Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
 

Editor's Letter

 

Top 10 Stories of the Year

December 2010
 
by Jim Gordon
 
 

What news stories were most on the minds of North American winemakers and grapegrowers in 2010? Certainly the economy and the dramatic weather conditions during the growing season were big topics. What else caught our attention and yours during the year that’s now almost finished?

I looked through 12 issues of Wines & Vines in print and reviewed our major website headlines throughout the year. I ranked the big stories by weighing their overall importance and relevance to our readership. Some were of immediate concern. Other stories arose in 2010 but loom as potentially bigger challenges in the future.

1. The economy
Although economists determined that the U.S. recession ended in June 2009, many vintners will swear that it continues. True, consumers bought wine, but they also searched for values as never before. Vintners making wines in the $40-and-up range may have suffered the most as on-premise sales stayed way down in dollar terms and bank loans remained hard to get.

2. Bankruptcies and sales
A dramatic number of winery bankruptcies, distress sales and strategic restructures occurred in 2010, from the closure of Novato, Calif.’s small Starry Night Winery, which also housed five other wine companies, to the high-profile sale by Diageo of two Napa Valley properties, Sterling Vineyards and Beaulieu Vineyard. Diageo keeps the brands, grapes and inventory and leases back the facilities.

3. Wine sales improved
Plenty of positive wine sales news broke in 2010, however. Sales of $20-plus wines in major food and drug stores rose 22%. Further, the new Wines & Vines/ShipCompliant DtC Shipment Model showed direct-to-consumer shipments up a whopping 20% in October over a year earlier.

4. Long, cool summer
Those critics who lament the big style of California wine should be very happy when the 2010 vintage comes to market. It may be positively European in style. The West Coast growing season was very long and cool, bookended by lots of rain in spring and again in fall during harvest. Hillside Cabernet didn’t pass 22° Brix in parts of Napa Valley until Nov. 1. Growers had to fight off mildew, rot and a freakish bout of sunburn along the way. The many who were proactive expect to make excellent wines.

5. Hot, dry summer
Almost exactly the opposite scenario unfolded in much of eastern North America. Grapegrowers hailed a relatively dry, hot summer that ripened grapes to higher than usual levels at unusually early dates. New York’s Finger Lakes recorded the warmest season in 38 years. Ontario growers harvested several weeks early. It was nearly too much of a good thing, as some reported berry shrivel from heat and dehydration.

6. House Resolution 5034
In Congress, the perversely named CARE Act, House Resolution 5034, threatened to roll back the direct-sales opportunities that wineries gained with the Granholm vs. Heald Supreme Court decision in 2005. Supported by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, the bill had vintners and their supporters up in arms. At press time HR 5034 had not advanced beyond a House Judiciary hearing but was likely to reappear in 2011.

7. The euro moth
The pest of the year award goes to the European grapevine moth. Technically it debuted in 2009, when a horde of the moths ruined harvest in at least one Napa Valley vineyard and threatened many others. In 2010, state and county ag officials mounted an extraordinarily successful campaign to kill, neuter or quarantine as many moths as possible.

8. Positive packaging
Packaging certainly made headlines in 2010, as sales of bag-in-box wines and aseptic packs soared. Glass closures seemed to break through to acceptance due to their many positive attributes (and a price reduction), while major glass manufacturers hit their stride with thinner, lighter bottles that save money and carbon.

9. Applied science
Wines & Vines published numerous articles about the innovative use of science to improve wine quality from the soil to the closure. On page 28 in this issue, read how geographic information systems have become affordable and important for viticulturists. A few other examples are Tonnellerie Radoux’s Oakscan technology for grading barrel staves, Francis Coppola Winery’s use of the Adams-Harbertson tannin assay to evaluate must and wine, and so on.

10. Chile’s earthquake
Why does Chile’s 8.8 earthquake last February rank as a big story in North America? Because it can and will happen here. Vintners on the West Coast should take note of the destruction to Chilean winery facilities, take stock of their own operations and consider how to protect their assets during and after a major quake.
 

 

 
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
 
SEE OTHER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN ï¿½ CURRENT COLUMN ARTICLES »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
September 2014 $575 million
5%
$7,743 million
6%
September 2013 $550 million $7,311 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
September 2014 $163 million
16%
$1,708 million
11%
September 2013 $141 million $1,538 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
September 2014 166
14%
226
18%
September 2013 145 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 10.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • November 1-2
     
    A Wine & Food Affair
     
  • November 1-2
     
    Temecula Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting
     
  • November 5
     
    Single Vineyard Night
     
  • November 5-6
     
    Southeastern United Wine & Grape Symposium
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: What's Your Winery's IP Worth? »
 
If you would like more information on this seminar please visit The Seminar Group's website....
Reader: Danielle Bingham
 
Article: DtC Is Lifeblood of Wineries, Banker Says »
 
Seems like another locical option would be to have more small niche distrbutors. Consolidation of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Wine From PD-Resistant Grapes »
 
Congratulations Andy! Lots of grapebreeders and southern growers will be looking through the catalogs. i...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: The 'Sideways' Effect »
 
Thank you for this research that confirms what many thought about the pinot noir effect....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Fine for Volunteer Labor Makes Wineries Wary »
 
This is so incredibly asinine. And my taxes go to help fund these over-reaches? No...
Reader: Philburtonj
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Compliance Assistant/S...
 Sonoma County, CA
General Administration and
 Sales Support Administ...
 Novato, CA
General Administration and
 Ranch Leader 3 - Napa ...
 Healdsburg, CA
Vineyards
 Assistant Store Manage...
 New York, NY
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Associate...
 Sebastopol, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Assistant Tasting Room...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Jr. Network Administra...
 St. Helena, CA
General Administration and
 Tasting Room And Wine ...
 Sonoma County, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room/Hospitali...
 Rutherford, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Cellar Worker
 Healdsburg, CA
Winemaking and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.