What is a Website Template & Ten Reasons You Want One

By: Susan DeMatei, Founder of WineGlass Marketing

In today’s fast-changing landscape, web experts agree that we should redesign our websites every three years. Don’t get us wrong, that doesn’t mean touch your website every three years. You should constantly update and keep your website current, but we’re talking about a complete reboot every three years. This refresh is necessary because our content and feature-needs change, and our consumer eCommerce and browsing habits are constantly changing. Look at the wine business in the past four years and how much has changed since pre-COVID. In addition to the obvious design revitalization, we should also be re-evaluating our website goals and needs on this three-year frequency.

Image showing 75% of consumers will judge a brand's credibility based on their website design source Stanford Web Credibility Research

  When facing a redesign, the first question that crosses the minds of most is, “Should I use a template or have this custom-built?” If you have done a big website from scratch. before, you hired a designer and then a developer, and they walked you through Photoshop comps and wireframes. It worked back then, but that long and expensive process is no longer the only way to build websites. In the final months of 2023, the vast majority of the websites on the internet are built with a template or theme. For most of our clients, a template is the best place to start unless you are a complex corporate entity with multiple brand or feature needs (and even in that case, you might want to start on a template.) But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s define a template and then break down some pros and cons of using a template.

What is a template?

I am currently car shopping, so I have automobiles on the brain. I let my lease go during COVID and for a time my husband and I have survived on one car, but it’s getting to be logistically difficult. For the past few weeks, I have been comparing features and reading reviews and am no closer to making a decision than I was when I started. Is it wrong to want heated seats in Northern California? Will I really use the Navigation system if I can plug in my iPhone? What the heck is torque, anyway? If anyone has an SUV suggestion. I’m all ears. So, forgive all the car analogies and puns when discussing websites, but that’s what’s racing out of me at this moment. (See what I did there?)

There are Three Parts to a Website

1.  The base structure is like a chassis of a car. Your base will include basic feature choices like a type of Navigation menu, the ability to incorporate eCommerce, mobile optimization, a photo carousel, or slider. It will also suggest plugins options like a recipe section, a mailing list signup, or a blog page. A good base with have pre-built areas for what you need and easily be able to incorporate additional special touches you want.

  This base is a template (or theme or stencil) and is a blank slate that can host very different websites. If the template is the chassis in our car analogy, it is mostly unseen as what you put on top of it defines the car. This is why a Toyota 4Runner, an SUV, can have the same chassis as the Toyota Tacoma, a pickup truck. (Ok, I’ve read entirely too much Car & Driver lately.)

2.  Your website content is the shell, or car, that is put on the chassis. This is the second part of the website and contains your copy and images. These areas flesh out details of your website like a wine club membership section, an events schedule, or that wedding venue picture gallery. On top of the template, your content provides the site’s function as well as content specific to your winery.

3.  But the third part is where most people think about – the design. The design of your website are fonts and colors added on top of everything with a style sheet. This is the trim of your car. It dictates what color it is, if it has the sports or the luxury package, or if the interior is cloth or leather. (Um, with four dogs, leather. Definitely leather). The designer crafts these tweaks to make your site look like your winery and nobody else and puts thought into how your content is best displayed.

  So don’t feel like a template will be cookie-cutter. A template should be the basis for the content and styling that will make your site your own. A template is not an excuse not to customize everything. Sure, you bought it with some fonts and colors but you should absolutely customize it.

Image says it takes .05 seconds for visitors to form an opinion about a website source  behaviour & information technn\ology

10 Reason’s To Choose a Template over a Custom Build

  Have you ever tried to configure a car at a dealer? It’s nearly impossible. They don’t like it and quickly try to sell you a configuration already on the lot. If you resist and genuinely want your custom car, you have to wait, sometimes for months. Having your dream car is pretty sweet but time-consuming, costly, and requires a hefty dose of patience. 

  On the other hand, using a template is like buying a car on the lot. It might not match your dream features perfectly, but it’s close, quick and convenient, you still get that new car smell, and it’s much easier on your wallet.

  But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants. Both options have their merits, and the choice largely depends on your unique needs and circumstances. But, for those who appreciate a straightforward, no-nonsense approach, there’s something inherently attractive about going the template route.

Here’s are ten reasons why you might lean towards a template for your website:

1. Time-Efficiency:  Templates are like website-building cheat codes. They come pre-designed with layouts, color schemes, and content placeholders. You can go from a blank screen to a functioning website in days, not months. Templates get you online faster, which can be a game-changer in the digital world and allow your team to focus on sales versus infrastructure.

2. Cost-Effectiveness:  Custom builds can be expensive. You’ll need to hire web designers and developers, and the bill can quickly spiral out of control. Templates are often affordable, making them a budget-friendly option. You can save your development dollars when you start with a template.

3. Beginner-Friendly:  Not everyone is a web development guru. With templates, you don’t need to be. They are designed with the average Joe in mind, so you can create a professional-looking website even if you’ve never coded a line. While I recommend getting a designer to design your template initially, you should be able to maintain it independently. Templates always come with a CMS, and if you’re using something like WordPress, once you learn the basics, all those skills are transferable throughout your career. You don’t need to be a coding wizard to use templates. On the other hand, custom builds require extensive technical knowledge or the hiring of a developer, which can be a headache if you’re not tech-savvy.

4. Built-In Features:  Many templates come with handy features like responsive design (your site looks good on any device), SEO optimization (helps your site rank higher on Google), and e-commerce functionality (perfect for online stores). Why reinvent the wheel when it’s already rolling your way?

5. Stability and Maintenance:  Technology is like a never-ending racetrack with new updates and emerging trends constantly rounding the corner. With templates, you can breathe easily. Templates typically receive updates from their creators. This means you don’t need to worry about your site becoming outdated or vulnerable to security breaches. It’s like having a virtual mechanic on standby. Also, this template has been used repeatedly, so all the issues have been worked out. With a custom site or something only your winery uses, you and you alone are the guinea pig. With templates, you’re minimizing the risk of major technical issues.

6. They Are Highly Customizable To Your Brand:

  As discussed, the template is just the base. (The most popular WordPress theme, DIVI, has been downloaded over 800,000 times. And all these websites look very different from each other.) The point is to make it your own with customization. It is recommended that you initially get a designer to customize your template for you, but with some reading and trial you can likely do it yourself.

7. They Are Developed To Change:  We started this blog by saying the web is dynamic and constantly changing. One of the cool things about templates is that they are built to be changed. Don’t design your website and then walk away from it. Design it, then watch customer activity. Track your sales conversions, track your visitors, and then try different landing pages, sliders, or content. Templates are made to be modular and editable, so take full advantage of that. This allows you to experiment with different layouts, content, and features to optimize your site’s performance and user experience. Custom builds require additional development to implement such testing capabilities.

8. SEO Friendliness:  Templates often come with built-in or the ability to add SEO features or plugins that make optimizing your website for search engines easier. Custom builds may require additional development to implement these features, adding to your time and costs.

9. Mobile Matters:  In today’s mobile-first world, having a responsive website that looks great on smartphones and tablets is crucial. Most templates are designed with mobile responsiveness in mind, saving you the headache of ensuring your custom site is mobile-friendly.

10. Future-Proofing:  Website templates are built to adapt to changing technologies and trends. As design and functionality evolve, templates evolve with them. Custom-built sites can become outdated quickly, requiring more significant investments in development to keep up with the times.

When asked what visual elements they value on a company website 40% of consumers said images 39% of consumers said website color scheme and 21% of consumers said video source top design firms

  Ultimately, the content of your website matters most. Whether you choose a template or a custom build, what you say and how you say it will be the driving force behind your online success. A beautiful custom design won’t save poor content, just as a template won’t hinder great content from shining.

  So, why choose a template over a custom build for your website? Because sometimes, speed, affordability, and ease of use trump the pursuit of perfection. Templates offer a fast track to getting your online presence up and running without draining your bank account or sanity. For most small to medium-sized businesses and personal projects, templates offer a hassle-free and efficient way to get your online presence up and running.

  In the end, the choice between a template and a custom build is a profoundly personal one. It’s like choosing between that dream car and one off the lot. Both have their merits; it just depends on what drives you (Sorry, I can’t help it).

  So, get out there, explore the world of website templates, and remember that the web is an open road. Whether you go with a template or a custom build, the most important thing is to get your voice, brand, and ideas out there for the world to see.

  Susan DeMatei founded WineGlass Marketing; the largest full-service, award-winning marketing firm focused on the wine industry. She is a certified Sommelier and Specialist in Wine, with degrees in Viticulture and Communications, an instructor at Napa Valley Community College, and is currently collaborating on two textbooks. Now in its 11th year, her agency offers domestic and international wineries assistance with all areas of strategy and execution. WineGlass Marketing is located in Napa, California, and can be reached at 707-927-3334 or wineglassmarketing.com.

Maximizing Weed Control with Herbicides

Image of double regular knozzels spraying down into vineyard

By: Kirk Williams, Lecturer-Texas Tech University

While there are many methods to control weeds, weed control with herbicides remains a viable option due to its lower cost versus other options such as mechanical cultivation.  When herbicide applications are done efficiently it can be a much faster process when compared to mechanical cultivation. 

