This Issue of The Grapevine Magazine

Agrothermal Systems Press Release

Barrel Oak Winery Eliminated Miticide and Powdery Mildew Treatments, Increased Yield 30% Sustainable Thermaculture® technology improves wine, and bottom line, in challenging East Coast climate. Napa, CA, January 30, 2018 (Newswire.com) – ​Barrel Oak Winery in Northern Virginia faces constant growing challenges presented by typical East Coast weather: Rain, freezing temperatures, and humidity. “With our inability to produce organic wine in this state, we started looking for solutions to help us get one step closer,” reported Barrel Oak’s Winemaker and Viticulturist, Shai Van Gelder. Van Gelder approached Agrothermal Systems® looking to increase overall yield, improve wine quality, and explore Integrated Pest Management (IPM) potential while maintaining a sustainable approach. The trial was conducted during the 2017 season on 24 rows of premium Petit […]

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Agrothermal Strategic Partnerships Expand

    Agrothermal Strategic Partnerships Expand EU Marketing Team and Machine Designs for General Agriculture BAB-Bamps to build row crop machines and PCS to market Thermaculture® to non-viticulture crops in Europe. Napa, CA, January 3, 2018 (Newswire.com) – ​Agrothermal Systems® announces a significant expansion of its sales and machine manufacturing capabilities, signing agreements with two Belgium-based entities: BAB-Bamps of St. Truiden Belgium, an agricultural machine manufacturing company, and PCS, a marketing and sales organization based in Brussels and St. Truiden. Agrothermal Systems Founder and CEO, Marty Fischer stated, “The addition of these two companies in the EU marks our expansion into fresh produce and other non-viticulture crop applications after focusing our Thermaculture technology in viticulture for the last 6 years. We […]

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5 Ways Product Management Can Make the Most of Your Hard Work

Everyone in the wine industry is working hard and having a skilled Product Manager may make that work count for much more than it is already. When operating in a dense, established, and competitive market like wine a Product Manager can help avoid costly mistakes or wasted effort for any wine producer or wine brand. A common role in Silicon Valley, many wine pros may never have heard of a Product Manager, yet bringing this concept into the wine business can link together company effort. There are five key ways a Product Manager can make the most of a wine company’s work: by gathering market feedback, representing the customer’s voice inside the winery, developing a product strategy, preparing the sales […]

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Barrel Care (Part 1)

Barrels can be one of the best places to store certain wines. This is mostly subject to what style of wine one wants to produce, how one cares for the full barrels and how one stores barrels that are empty. The best rule of thumb for many is: A full barrel is a “happy” or “safe” barrel. The author does want to disclose he represents Demptos Napa Cooperage on the East Coast of the United States. Water will be mentioned many times in this article. It is assumed the water is always chlorine free water. Do not use chlorinated water on barrels. When? Every winemaker has his own way of taking care of his barrels. In essence, there is no […]

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Part II – Defining “Optimal” Grape maturity for WineGrowers

Note: Part I – Published in the Nov./Dec. 2017 Issue of the GV. By: Piero Spada, Vineyard & Winery Consultant Defining “optimal” grape maturity is a bit like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. First and foremost, an ideal harvest point for “optimal” wine production more than likely doesn’t exist. After all, the grape itself is only concerned with how to increase it’s chances at reproducing, not making wine. Lastly, optimal maturity or ripeness is a subjective art form – both from a final wine style and aroma/flavor potential standpoint. Despite this challenge, there are several techniques you can utilize as a vineyard manager to increase and assess aroma potential in grapes. Taste The Fruit! The easiest method for […]

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Long Shadows Vintners: Wines and Vineyards of Distinction

For the past 30 years, Washington State’s wine industry has enjoyed unprecedented growth and is now the second largest producer of premium wines in the United States. It’s not surprising, then, that here, in the acclaimed growing region of the Columbia Valley, one would find Long Shadows Vintners, a collection of seven ultra-premium wines created from local grapes by the finest winemakers in the world. Founded in 2003 by Washington State wine pioneer, Allen Shoup, the Long Shadows vision was inspired by Napa Valley vintner Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, who collaborated in the late 1970s to merge old world and new world wine styles into one grand wine, Opus One. The […]

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Pruning in the vineyard – Considerations for Optimal Vine Health

Training Systems in the Vineyard There are two main training systems that are used in the vineyard: Cane pruning also known as Guyot training: A long one-year old cane is trained annually from the head of the vine along the fruiting wire. In high quality production areas one or two canes are trained to produce grapes the following year. The present year fruiting cane(s) must be removed completely during pruning. A disadvantage of cane pruning is that it requires skilled shoot positioning and leaf removal to avoid microclimates that favor foliar and fruit fungal infection. However, since the wood is renewed in a yearly basis this type of system is less prone to become infected with fungal trunk pathogens . […]

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Growers Have Choices in Trellising

A trellis is the backbone of a vineyard, but it’s hardly a one-type-suits all structure, experts say. They note picking the right system is crucial, and a grower has to consider numerous factors in choosing one. There are a lot of boxes to be checked before deciding on a system – labor, climate, costs and even grape variety among them. The trellis, after all, is the framework that keeps weighty vines suspended and shows them ample sun. Which Way Should a Grower Go? “It often depends where you are,” said Michael Schmidt, President of Spec Trellising, an Ivyland, Pennsylvania-based trellis and equipment supplier. A single-wire, or cordon, system is the most cost-friendly format. Growers erect end posts extending five to […]

