Wines & Vines Home
Welcome Guest
December 2012 Issue of Wines & Vines

Navigating the New Normal

Symposium to address promise of 2012 vintage and challenges of a global economy

by Andrew Adams

    Reduced rates for early registration are available through Jan. 22. To register, visit or call (888) 559-9530 between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time. Registration costs are as follows:

    Three-day registration
    (Includes Tuesday-Thursday sessions, Spanish session and Wednesday-Thursday exhibits.)
    ASEV member/CAWG member/exhibitor: through Jan. 22, $299;
    after Jan. 22, $499
    ASEV industrial affiliate: $299, $499
    ASEV student member: $50, $250
    Non-member: $489, $689

    One-day registration
    (Includes your choice of Tuesday sessions and Wednesday exhibits, Wednesday
    sessions and Wednesday exhibits, or
    Thursday sessions and Thursday exhibits.)
    Note: Registration for Thursday includes the Spanish session.
    ASEV member/CAWG member/exhibitor: before Jan. 22, $199; after Jan. 22, $399
    ASEV industrial affiliate: $199, $399
    Non-member: $249, $449
    Exhibits only
    (Wednesday and Thursday)
    Note: Three-day or one-day registration is not required.
    ASEV/CAWG member, non-member: $30, $60

    Spanish session only
    (Includes Wednesday & Thursday exhibits)
    Note: Three-day or one-day registration is not required. All attendees $55
Even after a mild and generous growing season across most of North America, there’s always something to furrow the brow of a winemaker or grapegrower. The Spanish economy, for example; or deciding when to replant—and with what varieties; or determining the right amount of time to spend on Twitter.

The excellent 2012 harvest and the uncertainties of doing business in the new, global economy will provide plenty of substance for this year’s Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, to be held Jan. 29-31 at the Sacramento Convention Center. The American Society for Enology and Viticulture and the California Association of Winegrape Growers present the symposium.

The opening general session Jan. 29 will explore how the global wine market affects U.S. production. Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, once again chaired the program development committee for Unified. “We knew we were in a time of both rapid change and, in the case of the world economy, some uncertainty,” he said.

In general, most in the industry seem to have a shared sense of optimism since early 2012, and “that certainly is a pleasant change,” Frey said. But while conditions may have been rosy in California and most other growing regions this past vintage, Frey said those in the wine industry should be mindful of what happens to the economy in Europe and how that affects currency values. “Ultimately, the European economic situation continues to be a concern. How currency values are going to change, the poor crop in Europe, those are the areas that we’re trying to get some insight on.”

Also, as costs have risen, Frey said wineries might need to start raising prices—something that could come as a shock for consumers who have grown used to buying wine at recession prices. “That’s an issue that’s important to the industry,” he said.

Planting and replanting
The current short bulk market also has many growers and wineries thinking about or actually planting new vineyards. Brad Goehring, owner of Goehring Vineyards Inc. in Clements, Calif., is participating in a Jan. 30 panel session about planting and replanting vineyards.

Goehring owns 400 acres of vineyards but works with more than 10,000 acres spread across 11 counties in California. He is still working on some of the issues to be discussed during the session, but he said in general there’s been a “huge uptick” in demand for planting vines.

What is getting planted, however, depends on the region. “It’s been a mix of just about everything.” he said.

Goehring said he hasn’t seen growers in a rush to match consumer demand; instead, he said growers are better advised to find a winery partner to shoulder the cost of developing a vineyard while still keeping an eye on the market. “The most important thing is for a winery to give you a pre-plant contract,” he said.

If growers can stay tuned in to what the market is doing, it may be easier to find a willing winery partner. “The first half of the strategy is reactive,” Goehring said, “and the other half is proactive.”

Another issue of concern for Goehring is labor and the competition for open ground. He said a lack of available labor might lead more growers to replant with a trellis system that works with mechanization, and that move could influence which wineries are willing to work with them.

Competing for open land
Simply finding a place to plant vines may be an even bigger challenge. Goehring said that the last time the industry faced a shortage there was little demand from other crops. Today, winegrapes aren’t the only profitable crop. “What that means is we’re competing to purchase more open land,” he said.

