is instead using something to which he is not entitled — Oregon AVA names which are based upon specific viticultural conditions and winemaking standards that are highly regarded by consumers.

Haven’t other wine regions including the Napa Valley seen this kind of behavior?

JB: The Napa Valley Vintners Association has been very active in stopping deceptive advertising of wines capitalizing on the equity winegrowers have built over the years in that AVA. Richard Mendelson wrote “Appellation Napa Valley, Building and Protecting an American Treasure” detailing the many attempts to deceptively exploit the financial premium that has been created in the marketplace for the remarkable wines of the Napa Valley AVA. The Wine Origins Alliance (Origins.wine), dedicated to protecting the integrity of wine region names, recently secured passage of U.S. Senate Resolution 649 recognizing the value of AVAs.

On Wagner’s claim of better winemaking control in California:

JB: Wagner is reported to say he likes “to do everything under one roof,” giving him the winemaking control he wants. That it is cold comfort regarding adherence to Oregon standards and doesn’t square with his federal label (COLA) filings.

Elouan is made at LangeTwins, a contract 4 million case plant near Lodi, the same who makes Meiomi. That’s an hour and half drive from Rutherford where The Willametter is made. Wagner has used three custom crush plants (including Safe Harbor Partners and Laird Family Estate) and two Copper Cane facilities in different locations for his Oregon labeled wines. For example, there are two COLAs for the ‘16 Elouan Pinot Noir at Laird Family Estate in Napa & Copper Cane in Rutherford in the same year.

While we know he isn’t following the law on labeling and advertising, we hope the cellar staffs of these numerous plants know the difference between Oregon and California standards and are following Oregon law — although his wines don’t taste like Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.

For example, it is illegal in Oregon labeled wine to use additives commonly used to make mass produced Pinot Noir in California. Color and mouthfeel concentrates called Mega Purple, Ultra Red, Purple 8000 and Red 8000 are made from the Teinturier grape Rubired which is prohibited in Oregon wine since the grape isn’t grown here.

The Oregon Congressional Delegation has requested the TTB conduct field product integrity audits of Copper Cane asking “any offending products should be removed from the marketplace immediately.” The TTB is very thorough, reconciling grape contracts, grape sources and varietal composition, weigh tags, winery computer recorded additives identified in the Varietal Composition or Ingredient fields, ingredient POs and invoices, tank and barrel transfers and finished packaged volumes compared to the label, packaging and advertising claims.

What’s the financial benefit to using Oregon AVAs?

JB: If Wagner was making and selling his wine legally like other Oregon producers sourcing from various AVAs, he would only be able to list “Oregon” as the origin. But wines using an Oregon AVA, like the Willamette Valley, earn a higher price (costs are higher too). One can make more money by using lower cost grapes, mixing in some higher cost Willamette Valley AVA fruit and deceptively marketing it by referencing the Willamette Valley.

Among the top 25 Oregon wineries, the average retail bottle price is $26.04 for Willamette Valley AVA Pinot Noir, but $14.30 for a Oregon appellated Pinot Noir. Elouan, with its Willamette Valley packaging, has put the AVA on discount at $7 per bottle less at the attractive under $20 retail price — helping explain its sales growth.

For every 100,000 cases of sales, Elouan Pinot Noir marketed with the Willamette Valley AVA can illegally achieve approx. $4 million more at FOB than the average “Oregon” appellated wine.

What’s this claim about Wagner not paying his Oregon taxes?

JB: Wineries licensed to make wine in Oregon must pay $25 per ton tax to support the wine quality and marketing efforts of the state and AVAs. As one must make the wine in Oregon to legally use the state’s AVAs, Wagner is dodging the tax, but still using the AVAs. If he had made the wine in Oregon, an estimated $200,000 in taxes would have been properly paid.

Why are Southern Oregon growers so unhappy with Copper Cane?

JB: Wagner, using a smoke taint clause, cancelled all his Rogue Valley grower 2018 picks (130,000 case equivalent) only days before harvest, leaving growers no time to find alternative buyers.

