T.G. SCHMEISER CO., INC. NAMES SARGON KANINYA NEW PRODUCTION MANAGER
SELMA, CA – T. G. Schmeiser
Co., Inc. announces Sargon Kaninya as their new Production Manager effective
October 7, 2019.
Mr. Kaninya brings a vast
background of experience and education to his new position. After graduating
with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Technology, he furthered his
education receiving a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Technology from
CSU Fresno. From there, he continued his education at Indiana University
receiving both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in
Global Supply Chain Management from their Kelley School of Business.
Prior to working at
Schmeiser, Mr. Kaninya worked as a Production Manager for Jain Irrigation and most
recently the Master Scheduler at Floway Pumps.
With his education and work
experience, T G Schmeiser Co. sees Mr. Kaninya a perfect match for their needs.
When asked, Mr. Kaninya looks forward to contributing his manufacturing and
supply chain experience to Schmeiser’s legacy of top quality and excellent
For further information, contact T. G. Schmeiser at 559-268-8128 or visit their website at www.tgschmeiser.com.
Digital photo attached. For further details or additional images, contact agency.
By: Dr Richard Smart, Dr Misha Kwasniewski, Alex Fredrickson and Dr Angela Sparrow
Think about it, if you will, what is the essence of winemaking? A very important question.
How about if wine is were
made just from the juice and pulp. What an uninteresting beverage it would be.
Alcohol only, with no aroma and no flavour. Spirits are not so uninteresting.
All of the chemical
compounds which make wine such an interesting beverage are to be found in the
skins, maybe a few in the seeds. These compounds include colour phenolics and
the complex of flavour and aroma compounds which help to make varietal wines so
So the answer to my
rhetorical question is: the essence of good winemaking
is in skin extraction.
This leads then to the
important question of how winery practices might be conducted to facilitate
extraction from the skins. I remember well my friend Dr Chris Somers,
distinguished wine phenolic scientist from the Australian Wine Research
Institute making the statement: ”everything that winemakers
want in their wines is to be found in the pomace”. In other words the
standard winemaking factors is inefficient at extraction from the skins.
How can Extraction from the Skins be Improved?
I have long thought about
this remark made by Chris Somers and wondered how might extraction from grape
skins be improved. I had the opportunity to investigate some solutions to this
problem in 2011. As part of my consultancy with Tamar Ridge Wines near
Launceston in Tasmania we had established an experimental winery. This allowed
us to make pilot scale fermentations to evaluate vineyard trials aimed to
improve wine quality.
This facility (in fact a
converted apple-packing cum sheep-shearing shed) also offered the possibility
for Angela Sparrow and I to investigate how the extraction from grape skins
might be improved. Angela initially worked as a technician in the experimental
winery before enrolling as a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania in
Our first effort was a
modification to fermenter design which showed little promise. The second was
the light bulb moment. We figured that a
simple way to improve skin extraction would be to make skin particles smaller
(skin fragmentation), so that they had a larger edge to surface area ratio.
There would be a smaller diffusion path of skin constituents to the skin edge
from smaller rather than larger skin particles. So extraction would be
We find in fact that most
grape berries coming out of commercial crushers are simply squashed or
flattened, each with a rather small broken skin edge. We call this phenomenon
“flattened spheres”, each “envelope” often contains skin and seeds. We analysed
a sample of Pinot Gris berries from a Bucher Vaslin crusher, and found that
there were 181 flattened spheres, and only 12 skin fragments.
We evaluated fragmenting grape skins simply using a laboratory blender. We were of course mindful that such an operation should not damage the seeds, and careful checking revealed that this was the case. Therefore we proceeded to make experiments using our micro-vinification techniques, and found that the color and phenolic extraction of Pinot Noir was greatly improved, and sensory evaluation showed that so was the wine quality. We were of course thrilled!
Figure 1 shows Pinot Noir must samples one hour after treatment. The sample on the left shows typical flattened spheres after crushing, with limited color diffusion. The sample on the right was crushed then fragmented, and see the difference in color extraction!
Confirming the Results
The intensive study by
Angela of grape skin fragmentation for her PhD created a considerable number of
scientific publications, including both wine chemistry and sensory evaluation
verification of the concept. Angela developed the term “ACE” to describe the
process, the acronym standing for Accentuated Cut Edges. The first paper in the
series was published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture in
2016. It was entitled “Reducing skin particle size
affects the phenolic attributes of Pinot Noir wine. Proof of concept.” Other papers followed
including wine chemistry and sensory evaluation. Always ACE shone through,
producing better Pinot Noir wines.
For the next six years
Angela’s studies progressed from small ferments to those in commercial wineries,
helped in part by an industry research grant. A prototype machine to achieve
ACE was designed and developed, and allowed ACE evaluation at commercial scale.
Enter Della Toffola and DTMA
The machine, the
scientific results and wine samples were shown to Giacomo Della Toffola in
Tasmania. The large Italian winery equipment company Della
then proposed a joint venture with Richard Smart and Angela Sparrow to further
the development commercially. The result is the DTMA machine, DTMA being the acronym for Della Toffola Maceration Accelerator.
This machine was evaluated as a prototype by Angela in Australia, New Zealand and Italy in 2016 and 2017. The DTMA machine is now commercially available in a range of capacities through the international dealerships of Della Toffola (see www.dellatoffola.it).
The machine is shown in Figure
2. It is
relatively small and portable, and is connected by hoses between the crusher
and the fermenter.
Coriole winery of McLaren
Vale, South Australia was the first to purchase DTMA in Australia following
trials conducted there by Dr Angela Sparrow. More recently the unit has been
used in experiments by several researchers from the University of Adelaide.
Trials have been conducted as well in California during the 2019 vintage which
will be reported in the future.
Using ACE to Improve Chambourcin Tannins in Missouri
Interspecific hybrid wines
are generally much lower than vinifera in final tannin content. This is in
spite of some hybrid grapes having appreciable tannins in their skin and seeds.
Several studies have pointed to hybrids as having trouble with tannin
extraction and retention during winemaking.
This has led researchers
at the University of Missouri in the U.S. to investigate the efficacy of ACE
treatment on cv. Chambourcin. Alex
Fredrickson, PhD. student in Misha Kwasniewski’s lab, presented preliminary
results of the study at the 2019 Eastern Section of the American Society of
Enology and Viticulture. Alex found that ACE treatment at crush and immediately
before pressing substantially increased final tannin concentration in the wines
versus control, in measurements made 6-months after pressing, as measured by
ACE at crush yielded 146
mg/L catechin equivalents (CE), ACE 24 hours to pressing was 118 mg/L CE,
whereas control was only 47 mg/L CE. ACE at crushing represents a massive 310% increase in tannin!
This work was part of a larger investigation that included looking into
exogenous tannin addition retention as well as tannin protein interactions. The
ACE treated wines were similar in concentration to a massive exogenous tannin
addition of 1400mg/l at either 20° Brix (1-day after inoculation) or later at 5°
These results suggest that
ACE treatment either released a large enough amount of tannin to overcome
whatever factor is causing poor retention of exogenous additions, or
alternatively that the ACE treatment somehow is mediating the problem. No differences
were found between total protein content in ACE treated wines or control
immediately after pressing; this suggests that the protein-tannin interactions
may not explain the increase. Further characterization of the proteins is
Given the promising
results the work was repeated in 2019. As this work moves forward the group
will be looking into impacts on wine volatiles, the consistency of treatment
impacts on Chambourcin and potentially other interspecific hybrids. As well,
studies continue into the underlying mechanism for the dramatic increase found
in the 2018 results.
Giacomo Della Toffola
believes that the ACE process achieved with DTMA will be a “revolution in winemaking”, his impression when he first viewed the results of ACE
Toffola has been awarded an esteemed Innovation Award in Winemaking at the 2019
SIMEI Winemaking exhibition in Milano Italy.
Continuing research has
shown that ACE/DTMA can considerably save winemaking costs, some of which are
accentuated by vintage compression and climate change. Earlier research by
Angela Sparrow has shown that following ACE treatment, red wine ferments can be
taken off skins after only three days, thus allowing more use of specialized
red wine fermenters and with savings in cellar labor. Early results with DTMA
have shown encouraging results with aromatic white wines.
The crush pad design of a winery is one of the most critical areas
of the winery. Much of the hard work, in
making wine, happens on the crush pad especially during harvest. Make sure to design and implement all aspects
of the desired needs into the crush pad of your functional winemaking
facility. Below are some broad and
expandable review points that apply to most, if not all, crush pads.
Weather: Often grapes are picked
based on weather. Realistically, if
inclement weather is forecasted the vineyard and winery team may make a
decision to pick a variety before that forecasted event. This will often mean that the crushing and
pressing of that fruit may happen during poor weather conditions. For this reason and for protection from all
the elements, including hot sunshine, it is recommended the crush pad have a
roof or cover over it. Be sure to have
ample ceiling height under the cover so as not to restrict certain activities
such as dumping fruit into hoppers by way of forklift.
