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Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category

Bringing Cooperage In-House

January 16th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In the latest edition of Wines and Vines, we learn that a Napa Valley winery is making their own oak barrels. Caldwell Vineyard winery is located in a cave dug in the mountains of the Coombsville AVA in southern Napa County. John Caldwell founded the winery in 1999, after selling grapes to other Napa wineries from his namesake vineyard for more than a decade. When Caldwell purchased his Napa Valley property in 1974, he had envisioned a real estate development, but Napa County’s agricultural preservation ordinance nixed those plans, and he opted to plant vines instead. A trip to France—and a visit to Chateau Haut-Brion, in particular—inspired a passion for winemaking, and Caldwell has done much to emulate the venerable Bordeaux winery. Haut-Brion has its own small cooperage, and that is something Caldwell wanted to bring to Napa as well, but it took years and only came together after he was able to find someone from the United States who could make barrels in France. Everything came together in 2014, when Herrera was able to build the first 50 Caldwell barrels in time for that year’s harvest. Since then, the barrel program has steadily increased, and the barrels are now used for nearly all of the winery’s production. Petiteaux purchases the stave wood in France and focuses on finding oak with both tight grain and exceptional grain structure. Marke said they want staves with at least 30 months of air drying. While they have enjoyed good results with wood from the Jupilles forest, grain tightness and structure is more important than forest of origin, Marke said. Petiteaux was able to purchase a log during a recent auction, and that stave wood is currently seasoning. Marke expects to receive those barrels for the 2019 vintage, at the latest. Each year, Herrera flies to France and spends several weeks at a leased cooperage space in Cognac assembling and toasting the Caldwell barrels from wood purchased three years prior. Herrera also toasts and assembles puncheons for the winery. “The big win for us is we have one guy who does all the toasting,” Marke said. That same guy is also at the winery the rest of the year to handle any issues with the barrels he put together himself. ”After he makes the barrels, he’s here,” Marke said. “He’s the one that is popping off the heads before putting in the grapes, so he’s here for the whole thing. Any issues, any leaks, he’s the guy and he’s here on-site.” It also means Marke is assured he’s going to get exactly what he specifies when he wants some barrels toasted a certain length of time or assembled in a certain way. The lines of communication are much more direct. Transitioning to essentially a single cooperage has required Marke to reevaluate the barrel program once more. “My role is to basically try and get it to replicate the success we had with multiple coopers,” he said. “It’s quite an interesting project. I’m learning more about barrels—even more than I had.” The trials are ongoing, as Marke constantly evaluates what toasts and techniques, such as water-bending staves, he needs to add to the barrel lineup to get the right mix of oak influences that match the Caldwell wines. The toasting is done over a traditional flame, and it’s up to Marke to determine what type of toasts and techniques are used. He’s working with all the Bordeaux varieties plus Tannat, Syrah and Pinot Noir. He buys barrels from a few coopers as reference points so he can decide how to adjust the Caldwell line of barrels. White wine barrels are still a work in progress. Total yearly barrel production is now around 300, and Marke admits it’s not the most cost-effective program. He doesn’t know exactly how much each barrel costs but was willing to bet it was significantly more than just buying a new, French oak barrel from a cooper. Marke said it is worth it to Caldwell to maintain the investment. “John is a guy who, when he’s committed, he’s all in,” Marke says before adding, “I’m the guy who keeps trying to hold him back.” Since the transition to estate cooperage, Marke said he’s noticed two significant changes: The barrels have become quite consistent and are also much more structurally sound. Back when Marke was using several coopers, about 10% of the barrels he used for barrel fermentation would prove to be leakers. “That was the bet John was making: If one person is doing all the toasting, it’s all more consistent, and structurally the barrels are much better.” A reminder that Skolnik will be showing our complete line of stainless steel wine barrels at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento January 24 and 25, 2018. Visit us at booth number 1205.

