Improving Yield and Fruit Quality with Precision Management Tools

vineyard staff inspecting crop machine

By: Becky Garrison

At the United Wine Symposium Virtual Conference and Trade Show held online from January 26-29, 2021, Dr. Nick Dokoozlian, Vice President of Winegrowing Research at E&J Gallo Winery, Bob Thomas, Mesa Vineyard Management, and Dr. Lav Khot, Asso-ciate Professor of Precision Agriculture at Washington State University, offered their insights regarding precision management in vineyards. In their presentation, these ex-perts gave their perspectives regarding how growers seeking to thrive in this ever-changing market can produce high-quality fruit while reducing inputs through techno-logical inventions.

Addressing Yield Variability and Fruit Quality with Technology

  Dokoozlian described how E&J Gallo assesses the overall performance of their vine-yards. “Yield maps have been a vital and critical element to advancing precision prac-tices,” he said. They outfitted their mechanical harvester with yield monitors that pro-vide real-time monitoring of plant growth and canopy health, plant and soil water and nutrient status, pests and diseases. “We take that data and model it against other block data layers including soil type and plant available water content to better under-stand the causes of yield and fruit quality variability.”

  After a few years, Gallo developed a model that explained a good portion of their block yield variability. Not surprisingly, most of their vineyards showed significant variability, with up to 40% of the vines in a block producing below the mean block yield and 30% producing below the mean block fruit quality. The parameters driving this variability included plant available water, subsurface soil compaction, and soil texture.

  In Dokoozlian’s assessment, plant water availability in the soil is typically the most significant variable driving vineyard yield and fruit quality variability. Early season irrigation management is critical with low vigor vines, requiring irrigation more frequently and much earlier than high vigor vines. To determine those vines that need additional wa-ter, they began to understand the power of remote sensing. Through satellite images, they learned to spot those areas where the vines are stressed and need more water compared to other sites where the vines are not stressed and receive adequate water.

  Simply adding emitters to low vigor vines using a traditional drip system failed to pin-point these specific areas that need additional water. “When we flip the switch on our drip irrigation systems, we typically apply the exact same water to all vines in the block. We irrigate that block somewhere in the middle of those two ranges to hit the average. But the reality is we’re under watering or over watering many vines,” Dokoo-zlian said.

  Dokoozlian said precision irrigation (VRDI) is an effective tool to manage vineyard variability. VDRI can irrigate individual portions of the blocks independently from each other. After two months of using VRDI, they noticed improved canopy uniformity with yields increasing 10–15% and water use efficiency – tons produced per unit of applied water – increasing from 15-20%. Also, fruit and wine quality was maintained or im-proved.

  Despite these promising results, Dokoozlian points to the need for more research to optimize irrigation timings and amounts for desired vine response using VRDI and asess the impact of fruit quality uniformity on wine quality. At present, the cost and operational complexity of VRDI systems are the primary challenges for growers looking to adopt VRDI in their vineyards.

Variable Rate Fertilization

  In his presentation, Bob Thomas spoke to how variances in the soil due to different nutrients can be addressed by changing the methods used to fertilize the soil. The standard fertilization – adding nutrients through the drip system – works correctly in most instances. In this method, each vine receives the same nutrient addition with minimal application cost. Also, compost is usually applied by a spreader at a fixed rate.

  Through aerial imagery, Thomas illuminated how Mesa Vineyard Management could spot weaker growth in areas of lighter soil that they needed to address. “We looked at variable rate applications to apply different rates down the row,” he said.

  They started by putting the basic data on a bigger map to image the soil map. A prescription map featuring the flow rate was loaded into the platform to show the different zones along with the amount of compost they wanted to spread in each zone. This platform monitored tractor rotation in the field with compost applied at the prescribed rate.

  Calibrating the spreader is the most crucial step, according to Thomas. The compost was measured and adjusted to fit the desired rate of application. They set the spreader to apply the highest rate on their prescription map and slow the rate of discharge by closing the flow down to a lower rate. In Thomas’ analysis, this method can be used for pre-plant soil preparation to add soil. “A prescription map allows you to apply specifi-cally what is needed at the desired rate in the desired location.”

Benefits of Mechanical Pruning

  During Thomas’s talk, he noted that mechanical pruning works best when set up cor-rectly from the beginning rather than retrofitting later in the process. He briefly ad-dressed the pruning limitations on labor availability and how labor cost gave rise to mechanical pruning as an alternative. “If you track man-hours per acre, pruning can be one of the most labor intensive man-hours in the winery,” he said.

  Mesa Vineyard employed several methods to minimize the man-hours per acre, rang-ing from pre-printed coordinates to box pruning the entire cord using a variable rate pruning method. This method allows a technician to prune two rows simultaneously while adjusting the pruning blades’ location up and down or side to side as the blades move down the row.

  In Thomas’ estimation, “This method of pruning has the ability to leave a large number of growing plants, thus allowing for the potential of increased yields.” Also, hand cleanup after mechanical pruning is not necessary every season.

Use of Intelligent/Precision/Smart Sprayers

  Lav Khot addressed technological developments beneficial to growers when applying chemicals or pesticides. In particular, he pointed to the technological developments afforded by intelligent precision or smart sprayers. In addition to targeting the specific areas in the vineyard where these chemicals are needed, these sprayers also help cut down on any drift that can impact both the plant’s environment and the customer consuming the wine and grapes. “There’s a moral issue of reducing maximum residue limits or pesticide residues on the produce,” Khot said.

  Khot introduced the audience to the new laser-guided, variable rate intelligent sprayer. Khot briefly described the universal automatic control system that can be retrofitted on existing sprayers for those who wish to adapt an existing sprayer.

  He focused on how to make these sprayers both intelligent and effective. First, use a sensor that can read a canopy’s attributes, such as volume and density, and adjust the spray rate accordingly. “We’re already using what is called LIDAR (Light detection and ranging) to get the point cloud data of the canopies,” he said. One can also utilize remote sensing data to map the canopies using drones.

  A Pulse Width Modulation System can be employed to activate the nozzles on the back of the sprayer. This allows the sprayer to fine tune the individual nozzles by controlling the amount of liquid coming out of each nozzle. In this work, nozzle selection is critical to ensure accurate results. Once the base dosage – one ounce of liquid per cu-bic foot of canopy – is optimized for chosen crop and canopy architecture, this pro-cess reduces the need to estimate the dosage and application rates.

  In conclusion, Khot points to the necessity of educating those operating this equipment on how to utilize this technology best. “We need to have a service sector for growers to use this technology properly. In the next few years, we’ll see some of that happening as more growers try to use this technology,” he said.

Tow-Behind Equipment for the Vineyard

vineyard machine in action

By: Alyssa L. Ochs

From sprayers to mulchers, mowers and cultivators, many pieces of large equipment are used in the modern vineyard. Most vineyard owners are already familiar with the types of machinery that work well for grape growing purposes. However, recent innovations have apparatuses that are towed behind powered vehicles and useful in a vineyard setting.

An Overview of Tow-Behind Equipment

  Sprayers are a common type of equipment towed behind tractors to disburse pesticides and fungicides. Multi-row sprayers serve to reduce labor and soil compaction with the ultimate goals of controlling pests, mildew, fungi and diseases.

  Mulchers are used in a vineyard to clear away vines, branches, grass and bushes to clean up the planting area. Specialized mulchers crush vine shoots and are attached to a tractor to chop up debris for later use or disposal. Mulchers are vital because they help improve soil fertility, control pests and weeds and produce useful organic material.

  Another towable piece of equipment is the mower, used in vineyards to cut tall weeds that impede grape growth. Vineyard owners can ensure proper growth of cover crops by shredding vines, tree prunings and leaf debris.

  The cultivator is effective in controlling weeds without the use of chemicals. Cultivators uproot weeds mechanically while creating zero emissions, waste or pollution when used for hoeing, weeding or soil aeration. Vineyard staff often use cultivators for hoeing vines after the heavy rains at the end of winter.

Features to Look for inTow-Behind Equipment

  When a vineyard is in the market for a new sprayer, they should look for equipment that offers complete coverage to wrap around vines and over and under leaves. Other beneficial features include width and height adjustment for rows, wind covers to keep spray from blowing away, the ability to maneuver well, lightweight construction and different tank size options.

  Based in Oliver, British Columbia, Canada, Munckhof Manufacturing offers various equipment for vineyards and orchards. These include sprayers, soil working machines, sweepers, mounting equipment, bin handling devices, pre-pruners, trimmers and hedgers. For sprayers, Munckhof sells high-density tower sprayers, conventional output sprayers, herbicide sprayers, skid/gun sprayers and vineyard tower sprayers that are lateral row configurations.

  Dennis van den Munckhof told The Grapevine Magazine, “Conventional radial output sprayers have been the catch-all standby for decades, but we build high-efficiency towers and output systems today that are simple and do a great job of directing the output and closing the drift distance between the sprayer and the target.”

  For mulchers, vineyard owners typically consider how finely machines chop up the crop residue, the vibration, and the power draw balance for performance and machine longevity. Another consideration is the different sizes available to suit the vineyard’s land. Mulchers can be attached to the front or the rear of a tractor and have adjustable collecting rakes to catch residue and break it down further into a fine mulch.

  A vineyard mower should efficiently cut through thick cover crops and tree and vine prunings. It should also be able to reach under overhanging branches and vines and cut overgrown areas without the need to clear material first.

  Cultivators move at the tractor’s speed, which is about four to seven miles per hour. When looking for a new cultivator, consider a model with an adjustable spring-loaded retraction system and a weeder head that spins around the vines.