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Out of the Fire They Rise: California’s Wine Industry Won’t Stay Down for Long

What should have been a typical day ended in disaster for California’s Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley wine regions. On Sunday, October 8, 2017, a fire began to spread across the region. By the next morning, thousands of acres had burned, and already 10 people had died, surprised by the blaze and unable to get out of their homes in time. It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. By the time it was over, 43 people were dead, an estimated 8,900 home and businesses were destroyed, 245,000 acres were burned and more than 100,000 California residents were forced to evacuate. Combating the blaze took over 11,000 firefighters. As of October 31, insured losses were estimated at […]

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The Most Common Types of Financing Available on the Market for your Business

Let’s talk about money. In order for your agricultural and wine business to grow – sufficient funds are needed to take on projects, making purchases and expanding your operations to become more efficient and in turn make more money. It sounds so simple, right? Business owners, both small and large, often go to banks for financial assistance. While banks are one avenue for support, they are not the only establishment. I am here to share with you the most common types of financing you’ll come across and whom you can get them from. As commercial financing experts working in the industry for over 30 years, we would like to share with you the most common and beneficial financing programs out […]

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BALANCED VINES MAKE BALANCED WINES….DON’T THEY?

Balanced vines make balanced wines….one often hears this statement, even written by wine judges, but how many growers know what a balanced vine looks like. I suppose most, but not everyone knows how to simply measure it, and how to manage vineyards to achieve balance. Here I want to define vine balance, to talk about the symptoms or appearance of out of balance vines, and to discuss management strategies to achieve balanced wines. Background to Vine Balance A vine consists of a woody framework (trunk, head, cordons, roots etc), a shoot system with leaves, fruit, tendrils etc, all connected to a root system, consisting of thick structural roots and thin feeder roots. We usually think of roots from the viewpoint […]

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When Life Gives You Ice, You Make Icewine

Not too long after Labor Day, Canadians start to notice a chill in the air and the sun setting a little earlier each day. While some look forward to spectacular snow conditions and others retreat south to warmer climates, Canadian winemakers keep a careful eye on the falling temperatures. As the forecasters predict drops toward -8° Celsius, (nearing 15° Fahrenheit) growers carefully monitor the vines and put their small army of pickers on stand-by. As the temperature slips to -10°C the call goes out, often in the middle of the night, and a hearty team of growers, pickers and often some friends and family, put on their headlamps, dress for a long cold night and hit the vineyards. The climate […]

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Distributor Agreements: ‘Til Death Do Us Part?

Many early stage wineries market their products via tasting room sales, wine clubs, direct-to-consumer shipments and, to the extent permitted, self-distribution to local restaurants, grocery stores, and wine stores. Eventually, winery growth will necessitate working with a distributor, a relationship not to be entered into lightly. A distributor becomes an ambassador for the winery’s brand and, once retained, the supplier may have little control over how its wine is marketed. Further, these relationships can be difficult or financially impossible to break once established. Supplier/distributor relationships are governed by franchise laws in many states. In the absence of franchise laws, the relationship is defined entirely by a distribution agreement between the parties. But, even in franchise states, the distribution agreement can […]

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A STRONG INDUSTRY, A CHALLENGING YEAR

Happy New Year! Instead of a resolution, imagine the ball drops on the wine industry in 2018 with a quiz. Q. What’s the most important thing that’s happening in the wine business? A. Here are some plausible answers: • Continued volume and sales growth? Maybe. • More premiumization? Perhaps. • A push to higher priced new labels? Well, maybe. • Expanding share for blends, sparkling wines, rosés? Interesting thought. • Burgeoning growth in a variety of packaging alternatives? Delicato’s Bota Box and Union Wine’s Underwood in cans are just the tip of the iceberg. Definitely very important. • The way Millennials have taken to wine? Heartening, for sure. More about this later. • Growing quality of wine and expanding production […]

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Equipment Trends for 2018

The downtime for most vineyards is limited, so the few months following the harvest season are the ideal time to assess what equipment needs repairs, upgrades or full-on replacement. As weather and labor shortages continue to challenge agriculture across the US and especially in California, mechanization and efficiency appear to be driving innovation in winery equipment. Of course, no vineyard would be complete without a tractor, and the selection of narrow, low PSI tractors continues to grow. “Tractors have always been used to get jobs done faster (in agriculture), so more tractors are going into vineyards to mow, weed between rows and get the crop out faster,” said Nick Weinrich, Product Marketing Manager at John Deere Agriculture & Turf Division. […]

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Trends in Winery Buildings & Architectural Design

In today’s highly competitive wine industry, it’s not enough to produce top-notch wine. Modern wine enthusiasts are looking for a full and enriching experience centered on your handcrafted craft beverages, but that goes beyond a basic tasting. One of the best ways to do this is to create a functional and welcoming space that engages the senses and entices the imagination. In wine regions across the U.S., the meaning of wine buildings has been changing to emphasize a comprehensive wine lifestyle experience and accommodate special events in addition to basic operations. The Role of Redevelopment Redevelopment is significant in the wine industry for many reasons. For example, wineries can reduce their production costs and also streamline production with the right […]

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