Cost: This will be some of the
least expensive square footage you will build at your winery. Make sure to have enough room to handle the
bulky mass of grapes so that the fruit may be crushed or processed into their
respective least bulky state whether it is juice or must. Make sure the concrete floor, if used, is
thick enough to handle forklift traffic and that the finish has enough
aggregate (rough surface) to make sure foot and vehicle traffic will have ample
traction on the surface. Because this
will be some of the least cost in terms of square footage be sure to battle
building planners that may want to reduce the amount of crush pad space
allocated in the plans.
Plumbing: Think through your
operations anticipated on the crush pad.
Then use critical thought as to where certain needs for water are. Winterizable plumbing, hot and cold, should
be placed so hoses can be used but out of the way of foot and vehicle traffic,
including doorways. Size the lines to
the area to allow for ample flow and encourage the plumbing contractor to use
full port handled ball valves and to not use standard boiler valves for water
supply. Plan mechanical “stub outs” is
this area if this area is planned to be the future expansion area of the winery
Wiring: Make sure to think through
plug outlet placement in respect to how it will service each piece of equipment
anticipated, use the shortest length of cord and placed so the cords remain out
of the way of foot and vehicle traffic.
Examples of operations that will need power are: Press, pump, crusher, must pump, sorting
table(s), shaker(s) and perhaps a few extra outlets if multiple operations will
be happening in alternate work areas.
Make sure these electric outlets have weather proof closures and
possibly set up on GFI’s ( Ground Fault Interrupters ). Ample work lighting, including lighting to
view into tractor trailers, should be addressed and ample 110 volts outlets
should exist. Review if ceiling fans are
desired on your crush pad and if so – place them high above the floor to allow
for forklift activity. Review if any
“mood lighting” is desired on a marketing level outside crushing hours. Make sure to know what power service is run
to your building in terms of amps and how many phases (single vs. three
phase). Additional wiring needs may be
for internet access, cameras, intercoms, phone etc.
Drains: A critical feature of the
crush pad due to the large volume of water and cleaning used. Proper sloping floors to these drains should
be used so water will gravitate toward them without the assistance of a
squeegee If portions of the crush pad
are not covered, make sure to place a three-way valve from the drain to
redirect storm and rain water to a more proper location (review local building
suggestions). Review the need for a
catch basin to strain solids from the crush pad effluent. Make sure these drains will withstand the
heavy forklift and equipment traffic.
Walls: The walls on the crush pad
should be durable and reasonably easy to clean.
Concrete, cinderblock, tile or other physically strong materials should
be considered for at least the first 40 inches of height of the walls. These are reasonably cleaned and very durable
to resist bumping from pallet jacks, forklifts, tractors and other heavy
items. Above the 40 inches, if the
masonry is not extended, perhaps look at an easily cleaned attractive and
durable surface such a metal or vinyl siding materials.
Flooring Surface: Mentioned earlier but
worth re-emphasizing. Make sure the
surface of the flooring will handle all predicted vehicles, such as pallet
jacks and forklifts, in terms of its thickness and PSI ratings. Also make sure the surface has enough
aggregate finish to avoid slipping of foot and vehicle traffic.
Mirrors: An easy tool to implement,
and rarely considered, if certain areas are difficult for forklift and
machinery operators to see. Try and
locate a mirror placement that will allow sight to that area. This could be in, near and around door
ways. Another area nice for mirrors is
above any equipment that has high hoppers filled by forklift. This will allow the operator to remain on the
forklift, yet, be able to see inside the hopper to know all the fruit has moved
through the hopper before adding more or closing a press door for example.
Catwalks: Study your crush pad
operation to determine if you need catwalks to service, operate and clean
certain machinery. Can these catwalks
have dual purpose by allowing winery production staff access the catwalk while
also allowing tour guides to accompany tour traffic through the same area? This can be a great marketing tool as well as
a great working tool. Some wineries have
successfully placed their hopper to the press along a catwalk so winery workers
may rinse and clean that hopper carefully from that catwalk location. The same
area can be used for customer tours.
Crush Pad Access Into Building: Many
wineries opt for a lay out that gives access to the tank room from the crush
pad. Often this is the first place the
juices or must will go so that layout makes logical sense. Try and have easy access to the lab, also, so
winemakers can easily assess the fruit and corrections, if desired, can be made
quickly and easily.
Crush Pad Access from Outside:
sure to plan for forklift, pallet jack, truck, tractor trailer and drive on
traffic by way of tractor and wagon.
Most designs have at least two tractor trailer loading dock stations so
one may park a refer semi on the premise to chill fruit as needed. Another dock may be used to receive fruit or
other items by way of tractor trailer.
If possible include a height to load a box truck or pick up with some
relative ease and then make sure vineyard tractors and wagons may drive on the
crush pad for delivery and perhaps pomace removal from the crush pad. Many smart winery setups elevate their
presses high enough in the air so that pomace may be dumped directly into a
wagon or manure spreader to remove that pomace quickly and efficiently with
little shoveling. Think this through when deciding on placement of the
Building Door Access Placement: Make
sure to have at least one people door, with glass panes , and one larger overhead
door, with see though/drive through plastic strip doors added. The overhead door is usually where large
tanks are brought in and out of the winery.
New glass shipments, if arriving at this loading dock will need to have
access to the building and this door is often the door of choice due to its
proximity to the loading dock.
Thresholds: Make sure to design most of
the crush pad, as well as the complete winery building, with minimal raised
thresholds in doorways or between floors so as to allow for easy movements of
items by way of pallet jack, forklift, dolly etc.
Vineyard Safety Assistance: If
your winery has vineyard operations on the property or close by, review if one
may place the potentially required outdoor chemical safety shower on the crush
pad in case of emergency. Check with
someone who knows locality regulations to see if this is an option at
reasonable savings. In many cases this
same shower may be enough for the winery lab and production needs.
Non-Stationary Equipment: If
your winery has movable equipment make sure to place electric outlets
appropriately to service these pieces of equipment. Plan to be able to crush reds and to press
whites simultaneously if possible. Many
pieces of equipment come with short flexible electric cords to them so take a
proactive step, before crush, to replace them with reasonable length cords so
as to allow various configurations and flexibility in their set-up. Not each grape with go through the exact same
process and the winery will benefit from this flexibility.
Stationary Equipment: Make sure stationary
equipment is placed strategically to allow it to function properly. Make sure, for example, that a press is
placed far enough away from a wall to allow its juice pan to be moved so a
pomace wagon may pull underneath for unloading.
Protective Corners: Wall corners, by way of
some form of angle iron type material, to protect from day to day traffic and
worker abuse are a great asset. These
areas often have hoses and cords pulled through them and they wear easily. It is best to protect them. Other areas to
need protection may be around mechanical equipment or winemaking gases such as
: Nitrogen, Carbon dioxide, Argon,
Liquid Sulfur Dioxide and now Oxygen.
Pilings best protect these areas from larger traffic issues.
Sight Into Cellar: If possible make sure the
winemaking staff can see into the cellar from the crush pad. Often transfers are being made and a design
that allows visual inspection that the transfer is happening as expected is
important. This function can be a simple
as glass paned doors as mentioned above.
Other groups have used cameras to assist the winemaking team confirm
their valuable juice or wine moves safely from the crush pad to the cellar or
Hose Access to Cellar: Many wineries now have
openings, usually oversized PVC pipes through the walls, of the buildings so
small wine transfer lines may be run through them. This helps eliminate leaving cellar doors
open during the crush allowing cold air to escape and more than likely large
amounts of fruit fly access. These may
be used additionally for water hoses and electric lines, if unplanned for in
the lay out. I recommend two PVC
“sleeves” with plugs at a minimum place about two inches above the crush pad
floor with a slight fall back toward the crush pad so wine, juice and water
will drain out on the crush pad for proper cleaning/disposal.
Gravity: Keep in mind the crush pad
placement if gravity is desired to be used and how that feature will integrate
into the rest of the structure and winemaking processes. Must can transfer into the tanks by way of
gravity if the crush pad is elevated higher than the tanks. Other ways to achieve gravity are by way of
forklift. Be sure to work with all
winery personnel and designers to make sure these areas are discussed and
completely thought through. The
forklift should be the only machine (see below) that is critical in your
process. This machine is typically
easily fixed or replaced on short notice.
Always place a few calls before crush to have a plan “B” as close to
your potential needs as desired.
Forklift: Often the most utilized
piece of equipment for moving materials during the crush on the crush pad. Gravity may be achieved easily with a
forklift. Heavy items are also easily
moved from one point to another. Allow
plenty of space for the forklift operator to have adequate space to perform
these tasks easily.
Over Thinking Your Processes: Make
sure that your crush pad set up is not so rigid that production on the crush
doesn’t have some flexibility. Imagine
if one machine, in a series of machines, were to become broken. Can a crushing set up plan exist to skip that
machine or does the complete process come to a halt? Make sure the winemaker has enough “stage”, if
you will, to have several variations in production choices.
