The Scott Henry Training System; Easy to Learn, And a Route to Improved Profitability & Wine Quality

By: Dr. Richard E Smart and Amaya Atucha

green grapevines

We wrote this article to promote the use of the Scott Henry training system in vineyard regions of North America; for reasons which we do not completely understand the system has been overlooked,  under-researched and also under-promoted. For those growers who use this system, mostly overseas, the benefits are substantial. They might be summarised as improved yield and fruit composition and reduced disease incidence. Wine quality is also improved. The system is not difficult to manage, contrary to some rumours in this regard. It is a matter of learning new tricks, mostly about timing, so not too difficult for commercial grape growers.

For those growers prepared to try new ideas, you will be rewarded, and the winemakers (and bank managers) will smile.

Why the Scott Henry?

Canopy Management 101

The basic aim of canopy management is to train grapevines in in such a way that yields are promoted, as is desirable fruit composition and disease avoidance. It follows a few basic principles, which follow:

  • Maximise sunlight interception, remember it is Sunlight into Wine. Preferably use north-south rows, spaced about as far apart as they are tall. If you are in a hot, sunny region, you might avoid N-S rows and the heat caused by afternoon sun on west-facing canopies. Taller canopies are of course more efficient than shorter ones.
  • Maintain a sufficiently wide spacing between shoots to avoid dense canopies, around 5 shoots per foot of canopy length, or 2.5, 2-bud spurs per foot of canopy. Most canopies are more crowded than this. Shading of bunches has serious effects on wine quality, and shading of the base of shoots reduces bud fruitfulness.
  • Fruit exposure will generally be sufficient in such low density canopies as above; perhaps if very leafy there may be a need for some leaf or lateral removal.
  • Vine balance is very important, and this is largely determined by winter pruning level; the bud count should be matched to the vineyard vigor. The best way to assess this is by weighing prunings on a few average vines. To obtain vines of moderate vigour, the rule of thumb is retain about 14 buds per pound pruning weight. This is often more buds than are normally left. Ideally the vines should be spaced 5-6 ft apart in the row.

These general rules apply to any vineyard trained to any system, not just the Scott Henry. The Scott Henry (SH) is like the Smart Dyson (SD) and Geneva Double Curtain (GDC) systems. All three have two feet of canopy per ft of row, in other words they are a “divided canopy” system. The Scott Henry and Smart Dyson are called vertically divided. One canopy grows upwards, one downwards from mid height  (3 ½ ft) fruiting zones. The GDC on the other hand is horizontally divided, with two pendant curtains about 3 ft apart.

Managing the Scott Henry

The Scott Henry is a cane pruned system, using two or four canes. The Smart Dyson is spur pruned, with spurs pointing upwards and downwards from a mid-height cordon. We will discuss the management of the Scott Henry only here.

Normally, for vigorous vines we prune to four canes, two on a lower fruiting wire at around 40”, two on an upper fruiting wire at about 46”, on the opposite side of the post and on the upwind side. An extra wire is used for the SH, a moveable foliage wire to help downwards shoot positioning.  At winter pruning, this rests about opposite the top fruiting wire, and at early flowering it is placed on top of the shoots from the bottom canes after they are separated from those growing upwards; subsequently, after fruit set it is moved downwards and attached, so positioning the shoots downwards. When pruning remember not to wrap the bottom canes too tightly, one or two wraps is best, and secure the ends of the canes.

At the beginning of flowering, and before the tendrils start to attach, slide your arm into the canopy to separate shoots from the top and bottom canes.  Place the extra moveable foliage wire on top of the shoots from the bottom cane, and they will lean out into the row, assisted by any wind. Shoots from the top cane will form the top canopy, and they are trained vertically upwards between foliage wires, as is normal for VSP.

Then, at around early fruit set, move the bottom moveable foliage wire downwards and attach it to the post, say 2 ½ ft below the fruiting wire. This will form the second, downward pointing canopy.  Remember that you will need to apply any herbicide before flowering.

Normally shoot positioning the Vertical Shoot Positioned canopy (VSP) takes 3-4 labor passes through the vineyard with well managed teams, and requires 12 to 16 hrs per acre. This figure might be increased by say 25%  maximum when using Scott Henry.

Responses to Scott Henry

Training with Vinifera

The conversion cost is not high, to add only one wire per row to train shoots downwards, and a very modest increase in labor input, for shoot positioning. The benefits are however substantial, with yield increase to 30% or more, no change in other costs (apart from harvest), and typically less disease. It is well known that powdery mildew and Botrytis are higher in shaded canopies, and less for Scott Henry than VSP. Because of improved bunch exposure, there is better color, flavour and phenolics in vines trained to Scott Henry.

Most experience around the world is with vinifera grapes; in fact Oyster Bay wines of New Zealand has 5,240 acres of Scott Henry planted in both NZ and Australia, no doubt the largest in the world. Results from their vineyards reinforce the message above, and on a grand scale!

Responses to Scott Henry Training

With Hybrid Grapes in Wisconsin

Cold climate hybrid grapes cultivars have propelled the expansion of the grape and wine industries in the Northeast and upper Midwest of the United States, mostly due to their superior midwinter hardiness compared to vinifera and other hybrid cultivars. However, cold climate hybrids possess high vegetative vigor which can be intensified when vines are grown in very fertile soils, and summer rainfall such as in the Midwest. The high vegetative vigor of these hybrids can be challenging for growers to manage, and often results in dense canopies with shaded fruit that is high in acidity and has poor color development, as well as an overall delay in ripening. To control vigor, growers will usually hedge and skirt shoots multiple times during the season, and will implement shoot and leaf removal to increase light exposure of clusters, all of which requires labor and increases production costs. Particulary time consuming is the task of tucking shoots into the trellis wire in the VSP system, which can be a constant battle with cultivars that have a procumbent (droopy) growth habit such as ‘Brianna’ and ‘La Crescent’.

Alternatively, divided canopy training systems, such as Scott-Henry (SH), can be used to control vine vigor, as these systems increase the number of shoots and clusters per unit of row length, compared to those grown on single canopy systems like VSP or high wire. Studies across in the Midwest of the United State (Atucha and Wimmer, 2016; Cochran and Nonnecke, 2016) have shown that cold climate hybrids trained on divided canopy systems can achieve higher yields, reduce canopy shading, and improve fruit composition, compared to single canopy systems.

In a 5-year training system evaluation study in southern Wisconsin, yield of vines trained to the SH system produced more than double the yield than those trained to the vertical shoot positioning (VSP) system, and 25-35% more than vines trained to the high cordon (HC) system. For example, in ‘Frontenac’ the 5-year average yield on SH was 30 lb/vine (  8.7 t/ac), compared to 16 lb/vine (4.7 t/ac) in VSP, while in ‘Marquette’, HS and VSP produced 17 and 10 lb/vine (5 and 2.9 t/ac), respectively. In addition to higher yields, vines trained in the SH system had more consistent yields year to year, compared to the high variability in yields observed in VSP.

The higher yields in SH resulted in a considerable reduction in vegetative vigor, which required no to minimal hedging to control shoot growth in vigorous cultivars such as ‘Marquette’ and ‘La Crescent’, and an overall more open canopy with a higher percentage of clusters exposed to sunlight (Wimmer et al., 2018) .  There were no differences in sugar and acid composition at harvest between the higher yielding SH vines and those in VSP or HC, despite the significantly higher crop load of vines trained to SH. Separate studies in Wisconsin have shown that sunlight exposure improves berry colour and phenolics. A recent article in this magazine (Smart 2018) emphasised the need to do shoot positioning on the high wire trellis to avoid shading, which causes loss of yield and quality.

Conclusion

We think that Scott Henry and Smart Dyson might have application in the Midwest USA, as has been found elsewhere. Certainly the initial research results are encouraging. The SH training system is a great option to control vegetative vigor and increase yields in cold climate hybrid grape cultivars without reducing fruit ripeness, and quality for winemaking will likely be improved.

References Cited

Atucha, A. and M. Wimmer. 2016. Brianna, Frontenac, La Crescent, and Marquette Training Trial. West Madison Agricultural Research Station (WMARS), Verona, WI. Northern Grapes Project publication. http://northerngrapesproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/WI-training-study-Year-4.pdf

Cochran, D.R. and G.R. Nonnecke. 2016. Iowa Training Systems Trial. Snus Hill Winery, Madrid, IA. Northern Grapes Project publication. http://northerngrapesproject.org/wp content/uploads/2016/02/IA-training-study-Year-4.pdf.

Smart, R. E. (2018) Managing high wire trellis for improved yield and quality. The Grapevine. Nov-Dec, pp 54-58.Wimmer, M., Workmaster, B. and Atucha, A. 2018. Training Systems for Cold Climate Interspecific Hybrid Grape Cultivars in Northern Climate Regions. HortTechnology 28(2): 202-211.

About The Authors

  Dr. Richard Smart: is an Australian viticulturist and leading global consultant on viticulture methods and is often referred to as “the flying vine-doctor”. He is considered responsible for revolutionizing grape growing due to his work on canopy management techniques.

  Dr. Smart is a graduate from Sydney University with Honors in Agricultural Science in 1966. Additionally he holds the degrees M.Sc (Hons) from Macquarie University following a study of sunlight use by vineyards, a Ph.D from Cornell University in New York State studying under the Professor Nelson Shaulis, and in 1995 awarded a D.Sc. in Agriculture by the Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in recognition of research into canopy management effects on vineyard yield and quality.