  According to Paul Licata from BDi Machinery Sales, Inc. in Macungie, Pennsylvania, the new Rinieri Bio-Dynamic product is ideal for fast inter-row mechanical weeding of vineyards, hemp, orchards and other cultivation applications. BDi Machinery offers various innovative specialty agricultural machinery, including sprayers, hedgers, leaf removers, shredders, cultivators, pruners, mowers, row mulchers and more. This company has been in the industry since 1996 and prides itself on being a partner to its direct customers and customers of its dealers to provide the latest technological advances in agricultural equipment.

  “The Bio-Dynamic product features a Bio-disc, a toothed disc that breaks the ground near the plants, a Bio-Star head and a patented rubber star, which is available in different sizes,” Licata told The Grapevine Magazine. “Through its rays, it performs the inter-row processing and eliminates weeds near the plants.”

A Look at New Technology and Innovations

  Although many features of sprayers, mulchers, mowers and cultivators have remained the same for decades, there have been some useful updates to these machines recently. For example, vineyard owners can now buy sprayers with more nozzles per head for improved efficiency and with better airflow designs. Other modern developments include electrostatic sprayers, GPS navigation and automatic sprayer controllers and monitors for precise application.

  There are new laser cutting and robotic welding technologies used today on modern mulchers. Mulchers are also being designed now with higher resistance to wear over time.

  For mowing, vineyards can invest in robotic mowers for more precise cutting between grapevines with a central computation system. Sensor data to plan paths and automate motors with GPS positioning can help new mowers get closer to plants without damaging them.

  Meanwhile, cultivator manufacturers create more powerful models that work better in difficult soil conditions.

  “The Rinieri BioDynamic has the Bio-Disc group that is a new technology and innovation,” said Licata. “Machines are equipped with two discs for vineyards and work for other applications too, such as hemp and blueberries, while the orchard version has three or four discs.”

  “Equally new and innovative is the Bio-Star that is available in three different sizes, with a diameter of 21, 27 and 37 inches,” Licata said. “It has rubber spokes of three different consistencies – soft, medium and hard – so you can choose according to the type of soil and culture.”

  However, integration of new technology does not necessarily mean the product is better or the best suited for the vineyard’s needs. Continued education about new technologies will help vineyard managers make wise purchasing decisions and not complicate operations with minimal benefit.

  “Be wary of overly complicated ‘new tech’ output systems,” said Munckhof. “If you want to integrate new tech into your operations, I would recommend looking to computer monitoring and metering to aid in decision making and compliment a proven design.”

Maintenance Considerations for Towable Equipment

  As with any piece of equipment used in a vineyard, sprayers, mulchers, mowers and cultivators will need to be maintained and repaired over the years. If possible, talk with other vineyard owners and operators about the machines they use and their ease of maintenance. With regular use, it will be necessary to check for debris stuck inside the equipment and to assess the sharpness of the cutting blades from year to year. These are things to discuss with the manufacturer or dealer before making any major purchase for the vineyard.

  When buying any new agricultural machinery, read the owner’s manual to learn proper machine operations and maintenance. Reduce wear and tear by lubricating cables and chains and pressure-washing the equipment to prevent mud build-up, rust and eroded enamel coatings. A little extra work in maintaining machinery can go a long way in avoiding future hassles and huge expenses.

Final Tips and Words of Advice

  Munckhof told The Grapevine Magazine, “The best advice I could give to prospective buyers is to keep it simple and look for a machine that is a match to the crop they are trying to protect.”

  He also said to consider the product’s serviceability and what kind of support you can expect to get in the years ahead. “We have been in business since ‘79 and still see equipment from the early ‘80s in commercial use. Credit due to the operator’s maintenance, but also because we offer parts and support and because the machines are designed to last.”

  Similarly, Licata said the most important thing for an operator of a vineyard is working with a trusted machinery distributor that provides service, parts and support. “Although machines are built to be durable, when issues happen in the field, the support to getting back up and running as quickly as possible is essential.”

Vineyard Diseases & Fungi:

Planning for the Season and Effective Control Strategies

By: Alyssa L. Ochs 

No vineyard is immune to diseases and fungi, and the effects can be devastating if these organisms aren’t controlled proactively and on an as-needed basis. Fortunately, there are many different ways that vineyards can protect themselves against these risks and set themselves up for success for the year. It is beneficial to understand the common diseases and fungi that affect vineyards and what to do to keep vines safe and healthy.

Types of Diseases and Fungi in Vineyards

  Vineyard owners encounter both viral and bacterial diseases on grapevines that affect the plants in various ways. Red blotch and leafroll are common viral diseases spread through infected cuttings that pose risks to wine grapes. Anna-Liisa Fabritius, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist, University of California-Riverside, told The Grapevine Magazine that both viruses affect berry chemistry and cause delays in ripening of the fruit and color, which translates to poor wine quality. In 2009, Dr. Fabritius and Lana Dubrovsky started AL&L Crop Solutions, a plant pathology laboratory that provides disease diagnostic services to the agricultural industry.

  Meanwhile, crown gall is a common bacterial disease that affects grapes. Dr. Fabritius said that at least two different Agrobacterium species are causal agents of crown gall – one affecting grapevines only, while the other causes crown gall in several other plant species. Ultimately, large galls strangle the vine and restrict the water and nutrient uptake, which leads to reduced vine vigor and yield.

  Dr. Fabritius said that, like viruses, the distribution of the bacteria throughout the plant could be erratic. Bacteria may also be present at very low levels. A bio-PCR method, where the pathogen is first amplified on laboratory media, is often needed to diagnose low bacteria levels. PCR analysis is necessary to distinguish the tumor-inducing strains from non-pathogenic strains.

  Fungi can move between vines along intermingled roots and spread due to human activity, vineyard tools, plant debris in soil and even water splashing from rain or irrigation. Fabritius said that the most common fungal diseases are canker diseases caused by Botryosphaeria and Eutypa.

  “They cause big economic losses in vineyards throughout the world,” she said. “Vine decline disease is best noticed in spring or early summer when the new growth picks up. The shoot growth in vines infected with these fungi is poor compared to healthy vines.”

  Garrett Gilcrease, agronomic service representative of Central California for Syngenta, told The Grapevine Magazine that the main pathogens on everyone’s minds are powdery mildew and botrytis. These two pathogens are the most widespread, cause the most economic damage and can take an entire crop out in what feels like an instant.

  “With powdery mildew, we have the advantage of scouting now and combining that with the pressure we had last year to get a gauge of how aggressive we need to get in 2021,” Gilcrease said. “While scouting now during the dormant time and early spring, a telltale sign of a previous infection would be dark-brown-to-reddish diffuse patches along the canes and dormant buds. The patches are leftover infections from the previous season and contain dormant reproductive bodies which are sources of inoculum for the upcoming season.”

  Gilcrease said that the main issue here is the buds covered in dormant infections. During budbreak and rapid shoot growth, those shoots emerging from those buds carry that inoculum with it as it emerges from the bud.

  “This spreads the inoculum out over a larger area that becomes a large reservoir for infection once conditions are right,” Gilcrease said.” It’s sort of like placing an army throughout an area, building numbers, and then they all attack in a very coordinated way. This is one of the ways infections ‘explode’ over a very short period of time and cover vast acreages.”

  Meanwhile, he said that botrytis isn’t something that leaves behind visible references in such numbers compared to powdery mildew.

  “Most don’t know that botrytis infections, both early season and later season, are linked to some degree,” Gilcrease said. “The early infections around budbreak and into bloom are early and need to be treated when conditions permit, but all of that bloom tissue and initial inoculum essentially go dormant soon after spring & into the summer.”

  He advised that conditions are not the best for infection during that time, but things change later in summer and into the early fall. At that time, there is a large canopy, increased humidity and grapes are beginning the senescence process with veraison occurring and sugars increasing.

Effective Methods for Disease and Fungi Control

  Among the many control methods used in vineyards are solarization, soil fumigation, dormant sprays, scheduled fungicide application, using protectants for early season control and pruning and burning to eliminated diseased plant parts. Dr. Fabritius said that for controlling canker diseases, such as Botryosphaeria and Eutypa, pruning wound protection is important.

  “Pruning cuts are open surfaces for fungal spores to land and enter the vine,” she said. “Canker disease control can be accomplished by avoiding pruning during rainy weather, and by application of protecting fungicides onto the wounds.”

She said that controlling viral diseases can be achieved by planting virus-free vines and frequent monitoring of the vineyard.

  “Virus-free planting stock is essential for good productivity of the vineyard,” Dr. Fabritius said. “If starting with the clean material, only the viruses that are spread by vectors, such as insects or nematodes, can change the health status of the vineyard. To avoid introducing viruses, it is recommended to test your budwood for viruses. Most of the nurseries require this to be done anyway since they do not want to accept virus-containing material into their production. Virus containing budwood may not be an issue on rooted vines, but most of the rootstock varieties are very sensitive to the viruses.”

  Dr. Fabritius told The Grapevine Magazine that control of bacterial diseases, such as Agrobacterium, requires starting with clean budwood and cultural control to keep the disease in check.

  “This includes removal of infected wood and prevention of cold injuries,” she said. “When grapes are acclimatized to the cold, they can be better protected, and gall-formation is prevented.”

Recent Innovations for Disease and Fungi Control

  Syngenta Crop Protection offers various products to address these issues, including Miravis Prime and Aprovia Top. Gilcrease predicts that these products will play a significant role in all grape types due to the spectrum and technology enhancements compared to current product offerings and the products’ FRAC group composition.