The result, Goehring said, is that California likely won’t see balance in the winegrape market for another five years. “That’s also a good thing, too, because farmers have a history of going out and overplanting certain commodities that are profitable, and that ruins the market.”

The symposium will follow the same track as in previous years, Frey said. The general sessions in the morning will cover major topics of the wine business, and afternoon sessions will look in detail at topics that relate back to the general sessions. “That’s an ongoing theme in trying to ultimately take something home following the conference,” he said.

This year, the symposium will open with a general session focusing on how the global market can affect U.S. wine production.

The short supply of Cal ifornian bulk wine was a major topic at the 2012 Unified session; how the industry reacted to that shortage will be a subject for the Jan. 29 session. Mike Drobnick, senior vice president for bulk wine sales at O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, will moderate the panel that includes Kym Anderson, a professor of economics with the University of Adelaide; Stephen Rannekleiv, the executive director of Rabobank’s food and agribusiness research department; Mike Veseth, author of The Wine Economist blog and professor at the University of Puget Sound in Washington; and Santiago Achurra, president of Viña Requingua in Chile.

State of the industry
On Jan. 30, Veseth will moderate the “State of the Industry” session, which explores “the market dynamics of the past year” as well as the “trends that will define the year ahead.” North America’s largest wine industry trade show runs concurrently with educational sessions Jan. 30-31.

Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers; Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates; Charles Gill with Wine Metrics and Glenn Proctor of the Ciatti Co. will offer their thoughts about the current state of the U.S. wine business.

The general session Jan. 31 will examine consumer trends driving the industry. Some of the topics to be examined include the continuing popularity of Moscato and red blends, tracking consumer decisions and sales trends for both on- and off-premise sales. Rebecca Bleibaum, vice president of sales and research for consumer analysis company Tragon, will speak on the panel with Christian Miller of Wine Opinions.

The Spanish-language winemaking and grapegrowing sessions have been combined into one general session on the morning of Jan. 31. This year a panel of experts will discuss general industry trends as well as consumer preferences before leading a discussion about growing and producing three white varietal wines: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño. The session will end with a tasting. Amelia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards will moderate the discussion between Eva Bertran of Gloria Ferrer, Markus Bokisch of Bokisch Vineyards and Israel Zenteno, winemaker at Monte Xanic winery in Mexico.

For a complete daily schedule of the symposium, visit

Print this page   PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION   »
E-mail this article   E-MAIL THIS ARTICLE   »
Currently no comments posted for this article.

Wines & Vines Home
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
Wine Industry Metrics
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
February 2015 $643 million
$7,954 million
February 2014 $601 million $7,560 million
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
February 2015 $132 million
$1,823 million
February 2014 $126 million $1,598 million
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
February 2015 275
February 2014 219 206
MORE » Released on 03.13.2015
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
Download full report »

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
Search the PWV archive »

  • March 31
    Wine Market Council Consumer Research Conference
  • April 17
    Newsom Grape Day
  • April 17-19
    Earth Day Food & Wine Festival
  • April 21
    Ahead of the Curve
  • MORE »

Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
When I see 'Napa Valley'on a wine label, it doesn't only suggest the flavors I...
Reader: Guest
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
I should be able to live in MA, buy Napa, CA grapes, truck them across...
Reader: Guest
Article: The Stark Disparity in Critical Tastes »
The disparity is all well and good for consumers. More opinions and a kind of...
Reader: Guest
Article: Commercial Teaching Winery for the Midwest »
Please visit for more information about the program.
Reader: Guest

Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
Advanced Search »
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
Wines & Vines Magazine
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
Latest Job Listings
 Laffort St Helena Stor...
 St Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Regional Sales Directo...
 Oakville, ON
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Management Admin...
 Benicia, CA
General Administration and
 Continuous Improvement...
 Benicia, CA
General Administration and
 Siop Analyst
 Benicia, CA
General Administration and
 West Region Manager
 Sebastopol, CA
Sales and Marketing
 State Wine Manager Ct ...
 Boston, MA
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Associate
 Woodinville, WA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Hospitality Specialist
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 2015 Harvest Intern
 Santa Rosa, CA
Cellar, Lab 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 © 2001-2015 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.