The queen is dead, long live the queen. A cryptic phrase: Sad, and, yet an apt and boyant one, as well. It lauds the past, while keeping its focus on the future. A celebration of spirt and continuity both past and present. And this appeared true in the case of the 52nd blessing of the grapes at the Robert Mondavi Winery last Thursday in Oakville, CA.
Last year's historic, 51st anniversary was saddened by the death of Margrit Mondavi on September 2, just as the Napa Valley harvest was moving into gear. The last of the Mondavi link was gone. The grace, charm, and talents of such an inimitable individual can now only be envisioned in memories. Her accomplishments and her contributions will, hopefully, always be noted.
The mood at this year's blessing was, indeed, still a bit somber. Afterall, how do you replace an icon? And, therefore, fond memories of Margrit were shared along with the purpose of the event-- to give thanks to the harvest and see to its future.
A bit ill at ease, Genvieve Janssens, director of winemaking at RMW, was now holding the mike: now doing what Robert had done for so many years, beginning in 1966, when the winery was founded. Then, when Robert was no longer able, and for more than a dozen years, Margrit took over the role. While appearing a bit nervous, and an unwilling spokesperson, Janssens performed assuredly and expertly: perfectly.
Janssens began with a warm smile and quiet demur, and spoke with a depth of knowledge that her flawless background in wine conveys. She spoke, of course, of the present, highly unusual harvest, and also of past memories. She said it is hard to be in the vineyards and to not also think of Robert and Margrit. "I had been working with them for so many years. Sharing their thoughts, their ideas. Their spirits are always in my heart," she said.
According to Janssens, the 2017 harvest was, in fact two harvests for the winery. "We had to deal first with a hail storm that caused leaf and berry damage, and then temperatures that went to 112 degrees for three days." She added that they are very fortunate to have plenty of labor to pick almost all the pinot noir and chardonnay prior to the heat wave that hit the valley in late August. The Bordeaux reds weathered the heat very well, she said. "It took the cabernet two weeks to adjust, but they are excellent; the color is exceptional, and very intense flavor."
Voila: A Star is born. Clearly, Janssens shows that the Mondavi link continues, and the winery has "une Princesse," and future queen.
Janssens is clearly an amazingly complex and talented woman who was knighted by her country of birth, France; nominated winemaker of the year, by her adopted homeland; successfuly launched her two children in both academic and professional pursuits; and spends countless hours along with her husband building hospitals and schools to assist the war torn people of laos.
Her wine back ground is probably unequaled: Born in North Africa where her parents owned vineyards, they returned to France following the loss of French Morocco and Algeria during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s. The family remained in the wine business where they have vineyards and and a winery in France and the island of Corsica.
Janssens has been schooled by the legends of wine: In France she attended the Institut d'Oenologie, at the University of Bordeaux. There, she took course work from two legends in the world of wine: Jean Ribereau-Gayon, considered the father of modern wine science, and Emile Peynaud, who revolutionized the wine growing and wine making process, and is most responsible for the wine style and consultants that have emerged over the past 30 years.
After graduating in 1974, Janssens spent three years in her father's vineyards, and then became a consultant. In 1978 she made a special trip to California, specifically to visit the Robert Mondavi winery, and to, hopefully meet its winemaker, at that time, Zelma Long, one of the first woman winemakers at a large, major winery. Impressed with Janssens' background, Long ultimately offered her a position as a lab assistant. Her Mondavi link began. Her new tutors, along with Ms. Long, now were Robert, Margrit, and Tim Mondavi. And she was a great student.
While wine was her forte, family was her absolute. In 1979 Janssens met and married her husband, Luc Janssens, an artist and pilot born and schooled in Brussels. He was teaching at a small college in the central valley, and she spent the next nine years raising her two children, Georges and Gabrielle, there. She also worked as a consultant for the new wineries springing up in the Sierra foothills.
Repeatedly being enticed back to the Robert Mondavi Winery by Tim, she finally agreed to return in 1989, and after her husband found a position at an East Bay school. Because of her extensive knowledge of French wine, she played a leading role in coordinating the historic union between Robert Mondavi and the Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, and the creation of Opus One. Rothschild, like Mondavi, was a revolutionary in wine. He was able to change his second growth winery, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, to a first growth. No other winery has been able to change its status since the tiered system was created in France back in 1855.