  Application of herbicides through nozzles is important for correct herbicide distribution and dosage over the target.  The target could be existing weeds in the case of post emergent herbicides or the soil surface with pre-emergent herbicides or a combination of both existing weeds and the soil surface in the case of tank mixing post emergent and pre-emergent herbicides.  Coverage is critical for herbicides to work effectively.  Hydraulic spray nozzles create a wide range of droplet sizes.   These droplets are measured in microns with droplets from 200 to 400 microns considered the most appropriate size for herbicide applications.   Larger droplet sizes may bounce or roll off leaves while very fine droplets are more prone to drift.

  To provide satisfactory results, recommendations from Syngenta, one of the manufacturers of water sensitive cards, is to have 20 to 30 droplets per square centimeter for pre-emergent herbicides. For post emergent herbicide applications, it is recommended to have 30 to 40 droplets per square centimeter.   A square centimeter is about 1/6 of a square inch. 

  One way to increase and improve coverage in herbicide applications is to use a double nozzle body.  This allows two nozzles to occupy the same space as one nozzle.  The double nozzle body allows you to easily increase the volume of coverage no matter what kind of nozzle you using. This is especially true when you have to use a relatively large spray nozzle to apply higher volumes.  Larger sprayer nozzles tend to produce coarser droplets.  Splitting the required flow into two nozzles can produce an efficiency gain by decreasing the number of coarse droplets.  The double nozzle body also helps with increasing droplet coverage of target.  (See the double nozzle body set up in Image 1).

  It was found in a study with water sensitive cards that coverage was increased by 20% when double nozzle bodies were used when compared to single nozzle bodies.   The study used regular flat fan off center 03 nozzles, calibrated to deliver 47 gallons per treated acre and the water sensitive cards were placed on the berm underneath the grape vines.   While the double nozzle body had higher coverage the droplets per square centimeter went down due to the droplets running together versus the single nozzle body.  The single body nozzle had 43 droplets per square centimeter while the double body nozzle had 17 droplets per square centimeter but the droplets are much bigger.  (See the water sensitive cards in image 2).   While the droplets per square centimeter are out of the recommended range for droplets per square centimeter for herbicides with the double nozzle body the better coverage should result in similar or better weed control with both pre-emergent herbicides and post emergent herbicides. 

Regular single nozzle setup compared to double nozzle body regular nozzle

  Herbicide application technology has improved with a wider selection of nozzles available.  Adoption of these newer type of nozzles has been widely adopted in row crops but may be not as widely adopted for vineyard herbicide applications.  These newer type nozzles reduce drift but still deliver good weed control. 

  Air Induction nozzles are a newer type of nozzle that are available in a wide range of spray tips.  The air-induction nozzle is noted for producing large drops through the use of a venturi air aspirator. The venturi draws air into the nozzle through holes in the side of the nozzle and then the air is mixed with the solution to create larger spray droplets, which reduces drift potential.   These larger droplets are filled with air bubbles and explode on impact with the target surface and produce coverage that is similar to other nozzle types. 

  Many sustainable grape growing standards include drift management as a component of their plans.  The incorporation of air induction nozzles that reduce drift by reducing the number of fine, drift prone droplets could be a part of meeting the requirements of these standards.  Drift reduction is important during the growing season to reduce phytotoxicity due to herbicides.  When herbicide applications take place in the in dormant season, phytotoxicity to the grapevines is not an issue but with the wide spread adoption of cover crops, herbicide applications need to stay where they are intended to be, so they don’t impact the cover crops.     

  In a study, double nozzle bodies were equipped with air induction under banding nozzles (AIUB8503), calibrated to deliver 44 gallons per treated acre.  Water sensitive cards were placed on the berm underneath the grape vines.  This nozzle configuration delivered 56% coverage of the water sensitive cards and produced 26 droplets per square centimeter.  As you can see, in the water sensitive cards in (image 3) the droplets produced are large with few small droplets.  The droplets per square centimeter are in the recommended range for droplets per square centimeter for pre-emergent herbicides but outside of the recommended range for post emergent herbicides.  The coverage produced should result in similar or better weed control with both pre-emergent herbicides and post emergent herbicides when compared to the regular nozzle set up.  The air induction nozzles will also produce a minimum of drift prone fine droplets.  

Double nozzle body regular nozzles compared to double nozzle body drift reduction nozzle

  Adoption of double nozzles bodies into your herbicide application program will increase coverage for both pre-emergent and post emergent herbicides.   Switching to air induction nozzles is one way to make sure the herbicides that you are using stay where they are intended to.   

  In addition to coverage and nozzle selection, don’t forget about integrated weed management principles.  These principles include knowing and correctly identifying your weed problems so that appropriate herbicides can be chosen.  Controlling weeds when they are small when they are more susceptible to herbicides and easier to have better spray coverage.  Another integrated weed management principle is to keep annual weeds from going to seed which reduces the weed seed bank in the soil.   Other principles include rotating among herbicides with different modes or action or tank mixing herbicides with different modes of action together which helps manage weed population shifts as well as herbicide resistance.  Staying clean is easier than trying to clean up a mess, so pre-emergent herbicides may help to keep the vineyard berms clean.  

  Kirk Williams is a lecturer in Viticulture at Texas Tech University and teaches the Texas Tech Viticulture Certificate program.  He is also a commercial grape grower on the Texas High Plains.  He can be contacted at kirk.w.williams@ttu.edu

Moving Wine in the Cellar

row of wine tanks in winery

By: Tom Payette – Winemaking Consultant 

Transfers are a large part of the day to day operations in the cellar and on the crush pad; yet, few documents exist what should be considered when doing transfers.  Below are some ideas and tips to think of when transferring wine or juice at the winery.  It is assumed the pump, hoses and receiving vessel(s) are all appropriately clean for the endeavor at hand.


  Always vent both tanks and double check this operation is done.  Often I will not only remove the airlock but I will unlatch the lid and flip the threaded latch inward so the tank top rests on top of the handle.  This is just double assurance the tank I am transferring from and to is completely vented.

Assembling Your Hoses

  Always place the pump as close to the tank you are coming from with as little hose as reasonably needed to get the job done.  Do plan for being able to gently bend or curve the hose into the doorway in the event a racking is being done.  Plan enough hose length for other future transfer needs when feasible.  Also make sure to place the pump away from any water such as wash down areas or leaky faucets etc.  These pump motors are electric and they generally are not made to be soaked with water.


  Before you start the pump – taste the tank or barrels you are about to transfer or rack.  Confirm it is indeed the wine / product you are interested in moving.  Does it taste clean and what you expect?  If not – contact someone above you on the winemaking ladder to confirm the flavors etc.

Checking the Connections

  Always double check your connection to confirm the hoses run from the tank desired to the receiving vessel selected.  Are the connections secured?  Should you attach to the racking valve of the tank you are transferring from?

  Are the lines secure at the pump?  Is the bypass on the pump, if equipped, open or closed?  Is there enough capacity in the receiving tank and did you look inside both tanks when you were venting them?

Valve at the Pump

  For control I typically prefer to have a valve installed at the pump.  This allows one to turn off the pump and immediately confirm the stop of liquid flow through the pump and lines set up.  (Note: this is not done if transferring must.)

Pump Choice

  The pump choice is often related to the wine and the overall goal of the transfer.  If speed is needed – choose the fastest pump.  If gentleness is desired – use your most gentle pump.  A centrifugal pump can be very gentle but it may not be the best choice for a red wine “pump over”, etc.  Know what limits each pump has and generally how they operate etc.

Staying with Your Transfer

  Never leave your transfer.  This is not the time to walk off into another area and to get distracted.  A racking valve could inadvertently be left open or a door leak could be discovered.  If a phone call, or other distraction, should come in that has you leaving the area – stop the pump and close all valves to the tanks.

Main Goal

  Keep in mind the main goal of the transfer.  If the wine is a delicate wine – use the inert techniques you have at your disposal.  This could include gassing your lines, with carbon dioxide or your inert gas of choice, before pumping liquid.  Gassing your receiving tank, as well, can limit exposure to oxygen.   If the wine needs a touch of air – use techniques that may achieve that goal.  An example may be splashing into a macrobin, or other open vessel, to give some air.  Be careful here.

Oxidation Control (Inert Technique)

  Is oxidation a concern during this transfer?  If so – many winemakers will flush their hoses and receiving tank with an inert gas such as Nitrogen, Carbon dioxide or Argon.  This can be done by simply connecting the hoses to the pump, opening the bypass and flushing the inert gas from the receiving line all the way through until you are comfortable the inert gas has reached the far side of the  transfer connections.  Then attach the hose to the bottom valve of the receiving vessel.   Further protection can be gained by flushing out the tank with an inert gas as well.  [Many wineries now have the ability to make dry ice (carbon dioxide) on site and they will place dry ice in both vessels while the transfer is being done].  These processes can be used on juice transfers also – not just wine!

Air – introduction

  In some cases you may want some air introduced into the wine.  If that is the objective you do this by attaching to the racking valve of the receiving tank at the start of the transfer.  Splashing will occur, in the receiving tank, until the wine reaches that point, of course.  This is a small amount of air especially when working with a “tight red”.   Other more severe forms of air introduction can be achieved with splashing into a bin and transferring out into the receiving tank, splashing into the top of the receiving vessel or starting the transfer and throttling back the valve on the suction side of the hose (positive displacement pump only) while slightly cracking the hose connection to allow air to suck in.  [Please have an experienced winemaker present to justify how or if these processes should be done as described in this section].  One could also assemble a special “T”, with valves, for more precise control on the suction side of the pump.  This process may be hard on the pump and damage it if not done properly.