Emergency Processing: Similar to over thinking
the process above. Imagine poor weather
has been persistent for many days during harvest. Projections of more poor weather are
predicted and you are rapidly losing your crop and/or quality. Contract growers and estate vineyard crews
are grumbling. You can’t keep enough
labor at your sorting table and/or you choose not to sort. Can this process or any other parts in your
process be skipped, at will, to not loose or jeopardize the complete
vintage? Perhaps a break down occurs
with one of the machines. Can they be
worked around or does this bring the complete processing to a stop?
Equipment: Make sure when planning
your winery and crush pad to think through all the pieces of equipment that may
needed. Make sure ample space is
provided on the crush pad for these items.
A starter list of equipment may include but not be limited to : Press; crusher-stemmer; must pump, pump,
sorting table(s); shaker(s) and other(s).
Make sure enough power, light, refrigeration, compressed air or other
needs are supplied to the crush area to support these selected pieces of
Non Crush Pad Use: I always like to think of
the winery as a large refrigerator. I
often will move barrels, on racks by way of forklift, from the winery and work
with them on the crush pad when possible.
This allows me to access the barrels fully for a quality control check
and to work with them for such activities as racking, stirring, topping,
adjustments and making blends. Working
on the crush pad allows more efficient use of the winery square footage inside
for storage and minimizing utilities associated with the winery power usage.
Crush Pad Café: Using this term loosely to
suggest other activities can happen on the crush pad area. This could include tables and chairs, picnics
and other winery marketing functions.
Small heaters can make the season longer for this type of use. Winery personnel often want to hide the
machinery associated with processing grapes but we must remember customers
often find it interesting if it is clean and safely arranged on the crush pad.
Noise: Be sure to have mechanicals
such as HVAC compressors and glycol units placed with enough distance from the
crush pad. This will assist in better
employee communication and help with the use of this area for marketing
functions. Often architects and builders
see this ample flat area as a place to station these mechanical units. Be certain to tackle this topic well in
advance to make for better planning and smoother operations both at building
and during upcoming harvests.
Future Building: If the crush pad will
eventually be another part of your winery building planned in the future, make
sure to include the infrastructure to support those plans into the mechanical
aspects of the crush pad. This could
include footers to code where load bearing walls are projected to be
constructed, plumbing stub outs, electrical trunk feeds etc.
Regulatory: Make sure to review your
plat and bonded area before moving forward with some of the operations
mentioned above. In many cases wines
being handled on the crush pad means that area should be bonded. In other cases such as social events taxed
wine may not be allowed back onto a bonded premise area. Review the needs of your winery to see if
multiple uses may be possible in one
form or another.
• Will a large water tank,
elevated high, be mounted on/near the crush pad to fill a sprayer rapidly?
• If production and tour
catwalks are used to service both needs simultaneously? Will rinsing water overspray be an issue?
• Will employees respect the
crush pad space by keeping it organized and not parking personal vehicles on it
during working hours?
• Will extra unused pallets
be stored on the crush pad and if so where?
Summary: When thinking of the crush pad it is best to list everything one may want to do in the space. Try to think in terms in how each operation can be done with the least amount of physical effort, maximizing quality, and employ those ideas. “How can I do the best possible job with my fruit, wine and marketing with the absolute minimal effort?” Make it a pleasure to work at your winery structure with ample planning on the crush pad.
In earlier articles, I have discussed the benefits of federal registration of trademarks, how they differ from patents and copyrighted materials, and how far you should go to protect your marks. But, when someone decides to take the ultimate step to initiate litigation, I find that they often have little understanding of the process, the timelines, the costs, and the burdens involved. This article is meant to give a high-level view of what a litigation entails, either at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or in federal court.
If your goal is to oppose
the pending registration of another person’s trademark, or to cancel such a
registration after it issues, you will generally bring your case to the USPTO’s
Trademark Trials and Appeals Board (TTAB).
On the other hand, if you believe that someone is infringing your
trademark and you want to seek monetary damages, you will file a lawsuit in a
U.S. District Court. There is overlap in
these proceedings; for example, you can seek to cancel a registered trademark
as part of a court case, but there are differences as well; e.g., you cannot
seek monetary damages at the TTAB.
Generally, though, the processes in both venues are similar.
Before Filing – Due Diligence
Whether at the TTAB or in
federal court, before you file your case, you are obligated to ensure that you
have a proper basis for doing so. Your
attorney will ask many questions and likely want to see some documentation. This is their due diligence process to see
whether you have reasonable grounds to bring your case and to assess your
likelihood of success in the matter.
They are looking for such issues as: whether you own a valid trademark
and have standing to bring the case; whether the other party has a valid
trademark and, if so, which party has priority in its rights; the similarity of
the two trademarks and their channels of trade; evidence of when and how the
other party has used its mark, etc. If,
after reviewing these materials, the attorney agrees that you have a reasonable
basis for your case, they will draft the initial filing documents. In the TTAB, these would be a Notice of
Opposition or a Petition for Cancellation; in federal court, it would be a
Complaint. For simplicity sake, I will
refer to all of these documents as complaints.
Filing the Complaint
Your attorney will
synthesize the material you provide into a complaint. While complaints have a required structure
that is somewhat dry and formulaic, because it is the first opportunity to
educate the TTAB or judge as to what the case is about, it should paint a very
clear picture of how you have been aggrieved and the other party is
responsible. The cost of this stage of
the case will depend upon the complexity of the issues and, of course, your
attorney’s hourly rate. For a complex
case, it may take as much as 30-40 hours of attorney time to do the legal
research, analysis, investigation, and draft the complaint. The government filing fees for the complaint,
whether at the TTAB or in federal court are $400.
This is the stage of
litigation of which clients tend to have the least understanding, and for good
reason. It’s a complex array of
processes and rules and is frequently the source of many disputes between the
parties. For this reason, it is also
often the most expensive part of the litigation process.
As a general matter,
“discovery” is the process through which you get information from the other
side in order to try to prove your case.
In both TTAB proceedings and court litigations, the discovery process is
fairly broad, meaning that you are allowed to ask for a wide array of
information from the other side. Court
litigations, however, are broader in scope because, for example, those cases
usually involve monetary damages, which are not at issue in TTAB proceedings.
This is also one of the reasons that court litigations are more expensive.
There are four basic tools in discovery: interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission, and depositions.
Interrogatories are simply questions you ask the other side and they are required to answer. For example, you might ask the other party to describe the dates and circumstances under which they created and adopted their trademark.
Requests for production are how you ask the other party to provide you with documents or other tangible items in their possession. As an example, you might ask the other party to produce documents that demonstrate the geographic areas in which they have sold products under the challenged trademark.
Requests for admission are statements of fact that you ask the other side to admit or deny. These can be useful to narrow the issues and pin your opponent down on specific points. For example, you might ask the other party to admit that they did not use their trademark before a particular date.
Depositions are probably the most dreaded discovery tool. Through a deposition, you subpoena a witness to physically appear in a room with your attorney and to answer questions under oath in the presence of a stenographer and/or video recorder that will take down their every word. Depending upon the complexity of the case, these depositions may last as long as 7 hours, each.
Often, there will be several rounds of written discovery between the parties before depositions are taken. This enables the parties to review the documents and narrow the issues so they may ask more pointed questions of the deposition witnesses. This written discovery process can be lengthy, arduous, and disruptive to the parties’ businesses. The parties generally have 30 days to respond to each discovery request, so the whole discovery process can take anywhere from several months to several years in more complicated cases.
In addition to drafting and responding to each other’s requests, the attorneys will often have protracted discovery disputes, arguing about the scope of the requests, the disclosure of confidential business information, or the application of attorney-client privilege. Most clients dramatically underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete discovery, the amount of time and effort they will have to spend in collecting documents and responding to requests, and the costs involved.
All of the discovery
issues mentioned above relate to what are called “fact witnesses.” This can be anyone who has factual
information relevant to the case. In
most instances, the requests will be directed to the company and/or individual
owners or employees of the company. In
some cases, the litigants may also seek discovery from third parties who have
no direct involvement in the matter, but nevertheless have information relevant
to the case. There is another category
of discovery, however, relating to expert witnesses.
In trademark cases,
experts will sometimes be called by one or both sides to provide opinions as to
whether there is a likelihood that the relevant public will be confused as to
the source of goods due to the similarity of the two trademarks. Sometimes these experts will conduct surveys
of the public. The experts will then
draft a written report of their findings and stating their opinions. The other side will usually then take a
deposition of the expert to try to expose weaknesses in their opinions. While experts can be extremely useful, they
also dramatically add to the cost of the litigation due to their fees as well
as the cost of associated discovery.
Throughout the case, but
particularly after discovery, each party may file a variety of motions with the
TTAB or court. A motion is a document
requesting the court to decide an issue.
