All posts filed under: Vineyard & Winery Management

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Ozone Sanitation Moves from Winery to Vineyard

In 1997 ozone was approved by the EPA as a safe and effective method of general sanitation for wineries. With the commitment to sustainable farming practices on the rise, it’s now proving to be equally useful in the vineyard. Ozone, or O3, a bluish unstable gas that smells like the air charged by lightning during a thunderstorm, is generated when oxygen and electricity are combined. At high enough concentrations, ozone-charged water becomes a chemical-free alternative to pesticides. Third-generation grower John Bacigalupi farms using many of the traditional methods he learned from his father and grandfather. Last year the Bacigalupi family marked its 50th year growing grapes in Russian River Valley and, in his efforts to be a better steward to the land, Bacigalupi continually adapts his farming practices to keep pace with the way pests and disease respond to chemical treatments.  Read the article here 2015JA_PARKERWONG_Ozone

Flash Heat Treatment Shown to Benefit Vines and Wine

Many advances pioneered by the dairy industry have improved winemaking in the cellar, but when it comes to using flash or instantaneous heat, it all starts in the vineyard. Flash pasteurization was first applied to milk in 1933. Sixty years later, flashbake ovens made their debut and, shortly thereafter, the adoption of frost prevention and thermal pest control techniques for winegrowing began making news. Fast forward two decades and you’ll find the latest generation of Thermal Plant Treatment (TPT) technology gaining interest from Oregon to Monterey. After three years of rigorous trials by Walnut Creek, Calif.-based AgroThermal Systems, trials show that patented flash heat treatments to vines are producing a host of benefits that extend well beyond the disruption of pest lifecycles. Read the article here: Flash Vine Treament  

Berry Sensory Analysis: A Common Language for Describing Maturity

If everyone on your winegrowing and winemaking teams shares a common language, there’s less risk involved when it comes to making crucial decisions. Few would argue that the most crucial decision a winemaker faces is when to pick. Beyond establishing intentions for the style and quality of the finished wine, making confident, proactive picking decisions relies on accurately assessing levels of ripeness. This acquired skill is on that vineyard managers and winemakers typically master through trial and error as they learn to speak the same language when describing degrees of fruit maturity and other sough-after qualities. Using the analytical method of Berry Sensory Analysis (BSA), a technique to describe the characteristics of grape maturity developed by Jacques Rousseau at the Institut Cooperatif du Vin in Montpellier, France, and introduced in Northern California by Enartis Vinquiry in 2006, winemakers can c onfidently assess fruit quality for specific wine styles and, in turn, gain more control over harvest timing decisions and production methods. Read the entire article here: Berry Sensory Analysis

Will Magnetized Yeast Revolutionize Riddling?

New technique promises to speed sparkling wine production. There’s no mistaking a gyro­palette at work, its top-heavy robotic arm twirling a wire pal­ette of bottles like a baton. But you’ll need a scanning elec­tron microscope to see the iron nanoparticles that have the poten­tial to make it obsolete. The early adoption of the robotic gyropalette by Cava producer Cor­doniu in the mid-1970s was a mile­stone that altered the course of the modern sparkling wine indus­try. Mechanized riddling reduced the amount of time required to move spent yeasts cells into the neck of a bottle from two months to a matter of days, all without any adverse effects on the sensory qualities of the wine. The wholesale adoption of mechanization by traditional-meth­od sparkling wine producers and many Champenoise dramatically reduced the production costs and time to market imposed by the labor-intensive technique of hand-riddling bottles. As such, bottle-aged sparkling wine became a viable and affordable alternative to still wine. Almost despite technology, this time-honored method remains very close to its original form. Beyond the gyropalette and …

For Natural Cork, Form Follows Function

For wine, as with most consumer goods, packaging is an obsession, and rightly so; its role in the commercial success of a product is undeniable. Packaging is usually the consumer’s first impression of a brand and it contributes greatly to the experience of enjoying wine. We touch a wine bottle repeatedly, often read and record the label in its entirety, gaze at it while we’re drinking and we may even save it for posterity. Considering the time, effort and resources that companies devote to wine packaging, labels seem to get the lion’s share of the attention. But that’s not always the case for products such as the cork which actually come in contact with the wine. “Cork tends to be treated like a commodity,” said Vance Rose, director of sales and marketing at Amorim, “and wineries often buy cork based upon price alone.” Read full article For Natural Cork, Form Follows Function here.

Tools of the Trade

Consumer acceptance of wine packaging other than glass is growing, but fine glassware remains the undisputed tool of choice for presenting, evaluating and fully appreciating wine. While both crystal and glass stemware share space on winery tasting bars, the move by wineries to upscale glassware frequently coincides with the addition of luxury tasting experiences designed to showcase top-tier wines. “We’ re seeing wineries choosing the best,” said Sylvie Laly, director of U.S. winery sales for Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachtmann. “When a winery using our non-varietal specific Riedel glass trades up to the varietal-specific series, tasting room managers can see that their consumers’ experience is being significantly enhanced, and that translates directly to increased sales for the winery.” For Riedel customers, that choice means a baseline increase in cost by about 30%. From the entrylevel Degustazione series, nonvarietal- specific glasses designed for basic wine styles, a 19.75 ounce red wine glass runs $2.99 per stem whereas a varietal-specific 21.5 ounce cabernet/merlot glass from Riedel’s Restaurant series runs $5.95 per stem. Read the full article Tools of …

Labor Crunch

Early responses to the California Farm Bureau Federation’s 2013 agricultural workforce survey point to labor shortages in excess of 30% and far more unmet demand for labor than in previous years. With the 2013 wine grape harvest beginning two weeks earlier than normal in California, at a time when the table grape harvest is peaking and berry crops are still in full swing, labor shortages were undeniable. According to Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers in Fresno, competition for seasonal employees is stiff as workers follow the highest-paying jobs. He cited instances of strawberry growers hiring vineyard workers, only to have raspberry growers step in and offer those workers higher wages. From all accounts, the money follows the most perishable crops. “There’s no question that wages are escalating and growers are stretching out the timing of their harvests,” DiBuduo said. “They are not getting as much fruiton the market as fast as they would like.” Fifth-generation Lodi grower Kyle Lerner was pressing chardonnay when he gave Vineyard & Winery Management an account of the …