Sloppy Racking

  This is often a term one will use when the amount of solids that may come over into the receiving vessel is not that large of a concern.  Examples of this may be when racking off a white juice after cold settling.  We want to make sure we retain as much of the saleable volume as possible so we may elect to have small portions of solids come over into the receiving tank.  [This is less of a worry if we have a Lees Filter Press is on site]

  Another example may be when racking off bentonite.  Small amounts of the fluffy bentonite layer may be allowed to transfer over, again, to make sure we retain as much saleable volume as possible but not jeopardizing the heat/protein stability of the final wine in the receiving tank.  Don’t get carried away with this concept but don’t be wasteful either.  It’s a balance.


  I often relate to new winemakers in a manner that tell them your senses are incredible when working in a winery.  Your eyes are a large part of seeing that the transfer is happening as planned but your ears can also be a huge part of catching problems. 

  Always stay near by the tank and listen for falling liquids, pump noise changes etc.  Once wine or juice has filled past any possible orifices, and no leaks discovered, then one can more freely move around the cellar with periodic checks.  Do not completely leave the area and always “have an ear on the situation”.


  Many wineries have translucent hoses.  Watch the liquid as it moves through the lines.  Do you see air?  Why?  If the wine lines start to contract or expand – take note as to why.  Did someone close a valve or has some other physical function changes the stature of the hoses.  Hoses typically don’t move, without reason, so be aware visually to this indicator something is happening.

Chasing Your Liquid

  At the end of the liquid transfer you may wonder how to empty your lines.   If you have a bypass you can often hook up an inert gas and push the liquid all the way through.   If you don’t currently have that option you can attempt to “push” the juice or wine with chlorine free water.  Simply place the suction line in water, after the wine or juice has vacated enough internal line, and allow the water to run through the pump.   Look through the hose to understand when the water reaches the receiving tank and then turn the pump off and shut the tank valve.

Never Run Your Pump Dry

  In most cases we all agree not to run your pump dry.  The pump needs liquid in order to make sure heat is not created.  There are variable options to this statement so if unclear …. Never run your pump dry.  That is the safest bet.


  Transfers are a large part of moving your precious liquids around the winery.  Stay nearby, listen to the equipment while visually looking for leaks.  Also – know what your goals are.  This should not be a mindless transaction in the cellar and the more you think through your goals for each wine the more creative ways you can achieve them even during these everyday tasks.  This is part of the winemaking process.

Other Helpful Tips

  Recall no hoses should leak in the cellar.  The paths for these leaks are areas for bacteria to breed and grow.  Further understand a leaking hose on the discharge side of a transfer wastes wine; but a leaking hose on the suction side of a transfer will mostly introduce air and possibly bacteria.   Oouch.

  When starting a racking I like to attach all the hoses and then open the bypass on the pump (if equipped) without starting the pump.  I then open the valve on the tank to be transferred.  This allows the winemaker to track the liquid, see that all valves are open and working, look for initial leaks and confirm all is performing well before turning the pump on.  It is very gentle and should minimize air, oxygen or gases from being dissolved in the liquid.

  In general, winemakers typically transfer out of the racking valve of the tank being racked from and into the bottom valve of the receiving tank.  There are, or can be, exceptions to this rule.

  Take into consideration the temperature of the juice or wine. As a reminder cold liquids dissolve more gases into them than warmer liquids.  Therefore a colder wine / juice may dissolve more oxygen than a warmer liquid.  

  Always clean the tank you emptied right after it is empty.  It cleans up so much better and actually saves time in the long run. 

  A racking is typically a term used when the transfer is started from the racking valve and then finished while “pulling the liquid” through the side doorway of the tank.  One typically uses a flashlight to discern the solids layer while obtaining the clear liquid.

  A transfer is often a term when going from the bottom valve of one tank to the bottom valve of another.  Still being cognizant of solids at the bottom but understanding the wine / juice is generally “clean”.

  Be sure to record all transfers: recording the tank transferred from (varietal and vintage), the volume(s), the receiving tank, date and gains or losses.

  If racking barrels you should taste each one of them first.  It is not uncommon to find the last barreled filled previously is more “reduced” than the others due to more solids in that barrel.  If this proves to be the case I will either rack that barrel first, with most of the air becoming in contact with that volume, or treat it for the reduction and rack it first.  In any case this may slightly mitigate some of the reduction.  Plus – if one barrel is not what you expect – you want to identify that before you pump it out into a larger blend.

  Have fun and make sure your transfers are successful, with intention and objective and with as little liquid on the ground as possible.  You are “pumping money around I like to say”!


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

Update on Grapevine Plant Quarantine and Certification Programs

healthy nursery row of grapevines

By:  Judit Monis, Ph.D. – Vineyard and Plant Health Consultant

New methods are being applied for the testing of imported plants and the certified foundation mother blocks at the University of California at Davis that manages the foundation blocks for the California (CDFA) certification program.  After so many years of considering the biological indexing technique a gold standard, the methodology has been replaced with modern technology that is able to detect any virus in the propagation material.  Furthermore, due to the infection and spread of Grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV) in the former CDFA (Russell Ranch) certified foundation block, new measures are being applied to avoid that the problem occurs again. 

Plant Quarantine Programs

  Plant quarantine programs have been developed worldwide to reduce the risk of introducing foreign plant pests and/or pathogens not found in a particular state, country, or region.  My expertise is plant pathology and throughout my career I have specialized in the application and development of methods for the detection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause diseases in vineyards and fruit orchards.  In spite of the current existence of plant quarantine programs, most grapevine pathogens with rare exceptions occur in all grape growing areas in the world.  The reason is that in most cases, quarantine programs were implemented after the introduction of the infected plant material.  In addition, modern techniques for the detection of these pathogens were not available at the time of plant introduction. In other words, the majority of grapevine pests and pathogens were moved unknowingly.  The advancement of science and the use of sophisticated detection methods for grapevine pathogens and isolation has helped keep certain viruses outside of Australia.  For example, Grapevine fanleaf (GFLV) has not been reported in Australia as of yet.  Presently, with the use of advanced methodologies, new pathogens continue to be discovered. As science progresses with the development of more refined technology (e.g., next generation sequencing also known as high throughput sequencing), it is expected that new (or unknown and established) pathogens will be discovered. In practice, most grapevine pathogens have originated at the centers of origin of Vitis species (a plant genus that includes both table, wine, and rootstock grapevine varieties) and moved to many grapevine growing areas of the world during plant introduction. 

  In the United States, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Inspection Services (APHIS) Plant Pest Quarantine (PPQ) unit regulates the introduction of plant material for planting from foreign countries.  However, the USDA does not have a centralized government plant quarantine center.  Instead, the APHIS PPQ  issues permits to specific clean plant centers with proper containment facilities and approved protocols to manage the quarantine of specific crops. For grapevines, two importation centers are available for introducing quarantined planting material: The Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at the UC at Davis and the Clean Plant Center at Cornell University in Geneva, New York.  

Grapevine Certification Programs

  Grapevine certification programs are needed to produce tested plant material that is free of important known pathogens.  These plants are then distributed to nurseries that propagate and sell these plants to growers.   In the United States, certification programs are voluntary and are managed by individual states.  I will describe the California certification program as many US grapevine growing regions purchase planting material from California nurseries. 

  The Grapevine California Registration and Certification (R&C) Program was first written into law in the 1980’s.   The Grapevine R&C Program is administered by the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) and provides for the testing of source vines for grapevine viruses that cause important diseases. Registered sources and certified nursery stock are periodically inspected by the CDFA staff and are maintained by the participant nurseries.   Starting in 1996, I participated and provided input at the industry meetings that lead to the revision of the California Grapevine R&C program many years later.   In 2010 the Grapevine R&C program was revised to include testing of foundation mother vines for the presence of a comprehensive list of viruses.

  The California Grapevine R&C Program rules can be found in CDFA’s website:  https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/pe/nsc/nursery/regcert.html

  With funding from the National Clean Plant Network, a new of foundation block named Russel Ranch was planted at the UC Davis in 2009.   The planting material (both scion and rootstock varieties) included in the new foundation block had to pass a rigorous testing program and have been propagated using the “apical micro-shoot tip culture” technique.   The apical micro-shoot tip culture process is a plant tissue culture technique that is used to eliminate pathogens from vegetative propagated plant material.  The testing program at UC Davis is known as Protocol 2010.  The maintenance and testing of the scion and rootstock mother blocks are performed by UC Davis FPS personnel.  Shortly after the update of the California Grapevine R&C Program, GRBV, a virus of significant importance for the vineyard industry, was discovered.  Consequently, the California Grapevine R&C Program was revised to include the testing of foundation and nursery increase blocks for the presence of GRBV.  Sadly, the Russell Ranch foundation block became progressively infected with GRBV.  The infection status was so high that FPS had to suspend the sale of plant material to nurseries. 