For example, if the other party refuses to provide certain requested
documents, you might file a motion to compel, asking the court to require the
party to produce the documents. There
may also be motions to dismiss the case, motions for sanctions for abusing the
discovery process, motions to exclude evidence or disqualify an expert, and
many more. After discovery is completed,
the parties will often file a motion for summary judgment, in which the party
claims that there are no material facts in dispute between the parties and
therefore they are entitled to win the case as a matter of law.
With all motions, the
other party will have an opportunity to file a written opposition to the
motion. In some cases, the motion will
be decided by the court just on the basis of these written briefs, but for more
complex issues, the parties or the court may request an oral hearing to present
the issues to the court in-person.
Up to this point, the
processes at the TTAB and in federal court are very similar. This is where they diverge
At the TTAB, the plaintiff
will have a period of time in which they may present evidence to the board in
support of their case. They first have
to make “pre-trial disclosures,” telling the board and the other party what
witnesses they will present, for example.
Then there will be a “trial” period during which they present their
case: they will submit various documents and affidavits, and may take
testimonial depositions of the witnesses either through live testimony or
written questions. At the conclusion of this period, the defendant will have an
opportunity to do the same. The
plaintiff will then have an additional period for rebuttal. Once these “trial” periods are complete, each
side will have an opportunity to file a brief, arguing the facts to the
board. This entire process from the
beginning of the plaintiff’s trial phase, to the filing of the last brief, may
take as long as 9-10 months. Upon
completion of the briefs, one or both parties may ask the board for an oral
hearing. After all of the briefs are
completed and, if requested, the hearing has taken place, the Board will then
take all of the evidence under consideration and render its decision. This process may take several more months.
By contrast, a trial in
federal court is the process with which people are more familiar. As with a TTAB proceeding, the parties will
make certain disclosures to the court and may argue about what evidence may be
presented, but the trial phase itself is what people typically expect. It is a live process in front of a jury and/or
judge in which the parties may call witnesses to testify and may present
physical evidence for the court’s consideration. It is a more interactive process, where each
side may cross examine each other’s witnesses immediately. The whole trial process generally may take a
couple days to several weeks.
Whether at the TTAB or in
federal court, a trademark litigation is a lengthy, costly, and exhausting
endeavor. Whenever possible, parties
should attempt alternative means to resolve disputes that are far less
burdensome. But, when litigation cannot
be avoided, the parties should at least have a full understanding of the
timeline, the processes, and the costs involved. While most cases at the TTAB and in federal
court settle, the parties should be prepared for the case to go all the way
through trial. Every case is different,
but parties should expect a trademark case to take 1 ½ – 2 years to complete, sometimes more. A TTAB case that goes to trial will certainly
cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and often will reach six figures. A federal court case will start in the
hundreds of thousands and may reach seven figures in more complicated
matters. It is imperative that the
parties have a full and frank discussion with their attorneys about all of the
issues discussed herein.
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. email@example.com, (240) 308-8032
Early this year I wrote about the Grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV) infection status of vines
in the University of California at Davis Foundation block (also known as the
Russell Ranch Foundation block). In this
article I will update the reader on GRBV biology as well as the disease status
of the Russell Ranch foundation block.
In spite of all the management activities performed to control the
spread of the virus, the latest testing results showed a drastic increase in
infection of the vines planted in the Russell Ranch foundation block.
Grapevine Red Blotch Disease is Caused by GRBV
Grapevine red blotch virus is different from most other known grapevine infecting viruses in that its genetic material is DNA, rather than RNA. Both the molecular and structural characterization has placed GRBV in a new genus Grablovirus within the Geminiviridae family. Because grapevine viruses are not mechanically transmissible to grapevines, it has been difficult to demonstrate Koch’s postulates.
The postulates state that a pathogen must be isolated in pure form from a symptomatic plant, later introduced to a healthy plant, and cause the same disease symptoms seen in the original infected plant from which the virus was isolated. Koch’s postulates show the “cause and effect” of a virus, in other words, demonstrate that a specific virus is responsible for the symptoms observed in infected vines. As hard as it has been for researchers to complete Koch’s postulates with grapevine viruses, Dr. Marc Fuchs team at Cornell University was able to show, using recombinant DNA technology, that GRBV genetic material can reproduce red blotch foliar symptoms in red fruited grapevine varieties. This is why now we call this virus Grapevine red blotch and not Grapevine red blotch associated virus (i.e., other grapevine viruses have the associated word because Koch’s postulates have not been completed).
To date it appears that GRBV is a North American virus, although the virus was detected in Chinese, Korean, Swiss, and most recently in Argentine vineyards, it appears that the material originated in North America. In contrast, other viruses such as grapevine leafroll associated viruses have a world-wide distribution (i.e., it is found everywhere grapevines are grown). In spite of the recent discovery of Grapevine red blotch virus, it was found in a UC Davis grapevine herbarium specimen indicating that this virus has been present in Californian vineyards since the 1940s.
Even for an experienced professional like me, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish leafroll from red blotch disease in the vineyard. This is especially true with red-fruited grapevine varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Pinot Noir. That is why it is so important to confirm the presence of the virus with laboratory diagnostic tests.
Grapevine Red Blotch Disease Transmission and Spread
Grapevine red blotch virus is graft transmissible and predominantly
propagated by producing cuttings of infected rootstock and scion material. In the recent years the vectored transmission
of GRBV has been determined. Work by
researchers at Cornell University and the University of California showed that
the three-cornered alfalfa tree hopper (Spissistilus
is able to transmit the virus under laboratory and greenhouse conditions. The
three-cornered alfalfa tree hopper insect prefers to feed in legumes, grasses,
and shrubs. However, the discovery of a
potential vector cannot explain the reason for the sudden discovery and rapid
spread of GRBV in vineyards. While
research continues to determine if other vectors are capable of transmitting
GRBV it is obvious that the rapid expansion of this virus in vineyards was due
to unknowingly propagating and grafting cuttings from infected vines.
Do We Really Understand GRBV
Recent work performed at Cornell University has shown a seasonal and uneven distribution of GRBV in grapevines. This contrasts the work performed in my laboratory with samples from field grown vines. My research program (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313858753_Symptom_Expression_and_Detection_of_Grapevine_red_blotch_virus_in_Red_and_White_Fruited_Grape_Varieties) showed that red blotch virus can be detected from any portion of the vine in high concentrations. In other words, red blotch virus can be detected in newly expanded as well as mature leaves, petioles, lignified or green canes, as well as cordons and trunks. Further, red blotch virus was detectable throughout the different seasons of the year in samples collected from known infected vineyards in California. The discrepancy might be due to a potential latent period needed for virus to move and colonize vines.
The Russell Ranch Foundation Block Virus Status
Keeping important viruses
such as the ones that cause leafroll and red blotch diseases out of productive
vineyards relies on clean planting stock programs. In California, the Grapevine Registration and
Certification (R&C) is administered by the California Department of Food
and Agriculture (CDFA). A Few years ago,
a new block with progeny vines produced with tissue culture and thoroughly
tested using the “Protocol 2010” were planted in the UC Davis Russell Ranch
block. The foundation block is located
in close proximity to research plots (some include trials of grapevine virus
infected vines) and the town and is routinely tested by the UC Davis Foundation
Plant Services (FPS) Personnel. Last
year in November, FPS scientists reported the progressive spread of GRBV in the
Russell Ranch block. To summarize, four
vines were found infected with GRBV in 2017, in 2018 the number increased to 24
vines, in 2019 the testing results yielded over 300 vines infected with the
virus. Fortunately, FPS has suspended
the sale of vines from the Russell Ranch block until further notice. However, potentially nurseries may have
propagated vines from mother plants that were infected with the virus and could
continue to disperse the virus to their mother blocks and newly planted
Guidelines are not
available on the required distance between nursery and/or foundation blocks
from commercial or potentially infected vineyards. It is expected that transmission of harmful
viruses will continue to occur if certified blocks are not carefully monitored
and kept in isolation. The current
situation of the CDFA R&C vines demonstrates the need for more applied
research to mitigate disease in nursery and foundation blocks. Due to the progressive spread of GRBV in the
Russell Ranch Foundation Block, it appears that the only solution to produce
clean planting stock is to start anew
Unfortunately, no back up
tissue culture material of the varieties planted at the Russell Ranch
Foundation Block are available.
However, siblings from some of the varieties subjected to tissue culture
were planted in the Classic (older) foundation.
In the future, these siblings (numbered 02 rather than 01) will be
tested using the Protocol 2010 to make them available for purchase. To obtain
virus free plants, the meristem tissue culture technique will need to be
applied for the elimination of GRVB.
Once new plants are produced, these will need to be protected from new
infections. For best results, vines
should be grown in insect proof greenhouses or screenhouses, and in
geographical areas where grapevines are not grown. It is also advisable to keep a backup of all
vine material in case infection is detected in the future. In the meanwhile, it will be imperative for
nurseries and growers to carefully determine the health status of propagated
material prior to distribution and planting to avoid multiplying and
introducing infected vines to the vineyard.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org request a consulting session at your vineyard.