  Aprovia Top contains Solatenol, one of the two new Carboximide actives brought to grapes in 2020. Solatenol reflects a change in Carboximide chemistry research and brings exceptional activity on powdery mildew on its own. 

  “Aprovia Top should be looked at as a powdery mildew specialist product that can be positioned at the early-to-middle timing of mildew infection,” Gilcrease said. “This will provide a good anchor for your powdery mildew program and increase the ROI for the grower, all while being very export-friendly with a clean MRL profile.”

  Meanwhile, Miravis Prime contains a breakthrough with Carboximide research with the active ingredient Adepidyn.

  “We, oftentimes, have ingredients that are very good at some pests but not others, or have great efficacy but don’t last very long,” Gilcrease said. “In Adepidyn, we created a molecule that has a wide pest control range because it targets both powdery mildew and botrytis on its own, very long residual control and very high intrinsic activity, meaning we can control pests with fractional amounts of Adepidyn compared to others on the market.”

  “In positioning Miravis Prime, it can be used early when both powdery and botrytis are active in the spring, thus anchoring your mildew program mid-season in rotation with other chemistries or later in the summer when botrytis and mildew again are active,” Gilcrease said.

  While dormant applications of various fungicides are effective, many of them, such as lime sulfur, can be corrosive to equipment, hard on beneficials, tough to clean and hazardous. In response to this issue, BioSafe Systems has developed a broad-spectrum, foliar fungicide for application during dormancy. Taylor Vadon, technical sales representative for BioSafe Systems, told The Grapevine Magazine that is why BioSafe brought PerCarb to the market. This product is an ideal alternative to many fungicides applied during dormancy because of its broad spectrum and contact mode of action with five to seven days of residual.

  “PerCarb is a soluble granular that, when put into solution, releases 27% hydrogen peroxide by weight and can be applied at a rate of four pounds per 100 gallons of water,” Vadon said. “The high concentration of hydrogen peroxide is very effective at killing and reducing overwintering structures of Phomopsis, black rot, anthracnose and, most notably, powdery mildew, thus reducing the inoculum going into the growing season.”

  Vadon noted that as with any dormancy-applied fungicide, it is important to use enough water to get the solution into the crevasses of the bark of the canes, cordon and trunk to saturate the overwintering structures and effectively kill them. He said that application timing is critical because if temperatures are warm, the solution could dry out too fast, thereby not allowing the contact time needed to kill the overwintering structures.

Environmental Sustainability with Disease and Fungi Control

  Although diseases and pests must be dealt with quickly and effectively, many vineyards want to do so as eco-friendly as possible. BioSafe Systems creates environmentally sustainable products to protect crops, water and people.

  Vadon said part of sustainability is keeping effective pest management products viable for many years because fungicide resistance is an issue facing vineyards across the country. Ways to address this include rotating mode of actions in fungicide FRAC groups and using a broad-spectrum contact fungicide. For example, BioSafe’s OxiDate 5.0 utilizes peroxyacetic acid to oxidize a pathogens’ cell structures at all developmental stages. Killing the organism through oxidation on contact dramatically reduces the chances of developing mutational resistance.

  “OxiDate 5.0 can be tank-mixed with many organic and conventional fungicides that are susceptible to developing resistance,” Vadon said. “This tank mix with Oxidate 5.0, in every compatible spray, will not only help fight fungicide resistance but will also lower inoculum in the vineyard. OxiDate 5.0 leaves no harmful residues and breaks down into hydrogen and carbon, making it an environmentally sustainable chemistry.”

Tips and Advice for Preventing Diseases and Fungi

  Prevention is the best strategy for staying on top of plant diseases and fungi before they strike. Fabritius said vineyards should be visually monitored throughout the growing season for symptomatic vines. Lab testing could confirm a viruses’ presence, and then virus-infected vines should be moved.

  “Vector monitoring is essential for the diseases that are spread by insects,” Fabritius said. “These can include visual monitoring for the presence of mealybugs, ant populations and use of pheromone traps. It is also a good idea to test your soils for the presence of nematodes.”

  Gilcrease said lime sulfur treatment during the dormant period has been shown to help knock back and limit mildew pressure throughout the vineyard. He also said vineyards should use sulfur to the highest degree and begin early.

  “Sulfur is one of those products that isn’t flashy but works great to break things up rotation-wise,” he said. “There are some restrictions on when and how late in the season you can use them based on your buyer, so make sure you fall within those regulations before you pull the trigger.”

  Finally, vineyards must think about coverage, regardless of what crop protection material they choose.

  “I think of large acreage and wanting to cover a lot of ground at once makes many think of aerial application,” Gilcrease said. “In the early season, this is okay as the canopy is not very dense and penetration from above is much easier. But as the season goes on, canes begin to really get dense and create a sort of umbrella over the clusters. At this point, an aerial application is nearly useless no matter how many acres can be covered in a short period of time. Long story short, aerial apps should be used when they can but not looked at as solution to rapid need such as putting a mildew fire out.”

Membrane Filter Integrity Testing

Typically an Absolute Membrane Filter

By: Thomas J. Payette, Winemaking Consultant

The previous article in The Grapevine Magazine addressed steaming the bottling line.  Following steaming, the winemaker will want to perform a check to determine whether or not the process has been successful and that the filter has not been damaged by the steaming process or other handling. 

  The following process is a way to check the membrane filter’s integrity prior to wine bottling use.  During proper steaming, sterility should have been achieved from the cartridge filter downstream to the filling spouts.  Please keep this in mind as we follow this procedure to insure the sterile conditions will not be compromised during the testing process.


  The objective of this procedure will be to test a pre-wetted membrane filter with air or nitrogen to determine if the filter will hold a certain level of pressure.  The surface tension of clean water on this filter matrix will determine the amount of pressure the filter will hold.  After steaming and cooled the filter cartridge is considered pre-wetted.  Do not remove to wet the cartridge after steaming.  That would violate the “sterile conditions”.


1.     Review the information that came with your filter and contact your supplier representative to see if they have any tips on the procedure or process about to be performed.  They may have helpful recommendations and data for you about that specific filter.

2.     After the steaming operation, described in the previous article, allow the assembly to cool to room temperature.  {If this is not done properly the results will not be accurate because the temperature change inside the closed system will show a pressure drop due to cooling and contraction.} The cooling process may take some time.

3.     Attach a source of compressed air or nitrogen (not Carbon dioxide) with a regulator to the top valve or to any sealed up stream orifice of the filter assembly.  Close all of the upstream valves with the exception of the one you would like to use to pressurize the filter system.  Be aware that any downstream orifice could be a contamination point. 

4.     Make sure all the valves are in perfect shape, will not leak and will have the ability to withstand the pressure that will be applied to the filter.

5.     Slowly turn the pressurized air source on and allow it to flow into the upstream side of the membrane housing. [Note: use a clean source of air that does not have any wine residue on the tip of the hose or any possible chance of introducing yeast or microorganisms.  Being the upstream side of the filter this should not be a problem but remember we are about to bottle a wine in a sterile environment.  Try not to introduce any micro-organism: Think Cross Contamination!]

6.     Using the regulator adjustment, allow the pressure to slowly increase up to the designated pressure for the micron rating of the filter.  (Typically 18 PSI is sufficient for a 0.45 micron rated membrane that would hold 20 PSI wetted.  Do double check this number with your supplier in the event this rating changes since publishing of this article. )  The test pressure will be in the literature of the filter package or it can be obtained from your supplier’s technical department.  Be aware, some filters have the same hold pressure even though their micron rating may be different.  Be certain not to “slam” the filter with immediate pressure.  That action may rupture the filter media and that filter may not pass the test or perform the filtering function as designed and desired.

7.     Allow the pressure to rise slowly while monitoring both the pressure gauge on the filter housing and the gauge on the regulator supplying the compressed air or nitrogen.  There should be little or no discrepancies between them.  This also indicates the gas is flowing into the filter housing.  One may see a slight amount of water come through the down stream side of the unit though a bleed valve.   This is normal since some water may “push” off the outside of the pre-wetted filter. Do not disassemble the down stream side of the set up because it will compromise the sterility of the bottling.  [Do make sure an outlet for air is open on the downstream side of the filter so the indication of a pressure, on the up-steam pressure gauge, is not a false one caused by back pressure from a closed valve]

8.     Once the proper pressure has been achieved and both pressure gauges agree – turn the valve supply of the gas into the housing to the off position.  Record the pressure gauge and the time of day.  One may disconnect the gas supply at this time since it should not be needed anymore for this test.  Allow the filter, without any downstream back pressure, to hold the upstream pressure with only the dampened filter holding back the gas.  If the filter holds this pressure for the length of time obtained from the literature in the filter box for that cartridge or from the technical department for that filter, the filter passes the test!  [For clarification : It is the surface tension of the water in the matrix of the filter that is holding back the gas].

9.     Time the holding pressure for the designated time for that filter.

10.   At this time, double check to see that the pressure does show the proper pressure; then slowly open a back stream valve.  Make sure to listen to hear that indeed pressure is coming off the filter housing set up and that the gauge was not stuck at the desired pressure.  Do this slowly so the filter does not go through an abrupt change in pressure that may damage the filter media just proven to be appropriate for the function of sterile filtration.[ If it passed ]

11.   Record any data that may be required by the bottling department or winemaker showing the filter was tested and checked out ready for use.