  Dr. Smart is the author of the book Sunlight into Wine as well as a contributor to several trade publications, and the viticulture editor of The Oxford Companion to Wine. Consulting has been a full time occupation since 1991, and he has consulted to over 300 clients worldwide. While many clients want to use Richard’s expertise in canopy management to improve wine quality and vineyard yield, complete viticultural advice has been given on a range of issues like choice of site, variety, rootstock, irrigation and nutrition management.  Dr.Richard E. Smart: International Viticultural Consultant, Smart Viticulture, Truro, UK, richard@smartvit.com.au

Amaya Atucha: is an assistant professor and Gottschalk Chair for cranberry research in the department of Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and State Fruit Crop Specialist with UW Extension. She earned a B.S. in horticulture from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile) and a Ph.D. in horticulture from Cornell University. Her research program focuses on fruit crop physiology and production of deciduous fruit crops, predominantly cranberries and cold climate grapes, and her extension program delivers up to date, research-based information to fruit growers in Wisconsin. She edits the Wisconsin Fruit Newsletter, a biweekly newsletter distributed statewide in Wisconsin, and is a contributor to the Cranberry Crop Management Journal, a publication highlighting research and extension in cranberry production at UW-Madison.

Viticulture in Argentina & Chile from a Plant Pathologist Perspective

By: Judit Monis, Ph.D.

vineyards with fences

This year I was invited to speak at different events organized by the Chilean Nursery Association (AGV) and Wines of Chile. While in Chile, I attended the 19th Congress of the International Council for the study of virus and virus-like diseases of the grapevine (ICVG). The ICVG meeting was held and hosted in Viña Santa Carolina Winery facilities near Santiago.  While I was traveling in South America, I had an opportunity to visit vineyards in Argentina and Chile.  Today I will share information I learned about winegrowing in Argentina and Chile.  As you know my interests are in grapevine diseases, how to prevent disease development and spread in the vineyard.   So, it will not be surprising that this article will focus on vine diseases.

Grapevine Diseases Originate Where Vitis Species Originate

It is easy to guess that grapevine pathogens (disease causing agents) originated at the same place where Vitis (the grapevine genus) species originated.  These disease agents (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) were introduced to other places in the world with the propagation and planting material.  Specifically, the varieties and clones that are grown in vineyards belong to the Vitis vinifera species (of Eastern European and Asian origin) while the rootstocks grown commercially belong to American Vitis species.  When grape cultivation started countries were not set up with quarantine programs, neither modern diagnostic tools we use today (PCR, ELISA, etc.) to detect pathogens were available.  Consequently, since the early days of grapevine cultivation European and American grapevine pathogens have been moving from one site to another for many generations.

Argentine and Chilean Grape growing Regions are Strikingly Different

  Being from Argentina, I frequently visit vineyards and wineries in South America.  Argentina ‘s viticulture is very different from what I am used to in California growing regions.  Most of the vineyards in Argentina have planted vines on their own roots (i.e., not grafted onto a rootstock) as the philoxera pest is not commonly found in Argentine grape growing areas.     Besides providing protection from philoxera, rootstocks confer resistance to nematodes, salinity, and can control the vigor of the vines in the vineyard.   Consequently, more vineyards in Argentina are being planted with grafted vines, especially in Mendoza’s newer and more sophisticated growing regions (Valle de Uco).   In contrast, the vineyards in Chile are very similar to the ones I visit in California and strikingly different from those in Argentina.   The majority of the vines in vineyards are grafted and trained in a similar fashion to Californian vineyards. The Andes Mountains that divides Argentina from Chile influences the climatic conditions of each of the countries.  Therefore, the rainy seasons, availability of water and stresses present in each winegrowing area are very different.

Grapevine Diseases are Found Wherever Grapevines are Grown

When it comes to diseases Argentine and Chilean viticulture is not different from other growing areas.   As I mentioned earlier, common diseases caused by Leafroll viruses, Vitiviruses, Fanleaf, Agrobacterium, and fungal trunk diseases must have arrived on site when plant material was imported.  These are important diseases that affect both grape quality, yield, and longevity of the vineyards.  In Chile and Argentina, I have witnessed the presence of Syrah Decline, a disorder that affects both grafted and not grafted plants.  At the ICVG meeting, Joshua Pucket from UC Davis Foundation Plant Services reported that Syrah Decline symptoms are linked to genetic markers present in certain Syrah and Shiraz clones.   Interestingly, when symptomatic Syrah selections were subjected to the meristem tissue culture technique used to eliminate known viruses and viroids, the symptoms persisted, suggesting that Syrah Decline is not caused by any of these infecting agents.  Research in France support these findings as symptoms are restricted to certain grapevine genotypes.  The news that Syrah Decline is a genetic rather than pathologic disorder will help growers prevent planting certain genotypes to avoid loss of production.   It is expected that we will learn more about this disorder as more research is published on this topic.  To date, surveys in both Argentine and Chilean vineyards were not able to detect Grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV).  The most likely reason for the lack of GRBV in Argentina and Chile is that these countries have historically imported grapevines from Europe and the virus so far has not been reported in EU vineyards.

None of these South American Countries have a Grapevine Clean Planting Certification Program

Grape growers and winemakers are aware of the detrimental effect of grapevine pathogens and would prefer to purchase and plant certified grapevines. Unfortunately, neither Argentina or Chile have a current certification program.  In other words, certified pathogen free vines (scion or rootstock varieties) are not available.  This is not completely true, as I learned that Argentina has one certified Malbec clone available. However, there is no use of having a certified scion if it is to be grafted onto a non-certified rootstock.  Consequently, most nurseries and growers are grafting non-certified scion and rootstock varieties.  In Argentine the grapevine certification program is going through administrative revision.  The current law requires that all mother plants are tested every year using the woody indexing method.  However, this is not practical as the results of this test are obtained two years after starting the index. The proposed changes include the application of molecular (PCR, ELISA) instead of biological testing (index) to detect viruses in the foundation and nursery increase blocks.  In Chile, supported by public funding a virus tested germplasm collection is being preserved.  It is expected that the material will become available to interested nurseries that could multiply and distribute the material for planting new healthy vineyards.

In both countries, the available planting material produced at the nurseries is not sufficient to fulfill the demand of the industry.  Therefore, grafted vines can also be imported from “approved” nurseries primarily from Europe (France and Italy) and must pass the government quarantine and sanitation requirements.  Generally, quarantine is done at facilities owned by the importing party as neither SENASA or SAG, the National sanitary authorities in each of the countries have the space to complete the quarantine in their facilities.

It is my hope that, with time, future changes will include the availability of certified pathogen free tested and true-to-type scion and rootstock planting material.  Only with clean planting grapevine material these important wine grape growing areas will see an improvement of the health and longevity of their vineyards.

  Judit Monis, Ph.D. provides specialized services to help growers, vineyard managers, and nursery personnel avoid the propagation and transmission of disease caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses in their vineyard blocks.   Judit (based in California) is fluent in Spanish and is available to consult in all wine grape growing regions of the word.  Please visit juditmonis.com for information or contact juditmonis@yahoo.com to request a consulting session at your vineyard.

Priming Your Irrigation Systems for the Season (Part 1)

By: Tracey L. Kelley

Irrigation system maintenance is a vast topic of discussion—so much so, to do this article, we needed a team of experts to address it—in two parts. Mark Hewitt, the district sales manager for the ag products division of Rain Bird Corporation in Azusa, California, put it this way: “These are huge topics! People write books about these subjects! 1,500 words? Good luck!”  Yet we understand it’s essential to initiate an open forum periodically to ask about research, various applications or innovations that might help keep your system—and the entire growing season—flowing smoothly.

In the first part of this story, the experts provide tips for what you may need to know immediately to start operations and remedy any issues. In the July-August issue of The Grapevine Magazine, we’ll feature further concepts and suggestions from our experts.

In addition to Hewitt, other people extending their knowledge include:

  • Guy Fipps, Ph.D., P.E., professor and extension specialist of irrigation and water management at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; in collaboration with Charles Swanson, extension program specialist, Texas A&M University
  • Jacob Hernandez, CCA, owner, JH Ag Consulting, Santa Margarita, California; in collaboration with James Anshutz, AGH20, irrigation engineer with Netafim USA in Fresno, California; and the Cal Poly SLO Irrigation Training and Resource Center, San Luis Obispo, California
  • Steve Purvins, owner, The Vineyard at Lawton Hall in Bushwood, Maryland, which produces Vidal Blanc and Chambourcin grapes

Let’s Get It Up and Running

Regionality, post-harvest vine vigor, and winter precipitation are all factors determining whether a vineyard irrigation system gets shut down off-season. Some growers close it all off, while others use irrigation intermittently, but still need to check various components. A few growers know by late March if their vines have delayed spring growth due to insufficient water during colder months, and can only plan for next year to enable better health with a post-harvest irrigation plan.  For the majority of producers, it’s time for a spring tune-up. De-winterizing a system follows numerous steps.

  Fipps started the process with the basics:

  1. If the irrigation system was idle all winter, the system should be inspected for any damage that could have occurred. Turn each station on for a cycle and visually inspect each for visible tears or leak in the tubing, as well as dry areas from clogged drip emitters.
  2. While running, also check the pressures and flow rates—if pressure gauges and flow meters are installed—to ensure they correspond to system requirements.
  3. It’s also recommended to flush each drip line for a short period to remove any sediment or biologicals like algae that could have accumulated. Flushing the lines can help reduce problems during the irrigation season.