  The testing of the foundation mother plants includes a list of well characterized viruses, Xylella fastidiosa, and phytoplasmas using biological, serological, and molecular testing techniques (https://fps.ucdavis.edu/fgr2010.cfm).  The nursery increase blocks are inspected and tested by CDFA personnel with a reduced number of pathogens.  The updated Grapevine R&C added the testing for the detection of GRBV using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to vines in the foundation and nursery increase blocks.  Related to nursery certified plants, the rules are vague and state that certified plants may be tested (particularly if after inspection suspected symptoms are observed).  According to CDFA, the goal is to test a statistical sample with a 95% confidence level assuming a 1 % disease incidence.  It is disappointing that in spite of the importance of the decline and canker diseases caused by fungal pathogens (and how easily the pathogens can be transmitted by activities carried out at the nursery), the regulations do not include inspection or testing for fungal pathogens in foundation or increase blocks. 

  The use of certified material is expected to be less risky than planting field selections of unknown infection status.  However, it is always prudent to consult with me to assure that the planting material meets the expected cleanliness standards. An important piece of advice when working on the procurement of clean planting stock is to plan in advance.  Most nurseries in California collect cuttings for budwood as soon as the vines are dormant.  However, grafting activities are performed during the spring of the following year.  Planning with time will allow for inspection of the increase blocks early in the fall before a freeze.   Being familiar with the nursery’s operations and their staff is important.  Good communication will help with scheduling inspections and testing of the increase blocks from which bud wood and rootstock cuttings will be collected. 

Changes in the Testing and Management of UC Davis Grapevine Foundation Block and Introduce Quarantine Plant Material

  The FPS laboratory at UC Davis performed comparative studies between the traditional biological indexing technique and the high throughput sequencing (HTS) methodology.  To refresh my readers, the biological indexing technique or commonly known as woody indexing is an ancient method that relies on the grafting of grapevine (or other woody species) material onto an indicator host.  An indicator host, is a plant variety that is very susceptible to the disease we wish to detect.  For example, the indicator host for grapevine leafroll disease is  Cabernet Franc.  To perform the assay, buds from quarantine or foundation plants are grafted onto the indicator plants.  After a period of time (generally two years) the symptoms of the grafted plants are recorded. If the  buds of the grapevine plants that we wish to test for are infected with a virus that causes red leaf discoloration, and successfully transmits the virus to the indicator plant, it is concluded that the test vine is infected with a Grapevine leafroll associated virus (GLRaV). 

  However,  GRBV also causes red leaf symptoms in Cabernet Franc and other red grape varieties, therefore the test vines could be infected with GRBV.  In more simple words, the biological indexing technique is able to detect disease symptoms and not a particular pathogen that causes it. As long as there is a detection, there is no problem.  The problem occurs when a vine is infected but no symptoms are visible in the indicator plants.  In this case, the vines would be considered healthy and will spread a disease-causing agent.  After a series of experiments and discussions with regulators at USDA APHIS PPQ and CDFA, UC Davis FPS personnel have been able to implement the use of HTS instead of the woody indexing assay. This is a welcomed change I sincerely never expected to happen during my professional life! Another important needed change in the management of the UC Davis foundation plants is the construction of an insect-proof greenhouse that will host the CDFA certified mother vines.  The greenhouse is expected to be finished by the end of 2023.


  Diseases, pathogens, and/or their vectors do not know or respect the borders between blocks (at the nursery, foundation block, or your vineyard).  Even if the planting material came from a reputable certification program, paying attention to the surrounding vineyards as well as having knowledge of the potential presence of disease prior to planting is important.  The planning of a new vineyard is not trivial and requires specialized knowledge.  I am available to help look for suspicious symptoms (inspect scion and rootstock source blocks), evaluate the planting site, develop a testing plan based on science and statistics, and review nursery and vineyard disease testing history.  

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

New Grapevine Crop Insurance Coverage Now Available

stormy dark skies over a vineyard

By: Trevor Troyer – Vice President at Agricultural Risk Management, LLC

The USDA Risk Management Agency has just released the new Grapevine crop insurance plan.  This has been something that vineyard owners across the US have wanted for years.  Coverage is now available starting for the 2024 crop year. The sign-up deadline is November 1st in all states where it is available.

  The states where you can obtain this new coverage are: California, Idaho, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.  It is not available in all counties though.  The counties that are listed in the actuarial documents are not the same as the Grape crop insurance program.  This new program is available for grafted grapevines only in 91 counties.

  What is covered with this new insurance product?  The Causes of Loss that are listed in the Grapevine Crop Provisions are below:

      11. Causes of Loss

      (a) In accordance with the provisions of section 12 of the Basic Provisions, insurance is provided only against the following causes of loss that occur within the insurance period:

(1) Freeze;

(2) Hail;

(3) Flood;

(4) Fire, unless weeds and other forms of undergrowth have not been controlled or pruning debris has not been removed from the vineyard;

(5) Insects, diseases, and other pathogens if allowed in the Special Provisions; and

(6) Failure of the irrigation water supply if caused by an unavoidable, naturally occurring event that occurs during the insurance period.

      (b) In addition to the causes of loss excluded in section 12 of the Basic Provisions, we will not insure against damage other than actual damage to the vine from an insurable cause specified in this section

  The vine needs to be completely destroyed, or is damaged to the extent that it will not recover in the 12-month insurance period from November 30th.

  Any damage other than damage to the grapevine from an insured cause is not covered.  For example, chemical drift, terrorism etc. are not covered.  Failure to follow good farming practices or the breakdown of irrigation equipment are also not covered.

  For the grapevines to be insurable they must be adapted to the area they are being grown in.  They must be being grown and sold for fruit, wine or juice for human consumption.  The vines must be grafted to be insurable as well.  The Crop Year begins December 1 and extends through to November 30 of the following year. You must have a minimum of 600 vines per acre to be insurable also.

  Vines are classified into 3 stages of growth for the policy.  Here are the exact definitions:

      (a) Stage I, from when the vines are set out through 12 months after set out;

      (b) Stage II, vines that are 13 through 48 months old after set out; and

      (c) Stage III, vines that are more than 48 months old after set out.

  Values are determined by the Stage (age) of the vine and the county they are located in.  Obviously Stage III vines are worth more than Stage I vines.  These prices are set by the USDA Risk Management Agency.

  Vines are insured in four different categories; Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D.  Without listing all the varieties in each group, which would take up a lot of space, suffice to say that any variety can be insured.  Group A for example has Concord, Niagra and other natives and some hybrids.  Group B has mostly hybrids such as Chardonnel, Diamond, Elvira, Vidal Blanc but does have some Vitis vinifera like Reisling.  Group C has the most European grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay and others but does have hybrids as well.  The catch all is Group D which has “All Other Varieties”.  You can select a different coverage level for each Group.  You could have 60% coverage on your Group A and 75% coverage on your Group C vines. Depending on which vines you think are more at risk.   If you choose Catastrophic Risk Protection (CAT) level for any vine type then CAT will be applicable for all of your insured vines in that county.

  You can choose coverage levels for your Grapevine insurance from CAT (Catastrophic) to 75%.  CAT insurance is 50% coverage but you only get 55% of that 50% value per vine. Coverage increments are 5%, so you have 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70% and 75%.   There is a sort of a double deductible with Grapevine insurance.  You have a damage deductible and a value/price deductible.  For example, if you choose 75% coverage you would have a 25% damage deductible.  That means that the first 25% of damage is not payable.  So, if you had 30% of your vines killed because of a freeze you would have a payable claim of 5% (30% minus 25% deductible).  There is also a value deductible as well. Again, if you have 75% coverage you would have a grapevine value deductible of 25%. For example, if the grapevine is Stage III in California in Napa County it would be worth $39.  At the 75% coverage level the dollar amount for that vine would be $29.25.

  There is an optional endorsement that changes the damage deductible.  This endorsement does cost a little more but is worth it, in my opinion.  This is called the Occurrence Loss Option or OLO for short.  It changes the damage deductible to a 5% damage trigger.  If your loss is 5% or more of the total value of the vines in a unit you would have a payable loss.  Plus, you are paid on the full value percentage of the loss.  So, if you had a 30% loss, you would get paid on the full 30%.  This does not change the value percentage of the coverage level, if you choose 50% you get that amount.  You cannot exceed the total insured value, Liability, of the vines in any case. 

  OLO has been available for other types of insurance like citrus trees, avocado trees etc.  To keep premiums down growers often elect lower coverage levels with OLO.  That way you are likely to get a claim paid but the premium is not too high, you just get a little less per vine.

  Once you sign up and complete all the forms with your agent, they are then submitted to the underwriter.  The underwriter will open an inspection and an adjuster will come and take a look at your vineyard.  The adjuster will determine if the grapevines in your vineyard are insurable.  The vines could be uninsurable for any of the following reasons.  The vines are unsound, diseased or in someway unhealthy.  They could have been grafted within a 12-month period before the beginning of the insurance period. Or they could have been damaged prior to the beginning of the insurance period.  Once the adjuster has completed the inspection, it is sent to the underwriter and then on to the USDA Risk Management Agency for final approval. 

  If you have damage from an insured Cause of Loss, you should contact your agent to get a claim opened.  It is always best to get a claim opened up sooner rather than later.  48 – 72 hours after discovering damage is best.  I know that a lot of growers want to wait and see how much damage there is before they do anything.  It is always better to get a claim opened up rather than wait and see.  If there is not enough damage then you just let the adjuster know.  After you open up a claim an adjuster should be out within 10 days to inspect the vineyard.  Do not remove any damaged vines until it has been inspected!