12.   Double check that all the downstream areas are still attached and that their sterility has not been compromised.

13.   Start the flow of wine for the day’s bottling run

14.   Pull samples at different times of the day and test them under the microscope ( if equipped and your winery has the expertise ) to insure the designated function did its job and continues to the job.  Numbering pallets as you bottle is a smart operation in the vent you find a filter failure during a days bottling run.  { Not a norm typically by the way }.

15.   Some wineries, after the day’s bottling, will re-wet the membrane with water and follow the testing procedure again to confirm the integrity was not lost on the filter during the day’s run.   This give “back end assurance” as performed as expected and desired.

  The above test should be performed each time a new or stored filter is installed into the filter housing and each time you bottle.  In many instances winemakers are able to get 10,000 cases or more through their cartridge filters before compromising the sterile bottling conditions.  Your supplier will be able to guide you with knowledge on how many cases or steamings your cartridge filter will be able to withstand. Typically I become most concerned of the steaming so I will discard a filter after a certain number of steaming or after a certain amount of time under steam.

Supplemental Notes:

•     Perform this procedure, for the first time, on a day you do not plan to bottle or on a day you have plenty of time to think the process through – not being rushed.

•     Check with the cartridge supplier to determine if the filter purchased has a “steamable life span”.  If so be sure to record the amount of time each cartridge has been steamed and discard the filter when appropriate.

•     Make sure that only water is on the filter during the testing of the filter as other “contaminants” may give a false reading of passing the test.

•     Setting the filter housing up with a male quick disconnect at the top port will greatly improve the ease of attaching the source of the desired gas.

•     The author prefers nitrogen since some compressed air has oils or odors that may interfere with the wine or the testing process.

•     Many cartridge filters were designed for the pharmaceutical industry and they are made to very strict standards.  Handle them with care!

•     Wineries now have the luxury of purchasing a machine to perform this function; however they are not inexpensive and this process, when mastered, does not take long.  The results are inexpensive and easy to obtain.  What is the machine fails ?  Will you have the expertise / knowledge know?


•   Contact your supplier to review the Hold Test operation with them.

•   Make sure the filter assembly is cooled to room temperature before testing

•   Use Nitrogen to pressurize the unit.

•   Make sure the pressure reading is not caused or influenced by a downstream obstruction.

•   Be cautious of downstream Cross-Contamination.

A Word About the Hold Test:

  The hold test should be performed in the clean environment of the bottling room under strict standards and precise conditions.  Keeping a keen eye on the process for cross-contamination possibilities, potential sources of error and other out of the norm conditions will lead to the winemaker’s ultimate success each and every time this is done.  A sterile bottling will be achieved providing the consumer with fresh and consistent wine each and every time they relax with one of your products.  One can not express the importance of doing this procedure correctly.  The winery’s success depends on the proper execution of sterile bottling and that process rest heavily on testing the membrane before bottling and overall proper steaming of the complete bottling line.

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard During Wildfire Season

By: Michael Harding, Senior Risk Solution Specialist, Markel Specialty

Weather conditions and natural disasters occasionally take a toll on vineyards and other agricultural production systems. Due to climate change and recurring droughts, some of which are severe, the frequency and severity of wildfires is expected to increase. These risks highlight the need for winegrowers and winery owners to be as prepared as possible to reduce risk.

Putting Your Plan Together

  Many wineries may have already revisited their evacuation plans and filed them with their respective state agencies. Staying current of wildfire season developments can help enhance your ongoing planning and preparedness. Technology can also support your wildland fire planning and response. Additional planning resources by the American Red Cross are available at:

Steps to Take Before a Wildland Fire Event

•    Take a close look at your winery’s communication protocol for evacuations. Everyone should have a clear understanding of any community alarms that signal when you need to evacuate. Assign specific accountabilities to staff so everyone works collectively to achieve a positive outcome of protecting lives and property.

•    Work with your regional Forest Service to better understand emergency evacuation procedures in your area.

•    Coordinate with the American Red Cross, FEMA, and other emergency agencies to give them the locations of your evacuation sites. Invite your local fire department out as part of a fire pre-incident plan. They should be provided a map of your property, highlighting planned evacuation routes. They can also offer technical assistance to support your plan.

•    Prepare and post route maps for each site, including alternate routes. With a large fire, you may need to use “Plan B.”

•    Consider forming a cooperative agreement with another site to share resources and serve as an evacuation site.

•    Identify key equipment to be evacuated, including computers and other vital records. As part of your business continuity planning, programs should already have information backed up and stored remotely. But, in case you don’t, practice removing this equipment as part of your practice response.

•    Stock an ample supply of water and easily-prepared foods until rescue arrives.

Controlling Wildland Fire Exposures

  Wildland fires are one of the most catastrophic threats to wineries.  Protecting your structures from ignition and fire damage is an important program objective second only to an evacuation plan. Taking precautions ahead of time can help reduce the exposure of a wildfire intrusion. There are a number of proactive measures a winery can take to mitigate the property damage a wildland fire can cause.

  To support a fire adaptive community philosophy, the local fire department or authority having jurisdiction for your winery should require you to develop a landscape plan for your property. It is wise to seek their advice and incorporate their recommendations as you develop a plan specific to your location. You can learn more about fire adaptive community planning at the Fire Adaptive Communities,

  According to the NFPA 1144 – Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fires, fire protection plans should address four zones around a property.

What are the primary threats to property during a wildfire?

Research around property destruction vs. property survival in wildfires point to embers and small flames as the main way that the majority of properties ignite in wildfires. Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and/or vegetation that can be carried more than a mile through the wind, they can cause spot fires and ignite structures, debris and other objects.

  There are methods for property owners to prepare their structures to withstand ember attacks and minimize the likelihood of flames or surface fire touching the structure or any attachments. Experiments, models and post-fire studies have shown structures ignite due to the condition of the structure and everything around it, up to 200’ from the foundation.  This is called the Structure Ignition Zone.

What is the Structure Ignition Zone?

  The concept of the structure ignition zone was developed by retired USDA Forest Service fire scientist Jack Cohen in the late 1990’s, following some breakthrough experimental research into how structures ignite due to the effects of radiant heat. 

The structure ignition zone is divided into three zones; immediate, intermediate and extended.

Immediate Zone

  The structure and the area 0-5’ from the furthest attached exterior point of the structure; defined as a non-combustible area. Science tells us this is the most important zone to take immediate action on as it is the most vulnerable to embers.

  START WITH THE STRUCTURES then move into the landscaping section of the Immediate Zone.

•    Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles that could catch embers.

•    Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration.

•    Reduce embers that could pass through vents in the eaves by installing 1/8” metal mesh screening.

•    Clean debris from exterior attic vents and install 1/8” metal mesh screening to reduce embers.

•    Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows. Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.

•    Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors – wooden pallets, mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles – anything that can burn. Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.

Intermediate Zone

  5-30’ from the furthest exterior point of the structure.  Landscaping/hardscaping – employing careful landscaping or creating breaks that can help influence and decrease fire behavior.

•    Clear vegetation from under large stationary propane tanks.

•    Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks.

•    Keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of 4”.

•    Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune trees up to 6-10’ from the ground; for shorter trees do not exceed 1/3 of the overall tree height.

•    Space trees to have a minimum of 18’ between crowns with the distance increasing with the percentage of slope.

•    Tree placement should be planned to ensure the mature canopy is no closer than 10’ to the edge of the structure.

•    Tree and shrubs in this zone should be limited to small clusters of a few each to break up the continuity of the vegetation across the landscape.

Extended Zone

  30-100’, out to 200’. Landscaping – the goal here is not to eliminate fire but to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames smaller and on the ground.

•    Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter/debris.

•    Remove dead plant and tree material.

•    Remove small conifers growing between mature trees.

•    Remove vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area.

•    Trees 30 to 60’ from the structure should have at least 12’ between canopy tops.

•    Trees 60 to 100’ from the structure should have at least 6’ between the canopy tops.

If an Evacuation Becomes Evident

•    If possible, identify the location and direction of the fire event. Remain cognizant that this can quickly change direction and speed.

•    Clearly explain your evacuation procedures to all that may be involved.

•    Identify special medical needs and gather emergency equipment and necessities, including trauma supplies for ready access.

•    Designate enough vehicles to evacuate everyone safely. Reinforce safe driving practices with all drivers.

•    Equip staff with emergency communications equipment (cell phones, walkie-talkies, whistles, flares, colored smoke canisters, etc.). Ask your local jurisdiction authority for suggestions.

•    Load key equipment, vital records, food, and water.

•    Ask qualified associates to disconnect and move LP gas tanks to a safer location, such as a gravel lot, or follow the manufacturer’s instructions to empty the tanks.

•    Warn firefighters of underground fuel storage or LP gas tanks before you leave.

  Making your facility fire resistant can help reduce property loss. However, keep in mind that these steps should be done only by assigned staff in conjunction with an evacuation and never require or allow staff to remain behind. Close and secure all doors and windows once combustible materials have been moved away from these openings.

•    Wet down buildings and roofs. There are commercial grade fire retardant products available that can help support your efforts to protect your property. But do your research ahead of time; and don’t let the application of these products reduce the priority of evacuating.

•    Have qualified personnel cut down trees in the fire path, bulldoze a firebreak, and cut field grass as short as possible.

•    Remove brush and dry vegetation near buildings.

Fire evacuation – What you need to know

  During wildfire season, you may be forced to evacuate in a hurry. People are your first priority; to include guests, staff and firefighters. Most fire evacuations provide at least a three-hour notice; but due to the scope of your operation, you may need to do it sooner. Take proactive steps before and during an evacuation to reduce anxiety and avoid injuries. Plan, prepare and practice.

