Frost Protection and Water Conservation by adz11579


									                     The Voice of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
                                                                                                                        SPRING 2009

Frost Protection and Water Conservation                                                      In This Issue …
                    By Mark Greenspan, Advanced Viticulture                                     President’s Report. . . . . . . . . .2
                with input from Sonoma County winegrape growers                                 2009 Meeting Highlights . . . . . . . 3

                                                                                                Sonoma County Wine Stars . . . . 4
Recent winter rains have alleviated concern for early spring water
deficits in vineyards. However, shortages in public reservoir storage                           Nomination and Election . . . . . . 4
are likely to remain after this rainy season is over.                                           Up-Close with Bob Cabral . . . . . 5
                                                            Flow in the Russian River           Pruning Championship . . . . . . . . 6
                                                            may be severely limited
                                                            this summer, making it              Sonoma Summit . . . . . . . . . .7
                                                            important for vineyard
                                                                                                Marketing Update . . . . . . . . .8
                                                            owners to conserve water
                                                            this year. Consequently,            Grape Marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
                                                            it is important to minimize
                                                            the use of overhead                 Staff Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
                                                            sprinklers for frost protec-
                                                                                                2009 Grower Meetings . . . . . . . 10
                                                            tion this spring to preserve
                                                            public and private reserves         Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
                                                            for late-season irrigation.
                                                            Remember, the public is
                                                            watching us to share in
Frost protection in Russian River Valley                    water conservation.

Best management practices for frost control:
• Keep cover crops and other vegetation closely mowed to the ground. Moderate
or tall vegetation lowers vineyard temperatures at night and increases frost risk.
• Double-pruning or late pruning will retard budbreak. Conduct the final pruning
after the more apical buds have pushed.
•   Apply copper to reduce ice-nucleating bacteria.
•Use your own thermometer. Frost is very site-specific, so don’t rely on a remote
weather station or your neighbor’s thermometer. Measure well away from your
neighbor’s vineyard if it has sprinklers in operation.
• Better yet, use a bulb-type, aspirated psychrometer (wet and dry bulbs), like Psychro-
Dyne, available online ($165) at The wet bulb is very
useful. Portable electronic types are available, but are less accurate at low dew points     Steve Sangiacomo shared vineyard practices with
than are bulb-types. Sling psychrometers may also be used.                                   a group of Canadian wine writers

• Use dew point values to determine your threshold for sprinkler start-up. Use a
psychrometer and associated look-up tables, if possible. If not, using publicly-available
dew point information within your region is better than using nothing.

                                                                      Continued on page 10
PAGE 2                                                   SPRING 2009                                                 SCWC NEWSLETTER

              Vine Times:                                           President’s Report
         The Voice of the Sonoma                                                By Nick Frey
            County Winegrape
               Commission                                                     The 2008 harvest was a disappointment for many
                                                                              growers. Those who suffered frost damage were
            Editor: Larry Levine                                              most affected, but the dry spring and poor fruit
                                                                              set led to a small crop — 168,992 tons, the lowest
              Commissioners:                                                  harvest since 2005, and 30,000 tons lower than
          John Balletto (Chairman)                                            in 2007.
     Steve Sangiacomo (Vice Chairman)
                                                                              The sting of a short crop was offset, in part, by
         Richard Mounts (Secretary)
                                                                              a record average price of $2,338 per ton, a seven
        Duff Bevill (former Chairman)                                         percent increase over 2007. The $157 per ton
                 Joe Dutton                                                   increase was the largest increase of any major
                Mark Houser                                                   wine-producing crush district in California.
                Jim Murphy
                 Pete Opatz              Demand was strong for Sonoma County grapes in 2008. Supplies were tight for Pinot
                Mike Rowan               Noir and Chardonnay, and both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot prices began their
               Richard Rued              rebound after several years of declining prices.
               Rhonda Smith              Prospects look good for 2009, although the financial meltdown in September and
                                         October and the deepening recession are concerns for Sonoma County wineries trying
                                         to plan for future wine sales and grape purchases.
                 Kevin Barr
                Chris Bowen              Growers are also affected by the weakened economy. Input costs have escalated in 2008,
                   Tim Carl              and credit markets have changed. The price increases in 2008 were needed for many
               Charles Karren            growers to return to profitability. Sustainable grape production in Sonoma County
              Vicki Michalczyk           includes being economically viable, and declining grape prices since 2001 and two light
                Bill Munselle            crops in 2007 and 2008 have hurt grower incomes.
              Mark Pasternak             In addition to market challenges, growers face possible water shortages as we approach
               Brad Petersen             budbreak. Limited rainfall through January left reservoirs dry in many instances.
               Steve Thomas              Historic January low levels in Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma will likely lead to
               Wells Wagner              mandatory conservation requirements for our cities.

                President:               Growers are being asked to conserve water as well, and a group of concerned growers
                 Nick Frey               has developed suggestions to help all growers conserve water (see article on the
               707-522-5861              front page).

          Vice President Marketing       Fortunately, February and March rains have filled the soil profile before budbreak,
             & Communications:           which will allow most growers to delay irrigation. But growers will be vulnerable if frost
                 Larry Levine            returns this spring.
                707-522-5863             The drought has additional implications for landowners. The limited stream flows are
                                         impacting threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. The risk of fish kills, i.e.,
             Grower Outreach:
                                         “take” under the Endangered Species Act, due to human activities poses regulatory
         Ginger Baker, 707-522-5864      risks. Those risks have existed for several years, and a group has been working to obtain
                                         “take” protection for growers.
    Sustainable Practices Coordinator:
        Judy Tuhtan, 707-522-5862        The Salmon Coalition has been working since 2007 to develop programs to improve
                                         habitat for salmon and steelhead in our streams and to develop best management prac-
         www.        tices (BMP) for grape production that are sufficient to get incidental “take” protection
               707-522-5860              under the Endangered Species Act. This process will take time to become a reality and
                                         it will require grower support. Future newsletters will update you on any progress that
    Layout by Firefly Creative Company
                                         is made.