Nielsen retail annual data ending June shows Elouan scanned 45,146 cases in national retail sales, an annual growth of 19,730 cases. For grocery store brands, Nielsen scan data can account for more than 70% of total sales. Copper Cane reported to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission purchasing 4,026 tons of Oregon grapes in 2017, equivalent to approx. 261,715 cases. Elouan ‘15 Pinot Noir on the shelves in Oregon is behind a vintage and a major chain is discontinuing the ‘16 Rosè.

Doing the math, it looks like Copper Cane is severely over-inventoried and to be fair to the grower families, Wagner should at least pay the uninsured growers for their crop.

A coalition of Oregon winemakers, using independent lab results, saved as much of the stranded, high quality crop as possible, paying the full contracted prices. The wine developing in the cellars is beautiful. We can’t wait to release the Oregon Solidarity wine, first envisioned by Ed King of King Estate Winery, as a fundraiser for the devastated growers.

Why do you think Wagner has filed to cancel your trademarks?

JB: We believe he is trying to bully us. Shortly after I asked Wagner to stop misrepresenting Oregon AVAs and infringing on our trademarks, his lawyers filed to cancel them. A tactic like that might work with someone who doesn’t have the money or the community support to defend themselves.

He has signaled he will drop the trademark challenge and the Willametter brand if we support Elouan with his use of the state’s AVAs listing percentages of content. In his effort to profit from the equity others have built, this proposal would destroy the AVA system. We believe in the value of these geographic pedigrees and the reputational equity winemakers and growers have created in them.

There is some irony in his argument, that our winery brand should lose its trademark due to the AVA having the same name, given his illegal use of it.

We will oppose his trademark cancellation attempts for the same reason we will defend our AVAs, not just for ourselves, but the many other wineries with brands similar to or the same as AVAs. Just because an AVA is established, it doesn’t mean the winery trademark is no longer valid. The “discovery” process in the trademark proceedings may reveal what is actually in the Wagner “Oregon” and “Willametter” wines.

The Oregon wine industry has grown through collaboration and respectful treatment of its colleagues. Oregon winemakers welcome newcomers with kindness, but ask for lawful and respectful conduct in return.

Friday, November 2, 2018
by Mary Jorgensen | November 2, 2018 | 10:51 AM

Fourth Generation and President Familia Torres, Miguel A. Torres (pictured r) in the Penedes Region near Barcelona, Spain, talks with Wine Business Monthly Publisher Eric Jorgensen (l) about the winery’s focus on the environment.

Respect for the earth and achieving a sustainable production system are the driving forces of the Torres & Earth Program, designed to institute measures that help minimize the effects of climate change.


WBM publisher Eric Jorgensen with Miguel Torres

Due to the actions undertaken as part of the Torres & Earth Program, Bodegas Torres has reduced its own carbon emissions by 30% to date as compared to 2008. Its goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Torres is scheduled to speak at the March 2019 Climate Change Leadership Conference, which has as its main focus the impacts and challenges of climate change on the wine industry. The event will take place at Alfândega do Porto and Coliseu do Porto.


 

Thursday, November 1, 2018
by Erin Kirschenmann | November 1, 2018 | 9:00 PM

Despite it's much maligned view, Merlot is thriving in the Napa Valley--or at least that's what four longtime producers proclaimed at the Masters of Merlot masterclass and tasting at the CIA at COPIA yesterday, Thurs., Nov. 1. Anthony Giglio, columnist for Food & Wine Magazine led a panel completed by Ted Edwards, winemaker for Freemark Abbey; P.J. Alviso, vice president of winegrowing at Duckhorn Vineyards; Cleo Pahlmeyer, president of Pahlmeyer Vineyards and Chris Carpenter, winemaker for Mt. Brave and La Jota Vineyard Co., through a tasting of 2015 Napa Valley Merlots, discussing their virtues, challenges and futures. 

