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Speakers See Sunny Outlook

November 2007
by Jim Gordon
2007 Wine Industry Financial Symposium
Carol Collison, Bank of the West, and Jim Verhey, Silverado WineGrowers.
2007 Wine Industry Financial Symposium
Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson and Avi Gallant of Huneeus Vintners.
Napa, Calif. -- Bill Turrentine, president of Turrentine Brokerage in Novato, Calif., told attendees at the Wine Industry Financial Symposium on Sept. 18, "We can expect some pretty exciting times in the wine business, and for once it's going to be in an overall positive direction."
2007 Wine Industry Financial Symposium
Broker Bill Turrentine saw increasing demand and a "positive direction."
2007 Wine Industry Financial Symposium
David Biggar of Vintage Point, a new luxury wine services company.
2007 Wine Industry Financial Symposium
Chris Indelicato related how his family stayed competitive for 80 years.
Very little planted but non-bearing acreage of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Syrah, combined with increasing demand, mean that "Merlot could go into shortage very quickly, and Chardonnay, too," Turrentine said. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah may also move into shortage soon.

By contrast, growers are increasing plantings of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris at a more rapid pace, and wineries are willing to contract with growers to plant them, Turrentine said.

2007 Wine Industry Financial Symposium
Vintner Kent Rosenblum with Peter Sitov of Union Bank of California.
Photos: Kent Hanson
Another prognosticator at the 16th annual event was Robert Smiley, professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. His department's annual survey showed a big split: 80% of winery respondents said they expect to be more profitable in 2007, while only 40% of vineyard respondents agreed.

The two-day conference also included panel discussions on determining a brand's value and sustaining luxury brands, along with an update on winery and vineyard investments by Tony Correia, among many other programs.
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