According to Forbes, 2020 is going to be the year of personalized
marketing. The current opinion is that we are all so bombarded with advertising
and emails that we now tune out anything that isn’t specifically relevant to
us. When Ad Age asked executives the one thing anyone could do to impact their
marketing in the future, a full third of them answered “personalization.” And
Conversant Media noted 94% of customer insights and marketing professionals
they surveyed listed personalization as either “important,” “very important,”
or “extremely important” for meeting their current marketing objectives.
Back in the 1990’s when the internet and data tracking was young, there was a public outcry concerning privacy and personalization. Individuals were nervous about the newly formed “cookie” technology and didn’t like being tracked online and were suspicious about loyalty cards being scanned at checkout in stores. But now, we take it for granted that when you leave something in a cart you’re going to see an ad for it the next time you log in to Facebook, and we don’t feel creeped out when we buy kitty litter at the grocery store and we get a coupon for cat food along with our receipt.
everywhere and we’re used to it and we like it – which makes the blanket,
non-personalized communications all the more blatantly lazy and unappealing.
According to an online Epsilon survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-64, the appeal
for personalization is high, with 80% of respondents indicating they are more
likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, and
90% indicating that they find personalization appealing.
And, personalization does
work. In multiple studies, personalized ads and emails are perceived as more
engaging, educational, time-saving, and memorable than mass advertising or
emails. Experian reports personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction
rates. And, with new affordable tools, there really isn’t an excuse for mass
What this means is that we
can no longer rely on mass, generic email blasts to our customers and expect
the returns we did in the past. Our buyers are now empowered, and their
expectations are high in the messaging and advertising they receive. In the Age
of the Customer, we need to be smarter about how we communicate.
The good thing is, this
doesn’t require us to restructure our entire marketing plan. Here are three
simple things we can do today to improve the way we interact with our customers
on a more personal level:
EMAIL LIST SEGMENTATION
List segmentation is the
quickest way to personalize messages to customers. It can be as simple as
creating an email for recent visitors to your tasting room or website
purchasers. Sending these customers, a
thank you email 30-days after their visit or purchase is a great way to
personalize and engage with a follow-up offer.
You can add a deeper level of personalization if your email provider
gives you the ability to insert the customer’s first name in the body copy.
Additionally, each email
can be more personal by modifying the subject line with the purchase location,
“Thank you for visiting our tasting room,” or “Thank you or your online
purchase.” Although this may require two
email sends, it refines the touchpoint and serves as a reminder of the customer
Start Crawling: Set up some automatic
emails like “abandon cart” and “thank you for visiting.”
Learn to walk: Take your email list
segmentation beyond Wine Club and Non-Club into purchase history. To do this,
divide your list into first-time buyers, repeat buyers, and
non-buyers/prospects. Then, for every campaign, tailor the message for each.
For first-time purchasers give them easy second purchase options similar to
their first, for repeat buyers offer them volume or shipping discounts, and for
prospects, tell them a little more about yourself and offer a trial package.
Learn to run: Combine the two. First,
set up ongoing automated campaigns (called “drip” campaigns) that remind people
they’ve left items in their cart, or that they haven’t logged in to rate or buy
a product, or to thank them for an order. Then, take a look at your campaigns
in 2020 and brainstorm how you can segment them by purchase or other behavior.
CUSTOMIZED LANDING PAGES
communications to customers that include a call to action should take them to a
page on your website that corresponds to the offer in your email. Keeping the
customer journey with our brands consistent is a key component in lowering attrition
and increasing sales.
This requires creating a
page template within your website that can be easily duplicated and modified by
changing the title, image, or copy to match your outbound communication. This
enforces the personalized offer and brand consistency with your customers,
while providing a clear path to purchase.
Brand consistency is the
pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The
more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding — whether via
words, design, offerings, or perspective. Your brand should build awareness and
develop trust and loyalty with customers.
Start Crawling: For those emails
discussing several wines, rather than dumping the clicks at the top of the
store page, set up a customized landing page and only include the wines in the
email with a header and the offer.
Learn to walk: For your social
campaigns, try a separate landing page with introductory copy about your winery
and why they should sign up for your mailing list or like/follow your winery.
Learn to run: In addition to emails and
social media, consider custom landing pages for most initiatives such as
pouring events, coupon redemption, Google Ads, and print.
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS
A loyal customer is one
that makes repeat purchases rather than switching to a competitor. A loyal
customer will be more likely to purchase additional products and recommend your
Without digging too deeply
into your data, a few key metrics can help identify your most loyal
customers. High average order value,
buying frequency, and last purchase date is what you will need to start. These
metrics can all be found in the customer purchase history of your database.
When vetting your data, don’t assume that your best customers are also wine
club members. However, if they are not, you may have a missed opportunity.
After identifying your
most loyal customers be sure to nurture the relationship, they are your best
buyers for a reason. Knowing what they purchase, how often they purchase, and
how much they spend per order will help guide you on when to reach out and with
The communication and
touches to these customers should be as a personal friend and offers should be
presented as gifts. Offering a specially selected “pre-sale” wine or early
event access will build continued loyalty.
Start Crawling: A handwritten note of
thanks for attending an event or a customer referral is an easy way to start
and goes a long way to keep your best customers.
Identify your top customers and find them on social media. Set up alerts for
their posts and like and comment on them as your brand. They’ll be thrilled you
care enough about their lives to get to know them.
Learn to run: Look at your campaigns
and give first dibs to your best buyers. Either offer them a pre-order
capability or maybe access to the pick-up part a half hour in advance. Realize
that discounts aren’t always what they’re after – they want a relationship and
time with you.
The true end result will
look like taking your linear annual campaign calendar and splintering it into
multiple, smaller, targeted communications that run simultaneously. It takes
more work, but it’s worth it.
Susan DeMatei is the President and Scott Moss is the Director of Operations
of WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm working within the
wine industry in Napa, California. www.wineglassmarketing.com
By now, most winery owners have heard the buzz regarding event insurance. Sure, you know it exists, but do you really know exactly what event insurance covers and how it can benefit your clients (and you)? Event insurance is a necessity for winery owners looking to keep themselves, and their clients, protected. We recently talked with Lauren Hernandez, Senior Event Insurance Specialist at Markel Specialty insurance to learn more.
“It is probably important
to first point out that there are two different types of event insurance– event
liability and event cancellation,” states Hernandez.
EVENT LIABILITY INSURANCE
“Event liability protects
the person hosting an event at your facility,” Hernandez explained. If during their event someone causes property
damage to your winery or someone is injured and the host is liable, an event
policy will step in to provide coverage.
The coverage is typically primary over any other insurance protection. That means the event policy will pay first
before any other insurance policy.
Primary liability coverage by event hosts, such as your clients, is preferred by most venues because it helps minimize the associated risks and exposures of owning a winery. “More and more wineries are requiring their clients to purchase one-day event insurance policies for events hosted at their facility because it reduces the possibility of having to pay for an accident that is out of the wineries’ control,” said Markel Specialty’s Lauren Hernandez.
Wineries must also remember to require the host to name the winery as an Additional Insured on the host’s event policy. That way, if there is a claim made against your winery due to the actions of the host, the event policy will defend and indemnify you against that claim. It is also a good idea to require the host’s insurance carrier to be A.M. Best rated “A-” or better. That way the carrier is financially strong and likely to be around to pay the claim should one occur.
Examples of claims that
would be covered under an event liability policy can range from damage to a
furnishings such as couches, mirrors, coffee tables – even toilets and landscaping from wedding or
other event guests. Event hosts would
also be protected if someone slips, falls and gets injured at the facility if
the host was negligent. There are even
worse claims that the event host needs protection from when an over-served
wedding guest is involved in an auto accident on the way home. These situations would be covered only if the
damage or injury was the fault of your client.
Your business should have your own risk management plan which includes
liability coverage to protect you from the hosts wrongdoing.
ADDITIONAL EVENT LIABILITY COVERAGE BENEFITS:
• Limits vary by insurance
carrier, but bodily injury and property damage liability limits typically are
up to $1 million per occurrence and $2 million total per policy period.
• The venue can be named as
“additional insured” on the certificate of insurance for no extra cost.
• Host liquor liability is
included for free.
• Set-up and tear-down is
covered (within 24 hours of the event).
• If the event being held
at your facility is a wedding, an event liability policy covers the ceremony,
reception and rehearsal dinner (if the rehearsal dinner is within 48 hours of
• Many policies are primary
over any other insurance policy. This
means, if a claim were to occur, the event liability policy would pay out
before any other insurance policy and there would be no need to worry about a
potential increase in rates with a commercial business policy (as an winery
owner) or homeowners policy (as a bride).
• Protection and peace of
mind for a low cost— there are policies available that start as low as $75.
WHY SHOULD YOU REQUIRE EVENT LIABILITY INSURANCE?
