This Issue of The Grapevine Magazine

Santa Barbara County Rugged Pacific Coast, Cooling Ocean Breezes, Transverse Canyon and 50 Different Grape Varietals

Santa Barbara County, just two hours northwest of Los Angeles, is one of the most magical, captivating places in California with its mild Mediterranean climate, white Spanish-style villas with red tile roofs that cascade down mountainsides, rolling hillsides and sweeping Pacific Ocean vistas. Stately moss-covered oak trees dot the hillsides while fat cattle graze lazily. Vineyards cover hills and valleys, a typical bucolic scene that makes you want to explore around the next bend. Santa Barbara is also one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with over 50 different wine grapes grown today. Although the movie Sideways put Solvang on every Pinot Noir lover’s map, Santa Barbara County boasts a long history of growing grapes. In the […]

Read Full Article

Label Design is a Work of Art

While reading a wine label in order to understand all of the key information it’s imparting, we have to keep in mind the amount of work that goes into creating a label. For starters, without the label, there would be no way to identify the grapes used to make the wine, where the wine was made, or even who made it. But why did the ancient Egyptians invent the wine label? It would seem that they were smart enough to understand the value of what they were setting in place, and possibly the longevity of this ingenuity. From circa 1550 to 1070 BC Egypt dominated the wine trade. While wine did not originally exist in the region, it made its […]

Read Full Article

BUILDING UP OR STRIPPING DOWN WINES

Looking back several decades – what were we doing then? In many cases we were making wines that came from compromised fruit with processes yielding wines with flaws. Our toolbox then became ….how can we remove these flaws? Today few wines are made with such flaws and our studious suppliers have reacted to help us build our wines. We now have the ability to build wines and not necessarily to try and remove (strip) or mask some part of them. The consumer may find this favorable. Get Away From Stripping In many cases some winemakers are still using finings in a fashion that they always have. Blindless use of such fining agents should be reviewed very seriously to see if […]

Read Full Article

The Customer Service Perspective

I was having drinks with my friend the other night, and we were griping and venting about our jobs, the way good friends do, when my friend suddenly got on a rant that I found particularly poignant and worthy of retelling. My friend is the manager of a winery customer service department – a job description I pick on a lot. I fully admit I reference more than my fair share of case studies of where Customer Service blew it, and I’ve certainly written more than a couple blog posts about how Customer Service is behind the times when it comes to communication channels such as social media. When you think about it – Customer Service is everyone’s favorite punching […]

Read Full Article

Beyond Our Borders for Success

Canada is on the verge of breaking out on the global wine map this coming year. Apparently, Canada is the second largest landmass, providing a lot of opportunities for the food and beverage processing industry. When it comes to its wine industry, watchers and the general market has been vibrant. As of 2016, the wine industry was hailed as one of the best with total manufacturing contributing 20 percent of the GDP. The 1.5 billion injection to the GDP is not a small feat – it means that the wine and beverage industry has the potential to attract approximately 10,000 jobs. This figure is a great achievement, and with the right marketing, more jobs can be created, more wealth amassed, […]

Read Full Article

With the Bond or Without the Bond: Important TTB Updates for Small Wineries and Manufacturers

In January of this year, TTB updated its requirements for federal basic permit applicants and permittees. One of the major—and much dreaded—portions of the TTB permit application for wineries, bonded wine cellars, and taxpaid wine bottling houses was the bond requirement. The bond was often incredibly confusing, required very precise information and details, and caused applications to be returned to the applicant due to mistakes or incorrect information. In the past, TTB stated that the bond was one of the major reasons why an application would be returned for corrections. Unless completed by an individual knowledgeable and well versed in the bond requirements for alcohol beverage manufacturers (such as an attorney or an insurance or surety company specifically focusing on […]

Read Full Article

Plant Quarantine and Certification Programs: Things to Consider when Planting a New Vineyard

Quarantine programs have been developed worldwide to reduce the risk of the entry of plant pests and pathogens (disease causing agents) that do not occur in that country. My expertise is in plant pathology and throughout my career I have specialized in the study of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that affect the vineyard. This article will focus only on grapevine pathogens but insect vectors play an important role on the establishment of disease once introduced to a particular area and must be quarantined. In spite of the current existence of plant quarantine programs, most grapevine pathogens occur in all grape growing areas worldwide. How can this be explained? Very simple, in most cases quarantine programs were implemented after the introduction […]

Read Full Article

Winery Designers Look to Put Back More Than They Take Out

There may be nothing quite like a fine, old wine, but that sentiment doesn’t apply to the places that produce them. Not today. New is good and newer is better, according to designers and operators of vineyards and wineries. “Sustainability” is a buzzword bouncing around an entire agriculture industry, but wineries and vineyards seem to be setting the pace. It’s all about saving energy and resources and “giving back,” says Bob Cary, who has “built a lot of wineries” for nearly 40 years. Each design, he says, adds to knowledge he has acquired in his decades of experience. “I think the wine industry in general wants to be more grassroots, more sensitive to the environment, and wants to be more […]

Read Full Article

The Use of Nitrogen in the Winery

Although the quality of your grapes is obviously a vital part of making wine, managing exposure to oxygen via the use of nitrogen can play a key role in creating a product your customers will love. Using Nitrogen to Enhance the Quality of Your Wine Exposure to oxygen can have a negative effect on your wine’s stability, quality, and longevity. Over time, oxygen causes oxidation that will turn your carefully prepared wine into a vinegar-like substance. Browning, loss of freshness, and sherry-like aromas can also result. Nitrogen gas is used throughout the winemaking industry to eliminate exposure to oxygen during bottling and storage. It can be used alone or with argon and carbon dioxide. Drew Horton, an Enology Specialist with […]

Read Full Article

Corked or Canned?

The Choices of Wine Closures and Packaging Have Never Been More Varied The Greek philosopher Heraclitus was considered a testy old bird. His most lasting philosophy is arguably, “Change is the only constant in life.” Perhaps, he didn’t drink enough wine, which might have bolstered his mood in addition to altering his central thesis. For while wine was plentiful in ancient Greece, wine innovation—particularly in terms of packaging—has been slow to develop. In part, this may be due to the nature of viticulture, itself an ancient practice requiring patience and time. The long-established practice of using glass bottles stoppered with a cork is a tradition that remains, particularly with American and European wine producers. However, there have been advances in […]

Read Full Article

Types of Tanks & Choosing the Best Ones for Your Winery

There are several types of tanks being used in the wine industry today, and wineries have distinct philosophies about which ones produce the best wine. These distinctions are important because the tanks chosen will affect the way wine is produced and how it tastes to consumers. In this article, we will discuss the different types of tanks being used in wineries, current trends with tanks, and what to consider before purchasing new ones for your operations. To learn more about this topic, we interviewed Jim Belli of Westec Tank & Equipment Co., a Healdsburg, California, company that builds stainless steel wine tanks with wide dimple jackets for better cleaning and cooling. This company has been building tanks, catwalks and winery […]

Read Full Article