Shipper Alert for New Packaging Approval Numbers in 2018

December 26th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

PHMSA issued a notice to holders of manufacturer and reconditioner approvals that they are proposing to terminate all M-Number and R-Number approvals that were previously issued without an expiration date that those approvals will be terminated one year after publication of this notice, i.e. November 17, 2018. If a holder wishes to continue use of either of these approvals, they must show why the approval should not be terminated or apply for a modification of their approval prior to the effective date. If an approval is terminated, the holder must submit a request for reconsideration within 20 days of the termination.
M-Number Approvals are issued to companies that manufacture or recondition packaging. An M-Number is used as part of the packaging certification mark in place of the company’s name and address, as authorized in Ā§ 178.503. R-Number Approvals have not been issued for a period of time, but are active and allowed to continue to be used. PHMSA states that standardization of the M-Number and R-Number Approvals will allow them to regularly review the approval documents and track changes, ensuring that the information submitted by the holders remains current and accurate.
Current holders of R-Number Approvals will be issued M-Number approvals, but will be allowed to continue to use their previously issued R-Number. All new and reissued M-Number Approvals will be issued with a 5-year expiration date.

Shipper’s should also maintain validation of their packaging manufacturer and reconditioner expiration dates.
Effective date of termination of these approvals is: November 17, 2018

FOR TRAINING OF PROPER CLOSURE INSTRUCTIONS, TRY OUR VIDEOS

December 19th, 2017 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Proper closure of a steel drum is the final regulatory detail to shipping compliance. Even though you may be purchasing a drum that meets the United Nations criteria for shipping hazardous materials, the proper closure of the drum is the most critical part of the regulation and Closure Instructions are not generic. In fact, the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, paragraph 178.2(c), requires that packaging manufacturers give current written instruction to the fillers about the proper closure procedure for their “manufacturer-specific” packaging. While every SKOLNIK order is shipped with written Closure Instructions, you can now view new videos of the:

In addition, written Closure Instructions are also available in Spanish. Check out all our Closure Instruction options at Skolnik.com/closure_instruction and call us if you need further clarification or would like to receive additional information for your record keeping.

Visit Skolinik at the 2018 Unified Wine Symposium

December 12th, 2017 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Third generation winegrower and artisan winemaker Gina Gallo of E. & J. Gallo Winery will deliver the keynote luncheon speech on opening day of the 2018 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium on Tuesday, January 23, in Sacramento at the Sheraton Grand. “As a member of one of America’s historic winemaking families, Gina embodies a sense of tradition, family legacy, craft and business acumen that transcends generations and inspires future growth amongst colleagues,” says John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), a co-organizer of the event along with the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV). Gina Gallo oversees the Gallo Signature Series and Ernest & Julio Gallo Estate wines. In her role, she is intimately engaged with the Gallo family’s premier estate vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Monterey counties. As the Senior Director of Winemaking, she views winemaking as both a creative expression of the land and as a demonstration of the unique qualities of a specific vintage. Her values stem from her family’s entrepreneurial history, using her experience and creative vision to craft luxury wines from her favorite blocks from the family’s estate vineyards. Gallo was a 2016 inductee to the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. Fortune magazine named her one of the “Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink,” and she was named #17 on Decanter magazine’s “Power List” of the most important men and women in wine. She is a board member of the American Farmland Trust, which works to preserve agricultural land, and Taste of the NFL, which raises funds and awareness for food banks and anti-hunger initiatives. The 2018 Unified Symposium will again take place at the Sacramento Convention Center, located in downtown Sacramento, January 23-25. Built with the joint input of growers, vintners and allied industry members, the Unified Symposium serves as a clearinghouse of information important to wine and grape industry professionals. The Unified Symposium also hosts the industry’s largest trade show of its kind, with over 650 vendors displaying their products and services.
For additional information, visit www.unifiedsymposium.org and be sure to visit Skolnik Industries at booth number 1205 to see our complete line of stainless steel wine barrels.