"It's a variety that I think has a lot of nuance, its own signature, it's own quality level, its own way of expressing itself and I think there is value in that," said Carpenter, referencing the start of his interest in the grape. "I'm very competitive and as I looked at the volumes of Merlot coming out of the rest of the worl--in France at the exhorbitant prices that they offer and what's coming from Italy--I asked, why can't we do that? We can do that. We've got the land, we've got the terroir, we've go the passion. We should be doing that right along step with them."


(left to right) Anthony Giglio, Chris Carpenter, Cleo Pahlmeyer, P.J. Alviso and Ted Edwards

While any discusssion of the past and future of Merlot will likely bring up the 2004 movie "Sideways," the panelists refrained from blaming the movie for the failures of the grape on the broader market. Giglio cited statistics that Merlot is a favorite among consumers, particularly in the on-premise. With 44,000 acres planted to the grape and 17 million cases of it sold across the United States, Merlot has not disappeared, and deserves serious discussion, according to the panelists. 

Once called "liquid Snickers" by Robert Parker, Pahlmeyer said its that concentration and density that makes Merlot special, and said that it could be just as finnicky as Pinot Noir, notorious for being a difficult grape to grow. 

To grow the best Merlot, Edwards says that he tends to let the grapes ripen on the vine as long possible--otherwise the wines tend to show more green, arugala or even skunkweed notes. Carpenter said it's a grape that needs a lot of light to develop pyrazines and has to have a lighter crop load. 

In 2015, dropping fruit wasn't much of an issue-- when a rainstorm hit the Napa Valley just after fruit set, growers estimated that the loss of fruit reached as much as 30 percent. While all four panelists said quality was never an issue, it was definitely a low quantity year. 

 

Friday, October 12, 2018
October 12, 2018 | 3:00 PM

The theme of the second conference on behalf Climate Change Leadership will be impacts and challenges of climate change effects on the Wine Industry. 

Barack Obama was a speaker for the first conference last July. 

The second conference takes place March 6-7, 2019, at Alfândega do Porto.

The signing of The Porto Protocol to adopt and promote the principles and measures established at the summits "will be a place of inspiration for companies all over the world to take the next steps in helping to reduce the impact of Climate Change, by signing the Letter of Principles for The Porto Protocol." 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
October 9, 2018 | 4:15 PM

 Most of Napa's famous wineries were spared when fires tore through hills above the valley. But Signorello Estate, a winery on the infamous Silverado Trail, wasn't one of them. DRONEVIEW7 has a look at the recovery

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
October 2, 2018 | 2:26 PM

Clark Smith with WineSmith Wines & Consulting comments on this post

What seems to be left out of this conversation is that there is no such thing as a vetted analysis for smoke taint in either grapes or wine. Stop referring to it that way.

The ETS free guaiacal is a test for smoke exposure, something every three-year-old in the North Coast knows already, and this includes Napa and Sonoma. The 0.5 ppb line is 1% of the aroma threshold of 50 ppb, and besides, guaiacol smells good. It's the basis of scotch whisky.

Constellation's voodoo analysis, which has not been vetted, throws in syringol, which has a threshold of 600 ppb and smells like sandalwood. They add up seven compounds and reject if the total is over 40, which it always is, smoke exposure or no.

It's obvious that Constellation does not want to work at long term relationships, and they don't care who they hurt.

There are wineries out there that are bringing in fruit on a contingency basis, Gallo among them. They actually want to be in the wine business. They understand that grapes are a perishable commodity, and making the wine will buy us time to evaluate and find solutions.

There are six promising approaches to treatment for those wines that actually are tainted. I am quite sanguine that we will refine these treatments within the year. Unlike the VA treatment I perfected in 1992, each affected wine may be a little different and the prescription may be a bit of an art form.

But we have some pretty smart people working on this in collaborations not seen since the '70s, and cool heads will prevail, watch and see. If the result is the exit of certain companies that don't belong in our community, we are perhaps the better for it.

