Commentary from Wines & Vines Editorial Staff
 
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Editor's Letter

by Jim Gordon
 

Everything From Finance to Seed Tannin

 
 

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.

 
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Vineyard View

by Cliff Ohmart
 

What is the National Grape and Wine Initiative?

 
 

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?

 
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Viewpoint

by Anna Katharine Mansfield
 

Cool-Climate Growers and Winemakers Need a Big Toolbox

 
 

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.

 
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Grounded Grapegrowing

by Glenn McGourty
 

Where There's Fire, There's Smoke  Access to this article requires a subsciption.

 
 

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.

 
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Postmodern Winemaking

by Clark Smith
 

Four Ways to Make White Wine  Access to this article requires a subsciption.

 
 

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?

Clay jar fermentation
 
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.

 
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Inquiring Winemaker

by Tim Patterson
 

In Search of Grapevines and Terroir  Access to this article requires a subsciption.

 
 

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.

    HIGHLIGHTS
     

     
  • If the concept of terroir contains a kernel of truth, then the real role of grapevines in expressing a sense of place deserves a closer look.
     
  • The author asked noted international viticulturists to answer four questions about terroir.
 
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Marketing Matters

by Dixie Lee Huey
 

Managing Direct Consumer Sales  Access to this article requires a subsciption.

 
 

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.

 
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Raising the Bar

by Lesley Berglund
 

Leveraging Your Brand From the Inside Out  Access to this article requires a subsciption.

 
 
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.

    HIGHLIGHTS
     

     
  • What you and your team think of as your brand story may not be the message that your customers perceive.
     
  • Ask neighbors, buyers and members of your team for their gut reaction to your brand: If these reactions are significantly different, it's time to re-align.
 
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