This Issue of The Grapevine Magazine

Tariffs, Tariffs, and More Tariffs

Toward the end of this week, take a minute to add up and total the amount of US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods imported into the US. You can glean this data from online aggregated digital news, television news, or from US Government pronouncements about Trump tariffs. I would be very surprised if the number does not exceed hundreds of billions of US dollars encompassing about half of all Chinese manufactured goods entering the US. The public comment period for most US-China tariffs to be imposed to date ended this past Friday so that such tariffs can be imposed by the US Government and will either be at 25% or 10% depending on the Chinese manufactured product. China and the US, up […]

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Winter Kill, Trunk Disease, or Both….the Situation in the Midwest, USA

[PHOTO CAPTION:  DR. RICHARD SMART] We eagerly anticipated my second visit to the Midwest in June of this year (This article is written in the first person illustrating Richard Smart’s experiences). The prime purpose was to present at the Grapevine Midwest Viniculture Expo at Davenport, Iowa. The topic of my presentation was “Canopy management and how it can affect vineyard profitability and wine quality”. I intended to critically discuss the present tendency towards use of a single high wire cordon. Mike White, the extension viticulture Specialist at Iowa State most kindly offered to escort me on a three-state tour of vineyards, including Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. This gave me a chance to see many vineyards and meet many growers, observe […]

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You’re Stranded on an Island? It’s Okay, You Have Your pH meter!

In a recent symposium the speaker stood at the podium.  He started his presentation saying “If stranded on a deserted island and the island happened to have grapes planted on it, and he were only allowed just three things he thought he could make some excellent wine.”  These three items were: 1)  A very nice wine glass 2)  An excellent pH meter 3)  An accurate and precise way to measure SO2 The above statement gave each attendee at that conference an idea how important the measurement of pH is to making wine.  Understanding the relationship of pH to each wine is very important for a winemaker to better understand how to handle a wine and to predict where a certain […]

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Wine Label Branding: Stay True to Yourself

Imagine you’re a customer in a wine store, searching for your next bottle of wine. What would attract you beyond the style? Does a label displaying Jesus on the cross or an elderly Frenchman with a bulbous nose and colorful beret intrigue you enough to buy? Often, the consumer is casually browsing for something that catches their eye. Maybe they just traveled to a particular region of the world, drawing them to wine from that area. Perhaps a wine label triggered a pleasant holiday memory. Possibly it’s the color of the label that attracts them. Regardless, it takes about four seconds to make that first impression. Wine branding strategy has reached a point where marketing and merchandising play as important […]

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A Modern Look at Protein Stability

Hazing or cloudiness in bottle is often thought of as a visual defect in wine and is considered a flaw to most consumers.  Once cause of this hazing is due to unstable heat proteins. The most well characterized trigger of unstable proteins becoming visible in wine is due to exposure to warm / hot bottle temperatures (~130°F); think of a bottled wine inadvertently left in a car on a hot summer day. This heat treatment causes the normally globular-shaped proteins to unfold and self-aggregate (chemically bind) with other unstable proteins, thus becoming visible and forming a haze over time (Fig. 1). Similar to tartrate stability, winemakers often remove unstable proteins in bulk production before bottling. The textbook solution to remove […]

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Cass Winery: A Destination Vineyard in Paso Robles

Imagine relaxing under a 200-year -old live oak tree, surrounded by gently rolling hills, and enjoying award-winning wines paired with a gourmet luncheon prepared from the chef’s garden nearby. Vineyards are all around, and as the soft breezes quietly brush across, you can touch, taste, see and smell the grapes ripening only footsteps away. For many, this is “Wine Nirvana,” and its setting is Cass Winery, a destination winery 15 minutes from downtown Paso Robles, California. “We want to provide an all-around wine experience for our guests,” co-owner Steve Cass told The Grapevine Magazine. “We serve you at a table and offer a full-café menu with pairing suggestions. You can sit in the shade, under a veranda with your feet […]