Sunday, September 30, 2018
September 30, 2018 | 9:51 AM

from the Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library - Video clip extracted from "Phil Freese: Innovator and Leader in the Practice of Winegrowing"

Philip Freese is a co-founder and co-owner of Vilafonté, a South African winery that produces varietal red wine. Freese was born in 1945 in Indiana. He was educated at Purdue University (BS) and University of California Davis (PhD) where he studied biochemistry. He left the field of biochemistry to pursue a career in the wine industry in 1978, first working as vineyard manager for a CalPlans vineyard in Napa County and then, beginning in 1982, as a winegrower for Robert Mondavi, eventually becoming Vice President of Winegrowing. In the 1990s he started both a wine consulting firm, Winegrow, and, with his wife winemaker Zelma Long, the winery Vilafonté in South Africa. In this interview, Freese discusses the following topics: upbringing and education in science; early career as a biochemist; the evolution of the California wine industry from the 1970s through the 1990s, with a special focus on Napa Valley and viticulture; the multiple facets of viticultural practice and research, including the definition of “winegrowing”; the North Coast Viticultural Research Group; Robert Mondavi winery in the 1980s and 1990s; vineyard consulting practices; the wine industry in South Africa from the 1990s through the 2010s; and Vilafonté Winery in South Africa.

Friday, September 28, 2018
by Cyril Penn | September 28, 2018 | 6:15 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court granted CERT in Tennessee Wine & Spirits vs. Byrd Clayton, a case involving residency requirements for wine retailers that could have big implications for retail-to-consumer wine shipping.

The court will look at whether the Constitution's Commerce Clause protects retailers and wholesalers from discriminatory state liquor laws such as in-state versus out-of-state shipping, per the 2005 Granholm v. Heald decision that said states can’t discriminate between allowing wine shipments to consumers, or not, from in-state versus out-of-state wineries.

Granholm led to more states allowing winery direct shipping but only fourteen U.S. states allow retail-to-consumer wine shipping. Consumers in thirty-six states don't have access to direct shipments of imported wines sold only by retailers.

The Byrd case isn’t a straight wine shipping case. Tennessee has a law saying you must be a resident of the state for two years before you can get a retail license. The statue prohibits corporations and other businesses from obtaining a retail license unless every director, officer and shareholder of the business has been a Tennessee resident for at least nine years.

When Total Wine wanted to open a store in Tennessee and couldn’t, Total Wine took its case to court and won. Then the Tennessee Retailers Association, which doesn’t want Total Wine coming into Tennessee, appealed but lost.

The sixth circuit court said the Tennessee residency law was unconstitutional.

Then the Tennessee Retailers Association filed a Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari to the Supreme Court.

“I’m excited to see what the court does,” Wine Institute Vice President and General Counsel Tracy Genesen said.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to revisit the question about whether retailers have the same constitutional protections as wineries,” alcoholic beverage attorney John Hinman – a partner at the San Francisco law firm of Hinman & Carmichael, said. “It’s in the context of a residency requirement in the Total Wine case, but the principal is identical.”

“The question was always how (Granholm) would apply to the other tiers,” Compli Vice President of Product & Marketing Jeff Carroll said. “It could be a watershed ruling if it goes in the favor of Total Wine.”

Oral arguments in the Byrd case could occur sometime around January, with briefs due sometime in December, potentially leading to a decision next spring.

Not all industry stakeholders are in favor of a level playing field when it comes to retailer shipping. 

Wholesalers, for their part, see overturning residency requirements as another threat to the sanctity of the three tier system.

“This is a big deal to the wholesalers,” Hinman said. “They oppose it because this is another lynchpin of the three-tier system being pulled out – suddenly you have a retailer that can operate across state lines.”

“Who would have believed it would have been Total Wine that would have driven this shift?" Hinman asked. "I’m glad they’re doing it because they’re one of the few retailers with resources to pursue this.”

(Total wine also challenged state laws limiting it from doing business in Minnesota and Texas. Ed Cooper, a spokesman for Total Wine, said the company has “a company policy against commenting on matters that are in litigation.”)