Fipps added, “All drip filters should be removed and properly cleaned before start-up. If any filter is damaged or unable to be cleaned, it should be replaced. Additionally, for automatically controlled systems, make sure all valves are opening and closing correctly. Valve solenoids and diaphragms can become damaged over time, requiring maintenance or repair.”

Hernandez provided a detailed four-part checklist:

  1. Pump station hardware: start system and make a note of any leaks from broken pipes, couplers and other fittings. Repair and replace as necessary. Exercise manual and automated valves. Clean air vents and replace any damaged units. Check for proper pressure settings of any pressure reducing or sustaining valves.
  2. Filtration systems: Remove screens and pressure wash to remove debris. Treat with a chemical solution to kill biological slimes, then clean and replace. Check sand media and refill and replace as needed. Sand media should have sharp edges—if rounded, replace. Check settings and function of automated backflush system, and make sure differential across filters is less than 10 psi. A properly-functioning filter station is one of the most critical components in maintaining uniformity of drip and micro-irrigation systems.
  3. Check your pump flow rates and pressure monitoring systems for each irrigation block or set. If you’re using a variable frequency drive (VFD), schedule an appointment to have the VFD serviced. Check settings and make adjustments as needed based on current conditions that may differ from when the VFD and pump station were installed. Check flow meters and pressure gauges for accuracy and calibrate or replace any damaged or unreadable gauges.
  4. While the pump is running, check the irrigation set perimeter to make sure all line ends are receiving water and re-attach any disconnected lines. Drive every line to check riser tee screens for debris and clean or remove and replace with plain washers. Check flow rates of emission devices and replace plugged or partially plugged devices as necessary. Check riser tees, couplers and hose ends for leaks, and replace or repair as needed.

“Review the previous season with your irrigation supervisors to understand the most common problems the irrigation team is dealing with,” Hernandez told The Grapevine Magazine. “Plan to fix the biggest issues in a systematic fashion. Often, a simple fix will open up a lot of time for your irrigators and enable them to spend more time on preventative maintenance instead of temporary fixes.”

  Hewitt also offered a multi-check process:

  1. For surface-mounted pump stations, check for leaks, broken or cracked pipes and damaged pressure gauges. Leaking packing glands or bearings need to be adjusted—usually tightened or replaced.
  2. Examine filter stations. Screens and disc filters need to be pulled and inspected for damage and wear. Media filter covers need to be pulled, and their sand checked for cleanliness and quantity. Add new sand if levels are low and also check backflow restrictor valves if sand levels are low. Clean control water filers, too.
  3. Water meters, if present, need to be pulled. Paddle or impeller types should be checked for freedom of movement and re-calibrated if needed.
  4. Clean site tubes, inspect gauges for freeze damage and accuracy and actuate backflush valves one at a time to ensure they open and close completely.
  5. All electric solenoids need to be checked to ensure they’re in good working order—no swelling of coils, plungers move freely, and plungers pull in when energized and deactivated by the controller.

When asked what issues managers sometimes encounter that Rain Bird representatives help them solve, Hewitt said, “We’re asked to troubleshoot everything from the water source to the figure eights at the end of the drip line laterals. [We help with] pumps, filters, controllers, valves, hoses and emitters. Filters are one of the most common problematic components of a low-volume system, especially if it’s over three years old,” he said. “Another common issue is plugged or low-flowing emission devices. Remember, no dripper will ever be as clean as it was when it came out of the factory!”

Purvins uses above-ground drip irrigation tubing suspended 8 inches high on a trellis wire and run down each vineyard row, spaced 8 feet apart. He has 0.5 gallons/hour emitters every 96 inches, and his system is supplied by a drilled well. Since he doesn’t irrigate during the winter, his startup is simple: “I have underground drain valves that I use to empty the lines before winter. I just check that all valves are closed in the spring before using the system.”

Handling System Damage Due to Excess Water

Northern California’s heavy rainfall in January and February caused some of the most problematic floodings in 20 years. Areas of the Midwest hit by “bomb cyclones” and significant snowfall melt triggered what scientists at the National Weather Service classified as “major to historic and catastrophic” floods. Some parts of the East Coast are still dealing with the effects of extensive rains and flooding from 2018. We asked our experts: how do these weather events affect vineyards and their irrigation systems?

“In Texas, where most vineyards use drip irrigation, flooding likely will do extensive damage to the drip irrigation system and possibly to pumps as well,” said Fipps.

Hewitt agreed. “This will be a new problem for growers with low-volume drip systems. Areas that were under floodwater this winter that have drip tubing with emitters will need to be very diligent during flushing after the flood waters recede—and some of these drip lines may not recover,” he told The Grapevine Magazine. “Excess water and debris could have entered into the exit bath areas of the driplines. If this material is allowed to dry and harden, most likely no amount of line pressure is going to clean this debris out of the emitter exit pathway.”

Hernandez added, “Flooding could damage infrastructure like pumping stations, pipes and laterals (drip hoses). Carefully inspect any affected equipment. Consider strategies for diverting water to prevent damage from future flooding episodes,” he said. “Additionally, my number one concern would be the impact of flooding events on my soil health. How much topsoil did I lose? What was deposited onto my field? Take soil samples at multiple depths throughout the field and start making necessary amendments as soon as possible.”

In part two of our irrigation system maintenance and upkeep article (Grapevine Magazine, July/Aug 2019), these experts share their views regarding ongoing system checks, typical problems often overlooked, monitoring water quality and critter control.

(Sources)

All listed above, plus:
Western Farm Press
https://www.farmprogress.com/grapes/post-harvest-irrigation-can-help-prevent-uneven-vine-growth-next-spring

Wine Enthusiast

Discover
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2019/03/19/satellite-imagery-reveals-historic-midwest-flooding/#.XK4V1th7mCg

Did You Patent that Copyrighted Trademark? Um, No.

Brian D. Kaider, Esq.

Having worked in intellectual property for nearly 20 years, I often take for granted that people have a working knowledge of the different types of IP rights.  That misconception is frequently revealed when a friend or family member (with whom I’ve had many conversations about IP) asks, “didn’t you patent that company’s logo?”  “Well, no,” I explain, “but, I did get it federally registered as a trademark.”  Taking a step back, I realize that it can be quite confusing.  So, this article is meant to introduce the four main types of intellectual property and how they apply to the wine industry.

Patents Protect Ideas – Sort Of

Most people have a general understanding that a patent protects an “invention” or idea.  In a very general sense, that’s true.  But, while Congressional authority to grant patent rights comes directly from the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8), exactly what is patentable is the subject of tremendous confusion even among federal judges; sometimes requiring clarification from the U.S. Supreme Court.  The purpose behind patents is to encourage innovation by granting exclusive rights to one’s discoveries for a limited time.  In other words, it gives the patent holder a limited-term monopoly on his invention.  Generally, new machines, chemicals, electronics, methods of production, and in some cases, methods of doing business, are eligible for patent protection.

Ideas alone, however, are not patentable.  They must first be “reduced to practice,” meaning that either the inventor must have actually created the invention or have described it in sufficient detail that someone skilled in that area could follow the disclosure and create it themselves.  So, one can’t get a patent on a time machine, because (at least for now) no one has figured out how to defy the time-space continuum.  In addition, to be patentable, ideas must be novel, meaning that no one else has ever disclosed that idea before, and non-obvious, meaning that the idea cannot be an obvious variant on someone else’s invention.

Given that humans have been making wine for thousands of years, one might think that coming up with something novel in the winemaking process would be impossible.  Not so.  In preparation for this article, I ran a quick search of patents containing the word “wine” in the title and got 1184 hits.  Some recent examples include U.S. Patent No. 10,124,305 – “Agitation device for red wine production,” U.S. Patent No. 10,113,979 – “Systems, probes, and methods for dielectric testing of wine in bottle,”  and U.S. Patent No. 10,005,993 – “Combined wine fermenter and press.”  Improvements in any area of the wine industry may be patentable including: new types of bottles, decanters, closures, and caps; improved methods of separating grapes from stems; new processing equipment; improved testing procedures; improved packaging; etc.  Essentially, anything that lowers costs between the vine and the consumer, improves the quality of the wine, or enhances the consumer experience is worth considering for patent protection.

One word of caution, however; time is of the essence.  The America Invents Act of 2011, brought the U.S. in line with most other countries in being a “first to file” system, meaning if two people develop the same invention, the first to file for patent protection wins, regardless of who first came up with the idea.  Also, any public disclosure of your idea (such as a trade show) starts a 1-year clock to file or you may lose your eligibility for patent protection.

Copyrights Protect Creative Works

The authority for copyright protection stems from the same section of the U.S. Constitution as patent protection, discussed above.  Our founding fathers recognized the valuable contribution made to society by authors and artists and, therefore, sought to encourage creative expression by providing protection for artistic works.  Examples of copyrightable materials include, books, paintings, sculptures, musical compositions, and photographs.

Unlike inventive ideas, which are only protected when the government issues a patent to the inventor, copyrights attach at the moment the artistic work is “fixed” in a tangible medium.  So, for example, if a composer develops a new musical score in her head it isn’t protected, but the moment she translates that tune to notes on a page or computer screen, it becomes protected by copyright.  In order to enforce that copyright in court, however, it must be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.  While it is possible to wait until an infringer comes along before filing for registration, doing so can severely limit the damages that may be available to the author of the creative work.  So, early registration is the better course.