                                                                                                   President’s Repor t continued on page 3
SCWC NEWSLETTER                                                  SPRING 2009                                                       PAGE 3

President’s Repor t continued from page 2

Growers who are planting or replanting new vineyards over ½
acre are subject to requirements of the Grading, Drainage, and
Vineyard/Orchard Site Development Ordinance. Growers will
need to get a permit from the agricultural commissioner. Gail
Davis, 707-565-2371, should be contacted for a preliminary site
visit before development plans are created.

An overview of the ordinance requirements, prepared with input
from Gail Davis and Cort Munselle, Munselle Civil Engineering,
can be found at
There are new setback requirements from non-designated streams
and wetlands that will affect development layout and design.

The Commission hosted the first California seminar by the
Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition on Feb. 24 at               The new vintage is born in Sonoma Valley
SRJC Shone Farm. Speakers from Cal OSHA, Division of Labor
Standards Enforcement, Employment Development Department,                 Nat DiBuduo, Allied Grape Growers, highlighted the grower
and the US Wage and Hour Division provided updates on                     issues, i.e. grape supply, economic sustainability, and industry
regulations growers must comply with, including the latest heat           investment in the future.
stress requirements.
                                                                          DiBuduo said grape supplies are not likely to meet demand in
Concurrent sessions in English for vineyard owners and managers           coming years because nonbearing acreage of most grape varieties
and in Spanish for supervisors and foremen were offered.                  is below replacement, i.e., nonbearing acres are less than 5
Speakers presented useful information and answered questions              percent. The question is whether wineries will offer planting
from the audience.                                                        contracts or fulfill their needs with imported wine.
In our aim to provide growers with information needed to comply           Near-term prospects for price increases and planting contracts in
with current regulations, we plan to host the EEEC team again             Napa and Sonoma Counties are best for Chardonnay, Cabernet
next year. They provided information every grower and vineyard            Sauvignon, and perhaps Merlot! Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel
manager supervisor needs to know!                                         are in balance, although Zinfandel demand is weak. Syrah
                                                                          remains very weak. DiBuduo said there is potential for weakness
The 2009 growing season is just beginning for most growers.
                                                                          in Pinot Noir, with new plantings coming into production and
It is an exciting time. Spring rains provide optimism for a return
                                                                          higher wine prices.
to normal yields. Grape demand is good, but an uncertain
economy is a concern.                                                     The costs of production in Napa and Sonoma are squeezing
                                                                          grower profitability at today’s prices. Growers were encouraged
Grape growing is increasingly complex as growers deal with the
                                                                          to know their costs, pay themselves a wage, and add a reasonable
normal production challenges, increasing cost of inputs, new
                                                                          ROI when calculating their costs. Then look at tonnage required
regulations, and our vineyard neighbors.
                                                                          at contracted prices to assess the economic sustainability of
Your Commission is here to support you in your efforts to sustain-        the vineyard.
ably produce quality winegrapes for generations to come. Good
                                                                          DiBbuduo encouraged growers to invest in marketing their
luck to each of you in producing a successful 2009 vintage!
                                                                          grapes and in research to keep California competitive with
                                                                          foreign producers.

                                                                          Bill Turrentine, Turrentine Brokerage, identified short- and long-
           2009 Meeting Highlights                                        term trends affecting the industry. Short-term threats include
                                                                          the slowdown in restaurant and wine club sales, the threat of an
                         As reported by Nick Frey
                                                                          excise tax on wine, a liquidity challenge for growers and wineries,
The Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, Jan. 27 – 29, was the               and water supply. Long-term, an economic recovery is predicted
major industry event of the year. The major themes were industry          within 12 to 24 months.
trends in grape and wine production and sales, consumer trends
that are influencing wine sales and sustainability.                                    Meeting Highlights continued on page 11
PAGE 4                                                             SPRING 2009                                            SCWC NEWSLETTER

                                                                            There will be recognition for the 2009 Sonoma County Wine
                                                                            Stars in local and national ads, plus listings on the SCWC
                                                                            website and other Sonoma County tourism and wine websites
                                                                            with links to the restaurants and wineries.

                                                                            Listing of the current Sonoma Wine Stars can be viewed at

                s o n o m a c o u n t y
               W I N E S TA R S
                                                                                  Nomination and Election of
                                                                                 Commissioners and Alternates
         Sonoma County Winegrape                                            Nominations for commissioners and alternates to the Sonoma
                                                                            County Winegrape Commission will be received through
          Commission Searches for                                           April 30.

                                                                            Nomination forms can be obtained at
         Sonoma County Wine Stars                                           or by calling (707) 522-5864.
                           By Larry Levine
                                                                            Any person nominated or elected as a member or alternate
  The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission is looking to                      shall be a producer, or a representative of a producer, who has
  honor restaurants and wineries that are committed to support-             a financial interest in producing, or causing to be produced,
  ing the efforts of the 1,800 Sonoma County vineyard owners.               winegrapes for market. A producer must sell 25 tons or more
                                                                            of winegrapes each year.
  Created in 2007, the Sonoma County Wine Star Program was
  initially open to wineries and restaurants in Sonoma County.              All growers who sold 25 tons of grapes from the 2008 harvest
  It has been expanded to restaurants and wineries in California            are eligible to vote. Ballots with all nominees will be mailed
  and throughout the country.                                               to growers not later than May 15. Completed ballots must be
                                                                            mailed to SCWC by May 30.
  For award criteria, visit
  Deadline to enter is May 15, 2009. If you know of wineries or             Five commissioner and five alternate positions are up for elec-
  restaurants that should be recognized as Sonoma County Wine               tion. The top five vote getters will be named commissioners
  Stars, forward their names to           and the next five vote getters will be named alternates. Ballots
                                                                            will be counted by commission staff and confirmed by the Calif.
  For wineries, Sonoma County Wine Stars must display                       Dept. of Food and Agriculture. Those elected will begin their
  “Sonoma County” on the front of 95 percent of their wine                  two-year terms on July 1, 2009.
  labels in addition to American Viticulture Area (AVA)
  and/or vineyard designated wines.                                         You may nominate yourself or another grower. If you nominate
                                                                            another eligible grower, he or she must agree to serve if elected.
  For restaurants in Sonoma County, Sonoma County Wine                      Be sure to vote before the May 30 deadline!
  Stars must have 25 wines or more of which at least 50
  percent or 50 wines are Sonoma County wines on their wine                 All growers in Crush District 3 are invited to attend SCWC
  lists. Those restaurants dedicating 75 percent or 100 wines               events and programs and are eligible to serve on SCWC
  on their wine lists to Sonoma County wines will be given four-            committees. Go to for
  star recognition.                                                         the calendar of events.