It protects you. One day event insurance
policies are typically primary coverage over your commercial business policy
for property damage to your facility caused by your client’s negligence. Your
facility can be named as an “additional insured” on the certificate of
insurance often for no extra cost.
It protects your customers. Event insurance is an easy and affordable
solution that helps protect your guests from the unexpected – because when your
clients are properly protected, so is your reputation.
It’s an easy solution. More and more commercial winery insurance
policies are requiring one day event insurance for all events hosted at the
insured winery. An event liability
policy fulfills this requirement and are easy to purchase and you can direct
your client to purchase them online or over the phone in minutes.
EVENT CANCELLATION INSURANCE
Another popular event
insurance option is cancellation coverage.
Being in the event industry, you’ve seen it all. Photographers go
missing the day of the event, gifts get stolen, and hurricanes can ruin a
perfectly planned event. Event cancellation insurance is becoming increasingly
popular because it reimburses the event host for lost deposits and
non-refundable amounts if they need to cancel or postpone their special event
due to unforeseen circumstances.
Examples of unforeseen
• Vendor bankruptcy.
• Accident or illness of
the bride or groom or an immediate family member.
• Extreme weather
(hurricane, named tropical storm, etc.).
• Military deployment.
• Event cancellation insurance
also covers additional expenses your client may incur to avoid cancelling their
event, and pays for other losses or damages such as:
• Lost wedding rings.
• Damage to special attire.
• Vendor no-shows.
• Lost or damaged
• Lost or damaged
• Lost or damaged gifts.
The pricing for an event
cancellation policy is a little more involved as it is based on where the
wedding is set to occur and the overall wedding budget. Policies start as low
Exactly how much event cancellation coverage does each event need? Look a look at the chart below that outlines coverage limits based on the total overall event budget.
Total Event Budget
Loss Of Deposits
Photography & Videography
Special Attire & Jewelry
WHAT ISN’T COVERED UNDER EVENT INSURANCE
With event insurance, some
claims would be hard to disprove.
Because of this, many insurance carriers will exclude covering certain
circumstances because of the potential increased risk of insurance fraud.
Examples of circumstances
typically not covered:
• Change of heart
–Typically if either the bride or groom get cold feet and change their mind
during the wedding planning process or are at the altar and decide not to go
through with the wedding, this would not be covered.
• Known Circumstances – Previously
known issues that could affect the event (Example: planned medical procedure
delays or cancels the event).
• Lack of Funds – if the
event host is unable to pay for the planned event.
• Non Appearance – if
certain individuals (such as parents, the bride, etc.) don’t show up for the
event, the show must still go on as this would not be covered. Polies do not cover cold feet if either the
bride or groom change their mind during the wedding planning process or at the
altar and decide not to go through with the wedding.
START PROTECTING YOUR CLIENTS
It’s easy to start protecting your clients (and yourself). Request free brochures from Markel Event Insurance and provide your clients with an easy & affordable option to protect their special event. Event liability policies start as low as $75 and can be purchased online or over the phone in minutes. Visitwww.markeleventinsurance.com/grapevine to learn more!
The artistry of cooperage and winemaking is a genuine friendship. And like old friends, there is widespread agreement among coopers and winemakers that the success of most wines depends a great deal upon the barrel in which that wine is aged.
A master cooper can build a barrel with nothing but hand tools from the log to finished product. Along with that experience is a wealth of knowledge of the finer points of barrel-making, such as where to source wood as well as how (and why) different woods are used to create different wines.
Those who have spent
decades in cooperages have fashioned barrels created from woods sourced not
only from the United States but also as far away as France, parts of Eastern
Europe and even Japan. While white oak
is dominant in the cooperage industry, there are some rare uses of woods that
include acacia, chestnut, cherry tree and exclusive species. Combine the cooper’s experience with that of
a winemaker and the result is what wine consumers taste from the glass and feel
on the palate.
With some 30 years of
working with wood, few know more about making barrels for wineries than master
cooper Russ Karasch, who has taught the industry to his daughter, Heidi Korb.
The result is Minnesota’s Black Swan Cooperage, launched in 2009.
Karasch is responsible for
the company’s unique styles of barrels, including a patented HONEY COMB®
Barrel, which he invented. While most of
Black Swan’s clients are craft distilleries and breweries, Karasch is a living
library of the kind of knowledge upon which coopers and winemakers thrive. A vital part of that knowledge, Karasch says,
is an understanding of different kinds of wood,
their origin and their impact in making multiple types and varieties of
“Quercus Petraea and
Quercus Robur are European Oak, French Oak, Hungarian Oak and German Oak, as
well as other countries. Quercus Alba is
the main American Oak. However, there
are many sub-species of Quercus Alba. It
used to be (that) most winemakers preferred French Oak but, as we advance in
technology and learn what the wood does and doesn’t do, by toasting and
treating the wood in different ways, we are ending up with some phenomenal
wines using all the woods. It used to be
if you made red wine, you would use this wood, or white wine you would use
(that) wood. We are advancing in knowledge in both wine and wood, so the rules
It is no coincidence that master coopers like Karasch understand the language of winemakers because both professions require a blend of art and science.
Another case in point is Kentucky-based Canton Cooperage. Founded in 1933 and acquired in 1998 by Chene & Cie (owners of Taransaud Cooperage of Congac, France), the company benefits from the experience of master coopers who, with a cumulative total of more than 600 years in the business, have a keen understanding of what winemakers need and want. Canton Cooperage operates from a platform of social responsibility, sponsoring an apprentice program in local schools and partnering with American Forests, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reforestation.
Enologist Bruno Remy, Sales Manager and Vice President at Canton Cooperage, explains why the wood of choice for most cooperages is oak and why most wineries prefer it.
“Oak wood is prevailing in
the cooperage industry due to its positive physical characteristics to make
staves, to give the shape to the barrels and no leaking. Most importantly, due to its richness in many
interesting molecules, the wood will bring structure and flavors to the wines
or alcohols. In addition, the wood offers a certain porosity to allow
oxygen and other gas to pass through the staves, in and out.”
Remy points out that there
are several elements that winemakers take into consideration when choosing
barrels and the different woods used to make them.
“A barrel should have a
positive impact for the use of fermenting or aging a wine. The choice is coming from the flavors that
you will look for, size of the barrel, the percentage of new wood in your final
blend, time for aging in the barrels, cellar conditions to store the barrels
Black Star Farms, located
in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the four-season resort town of Traverse
City, understands these multiple considerations. The award-winning, family-owned winery
sources from cooperages that provide
barrels derived from American, French and Eastern European Oaks. Winemaker and Managing Partner Lee Lutes
explains the reason for such careful diversity.
“We use French Oak
exclusively for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as they simply have an affinity for
one another that is time tested and consumer ‘qualified.’ We use two other primary barrel types,
American and Eastern European, for other reds, such as our Red House Red, our
Merlot or our Cabernet Franc. These two
types of oak tend to have more spice and tannin to them than French, which
works well with these bolder red
In the case of barrels
made from American and Eastern European Oaks, Lutes adds that the attention to
detail used to select these types of barrels is driven by knowing the
cooperages that produce them and the source of the actual wood.
“We tend to prefer
American Oak that either comes from Minnesota or Missouri, as these tend to be
tighter grained barrels (from slower growing trees), but with good spice. The EE (Eastern European) barrels we prefer
tend to come from Hungary, as they provide some cocoa and coffee tones that are
very complimentary to deeper red wines.
Different coopers source from all of these regions, so there is much to
choose from for wood sourcing. There are
specific coopers we prefer, but most in the industry are quite good and make
Jeremy Santo, Winemaker
for Washington’s Mercer Wine Estates in Yakima Valley, agrees. The
fifth-generation winery sources barrels from 14 cooperages. Santo emphasizes the mutual trust and respect
that winemakers and cooperages share.
“Why do I use the
cooperages I do? The obvious answer is
they make amazing barrels. But the
relationship is the most important part.
My favorite cooperages are also my friends. This allows for a relationship that you can
collaborate and ask questions on what’s the best type of barrel for which
wine. The coopers know what they are
doing. They guide me in the direction to
make the best wines.”
Santo echoes a recurring
theme shared by Lutes and Remy when it comes to selecting which barrels to use
for different varieties and even styles of wines. The type of wood used, size
of the wood grain and toast levels are all key factors, he says.
“I like to use French Oak primarily on higher quality fruit. French Oak tends to add nice sweetness to the mid-palate of wines without overt oak aromas and flavors. French Oak allows the fruit of the wine to shine as well as providing sweetness to the mouthfeel. The American Oak I like also adds a lot of mid-palate sweetness but has more of the roasty, toasty, marshmallow and vanilla characteristics that’s perfect for mid to entry level wines. For higher tier/reserve wines, I lean more towards French Oak (tighter grain wood). The tighter grain wood allows for longer aging of the wine. The oak impact is gradual/slower, so the wine can age longer and develop flavors/aromas over a longer period of time. For reserve quality wines, you have more time to age unlike the $15 to $20 bottle of wine which is made to drink ‘now’.”