In the wine industry, copyright issues often crop up with regard to who owns the artwork contained within a label or marketing material.  Generally, the author of a work owns the copyright.  But, if an employee of the winery, acting within the scope of their employment, creates an image that the winery owner incorporates into its labels, that picture is considered a “work made for hire” and is owned by the winery.  Where disputes often arise, however, is if the winery hires an outside artist or a branding agency to develop the artwork.  In that case, the winery should include language in its contract requiring assignment of all copyrights to the winery for the created artistic works.

Trademarks Protect “Source Identifiers”

People generally associate trademarks with the protection of a brand.  In more technical terms, what a trademark protects is a “source identifier.”  The purpose of trademark law is to protect consumers from being misled or mistaken as to the source of a product.  So, for example, if a consumer sees a pair of shoes with a certain famous “swoosh” image on the side, they should be reasonably able to assume that pair of shoes was manufactured by Nike, Inc. and was made with the same degree of workmanship and quality that they have come to expect from that company.  That “swoosh” symbol, therefore, acts as a source identifier to tell the public that the product was made by Nike, Inc.

What may function as a trademark can be quite broad, including: the name of the business (e.g., Sterling Vineyards®), a logo (e.g., the “swoosh”), a color (e.g., the Home Depot orange or the UPS brown), even a scent (e.g., Verizon owns a trademark on a “flowery musk scent” it pumps into its stores to help distinguish them from competitors’ environments).  However, slogans, words, and images that appear merely as decoration will not qualify for protection unless the applicant can demonstrate that the item has achieved “secondary meaning,” i.e., that the public has come to associate that item with the manufacturer.  For example, in the 1970’s McDonalds used the slogan, “You deserve a break today” in its commercials and other advertising.  People came to associate this phrase with McDonalds and in 1973 they were granted a trademark registration.

In general, marks also cannot be descriptive of the product or geographically descriptive of the source in order to be registered as a trademark.  For example, one could not obtain a registration for just the words “Red Wine.,” because it simply describes the product and does nothing to differentiate it from every other red wine on the market.  Similarly, an attempt in the year 2000 to register the name “Napa Valley Winery” was refused, because the applicant could not demonstrate that people had come to associate that name with its business as opposed to the hundreds of other wineries in Napa Valley.

Trade Secrets Protect Valuable Confidential Business Information

Unlike other forms of intellectual property, there is no registration system for trade secrets, because, by their very nature, they must be protected from all unnecessary disclosure.  Trade secrets can be just about anything that is confidential to your business and gives you a competitive advantage.  Some examples, include recipes, client lists, manufacturing processes, marketing plans, and client lists.

One of the most famous trade secrets is the formula for Coca-Cola, which has been kept secret for more than 130 years, sometimes through extraordinary measures.  In 1977, The Coca Cola Company withdrew its product from India, because in order to sell there, they would have had to disclose the formula to the government.  They decided it was more prudent to forego sales to one of the biggest populations on earth rather than risk disclosure of their secret recipe.

Protecting trade secrets requires constant vigilance in two ways.  First, the information should only be disseminated to people within the company, or outside consultants, who need the information in order to perform their duties for the company.  Second, those few people who are given access, should sign non-disclosure agreements with harsh penalties for breach of their duty of confidentiality.  Once the information gets out, it’s nearly impossible to un-ring that bell, so there must be severe financial consequences to someone who leaks the information.

Conclusion

While patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets are four distinct forms of intellectual property and serve different functions, sometimes more than one form of IP can apply to the same item.  The business advantages and disadvantages of each form of IP should be weighed to determine the best course of action.  For example, a product’s life-cycle may have a lot to do with whether a company chooses to protect how the product works through patent or trade secret.  If the innovative feature relates to a cellular telephone device, patent protection is probably the best course, because by the time the patent expires and a competitor could use the technology, it will likely be obsolete.  Conversely, a novel process in fermenting wine may have value long after a patent would expire and would, therefore, be better suited to trade secret protection.  A knowledgeable intellectual property attorney, engaged early in the process, can help develop the most effective strategy to protect your valuable intangible assets.

Brian Kaider is a principal of KaiderLaw, an intellectual property law firm with extensive experience in the craft beverage industry.  He has represented clients from the smallest of start-up breweries to Fortune 500 corporations in the navigation of regulatory requirements, drafting and negotiating contracts, prosecuting trademark and patent applications, and complex commercial litigation.

bkaider@kaiderlaw.com

 (240) 308-8032

Aroma Trials

By: Thomas J. Payette, Winemaking Consultant

man sniffing wine

OK– your wine smells good but can it have a better aroma?  Always keep this in mind as a winemaker or winery owner.  The largest violation of “house palate”, a process where winemakers overlook their wine flaws because they taste their own wines too often, is the oversight that their wines may be reduced.  Reduced or reductive is a broad term that covers many sulfide compounds ranging from hydrogen sulfide, rotten egg, to other more complex aromatics that may smell like cabbage, dill weed, onions or even garlic.

Early detection of these flaws is imperative to clean up the wines and to make sure these compounds do not evolve toward other more difficult to remove compounds, mercaptans, often needing ascorbic acid additions to make the wine reactive to the most commonly used remedy copper sulfate.

Copper sulfate trials are extremely easy and there is no excuse for each wine created not to go through at least three quick trials with copper sulfate to see if the wine aroma will indeed become improved.

When? The author recommends each wine be reviewed:

  1. Anytime one suspects a wine to be reduced or smells hydrogen sulfide in the fermenter.
  2. Review all wines just after the fermentation process as a blanket rule process to discover any wines that may improve from the copper sulfate addition.
  3. Three months prior to bottling and preferably before any stability processing actions have been taken.
  4. Roughly three days before bottling.

Why? As suggested, in the first sentence of this article, winemakers should review each wine’s aroma to see if faults exist.  Some of the faults do not express themselves directly as Hydrogen Sulfide or Mercaptans.  Some wines may have just enough of one of these compounds, or both, to lightly mask the underlying fruit expression.  Winemakers may not know nice smelling wine can actually smell nicer.  It is an easy test – so why not run these trails!

Where? Most winemakers will perform this test in the winery laboratory, away from the chill of the cellar floor, where a wine will have the ability to open up and allow for undisrupted critical analysis of the wine’s aroma.  If winemakers cannot find this tranquility in their winery, it is recommended to take a sample home and do the trials in a home environment.  One must be able to focus and have conditions for the wine to open up.  This is critical.

Tools needed

  • Clean wineglasses with a narrow focused opening to the bowl (I.N.A.O. style). All exact same size and style.
  • Glass watch covers for each glass (optional but highly recommended).
  • Representative samples of each wine to be sampled.
  • 1.0% Copper Sulfate solution (One percent).
  • Spit cup.
  • Clear and “in tune” nasal passages.

How? This test is very easy to perform as long as the environment is proper for the aroma analysis.  If possible, work closely with someone else to mix up the wineglasses after treatment so you will be blind on this analysis.  If this can’t be done – do proceed since experience will help take any bias out of the results.

  1. Place three (“aroma free”) dry clean wine glasses on a table and label them x, 4 and > or any other random characters that may not lead a person to select one wine glass over another but allow them to identify what glass or glasses may be different.
  2. Fill each glass with the same quantity of wine. This is often between 80-100 milliliters per wine glass depending on the wine glass size.
  3. Have another person place 1 drop of the 1% Copper Sulfate into one of the glasses and to swirl all three glasses equally to mix the addition into the wine and to treat each glass equally with a swirl.
  4. Place watch glasses over each of the glass openings and leave the glasses to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Approach the wine glasses and remove the watch glasses one at a time to smell the aromas in the headspace of the glass. Go through the wines at least three times and perhaps more to select the wine that smells the best.  Record your results.
  6. Leave the wine glasses for another 15 minutes or longer and re-approach in the same fashion by smelling each wine individually and select the glass or glasses that smell the best.
  7. After determining that the wine is actually changed and changed for the better, have the person that added the copper sulfate to the glass reveal the glass that was treated.
  8. Mentally extrapolate after collecting all the data whether the addition of copper sulfate had a positive impact on the wine or not. Be aware not to select the copper sulfate addition wine – just because it is different.  The wine should smell better – not just different.
  9. Once an addition is deemed helpful, proceed to making the adjustment in the cellar as referenced below under calculation. This test is not quantitative.

This test is sometimes known as a triangle test.

Spicing it Up!

Once you and your assistant get comfortable with the test, he or she can be instructed to switch around the treatment regime to perhaps treat two of the three wineglasses.  This will keep the person smelling the wines on their toes to actually identify what wine smells better and to truly focus on the improved wine.

Referencing the fact that a spit cup was listed under the “Tools needed” list above, one should have their spit cup ready.  This should be used if by habit one should accidentally taste the wines.  Remember, technically, Copper Sulfate is a poison so winemakers should resist tasting our trails and only focus on the aromas.

One can build on this test to correct Mercaptans, also.  Mercaptans are Hydrogen Sulfide based compounds that have transformed to a more complicated chemical compound.  Ascorbic acid trials may need to be tested for effectiveness in these cases.  Reference other sources to review this process as it will not be covered at this time.

Calculation:

In my opinion there is no truly reliable calculation for this test to determine quantitatively how much copper sulfate to add.  In most cases it is best to add small quantities of copper sulfate to a wine nearing the range of 1.0 gram per 1000 gallons to as low as one-half a gram per 1000 gallons to clean up small defects.  This is a good starting point.  From experience, you may start to recognize a wine that may need more Copper Sulfate to combat more pungent aromas.  This chemical is a strong oxidizer so use limited amounts.  Overuse could have serious downsides to your wine.