Filing Claims

  In the event your area experiences a wildfire event, it is highly likely it will not only be monitored by your insurance agent, in addition to your insurance company. Pre-loss documentation, such as video recordings and pictures of buildings, business personal property inventories, should be up to date and included as part of your evacuation materials. Working with your agent is a great resource to understand what might be necessary to help with documentation, if you should need it.


•    NFPA 1144 – Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fires, 2018 Edition. National Fire Protection Association. Quincy, MA 02169, 2018

•    Fire Adaptive Communities. Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network.

•    Wildfire Safety. © 2019 The American National Red Cross

  This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances.  Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability.  This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice.  Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser.  Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete.   Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

What To Do After a Virtual Trade Show

By: Susan DeMatei and Nathan Chambers

Chances are you’ve attended a virtual conference by now. Perhaps it was your first, or maybe you’re a seasoned pro. In either case, thanks to the ongoing pandemic and the reoccurring “Stay at Home” directives, virtual events are likely going to be here for a while. And why not? reports that through video meetings, businesses can reduce travel costs by 30%. According to the Bizzabo Post Covid-19 Event Outlook Report, an overwhelming 93% of organizers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward.

  Unlike in-person conferences, you have to work a bit harder to get the most value out of this time when they’re online. Here are some tips for things you can do after the conference to maximize your efforts.

Contact People You Met

  68% of B2B marketers use in-person events for lead generation initiatives. This data point is especially noteworthy considering that AdStage reports 73% of marketers prioritized lead quality. Meaning, one of the vital elements of any conference is the chance to connect, make new friends, engage with old colleagues, and form new relationships that will help you both personally and professionally.

  Networking is more natural in person. And typically, when you go to a conference, you leave with a stack of business cards that sit on your desk as a reminder to follow up on these connections.

  But, this printed reminder doesn’t exist with a virtual conference. It is up to you to take notes and forward contact information to continue the conversation.

  Hopefully, you kept a list of people you spoke to or exchanged chat messages with during the conference. Maybe you wanted to ask the keynote speaker a question, but you didn’t have time, or your kid’s virtual education crashed your network the morning of the breakout session you wanted to attend!

  Either way, make a list of people with whom you would have connected and reach out to them.

  Whova, the popular event software, has some suggestions to stay in front of your expanded network while the event is still fresh in everyone’s mind. They suggest doing the following in the first three days after an event:

•    Email your event contacts with thank-yous or requests for further conversation.

•    Search social media platforms for mention of the event or hashtags; connect to individuals talking about the event.

•    Cross-reference your new connections on LinkedIn referencing the event.

•    Double (and triple) check your notes from the event to make sure you organize and attend any post-event meetings/calls you planned during the event.

  Send them a note and set up some time to connect, whether over the phone, a socially distanced coffee, or even with Facetime. If you wait and let ideas and memories fade, you’ll be cheating yourself out of a great opportunity.

Grow Your Database

  How often do you look up a business contact only to find out they’ve changed positions or are at a new company? As you reflect and review your day(s) at the conference, you undoubtedly made some new contacts and reconnected with past ones. Take a few minutes to update both your personal as well as professional mailing list.

  Make sure you’ve got updated phone numbers, email addresses, and current employers. When doing this, make sure to update contacts on your phone.

  If you add or update people to your company database, make sure to use a tagging system or segmentation note. This can be something as simple as “XYZ Trade Show Mar_21”. As we all know, segmentation is a huge asset when it comes to recontacting someone. Having information could be critical if you want to send a follow-up email to people you met during a breakout session or event organizers. Spending an hour detailing notes of conversations and contact information will pay dividends for you in the future.

Knowledge Sharing

  Maybe you went as a group or were the only one who had the privilege of attending the conference. Chances are, there are others in your organization that could benefit from what you heard.

  Make sure to review your notes and any PDF’s distributed as part of the conference. Set some time to meet with your team and your supervisor to go over the highlights. Discuss new ideas that you want to try, new strategies on an old problem, or the conference in general. Also, give your team the floor to ask questions and probe what you heard.  

In Case You Missed It

  Bizzabo reports that over half (54%) of virtual event registrants convert to virtual attendees. Even when we attend, we can’t be in three breakout rooms at the same time. So almost all conferences supply links to the videos of the sessions.

  Check the conference website to see if the sessions you missed are now available for viewing. Recordings of new portions of the conference originally live-streamed may have been added, giving you multiple opportunities to review what went on at the conference. Don’t forget to share the links with your team so they can view the information. 

Get Involved

  Now that you’ve attended the conference, updated your mailing list with new contacts and old friends, met with your team and shared your learnings, and watched the videos of sessions missed and discussions you wanted to remember, there’s just one more thing left to do. Offer feedback via social media or thank the organization, and look for opportunities with future conferences. 

  If the conference sent out a survey to attendees, take it and give honest feedback and suggestions. Virtual meetings are relatively new for everyone, so any insight or tips we’re sure would go a long way. Also, consider getting involved. If you or someone on your team wants to plan next year’s event, reach out to the organizers.

  As with most things, the more engaged and thoughtful you are before, during, and after the conference, the more rewards you will see.

  Susan DeMatei is the President and Nathan Chambers is an Account Director at WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing firm working within the wine industry in Napa, California.  

Wine Labels:

Catch the Eye and Excite the Palate  

beer cans skin

By: Cheryl Gray    

In many ways, a label is the signature finish to any bottle of wine. Just like wine, creating wine labels requires a devotion to the craft. 

Whether pre-printed, embossed or etched, winery labels involve much more than a name and a logo. Experts say there are several factors to consider, everything from the temperature sensitivity of the paper stock used to the texture of the actual label.  

Express Labels

  Express Labels brings more than 25 years of experience to its customers whose wineries depend upon its multiple applications for digital and flexographic label solutions to put a successful marketing image on their winery products. The company has clients in the United States and Canada, servicing not only wineries and vineyards but also manufacturing, food and beverage, grocery and craft beer. With locations in Washington, Colorado, Indiana and Florida, its four strategically placed facilities are equipped with the latest technology designed to meet customer demands. Marketing Director Debbi Ulmer, a marketing industry expert with 25 years of experience, told The Grapevine Magazine how Express Labels helps its winery clients make their products stand out.  

  “We offer a nearly unlimited combination of inks, stocks and finishes, but our primary differentiator is us: our capability, capacity, and competency. With many of our winery customers, the ability to stand out amongst the ever-growing competition is nearly as important as the ingredients in the wine. We have noticed that many request ‘hot-stamped’ labels to create a foil, shiny appearance on the label’s art,” said Ulmer. “We have several cost-effective alternatives to this to achieve a similar, if not more creative, look and feel. Foil simulation is one example. Using a foil stock, you can manipulate the look of the art to create any color of metallic using ink over the foil. For instance, you can create bronze by using brown ink over silver foil stock. Couple that with a soft touch or matte lamination for a high-end look that will be sure to catch a shopper’s eye.”   

  One of those eye-catching techniques is embossing, which Express Labels offers. The process achieves an engraved effect for the wine bottle label by embossing key areas of the art to make it appear as engraved.   

  Craig Harrison is Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Express Labels with a quarter-century of industry knowledge. He said that when it comes to selecting paper stock and printing wine bottle labels, experience matters.

  “We highly recommend consulting with your label manufacturer to ensure you’re using the best label stock based on the wine. For instance, red wine may not require the same stock as a white that needs to be chilled or exposed to ice and water. In the case of chilled white wine, we would recommend a beverage grade stock to ensure the label stays in place while being stored and served,” said Harrison. “We do not recommend attempting to use a laser or other desktop printer. To ensure you’re using the best label available, you will want to print your labels through a trusted printing partner, such as Express Labels, to protect your wine and your brand’s reputation.”  

  Maryland’s Olney Winery is an Express Labels client and relies upon that kind of experience, along with competitive pricing, when ordering labels for more than 65 different varietals of wine. Managing Member and Owner Joe McCall told The Grapevine Magazine that his winery generates about 150,000 bottles of wine each year. He explained why the right labeling could make the difference in consumer choice.  

  “The quality of our wine labels is extremely important. In a competitive market, sometimes it is our label that becomes the determining factor as to whether a consumer chooses our wine or not when they purchase their wine off a store shelf. Both the design and the quality of the printing of the label are critical.”

  Olney Winery uses adhesive-backed full-color labels, which are applied to the bottle by the winery’s automated bottling machine.   

Orion Labels

  Experience is also the trademark of Orion Labels, a family-owned business established in 2003 and headquartered in Seymour, Wisconsin, just outside of Green Bay. The company, whose team of employees has more than 100 years of industry experience, specializes in manufacturing pressure-sensitive, glue applied, cut and stack labels, along with specialty products. While about 80% of its clientele are concentrated in the Midwest, Orion Labels also has an international presence with clients as far away as Hong Kong. Its customers represent the food and beverage, cosmetics, health and beauty, and pharmaceutical industries. 

  Dave Bradish is Director of Sales and Minority Owner of Orion Labels. With 30 years in the paper and packaging industries, Bradish knows well that working closely with clients makes a difference in how wine bottle labels are created and delivered.

  “In a world where everyone has a lot of the same printing equipment, what sets Orion Labels apart is our collaborative nature. We work directly with our clients, listen to what they need, and create timely, cost-effective solutions. At the end of the day, our difference is that we take the time up front to listen and deliver labels that add value to our customers’ products.” 