  Restaurants outside Sonoma County, must have 25 Sonoma
  County wines on their wine lists to be a wine star and 50
  Sonoma County wines for four-star status.                                      “ Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried,
  New wine stars will be announced at the SCWC annual barbecue                    with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
  lunch on June 17 at the Dutton Pavilion at Shone Farms.
                                                                                                              – B enjamin Franklin, 1706-1790
SCWC NEWSLETTER                                                        SPRING 2009                                                       PAGE 5

                                                                                How do you select the growers you work with?
                                                                                Many of the growers I work with, like Joe Rochioli, were growers
                        Bob Cabral                                              for Williams-Selyem from the beginning before I was involved.
                 Winemaker/Managing Partner                                     With these growers it is my responsibility to maintain and improve
                      Williams-Selyem                                           on the relationships that were already established.
                             By Larry Levine                                    While we do not work with many new growers, when we do it
                                                                                is based on many factors: the area, the grapes, does the grower’s
                                                                                farming philosophy match our needs, and do I think we can get
                                                                                along with the grower for the long term. While it is a business,
                                                                                personal relationships are a critical piece.
                                                                                What kind of a relationship do you establish with them?
                                                                                Our relationships with our growers are based on mutual respect
                                                                                and understanding. Being a grower myself, I understand what is
                                                                                important to them and try to make sure we listen to what they
                                                                                need and support them as much as possible.
                                                                                Like any relationship, communication is the key. We need to
                                                                                work together so I get what I need to get the best grapes possible
                                                                                for our winery and they get what they need as the growers. It is a
                                                                                true partnership in every sense of the word, with both of us
Bob Cabral has been involved in growing and making wine                         working towards letting the fruit show the true expression of
professionally since 1980 and has had an interest in wine and farming           the vineyard it comes from.
since his childhood, helping his grandfather make wine in his barn.
                                                                                How often do you meet with the growers?
A fourth generation family farmer and grape grower, he took all he
                                                                                During the non-harvest times it is usually once or twice per
learned at the family farm and applied it to his studies at Fresno State
                                                                                month, depending on the grower and the location of the vine-
University, ultimately earning a master’s degree in enology.
                                                                                yard. Leading up to harvest I speak to our growers just about
In the mid 1980’s while working at a large winery south of Fresno,              every day. I really believe most of the work to make truly great
Bob knew that Sonoma County was where he could best hone his skills             wine occurs in the vineyard. It takes truly great fruit to make a
and learn to make wines that could rival the best made anywhere in              great wine.
the world.                                                                      What do you expect from the growers you work with?
He worked the next 12 vintages in various winemaking positions at               I expect good, honest communication, and mutual respect. If
DeLoach Vineyards, Kunde Estate Winery, Alderbrook Vineyards and                there is a problem or they need something, I want to know right
Hartford Court Winery. In 1998, Burt Williams recommended that                  away so I can work with them to take care of it. If things are going
Bob take over for him as winemaker at Williams-Selyem.                          well, I like to hear that too.

He just completed his 11th vintage at Williams Selyem and his wine-             Do you ever use the growers as part of your winery
making philosophy has not changed.                                              marketing program?

“The key is to respect the vineyard and respect the fruit,” Bob said.           Our growers are really part of our family here. While we don’t do
“Working with some of the best growers and vineyards in the world               much traditional marketing, we do have the growers participate
allows us to farm to the highest possible standards and provides us with        at every possible chance. During our pickup weekends here at the
the finest fruit available. That’s more than half the battle in work-           winery, we often have multiple growers here to meet the custom-
ing with Pinot Noir. Once the fruit is taken care of, then we try to            ers and pour the wine that comes from their vineyards.
intervene as little as possible. While there is no shortage of hard work        We’ve even started bringing growers with us to our sister winery
in the cellar, you must pay careful attention to detail. Great wines are        in New York, where we pour wine and meet our East Coast
really made in the vineyard. My job is to just guide it along and allow         customers. The customers always love meeting the growers
the individual vineyard to be expressed in every bottle.”                       and we believe that they help us really complete our story.
Bob, his wife Heather and daughter Paige, make their home in the                What is your favorite food and wine pairing to serve friends?
Russian River Valley.
                                                                                Abalone and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
PAGE 6                                                               SPRING 2009                                            SCWC NEWSLETTER