Removal of Copper After Use

In most cases, only small amounts of copper sulfate are used to clean up a wine so we rarely need to address lowering the copper content in the wine.  Please recognize when larger quantities have been used.  Use an outside laboratory to actually measure the amount of residual copper in your wine.  In many cases, for white wines treated prior to protein fining with bentonite, they may clean up on their own.  The author has seen copper levels drop significantly after protein fining and filtering of white wines.  Many years ago, wines may have needed a “Blue-Fining” but one rarely has those issues in today’s winemaking plus they are not permitted in the United States.

The Future

According to some scientist we need to more closely look at nutrients and their role with the yeast.  In some cases too much or too little nutrients may cause Hydrogen Sulfide production and it is thought to link into the micronutrients.  Nitrogen issues may not be the driving factor here.  This will help us stay away from using copper sulfate, which does have adverse affects to the wine in addition to cleaning the wine up sensorialy.  Until that time we need to address the problem in a fashion we can, such as copper sulfate.  Stay tuned.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Caution is expressed not to confuse a change in aroma in the wine with this being considered better. This is called “Stripping”.
  • Caution is also expressed not to consume / taste wines that have added copper sulfate added during these trials.
  • Do these trials next to any wine that may be a follow-up bottling for that wine to see if consistency is achieved and to focus on other nuances that may easily be changed.
  • The Tax and Trade Bureau does regulate the amount of copper sulfate a winemaker may use.
  • Please research this amount and have a clear understanding of the use of copper sulfate. It is a strong oxidizer and considered poisonous.
  • A reduced character may become hard to notice if the wine has just been racked, transferred, filtered or in any way brought into a less anaerobic state.

These reductive compounds may be just under the threshold of the human nose sensitivity and difficult to smell.  If this same wine is bottled, the reductive character may become very pronounced.

Screw cap wines may need more serious aroma reviews and evaluation since these seals are more anaerobic than previous seals. Caution is urged when making wine to be bottled under screw cap to make sure no underlying reductiveness is present.  Outside labs also offer “headspace sniffing” if one feels they need additional help.

Wines exposed to light may become “lightstruck”.  Light struck is a term used to describe that light has attacked an amino acid and caused a mercaptan-type aroma.  This phenomenon is somewhat more common with flint bottles and sparkling wines.

References: 

Amerine, M.A., Berg, H.W., Cruess,W.V. 1972. The Technology of Wine Making

Dharmadhikari, M.R., Wilker, K.L. 2001. Micro Vinification.

Zoecklein, B.W., Fugelsang, K.C., Gump, B.H., and Nury, F.S. 1999. Wine Analysis and Production

Verbal discussion with Mr. Jacques Boissenot, Mr. Jacques Recht, Mr. Joachim Hollerith and Mr. Chris Johnson.

Short Course:

  • This is qualitative and not quantitative
  • Make sure the change in aroma is not just “stripping”
  • Copper Sulfate is a poison – be careful to check residual copper present after larger uses.
  • Know when to use outside “electronic sniffers”

Is Your Facility Ready to Host Events?

By: Markel Insurance

glasses of wine in a buffet

As the spring season brings new life to the vineyards and offers opportunities of growth, so too are winery owners looking for new growth in their operations with increased sales.  Having a great experience at a winery results in improved customer loyalty, increased publicity and more sales.

One way to maximize your public exposure is by hosting events.   The activities can be small and simple such as an acoustic guitar on the back patio or larger concert exposures.   Events can include wine club dinners, fund raisers, vendor shows or weddings.

In planning for the events that will best suit your operations and facility, several key elements should be reviewed to help minimize losses and protect your assets.  Understanding your target market and what activities are best for you are as unique as each blend of wine.  Current markets have several popular events, including yoga stretch and sip; Wine Paint and Pour; Races through the vineyard or even a vendors “farmers market” offering local crafts and products.

There are the tried and true, more traditional activities expected at a winery with Crush or Harvest festivals, pickin’ party, club dinners and weddings/shower events.

You should consider the space needed based on the anticipated number of participants and any specialty needs, including tables & chairs or tents, rental equipment, caterer or DJ/vendors.

Once you have an idea on the type of event that will appeal to your demographics, a quick checklist can be reviewed.

Facilities Checklist for Hosting Events:

  • Is the use/occupancy rating for the property acceptable for the type of event?
  • Will you be able to provide adequate staffing for supervision?
  • Is there clear signage for acceptable vs restricted access areas?
  • Are there any ADA compliant concerns at the facility?
  • Based on the attendance expectations, will there be enough bathrooms, trash cans, water stations, shade/covered areas?
  • Are the electrical demands up to code? Who manages the setup and takedown for stage and dance floor exposures?
  • Is there emergency personnel on site?

Slip, Trips and Falls

Liability losses related to the facility most commonly relate to the slip, trip or fall category.  Not to underestimate the severity of what seems to be a simple loss cause, the following claim shows a good illustration of what can happen.

  Real-life claim example: A small concert event on a patio that required additional electrical power and resulted in cords running along the open patio.  A trip and fall occurred resulting in a fractured hip.  A surgery turned into an infection, causing a second surgery and extended recovery time.  With lost wages alone, the price was rising, and when finally settled to include medical, the shared cost was nearly $1.7 million.

Parking

Parking can be an often overlooked, but it is an important influence on the experience of the customer because it can be the first and last impression for any event.

Parking Factors to Consider

  • Is there adequate parking based on the number of attendees and is it easily accessible?
  • Always consider the path for emergency vehicle access (fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances).
  • Should local authorities be notified of the event and to help route the traffic flow in and out of facility.
  • Make sure the parking lot is clear of debris and free of obstacles with clear walking areas outside of traffic pattern.
  • Verify all areas of the parking log are well-lit for evening use and not susceptible to rain or vehicle being stuck.
  • Have clearly marked flow patterns and parking lanes help eliminate confusion and frustration.
  • Determine if you will have attendees directing traffic, or will be offering valet parking or any shuttle/transportation.

  Real-life claim example: Parking mishaps may leave you exhausted, or exhaust-less.  A vineyard/winery cleared a small lot to have as overflow parking for their outdoor event.  A small tree stump remained and although not a concern for the tractor or owners pickup truck, was not concealed enough to avoid damaging the exhaust systems of several customers that parked in the field lot.

Security

Depending on the size of the event, the responsibilities of the host grows with increased attendance.  When managing crowd control, do you rely on winery staff or opt for hired security.  Are there any weapons carried by other than law enforcement?  Do you hire off duty local law enforcement or an independent contractor.  Rules and procedure should  be clear relating to checking coolers and bags; not allowing any outside liquor; and restricted areas, especially where there is an attractive hazard, i.e. – open barns, fire pit, swimming pool/fountain/pond.  As an aside on fire, any open flame, fire pits, bon fires, outdoor grills, burgers and s’more’s cooker should be reviewed to make sure there are proper barriers, clear space and storage of combustibles.

Contracts and Certificates

Contracts and certificates should be in place for all vendors, caterers, artist, or instructors.  Each certificate of insurance should be from an  A rated or higher admitted carrier with limits equal to or greater than your limits, naming you as an additional insured, owner of premises.

Pets

People love their pets and pet lovers typically believe that everyone else should also be a pet lover, especially their pet.  From an insurance standpoint, it is not recommended to have pet friendly events.   If pets are allowed is there restrictions to be on leash or in designated areas.

Is the vineyard dog allowed to mingle in the crowd, “unsupervised?”

Know the difference between a professional service animal and a therapy pet and have clear rules so that you avoid an issue of selected acceptance or exclusion and can rely on your policy language.

Minors

Although minors may not be the norm for the tasting room, family friendly events can bring in a broad age range.   Have you crawled through your facility lately?  What may be obvious to an educated adult, may not be as clear to a child.  Locks and barriers are better than signs alone.  Have staff training to look for hazards and anticipate a lack of parental supervision.  Most wineries are not suitable as a daycare operation and should not have any childcare exposures.

Miscellaneous Exposures

  Evening Events: As a general rule of thumb, liability goes up when the sun goes down.  For many reasons, whether it be the time element of consuming more alcohol or just the visual difficulties to recognize hazards, losses are more likely as events run into the evening hours.   Having events that are shut down by 10:00pm would be considered a good practice and depending on your coverage carrier, may be a requirement.

  Cyber Security: Cyber / data breach coverage can include storing the credit card information for your club members, but can also apply to online purchases and any ticket sales for events.

  Private Events: When dealing with a special private event such as a Wedding or private party, clear contracts are the key.  The greatest frustrations come for unmet expectations.  Make sure all parties know what is being provided and what the expectations are for contracts, payment, timeframes or services.

  Real-life Claim Example: A facility that was not closed to the general public during a wedding event.  There was no clear detail on a separation of the wedding party areas vs the public access tasting room area.  In a clash of Party vs Public, tempers rose, words were cast and a white wedding dress is now a shade of cabernet.

Conclusion

This checklist is not all inclusive for all the unique elements to all event types.   The checklist should be a starting point for your facility.  Before hosting more events at your facility, review what type of events will be the best fit for your situation to provide a great experience for your guest.  Try to create events that will have a positive marketing buzz and will also increase your income while minimizing your exposures to loss.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments.