For her work in wine, the French Government has awarded her L'Ordre national du Merite, Agricole. It is an award second only to the Legion d'Honnour. It is an honor similar to the knighthood bestowed in Britain. The award has gone back, at least, to the Third Republic. A similar award was given to Louis Pasteur and Jacques Cousteau. In 2010 Wine Enthusiast made her their winemaker of the year.
She and her husband have a small, bonded winery, where they make a limited quantity of a Bordeaux blend called, Portfolio. The wine is instrumental in raising funds for their on-going project to benefit the people of Laos. A program Luc began while working on his PhD shortly after the Vietnam War. Their foundation through wine sales, auctions, and generous contributions has, raised well over $1 million. The Janssens have been able, with volunteers, to build three schools and two clinics in remote villages. They scour used equipment for these facilities, train nurses, and recruit volunteer doctor to treat illnesses. Surgery from cataracts to cleft-palates are performed.
Genevieve Janssens. A truly complete individual. A truly complete winemaker.
Salut, La Madame, Genevieve. une icone nouveau. And the beat goes on.
On Tuesday, September 26th at 9 AM PDT, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) hosted an up-to-date report on the 2017 harvest in Napa Valley, along with details from the growing season via its annual Harvest Press Conference, streamed live.
The 2017 Harvest Press Conference member speaker panel included:
• Meaghan Becker, General Manager at Quintessa;
• Rory Williams, Assistant Vineyard Manager & Assistant Winemaker at Frog’s Leap Winery;
• Oscar Renteria, CEO and Owner at Renteria Vineyard Management and Renteria Family Wines;
• and moderated by Jennifer Putnam, CEO and Executive Director at Napa Valley Grapegrowers.
New York's grape growers have rejected a Research & Development Order that would have funded research through the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. Results here
While we are understandably disappointed in the results, we are by no means done with our quest to work with the grape and wine industry to create a self-funded and self-directed pool of funds available to support the industry's research needs.
We have learned valuable lessons by going through this Research Order process. The biggest lesson, and most likely the one that will guide our endeavors in this area in the future, is that there are widely varying research and marketing needs by region. It is possible that those needs will actually have to be addressed by different research and marketing funding mechanisms (private and/or public) at different times.
As you may already know, the New York Wine & Grape Foundation already supports a significant amount of grape research $561,550 (FY17-18) in the state. This research is also matched by generous private sector contributions of approximately $255,550 and we anticipate continuing this critical funding stream for 2018 and beyond. - Sam Filler, Executive Director, New York Wine & Grape Foundation
Morten Hallgren comments: Let's make something quite clear. This proposal was NOT rejected by Finger Lakes wineries. This proposal was defeated by juice growers along Lake Erie, that already have funding for their own specific research that has essentially no overlap with that needed in the Finger Lakes or on Long Island for that matter.
So, we were checking this out at the office today.
Cool stuff, look for more about it in the January '18 Wine Business Monthly. ...
The age of talking labels is officially here ... we now point our smart phone with its AR app at the bottles label and before our very eyes, we see a video and find ourselves immersed in the story
Wineries decreased their job postings as of August 2017 according to the latest report released by Winejobs.com. Postings for all winery jobs on the industry's leading job site in August 2017 decreased 1 percent from August 2016, however, are up 5 percent year-to-date.
Harvest positions are up 11% year-to-date. This increase in harvest positions is a prime reason for the increase in winery hiring this year.
Winemaking positions saw the greatest growth in August 2017, up 17 percent from August 2016 and are up 15 percent year-to-date.
DTC, tasting room and retail (Hospitality) jobs decreased slightly in August 2017, down 3 percent from August 2016 but are up 4 percent year-to-date.
Sales & marketing positions decreased in August 2017, down 10 percent from August 2016, and are down 7 percent year-to-date.
NEW- Winejobs.com NOW OFFERS RESUME TRACKING & STORAGE! Log into your winejobs account to see how many times your job was viewed and to review the applications to your job listing.
