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Sonoma County Winegrowers to Launch U.S. Wine Industry’s First Innovation Accelerator

in People

SANTA ROSA, Calif.Jan. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Due to the ongoing pandemic, Sonoma County winegrowers gathered around their laptops and computer screens to review the organization’s efforts last year and learn about the future direction from the Sonoma County Winegrowers’ president, Karissa Kruse, as the 30th annual Dollars and $ense Seminar and Trade Show went virtual for the first time Thursday morning. Additional speakers included Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor from Food & Wine magazine; Glenn Proctor from Ciatti Co.; Danny Brager, Brager Beverage Alcohol Consulting; Peggy Gsell, of Nielsen and several breakout session speakers.

In recent years, this event has generated significant wine industry news and the 2021 meeting did not disappoint.  Kruse used this year’s forum to announce that the organization will be establishing the nation’s first innovation accelerator for the wine industry to encourage, collaborate and assist in the development and creation of both short-term and long-term vineyard resiliency solutions.

Known as Sonoma VITS (Vineyard Innovation Through Science), this effort builds upon the reputation of Sonoma County Winegrowers as a global leader in sustainability and climate adaptation while meeting the objectives of the industry’s 100-year business plan to preserve local agriculture. Sonoma County is the nation’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region and Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) is the exclusive participant in the California Land Stewardship’s Climate Adaptation Certification Program which is the world’s first program of its kind for agriculture.

Continue Reading on Cision PR News

Napa’s Wineshipping inks pick-your-delivery-date tech deal; other North Bay business news

in Business

Wineshipping in Napa and Commerce7 in British Columbia have announced a new partnership in the form of an application programming interface, or API, which empowers end customers to choose their own delivery dates. Wineshipping is a direct-to-consumer company, and Commerce7 operates a direct-to-consumer platform.

The announcement touted the partnership as one that will result in reduced failed delivery attempts and returns, saving wineries considerable cost and provides customers with a better shopping experience.

“The majority of returns are the result of failed delivery attempts, costing wineries and their clients huge amounts of money. Estimated delivery date is a feature the industry has been wanting for a long time,” says Wineshipping CEO Eric Lewis. “This partnership broadens our API ecosystems even further and is just one of many new tools we’re excited to roll out.”

Continue Reading on North Bay Business Journal

How California Pinot Noir Became a Global Phenomenon

in Business

Paul Sloan first fell in love with Pinot Noir as a busboy. It deepened in the early 1990s, when he was an assistant wine buyer at John Ash & Co. restaurant in Santa Rosa, California.

It was there that Sloan tasted the classics of California Pinot: CaleraJoseph SwanWilliams-SelyemDehlinger and Mount Eden, all passion projects devoted to small-production wines of place, with Burgundy as inspiration.

But when a customer invited Sloan to take a taste of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, considered among the finest Burgundian wines, he decided to make Pinot Noir his life’s work.

“Pinot is the best wine I’ve ever tasted, and also the worst wine,” says Sloan. “There’s not this great middle ground. The iconic California classics aged beautifully and went well with food, but what I noticed about the great French wines from Burgundy was a difference in concentration. The best wines had better concentration.”

Continue Reading on Wine Enthusiast

Fires give wineries, hotels another challenge as summer winds down

in Business/News

In recent years, when wildfire smoke choked the air in Sonoma County, Clay Mauritson, co-owner of Mauritson Wines in the Dry Creek Valley, would close the winery’s outdoor patio and only host visitors inside the tasting room.

This time around, however, coronavirus restrictions on indoor dining and drinking have taken that option off the table. So after the Walbridge fire erupted in the hills near Healdsburg two weeks ago, Mauritson decided to close the winery to the public until Sept. 2.

That’s meant canceled wine tasting reservations and lost revenue for the family-owned operation as it recovers from a nearly three-month, pandemic-induced shutdown that was lifted in late May.

“We’re going to roll with the punches,” Mauritson said. “That’s what the theme of this year has been.”

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Handful of Sonoma County wineries evacuate due to wildfires during harvest

in News
Erik Castro / For The Press Democrat
Erik Castro / For The Press Democrat

The North Coast wine grape harvest has been thrown into uncertainty by an unusual August combination of extreme heat, rain and lightning that ignited wildfires forcing evacuations in western Sonoma and eastern Napa counties, including some wineries that shuttered in the midst of their busiest season.

Most notably in Sonoma, global winemaker Korbel Champagne Cellars east of Guerneville was ordered to evacuate Tuesday night just as it was in the thick of harvesting grapes used in its sparkling wines. It had its first pick on Aug. 3, company spokeswoman Margie Healy said.

“We heard from our winemaker as of yesterday that this was going to be a short and very intense harvest,” Healy said.

Korbel expected to pick all of its grapes by Labor Day weekend, now those plans are on hold. Crews of pickers have left the vineyards and the winery is closed. The company employs 320 people locally.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Sonoma County wineries get advantage over breweries under California’s latest public health order

in News

When Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back business activities last week to combat a resurgence of the coronavirus, wineries ended up with an advantage over other alcohol purveyors in being allowed to continue selling wine tastings outside without having to also serve meals.

There was no such break for breweries and distilleries, under the July 13 state order that applied to Sonoma County and at least 30 other counties struggling to contain the virus. Instead, they are required to provide meals along with the beer and spirits they serve outside to customers.

With indoor service halted for at least three weeks, that has forced them to arrange for food trucks to set up on their properties or vendors to prepare box lunches and meals to sell to customers. Either action places an additional financial burden on operators of area brewpubs and distilleries and a new wrinkle for their workers.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Expanded breweries, wine tasting room openings allowed Friday

in Business/News

Sonoma County will soon resemble Wine Country again under revisions announced Wednesday to the county’s public health order that allow wineries, breweries and distilleries to reopen their tasting rooms without the requirement to serve food.

The new order, which takes effect Friday, mirrors changes in the California roadmap. It dispenses with earlier requirements that food be served at any business that wanted to offer beer or wine for sipping. The new regulation does not cover pubs or bars, which still must serve meals in conjunction with alcoholic beverages.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

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