The question of using staves
is met with mixed results, despite the lower costs as compared to barrels.
According to Remy, staves can be installed in tanks, mimicking the use of
barrels, adding micro-oxygenation. He
adds that the actual quality of today’s staves is much higher than, say, 20
years ago, due to technology and the knowledge of how to select better oak
wood, how to season the wood and how to apply precise toasting.
In contrast, Santo opts
out of using staves and prefers oak cubes, citing ease of use and faster more,
efficient extraction of oak impact of the wine, while keeping aromas and a nice
feel on the palate intact.
As for oak barrel alternatives, Santo favors using oak cubes in tanks to achieve more oak impact on lower priced wines.
Another wood barrel alternative is Karasch’s latest patented invention, called Squarrels. ® The play on words describes a customizable, square, steel, stackable barrel, using wood only where it’s needed, saving winemakers time and money.
Most of these experts agree that over time, a
traditional barrel loses its potential to release flavors in wine roughly after
four to six years of use. When barrels
become “neutral,” some wineries simply use them to add the breathing factor. Once retired from winemaking, barrels can be
reconditioned for spirits, flooring or even furniture.
While one can still find wine producers who rely on paper ledgers, Excel spreadsheets and other pen and paper methods to manage their business, wine producers are increasingly turning to technology to help them perform these tasks. The proliferation of software explicitly geared to the wine industry has streamlined how many wineries operate. This software can help winemakers better manage a range of functions starting with regulating environmental conditions in their vineyards to performing a variety of eCommerce functions, as well as helping to enhance the consumers’ experience in their tasting rooms.
Microworks Wine Software
Microworks Wine Software was formed in 1991 to address the lack of technology servicing the wine industry. Currently, this software includes a suite of tools that help wineries manage their direct-to-consumer sales. The software takes complex tasks and simplifies them for efficiency and accuracy. With Microworks Wine Software, all details of sales, customers and inventory are tracked and reported to management so they can execute informed decisions.
These tools include
visitor center tracking, wine club and eCommerce sales, customers and
in-ventory, as well as helping with accounting, fulfillment and alcohol
compliance. This software suite allows wineries to manage their retail
operations by tracking sales data and then issuing re-ports. Tasting room
managers can track visitors and staff, and wine club managers can oversee the
wine club and its members. Inventory staff can track products across multiple
warehouses while managing wine shipments and pickups, and accounting can track
and reconcile all sales and inventory activity with complete audit trails.
Additionally, marketing managers can track all customer activity, including which
wines consumers buy, when they buy their products, how fre-quently they
purchase wines and the channels through which they make these purchases.
When a wine producer
purchases the software, Microworks performs an initial onboarding pro-cess.
Then apps can be downloaded by the user on devices through the Microworks
website, Ap-ple’s App Store or Google Play. Users can take advantage of
Microworks certified training ser-vice—a one-on-one instruction for winery
employees that ensures they’ll get the most out of what the software has to
offer. Online documentation and tutorials are also available.
The latest release of
Microworks Wine Software’s iPad mobile POS offers an offline mode, so users can
now access this software without having to connect online. When the software
gets used offline, transaction data is stored and then uploaded to the server
when the device is back online. Currently, they are working on an automated
email system to simplify and tailor custom-er communications to drive more sales.
Sensaphone software complements the hardware that measures temperatures, humidity and other environmental conditions in the vineyard. Since its founding over thirty years ago, Sensaphone has transitioned from having its software utilize traditional alarm auto dialers hooked to phone lines to a cloud-based platform.
Using this software allows producers to know the exact temperature in the fields, and to be alarmed if the temperatures sink too low. In the case of ice wine producers, it allows them to pro-tect the grapes during cold temperatures.
This software allows wine
producers to see the temperature values of their vineyards in real-time, set
high and low alarms, and datalog those values. These features monitor
environmentally sensitive assets and can be programmed to send emails or text
messages to users when those as-sets are in danger. Also, it offers real-time
visibility and the ability to datalog values for a com-parison over time.
Sensaphone products are
easy to install and program. It is a one time purchase with upgrades in-cluded
with the purchase price. Also, they feature an app that allows producers to
view data from any mobile device.
For the past eight years, VineSpring has offered winery eCommerce, allocations and wine club management software designed for wine producers who sell directly to consumers. Through this software, wineries can easily manage their club and allocation offerings, saving administrators time, and providing wine club members with tools that are easy to access. Online tutorials allow wineries to maintain the software on their own.
VineSpring can connect to
many third party programs, and natively supports integrations with MailChimp,
ShipCompliant and Square POS. Also, they have partners like WineGlass Marketing
that have built powerful integrations, including automatic sync with Quickbooks
desktop. Mov-ing forward, they look to expand the options for wine clubs,
especially surrounding automatic recurring billing.
Created in 1999, VinNOW software was specifically designed for wineries to manage customer data and purchase histories, tasting room sales, wine clubs, multiple location inventory tracking and wine production. Wineries can use this software on a single stand-alone computer, a tablet, or on a network multi-point of sale operation. Also, as this software does not require a good in-ternet connection, it works well for those wineries located in regions that do not have reliable internet access.
The software includes a
customer management system, point of sale, wine club automation, eCommerce,
inventory management, reporting and order processing with QuickBooks,
compli-ance, email and shipping integrations and EMV credit card processing.
Also, bulk wine tracking and custom crush billing module are available. When
necessary, features are added that respond to industry changes, such as the new
California District Tax.
For those wineries
offering wine clubs, the software’s one-step wine club processing includes
shipping labels for UPS and FedEx. Also, GSO shipments can be tracked through
VinNOW. In addition, the software has options for easy email and postcard
marketing campaigns. It also inte-grates with QuickBooks desktop or online
versions, web shopping providers, and ShipCompli-ant.
VinNOW can be
self-installed and maintained and includes a comprehensive help database. New
customers are encouraged to go through the free training program, so they
understand the full capabilities of the software. Customer service is available
seven days a week.
Winetracker.co is a wine tasting app launched in 2017 that’s available for iOS and Android, as well as the web browser.
Users snap photos of the wine they are drinking and then use the app’s four sliders to give their personal opinion on the aroma, taste, finish and overall impression of the wine. The app then auto-generates a wine expert score (50 to 100 points) based on these four sliders. Optionally, the user can use “TouchTags” to describe the unique elements they detect in the wine. As they continue using the app, they end up with a visual history of the wines they drink, similar to a “Pinterest for wine.”
The second primary feature of this app is a multi-person, real-time experience called Group Tasting. Anyone hosting a tasting event, whether a winery, event planner or party host, can create a tasting list ahead of time. At the event, attendees can collaboratively taste the wines together through the app. They can see each other’s wine scores and comments popping up on the screen in real-time. Also, there’s an optional Blind Tasting mode for the Group Tasting feature.
According to Tony Jacobson, Founder of Winetracker.co, wineries who use the Group Tasting feature increase their wine sales. He ascribes this to the fact that when people taste wines with Winetracker.co, it causes a fuller engagement with each wine they sample. “When they are pondering the aroma, taste and finish of a wine, they get a much better sense of how much they like or don’t like it. This creates a deeper connection with the wine they’re drinking.” Winetracker.co is willing to schedule one-on-one consultations with wineries and event planners to help guide them through the process of creating Group Tasting events.
In the future, the company
plans to launch tasting groups similar to Facebook groups, where us-ers can
join and automatically be notified whenever someone adds new wine scores. These
groups can be public or private. Also, they plan on adding the ability for
users to follow individ-ual people on Winetracker.co. Along those lines, users
can automatically receive notifications whenever people they follow taste a new
wine. Winetracker.co is also looking to enable wineries to have conversation
threads or email conversations with the people who participate in their
As technology continues to evolve, expect to
see these software companies continue evolving to meet the needs of
21st-century wine producers.
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword. Perhaps in the winemaking industry, it never really was. Growers frequently enact innovative solutions focused on water conservation, renewable energy and waste-free practices. For example, major producers such as Fetzer Vineyards and Shafer Vineyards adapted green solutions as far back as 1999, and organic growers go back even further.
The initial costs of
sustainable integration—easier for new projects rather than through
retrofitting, although some effective solutions are viable for existing
estates—provide significant return-on-investment over the life of the buildings
and grounds. Now more than ever, it’s easier for progressive vineyards and
wineries to take advantage of the latest eco-friendly technology and create
properties that reflect their integration with the land, and honor the origin
of their products.
“They know sustainable-building strategies are good for the climate, good for their site and can make a huge financial impact when considered over the life of a building or business,” said Jon Gentry, owner and partner of goCstudio architecture + design in Seattle, Washington. “It’s our intent that projects use limited natural resources responsibly, and each design enriches its site and cultural landscape.” won an American Institute of Architects’ Emerging Firm Award in 2018.