Winejobs.com is a resource for both job seekers and employers. Since the online job board is specific to the wine industry, retailers will find only the most serious and qualified job candidates. With more than 9,000 jobs posted in 2016, Winejobs.com is unmatched in usage by those seeking to advance their career or grow their company in the wine industry.
About the Winejobs.com Index
The Winejobs.com Index provides a way to measure and compare trends in the wine job market. March 2007 is set with a base index of 100. The following months’ indexes reflect percentage changes since that base index, providing a quick way to gauge rises and drops in job postings. Derived from the leading online wine job board, these changes can be interpreted as industry-wide trends. In 2008, the Winejobs.com Index accurately predicted a severe drop in wine-related jobs prior to the economic recession.
Wine Business Monthly's September 2017 digital edition is now available
Tempranillo and Trials
One of the features that sets Wine Business Monthly apart is the Varietal Focus reports we publish twice a year. They’re a cool reference tool, and can be found in the online archives. We’ve published more than a dozen, covering most major varieties, blends, sparkling wine, and Rosé. This month’s issue features a Varietal Focus on Tempranillo.
In the report, Lance Cutler and the participating winemakers get into the details of making Tempranillo, talk about stylistic goals, about the specifics of what they do to achieve those goals, and also about challenges with Tempranillo: high pH, tannins and vigor. Tempranillo is widely planted throughout the world, it’s the fourth-largest variety in terms of planted acreage, but not that much Tempranillo is made in the U.S.
According to our database, 451 wineries, or just 5 percent of the 9,091 U.S. wineries currently make Tempranillo. Two hundred are from California, 76 are from Oregon, 54 are in Washington and six are from Idaho. (note, there are also 65 wineries making Tempranillo in Texas). Our Tempranillo report contrasts wines from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Lance thinks Tempranillo might be the next big thing and, you never know, he might be right.
Another feature of WBM that sets it apart is an emphasis on vineyard and winery trials. This month we report on a screw cap trial that focused on how different levels of O2 affect a wine’s fruitiness, freshness and other characteristics. The winemaking team held in-house sensory analysis sessions and discussions, but also wanted feedback from peers, so shared the wines with ultra-premium winemakers during the annual Innovation + Quality conference. The session at IQ also included useful discussion of the things that can go wrong with screw caps on the bottling line—things to look out for.
Barrel trials are the most common of all winery trials but our resident curmudgeon suspects that barrel trials all too often are set up in a manner that precludes useful results. So he’s got a few pointers this month about setting up a successful barrel trial.
Topping off this month’s issue are results of a trial where the winemaker fermented separate lots of grapes in both stainless steel and wood barrels. There was a noticeable difference in extraction and aroma and flavor profiles between the two trialed lots. That trial, and more than 70 others we’ve collected so far, can also be found in the Trials Forum that just launched at winebusiness.com/winetrials. It’s a space where winemakers can share trials so that others can learn from their findings. Here’s to finding the next big thing, to useful winemaking trials and to a successful 2017 harvest.
Cyril Penn – Editor
I was a little startled to learn that Dr. Linda Bisson is retiring, effective September 1, 2017. I guess time flies. Although I was still trying to finish my degree, I was already making wine when she joined the Viticulture and Enology faculty so I’ve only had the opportunity to attend Extension courses from her over the years. Though these, and professional organizations like the ASEV, where she has been the science editor of the AJEV for many years. Bisson’s research in yeast genetics is a scientific legacy that will not be surpassed easily.
As V&E Extension Director Kay Bogart reminded me when she informed of Dr. Bisson’s retirement, Bisson’s early contributions, “A few years ago she put most of the teaching material she used for the initial UCD Extension winemaking class on the UCD V&E website. Much of it can be found under Enology Resources here: http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/industry/enology/index.html There is a wealth of information there, as well as other data searchable through the wineserver website. There is also a collection of all the videos we posted from V&E Extension programs there.”
A self-professed explorer, David Parrish is no stranger to new discoveries. Heralded for pioneering the GSP trellising system, Parrish continues his vineyard adventures, this time touting the benefits of a new shade cloth he’s developed.
