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Wine Business Monthly Announces Winners of Second Annual Innovation Awards

Innovation + Quality 2016 Starts This Week
by Press Release
February 28, 2016

NAPA, CA -- Wine Business Monthly’s editorial mission is to help wineries and growers evaluate and successfully deploy innovative new products. Each month, WBM publishes Bill Pregler’s “What’s Cool” column, where Pregler focuses on an innovative new product; and each year we publish the top Cool Products from the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium as selected by senior technical editor Curtis Phillips. In addition, we write articles throughout the year about new product categories that are advancing quality in the wine industry. From these, and with help from the 2016 Innovation + Quality (IQ) Advisory Board, the winners of the second annual IQ Awards were chosen and include both Product Categories as well as individual products that we believe are the best of the best.

Winning products have been hand-selected by the IQ Advisory Board and the WBM editorial team solely on criteria of innovation relevant to ultra-premium wineries. These innovative products and services for winemakers will be featured at a special, curated Innovative Products showcase at the IQ conference and tradeshow. These products will also be honored at the IQ 2016 Awards Ceremony the night before the IQ conference.

Innovation + Quality 2016 is a new forum for ultra-premium wineries focused on cutting-edge innovations that advance wine quality. This day-long event will take place March 2, 2016 at Charles Krug Winery in the Napa Valley. For more information, visit

Innovative Product Categories

Vineyard Mapping
Understanding the intricacies of vine variability within a vineyard is key for management of any vineyard, but is especially salient for high-end vineyards looking to get the best quality out of their vineyards. Variations in vine growth and fruit development compromise quality as well as productivity. Furthermore, knowledge about how soils and topography vary on a site will allow soils to be amended and tilled in a site-specific manner, and vineyard blocks be designed to minimize variability in soil qualities. Various technologies are available that aid growers in reducing variability and managing existing vineyards that exhibit variability. Aerial imagery has improved over the years, becoming less expensive while delivering more options for map types, such as canopy density maps, thermal maps, and maps of other plant stresses. Also, some growers are using frequently acquired (e.g., weekly or bi-weekly) images to track the onset of problems, such as irrigation leaks, pest and disease outbreaks and water stress. This provides a tool for real-time, directed action in the vineyard. New, high-density soil characteristic maps may be generated using combinations of technologies, and can provide detailed spatial maps for vineyard developments, problem solving and vineyard improvement measures.

OverView is a real-time aerial imagery service for agriculture. Every week during the growing season, TerrAvion delivers a bird’s-eye view of a farm in multiple wavelengths. Using this imagery, a grower can plan scouting, management activities and interventions. OverView can be used to optimize irrigation to improve yield and uniformity or reduce water use; make scouting more efficient; detect anomalies caused by disease or pests; supervise and monitor interventions to improve timing and applications; save labor by letting managers take on more acres and by having fewer, but more targeted, trips to outlying fields and improve the efficiency of operations with better communication.

Ground-based SIS

The Soil Information System (SIS) solution, part of Trimble’s Connected Farm, is a soil mapping technology that uses advanced sensors and intelligent targeting and geo-processing algorithms to produce high-resolution, accurate soil and topographic information. By providing a greater understanding of the physical and chemical characterization of the soil, including how inputs move through the soil, SIS enables farmers to implement more effective solutions to resolve the unique challenges of each area of their fields. This information can be used to make critical farm management decisions with irrigation, drainage, fertility and more.

Aerial Imaging
Based in Saint Helena, CA, VineView has been providing remote sensing services to the winegrape industry since 2002. VineView uses state-of-the-art equipment and image processing techniques to deliver high-quality imaging products from Multispectral and Hyperspectral systems. In addition to calibrated EVI and infrared, VineView now offers RedleafMap (leafroll and Red Blotch mapping) and H2OstressMap (water stress mapping). Aerial images are a valuable tool for many aspects of vineyard management and can help growers improve grape quality, identify disease, save time and resources, and reduce the environmental impacts of farming.

Aerial Imaging
GrayHawk, based in Napa, provides airborne scientific imaging and mapping services specifically designed for California winegrowers. Products include: NDVI imagery (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, both Relative and Calibrated), Red Leaf Mapping, change detection, nutrient deficiency detection, vertical and oblique aerial photography, Vine Stats Reports, and geo-referenced interactive PDF maps that allow users to add data, voice and images to their map, while also being able to measure direction, area and distance. GrayHawk is the only airborne provider in California to have its sensors calibrated by the NASA-Ames Research Airborne Sensor Facility. As an integrated company it owns its aircraft, sensors, cameras and processing equipment in order to meet client time requirements and control quality. Providing custom imaging flights for individual vineyards is Grayhawk’s main activity, but imaging large viticulture regions for an archive database is also done annually.

Advanced Reconnaissance Corporation
AgVu is a complete and diverse crop analysis map that shows farmers areas of their field that need attention before they become untreatable. The information obtained can help identify issues related to irrigation, fertilization, weed propagation, crop health, crop maturity, evolution of crop growth and even variations in crop types. AgVu provides crop analysis information in an easy-to-view, personalized, cost-effective means to aid farmers in improving their yields and reducing costs. At one low price for the entire growing season, AgVu maps are provided every other week.