  Please contact us or your insurance professional if you have any questions. Products and services are offered through Markel Specialty, a business division of Markel Service Incorporated (national producer number 27585).  Policies are written by one or more Markel insurance companies. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary.

For More Information Please Call Us At…800-814-6773, or Visit Our Website: markelinsurance.com/winery

Here Come the Hybrids

By: Nan McCreary

green leaf vine

We hear a lot about hybrid cars, hybrid fruits, hybrid vegetables and even hybrid animals, but what about hybrid grapes? Traditionally, wines made from hybrid grapes have been a non-starter for wine lovers, but that’s about to change. As we prepare to enter a new decade, more and more wine professionals are taking a second look at hybrids, and pioneering winemakers and scientists are working to improve existing varieties and introduce new ones.

A Double-edged Vine

Hybrid grapes are the product of crossing breeding two or more Vitis species. In the U.S., these grapes are cultivated by combining the rootstock from Vitis vinifera, a European wine grape species, and North American vines, commonly Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia. Vitis vinifera is the source of noble wines so popular today, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay. Vitis labrusca is widely distributed across central and eastern Canada, and the central and northeastern part of the U.S. Vitis riparia originates in central and eastern Canada and the United States, extending as far west as Montana. Grapes from Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia in their original form are rarely used for winemaking.

French-American hybrid wines were created as a solution for Phylloxera which devastated the vineyards of Europe in the mid-1800s. Because American grapevines were resistant to phylloxera—as well as powdery mildew, rot and other disease— scientists responded to the crisis by grafting Vitis vinifera vines onto to disease-resistant American rootstock. While these new varieties did provide a solution to phylloxera, the grapes crossed with Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia were not as popular as those crossed with Vitis vinifera. Critics panned the hybrids because they lacked “purebred” status as well as the depth and complexity of Vitis vinifera grapes. Also, hybrid wines were often panned as “foxy,” a term describing juice that smells or tastes like musky Welch’s grape juice. These undesirable attributes caused many European countries to prohibited the use of hybrid grapes in quality wines.

Turning Tides

Today, the tide is turning for these much-maligned varieties. Unlike sensitive vinifera grapes that require particular weather conditions and soil to thrive, French-American hybrids made from Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia can grow just about anywhere. They withstand harsh winters—some surviving in temperatures as low as -30 F—as well as arid, brutally hot Arizona summers. Hybrid cultivars are critical to the rapid changes in eastern and central vineyards. With growth in wine-related tourism exploding, wineries are showing up in locations where wine production was once thought impossible. Hybrids are also increasingly popular because they are resistant to many diseases, which encourages growers to farm organically. Even the EU is encouraging producers to reconsider hybrid grapes, as cost and health concerns from fungicides continue to rise.

Much of the success of hybrid grapes today can be attributed to the enology departments at the University of Minnesota and Cornell University, which have been breeding hybrid wine varieties since the 1970s and 1980s. Minnesota’s wine grape research enjoys recognition as one of the top programs in the U.S., with the goal of developing high-quality, cold-hardy and disease-resistant wine grape cultivars. Cornell is home to one of the top viticulture and enology programs in the world with international recognition for its expertise in breeding table, juice and wine grapes adapted to cool-climate growing regions. Programs at both schools dedicate research to producing new grapes with potential for flavor and winemaking, with an ideal balance between cold-hardiness and delicate flavors.

The following is a list of the most popular French-American hybrids in the U.S., according to The Grape Grower’s Handbook by Ted Goldammer and used with permission from the publisher, Apex Publishing.

Red Wine Varieties

Baco Noir:  Produces wines that have been variously described as “Rhone-style” or “Beaujolais-style.” It is characterized by high titratable acidity at fruit maturity and produces wines of good quality that are normally deeply pigmented but low in tannin content. It develops a fruity aroma associated with aspects of herbs. The wine is grown primarily in Canada, New York, Oregon and Nova Scotia.

Chambourcin:  Considered one of the best of French-American hybrids, is a highly rated wine used often used for blending with other wines. The grape produces a deep-colored wine with a full, aromatic flavor, and no unpleasant hybrid flavors. It can be made into a dry style or one with a moderate residual sugar level, giving it a pleasant but not overbearing sweetness. Wines from this grape are higher in tannins than other French-American hybrids. Varietal descriptors include raspberry, cloves, cherry, plum, and tobacco. The wine may be found in Ontario (Canada), Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, New York and New Jersey.

Chancellor:  The wine quality is among the better of the French-American hybrids, and it does well alone or in blends. It produces a medium-bodied red wine which is capable of aging well. It tends to be very colored, and care should be taken not to extract too much color from the skins. It’s an important grape in the cooler regions of Canada and the U.S., such as the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Frontenac:  Produces deep-colored wines with cherry, blackberry, black currant, and plum notes. It can also be used in production of port-style-wines. The University of Minnesota developed the grape and released in 1996. Because Frontenac can survive in temperatures as low as -30 F, it is planted across the Northeastern part of the U.S. and Canada and is one of the most commonly planted wine grapes in Minnesota.

Maréchal Foch:  Possesses Burgundian characteristics, having a vibrant, deep purple color, with a light-medium structure and dark berry fruit characteristics. Some tasters find the similarities to Burgundy Pinot Noir become more pronounced with age. Maréchal Foch is one of the hardiest of the hybrids and is widely grown commercially throughout the Midwestern U.S. and Canada.

Norton (Cynthiana):  Produces a rich, full-bodied dry red wine with berry flavors and spicy overtones. It can be used in varietal wines, including ports, but may also be blended with other reds. These wines have an intense color. Norton is grown in the Midwestern U.S., Mid-Atlantic States, Northeastern Georgia and, most recently, in California.

White Wine Varieties

Cayuga:  Produces a European style white table wine, which has medium body and good balance. This versatile grape can be made into a semisweet wine, which brings out the fruit aromas, or if oak aging, into a dry, less fruity wine. The Cayuga White grape was developed especially for the Finger Lakes Region in New York by Cornell University, and is known for producing fine sparkling wines.

Chardonel:  Is a cross of Seyval Blanc and Chardonnay that produces an excellent wine, with aromas characteristic of both parents. Chardonel has the potential for fine-quality, dry still wines produced with barrel fermentation and/or barrel aging. Chardonel is popular in the Midwestern U.S. and the Mid-Atlantic states.

Seyval Blanc:  Produces a fresh, crisp wine that is often described as good with attractive aroma, but the body is somewhat thin. Malolactic fermentation or barrel fermentation followed by oak aging will enhance the quality. The variety is also popular in Canada and the Midwestern U.S. and the Eastern U.S., particularly New York.

Traminette:  Is a late mid-season white wine grape which produces wine with distinctive floral aroma and spicy flavors, characteristic of its Gewürztraminer parent. Traminette’s relatively high acid and low pH help complement its fresh-fruit aromas and flavors. The wine can be made dry or sweet but is usually finished with some residual sweetness. The wine is grown on the East Coast of the U.S. and in the Midwest.

Vidal blanc:  Is considered one of the best of the white French-American hybrids. The wine produced from Vidal blanc is fruity, with grapefruit and pineapple notes. The wines produced can be quite versatile, ranging from off-dry German style wines to dry, barrel-fermented table wines. Due to its high acidity and fruitiness, it is particularly suited to sweeter, dessert wines. It is especially popular as an ice wine in Canada. You can also find Vidal Blanc the Eastern and Midwestern U.S.

Vignoles:  Produces excellent wines of many different styles, depending on the region where the grapes are grown. Most commonly, however, Vignoles is produced as an off-dry wine or as a dessert wine, especially when picked late in the season. The fruit can have a high sugar content while retaining high acidity. Vignoles is one of the mainstays of the Eastern North American wine industry. It is also prevalent in the Midwest and been called “Missouri’s favorite white wine.”

This list is by no means comprehensive. Cornell and Minnesota have created hundreds if not thousands of new varieties. In 2006, Minnesota introduced two cold-hardy grapes, Marquette and La Crescent. Marquette, a red grape, is said to have the characteristics of Vitis vinifera grapes, while La Crescent has been touted as the perfect choice for Riesling lovers. More recently, Minnesota released the Itasca hybrid, which has drawn comparisons to Sauvignon Blanc.

While French-American hybrids may not have reached the international status of Vitis vinifera wines, the future is wide open for these varietals. Researchers are continuing to develop grapes that produce desirable qualities, and growers are experimenting in site selection, growing techniques and winemaking. Hybrids are getting a second look, too, as an option to offset climate change. Researchers at the University of California Davis are trying to create heat resistant grapes that produce quality wines. In France, the INAO has approved a third category of grape varieties “for climate and environmental adaption” that allow regions to conduct their research on heat-resistant grape varietals.

Wines made from hybrid grapes continue to improve by leaps and bounds. Whether used to offset global warming, promote sustainability, due to changes in consumer tastes or the “localvore” movement, the time is right for these former “mutts” of the wine world. Who knows, one day a hybrid may take its rightful place in wine shops as “America’s grape,” and become a rising star in the international wine scene. Stay tuned!

Email: The Biggest Tool in Your Digital Marketing Toolbox

By: Susan DeMatei, WineGlass Marketing

man holding a wine glass while laptop browsing

It is 2019. We shouldn’t be having the conversation about whether you should email or not. If you feel you are bothering your customers, then the problem is with your content, not the delivery vehicle. Email is not dead, in fact it’s as relevant as ever. The accompanying infographic to this article contains what we found to be the most diagnostic recent statistics, including the facts that over three quarters of us prefer emails and the sweet spot seems to be around an email every other week.