“No one knows where the Supreme Court is going to go, whether this will become a states’ right issue with conservative justices – or a commerce clause issue,” Hinman said. “Are we one national marketplace or are we a whole series of individual states? This one cuts across party lines. There are conservative justices who are originalists saying the states were given rights to determine their own future, especially under the 21st amendment, which guarantees them the right to establish laws to prohibit the importation of alcohol. “

It remains to be seen what the court will look like short-term, given this week's events in Washington

Genesen, who was part of the legal team that created and implemented the wine industry's litigation strategy in the Granholm case with Kirkland and Ellis, said a ruling could be narrow, or broader - in essence saying discrimination at any tier isn't okay. The court could rule commerce clause scrutiny applies to tiers besides wineries - in this case the retail tier – distinguishing between producers and retailers - or could broadly apply the commerce clause non-discrimination principle to retailers. 

Circuit courts have been reticent to extend Granholm beyond wineries. “This will be important for giving guidance to the federal courts that have been split on residency requirements about how far-reaching Granholm actually is," Genesen said. "It’s a perfect storm for the Supreme Court to agree to take the case.”

source: NAWR
Thursday, September 27, 2018
September 27, 2018 | 8:46 AM

Tom Farella Comments on this post:

Prevailing knowledge is that when grapes are pressed off with no skin contact there are no concerns over smoke taint. I don't understand how this is not a breach of contract if the purchasing winery backs out on white grapes or those intended for rose. Conversely, the taint effects that I have seen tend to show up after the finished wines have settled out for several weeks so early proclamations are unreliable. I feel for the growers AND the wineries (we are both). While grower relationships tend to be more like partnerships, in the end, there is still a large gap for where the "blame" should go. Strangely, lawyers and insurance companies are defining the parameters. Crop insurance costs rose dramatically in recent years and only provides limited returns. We all have a long way to go on these issues.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
by Wine Business Monthly | September 25, 2018 | 11:11 PM

In a night dedicated to leadership, business and ingenuity, the wine industry’s leading CEOs, CFOs, presidents and longtime wine industry players gathered for the Wine Business Leadership Dinner at the Wine Industry Financial Symposium.

The dinner celebrated individuals who have made positive differences, not only at their companies and wineries, but in the larger wine community. Each year, Wine Business Monthly honors those individuals in our annual Top Wine Industry Leaders list, and four were honored at the dinner, held at CIA at Copia.

Making and selling wine is a multi-faceted endeavor led by those brave enough (or crazy enough) to pave a new way forward, inspiring generations to come. Some of the leaders on the list have discovered new ways of doing things. Some were entrepreneurial. Others developed a specific expertise and found niches or rallied behind causes they believed in. Some of the influential people on this list are known to virtually anyone who follows the wine industry while others are influential yet fly “under the radar.”

This year, we discovered that there are a few people who could make the list every year—their influence and actions have made positive strides in the industry for decades—and singled out four of them to honor at last night’s dinner. The honorees were Joe Ciatti, the “Godfather” of bulk wine, Michaela Rodeno, a CEO who brought two iconic Napa wineries into financial success, Agustin Huneeus Sr., a wine philosopher and brand builder, and Andy Beckstoffer, arguably one of the most influential grapegrower in the Napa Valley. In 2016. In 2016, the honorees were Randy Short, partner, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP; Tony Correia, president, The Correia Co.; Frank Farella, founding partner, Farella Braun & Martel; and Greg Scott, partner, Pricewaterhouse Coopers.


From left to right: Eric Jorgensen, Wine Business Monthly; Michaela Rodeno, Domaine Chandon and St. Supery;
Clarice Turner, Joseph Phelps Vineyards; Agustin Huneeus Sr. Huneeus Vintners; Agustin F. Huneeus, Huneeus Vintners;
Joe Ciatti,  The Ciatti Company and Zepponi & Co.; Peter Byck, Winery Exchange; Andy Beckstoffer, Beckstoffer Vineyards;
Tuck Beckstoffer, Beckstoffer Vineyards. 