  This is a good program, and it will provide protection to vineyards that need to mitigate losses from Freeze, Hail, Flood, Fire etc.  But you will have to determine, with your agent, whether or not it is a good fit for your vineyard.  Some growers and locations have less risk than others.  While some areas are constantly pummeled by the elements and other factors.

The 21st Amendment Enforcement Act & Retail Sales in Interstate Commerce

man holding gavel

By:  Brad Berkman and Louis Terminello, Greenspoon Marder

Direct to consumer (“DTC”) sales of wine and other beverage alcohol from out of state shippers is presumably here to stay, at least from the perspective of retail shippers. The Granholm decisions, as most readers are familiar with, burst open the door to DTC sales by suppliers and in particular winemakers. Wineries, with and without distribution in the various states, took advantage of the new opportunity and began shipping direct to consumers outside the sacrosanct three tier system.  In addition to winemakers, other business types began to sell their beverage alcohol wares in interstate commerce, directly to consumers in states other than their home markets. Retailers, in particular, have grown substantial sales revenue streams from selling to consumers outside of their home markets via the internet. Of course, third party e-commerce platforms have turned the three-tier system and interstate sales on its head through highly creative and not always beverage law compliant sales strategies often at the disdain of state regulators. Recently, some states have turned to legislation passed in October of 2000 to bring enforcement actions against out-of-state entities that seemingly violate their laws on the importation and shipment of beverage alcohol across their borders. The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to this twenty-three-year-old piece of legislation known as the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act, some of its key provisions and its recent use by certain states.

The Act-What is it?

  The 21st Amendment Enforcement Act, (the “Act”), became law in 2000 and effectively amended the Webb Kenyon Act of 1913. The act allows for states attorneys general to bring civil actions in federal court against parties that import or transport beverage alcohol into a state in violation of the Act and the states laws.  Certain provisions of the law are printed below that are worth looking at, however, it is not necessary to reprint the full Act to understand its effect and implications, In a nutshell, the Act permits a state’s attorney general, to move for an injunction against the offending party to force cessation of the activity complained of that is in violation of a state’s beverage law. It is worth noting that relief in federal court takes the form of injunctive relief. The Act, as drafted, does not allow for states to bring actions, or impose monetary fines for violations brought under it. Further, nothing in the Act prevents states from bringing actions in state courts for violations of its beverage laws.

Certain Provisions of the Act Are:


      (a) SHIPMENT OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR IN VIOLATION OF STATE LAW.—The Act entitled ‘‘An Act divesting intoxicating liquors of their interstate character in certain cases”, approved March 1, 1913 (commonly known as the ‘‘Webb-Kenyon Act”) (27 U.S.C. 122) is amended by adding at the end the following:


(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section

(1) the term ‘attorney general’ means the attorney general or other chief law enforcement officer of a State or the designee thereof;

(2) the term ‘intoxicating liquor’ means any spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented, or other intoxicating liquor of any kind;

(3) the term ‘person’ means any individual and any partnership, corporation, company, firm, society, association, joint stock company, trust, or other entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property, but does not include a State or agency thereof; and

(4) the term ‘State’ means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States.

(b) ACTION BY STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL.—If the attorney general has reasonable cause to believe that a person is engaged in, or has engaged in, any act that would constitute a violation of a State law regulating the importation or transportation of any intoxicating liquor, the attorney general may bring a civil action in accordance with this section for injunctive relief (including a preliminary or permanent injunction) against the person, as the attorney general determines to be necessary to—

(1) restrain the person from engaging, or continuing to engage, in the violation; and

(2) enforce compliance with the State law.


(1) IN GENERAL.—The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction over any action brought under this section by an attorney general against any person, except one licensed or otherwise authorized to produce, sell, or store intoxicating liquor in such State.

(2) VENUE.—An action under this section may be brought only in accordance with section 1391 of title 28, United States Code, or in the district in which the recipient of the intoxicating liquor resides or is found.

(3) FORM OF RELIEF.—An action under this section is limited to actions seeking injunctive relief (a preliminary and/ or permanent injunction).

(4) NO RIGHT TO JURY TRIAL.—An action under this section shall be tried before the court.


(1) IN GENERAL.—In any action brought under this section, upon a proper showing by the attorney general of the State, the court may issue a preliminary or permanent injunction to restrain a violation of this section. A proper showing under this paragraph shall require that a State prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation of State law as described in subsection (b) has taken place or is taking place.

  Over the past few years some states have brought actions under the Act aimed at perceived violators. It is indeed worth taking note of these actions and to bring them to the attention of readers who may be sending alcohol beverage products into these states. Emphasis should be added that states have not often relied on the Act to enforce its laws against allegedly illegal transport and shipment of beverage alcohol but we are likely to see more actions by states brought under it.

Tennessee and Ohio

  This past July, Tennessee’s Attorney General brought an action for an injunction in federal court against six out of state retailers. These retailers were shipping distilled spirits, not wine, to Tennessee consumers in violation of that state’s beverage laws. It should be noted that those sued were out-of-state internet retailers, that allegedly sold distilled spirits without a license and were untaxed by the state. The retailers included Bottle Buzz, Cask Cartel, and others.


  Ohio was the first state to make use of the Act. Its Attorney General filed a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction in federal court in the Southern District of Ohio against several out-of-state retailers including Wine.com and Ace Spirits. The attorney general argued that the illegal shipment by out of state retailers takes business aways from licensed Ohio retailers and the alcoholic beverage were not properly taxed. Though, as noted above, the Act did not include monetary fines, the action against Ace Spirits ended with a consent order that called for financial penalties of $150.00 per violation should the activity complained of continue.

  As noted, the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act has not been often used. It is clear that the Act provides an additional tool for the states to use to enforce its beverage laws. Retailers that engage in interstate sales to consumers should carefully review state laws prior to shipping to remain in compliance. This caveat holds true for e-commerce sellers of alcohol that act under an agent for consumer model. E-commerce sales of alcohol have led to creative routes to market for brand owners as well. As we move forward, state laws may indeed carve out certain exceptions from their legislative floors. For the time being, state and federal courts will remain the arbiter of disputes of this sort. Consumer demands and technology are changing the face of alcohol sales. Until exceptions are carved out at the state level, retailers are well advised to remain in compliance with the beverage laws of receiving states shipping laws.

The Right Blend of AI Can Keep Customers from Withering on the Vine

robot holding tray with full wine glass and woman holding full wine glass

By:  David Wachs, CEO of Handwrytten

Changing U.S. consumer drinking habits have been troublesome for the domestic wine industry. Younger generations including Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to purchase ready-to-drink cocktails, seltzers, or mocktails than wine, a shift from previous generations. It was noted in Rob McMillan’s annual State of the Industry report earlier this year that wineries need to do a better job of marketing to younger generations because currently the only growth being seen is among the Baby Boomer demographic. Otherwise, wine sales are falling, and less wine was sold in 2022 than in 2021. One reported suggestion was to launch a multi-winery campaign like what the dairy industry has done for milk or the cattle industry for beef. But those efforts failed. Perhaps now is the time to call on the robots for their assistance?

  It might seem like social media is the best way to reach younger generations, since a 2022 survey by Morning Consult found that 54% of Gen Zers said they spend at least four hours daily on social media, and 38% spend even more time than that. But an avatar on TikTok or Instagram enjoying a glass of merlot on a beach or in the back of a camper van overlooking a breathtaking vista is not the right robot to help the wine industry breakthrough to younger generations. Especially when the industry is competing against a movement of influencers promoting sober living as the latest wellness trend that followers should aspire too.

  So, if not social media, then what? Does the wine industry need to go head-to-head with politicians and launch an invasive television advertising campaign that floods screens across the country with bottles of chardonnay and cabernet playing the starring roles in every type of social gathering possible? Do wine tastings at grocery stores and other brick-and-mortar retail locations need to occur on a daily basis to infuse wine purchasing as a more regular habit when picking up items for meals for the week? None of these are bad ideas, but the reality is AI isn’t all that great at creating television ads, yet, and a robot pouring wine at the local grocery store would require investing in technology that is cost prohibitive and impractical.

  The most effective and unique way that wineries can connect with younger consumers is through a traditional advertising method with a high-tech, modern twist. A survey, conducted by Full Spectrum Insights on behalf of Handwritten, found that emails and text messages are, unsurprisingly, the most common way for businesses to communicate with customers but that 45% of customers would feel more valued and be more likely to make repeat purchases if they received a handwritten note. 30% of customers said handwritten notes are the most meaningful way a company could communicate with them and the least annoying, compared with the annoyance of receiving a phone call, email, or text.

  Nothing says “pay attention” like a personalized handwritten note. No one flips past or does not see a handwritten envelope in their mailbox. These stand out from everything else that was delivered. Recipients wonder what could be inside and while envelopes that look like bills or advertisements are set to the side, handwritten envelopes are usually opened immediately. The attention-grabbing nature of a handwritten envelope provides an instant advantage that even the biggest and most prevalent direct mail marketers cannot compete with. Handwritten envelopes have been found to have a 300% greater open rate than standard envelopes. And handwritten marketing has response rates 7-21x greater than printed mail, with a return on investment 3-7x greater than print. Some companies have even found that retention rates are 50% higher for customers who receive a handwritten thank you note.