Barrel Stave Selection by Phenolic Chemistry

We chose Barrel Stave Selection by Phenolic Chemistry as a category of innovation because it represents a fundamental shift in how coopers make barrels. The emphasis has moved from the oak’s origin to its compositional chemistry. The ability to measure the phenolic composition of each individual stave on the production line and use this data to raise barrels where all the staves have a known composition allows the cooper to exercise much more control over the processes. We may never reach a consensus as to which phenolic values make the ideal barrel for any given wine, but without measurement and experimentation we can’t even begin to try to figure that out.

Vicard Generation 7
Tannin Selection Barrels
Jean-Charles Vicard created VICARD Generation 7 on the premise that controlling for the high degree of variability in barrels is achievable through the combination of precise tannin level management and state-of-the-art, computerized toasting. With independent, scientific confirmation of the impact of tannin selection and computerized toasting, Jean-Charles Vicard turned his attention to shape and form and has created a unique barrel based on The Golden Ratio: Phi, 1.618. This specialized barrel, made entirely by hand and requiring specialized skills to achieve the golden ratio, is available in all three tannin levels but extremely limited in production. Le Nombre d’or represents the perfect union of science, technology, design and artisan achievement.

Demptos Napa Cooperage
The Demptos Essencia oak barrel is made exclusively from wood selected for its naturally high level of norisoprenoids. It has a resolutely modern design and harmoniously imparts a rich and complex flavor to wine.

Seguin Moreau Napa Cooperage
ICÔNE Concept
Seguin Moreau’s ICÔNE concept is a method of chemical analysis of wood’s extractable substances to identify oenological potential. The end product is a barrel precisely targeted to particular types of barrel aging to achieve specific and reproducibly elegant results. Seguin Moreau’s research and development manager Andrei Prida and his team have taken the study of oak wood’s grain composition and its interaction with wine further, towards the molecular level of oak barrels and the chemical reactions that determine a wine’s aroma and flavor quality. To determine the role of oak-derived flavor compounds, Prida studied the correlation between the flavor impact that chemical compounds, such as tannins and phenolics, impart and the actual flavor attributes winemakers seek for their wines. As a result, the cooperage now tests rough oak staves and segments those with specific makeup of the compounds that will benefit full-bodied red wines, lending finesse and predictability. The staves are re-tested throughout the aging cycle to ensure their suitability for the ICÔNE program.

Tonnellerie Radoux
Tannins have a crucial impact on the organoleptic properties of the wines or spirits they enrich. Until now, a time-consuming laboratory analysis was required to measure ellagitannins in wood. Tonnellerie Radoux, along with researchers at INRA and CEMAGREF, have developed a unique technology which instantly measures the polyphenol/tannin content of wood: Oakscan. With Oakscan, it’s now possible to adapt the tannic potential of each barrel depending on the customers’ requirements, the demands of a grape variety or the characteristics of a vintage. Each oak stave is scanned using Near Infrared Spectrometry and bar-coded based on its tannin level, allowing Radoux to guarantee the homogeneity of tannins in barrels, further refining the traditional methods of selecting wood by grain type. Radoux’s proprietary Oakscan technology is now being applied to the Pronektar line of insertable tank staves, extending the benefit of homogenous and specific tannin profiles to oak adjuncts.

Pure T
Pure T is the result of in-house research, with proprietary work on anti-oxidant capacity. Taransaud’s research team created a patented machine that can measure the antioxidant capacity of oak staves through a patented electro-chemical method. Oak tannins have high anti-oxidant properties, with the power to preserve the freshness of the wine, essentially by neutralizing some of the effects of oxygen exposure. This power can vary, based on several parameters: oak origin, species, grain, seasoning length, toasting, type and quality of tannins, etc. The new machine measures the resulting antioxidant capacity. Taransaud has used these results to adjust those parameters, combined with other structural properties (stave thickness, number of staves), to give the barrel a maximal anti-oxidant capacity. Pure T has been developed to respect the freshness of high-end white wines and enhance the fruit characteristics and aromas. This barrel is recommended for Burgundy-style Chardonnays seeking freshness and minerality. It can also be used for white varietals where fruit freshness is a key element.

Innovative Products

BlueMorph UV Tank Sanitizer
The BlueMorph is a big UV light that is put inside a cleaned, empty tank in order to sanitize it. It uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, yeast and other microbes. The idea behind BlueMorph is pretty well-established. Ultraviolet light is used as the final step to kill microbes in many hospitals and public water districts. The BlueMorph provides effective sanitation with no chemicals, no residuals and no water.

Barrel Safe
Barrel Safe Seismically Stable rack-on-rack Barrel Racks
With little or no change to existing cellar protocol, this patented rack-on-rack storage system provides protection for staff who perform daily cellar work. It also mitigates wine and barrel asset loss due to seismic instability and/or forklift and movement accidents; increases gallon storage in the barrel cellar with the option for safer stacking at six to eight barrels high; reclaims vertical storage capacity; allows increased productivity and ease of movement throughout the cellar and allows flexibility to combine different cooperage without compromising stability (i.e., Bordeaux and Burgundy side by side). It features wheeled racks for barrel fermentation/lees stirring with no introduction of oxygen to wine.

