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Archive for the ‘Skolnik Newsletter’ Category

Rhones Finding a Home in Arizona

May 15th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

A recent article in Wines and Vines magazine asks the question, which grape varieties grow best in the extreme conditions of Arizona? Several, it turns out, not least among them many Rhône varieties. At the recent Hospice du Rhône event held April 27-28 in Paso Robles, two winemakers from the state shared their perspectives on pioneering in inclement weather, uncharted soils and nascent wine laws and distribution channels. Wine writer and critic Jeb Dunnuck interviewed Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks based in southern Arizona’s Sonoita and Willcox AVAs, and Maynard Keenan of Caduceus Cellars, based in northern Arizona’s Verde Valley. The theme was high elevation wines, referring to the fact that most of Arizona’s wineries produce wines with grapes grown between 3,500 to 5,500 feet above sea level. The state is home to 86 wineries according to the Wines Vines Analytics winery database. A nascent industry Bostock explained how Arizona’s wine industry launched when the first commercial vines were planted in 1982. “Sonoita was the first to become an AVA, Willcox came later, and Verde Valley might be the next,” he said, listing the state’s three primary growing regions. For Dos Cabeza WineWorks’ two southern-Arizona properties, Cimarron Vineyard in Willcox and Pronghorn Vineyard in Sonoita, rainfall hovers around 12 inches annually, “and most comes right at the end of ripening and going into harvest,” Bostock said. He also described the impact of summer monsoons on the vines. “Half of that twelve inches comes during monsoon season,” he said. “A lot of people perceive that heat and dryness are the problem [in Arizona], but it’s really hail, water, and extreme cold.” Of his first taste of Arizona wine, Bostock said, “It was an epiphany. It was as good as anything else I’d had but it tasted different, and that was exciting to me: to be around when a place figures out what it tastes like.”. Bostock added another challenge: that of evolving laws in a state that has not historically had a wine industry. “The laws weren’t written to allow us to do what we want to do,” he said. “Arizona is open to other winemaking markets, but it’s laid some prohibitive laws to production.” He said state legislators recently closed internet sales of alcohol between the hours of 2 A.M. and 6 A.M., as they do for brick-and-mortar bars. State law also prohibits corkage, “so our wine fans can’t bring bottles to their restaurant,” Bostock said. As such, half of Dos Cabezas sales take place in the tasting room. “We have a small band of enthusiastic consumers, but we still battle image all the time.” Keenan and Bostock both see winegrowing in Arizona as a long game, played with an eye to the future, generations ahead. “I used to think we’d plant vines and make wine,” said Bostock, laughing. “Now I feel more like Moses: if I can get my kids there, I can see the promise land from here. It’s going to take time. We want to figure out what works as quickly as possible, and the only way you can find out what works is by sticking it in the ground and making wine from it.” Keenan concurs. “A lot us in Arizona are puzzling to figure this out. We won’t see the end of the rainbow on this, so we’re setting it up for our grandkids to see. I’m swinging for the fence on many levels.” Click here to see the full line of Stainless Steel Winemaking Barrels from Skolnik.

The Worst Containership Disasters in Recent History… In Photos

April 24th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter

Buyer’s of imported goods, and seller’s of exported goods, rarely understand the perils of shipping these goods overseas. The massive cargo ships appear to be indestructible, unsinkable, but in fact, they are not. Each year, more than 100 million containers are shipped across the globe on containerships that can now stretch the length of three soccer fields or more. Despite the large number of containers shipped, accidents are relatively rare, with the best estimates saying that less than 1,500 containers are lost from ships each year on average. However, these losses are catastrophic and a recap of some of these disasters has been created in photographs. In this posting, you can look back at some of the worst container shipping disasters in modern history. Keep in mind this list is not a comprehensive list of container shipping accidents, rather a recap of some of the more infamous disasters to hit the container shipping sector since 2000.
View the photos here.

90-Day Waiver for ELD for Transporters of Agricultural Commodities

April 17th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on March 19, 2018, additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety. The Agency is announced an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance. FMCSA will continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule.
Since December 2017, roadside compliance with the hours-of-service record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has been steadily increasing, with roadside compliance reaching a high of 96% in the most recent available data. There are over 330 separate self-certified devices listed on the registration list.
Beginning April 1, 2018 full enforcement of the ELD rule begins. Carriers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that do not have an ELD when required will be placed out-of-service. The driver will remain out-of-service for 10 hours in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) criteria. At that point, to facilitate compliance, the driver will be allowed to travel to the next scheduled stop and should not be dispatched again without an ELD. If the driver is dispatched again without an ELD, the motor carrier will be subject to further enforcement action. Read the complete FMCSA action here.

Solutions to Smoke Taint

April 10th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

A recent article in the Sonoma-Index Tribune detailed the search for solutions to smoke taint after the recent Northern California wild fires. The international pursuit of ways to predict how much smoke from a wildfire will end up in finished wine and what to do about it got a boost when the dark clouds of particles pumped out by the massive North Bay fires in October descended on an experimental vineyard in Napa Valley. Australian researchers had done extensive studies of a number of years on the interplay between smoke in the air and unpleasant “ashtray” smells and flavors in the bottle, and such work continues Down Under. Knowledge has increased about the number of culprit compounds to test for — now seven, up from two — but how tests on grapes and on wine over time will predict “smoke taint” and how that relates to winery fixes remains to be solved. As the Business Journal reported in November as samples of possibly tainted wine were flooding into commercial wine labs, a big challenge in such testing is the chemical markers associated with the off odors and flavors travel come in two forms: nonvolatile precursors and volatile compounds consumers can detect. The nonvolatiles bond to sugars in the grape juice and get released gradually during fermentation into the volatile, or free, form. Commercial labs have precision in detecting levels of the nonvolatile and volatile chemicals, but the meaning of those levels in predicting taint isn’t well-known. And insurance companies have been using varying levels in determining claims for crop insurance. Check out our full line of stainless steel wine barrel.