  Rather than tasking an employee to sit at a desk with a stack of cards and envelopes and bucket of ice to alleviate hand cramps, the task of penning handwritten notes to customers can be outsourced to robots that are capable of using real pens to craft notes that are nearly indistinguishable from ones written by an actual human hand. There are also a variety of AI services available own that can help everyone from a marketing novice to a pro discover the right words to include in the message. From there, it’s about ensuring wineries are using the right direct mailing strategy to maximize ROI.

Spend Time On Your Call to Action

  Your call to action (CTA) may be the most important part of your direct mail campaign. This statement tells your recipients how you want them to respond and encourages them to do it. A strong CTA can boost your response rate substantially while a weak one can jeopardize your entire campaign. Every communication piece you send your customers should have a purpose. Identify it and your CTA will come naturally.

  Compelling CTAs are clear and concise. They contain actionable verbs which are impossible to misinterpret. When people read your direct mail letter, they should know what you want them to do. You can ask people outside your marketing department to read your letter and determine whether they understand what’s expected of them.

  Procrastination prevents action. Limit procrastination by adding a sense of urgency to your CTA. Asking your recipients to call today or claim a free sample by a specific deadline is more powerful than making similar statements without referencing time. The way you present your CTA can make it more compelling. White space draws the eye. Separating your CTA from the body of your letter prevents someone from overlooking it. Using a different color or font size can also help your call to action stand out.

Use Personal Text and Images

  Savvy consumers will see through a handwritten form letter. Make sure you include personal details to strengthen your bond with your recipients. Using names rather than “To whom it may concern” is an important start. But you should look for other opportunities for personalization, too. Mentioning customers’ locations, past purchases, and pop culture references that people of their ages will probably appreciate are other ways you can show your recipients you’re speaking to them.

  While the text matters, using appropriate imagery can also reinforce your words. For example, targeting a millennial or Gen Z household with a note that features a retired couple enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, probably a messaging failure.

Tempt Your Recipients With Great Deals

  The most compelling direct mail campaigns contain offers people can’t refuse. Brainstorm strategies to tempt your recipients with your direct mail campaigns.

People love feeling they’re receiving something others don’t get. They’ll struggle to resist signing up for your mailing list if you say they’ll receive exclusive members-only coupons. Ordering a product becomes much more enticing if you’ve waiving shipping costs or reducing the price for a limited time.

Get the Timing Right

  As with all marketing campaigns, the timing of your direct mail campaigns plays a key part in their success or failure. Your direct mail will ideally reach your recipients when they’re receptive to the messages inside them.

  Getting the timing right isn’t a precise science, but you’ll do best if you put yourself in your customers’ shoes. The members of your mailing list will probably be receptive to a card promoting a great sale sent in the lead-up to Christmas when they’re searching for gift ideas and planning to spend money. Sales announcements can also be received favorably in April when your customers may have extra money from refunds on their tax returns. Your sales efforts are likely to be less effective in January when customers may suffer from a Christmas credit card hangove

  Sending direct mail cards through your customers’ journey with your organization is also a great way to engage them and make them feel special. However, timing matters here, too. Send a card saying you have missed a customer’s business too soon and you’ll seem too insincere. However, with the right timing, this type of card can re-engage a lapsed customer and encourage a purchase. On the flip side, a letter thanking a customer for the individual’s business or referring a customer should be sent promptly. If you let too much time elapse, the thank you will seem unnatural.

Think Outside the Box

  Since households don’t receive many letters, your direct mail is already likely to be more memorable than a marketing email. However, you can increase the chances your recipients will recall your direct mail with a novelty. Think outside the box to create a direct mail campaign that makes a real impression.

  Knorr used leuco dye on a direct mail campaign for a new line of frozen food. The cheeky mailing read “Unlike any F****N dinner you’ve ever tried.” Recipients were encouraged to put the mail in the freezer. The extreme cold triggered a new message reading “FROZEN meals can be this delicious.” The quirky campaign, which had a 10.2 percent response rate, prompted 17,000 purchases. This campaign was so successful that half of the mail was delayed to help supermarkets manage the increased demand for the company’s products.

The great part about all of these direct mail ideas is that they stay in the minds of recipients long after they open the mail. Even if your recipients don’t take action now, they’re more likely to think about your business when they need your products or services in the future. Brainstorm relevant ways you can also enhance your direct mail materials and make them distinctive.

Eagles Landing Winery

Award-Winning Wines In Northeast Iowa

Picture of Eagles Landing Winery from the street with red car in front on street

By: Gerald Dlubala 

Marquette, Iowa, is built for tourism, especially outdoor enthusiasts. The quaint, welcoming town of 429 offers premium hiking, fishing, hunting and camping, along with some of the best fall leaf peeping available. The natural beauty of Marquette’s landscape against a backdrop of the Mississippi River bluffs will put you into a postcard-type setting. And while there, the welcoming residents and hometown feel Iowa is known for will always make itself known. Additionally, nestled in the bluffs of this driftless area of Iowa, the scenic town of Marquette also draws in tourists for their award-winning winery, Eagles Landing Winery.

  Eagles Landing Winery and Vineyard has been serving Iowa and Wisconsin since 2003, with their success driven by a mantra that includes being patient, paying meticulous attention to quality and continuing to focus on their wine’s drinkability and taste.

  Roger and Connie Halvorson launched the winery in 2000 as a retirement hobby. Their son, Jay Halvorson, joined the business in 2003 as the master winemaker. By 2007, Eagles Landing Winery was not only doing well, but they were taking home awards for their wines. Cindy Halvorson joined the company in 2009, and just a few years later, Jay and Cindy Halvorson officially took over the winery from his retiring parents. Since that day, Eagles Landing Winery has received over 400 medals and awards. These coveted awards include the Governor’s Cup and Best of Show at the 2022 Iowa State Fair for their wine, Constance, a clean, crisp and subtle American white wine. In 2022, Jay and Cindy Halvorson also went the route of retirement, selling Eagles Landing winery to current owners Scott and Sharon Patten.

Love at First Sight

  “It was just a wonderful experience and a place that felt familiar and welcoming,” said Sharon. “We literally fell in love with the winery when we visited. The town was so attractive and welcoming, so we knew we had to look into acquiring this place. Scott had experience in winemaking and homebrew brewing, built on a general science background and engineering experience. He was looking to make a change, and we started exploring different businesses available to purchase and came upon Eagles Landing. Scott’s previous background gave him an understanding of the winemaking process and the different production elements, and it all just kind of seemed to click.”

  The Pattens hadn’t previously visited the winery, only making the trip to Marquette a couple of times after seeing that it was available for purchase. They lived in Cedar Rapids at the time, a little less than two hours away.

  “When we visited, it just seemed like a wonderful business, and everyone was super friendly and helpful,” said Sharon. “Jay and Cindy Halvorson were so accommodating and helpful with the transition phase. The winery and the area just became a really good fit.”

  With four children at home and multiple pets to consider, completing the Pattens’ move to Marquette will take some time. In the meantime, there are scheduled days and trips between the two places. Scott runs things at the winery several days a week and comes home on off-days.

  “We are still very much a small family winery,” said Scott. “Everyone pitches in. We include the children on some weekends to help with tasks and gain experience in the different tasks needed around the winery, like different processes, restocking and the never-ending cleanup duties. We’ll produce between 6,000 and 7,000 cases of wine annually, with the main distribution going to Iowa and nearby Wisconsin.”

Wines for Every Palette

  Eagles Landing currently produces 36 wines ranging from dry selections to sweet, dessert-style wines. About two dozen wines are usually available onsite to sample at any given time, including some seasonal blends produced in smaller batches.

  “We source a lot of different kinds of fruit and make a lot of different types of wine,” said Scott. “We offer a little bit of everything in the hopes that our customers will find something they like. Most are what we refer to as Midwestern-type wines. We have a good selection of sweet-style wines because those are typically our best sellers and are always in demand, but when we came on, I wanted to add other types and styles of wines for those who are interested in that as well. And if you’re looking for something seasonal or a unique blend, we do produce those in smaller batches. We’re working on a pear and currant blend that seems to work well. Sometimes, it’s all about trying new things.”

  “And we have to mention our Campfire Hootch,” said Sharon. “It’s a blend of four to seven different berries, grapes and other fruits. The flavor comes through as a sweet, very adult juice that even dry drinkers seem to enjoy. If someone comes in and says they’re not really a fan of wine or a wine drinker, we have them try this, and it usually changes their perception of what a wine can offer. It’s absolutely nontraditional, unlike anything that most people have ever had, so it’s something worth trying when you come in.”

  Grape varieties grown at the nearby vineyard include Edelweiss, Marquette, Marechal Foch, Petite Pearl, Brianna and Frontenac Gris. Patten tells The Grapevine Magazine that the vineyard was not included in the original sale but is contracted to supply grapes to the Eagles Landing. They didn’t want to be overwhelmed with trying to learn the winery plus the farming and agriculture business simultaneously. However, they still use those grapes in their wine production, as well as some coastal grapes for their dry reds and quality Midwest sources for their fruit needs. Patten is hoping to increase the Midwest sources in the future. In addition to its wide-ranging lineup of wines, Eagles Landing Winery offers a large selection of fruit and berry wines and a gold medal-winning honey and blackberry mead.