Wine Business Monthly recently took a tour of his vineyard in Paso Robles, where the newly installed shade cloth is proving beneficial for a number of the grapes he’s growing--he’s also finding applications in the Central Valley, on kiwi, peach and cherry plants.
In a nutshell, his shade cloth can prevent 70 percent of the UVA and UVB light from reaching the grape, provides sunburn protection from the harsh afternoon sun and allows longer hang-time and more even ripening of grapes, the latter is said to create a higher phenolic profile. In rougher, calcareous soils, the cloth has been shown to help take some stress off the vines, allowing it to spend its energy on fruit and canopy development.
“It gives you the ability and cover to do all the crazy things you want to do to a vine to boost phenolics,” Parrish said, showing that some of the trials and testing he’s run show anthocyanin levels much higher than “Napa levels” of 250+.
Parrish designed the material himself and, produces, sells and installs it. It features black thread reinforcement, frequently and evenly spaced holes to connect to existing trellis systems and a mesh consistency to allow air and some light to reach through. Most importantly, Parrish stressed that white was the best color for vineyard shade cloth.
There hasn’t been much precedent in shade cloth research. Duckhorn Wine Co. published a paper in 2007, testing blue, red and white cloth, and there has been some research from UC Davis and other viticulture schools. Speaking on the basis of his decades of vineyard experience, white reflects and transmits light, diffusing the full spectrum of color. Black, on the other hand, only absorbs it.
Winemakers on the Central Coast are appreciating its benefits. Daniel Daou has been using it for the last four years, and Parrish recounted a year in which his own grapes went without shade cloth because he sold out of the material. Parrish sells a number of his own grapes to wineries like L’Aventure, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, Clos Selene and Edna Valley Vineyards.
His shade cloth runs about $68 per acre in material $50 per acre in labor to install and lasts 10 seasons. He places the cloth on the vine just before veraison and removes it a few days before harvest. By using this cloth, Parrish saw a 15 percent savings in juice, thanks to fewer raisins and damaged berries.
“Light is free and abundant and when it is we don’t think about ‘how do you manipulate it.’—but photosynthesis is so important.”
Breaking News: We received this statement regarding ownership changes at Adelsheim Vineyard.
In Order to Remain Locally and Independently Owned, Founders David and Ginny Adelsheim Sell Their Ownership to Lynn and Jack Loacker, Co-Owners Since 1994
Newberg, Oregon (July 24, 2017) – Adelsheim Vineyard announces today that Lynn and Jack Loacker have purchased the ownership of David and Ginny Adelsheim and are now 100% owners of the winery, started in 1971.
“Nearly 25 years ago, we made a commitment to Adelsheim Vineyard and became partners with David and Ginny. It’s a partnership we’ve enjoyed immensely. We all agree that keeping the winery in the hands of local owners should be the future for Adelsheim Vineyard. We thank David for his years of dedication and leadership. It is an honor for us to ensure that his vision and legacy continue.” – Lynn and Jack Loacker
Founder David Adelsheim recently transitioned all day-to-day operations, including vineyard and winery, finance, administration, marketing, and sales, to new CEO, Joth Ricci. David will continue an active role with the winery, focusing on large picture issues like the legacy of the winery, the role of the wine industry in Oregon, and expanding export sales.
“For 46 years, this industry has been my life. It is the fulfillment of a dream Ginny and I had when we were in our 20’s. I have to admit there is a bittersweetness to stepping away from ownership, but I am excited to be able to continue work in the areas that are critical to the winery and the state. Ginny and I are grateful to our long-time partners Lynn and Jack Loacker, who are committed to keeping Adelsheim independent and locally owned, and to our new CEO, Joth Ricci, who has an amazing set of business skills (that I never had) and will be able to lead the winery into an amazing future.”- David Adelsheim
Canned wines are HOT right now -- we get press releases about new brands of canned wine being released every week! Are you thinking about canning your wine? Check out Bill Pregler's What's Cool column in the July issue to learn about the individual components of a new canning line installed at Free Flow Wines and their protocol for maintaining strict quality control standards as well as the compliance certification of “can-to-product” as required by Ball Beverage Packaging (the makers of aluminum cans). Visit www.winebusiness.com/wbm to access the digital issue of WBM or click here to subscribe to the print edition.