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Vineyard Development: Application of a Sophisticated Testing Technology to Detect Potential Disease

The fall season is the time that vineyard managers and winemakers should start to plan for new vineyard development.  It Is true, this is when you are the busiest with harvest and wine making activities.  However, this is the best time to spot the symptoms associated with most grapevine diseases. My philosophy is if you wish to develop a healthy vineyard you need to plan ahead.  When planting a new vineyard, unless you are willing to take whatever is left at the nursery (not the best idea), you will need to place your order with a nursery at least one year ahead of the planting season.    With so many different diseases that are not regulated by certification programs, I recommend […]

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Brokers See Themselves as ‘Bridge’ Between Growers, Wineries

Wine and grape brokers insist that their role transcend that of simple intermediary between grower and winery. Some involved in the process go so far as to eschew the term “broker” in describing what they do to bring the parties together. “I don’t like the word broker; it sounds like a used car salesman, somebody who’s taking advantage of somebody who doesn’t know anything,” said Shannon Gunier, co-owner of Lower Lake, California-based brokering firm North Coast Winegrapes. “I like the word concierge because they help you find your way.” Gunier, who, along with husband Rick, started her business in 2010, said the couple operates as the “eyes and ears” of their customers. “Use a broker if you’re unfamiliar with the […]

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The Grapevine Magazine’s First Midwest Viniculture Expo Held June 2018

The Grapevine Magazine’s inaugural Midwest Viniculture Expo was held in Davenport, Iowa, June 20-23, 2018. The Expo consisted of a Conference, Trade Show, Midwest Wine Competition and concluded with a Midwest Wine Festival open to the public. THANK YOU to our EXPO SPONSORS:   ACS; Prestige Glassware; Kuriyama of America, Inc.; The Barrel Broker; Brown Bear Corporation; Nixalite of America, Inc. and Agriozein. And to our Association Sponsors:     Iowa Wine Growers Association; Michigan Grape and Wine Association; and Minnesota Grape Growers Association. The Expo’s goal was to provide producers with the opportunity to expand their education, discover new innovations, and network with fellow makers and vendors who can improve practices. Expanding Education The prevailing message of the two-day […]

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Does Your Wine Require Formula Approval

  The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has the authority to regulate the production and importation of wine in the United States.  In some cases, the TTB requires approval of the formula before a manufacturer may make certain wines.  The rules relating to whether a formula is required, however, can be confusing.  For example, is a formula required for a wine made from both apple and raspberry?  What about a dry-hopped mead? ere is a well-known joke among lawyers:   A law school professor said to a graduating class, “Three years ago, when asked a legal question, you could answer, in all honesty, ‘I don’t know.’  Now you can say with great authority, ‘It depends.” Thus it […]

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A Step Inside the Wine Library

    The Wine Library and Vinotheque at the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus in Vancouver, Canada are probably unlike any library you’ve ever ventured. There isn’t a stern librarian asking you to “shhh” while glaring over her glasses at you – although, there are few glasses on hand. This is a Wine Library, where row after row of bottles of wine sit, quietly aging, all in the name of advancing wine science. Unlike the other University libraries on campus, it is not open to the public, and you won’t be able to check-out or borrow anything from it, but if you have some fine wine you’d like to lend, you can certainly check it in, and they will […]

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Adventures in Alternative Winemaking with Barrel Staves and Inserts

  While oak alternatives used to carry a negative stigma and be the domain of large wineries, these winemaking tools have been gaining popularity among wineries of all types and sizes lately. Barrel staves and inserts provide winemakers with opportunities to dabble in oak with less commitment and at a fraction of the cost of full barrels. Of course, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using oak alternatives rather than traditional barrels, but advancements in stave and insert products are making this option more sustainable and attractive. In this article, we will explore what staves and inserts are, discuss how to select them for your wine, and provide tips from industry experts who work with these products regularly. An […]

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