Come for the Wine, Stay for the Atmosphere, Hospitality and Craft Pizza

  Eagles Landing Winery is a perfect reflection of Marquette, Iowa. The quaint, welcoming surroundings draw you into the small-town hospitality feel of the winery, where samples are always on the menu. Located in downtown Marquette, patrons of Eagles Landing Winery are welcome to sit inside or enjoy themselves outdoors. Visitors can enjoy the outdoor wine garden, complete with an arbor and trellis that supports a network of natural grapevines over the top to make the experience authentic, memorable and relaxing.

  “We wanted a place where people felt relaxed, appreciated and comfortable,” said Patten. “And that attitude includes our drink offerings. We want to offer wines that people like, regardless of their preference. Additionally, we feature live music on the weekends and offer different cheeses and snacks to nibble on while enjoying your time with us. But that’s about to change as well. We’re in the process of installing a pizza kitchen for craft pizzas to enjoy with your wine while hanging out with us. It’ll be a game-changer for us and the total experience we can offer our guests.”

  Patten said that the oven will likely be ready to go when you read this. He projects a November 2023 start date to fire up the pizza oven and make delicious craft pizzas for their patrons to enjoy while drinking Eagles Landing wines.

Eagles Landing Winery Looks to the Future

  “In the short term, we’d like to increase our vendor market,” said Scott. “We currently distribute to Iowa and Wisconsin and have about 200 vendors. We think we can double that in the future. In maybe three to five years, we’d love to have a second location somewhere, but that adds a lot of logistics.”

  Coming from a science, engineering and homebrewing background, you may wonder if another craft beverage endeavor is on the Pattens’ radar as I was.

  “Now that you mention it, we’ve been debating that perhaps we would do something in the future,” said Scott. “We’ll have to see what the market looks like. The future trends and demographics of wine are okay but not entirely sunshine right now, and the numbers for beer aren’t really great right now, but spirits are picking up, so I may be leaning towards adding that.”

Advice to Potential Winery Owners

  Asked for any advice they could provide future winery owners, the Pattens laughed and replied that the experience would be different than they initially expected and planned.

  “Well, Scott and I had a whole strategic plan in place for the first six months,” said Sharon. “But we’ve had to reevaluate that plan simply because knowing things now is much different than going in as first-timers. There are a lot of new things we can bring to the table. It’s important to have a plan, but it’s just as important to be willing to be flexible with that plan. For example, we decided to add the pizza oven, meaning we had to add a previously unplanned physical structure to our site. With this new addition, people will be staying here for longer periods of time, so that has us reevaluating our building’s infrastructure to accommodate those longer stays.”

  “Additionally, everything takes a little longer than we had planned, so I guess if I could go back and change something, I would try to get a jump on some things earlier,” said Scott. “We undertook a rebranding of sorts and wanted to update the look of our product and packaging. It’s the same award-winning wine, but we wanted to freshen up the logos and labeling. That process is taking much longer than a couple of months that we planned for it to take. It’s starting to present some challenges. We could’ve planned that better.”

  “And just knowing how much wine to make for the season will be easier,” said Sharon. “We had to go through the high season of fall, so knowing how much wine to make and when to get it out will be much smoother next season. We had to improvise a bit and update plans on the fly.”

Preserving History

  The Eagles Landing Winery’s offices are located in the historical home of Emma Big Bear. She was the last full-blooded American Indian to live in Clayton County, Iowa. Originally from Wisconsin, Emma Big Bear spent most of her life living by the traditional Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) customs and traditions, known for the handmade woven baskets she made and sold within the McGregor and Marquette regions. She passed away in 1968 at the age of 99, and there is a memorial statue in her honor at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park on St. Feriole Island, Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.

  For more information on Eagles Landing winery and to plan a trip to Marquette, Iowa, visit:

Eagles Landing Winery

127 North Street

PO Box 472

Marquette, Iowa 52158

(563) 873-1905


An Overview of Washington State’s Vineyards & Wineries

Picture of rose of grape vineyards mountain and blue sky

By: Becky Garrison  

Since the first planting of wine grapes in Fort Vancouver, Washington in 1825, Washington State has risen to become the second-largest producer of wine, with an annual production of approximately 17.7 million cases and a total annual in-state economic impact of $8.4 billion. Currently, the state has 1,070 wineries, with over 400 grape growers and over 60,000 acres of grapevines planted, which produce over 80 varieties of grapes. Of these wineries, 90 percent would be classified as boutique wineries, producing less than 5,000 cases annually.        

Tour of Washington State’s AVAs

  Established in 1983, the Yakima Valley AVA is the state’s oldest AVA, with 708,710 total acres, of which 18,580 are planted acres. This area’s diverse growing region, with an annual rainfall of eight inches, allows for a wide range of wine varieties and styles. Approximately a quarter of the grapes grown in this AVA are chardonnay, with riesling, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah among this region’s other most popular grapes.

  The Columbia Valley AVA was founded the following year and consists of 11,308,636 total acres, 8,748,949 of which are in Washington State. Cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, riesling, merlot and syrah represent the most popular varieties planted in this area. This region is home to 99 percent of Washington’s total wine grape acreage, with the vast majority of Washington State’s 20 AVAs located within the Columbia Valley.  

  Four of Washington State’s AVAs are cross-border appellations. Columbia Valley, Columbia Gorge and Walla Walla Valley are shared with Oregon. Lewis-Clark Valley is shared with Idaho. 

  The Columbia Gorge represents the state’s westernmost appellation east of the Cascade Mountains. Founded in 2004, this AVA is noted for the diversity that produces a greater variety of wines than other AVAs. This AVA consists of 186,610 total acres, 66,604 of which are in Washington State, with 381 planted acres in this state. Rachel Horn, winemaker at Aniche Cellars in Underwood, Washington, states how the western end of the Columbia Gorge AVA is similar in many ways to her favorite cooler climate growing regions in Europe, including Alsace and the Wachau. She observes, “I find that many of the white varieties so seldom grown in the U.S. can thrive here.” Unlike most farms in eastern Washington, they can dry-farm, as the slopes and cooler nights on Underwood Mountain provide enough rain that, according to Horn, can make some gorgeous ripeness in phenolics without becoming jammy or too high in alcohol. “We can focus on elegance and finesse without huge extraction and muscle in our wines,” she said.

Growth of Seattle Urban Wineries

  When Tim Bates, Andy Shepherd and Frank Michels of Eight Bells Winery and Lacey and Charlie Lybecker of Cairdeas Winery launched their respective wineries in 2009, they were among the first winemakers to set up shop inside Seattle’s city limits. Bates reflects on how consumers had a hard time understanding how they could have a winery in the city. “Everyone expected you to be surrounded by vineyards. People are pretty amazed when they come in and see a real winery in action, especially during crush.” Lacey adds, “When we first started making wine, the urban wine scene was concentrated in South Park and Georgetown. It’s now in SODO, West Seattle, Ballard, and beyond. It’s great to see the expansion.”

  As part of this expansion, after the Lybeckers moved their winery from West Seattle to Lake Chelan, they established a second tasting room at SODO Urban Works, a collective of ten of Washington’s finest wine and food crafters situated in one communal space. Nine Hats Winery followed a similar model, with a winery based in Walla Walla and a tasting room at SODO Urban Works. According to Ryan Shoup, who oversees this tasting room, having a presence in this bombing-bustling neighborhood enables them to pivot off this urban energy. “This, in turn, results in a more casual and upbeat feel to their tasting room that attracts a younger audience,” he reflects.

Promoting WA State Wines

  The Washington State Wine Commission designated August as Washington Wine Month (WAugust). During this month, consumers can find special deals and events all month long at wineries, tasting rooms, restaurants, grocery stores and backyards across the state. Also, as part of WAugust, the Washington State Wine Commission partnered with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2022 to bring on Wine Spectator as a national media partner for an expanded Washington Wine Month campaign.

  In addition, 2023 marked the return of Taste Washington in March, which is the nation’s largest single-region wine and food festival. This week is marked with a dinner series, seminars and parties. A key highlight of this week is the Grand Tasting, which includes selections from over 200 wineries alongside more than 50 regional restaurants. This event will return in March 2024, with the Grand Tasting slated for March 16 and 17, 2024.

  Another series of statewide events that have returned post-COVID are those from the Auction of Washington Wines. This nonprofit organization seeks to raise awareness of Washington wine through a series of events benefiting their community. Events happen throughout the year, including an online holiday bottle auction, Wine Country Celebration dinners, and a trade-focused Private Barrel Auction. The largest events happen in August and include TOAST!, an industry-focused recognition dinner; the Winemaker Picnic & Barrel Auction, a casual event featuring wines, food and a consumer barrel auction. Their largest fundraising event of the year, a formal gala, where unique auction lots are available through a live auction and money is raised for Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, Washington State University Viticulture & Enology Department and various industry grants.

  On a more regional level, Walla Walla Wine on Tour allows 45 member wineries to pour to sold-out crowds in Seattle and Portland, as well as reconnect to the wine trade and media. In 2023, they expanded this tour to include Boise, Idaho. In 2024, they will return to Seattle on January 29, Portland on February 26 and Boise, Idaho on March 3-4. In 2023, 60 percent of ticket purchasers were first-time attendees to the Seattle and Portland events.