Joe Ciatti has more than 40 years of industry experience, a deep network and a long track record. He established the Joseph W. Ciatti Company, which grew into the world’s largest brokerage of grapes and bulk wines. These days, Joe is active in mergers and acquisitions as a principal with Zepponi & Company.

“The amount of power Joe had…he, one man, could control the global price of bulk wine. He brought globalization to the wine industry,” said Peter Byck, a friend and client of Ciatti’s. “He’s an incredible negotiator, an incredible people person and I really admire Joe. I believe if you want to live a long life, you have to stay active and you stay relevant. Joe built this incredible bulk wine brokerage and he’s totally active in the business and making things happen. He truly belongs in the Hall of Fame.”

Michaela Rodeno is one of just a few female CEOs in the wine business, with a four-decade career in Napa Valley. Her career not only spans the development of two prominent French-owned Napa Valley wineries, Domaine Chandon and St. Supéry, as well as her own Napa Valley Sangiovese under their Villa Ragazzi label, she has been a mentor and community partner to so many in the business. Clarice Turner, president of Joseph Phelps, knew that she wanted to learn from Rodeno almost immediately upon meeting her.


Wine Business Monthly honoree Michaela Rodeno

“I discovered she was a woman of great determination and innovation and was not afraid to challenge the status quo,” said Turner. “What a game changer she has been for this industry. From mentoring to determination to truly leading the industry—and I haven’t mentioned family and the community and all the things I know are important to her, her integrity and care for others is truly unlike no one else I know.”

Rodeno says she owes much of her success to the friends, family, colleagues and all the people over the years who have made a difference, and she only hopes she has done the same for as many others to make up for it. She’s especially grateful for those who let her pave her own way. “I loved the idea that someone could hand you the ball and you could run any direction you wanted to go with it. And guess what? It works,” she said.

Agustin F. Huneeus learned some very valuable lessons from his father—not all relating to wine. From haggling over pretzel prices as a kid, to learning how to make something special, Agustin Huneeus Sr. taught his son to do something special. “If you’re going to make a wine it had to have something that distinguished it from everything else on the shelf,” was one of those important lessons, he said, calling his father a mentor and a friend.

Agustin Huneeus Sr. purchased a stake in Concha y Toro in 1960, transforming it from jug producer to export powerhouse, the largest winery in Chile. In 1971, he moved to New York to head Seagram’s worldwide operations, including Paul Masson wines and other brands. He moved to California in 1977, founding Noble Vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley, later acquiring Concannon Vineyard in Livermore. Then he launched Franciscan Estates, as well as Estancia Estates, Mount Veeder Winery and Chile’s Veramonte Winery. Franciscan was sold to Constellation in 1999. Huneeus has influenced California wine with a focus on the principle of attaching wine to a place.


Wine Business Monthly honoree Agustin Huneeus Sr. 

“I hesitate to call it business because I’ve met so many people in our business, our activity, that can’t even imagine that they’re supposed to be doing business. They either love what they do and have this wine they want to make, and they live their life passionately with it,” Huneeus Sr. said. “We in our essence have big structures, corporate, and small structures and personal, passionate people--that is the essence of our wine activity.”

As one of the most important early grape growers in the Napa Valley, Andy Beckstoffer knows that being “just a grower” means quite a lot.

“I love being just a grower because by being just a grower we can focus on just growing grapes without other complications and be a partner to the 130 or so wineries we sell to in Napa Valley,” Beckstoffer said. “I like the fact that being growers only means we supply grapes to the new, young, promising winemaker who comes to this valley. We’re able to supply some of the greatest fruit in the valley, and of the 130 we sell to, some are famous—but there was a time when they were simply promising winemakers and we were able to supply them with the grapes to make really great wines.”

The full Top Wine Industry Leaders list will be revealed in the October 2018 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can read the online edition by clicking here on October 1, 2018.

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