This Issue of Grapevine Magazine

Wine Tanks: Does Size Really Matter?

When a winemaker and winery are working with certain size vessels many question come to mind. When looking at small verse large lot productions in a winery : can better wine be made in small lots? For the scope of this article, unless mentioned specifically, topped up (full) fixed capacity vessels will be our main focus. Cost Cost is always a great place to start. Without question making wines in smaller lots / vessels has larger costs associated with them per gallon. The first reason for this is smaller tanks typically cost more to make and purchase on a per gallon basis. This is true for stainless, cooperage and other materials that link directly to the labor costs associated with […]

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Ancient, Traditional, & Innovative Fermentation Tank Options

There are many types of tanks available to wineries. The choice all depends on your desired outcome, budget, and type of wine you want to ferment. Oak and stainless steel tank fermentation are arguably the most popular choices. However, some wineries have gone back to the historic method of concrete fermentation and aging. Still, others are turning to plastic as a tank alternative that carries with it many perks. Once the pros and cons of each have been weighed, choosing the tank that suits your winery’s needs will not seem such a daunting task. Concrete tanks have been used for winemaking for centuries. Compounded of crushed rock, stone, and sand held together with cement, these tanks are heavy duty. The […]

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Do I Really Need Over the Vine Water for Frost Protection?

If you are in an area that has limited (or maybe zero) water available for frost protection, is there anything that you can do to mitigate the frost risk to your vineyard? In some areas, such as Mendocino county or Pope Valley for example, the conventional wisdom is that water is the only effective method to protect against frost. But is that true? Well, the answer is…maybe. To clarify, first we must understand the frost risks and how different methods protect and then choose the correct tools to deal with the problem. The blunt fact is that areas such as Pope Valley or Mendocino County in California simply are not suited to growing wine grapes. It gets too cold, too […]

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Wines of the New World: New Zealand

The earliest evidence of the cultivation of the grapevine in the Americas, or countries of the New World- by indigenous peoples dates as far back as before the age of discovery of the 15th Century. Maize was used as well as potatoes, quinua, and the pepper tree. Fruits like strawberries were pressed to extract the necessary juice and flavour to help in the process of making alcoholic beverages. The most common of the early grapes from the New World was a particular Spanish black grape known as the Misión – or ‘Mission’ grape. The Mission grape was originally planted in Mexico, and then in Texas and later in California. Vineyards throughout New Zealand benefit from the moderating effects of a […]

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Nice Guys Finish First

A career in winemaking often starts with a family history of viticulture, an enduring love of the grape or maybe a retirement dream of living on a pastoral estate surrounded by vineyards. But for Ryan Levy and Ian Eastveld of Houston’s Nice Winery, their 15-year vocational journey began with a passion for food. That journey, which started from scratch —like any good cuisine— has led to a boutique winery specializing in food-friendly, handcrafted wines: wines that are poured in over 40 of Houston’s top restaurants, wines that have won gold medals in internationally-recognized wine competitions and wines enjoyed by over 900 Wine Club members, both local and nationwide. And it all started with food. The year was 2000, and Levy […]

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“PASSION” SHOULD NOT BE A NOUN BUT A VERB

So, Mr. Doclawyer, I’ll be conducting this interview so that we can tease out your winery’s story so that we’ll be able to entice some poor schnook of a wine writer out there to pay attention to your wines, even though there are a million others out there like you and yours May I call you by your first name? Do you go by Robert or Bob? Here goes: What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of what it is you’re trying to achieve here; and to separate yourself from the ocean of wine that is getting higher (and not just due to climate change)? Oh, I see… You have “passion”. Should I write that […]

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Composting in Wine Production

Composting has become an important tool used by farmers, gardeners, and conservationists to restore nutrients removed from soil during the process of growing crops and as a tool to help with erosion. The basic premise of composting is utilizing the decomposition of organic material such as food scraps and yard waste to produce humus, a substance that looks similar to a dark crumbly soil with an earthy smell. Humus is a nutrient dense material that increases the mineral content of the soil while allowing the soil to retain moisture. Plants are able to absorb nutrients from the humus over an extended period of time resulting in a more efficient way of feeding a crop. The application of compost to a […]

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Spring and Summer Season Disease Testing

At this time most vineyards have completed to push their new growth. Some growers may still be thinking about top grafting and planting activities. Before completing any of this it is good to test for the presence of diseases in the vineyard. The spring season is the ideal time for submission of samples for HealthCheckTM Panels B, CG, Fungal, and RB as well as Grapevine vein clearing virus (present in some areas of the USA Midwest). The decline causing viruses (Panel B) are known to be specifically transmitted by nematodes. The best known representatives are Arabis mosaic (ArMV), Grapevine fanleaf (GFLV), Tobacco (TRSV) and Tomato ringspot (ToRSV) viruses that cause severe decline symptoms accompanied by leaf deformations (hence the name […]

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How Your Bubbles Are Made

New Years Eve, a proposal, a wedding, a work or personal success. These things can all only lead to one thing – a popped cork with plenty of bubbles. Yup, we’re talking about Champagne. But champagne isn’t the only sparkling wine out there. In fact, most of the time what you’re calling champagne is actually just sparkling wine. To be considered Champagne, the sparkling wine must have been manufactured in the Champagne region of France. But everybody knows that. What they don’t know is that it’s not the only difference. The biggest differences in sparkling wine rests in how they are made. There are three main methods of manufacturing sparkling wine – méthode traditionelle (champenoise), the transfer method, and méthode […]

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Financing Can Help Wineries Manage the Bottling Bubble

Bringing your wine to market requires many inputs — the glass, labels, corks or tops, filters, inspections, boxes, deliveries, equipment, labor and more. These inputs can create an expense bubble to absorb. Preplanning and advance purchases can help reduce this bottling bubble, but financing is also an alternative. It can be fun to pick and choose what suits you and fits your specific wine, such as what color glass should you use? What size bottle? Should there be any changes to your existing label design? Should you use corks, screw-tops or both? With so many questions to manage, it is good to have the financing resolved. Know your options for financing equipment, operations and other expenses to relieve some of […]

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FAMOUS TRADEMARKS – LET’S NOT GO THERE

You have done a trademark search at the U.S. Trademark Office web site. You found that there are no registered trademarks that appear close to your proposed wine name. Are you safe to use it? Not yet. In the case of C&N Corporation dba Door Peninsula Winery v. Gregory Kane and Illinois River Winery, Inc., E.D.Wis., Case No. 12-C-0257 (Nov. 12, 2013), Defendant Illinois River Winery learned a tough lesson. And so did Door Peninsula.   Both wineries, Door Peninsula and Illinois River, are located in Wisconsin. Door Peninsula cleverly named a spiced wine “Hallowine” and created a label with a Halloween theme. The intent was evidently to sell it during the fall and capitalize on that name.   Illinois […]

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