  Bradish told The Grapevine Magazine that one of the advantages of adhesive labels is that you can print several SKUs in small quantities and do it cost-effectively. Another benefit is that the label dispensing equipment is easy to manage. There are also options for what materials wineries can use to achieve different looks or images for their wine bottle labels.  

  “It’s not really about the best paper stock. It’s about what the customer wants,” said Bradish. “Most companies start using estate paper, but there’s also metalized paper, films, and other materials, depending on what your goal is. The possibilities are endless. There’s a material for whatever you want to do.” 

  Orion Label’s team takes advantage of its collective century-plus years of experience by relying upon that broad knowledge base. This includes knowing how to get the best product from the latest technology.  

  “When it comes to equipment, we are more followers than innovators. However, while we have some incredibly versatile equipment – including a hybrid digital press that allows us to do some pretty amazing things, Orion Labels’ true innovation is our experienced staff. They know how to get the most out of our equipment and are great to work with,” Bradish said. 


  Innovation and customer service are also a priority at Evermine, a family-owned eCommerce company based in Portland, Oregon. In 2000, co-owner Jeanne Williamson came up with the idea of going beyond just making special labels for her homemade Christmas jam. She and her husband David worked out of a spare bedroom to launch their company website. The result was an online presence with an initial focus on providing creative labeling for home-crafters and canners. 

  Since then, Evermine has grown to 20 employees and has broadened its services to include personalized custom sticker labels for special events such as weddings, birthdays and the like. The company is also building an expanding client base in home breweries, kitchens and business product labeling. Travis Rees, Customer Service and New Clients Manager, told The Grapevine Magazine how Evermine’s versatility allows it to meet clients’ needs, no matter how large or small the order.   

  “Because we can do quantities of as little as six labels or as many as 600,000, we can grow with you as your needs expand. Over the years, we’ve added many other product offerings including hang tags, coasters, personalized stationery (invitations, holiday cards, thank you cards, etc.) and packaging.”  Rees said that the company’s client base stretches across the globe.

  “We have had customers on six continents, and we can service about 200 countries. Canada, Australia and the UK are our most frequent. But we have regular customers in the Middle East, Asia and the rest of Europe as well.”

Etching Expressions  

  California-based Etching Expressions began in the 1990s, creating custom labels for personalized wine gifts for fraternities and sororities at San Diego State University. The company specializes in sandblasting, which etches a design deep into the wine bottle glass. Marketing Director Kirsten Elliott explained the intricate process performed by highly skilled artisans.

  “The most unique thing that we do is specialize in deep etching and hand painting designs directly into the glass. The wine bottles are sandblasted by our experienced technicians. A mask is applied to the bottle to protect the areas that will not be carved, yet allowing abrasive material to come through and etch the glass. Sandblasting is a precise skill, and there is no room for errors. In addition to etching, we also offer digital printing on pre-cut, high-gloss polypropylene labels.”

  Whether handcrafted or digitally produced, creating wine labels is a process with a universal goal – to attract a consumer’s eye and entice that consumer’s palate through the imagery that only a finely crafted label can evoke. 

Dawn’s Dream Winery:

Making Dreams Come True for Others

Dawn and Jack Galante

By: Nan McCreary

For as long as she can remember, winery owner Dawn Galante has had a passion for lending a hand to non-profit organizations, especially those dedicated to helping women and children.  So when she opened her boutique winery in Carmel, California, it was only natural that she would focus not just on producing excellent wines but also on creating a business model that would allow her the opportunity to give back to the community. With these two goals in mind, in 2011, Galante launched Dawn’s Dream Winery, which has not only earned recognition for its wines but has helped hundreds of beneficiaries create dreams of their own.

  As a winery, Dawn’s Dream’s roots can be traced to Galante’s move from Michigan to California. Like many others, she got the “wine bug” exploring Napa and Sonoma.  “Once you land in a wine region, it doesn’t take long,” she said, laughing. 

  In 1999, she met now-husband Jack Galante, owner of Galante Vineyards in the Carmel Valley Hills. With a strong background in finances, she joined Jack’s team as CFO and operations manager, a position she still holds today. “I knew a lot about business but nothing about the wine industry,” she said,” so I took all the job positions with Galante Vineyards to learn it all. I even went on the road to help distribute the wine when Jack was selling.”

  After years of sitting behind a computer looking at spreadsheets, Galante got the urge to expand her horizons. It was Jack who suggested she combine her passion for wine with her passion for giving and start her own wine label. Galante loved the idea.

  “One of the things that has always been a part of my life, even as a young woman, is volunteering,” she said. “Helping others comes naturally. Dawn’s Dream came about because I wanted to incorporate that love into my life. Instead of it being just part of my life, I wanted it to be a way of life, and opening a winery was a perfect opportunity.”

  Putting the pieces of this puzzle together was not easy. “It took me a while to figure out how to do the giving back, which means giving money, product or time. I wanted to become a responsible giver because you can burn out if you don’t have some kind of organized method,” she said.

  The other challenge was how to balance the work of running a business with a focus in the non-profit world — not just the business of Dawn’s Dream but also that of Galante Vineyards.

  For Galante, the solution was to hire a general manager to oversee all aspects of the wineries so she could be free to move around each of them. In 10 years, Galante’s “dream” has evolved — and continues to evolve — but it is no longer a dream. It’s a reality, and a successful one at that. “We did it, and we’re still going at it,” she said proudly.

  In her commitment to helping the community, each year Galante and her team select a non-profit to share a partnership that lasts throughout the year.  This year it’s AIM Youth Mental Health, an organization devoted to the mental health of youth. This partnership is advertised in Galante’s tasting room in Carmel-by-the-Sea with a large chalkboard on the wall that asks visitors to “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and support the non-profit. 

  “This allows our staff to really spend a whole year with eyes on this non-profit, whether we join in on a luncheon to raise money or a walk or whatever the non-profit’s superpower is to bring recognition to the work they’re doing,” Galante said.

  For the non-profit, the benefits are many. Right out of the gate, Dawn’s Dream donates 16 cases of wine for board member retreats or whatever needs the group has. Also, Galante offers her tasting room for meetings and presents a stay in the Galante apartment in Carmel as an auction item for fundraising events.  A highlight of the year is the Guest Bartender Event, where Galante hosts a big party in her tasting room that “stars” the non-profit’s celebrity bartender. The organization chooses the theme, and, as Galante said, the sky’s the limit.

  “It’s always popular,” she said, “because everyone knows about it and knows the bartender always gives generous pours.” Because of Covid-19, she had to cancel the event in 2020, but she is already making plans for the annual event later this year.

  For Galante, the year-long relationship with a non-profit partner adds a new dimension to charitable giving. “With the partnership, it’s a yearlong dance,” she said. “If you only see them one or two months during the year, you don’t get to see what they’re doing the rest of the time. You might miss something. Plus, since it’s interactive, we’re able to spend time brainstorming as we go along. We can look ahead and ask them about their current and future plans and how we can be a part of that. I love being involved this way.”

  In addition to the annual partnership, Dawn’s Dream regularly supports several charities, including Rising International, Voices for Children of Monterey County, Boys and Girls Club and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Support comes in many forms: event sponsorship, wine donations and cash contributions based on a portion of proceeds generated by wine sales. In turn, many of these non-profits offer presentations to the winery staff on updates, new research and upcoming events. Galante can then pass that information along to her wine club members. 

  “The more I can have the bullhorn to announce what’s going on, the more work I can do,” she said.

  Another commitment in her philanthropic calendar is to sponsor two families at Christmas, one from Dawn’s Dream Winery and another from Galante Vineyards.  This sponsorship provides a complete Christmas, including trees, gifts and meals for the selected families. “We’ve been doing this for many years,” Galante said. “It’s crazy how much need there is.”

  While Galante is passionate about her work with non-profits, she is equally committed to creating outstanding wines. From the beginning, her goal has been to produce “approachable wines of exceptional quality and elegance.”

  Dawn’s Dream Winery is known for its Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Her current releases include two Chardonnays, four Pinot Noirs (three named after her daughters) and a Pinot-based Rosé, which has received the Carmel Golden Pine Cone Newspaper award for the best Rosé in Monterey County eight years in a row. In presenting the award, the newspaper stated, “This is a huge accolade in a county that grows and produces more Pinot Noir than anywhere else in the state.” Additionally, last year Wine Enthusiast gave over 90-point ratings to all of Dawn’s Dream wines.

  One key to her success, Galante said, is the availability of quality fruit in her region. Galante sources her grapes from the coastal areas of Monterey County, the hills of Carmel Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands. “We have so many Pinots in this area,” Galante said, “and this gives me an opportunity to show the expression of different clones and different microclimates. How they come together — with their structure and their flavor components — is really a work of art. This is the fun part.”

  To create these wines, Galante works closely with her winemaker, Greg Vita, a fifth-generation Californian who has been a vineyard and winemaking consultant to wineries in the Napa Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County for the last 17 years. He is also the winemaker at Galante Vineyards. The Galantes and Vita share a philosophy that winemaking starts in the vineyard. They select the finest terroirs and let the grapes naturally express themselves with little human contact and minimal intervention.

  “We’re a small boutique winery, and we really honor our grapes,” Galante said. “We let them do what they’re supposed to do: they sit, they rest and they develop. We hand-pick when they tell us they’re ready. It’s like delivering a baby.”

  While Galante is certainly serious about her wines and her commitment to non-profits, she has a playful side, which she expresses in her wine labels that feature a woman’s silhouette in a bathtub. 

