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Wednesday, January 18, 2017
January 18, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

 

 

Presqu’ile Winery

2015 Pinot Noir Rosé
Finding the Right Freshness in Rosé

 

The Murphys have long been fans of some of the best Pinot Noirs in the world—from those made in the illustrious Old World Burgundy region, to the (relatively) new Californian wines. The attraction to the grape is based on a lure toward wine with freshness, and the family found that Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noirs are much preferred.

“I’ve worked short stints at wineries that were pulling Pinot Noir from all over the state and even from Oregon, and I noticed that the balance of the savory and spicy quality we got from the Santa Maria Valley were super interesting. I love the cinnamon elegance,” said co-founder and president of Presqu’ile Winery, Matt Murphy.

So, in 2007, the Murphys acquired 200 acres just 16 miles from the Pacific Ocean and planted 73 acres to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. Led by Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey, Presqu’ile Winery was formed on the basis of creating the best cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that California could offer.
 

The full story on Presqu'ile Winery ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

by Cyril Penn | January 18, 2017 | 7:00 AM

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) released its annual State of the Wine Industry Report today and the report forecasts sales growth of 10-14 percent.

The report’s author, Rob McMillan will be discussing the annual report in a live videocast online this morning. If you’ve missed the live broadcast, a reply will be available later. No doubt there will be press reports today and over the next few days summarizing the findings.

Here’s a link to a press release and another to download the full report: http://www.svb.com/wine-report/
I always look forward to reading this report, and it covers a lot of ground, from the big sales trends to what’s happening in restaurants to grape supply to demographic shifts. There’s a lot to like about this report. One of the things I like best is that Rob makes predictions, then goes over them the following year to see if he was right or not and why. More often than not the predictions are spot on.

It’s a long report but easy to read, so I’d encourage readers to go to the source.
My favorite chart in the report is toward the end, you can find it on page 59, “Winery Financial Benchmarks.” This is data you’re not going to find anywhere else. Survey respondents estimated that average sales growth for the year will end up at 11.9 percent.

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
January 17, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

 

Mi Sueño Winery

2012 Russian River Pinor Noir
An Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge

Rolando Herrera might just be the hardest-working vineyard manager/cellar rat/winemaker/designer/salesman in the business. The man does it all. From humble beginnings in El Llano, Mexico to washing dishes at Auberge du Soleil, to the founder and winemaker of his own winery, Herrera has learned every facet of the business. He’s built a self-sufficient winemaking enterprise in the Napa Valley and still maintains the family farm/business feel.

Harnessing his insatiable desire to learn, Herrera spent his formative years in the wine business learning from rockstars—and knew when to seize an opportunity when one presented itself. He’s referred to quite a few of his decisions as the “best decisions I’ve ever made.”

The full story on Mi Sueño Winery ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Monday, January 16, 2017
January 16, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

LVVR Cellars

NV Blanc de Blanc
Keeping it Local in Lodi
 

In the long-established wine region of Lodi, California, one man is forging a new category: sparkling wine.

That’s not to say he’s reinventing the wheel, or even the first to make a Lodi sparkling wine, but he certainly saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the region, and is capitalizing on it.

For Eric Donaldson, Lodi has been a great stepping stone. He has been welcomed by the Lodi community: with low barriers to entry, friendly winemakers and growers and high-quality fruit, Lodi was the perfect place for him to start his winery, and now he wants to give back.
 

The full story on LVVR Cellars ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.
 

Friday, January 13, 2017
January 13, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

 

Infinite Monkey Theorem

2013 Syrah
Capturing the Urban Market

When Wine Business Monthly first heard about Infinite Monkey Theorem, the editors thought the winery’s wine-in-a-can brand would be a shoe-in for its Hot Brands list. Wine-in-a-can, as a category, is seeing some phenomenal growth—especially amongst the younger “experience-oriented” demographic—and publications across the world are catching on (see WBM’s 2013 Hot Brands list, which featured Union Wine Company’s can solution, as an example). But we were pleasantly surprised when, as we were tasting through Infinite Monkey Theorem’s portfolio, we were so blown away by the Colorado-grown and -made Syrah that we had to change our plans.

After talking with winemaker Ben Parsons, we learned that in addition to a killer Syrah, he’s got a good pulse on the future of the wine industry—and a business plan to match.
 

The full story on Infinite Monkey Theorem ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.
 

Thursday, January 12, 2017
January 12, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

 

Illahe Vineyards

2014 Estate Pinot Noir
Remaining True to the Farm

Nestled amongst the hills of the Willamette Valley, on a south-facing slope with stunning views of the region, lies Illahe Vineyards and Winery. A warm spot, this vineyard seems in every way the typical, picturesque site you would imagine for northwestern Oregon: rolling hills, vines and farms for miles, and a multi-level wine production facility in the background. At first glance, Illahe Vineyards could be just any Oregon winery, until you notice a horse pulling a ton of grapes up the slope to the winery.

When Brad Ford and his (now) wife Bethany Ford first purchased the vineyard site in conjunction with Lowell and Pauline Ford in 2000, they planted Pinot Noir and sold the grapes to more established Willamette Valley wineries, like Bethel Heights, Cristom Vineyards and others. As the vineyard matured and gained recognition for its Pinot Noir, Brad decided that the time was right for him to start making his own wine. In 2006, just after he finished up the viticulture and enology program at the local community college, he made his first vintage.

It was around that time that a local reporter out of The Dalles, Oregon, stumbled on the winery and interviewed Brad. The reporter asked, “What does this vineyard do that other vineyards in the area don’t?” and Brad was dumbfounded. He said he didn’t have an answer. “He gave a strange face at that answer. I thought, ‘This is not good.’ People are curious to see something different,” he said.