The conversation now should be about how our customers want to read emails, how they consume the content, and how emails should be integrated into our communication channel with our customers.

Typical questions we discuss with our clients are: What is the best design for an email? How much copy is too much? How many emails should you send, and how often? What day of the week and time of day is the most likely to reach your customers.

Unfortunately, the answer for most of these is, “it depends”, as you can look at your own database’s open and click through rates to determine what type of content they want, and when they want to receive it. But there are some overall guidelines for best practices to follow.

THE MOBILITY EFFECT ON DESIGN

When we first started using email regularly in the workplace, it was before the PalmPilot, BlackBerry, or iPhone. We viewed emails on computers at our desks. Emails took the place of memos, which took the place of letters––so formal, long format text was the norm. With the increasingly fast pace of technology adoption, our lines between work and non-work on a computer have blurred considerably. We used to read work emails at work and personal emails at home. Now, even though you may have separate work and personal email addresses, they go to the same mail account and everything is mixed.

The speed and ease of glancing at email on mobile devices has revolutionized how we consume email, and we are reading more emails than ever. According to the 2018 Deloitte Mobile Consumer Usage Survey, the average consumer checks their phone 52 times per day.1  We use our personal phones at work and our work phones at home. We have access to email 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there are few times when we are unable to open an email.

With over half of our emails read on mobile devices, we have changed the way we interact with promotional emails, and with this, our expectations have changed. We expect to be able to see the content on our desktops, tablets, and phones. This is what “mobile optimization” means. On mobile devices we require buttons to show large enough to be able to click them, we need to see the picture tightly cropped and close up,  and we expect to read the copy without having to scroll sideways. Remember that email is a tool to drive traffic to your website to purchase. If the email cannot be read on a mobile device, 80% of us are more likely to delete it than to save it to be opened on another device later. With people looking at their phones 50 times a day or more, there are multiple opportunities to capture their attention.

Paying attention to design in such a small space is critical to click through rates. While people are looking at their phones and therefore email more than ever, our attention spans are reduced. An email must be clear and concise while effectively communicating the desired message. As the old saying goes, a picture tells 1000 words. We recommend telling the story with images and a clear call to action rather than large amounts of copy.

Because emails are opened on a variety of platforms and devices, a responsive design is critical. Images should adjust to the size of the screen and copy should be limited to the most essential. The call to action must be clear and easy to see, with call to action buttons being the most effective.

Images must load quickly and be appropriate to be viewed on a mobile phone. Many of our clients wish to use full bottle shots in emails, but these do not view well on mobile phones. It is much better to use a tight beauty shot where the label can be clearly seen and read. We find that an image that combines the product, offer, and call to action that is clickable to be effective in increasing click through rates.

MOBILE USAGE DRIVES TIMING

For a long time, the belief was that the best time to send an email is at 10:00 AM on a Tuesday morning, and for the most part that still holds true. But, the overwhelming use of mobile phones to read email has us consuming content at different times and in different ways.

Data from MailChimp and Wordstream suggests that midweek – specifically Tuesday and Thursday are still the best days to send emails. Tuesdays get the most emails opened compared to any other day of the week, although Saturdays may also be a good day to send email for its high open rate, according to data from Experian and analyzed by Customer.io.

Why the conflicting data? While it is imperative that the email can be viewed on a mobile phone, we are still addicted to our computers. The behavior we are starting to exhibit to combine these two is interesting: If we like an email we open on a mobile device we may save it and open it again later. This makes sense if you think about how and when we use our phones. We’re in between meetings (or in a boring meeting) or on the bus or waiting in the sandwich line at lunch and we scan through emails, deleting ones we don’t want to read and saving ones we do. The business emails we deal with during the business day, but leave the personal emails for after work or on the weekend. This is why it makes sense that the largest open rates are reported during the weekday, but click throughs on the weekend.

The time of day is also affected by this complex pattern of consumption. MailChimp confirms with Campaign Monitor that sending emails later in the morning between 10 a.m.–noon will get you the most opens. It looks like the best time to send email is at 10 a.m. Campaign Monitor sums it up by saying that 53% of emails are opened during the workday between 9 a.m.–5 p.m. However, Customer.io found that marketing email opens are highest from 8 p.m.–midnight, with a second peak between 4–8 p.m. Customer.io suggests that while it’s a common practice to check email in the mornings, most people are just beginning their day and may likely avoid email marketing in favor of productivity.

This also supports why these second opens are so likely to result in conversion – because these are the emails we’ve saved. Whether they return to it on their phone or a desktop, they’re back to consider the offer and often click through to your website.

BUT NOTHING IS AS IMPORTANT AS TARGETING AND CONTENT

It should be noted that you can have the most perfectly mobile-friendly email sent at the perfect time, but if the messaging and target aren’t right, it won’t work. When used properly, emails should not tell the consumer everything they need to know, but entice them to your website where they find an appropriate landing page with the content and products from the email. For a consumer to purchase a product from an email they must first open the email, so the subject line is also very important. And some estimate targeting as 50% of the success of your campaign: sending too many emails across all segments can reduce open rates. We recommend using segmentation to reduce the amount of email one consumer receives and to drive engagement by matching the customer with the content they are most interested in.

So don’t be seduced by SMS and shiny digital channels: Email marketing is more important for driving ecommerce than ever. With the increased use of mobile devices, people are opening emails across multiple platforms and during all times of the day and night. With some consideration for mobile devices, you can keep your consumers informed and your email channel sales strong.

Susan DeMatei is the President of WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm working within the wine industry in Napa, California. www.wineglassmarketing.com

Canada Vows to Loosen Federal Barriers to Interprovincial Wine Trade

By: Briana Tomkinson

For almost a century, Canadian wineries have been prevented from shipping their wines direct-ly to customers living in other provinces. After the most recent federal budget announcement earlier this year, however, wine industry leaders say they are cautiously optimistic that Prohibi-tion-era rules restricting trade could soon be relaxed—a move which industry leaders say could be a game-changer for Canada’s many boutique wineries.

In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government announced that the 2019 federal budget would remove a requirement that alcohol shipped across provincial borders must be sold or consigned to a provincial liquor authority. According to Canadian Vintners Association presi-dent Dan Paszkowski, if the proposed rule change passes in June, it would remove the last federal barrier to internal trade in alcohol.

The only catch? Provincial governments still have the power to make their own rules regulating the sale and distribution of alcohol within their borders.

The last time the feds relaxed their rules, only a handful of provinces chose to follow suit. In 2012, the federal government relaxed certain restrictions on interprovincial trade that had been in place since 1928, officially allowing Canadians to bring alcohol across borders for personal use. However, Paszkowski said only three provinces—British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia—chose to update their regulations to allow residents to ship wine to their doorsteps.

In other provinces like Alberta, for example, Paszkowski said citizens can bring in as much wine as they can carry on their person. However, it remains illegal to have even one bottle cou-riered to your home from a winery in B.C. or Ontario. Canadians who flout the rules risk fines, and even jail time in some instances, he said.

“It’s the 21st Century, and yet we’re still restricted from the full use of wine clubs, the internet, and social media because we could only sell to people who reside in the province,” Paszkow-ski said.

Although online ordering from wineries or wine clubs is uncommon, polling has shown that a strong majority of Canadian consumers would like to be able to have wine shipped to their doorsteps. A Gandalf Group poll commissioned by the Canadian Vintners Association in 2017 found 87% of consumers believed Canadians should be allowed to order wine to their home from a winery.

In Canada, the vast majority of wine consumers shop at provincially run liquor stores. In the poll, between 80% and 93% of customers said they bought their wine from a government-mandated liquor outlet. The one provincial exception was Alberta, where only 15% buy from a government-run store, and 80% buy from a privately owned and operated liquor store.

Only 19% of Canadians said they bought wine directly from wineries, though this option was more popular in British Columbia, where 27% said they did so. Only about 2% of customers said they shopped online at a government-run online store, private online store or wine club. Very few consumers, just 9%, were even aware of the option of ordering wine directly from a winery.

Although government-run liquor stores have a virtual monopoly on sales, domestically produ-ced wine has little to no representation on store shelves. In seven out of 10 provinces, Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines—a designation that officially verifies the origin and quality of Ca-nadian-made wine—have less than a 3% market share. In Quebec, the market share for VQA wine is less than one percent at the province’s Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores. “We don’t even have a category at the SAQ,” Paskowski said.

If the provinces do come on board, the impact on Canadian wineries could be significant. Cur-rently, about four million tourists visit Canada’s 700-plus wineries every year, Paszkowski said. Those who like the wine often want to ship a few bottles home, but under the current regula-tions, wine producers are prevented from doing so.

“Wine is one of the only products in the country where you visit the retailer, and they want it delivered, and you have to say no. You can order a gun from another province, but you can’t order a bottle of wine shipped in another province,” Paszkowski said.

It’s not just sales to tourists that Canadian wineries are missing out on either. According to Sta-tistics Canada, most of the wine sold in Canada, about 74% of reds and almost 60% of whites, is imported from other countries, while Canadian-made wine only represents about 12% of the premium wine market.

“The government’s very interested in the export market, but when you only own 12% of your market, well, we can’t really turn our back on Canada. Our opportunity to export is when our market share is greater,” Paskowski said.