                                                                              The purpose of the contest was to showcase the skills of the vine-
           Fernando Gutierrez Wins                                            yard employees and to recognize that pruning is the critical start
                                                                              of the 2009 vintage year.
         10th Annual Sonoma County
                                                                              Contestants included:
            Pruning Championship
                             By Judy Tuhtan
                                                                              Russian River Valley
                                                                              1st Place
  Fernando Gutierrez                                                          Joaquin Andrade, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards
  of VinePro Vineyard                                                         2nd Place
  Management rep-                                                             Javier Lopez, Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management
  resenting Knights
                                                                              Sonoma Valley
  Valley, won first place
                                                                              1st Place
  honors at the 10th
                                                                              Manuel Chavez, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards
  annual Sonoma
                                                                              2nd Place
  County Pruning
                                                                              Adam Paz, Carneros Vineyard Management
                                                                              Dry Creek Valley
  He expertly pruned
                                                                              1st Place
  five vines, combin-
                                                                              Jaime Castro, Seghesio Family Vineyards
  ing speed and quality
                                                                              2nd Place
  work, and collected
                                                                              J. Guadalupe Madrigal, Bevill Vineyard Management
  $1,000 for his winning
  efforts. Second place                                                       Alexander Valley
  honors went to Javier                                                       1st Place
  Lopez of Valdez &                                                           Samuel Campos, Vimark Vineyards
  Sons Vineyard Man-                                                          2nd Place
  agement representing                                                        Clemente Martinez, Clendenen Vineyard Management
  Russian River Valley;
  third place went to                                                         Knights Valley
  Adam Paz of Carneros     Pruning champion Fernando Gutierrez shows his      1st Place
                           winning techniques
  Vineyard Management                                                         Salvador Gutierrez, VinePro Vineyard Management
  in Sonoma Valley; and                                                       2nd Place
  fourth place was Manuel Chavez of Sonoma-Cutrer,                            Fernando Gutierrez, VinePro Vineyard Management
  representing Sonoma Valley
                                                                              The Commission thanks all participants and sponsors in the 2009
  Approximately 250 people attended the event to cheer on the                 Pruning Championships.
  competitors at Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm.
                                                                              To view photos, visit:
  In the celebrity winemaker/vineyard management pruning            
  contest, the team from Russian River Valley beat teams from
  Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Valley and                       To view the NBC-TV “In Wine Country” segment about the
  Knights Valley.                                                             2008 contest, visit:
  “This is the biggest pruning event we have ever had,” said Nick
  Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.
  “The quality and speed of the pruning was exceptional and it was
  a great day for competitors, spectators and sponsors.”

  First and second place winners from the recent regional contests
  advanced to the Sonoma County Championship (listed to the
  right). It was produced by the Sonoma County Winegrape                                    “ Wine remains a simple thing,
  Commission (SCWC) and major sponsors included Vineyard                                       a marriage of pleasure.”
  Industry Products, American AgCredit, Chris Maloney Crop
  Insurance and VinePro Vineyard Management.                                                                   – Andre Tchelistcheff, 1901-1994
SCWC NEWSLETTER                                                   SPRING 2009                                                           PAGE 7

            Sonoma County Winegrape Growers and Vintners
                  Establish First Ever Sonoma Summit;
   36 Top Sommeliers and Wine Professionals from U.S and Japan Attend
                                                             By Larry Levine

                                                                               Also on each panel was one of the Summit sommeliers or wine
                                                                               professionals to initiate interactive discussions on how the infor-
                                                                               mation conveyed could be applied in their work.

                                                                               The Summit began with a bang with the “Alexander Valley Cab-
                                                                               ernet Sauvignon Smack Down,” featuring a blind tasting of eight
                                                                               Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignons with four Cabernets from
                                                                               the Napa Valley.

                                                                               “This was not meant to be a competitive tasting,” Goldstein said.
                                                                               “Rather it was an exploration of two top regions and the styles of
                                                                               wines made in each.”

                                                                               Master of Wine Sandy Block, vice president of beverage opera-
A tasting of Pinot Noirs at DeLoach Winery                                     tions for Boston’s Legal Seafoods said, “I was pleasantly surprised
                                                                               with the concentration and structure of the Alexander Valley
                                                                               wines. In the past they were lighter wines — now they stand on
From the highly regarded Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of the
                                                                               their own.”
Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast, to the dense flavor-
ful Zinfandels of Dry Creek Valley, to the elegant Cabernets of                Other seminars included: Dry Creek Valley’s Sauvignon Blancs
Alexander Valley, 36 noted sommeliers from the United States                   and Zinfandels; 2008 Harvest Report and “Best of the Boutiques
and Japan went on a Sonoma County journey at the inaugural                     Tasting;” Chardonnays from Across Sonoma Valley, Bennett
Sonoma Summit Nov. 11 – 12.                                                    Valley and Carneros; High Altitude Merlots; Russian River
                                                                               Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir — A View Through Two
During the immersion sessions, attendees explored many of
                                                                               Vineyards in Russian River Valley; and the Sonoma Coast Wine
Sonoma County’s 13 different AVAs (American Viticulture
                                                                               & Food Seminar featuring Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
Areas) and learned about growing grapes in the various regions
while tasting a huge selection of world-class wines.                           As a fun intermezzo between the seminars, meals and tasting of
                                                                               more than 100 Sonoma County wines, there was the Sonoma
Sonoma Summit was produced by the Sonoma County Wine-
                                                                               Summit Iron Sommelier Challenge. The attendees were broken
grape Commission and Sonoma County Vintners with financial
                                                                               into four teams and were given three wines from three different
support from Southern Wines and Spirits.
                                                                               AVA — 12 in all. They then had to create and prepare a dish for
“This was a revelation for me,” said Jean-Raphael Felus, the                   each wine using ingredients from an open marketplace.
French-born food and beverage director in charge of 20 Inter-
                                                                               Each group had a cooking area and a culinary professional
Continental Hotel properties in Japan. “I didn’t realize the size
                                                                               to assist them. During the preparation time, Goldstein had a
and diversity of Sonoma County with its valleys, mountain
                                                                               running commentary with the Food Network’s “Glutton for
ranges, Russian River and the Pacific Ocean. I have been exposed
                                                                               Punishment” star Bob Blumer.
to Sonoma on this trip and like what I saw.”
                                                                               Overall, Goldstein felt that the Sonoma Summit was, “a great
Sonoma Summit’s seminars were developed by Full Circle Wine
                                                                               opportunity for a small group of important sommeliers, wine
Solutions, Inc., under the expert direction of Master Sommelier
                                                                               buyers and wine industry influentials to open their eyes to the
Evan Goldstein and his partner and wine industry marketing
                                                                               breadth and diversity of high-quality wines that makes Sonoma
veteran Limeng Stroh. Together they created a very ambitious
                                                                               County so special.”
and high-energy series of themed panels that included many of
Sonoma County’s most articulate and experienced winegrape
growers and vintners.
                                                                                                                               Continued on page 12
PAGE 8                                                             SPRING 2009                                            SCWC NEWSLETTER

                                                                            5. Print Piece Update: The Sonoma County Grape Camp
                 Marketing Update                                           brochure is now completed. This year we partnered with the
                           By Larry Levine                                  Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, which will use the Grape Camp
                                                                            concept for bringing in corporate and consumer groups into the
                                  The Commision entered 2009                area throughout of the year, not just during harvest.
                                  with even greater dedication
                                  to increase the value of Sonoma           6. Event Update:
                                  County grapes for growers,
                                  your winery customers and                 • Sonoma in the City, Austin, May 19 and Chicago June 2:
                                  their consumers.                          Featuring an extensive Sonoma County and AVA tasting for top
                                                                            media and trade, a seminar program with both growers and vint-
                                  Marketing investments are                 ners and a tasting from more than 25 Sonoma County wineries.
                                  often cut in response to a poor           It is sponsored by the Sonoma County Vintners, the Commission
                                  economy, but your assessment              and several AVA groups.
                                  dollars are allowing us to main-
                                  tain marketing programs in spite          • 2009 Wine Bloggers Conference, Sonoma County (July 24 – 26):
                                  of a small harvest in 2008.               The Commission will again be a sponsor of this important new
                                                                            media conference. We were very instrumental in keeping the
                                  Sonoma County is positioned to            conference in Sonoma County.
                                  grow its market share during this
  market downturn and ultimate recovery by continuing marketing             • San Francisco Food & Wine Festival, San Francisco Union
  programs that build value for Sonoma County grapes and wines.             Square (Aug. 6 – 9): SCWC will partner with the Sonoma
                                                                            County Vintners and AVAs for tastings with both growers and
  Few wine regions are better positioned than Sonoma County                 vintners. Sonoma County will be featured in this new event as
  to sustain our positive marketing momentum during this difficult          a result of the SCV’s partnership with Visa Signature.
  economic environment. Here are some of the programs we
                                                                            • Russian River Pinot Forum, Russian River Valley (August
  have planned:
                                                                            9 – 11): SCWC will again sponsor this event and provide overall
  1. Website Upgrades and Redesign: We are continuing to up-                Sonoma County vineyard and wine information at both seminars
  grade the Commission website to make it a hub for information             and in conference reference materials to 60 top sommeliers that
  for growers, vintners and consumers. Please contact the Commis-           attend this annual event.
  sion with any thoughts on how we can better serve your needs.
                                                                            • The Sonoma County Wine Country Weekend (Sept. 4 – 6):
  2. Sonoma County Winegrape Commission Grape Trade                         will be bigger and better than ever with the Sonoma County
  Publication Ads: The trade ad campaign directed at winemakers             Showcase and Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction again join-
  and grape buyers was launched in January. It features the Com-            ing forces for a Labor Day weekend extravanganza. On Saturday,
  mission’s web Grape Marketplace. We also recently sent a direct           we will again host a “Grower’s Crush Pad” at MacMurray Ranch
  mail piece to California grape buyers about the Marketplace.              and offer vineyard tours.

  3. Consumer Outreach: The Commission is partnering again                  • Sonoma County Grape Camp Promotion (Sept. 21 – 23): will
  this year with the Russian River Valley AVA with a five-ad                be even better than last year and is almost half full with camp-
  program (two pages each) in Food and Wine Magazine. As part               ers already. Selected top media will be invited to experience the
  of this promotion, we will also represent Sonoma County at the            Sonoma County harvest and share it with consumers around the
  prestigious Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival in April and              world. For information go to
  the Aspen Food and Wine Festival in June.
                                                                            • Sonoma Summit, Sonoma County (Nov. 11 – 13): This top na-
  4. Sonoma County Wine Stars: Our program to recognize and                 tional sommelier and retail program hosted by Master Sommelier
  thank restaurants and wineries that feature Sonoma County                 Evan Goldstein and produced by the Commission and Vintners
  Wines on their wine lists or wine labels is a big success. Both           was such a big success that we will do it again this year. For a
  the restaurants and the wineries are excited about the program            report from last year, see page 7.
  and many are proudly displaying their Sonoma County Wine
  Star plaques in their establishments. We successfully expanded            Additionally SCWC will be involved in several AVA-sponsored
  the program in 2008 and increased the number of wineries and              events that the Commission supports with the Sonoma County
  restaurants in the Bay Area and Sacramento. This year we will             Cooperative Marketing Program for AVAs.
  go national. The new wine stars will be announced at the annual
  Commission’s BBQ & Tradeshow on June 17.
SCWC NEWSLETTER                                                 SPRING 2009                                                         PAGE 9

      Sonoma County Winegrape                                                                   Staff Corner
                                                                                                   Larry N. Levine
    Commission – Grape Marketplace                                               Vice President of Marketing and Communications
                          By Ginger Baker

Enhancements have been made to the Grape Marketplace:

•  Growers will be notified by email 10 days before a marketplace
listing will be removed. Growers have the option to renew their
                                                                         Larry grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.
grape marketplace listing if grapes have not been sold.
                                                                         He moved to Santa Rosa in 1995. Prior to joining the Commis-
•Growers can post grapes for sale on Sonoma County Winegrape             sion staff, he was public relations and marketing manager
Marketplace and their ads will also appear on Wine Business              at Schramsberg Vineyards in the Napa Valley and the former
Monthly grapes for sale listings.                                        owner of the award-winning food, restaurant and beverage
                                                                         specialty firm, Levine Group Public Relations since 1988.
•Grower Profiles are located at and can                Four years ago, he closed his agency to follow his dream of
now be linked to your user profile.                                      working hands-on in his favorite industry, the wine business.

SCWC Grape Marketplace “Need Grapes” postcard has been                   At Levine Group Public Relations, Larry worked on such
sent to wineries in Sonoma County and surrounding areas                  accounts as La Toque restaurant in Napa, Mixx restaurant in
directing grape buyers to our website.                                   Santa Rosa, San Pellegrino and Perrier Spring Waters, Radisson
                                                                         Hotels, Chocolates a la Carte, Lawry’s Restaurants, The James
SCWC advertising campaign for the Grape Marketplace will
                                                                         Beard Foundation, The U.S. World Cup Pastry Team and the
continue to be published in trade magazines; Vineyard & Winery
                                                                         Italian Trade Commission of New York.
Management, Wines & Vines, Practical Winery & Vineyard and
Wine Business Monthly.
                                                                         Prior to developing his own company, Levine spent five years at
SCWC encourages growers and wineries to post grapes for sale             Lee & Associates, a pioneer food and beverage public relations
or grapes wanted.                                                        and advertising firm in Los Angeles. Earlier in his career, he sold
                                                                         wine in fine wine stores and for an importer/distributor in Los
Look for information sheets and ask questions regarding this             Angeles. He also was a freelance wine and food writer and hosted
valuable tool at your next SCWC event.                                   a wine radio show on NPR in Los Angeles.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact                 A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of U.C.L.A. in political science, Larry or call (707) 522-5864.                         lives in Santa Rosa, with his Dutch wife, Sippy, and 19-year-old
                                                                         daughter Freesia now attending Barnard College at Columbia
SCWC will continue to make enhancements to the Grape
                                                                         University. He enjoys dining in small ethnic restaurants, drinking
Marketplace. We welcome any feedback that you may have
                                                                         delicious wines, playing golf, tennis and gardening in his backyard.
regarding your experience when using it.
PAGE 10                                                            SPRING 2009                                                                SCWC NEWSLETTER

          The Organic Producers Group                                                        PCA Breakfast Meetings
                                                                            PCA, QAL, or PA, or those of you who are making vineyard
                                                                            pest management decisions are invited to attend PCA Breakfast
                                                                            meetings the first Tuesday of each month at Star Town Restau-
                                                                            rant in Windsor to discuss current pest and disease pressures
                                                                            and management strategies. Laura Breyer, Breyer IPM Vineyard
                                                                            Service, leads the group discussions.

                                                                            April 7: Shoot Blight, Early Mites, Sharpshooter trapping,
                                                                            Weeds, and Laws and Regulations update by Sonoma County
                                                                            Agriculture Commissioner’s staff. One hour of CEU is available.

     A barn owl is used for gopher management                               Please see meeting schedules and locations at
                                                                   for 2009 if you are interested
                                                                            in attending any of these meetings. CEUs are available. If you
  The Organic Producers Group has informal meetings focused on
                                                                            want to be on the e-mail list to receive monthly meeting
  organic grape growing education and grower-to-grower exchange
                                                                            reminders, please email: or call Judy
  of ideas and practical information.
                                                                            at (707) 522-5862.
  The meetings are held at different organic growers’ vineyards
                                                                            Contact information: Nick Frey, 707-522-5861,
  throughout the county. The meeting format includes a talk by
  the host about the vineyard site with its particular successes and
  challenges, followed by a general discussion on specific topics
  such as mildew, and other items brought up by the group.

  Growers interested in organic production or in learning specific
  organic production practices are invited. Demonstrations of new
  and interesting products are often a part of the programs which
  are followed by lunch.                                                    Frost Protection continued from page 1

  2009 Organic Producers Meeting                                            •Guidelines1:
                                                                            These apply only when frost is predicted. Turn off sprinklers
  Fourth Wednesday of Month, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.                           when air temperatures rise back to 34°F, ice is melted, or wet
  April 22:      Kiger Family Vineyards                                     bulb temperature exceeds 32°F:
                 Hosts: John & Deb Kiger                                             • Dew point greater than 35°F: Little chance of frost damage2
                 282 Somerville Rd, Santa Rosa                                       • Dew point of 24°F or higher: Turn on sprinklers at 34°F
                 Demo: Segway – off road                                               air temp.
                                                                                     • Dew point between 20 and 23°F: Turn on sprinklers at
  May 27:        Forth Vineyards
                 Hosts: Gerry & Jann Forth                                             35°F air temp.
                                                                                     • Dew point of 19°F or lower: Turn on sprinklers at 36°F
                 2335 W. Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg
                                                                                       air temp.
  June 24:       Hawley Vineyard
                 Host: John Hawley & Sons                                   •If using a wet-bulb device, frost control must be active for wet
                 6387 W. Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg                           bulb temperatures of 32°F or lower.
  July 22:       Medlock-Ames Winery                                        • Wet soil surfaces conduct and store heat better than dry ones.
                 Host: Ames Morison                                         If soil dries out by late spring and frost is forecast, periodic, brief
                 13414 Chalk Hill Rd, Geyserville                           irrigations (1-2 gallons per vine) may help.
  Reservations requested to
  or fax: (707) 522-5862                                                    • Use wind machines to assist in frost control, where available
                                                                            and applicable.
  Check the SCWC website calendar at for more events                             1
                                                                                Snyder, R. (2000) Principles of Frost Protection. University of California Regents.
  and information.                                                          2
                                                                                Glen McGourty, Oral presentation. UC Cooperative Extension.
SCWC NEWSLETTER                                                   SPRING 2009                                                          PAGE 11

 2009 PEST MANAGEMENT MEETINGS                                                  Meeting Highlights continued from page 3

 IPM Grower Appellation Meetings                                                Millennials like wine and they can expand consumption for years
                                                                                to come. The Millennial generation numbers 70 million, and 23
                                                                                million are not yet 21 years old. Turrentine reported that global
                                                                                supply and demand are in reasonable balance today. The one
                                                                                exception is Australia with oversupplies of Chardonnay, Shiraz,
                                                                                Cabernet and Merlot, and the 2009 crop will add to the excess.

                                                                                Bulk wine supplies from Sonoma County are limited, with
                                                                                shortages likely in Chardonnay going forward. Bulk supplies of
                                                                                Pinot Noir are increasing, and higher priced lots are not moving.
                                                                                Demand for Pinot Noir is becoming price sensitive. Large
                                                                                acreages of Pinot Noir from warmer regions are lower priced and
                                                                                may fill the gap in the market for other red wines that are likely
                                                                                to be in short supply. (There are approximately 3,700 acres of
      IPM meeting at Laguna Ranch in Russian River Valley
                                                                                Pinot Noir planted in the interior of California.)

Have you ever attended an Integrated Pest Management                            Jon Fredrikson, Gomberg-Fredrikson and Associates, reported
(IPM) Grower Appellation Meeting? The meetings are a                            California wine shipments increased two percent or 3.9 million
great way to learn from other growers and to share your pest                    cases in 2008. Import case sales declined 2.7 percent, but bulk
management experiences.                                                         imports increased 2.9 percent. Future growth in wine sales is at
                                                                                risk due to the recession.
What pest management strategies have you tried that reduced
risks and worked? What has failed? Come, share, learn and get                   Restaurant sales declined dramatically in November and were
CEU credits.                                                                    estimated to be down 10-12 percent for the year. This decline is
                                                                                especially worrisome for Sonoma County wines since restaurants
The SCWC IPM Grower Appellation Meetings are held in the                        are a major outlet for high-end wines, i.e. wines over $20 per
second week of the month from April – July. Be sure to bring a                  bottle that saw a sales decrease in the last quarter of 2008.
grower neighbor!
                                                                                Wine club sales, which are critical to many local wineries’ profits,
2009 IPM Grower Appellation Meeting Schedule:                                   have also been affected by the weakened economy. Wine sales
Russian River Valley: Host: Dennis Devitt, Laguna Ranch,                        volume is holding up, but there is a clear shift to lower priced
2043 Laguna Rd, Santa Rosa, TUESDAYS, April 14, May 12,                         wines. One speaker commented that “$10 is the new $20 per
June 9, July 14 from 9 – 10:30 a.m.                                             bottle wine, and $20 is the new $100 per bottle wine.”

Sonoma Valley: Barricia Vineyards, Host: Mel & Angela                           While the recession creates a dark cloud over Sonoma County
Dagovitz, 15700 Hwy 12, Sonoma, WEDNESDAYS, April 15,                           wineries, and therefore growers, there are positive signs in the
May 13, June 10, July 15 from 9 – 10:30 a.m.                                    market. Courtney Cochran, Your Personal Sommelier, reported
                                                                                off-premise wine sales are up as more consumers eat at home and
Dry Creek Valley: Rued Vineyards, Host: Richard Rued, 3850                      enjoy wine with dinner. Also, Millenials are drinking wine in
Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, THURSDAYS April 16, May 14,                           wine bars as a cocktail. Wine marketers were challenged to bring
June 11, July 16 from 8 – 9:30 a.m.                                             wine to the table with the foods Millenials eat.

Alexander Valley: Jordan Vineyards, Host: Dana Grande, 2710                     Cochran also said the “foodie culture” that has developed will
W. Soda Rock Rd, Healdsburg, THURSDAYS, April 16, May 14,                       be good for wine sales. One in five households say they have
June 11, July 16 from 10:30 a.m. – noon                                         a gourmet cook. Those households spend 66 percent more on
                                                                                alcohol than households not claiming to have a gourmet cook.
There is no charge for any session and meetings are open to all
Sonoma & Marin County growers. No pre-registration is necessary.                John Gillespie, Wine Market Council, reported that Millenials
                                                                                were still drinking more wine in October, while older consumers
Discussion topics subject to change. 1.5 CEU will be available.                 had already reduced purchases. A Wine Opinions survey in 2007
The IPM / Organic Field Day will be Aug. 6.                                     of individuals involved in the wine trade, i.e. wholesale, retail
Contact Judy at for more info.
                                                                                Continued on page 12
PAGE 12                                                             SPRING 2009                                               SCWC NEWSLETTER

  Meeting Highlights continued from page 11                                    Sonoma Summit continued from page 7

  and restaurants, believe the wine market will grow somewhat in               Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape
  2009 (51 percent of respondents) while 31 percent feel sales will            Commission, said it was a terrific vehicle to showcase all the
  be flat. Malbec and Tempranillo are predicted to grow, along with            strengths of Sonoma County as a wine-producing region.
  Grenache. The respondents (72 percent) predict strong growth
  for screw caps as well.                                                      “We were able to put together panels with winegrape growers and
                                                                               winemakers to communicate the strong relationship that exists
  The critical opportunity is to increase market share for Sonoma              between growing great grapes and making great wines,” he said.
  County wines in the over $15 per bottle segment now and to
  position ourselves for growth as the economy rebounds.                       “We are thrilled with our first Sonoma Summit,” says Honore
                                                                               Comfort, executive director of the Sonoma County Vintners.
  Danny Brager, VP Group Client Director, Beverage Alcohol at                  “We only heard positive remarks about the Summit from the at-
  the Nielson Company, reported at a recent Wine Market Council                tendees and hope to make it an annual event.”
  presentation, that during the early 1980s’ recession, companies
  that maintained aggressive sales and marketing efforts during                All Summit seminars and events were hosted at wineries includ-
  recessions enjoyed more growth after the recession.                          ing Rodney Strong Vineyards, Clos du Bois, Ferrari-Carano
                                                                               Vineyards & Winery, Paradise Ridge Winery, Kendall-Jackson,
  Revenue growth percent in the first five years after recession was           DeLoach Vineyards and Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards.
  27.5 percent. Companies that cut sales and marketing efforts
  during recession had revenue growth of 19 percent over the same              The Sonoma Hilton was the host hotel.
  five-year period.
                                                                               Perhaps the Sonoma Summit experience was best summed up by
  The Commission will maintain its marketing efforts at current                Devon Broglie, wine and beverage buyer for Whole Food Markets
  levels and will continue to leverage grower dollars by cooperating           in the Southwest U.S. region, “It was an incredible opportunity
  with other organizations who are promoting Sonoma County and                 to discover the diversity of Sonoma County and to experience it
  its grapes and wines. Our marketing partnerships with Sonoma                 with a group of my peers. I can’t wait to convey what I learned to
  County Vintners, Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, and with our                  my Whole Foods team members and guests who shop in our stores.”
  AVAs are extending the Sonoma County brand message at this
                                                                               In 2009, the Sonoma Summit will be held in November in So-
  critical economic time.
                                                                               noma County. Mini versions will be conducted in Austin in May
                                                                               and Chicago in June.