The full story on Illahe Vineyards ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017
January 11, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.
 

Fujishin Family Cellars

2014 Amatino Red Blend
Making Wine Amid Idaho's Renaissance

Though farmers have been growing winegrapes in the state since the 1800s, Idahoan wine is breathing new life in the 2000s. When Prohibition started, the industry failed, and took much longer to revitalize itself than other states after the ban was lifted. In 1976, there was just one winery in the state. That grew to 11 in 2002, and in 2015, 51 wineries called Idaho home.

“In the early 2000s, the industry started to become an industry that was working well. New blood came in,” said Martin Fujishin, owner and winemaker for Fujishin Family Cellars. It was from these pioneers that Fujishin was able to learn about winemaking in the state. He started as tasting room manager at Koenig Winery in 2003 and worked his way up to cellar master and then to assistant winemaker. It was at the Koenig winemaker’s suggestion that Fujishin start his own winery.

He is now part of a third wave of growth in the state, where educating consumers about wine quality is a much higher priority. Though quality has always been a part of wine-growing and winemaking in Idaho, the challenge now is two-fold: find a niche to rally wineries around and then market that to consumers who are often befuddled that Idaho wine actually exists.

The full story on Fujishin Family Cellars ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.
 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
January 10, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Starting today, we are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

 

Amavi Cellars

2015 Walla Walla Valley Semillon
Forging Interest in a Lesser-known Varietal

Jean-Francois Pellet has been making wine in Washington state for decades. When he signed on as a partner/winemaker at Pepper Bridge Estate in 1999, there were only 18 wineries in Walla Walla. Today there are more than 100—but a very few number are making Semillon.

In the early days, the Switzerland native, along with the Goff and McKibben families, planted a variety of Bordeaux varietals for the Pepper Bridge Brand. Eventually, an interest in Syrah gained traction in the region, and Pellet knew it was time for the Pepper Bridge family to try its hand with the grape. However, the partners had already decided that they would not grow or make anything other than Bordeaux varietals for their Pepper Bridge brand.

Thus was the basis for the formation of Amavi Cellars—to focus on Syrah—but Pellet was thinking about the vineyard he had in his native Switzerland, the land planted to Semillon. He asked the owners if he could “borrow” a couple vineyard rows and made his first barrel of the grape in 2001, the single barrel that vintage. The wine proved a hit and since then, total production has multiplied to anywhere from 800 to 1,000 cases per year, which are poured and sold mostly in the tasting room and for visiting sommeliers.

 

The full story on Amavi Cellars ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017
January 9, 2017 | 3:00 PM

Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Top 10 Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we’ve tasted during the year.

Through the years, the definition of “hot” has changed for us. When the list was first created, an oversupply of wine created a market full of “critter labels” and high-production, low-priced brands that would sell like “hot”-cakes. Eventually oversupply part of the wine cycle ended and so did that particular meaning of this list. Now, the Top 10 Hot Brands list delves into what it means to be a part of the American wine industry, part of the American wine culture. And that culture is increasingly more diverse.

This year, we’ve selected wines from pioneers, newcomers, long-standing winemakers and more. While each may grow a different grape or go about making wine in unorthodox ways, all the winemakers selected reflect the diversity that is the wine culture in the United States and all have an innate desire to produce something they, and the consumer, will love.

In the end, this list is comprised of wines that we here at Wine Business Monthly would serve to winemakers. Starting today, we are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands, one per day, in no particular order, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at cafeteria 15L.

 

Dan Cohn Cellars

2014 Bellacosa
Legacy Son Steps Out on His Own

Many recent college graduates looking for employment will tell you that often it’s not your qualifications or achievements that finally land you a job—the old adage that “it’s not only what you know, it’s who you know” has been engrained into their brains.

Truer words could not be said for Dan Cohn, son of Bruce Cohn and former CEO of B.R. Cohn Winery (which was sold to Vintage Wine Estates in 2015). Born and raised in wine country to a family that ended up creating one of the most well-known Sonoma County brands, Dan learned about grape growing and winemaking from a very early age from some of the industry’s most respected figures, including Helen Turley, Merry Edwards and Steve MacRostie, while working 24 hours a day on a press or jumping in to clean a tank. All the while he was watching people he admits knew much more about winemaking than his family did....
 

The full story on Dan Cohn Cellars ~ and all our Hot Brands ~ will be available in our February 2017 issue of Wine Business Monthly. You can come by our booth (#1620) at Unified and pick up a copy or click here to subscribe to WBM.

Thursday, December 1, 2016
December 1, 2016 | 11:18 AM

Wine Business Monthly's December 2016 digital edition is now available.

Inside December 2016 you will find our:

2016 Year in Review
50 Top Leaders
Top News Stories
Top Products
Mergers & Acquisitions Review
Top People Moves

plus:
2016 Barrel & Oak Survey Report
Mark Greenspan: Chilean Vineyards and Wines: Could be a Contender

Winemaker Trial:
Analyzing the Phenolic and Sensory Effects of Red Blotch-Infected Vines
When the winemaker at Halter Ranch saw lost yields and flavor reductions in some blocks of Red Blotch-infected Cabernet, he set out to discover just how different these vines were from non-infected vines.

also:
Industry Roundtable: Vineyard Loans
Growers Showing Interest in H-2A Visa Program

Click here to subscribe to the print version of WBM. Click here to view all digital editions of WBM, including August.

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