Wine Clubs

Although online wine sales and wine clubs are only 2% of the market in Canada, they are an important sales channel for boutique wineries, especially those whose wines are not stocked in provincially run liquor stores.

Ontario’s Kwäf wine club, for example, has become an important sales channel for many small wineries in the province. Club subscribers receive six sommelier-selected Ontario wines deliv-ered to their homes every three months for $125 to $138 CAD per box. The club ships only to subscribers living in Ontario and the handful of provinces that have relaxed restrictions on in-terprovincial wine trade.

However, according to Director of Business-to-Consumer Operations, Amber Fountain, even if Kwäf could ship anywhere in Canada, the company would still focus on promoting Ontario wines to Ontarians. The foot traffic from wine tourism is a vital spinoff benefit for Kwäf’s winer-ies. Most of its customers are in the greater Toronto area, within easy road trip distance to many of the wineries that supply Kwäf.

“Us sending their wine across the country isn’t really going to help them get people to their door,” Fountain said. “We want people to become fans of our wineries.”

The almost five-year-old company, which was recently acquired by Calgary-based alcohol e-commerce company Blacksquare, has succeeded on the strength of the mutually beneficial partnerships it has cultivated with local wineries, Fountain said.

Kwäf promises customers it will send only “good” wine, so the company’s sommeliers spend a lot of time sourcing and tasting new wines, searching for tastes that are new and exciting. Kwäf makes a special effort to seek out small-scale producers whose wines are not carried by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) stores, even purchasing the full production of a particular wine to offer as an exclusive release for members.

Partner wineries often include gifts and value-add to encourage subscribers to visit in person, which can help cement a winery’s relationships with their customers. Tasting passes, dis-counts to restaurants, exclusive winery experience tours, and opportunities to meet the wine-makers are important perks of the club. The ultimate goal, Fountain said, is to help cultivate a greater appreciation for local wines, particularly those customers won’t find on liquor store shelves.

“We understand our customers won’t only order wine through us for day-to-day consumption. It’s meant to supplement people’s enjoyment of wine. It’s more for exploration, to try new wines,” Fountain said.

Perhaps one day, the rest of Canada will be able to enjoy exploring new tastes shipped directly to their doorsteps as well.

Dirty Laundry Vineyard: Va Va Voom

By: Adrienne Roman

red-theme open space winery

The Canadian Pacific Railway was built between Eastern Canada and British Columbia in the late 1800s. Thousands of Chinese laborers were contracted to work under extremely dangerous conditions. One of these brave men, Sam Suey, decided to abandon his unrelenting position on the railroad in favor of opening his own Chinese Laundry Service in lower Summerland, B.C.

With the nearby wharf home to an abundance of local freight and passenger traffic from the Okanagan sternwheelers and plenty of folks circulating in dirty clothes, Suey’s enterprise swiftly gained popularity. The downstairs served as a laundromat, while upstairs clients were free to drink, gamble, and as the story goes, enjoy the company of a few scantily clad women. The locals managed to keep the house of ill repute “hush hush.”

Honoring Summerland’s history, Dirty Laundry Vineyard brings an air of intrigue to British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley wine region. With a collection of cheeky names like Dangerous Liaison, Secret Affair, and Bordello, Dirty Laundry’s wines are cloaked in mystery, a pinch of rebellion, and a healthy dash of naughty.

However, there’s no secret when it comes to the quality of the wines they produce. Their Hush Blush is an award-winning blend of Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. They create the blush using the saignee process. During early fermentation, the Pinot juice is removed, and the Merlot and Cabernet undergo a cold soak to enhance their color before pressing.

Gold medals have been awarded to Dirty Laundry’s Merlot and Au Naturel Gewürztraminer at the National Wine Awards in 2018. Their Reisling won gold at the San Francisco Wine Competition 2017, and their Syrah also brought home gold at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition 2017.  Va va voom.

Woo Woo: Where Wine Is Fun

Dirty Laundry winemaker, Mason Spink, grew up in Victoria, B.C., and completed his honors degree in Oenology and Viticulture at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario. After returning to B.C after college, he worked with See You Later Ranch as assistant winemaker but was quickly promoted to winemaker for seven vintages. Spink joined the team at Dirty Laundry Vineyard in 2013, where he’s thrilled to be producing small lot fermentations where each parcel is handled with care to ensure its finest attributes are expressed in each wine.  The Grapevine Magazine was invited to speak with him about what it’s like to make wine in the Okanagan Valley.

  Grapevine Magazine: What would you like visitors to know about Dirty Laundry Vineyard?

  Mason Spink: Wine should be something that’s enjoyed. You tend to lose the fun with too much sophistication. We want our guests to enjoy themselves, feel completely free to ask questions and drink some excellent wine at the same time.

  GM: Dirty Laundry’s Woo Woo Gewürztraminer has made quite the name for itself. Can you tell us a little more about it?

  MS:  Our Gewürztraminer grapes are Dirty Laundry’s oldest ones and were propagated by the original vineyard owner Edgar Scherzinger in 1978. Prior to that, there was a cherry orchard here.

It’s common to see Vinifera at the top and vine grafting on American rootstock, but all of our Gewürztraminers have their original root systems.  There have been cases of the root pest phylloxera in the valley, but luckily it doesn’t seem to affect us here. We have five different Gewürztraminers, each with their own levels of sweetness. Our Grande Dame Gewürztraminer is made from the oldest vines on site, and our bestseller still remains Woo Woo, which is a middle of the road sweetness, often described as having melon, lychee, and pineapple notes with a subtle hint of ginger spice.

  GM:  Tell us about the Okanagan Valley and British Columbia.

  MS: It’s really stunning. Sometimes it’s easy to get used to all that we have here. I just returned from Chile where it’s an entirely different kind of beauty, but coming home you realize how lucky we are to live here.

It’s truly an incredible place. I love that we have such diversity in grapes. Down south, we find Syrahs in Oliver that are similar to jammy Australian ones, while we have more of the Northern Rhone French style up North.

  G.M: Can you give us a sense of the terroir in Summerland?

  M.S: Dirty Laundry has approximately 100 acres of vineyards, with a new vineyard in Prairie Valley. There are sandy volcanic soils, many on rolling hills and silt-rich slopes. We see a variety of vine direction, north, south, and west facing.  The valley terrain definitely allows for a variety of growing ability.

Traditionally B.C. has always been divided by into four “Designated Viticultural Areas” by the VQA. These include The Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley and Similkameen Valley. The VQA is currently in the midst of changing their Appalachian areas to honor the diversity of the land, adding five or six new sub-Appalachians to reflect the many smaller vineyards on Bottleneck Drive. There’s such a wide range of grape characteristics due to the diverse landscape here.  It’s often an interesting juggling act to get all of our grapes harvested at the same time. We try to control what we can, but in fact, we rely on Mother Nature above all else.

  GM: What does Dirty Laundry’s elevated tasting experience include?

  MS: Our wine shop is a favorite spot, but often people want a more personal experience where they can learn more about our wines and find out how they’re made. Our boardroom overlooks the vineyards and patio, guests can enjoy a cheese and wine pairing, and if they’d like to enhance their experience, they can also take a scenic vineyard tour.

Panoramic Perfection

The second largest wine region in Canada, The Okanagan Valley boasts approximately 4000 hectares of vineyards and produces 90 percent of the wine in British Columbia. Picturesque landscapes run for miles along Okanagan Lake and the communities of Kelowna, Penticton, Naramata, Oliver, Osoyoos, Summerland, and Okanagan Falls.

The dry, warm climate of the southern B.C. interior is the perfect recipe for excellence in viticulture, and the coastal mountain range protects the grapes from any potentially threatening weather. The many lakes running in the valleys control both the heat in the summer and the colder winter air. Moderate moisture combined with consistently strong sunlight allows the grapes to ripen to full maturity, and the night air helps them retain higher acidity. The microclimates in the Okanagan attract vintners from Australia, California, France, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Sassy and Classy

Voted “the cheers of wineries” by Yelp, and “best place to taste wine” by the readers at Okanagan Life Magazine, Dirty Laundry Vineyard is all about the art of creating fun for their guests while helping them develop a better understanding of some of the subtleties of viticulture.

For Spink and the other team members at Dirty Laundry, there’s no reason you can’t educate yourself, have a good time, and enjoy a high-quality experience. Their “where wine is fun” and “time to wine down” attitude is evident around every bold corner. They eliminate the pomp and deliver an unpretentious, colorful, and uniquely engaging experience. Stop in at the winery’s Red Iron Grille for an Italian Forno wood-fired pizza, and unwind with locally made gelato and live music on Friday nights. Beer lovers can indulge in the craft beer selections at The Bottoms Up Saloon. Experience a historic ride on The Kettle Valley Steam Train, built between 1910-1915, where visitors are whisked along the only remaining preserved section of the Kettle Valley Railway, winding their way through picturesque orchards and vast vineyards and stopping to catch breathtaking views of Okanagan Lake. Perched on top of the canyon on Trout Creek Trestle Bridge, 238 feet above the creek, it’s easy to understand why you’ve arrived at the most painterly point in Summerland. Don’t forget to see Dirty Laundry’s General Store and peruse their portfolio of award-winning wines, witty merchandise, clothing, and gifts.

Sassy and classy, Dirty Laundry Vineyard’s vintage charm is sure to please.

  Dirty Laundry Vineyard is located at 7311 Fiske Street, Summerland, B.C. Their tasting room hours are 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Sunday.  For more information visit their website https://www.dirtylaundry.ca/