Vicard Generation 7
ECO 27
The ECO 27 barrel, made from the upper branches of 200-year-old French oaks, is a cost-effective option for winemakers who would like the oenological and marketing benefits of French oak barrels in their programs but at a dramatically lower price point. The ECO 27 technology uses multiple patented processes, including laser detection of high risk porosity areas in the medullary ray while the barrel is under high pressure and liquid paraffin injection targeted at leak points. The pressure is then reversed to a vacuum that pulls the paraffin into the leaks, effectively sealing them. Launched worldwide in 2014, the ECO 27 has quickly become a valuable alternative to the increasingly high cost and scarcity of American oak, not only with large wine groups but also with smaller high-end wineries that benefit from using “100 percent French oak barrels” on their second-tier wine marketing materials.

Della Toffola
Ceramic Membrane Cross-flow Filters
Della Toffola has developed a highly innovative cross-flow filtration system based on the use of ceramic membranes for applications in the wine and beverage industries with automatic production cycles and low environmental impact. These ceramic membranes can filter any type of product with up to 30 percent inlet concentration of suspended solids and ensure better clarity, the maximum recovery of product and keep processing losses to a minimum. Their resistance to high temperatures means less time is needed for cleaning. Della Toffola Ceramic Membrane Cross-Flow Filters provide superior durability, thus are able to deliver longer filtration runs at more consistent flow rates. Filtration is also fully automated, with continuous operations. They significantly reduce production costs and the impact on the environment, while at the same time providing a wine quality advantage compared to other cross-flow filters. Models from CFKN30 to CFKI1000 are available, but even larger models can be made upon request.

Laffort USA
Oenolees was developed as a result of eight years of research Laffort conducted on the properties of yeast lees and their importance in wine fining. Oenolees is a specific preparation of yeast cell walls enriched with a specific peptide fraction extracted from yeast cells. The cell wall component works as a fining agent to remove specific polyphenols responsible for bitterness and astringency. The peptide fraction dissolves into the wine and elevates midpalate sensation—this peptide is what is naturally released by yeast during autolysis (maturing on lees). Oenolees can replace bad (off) natural lees for sur lie aging—if fruit comes in moldy or the fermentation gets reductive, the winemaker will rack off lees for aging. Adding Oenolees allows the wine to have the same effect as aging on its natural lees. When a winemaker must use copper sulfate to remove reduction from a wine, Oenolees can be added to remove excess copper and replace midpalate weight that was removed in the copper fining treatment. It can also be used to replace egg white or gelatin fining in countries that require allergen labeling for the wine industry.

Pulsair Systems, Inc.
“Pneumatage” is an innovative and proven method for efficiently managing grape skin caps during red wine fermentation and wine blending. The Pneumatage process works by pulsing large bubbles of compressed air or gas near the bottom of the fermentation tank. The rising bubbles provide uniform temperature distribution, keep yeasts healthy and efficiently wet the cap to enhance the extraction of flavor, tannins and color into the juice. This process maintains freshness, reduces bacteria formation and helps expel unwanted wine mercaptans and volatile sulfur compounds. Unlike other methods, Pneumatage breaks up the cap into individual berries and then circulates them in the juice, which keeps the cap in a semi-loose state making it easier and more efficient to periodically conduct the Pneumatage.

Chr. Hansen
Viniflora Concerto
This specialty yeast for winemakers has been trialed the past three years in the United States with great success. The yeast has been selected by Chr. Hansen for its ability to convert sugars into lactic acid and therefore increase wine total acidity. The yeast belongs to the species Kluyveromyces thermotolerans and is one of the more interesting winemaking tools now available for winemakers who produce red or white wines in warm climate conditions. It is meant to be used in sequential inoculation where Concerto initiates the alcoholic fermentation and then a classical Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strain will achieve the primary fermentation. This yeast-selected strain is a natural way to balance wines to bring acidity and a hint of additional flavor complexity.

NomaSense PolyScan B200
The NomaSense PolyScan B200 analyzer allows rapid quantification and characterization of the phenolic composition of grape, must and wine. Based on these indications, winemaking steps, such as pressing, fining or skin contact, can be tailored more precisely and decision-making in the winery can be adapted to the actual phenolic composition of the grapes. The NomaSense PolyScan B200 is an analyzer that characterizes the phenolic profile of a wine, from an electrochemical measurement of all the oxidizable compounds. For the first time, this kind of analysis can be applied directly in the winery, without samples preparation, thanks to the use of miniaturized disposable sensors. The NomaSense PolyScan B200 provides three indices with a practical interest as the matrix and the time of vinification: EasyOx, PhenOx and TannOx. In just a few clicks and in less than three minutes, the winemaker can obtain relevant parameters, such as total and easily oxidized phenolics, as well as tannins in the case of grape samples.

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