  “My label design idea was developed from an original picture taken of Jack and me many years back on the ranch,” she said. “In this picture, I am sitting in a rustic bathtub that our cattle drank from, and we have our horse Dee there as well. Jack had a poster made using this image that says, ‘Honey, draw me a bath,’ and the bottom of the poster says ‘Red or White?’ I love the idea of sharing a glass of wine while relaxing with friends or in the tub!”

  Just for fun, a replica of the bathtub graces the tasting room and has become a popular spot for customer photo ops.

  As Galante looks to the future, she plans to release two new wines:  a Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia highlands that has undergone malolactic fermentation and a Syrah from Carmel Valley. These will be named for her granddaughters, Eliza Jane and Frances Jane. Galante would also like to produce a Zinfandel and a Riesling and is currently searching for grapes’ availability.

  Her goals remain twofold, just like they did when she started Dawn’s Dream: “I want to continue to reach as many people as I can about the importance of humanity and of giving back while continuing to incorporate the best wine in the portfolio that I can.  I want to innovate, listen and keep the mission of Dawn’s Dream going.”

  While Galante’s winery is small — she produces 3500 cases annually — her dreams remain big. Thanks to Dawn’s Dream Winery, the world is a better place for wine lovers and those less fortunate.

For more information on Dawn’s Dream Winery, visit

Tank Choices Enhance Wine While Protecting Business and Livelihood

2 wooden wine tanks

By: Gerald Dlubala

Considering the amount of time wine spends in a tank, whether for storage or fermentation, the type of tank chosen for a winery can play a crucial role in their overall story, branding and image. Whether choosing wood, concrete, clay, stainless steel or something else, each offers unique qualities, options and associated costs. Ultimately, each winemaker’s unique vision and preferred process dictates the type of tank used.

Wood Combines Nostalgia with Utility

  Wood tanks remain commonplace in wineries and are still what we envision when picturing a classic winery. The nostalgia and charm of a romantically serene winery with weathered wooden tanks and barrels in the background are aesthetically pleasing, but the usefulness of wooden tanks shouldn’t be overlooked. Wooden vessels have a natural insulating property that keeps fermentation temperatures slightly higher. Traditionally, red grape varietals get stored in wooden vessels during the early stages of fermentation, which wine producers believe allows their wines to develop smoother textures with fewer astringent properties. Deeper red varietals acquire their characteristic aroma and distinctive mouthfeel from wooden vessels. French oak barrels are well suited for adding tannins and promoting the familiar vanilla profile to Cabernet Sauvignon varietals. Pinot Noirs and other classes of lighter wines of the Pacific Northwest also age very well in oak casks.

  Wooden tanks and vessels are generally not a locally manufactured product, so it’s critical to keep timeframes in mind when ordering. Another knock against wooden tanks has always been the increased time and attention needed for maintenance, cleaning and storage due to wood’s naturally rough texture and ability to absorb flavors. The good news is that wood tanks are now fitted with many of the same convenience options that stainless steel tanks offer, including larger access doors, top hatches, easily accessible drainage pipes, temperature control plates, thermometers and leveling gauges. With this in mind, wood tanks can be used for decades with proper care.

Concrete: Solid as a Rock

  Concrete offers a compromise between the porosity and flavor enhancement of wood vessels and the clean and slick neutrality of stainless-steel tanks. Although concrete was always a valued option for European winemakers, the benefits and advantages of using concrete have now gained favor worldwide, especially in more progressive wineries. Concrete, depending on the formula used, allows for slower oxygen exchanges and slower temperature changes. This more natural fermentation process builds better textures and more favorable aromatic notes. Like wood vessels, concrete tanks can retain small amounts of natural byproducts and yeast from previous uses.

  Constant improvement in concrete formulas offers better tank quality and greater size and shape customization. Egg-shaped concrete tanks are popular because of the lack of edges, corners, or creases that encourage stagnation of fermenting liquids. Winemaker’s plans can adapt installation of new concrete tanks, whether that means traditional above ground placement, in-ground or buried placement for enhanced temperature regulation, or even integration into the winery’s physical structure.

  Temperature control plates or glycol temperature control systems can be installed in the walls of concrete tanks for protection against any contact with the wine and to prevent hot or cold spots within the concrete tank.

  Concrete tanks can be more expensive upfront, especially if the design needs an original mold cast for the concrete pour. 

Clay Vessels Remain a Quality Choice

  Clay fermentation and holding vessels date back to the Roman Empire, and there hasn’t been a tremendous change in what they can bring to the table in wine enhancement. The natural porosity of clay allows for natural micro-oxygenation, which is beneficial for quality fermentation and bonding anthocyanin to produce better color in red varietals.

  Amphorae and Terracotta vessels offer the ability to sweat and eliminate excess moisture without adding the tannins or oak aromas of their wood counterparts. Clay is historically recognized for its unique and exceptional thermal insulation capacity that keeps the contents cool through surface evaporation. The fermentation process in clay vessels is slower than in other tank types, but the temperatures remain steady with no heat spikes to provide a richer and brighter mouthfeel.

  As expected, proper and regular maintenance is critical for clay tanks. High-temperature washes can cause any stainless attachments to expand and crack older vessels. Newer clay tanks no longer have that issue and can, like other tanks, use hotter water or chemicals to clean, sanitize and neutralize the tanks when needed. Since clay tanks are generally smaller than other choices, they are easier to move, tilt, tip or maneuver for easier access, drainage and cleaning.

  When cared for properly, terracotta and other clay vessels’ superior lifespan is comparable to concrete. There are some vessels in use that have surpassed 100 years of regular wine production.

Stainless Steel Fills all Needs

  Because of their simple design that allows easy regulation of temperatures, minimal cleanup and easy sanitization procedures, stainless steel tanks are on their way to becoming the most common storage and fermentation vessel in winery production. Stainless steel tanks are generally produced by local distributors, making them easier to get with less lead time and more cost-effective with less shipping costs. Add in their long-lasting composition, easy resale qualities and value holding properties, and it’s easy to see that stainless-steel tanks are a wise investment.

  Other than the required cleaning and sanitization duties performed through automated systems or by hand, stainless tanks require little additional maintenance other than swapping out normal wear parts like worn gaskets when needed.

  Stainless tanks are available in various sizes and customizations to fit a winery’s needs, from the boutique and family-run wineries to the large-scale producer, and are more widely available on the pre-owned market. Unlike other vessel choices, separate tanks aren’t needed for the red and white varietals unless the winery produces sparkling wines, which require higher internal pressures in their production process.

Protecting Your Investment, Employees and Legacy: the ONGUARD Seismic System

  Proper tank choice helps to nurture and protect the winemaker’s product, but natural events like a damaging earthquake can quickly change that. After a 6.6 magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand’s prime winemaking region in 2013, Will Lomax, founder and managing director of ONGUARD Seismic Systems, along with an experienced team of structural engineers and designers, developed the first genuine seismic tank anchoring system specifically designed to protect liquid storage tanks from earthquake-related damage and resulting product loss.

  Lomax combines his extensive background in winery design and structural engineering experience with the latest cutting-edge design tools and methods to form and use a capacity design approach in protecting the winemaker’s tanks, walls and contents. His system includes using ductile anchors to transfer and concentrate any damage from seismic loading into one small, easily replaceable component.

  “You know, years back, building codes were put in place mainly to ensure life safety, meaning employees. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all good and great, but those codes left open and sometimes even encouraged the damage to transfer to property and buildings, as long as human life was preserved. Those structures damaged included wine tanks, and to an owner, the product in those tanks is literally his lifeblood and livelihood,” Lomax said. “We believed that the codes didn’t go far enough to protect a business’s livelihood and devised a cost-effective way for all wineries from boutique-sized and family-owned through the mass producers to protect their tanks and investment from seismic activity, including earthquakes.”

  Protecting those tanks becomes even more critical when you realize that many winery tanks are now aesthetically or structurally integrated into the winery’s popular reception areas, tasting rooms and banquet facilities. ONGUARD’s anchoring systems protect the tanks, and nearby people, by offering controlled yielding in both compression and tension throughout an earthquake event and any resulting aftershocks.

  “I stood alongside a winery owner after the 2013 earthquakes in New Zealand as thousands of liters of his valuable, hard-earned wine disappeared down the drain due to the damage inflicted on the tanks due to the seismic activity,” said Lomax. “The consequences are so much more than just product going down the drain. It’s been noted that around 75% of a winery’s balance sheet is tied to what’s housed in their tanks. In a case of tank failure caused by seismic activity, you’re not only talking about immediate product loss. You’re talking about an immediate loss of business, the potential of a high insurance deductible, and the loss of future business. Market share is hard to gain, and wineries traditionally have some of the more loyal consumers. But if you can’t produce wine for a year, there’s a good chance those customers will get their wine from another supplier, and you’ll have to try and regain your previous customer base as well as any new customers.”

  ONGUARD Seismic Systems partners with tank manufacturers who possess the familiarity, skill and installation knowledge to offer their system on new tank installations. Many insurance companies now offer rate reductions for wineries that install tanks equipped with the ONGUARD Seismic System or those that get the system retrofitted on their current tanks. Retrofitting the ONGUARD System works similar to new installations by partnering with knowledgeable, qualified tank companies to install the system on those tanks currently in place and in use. 

  “Retrofitting is just reverse engineering for us,” said Lomax. “We thoroughly test and perform strength and load analysis on a winery’s current equipment and environmental conditions. After assessing that data, we can confidently move ahead with a course of action and install the properly sized anchors to ensure tank safety.”

