Editor's Letterby Jim Gordon
The end of summer brings, of course, the Wine Industry Finance Issue, of which this is the fifth annual edition. Yet there is something else happening, too. It’s on the tip of my tongue… Oh yes, crush! These pages will run the gamut of topics from the top 20 sources of financing to a preview of the 2016 harvest, plus in-depth articles about tannin maturity and the progress of clean plant certification in the eastern United States.
Regarding finance, lenders are so happy with growers and vintners as borrowers that capital is flowing freely to well-run companies that are acquiring new properties and need money for other growth and expansion. That’s the gist of what author Ben Narasin found in reporting the cover story.
Vineyard Viewby Cliff Ohmart
The recent announcement about Camron King being appointed president of the National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI) got me thinking: How many readers have heard about NGWI—and if they have, how much do they know about it? The transition from Jean-Mari Peltier to King as president is an opportunity to revisit NGWI. Why was it formed, what has it been doing the past few years, why is it an important organization, and what are its goals for the future?
Viewpointby Anna Katharine Mansfield
If I had to pick a byword for the ninth International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in Brighton, England, it would simply be “change.” Changes in climate, in grape cultivars, in wine styles, in consumer markets—the transitory nature of cool-climate wine was addressed in venues ranging from technical scientific talks to hands-on digital marketing techniques to comparative tastings of wine styles and varietals during the conference held May 26-28.
Grounded Grapegrowingby Glenn McGourty
California’s climate has certainly changed perceptibly in the past decade, as drought and increased temperatures year-round have affected winegrowing in the state. Besides potential stress to grapevines, another serious consequence is the increased risk of forest and brush fires. Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of forest and brush fires for the West Coast. This may eventually cause massive changes to our landscape in terms of types of trees and shrubs that grow. The potential for devastating fires is a grave concern to all living things in or near wilderness areas.
Postmodern Winemakingby Clark Smith
Most but not all contemporary white wines focus on freshness and purity rather than embracing aromatic integration through refined structure, soulfulness and graceful longevity.
I love modern Mosel wines so much that I cannot keep them in my cellar. I buy them, I drink them. But I believe there is an aesthetic difference between the beauty of these wines and the profundity of great Cabernet. Would you rather have lunch with actress Angelina Jolie or philosopher Bertrand Russell?Some inventive winemakers are tinkering with clay fermentation vessels in the United States, but the first clay jar wines from Italy and Georgia embodied a different style that could take 10 years to reach maturity.
It’s time for me to confess that white wine can deliver profundity and age-worthiness—and before modern styles emerged in the 1960s, that’s what most serious white wine was up to.
I find it useful to divide white winemaking into four distinct style categories, each with its own approach and goals.
Inquiring Winemakerby Tim Patterson
WARNING: This column, normally about winemaking topics, is entirely devoted to grapegrowing. Worse, it makes fun of several long-cherished beliefs about grapes and their contribution to wine. But at least I do quote Glenn McGourty, another writer for this magazine and someone who actually does know a lot about grapes, to help with the demolition.READ MORESEE EARLIER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN
Marketing Mattersby Dixie Lee Huey
There have been some particularly hot challenge topics in the industry during the past few years—distributor consolidation, price pressure, brand proliferation and, of course, the economy. These trends and the down part of the economic cycle are real, and in an acute way they necessitate a focus on marketing-driven sales strategies.READ MORESEE EARLIER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN
Raising the Barby Lesley Berglund
The term "brand" is defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA) as "a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers." It sounds straightforward enough, so what's all the fuss about?
In recent years there have been several significant sales of equity stakes in wineries (like Duckhorn, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Rosenblum, to name just a few) at prices most likely far in excess of their book value. These breathtaking valuations were probably based largely on the power of the brands being acquired.READ MORESEE EARLIER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN