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Wineries Unlimited 2012 Day 2 Overview
Terry & Kathy Sullivan

Dr. Bruce Zoecklein introduced the technical sessions. He mentioned the challenges of winegrowers and winemakers. The overall theme of the session was Microbiology from Vineyard to Bottle. Challenges include environmental factors, vineyard management, fruit chemistry, wine chemistry and sensory properties. Wine is not the end product of the grape; vinegar is.

Wineries Unlimited 2012Dr. Paolo Sabbatini: Early Season Leaf Removal

Dr. Sabbatini is from Italy and now works in Michigan. He shared some data about grape varieties growing in Michigan. Paolo spoke of the challenges of cool climate viticulture. Grape varieties that are ideal for cool climates are sensitive to rot. Several slides showed pictures of grape clusters with rot. Graphs were used to illustrate how fast rot can spread especially when wet.

Paolo discussed studies done in Italy and Spain. Researchers removed basal leaves early in the season at pre-bloom and bloom. The researchers discovered that by removing four or six basal leaves, there was a reduction in the amount of berries per cluster, however berry size was unaffected. The incidence of rot was greatly reduced by the basal leaf removal. Other studies were done that indicate that leaf removal has different effects on different varieties, for instance, Pinot Noir responds better than Chardonnay with the leaf removal treatment. There was also a study that looked at the number of leaves removed. The ideal number of leaves to remove is four to six for hybrids and six to eight leaves for vinifera grapes.

Dr. Markus Keller: Friend or Foe? Vine Nutrition Effects on Grape and Wine Quality

Dr. Keller spoke about the research he was involved in throughout the world. He mentioned that vineyard location is a criteria that influences vine nutrition. Nutrients can only be taken up to the vine if there is water. Fertilizer needs to be adapted to the weather during any given year. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for vines. Boron is necessary in order for the vine to take up nitrates. Other important nutrients include magnesium, manganese and cobalt.

You can notice nitrogen deficiency by looking at the leaves in the vineyard. In a nitrogen deficient vine, leaves will be tilted in a direction that receives less sunlight.

Cover crops can help reduce vigor if a vineyard has too much nitrogen. When applying nitrogen to the vineyard, be cautious not to over apply. You can always apply more nitrogen later. Don’t compensate a mistake by making another, for example hedging when there is too much nitrogen. Nitrogen can be a friend to the vine, however too much or too little creates challenges.

Wineries Unlimited 2012Professor Pascal Duran: Microbiology, An Answer to Grape Growing and Winemaking

Professor Duran spoke of the writers that complained about winemaking and grape growing from as early as 50 AD to 1779 AD. These books were important because there is a movement today back to microbiology. There has been a transition to modern viticulture. Phylloxera had a major impact on the wine industry. Plant and soil scientists became more important. There were new plantings of vineyards throughout the world that were more scientifically done. Wine laws spread throughout the world.

Pascal showed many text filled slides making a point that the present time is an exciting time for winegrowing and winemaking. There is a tremendous amount of research being conducted throughout the world that will help growers produce better quality grapes and winemakers make better quality wines.

Paul Wagner: Goal of Marketing: Opening the Door

Paul Wagner began with a scenario of a Girl Scout ringing your doorbell and selling cookies. Paul noted that it wasn’t a question about whether to buy cookies but rather, “How many boxes should I buy?” This led into a discussion of the difference between sales and marketing.

Brand was also discussed and Paul defined brand as, “A brand is the symbol that consumers associate with your company and products.” Paul suggested building on what you have and eliminating the negative.

Dave McIntyre: What the Media Wants

Dave McIntyre, who writes a column for the Washington Post, noted that there are not many newspapers with wine columns. Dave said that “if it's not interesting for me it won’t be interesting to my readers.” For readers it’s important that the wines are available in the local market. Marguerite Thomas, another wine writer, noted that if a winery doesn’t answer an email relatively quickly it may lose an opportunity for publicity.

Brian Roeder, Cindy Causey, Jonathan Edwards: Making your Winery a Destination - Getting More Visitors to the Door

Brian Roeder, from Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, Virginia provided a good slide presentation that included two entertaining videos of Barrel Oak Winery. He described the many things he has done at the winery to encourage visitors to the winery. He also noted that it is important to know your local government officials.

Potomac Point Winery began with the focus as a destination site and then a winery. The large facility is divided into the winery tasting room side and the event area. Tasting wine, olive oil and other products are available for visitors to try before they buy.

Jonathan Edwards Winery was the third presentation and Jonathan also used a slide presentation with a video to show the winery year at the Connecticut winery. He detailed the many events his winery offers consumers. His advise was that if the first event doesn’t have a large attendance go ahead try it again. For example, the first Valentine's Day event had 60 participants; the second year the event was offered for two days and 300 people attended.

Wineries Unlimited 2012Gala Dinner

The Gala Dinner Event was held in the evening beginning with appetizers and a variety of wines. I had a sparkling wine produced with Niagara grapes. While it had the sparkling wine attributes, it also had the Niagara nuances. At this part of the event we mingled with everyone and it was great opportunity to get to know more wine enthusiasts including winemakers.

Dinner was buffet style and it was easy to find something to enjoy. The menu included sliced ham, sliced beef, salads, mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots. For dessert we enjoyed ice cream and pecan pie. Alyssa Rapp, owner of the successful Bottlenotes, was the keynote speaker. Later a live wine auction was held for the scholarship fund that helps students to earn degrees in the wine industry. Items auctioned off included: wine bottles, corks, grapevines, a stay at a vacation house on the ocean in Monterey, and an oak barrel.

It was a wonderful way to end the evening before preparing for the last day of the Trade Show & Conference.

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