  “The unknown variable in many of our installs is when retrofitting a winery’s tanks that are on tank stands,” said Scott Erwin, ONGUARD’s Vice President of Sales. “We know that about 60% of tanks in California wineries are on stands, and those stands are typically not up to current code. So we sometimes have to re-engineer or change the stand design to increase performance and meet code before installing our anchoring system.”

  Once installed, there is little necessary maintenance. Lomax recommended an inspection every three years of between 5-10% of the replaceable load cartridges inside of the anchors. If there has been a recorded seismic event, Lomax said they would immediately inspect those cartridges.

  “This was easily doable in the early stages,” said Lomax, “But now we estimate that we have over 25,000 anchors inground between New Zealand, California and Oregon, so we’ve developed our own software monitoring system with sensors that wake up with and report on any movement in their assigned tank. Now we get immediate feedback and information on which anchors need inspection and possible replacement.”

  Lomax told The Grapevine Magazine they are continually improving the software, with the latest evolution reducing costs in their componentry. It is currently available only in New Zealand, with planned additional rollouts coming in the future. “It really is a structural analysis software, and with it being our system, we can train and license knowledgeable local contractors to use it successfully when any inspections or support are necessary, eliminating the extended wait time for service.”

  The cost of installing the ONGUARD Seismic System is minimal, generally adding between 0-4% to the cost of the tank, or between 6-20 cents per gallon based on the tank’s contents and the amount of new-versus-already-available resources for ONGUARD to use in their installations, such as concrete pads and stand viability. These numbers vary because of each winery’s potential to offset installation costs with a reduction in their insurance premiums. ONGUARD Seismic Systems reports a 100% success rate since inception.

The Okanagan Valley:

Where Business Meets Pleasure

vast vineyard with an overlooking mountain range

Agribusiness and technology are key drivers of Canada’s economy, often overlapping while each injecting robust earnings to the national GDP.

  Agribusiness generates over $112 billion annually – or 5.8 percent of total GDP – and regularly attracts local and global events related to agricultural production, innovation, and technology.

  Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Research Centres manages 20 research centres across the country, aiming to find better agricultural practices and market opportunities through research and innovation while FoodTech Canada is a network of leading innovation and commercialization centres committed to turning research and development into innovated products for the food and bioproducts industry.

  The technology sector contributes $89.4 billion to the national economy, accounting for 4.8 percent of total GDP. More than 41,500 technology companies make their home in Canada, spanning sub-sectors like artificial intelligence, digital media and interactive entertainment, and cybersecurity.

  The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia holds the unique distinction as a major player in both industries, with agribusiness and technology not only existing harmoniously, but often integrating and inspiring the other.

  Over the past few years, the Okanagan has become a magnet for entrepreneurs and start-ups ready to scale,  as well as a world class destination for agribusiness and technology business events, welcoming conferences seeking direct access to industry expertise and influencers.  A notable example is the invitation only Metabridge Retreat, a high-level networking experience that facilitates connections between Canadian tech CEOs and North American business influencers. The event has been hosted for the past several years in Kelowna, where technology is the fastest-growing economy thanks to an influx of gaming development, animation, medical technology, agricultural technology, and software as a service (SAAS) studios and companies. Indeed, the city has seen year-over-year growth of 15 percent over the past eight years.

  Situated in the heart of wine region, Kelowna is key to the Okanagan’s technology and agribusiness success. Home to thousands of tech, animation and digital media professionals who gravitate to the city’s stunning mountain, lake and vineyard surroundings, the city made waves with the opening of the $35-million Innovation Centre, which unites startups, innovation firms and technology providers with an eye towards building Canada’s most entrepreneurial technology community. Kelowna is likewise an agricultural oasis, housing 794 agri-food businesses, 185 licensed wineries and a cluster of agriculturally focused research facilities like the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus, Summerland Research Centre and the newly opened BC Technical Access Centre for fermented beverages. These institutions, working with industry associations like the BC Tree Fruits, BC Cherry Growers and Certified Organic Associations of BC, have positioned the region as a leader in areas as diverse as tree fruit and wine research, pest management, and precision technologies tracking crop growth and nutraceuticals.

  “While many visitors are aware of the dynamic culinary scene, sweeping landscapes and world-class wineries in the Central Okanagan, they may not be aware of the region’s entrepreneurs and thought leaders who are changing the face of agribusiness and technology,” says   Krista Mallory, manager of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. “From winemakers leading the charge in regenerative viticulture to cutting-edge research through the University of British Columbia that improves sustainability in agriculture, the region is driving innovation across the country and the continent.”

  While agribusiness and technology are major pillars of the Okanagan Valley, viticulture is particularly prevalent. Sprawled over 155 miles (250 kilometres), the acclaimed wine region – which boasts 84 percent of BC’s vineyard acreage – stretches across a multitude of ecosystems, each with distinct soil and climate conditions suited to growing varietals ranging from sun-ripened reds to crisp whites (indeed, the Okanagan Valley is warmer and more arid than Napa Valley, soaked with nearly two hours more sunlight per day during peak growing season).

  The Okanagan is home to over 182 licensed wineries, as well as 72 beverage companies manufacturing kombucha, mead, spirits and cider, which collectively contribute $2.8 billion to the provincial economy. The majority of these businesses embrace sustainable, biodynamic and innovative winemaking, with spectacular settings adding to the area’s allure for business and leisure travellers alike.

  One example is Tinhorn Creek in Oliver, Canada’s first carbon-neutral winery and one of the first Salmon-Safe certified vineyards in BC. Part of its carbon-neutral efforts includes running winery trucks and tractors on biodiesel, and using organic leftovers from the winemaking process and onsite restaurant Miradoro to fertilize the vines. 

  Another is Frind Estate Winery in West Kelowna, owned by Plenty of Fish founder Markus Frind. Eager to combine his passions of technology and agriculture – and with 500   years of family farming history – Frind leverages cutting-edge technology to craft truly distinctive wines. The first beachfront winery in the world, Fritz Estate Winery regularly stages showstopping events, including festive brunches or high teas in translucent domes that overlook Lake Okanagan.

  Alongside production, wine tourism is becoming increasingly popular, with many wineries offering exceptional dining opportunities, farm tours and tasting adventures for groups of all sizes.

  One of these is Indigenous World Winery, the brainchild of Robert and Bernice Louie, descendants of the Syilx First Nations. Located near Okanagan Lake, the winery is an ideal spot for meetings and events with 2.5 scenic acres showcasing fruit from the land that has supported the Syilx people for 10,000 years.

  Prior to opening the vineyard in 2011, Robert and Bernice joined forces with notable winemaker Jason Parkes to craft wines that could compete at a world level. “The goal was a big award winner,” says Ryan Widdup, sales manager of Indigenous World Winery. “They wanted to open the doors with showpiece red wines.”

  And so they did: in 2015, Indigenous World Winery’s small-batch Simo red won two medals and the first Double Gold Medal. Since then, the awards have kept coming: the 2014 Simo received Double Gold in the 2019 All Canadian Wine Championship, beating out 1,378 entries, and the winery’s elixirs regularly earn gold at international competitions in the US and Europe. In 2020, Robert and Bernie launched an Indigenous Spirits craft alcohol line that incorporates locally sourced botanicals and ingredients with a medicinal history in the Syilx culture.

  Close by, Summerhill Pyramid Winery is a leader in organic wine, incorporating practices such as biodynamic agriculture, permaculture and organic viticulture that have inspired fellow agribusinesses across the region. Owner Ezra Cipes is part of the winery’s second generation; his father arrived to the Okanagan in 1986, where he found the perfect conditions to produce intensely flavoured small grapes – the ideal base for sparkling wine. After entering the organic certification program in 1988, Cipes Senior produced his first vintage in 1991, and the winery received Demeter Biodynamic certification in 2012.

  “My parents helped build the modern wine industry in BC, and were founding members of the BC Vintners Quality Alliance and the BC Wine institute,” said Ezra. “Today, we’re a mid-sized winery, though we have a large team, mostly because of the extensive hospitality we offer.  Event organizers love us, because we have a beautiful restaurant and banquet room, both overlooking the vineyard, lake, and mountains.”

  Summerhill’s event offerings extend beyond farm-to-table catering and tantalizing wine pairings to fully equipped meeting venues, helicopter access and a professional team with extensive experience running large-scale events.

  Whether winery, hotel or dedicated conference venue, Kelowna boasts 110,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as 4,500 total guest rooms. After long days in he boardroom, delegates benefit from a myriad of after-hours pleasure, including five distinct wine trails, three ski resorts and the longest golf season in Canada. The region is ideally suited to meetings with a focus in viticulture, agriculture, technology or manufacturing. Planners also benefit from alluring team building opportunities, robust options for pre- and post-meeting activities, and venues and natural surroundings certain to boost attendance.

  “When organizations choose to meet in the Okanagan, they get to experience more than our dynamic culinary and wine scene and area attractions. They also gain access to local industry thought-leaders and innovators shaping what we eat, and where and how it’s grown,” says Mallory. “There’s a real buzz to the region. We’re looking to the future, and we know that no one wants to miss out on what’s happening in the Okanagan.”

  In Canada, agribusiness leaders will find support from federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as academia and innovation investors. Further simplifying the business process is the pool of destination and sector experts provided by Destination Canada’s Business Events team.

  The team’s specific knowledge of this vast land makes Destination Canada Business Events team an organizer’s first stop for tailoring the right package for their event, whatever the size.

To learn more please visit…