                                       Vine Mealybug IPM for the North Coast
                                                                    By Nick Frey

  The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission received a
  grant from US EPA Region 9 to develop an Integrated Pest
  Management Program (IPM) for Vine Mealybug (VMB)
  on the North Coast. Lucia Varela, UCCE, conducted field
  research and the Commission provided grower outreach. The
  research indicated that a majority of VMB are under the bark
  and often below the graft union during January and February,
  and thus delayed dormant sprays at that time are less likely
  to be effective. Use of mating disruption and insect growth
  regulators during the growing season when nymphs are present
  are low risk components of an IPM control program. To see a
  summary of the research report, including forming neighborhood
  groups to coordinate VMB trapping and to exchange control
  strategies where known infestations occur, go to http://www.
                                                                               Grape cluster with Vine Mealybugs
SCWC NEWSLETTER                                                    SPRING 2009                                                                                           PAGE 13

                                          Sustainability and Sonoma County
                                                                  By Nick Frey

                                                                                 Demeritt feels consumers want a social benefit, not just a “green”
                                                                                 product. In products like wine, both local production and “lo-
                                                                                 cale” are important, i.e. the place where the product comes from.
                                                                                 Consumers are looking at labels for information on sustainabil-
                                                                                 ity. That might be a certification seal, but it can also be a story.
                                                                                 Producers can tell what is being done to improve sustainability
                                                                                 and their aspirations.

                                                                                 When it comes to wine, it was reported that Safeway customers
                                                                                 already perceive wine to be a natural product. Thus the wine
                                                                                 industry needs to be careful in positioning organic and biody-
                                                                                 namic. I believe using sustainability as the umbrella concept,
                                                                                 with organic and biodynamic as just two approaches to sustain-
                                                                                 ability under that umbrella, is most inclusive.

                                                                                 The Commission continues to work with National Marine Fish-
Jeff Kunde leads regular Eco consumer tours at Kunde Winery                      eries Services to adapt the Sustainable Winegrowing Program as
                                                                                 part of a program for growers wanting incidental take protection
Sonoma County is a leader in sustainable practices. County                       for salmon and steelhead. This effort is seeking to provide growers
government has made sustainability a priority. Sonoma County                     with more regulatory certainty under the Endangered Species Act.
grape growers and wineries have been leaders in adopting the
Wine Institute and California Association of Winegrape Growers                   Sustainability is becoming a mainstream expectation in our
Sustainable Winegrowing Program. More than 275 growers who                       society and in our grape growing. Sonoma County growers have
farm over 26,000 acres have done self-assessments of their                       been early adopters of sustainable practices and those efforts
farming operations and submitted the data for inclusion in the                   position us well for the future.
California Sustainability Report. And additional Sonoma County
growers and wineries continue to participate in this program.
(If you would like to attend a self-assessment workshop, e-mail or call 707-522-5862.)
                                                                                         Sonoma Tourism Bureau
Sustainability was the program focus for day 1 at the Unified                          Features New Visitors Guide
Wine and Grape Symposium. Ken McCorkle, Wells Fargo Bank,
sees several incentives for adopting sustainable practices as follows:           If you are looking for new
                                                                                                                                        T H E     O F F I C I A L
                                                                                 places to take visitors, or            S O N O M A    C O U N T Y
                                                                                                                                       V I S I T O R S
                                                                                                                                                       T O U R I S M
                                                                                                                                                           G U I D E
                                                                                                                                                                         B U R E A U

• Lower   costs of production by reducing input costs;                           if you have visitors coming
                                                                                 to Sonoma County, the
• Differentiation of your product: UK consumers indicate a                       Sonoma County Visitors
willingness to pay more for sustainable products;                                Bureau has just released its
                                                                                 new visitors guide.
• Help  manage downside risks from price volatility of inputs,                                                                WELCOME TO
                                                                                                                            sOnOMa COunTry
e.g. energy and water;                                                           Organized for the first time                America’s Premier Wine, Spa and Coastal Destination

                                                                                 by the major AVA areas,
• Respond    to government regulations and reduce risks.
                                                                                 this handy guide is an
Laurie Demeritt, the Hartman Group, reported on consumer                         excellent resource.
research in the US. Their research also indicates consumers are
                                                                                 You can pick one up
willing to pay more for sustainable products, at least on a trial
                                                                                 at the Commission
basis. Still there is not good understanding of what sustainability
                                                                                 offices or order one
means. (It is environmentally sound, socially responsible and
                                                                                 online at no cost at
economically viable.) But consumers do perceive “responsibility”                                                                              2009    l 2 010
as part of the product.
420 Aviation Blvd., Ste. 106
  Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Platinum Commission Sponsors


                                         APRIL – JUNE
                           Sonoma County Winegrape Commission Calendar
                       Please check the calendar at for a complete listing of events

 Apr 7        PCA Breakfast Meeting
              Star Town Restaurant, 8499 Old Redwood Hwy, 7 – 8:30 a.m. Contact: (707) 522-5861

              IPM GAM Meetings – Info: (707) 522-5862
 Apr 14       Laguna Ranch, 2043 Laguna Rd, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
 Apr 15       Barricia Vineyards, 15700 Sonoma Hwy, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
 Apr 16       Rued Vineyards, 3850 Dry Creek Rd, 8 – 9:30 a.m.
 Apr 16       Jordan Vineyards, 2710 W. Soda Rock Rd, 10:30 a.m. – noon

 Apr 22       Organic Producers Group
              Kiger Family Vineyards, 282 Somerville Rd, Santa Rosa, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Reservations: (707) 522-5862

 May 5        PCA Breakfast Meeting (see above info for location and time)

 May 12       Smart Marketer Meeting,
              Hilton Hotel, 3555 Round Barn Blvd, 4 p.m. Contact: Ginger (707) 522-5864

 May 12 – 14 IPM GAM Meetings (see above info for locations and times)

 May 27       Organic Producers Group
              Forth Vineyards, 2335 W. Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, 10 – 11:30 a.m. Reservations: (707) 522-5862

 Jun 17       Grower Seminar, Tradeshow & BBQ
              Shone Farm, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Contact: (707) 522-5864

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