Learning About Potential
Gentry told The Grapevine Magazine that clients benefit most by consulting with sustainability experts when they’re first curious about this direction, which helps determine site needs, budget and program. “Having solutions thoughtfully considered from the beginning leads to designs that function and look better in the end. These solutions might include natural daylight and ventilation, solar panel arrays, green roofs, locally-produced materials, geothermal heat pumps and striving to use materials that will be low maintenance and stand the test of time,” Gentry said.
As one example, goCstudio designed several site-specific sustainable strategies for COR Cellars in Lyle, Washington. “The site has strong winds that funnel up through the Columbia River Gorge. It was important to deal with this element, so we created a courtyard building that provided a protected entry and event space,” Gentry said. “We also bermed the building into the natural sloping hillside using the earth’s mass to help insulate the structure. Finally, we created a flat, low-profile roof that allowed the owners to easily install a solar panel array or a built-up green roof.”
gathering, all the terms and concepts for sustainability options might be a
surprise. For instance, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design. LEED is the blueprint to “create healthy, highly efficient and
cost-saving green buildings,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council,
which oversees the various levels of LEED certification and its rating system.
One large step beyond that is the International Living Future Institute, or ILFI.
This nonprofit implements even higher green building standards, which include
living building certification, petal certification and net zero energy building
There are varying degrees of net zero status. Dwight Schumm is a senior mechanical engineer and managing principal at Design Engineers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His firm designs building systems—heating, cooling, plumbing, power and lighting—and its net zero headquarters is LEED and ILFI rated. The New Buildings Institute, a nonprofit that promotes better energy performance in commercial buildings, has Design Engineers on its 2019 list of only 580 “getting to zero” certified, verified and emerging projects in the entire United States and Canada. The firm designed another net zero building on that list: Indian Creek Nature Center, also in Iowa, and winner of the 2019 High Performing Buildings Technology award.
“Net zero describes a
number of different things,” Schumm said. “A net zero energy building means it
produces as much energy as it uses—that would be total amount of all types of
energy. So, for example, if you have natural gas consumption, you’d need to
produce enough energy to offset that. Net zero electricity is separate from net
zero energy, but most rated buildings with this intent are electric, so it’s
usually the same thing,” he said.
Net Zero Water LeadsConservation Efforts
Schumm also noted that
properties can strive for net zero water management. A primary concern for
vineyards, this means all water used onsite comes from a well, and all
rainwater that falls on a property stays there—there’s not a storm runoff
removal system. “With our office building, even though much of the area is
covered with pervious material so water can infiltrate, we also designed an
infiltration basin—sometimes called a bioswale,” he said. “Instead of holding
and then moving water away—which often happens around many non-pervious parking
lots—this basin is designed to ease water into the ground.”
Allen Rossignol is president and CEO of Edge Architecture in Rochester, New York. As a certified LEED professional, Rossignol guides his firm to apply green and sustainable practices to winery and craft beverage projects throughout the Northeast, such as Red Tail Ridge Winery in Penn Yan—New York’s first LEED Gold Certified winery—and the FLCC Viticulture and Wine Center. Rossignol provided some additional specifics for water conservation.
“The amount of water used
for cleaning is a large concern for all wineries. We often suggest a metered
water system so owners can be aware of their consumption and make efforts to
reduce the amount used,” he said. “Further, as wastewater from the winemaking
process is large in quantity and has high levels of BOD (biochemical oxygen
demand), there are two solutions: 1) hold and treat or 2) septic systems. With
the first solution, we successfully reuse the water for irrigation of the
vineyards. The second allows natural replenishment of aquifers.”
Architects and engineers aren’t the only sustainability professionals thinking about water management. Matt Milby is the designBUILD project development manager for Morton Buildings, based in Morton, Illinois. The company pioneered green construction practices with its first building in 1949, and implemented early advances in Energy Star and LEED certification in its industry. “Renewable energy initiatives such as water reduction or advanced heating and cooling systems that also provide cost-savings are important to wineries,” he said. “Also, low-flow water fixtures are easy to find and significantly reduce water usage without sacrificing service.”
Your Partnership With Architects, Builders and Engineers
If you’re passionate about
sustainability, sourcing the right design and building partners are essential
to your success. “We encourage owners to first connect with an architect whose
work they’re drawn to,” Gentry said. “Architects generally have strong
relationships with talented builders that do great work. Make sure it stands up
to how they’re presenting their services and that sustainable strategies are
built into their processes from the beginning.”
“An experienced winery
architect can help streamline your facility, resulting in better operational
flows and a more efficient building,” Rossignol added. For Red Tail Ridge,
Rossignol and his team “included the use of a geothermal heating and cooling
system that serves the building and the winemaking process equipment, which is
unique to the wine industry,” he said. “Natural ventilation and wastewater
harvesting are additional features that contribute to the green design.”
Combined with high-efficiency windows and skylights to maximize daylighting and
a white-reflecting roof to reduce temperature, Rossignol said the winery’s
energy efficiency is 40% greater than baseline equivalent buildings.
“Consumers are looking for
more out of their wine experiences. A knowledgeable winery architect can help
you create the destination they’re seeking, and a well-designed winery or
tasting room is the key to increasing traffic and interest in your winery,”
“The absolute, number one
thing any user can do to be sustainable is minimize how much energy they use,”
Schumm told The Grapevine Magazine. “To incorporate these
principles and goals, the earlier you start, the better, so hire engineers and
other design professionals with the appropriate sustainability expertise. This
is really critical because, in the beginning, you have a blank slate. But too
far along in the process, more constraints exist, which limit your
flexibility,” he said. However, if you want renewable solutions for an existing
facility, Schumm advised getting a feasibility study and an energy audit, and
making adaptations where you can.
Design Engineer’s website
has articles featuring real-world numbers demonstrating where to find net zero
savings. Not surprisingly, the primary category contributing to energy
efficiency is conservation. “Methods such as daylighting, energy recovery for
ventilation, good passive solar design, southern exposure with appropriate
shading and so on. Then, another quarter of the savings comes from geothermal
heat pumps,” he said.
Rossignol agreed. “Heat
recovery systems such as ventilation systems re-circulate warm air, so energy
used to heat buildings isn’t wasted. And geothermal has drastically proven to
reduce heating energy and, for wineries, in particular, can be integrated with
the cooling systems for fermentation,” he said.
The structure that houses
these systems shouldn’t be an afterthought. For example, Morton’s steel roofing
and siding has high levels of recycled content and is completely recyclable at
the end of its lifespan. “By combining sustainable building practices and our
Energy Performer insulation system, many of our buildings are able to achieve
national recognition for their efficiency,” Milby said.
construction allows for continuous insulation between structural elements. “So
plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems are placed between the insulation and in
the finished wall or ceiling. This configuration results in no penetration of
the insulation and an increase in energy efficiency and overall insulation
performance,” Milby said. He added that cool roofing or high-reflective roofing
products reduce the “heat island” effect on a building, and lowers energy use
and costs. Foundations with concrete lower pier columns eliminate wood
contacting the ground and wood treatment and require less excavation and less
concrete. Morton even utilizes sustainable sourcing.
“Long before the U.S.
Green Building Council created LEED, Morton Buildings was already applying a
number of sustainable building practices. Since 1949, we’ve used timber frames
manufactured from renewable wood sources. To conserve energy and natural
resources, the materials used in most Morton buildings are manufactured within
500 miles of each building site,” Milby said.
What’s On the Horizon
Now that sustainability
solutions are more attainable, there are numerous trends to consider for your
“I think the rise in mass
timber structures is very exciting,” Gentry of goCstudio architecture + design
said. “We’ve used cross-laminated timber components on a smaller scale—like our
renovation of the Substantial space in Seattle. Mass timber structural
components require less than one-fourth the carbon emissions to produce
compared to steel or concrete components,” he said. “There’s an elemental
beauty to cross-laminated timber panels and glue-laminated structural beams
that’s compatible with a lot of the winery spaces we love to imagine.”
Milby of Morton Buildings
is thrilled to see the trend of reusing old building materials in new
buildings. “It connects the new and the old with really interesting and popular
interior designs. At the same time, it’s helping the environment: fewer items
put into landfills and less harvesting of materials, such as woods and
minerals, along with the impact of not manufacturing new building products,” he
Schumm of Design Engineers is hopeful about energy storage and electricity. “I think thermal and electricity storage is becoming more important and cost-effective. Soon, you’ll have electricity storage onsite to dispatch when it’s most advantageous for you. This trend will grow significantly,” he said. “Additionally, electrify everything. If you’re able to transition from any kind of combustible—natural gas, diesel, anything—to electric, you’re reducing C02 emissions as well as relying on 100% renewable energy.”
consumer appetite for environmental design and interest in learning about the
process of beverage making has pushed wineries to evolve into more of a
destination than ever before, and it’s been really great to see how this
industry embraces this new role,” said Rossignol of Edge Architecture.