  Along those lines, Horn points to events like the Blood Of Gods 2023 Annual Merrymaking event held in Walla Walla that work to create space and voice for alternative people in the wine industry, including queer, punk, BIPOC and female voices. She proclaims, “I like that people like us are finding wine and taking some ownership.”

  Renea Roberts, the director of community engagement for the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance, points to the importance of in-person events as an essential part of any local wine community. As she notes,

“They provide an opportunity for wine enthusiasts to gather and share their passion for wine while also promoting local wineries. Being able to host wine events means that the wine community can come together to celebrate their love for wine, learn from each other and support local businesses. It also allows wineries to showcase their products and connect with potential customers.”

  Currently, Washington’s wines can be found all over the state in some unexpected settings. Onboard Amtrak Cascades trains from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia, travelers can savor Chateau Ste. Michelles’ chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Most hotels offer Washington wine to their guests, with the Kimpton Hotels hosting Washington-focused happy hours featuring Washington wines. Other places to find Washington wines include the Seattle Space Needle, Washington State ferries and various performing arts venues, such as the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Fifth Avenue Theatre.

Recent Washington State Winery Trends 

  After Paul Beveridge of Wilridge Vineyard, Winery and Distillery in Yakima led the lobbying effort to permit wineries to hold a distilling license, a select number of wineries have followed suit. Like Beveridge’s winery, most of these other wineries also distill the must from their grapes and other fruits to produce grappa and fruit brandies though a few produce grain spirits. For example, Browne Family Vineyards in Walla Walla established  Browne Family Spirits in Spokane, focusing on locally sourced, limited-edition bourbon and rye whiskeys by Kentucky-native master distiller Aaron Kleinhelter.

  Another growing trend with Washington wineries is offering lodging options onsite. Presently, nine wineries based in either central or eastern Washington offer lodging ranging from guest cottages to yurts, cabins and more palatial offerings.


  Moving forward, the biggest challenge for Washington State vineyards remains wildfire smoke, though the 2023 harvest was not impacted as in the case of some previous years. Also, in August, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates announced to its contracted Washington wine grape growers that it’s not taking nearly half of its contracted fruit this fall. The long-term impact of this decision is not known at this writing.

For updates about Washington wine, visit https://www.washingtonwine.org   

Robots in the Vineyard

How AI and Other Technologies Are Changing the Landscape for Vineyards & Wineries Worldwide 

Picture of vineyard tractor bakus enjambeur electrique-L-scaled

By: Cheryl Gray

From grape-picking robots to mechanized pruning machines, just name it, technology has a cutting-edge answer for virtually any vineyard need to reduce dependence upon manual labor.

  Studies show that technology-driven equipment is becoming increasingly used in the viticulture industry. When deployed, those studies show that the results show greater productivity when it comes to caring for and, eventually, harvesting grapes. 

Westside Equipment Company is one of the corporations at the forefront of making this a reality for its clients. A global leader in its field, Westside Equipment is headquartered in  Madera, California in a grape-growing region designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) since 1985. The company, which also has three other locations in the Golden State, has been in business for nearly 40 years.

  Westside Equipment Company, which designs and manufactures harvesting equipment at its Madera location, recently acquired VMECH for its portfolio, adding an entire new line of technology-driven vineyard products, including the Chariot Mechanized Vineyard Pruner. Stephanie Hawkins is the marketing and sales coordinator for the company.

“The VMECH Chariot’s dual precision pruner adapts to various trellis types and enables pre-pruning and near finish pruning, covering up to three acres per hour and  saving up to $600 per acre. With a vision-based approach, our AI technology identifies and scans the cordons, adjusting based on the incoming data. The versatile Chariot has multiple attachment options to keep it useful year-round, including shoot thinning and trunk suckering. A single row pruning unit will be available in fall 2023.”

  The Chariot is useful for applications that include work on high wire, VSP and quad trellises. According to Westside, the equipment is built to supplement pruning capacity and comes equipped with individual joysticks for seamless operation. While the machine requires three operators, it promises to save money by pruning two rows at a time and one to three acres an hour, depending on row spacing and length. 

  Another feature of the Chariot is that its pruning heads are efficient, versatile, and can be customized. The heads attach to each of the machine’s booms. In addition to its pruning capabilities, the Chariot can be used to cane-cut vineyards in spring.

  The VMECH Toolbar is another vineyard productivity tool. The unit is designed to be mounted on virtually any tractor, with Westside Equipment providing manufacturing assistance to ensure a proper fit. Customer support, Hawkins says, is important to Westside Equipment.

  “All Westside Equipment Company products are custom built at our manufacturing headquarters in Madera, California and come with 24/7 in-season service and parts (limited to California vineyards) to conveniently serve the wine grape industry,” Hawkins said.

  For companies that take over when the grapes arrive at the winery, Prospero Equipment Corporation considers itself a frontrunner in supplying processing and packaging equipment for wineries of every size. The company, founded in 1972, started as a supplier to home winemakers. 

  In the 1980s, Prospero expanded into commercial wine-making equipment, opening an office in California to begin servicing and distributing products from Italy to West Coast wineries. The product roster includes imported tanks, fillers, labelers, commercial presses, filters and crusher destemmers. The family-owned and operated business now specializes in offering the latest technology to help wineries keep pace in an ever-changing industry.

  Prospero represents SK Tank, which builds wine tanks, wine presses and equipment for other beverage industry sectors. Andy Robinson represents Prospero’s sales division.

  “Working with SK allows Prospero to offer full tank storage capabilities as well as supporting harvest equipment,” Robinson said. “Prospero’s brewhouse division offers the highest quality brewhouses and beer tanks accompanied by full engineered designs and complete turnkey installations.”

  Robinson adds that Prospero has recently launched new products that focus on the use of technology, thanks to a newly formed relationship with GAI Machinery, which Prospero now represents.

  “GAI sets the upper standard of machine manufacturing and offers the highest quality packaging equipment available,” Robinson said. “Prospero now offers a revolutionary new technology with the UNICA filling valve, which is an Electro Pneumatic filling valve capable of filling from 0 – 6 BAR pressure. This has allowed many companies to expand their product lines and be able to package all of them within the same Monoblock. The UNICA filling valve is now also available with a Volumetric Electro Pneumatic filling valve, offering the most precise filling for a wider range of container sizes and formats. Offering still and counterpressure filling in the same filling valve has brought the new technologies to the forefront of packaging for the beverage imdustry. The UNICA filling valve is also offered on the GAI canning Monoblocks. The GAI Monoblock design is engineered so all main gears are interlocking and connect all turrets, thus eliminating any risk in loss of machine timing.”

  Robinson adds that Prospero has multiple ways to help its clients with products and services, identifying the absolute essentials for wineries that want to keep up with the latest technology.

  “Prospero offers sales consulting, engineered drawings, parts departments and a technical team for service, installation and training,” Robinson said. “Having effective product and packaging consultation allows direct discussions for future growth and wiser investment strategies. Providing engineered drawings allows for a seamless installation, parts to be on hand if needed and a direct format for our technical team to follow.”

  Robinson says that planning ahead is the key to keeping up with technology.

  “A company should plan for future development of products and production volumes, this also includes added closures and perhaps canning,” he said. “Investing in high quality equipment helps guarantee longevity, ease in maintenance and the finest quality finished product. Prospero technicians fully train all new equipment owners after installation to guarantee all operators are knowledgeable about the machinery and the supporting equipment. This support is backed up by our service and parts department for maintenance and repairs.”

  Experts say that the cost of labor is the biggest expense grape growers face every season. With the declining number of farm workers available to work the vineyards, those experts say there is a serious labor shortage. The answer for many growers is technology replacing workers to do the tasks of pruning, shoot thinning, shoot posting, fruit thinning, leaf removal and row line cultivation.

  Gearmore, Inc. specializes in implements for those many operations. Gearmore, Inc. has provided quality vineyard implements through servicing tractor dealers for 60 years. To cover all the grower’s requirements, the company has more than 100 different models, with widths and capacities of products for vineyards to handle varying acreage, row widths, terrain, foliage profile and different tractor horsepower.

  Gearmore is headquartered in Chino, California and boasts the largest inventory of implements on the West Coast. Its reach is global and includes sales representatives in charge of territories throughout the southwestern United States, Hawaii and parts of Mexico. Vineyard equipment options include in-row cultivators, air blast sprayers, soil conditioners, air sprayers, boom sprayers, vine trimmers, leaf removers, pre-pruners, compost spreaders, mowers, soil conditioners, mower shredders and more.

  There are other technologies in use by vineyards, such as drones, satellite imagery and GPS. Larger operations use these technologies to monitor vineyard health, and smaller vineyards are following suit. Through satellites and drones, vineyards can easily gather data, including the ripeness of grapes, water shortages and the early signs of vineyard disease. The technology can also help protect the environment because products must only be sprayed for disease and pests when necessary.

  As for wineries, experts say that platforms that merge statistics, such as point of sale, club memberships and e-commerce help streamline sales and improve customer experience.

  In short, technology, including AI, is increasingly becoming the norm rather than an anomaly for vineyards and wineries. Its widespread use is now seen as a way to advance productivity and sales in a highly competitive industry where smart moves driven by technology make money.