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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Green is the new Pink

October 9th, 2018 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing for the “Beverage Media Group” in an article in the “Wine Industry Advisor”, Pam Strayer writes: “While the wine industry has been busy riding the pink wine wave, it is becoming clear that the “green wine” wave is worth catching as well. Millennials’ interest in organically grown wines is leading to double-digit growth in sales, say green wine industry experts. Although the sector is tiny—1% by volume and 2% by revenue, according to 2016 Nielsen data—it is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S.”

In her article, Strayer goes on to observe that: “By comparison, Europeans—who typically trend ahead of Americans in food and drink—are already drinking 10% organically grown wine. Moreover, the trend is gaining mainstream credibility every vintage, with established wineries and distributors becoming proactive category leaders.” Analyzing U.S. off-premise sales (for the period from June 2017 to 2018), Debby Wang, Commercial Director of Analytics and Insights at Breakthru Beverage Group, one of the country’s largest distributors, says: “Organically grown wines have 10% volume growth and 5% revenue growth, outpacing total wine growth which is nearly flat.”

“Organic wines have been growing at double digits, and we think this trend will continue, especially with sustainability-minded Millennials,” says Chris Indelicato, CEO and President of Delicato Family Vineyards.

Green Values, Green Lifestyles

What is driving green wine category growth? “Consumers continue to ask for products that align with their values,” says Bonterra Senior Brand Manager Taylor Johnsen. Natura’s Pavon agrees that the market is responding to preferences among younger and lifestyle-driven legal drinking age consumers: “There is more consciousness among consumers about the environment and about organics.”

In a bold experiment, one national supermarket chain, Natural Grocers, is going all-in on organic. The national, family-owned organic supermarket chain, which sells only organic produce in its 150 stores, added its first wine department in Denver last year with 500 different wines from 17 different countries—all from certified organic or biodynamic vines.

“We see organic wine as part of a lifestyle,” explains Jeff Cameron, who heads up wine at Natural Grocers. Store signage indicates different types of green wines, and Cameron trains his staff on the nuances of sulfites, biodynamics and more so they can help consumers understand each wine’s context. “We also like the storytelling aspect of these producers, which we can share with consumers,” he adds. Cameron says the chain plans to implement the program in more of its stores across the country starting with six in Oregon, and that sales in the Denver pilot are going well.

More significantly, awareness is deepening. New research shows that a majority of high frequency wine drinkers (who are responsible for about 80% of wine sales in the U.S.) correctly associate specific practices with different types of green wine certifications, according Wine Market Council survey results released in May. “What surprised me was the fact that consumers could discriminate between organic versus biodynamic,” said Damien Wilson, Associate Professor with the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, who was a member of the WMC research committee that commissioned the study. More than 86% of 1,100 high-frequency wine drinkers identified organic with pesticide prohibitions; a surprising 51% associated biodynamic with regenerative practices.

Here at Skolnik Industries, we believe that a “green” approach also involves the wine barrels. Our stainless steel wine barrels are reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

“Forgive me, for I have Cardinal Zinned”

September 11th, 2018 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

That was Randall Grahm, owner and winemaker at Bonny Doon Vineyards, in his keynote speech at this year’s Wines and Vines Packaging Conference. He explained that when he first bottled his Californian Pinot Noir, he went with simple labels, believing that it was better to “let the wine do the salesmanship”. When he began to bottle Rhone varieties in the 1980’s, he began using humor in the labels, such as his famous “Cigare Volant” label with an illustration of a flying saucer flying above a vineyard, based on a French regulation banning flying saucers over vineyards in the Rhone region.

By partnering with well-known artists, and through the use of humor in their wine labels, he saw success; however, he warned the attendees that “cleverness in the extreme isn’t always enough”. He went on to say: “Your wine label is something like a real opportunity to potentially bond with your customer, to create a mini-affinity group”.

Jessica Gaedeke of Nielson Innovations reported that 4,289 new wine items have been launched in the past year. Gaedeke pointed out that making decisions surrounding packaging becomes all the more important. “Only packaging reaches 100% of potential buyers at the first moment of truth”, going on to say that 50% to 80% of purchasing decisions are made at the shelf. All highly influenced by packaging and design.

Another interesting event at the conference was a panel discussion of alternative packaging such as bag-in-box, aluminum cans, Stainless Steel and PET kegs. “The glass bottle has to die at some point”, remarked Nicolas Quille, chief winemaking and operations officer for Crimson Wine Group. Quillle provided a checklist of what to consider in evaluating alternative packaging: size, materials, cleanliness, and recyclability. Skolnik wine barrels are easy to clean and offer excellent reusability. Click here to see the full line of Stainless Steel Winemaking Barrels from Skolnik.

How High Are Wine Taxes in Your State?

August 7th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Due to differences in alcohol content, states tend to tax wine at a higher rate than beer but at a lower rate than distilled spirits.

When taxes are levied at the production, wholesale, or retail level, vendors ultimately pass along the cost of these taxes to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Most states use a licensing system to regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages, but some states—known as “control” states—impose a government monopoly on the wholesale or retail of beer, wine, spirits, or all alcoholic beverages.

Kentucky has the highest wine excise tax rate at $3.47 per gallon, followed by Alaska ($2.50), Florida ($2.25), Iowa ($1.75), and Alabama and New Mexico (tied at $1.70).

The lowest wine tax rates are found in California and Texas ($0.20), Wisconsin ($0.25), and Kansas and New York ($0.30).

Our thanks to Ray Kasey for bringing this matter to our attention.

See How Your State Ranks

Keeping Birds Away

July 10th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Wineries exist in every state in this Union, as do birds. Birds carry diseases and parasites, and no one wants anything dropping into their premium wines during fermentation. The solution is clear: exclude the birds and keep them from returning. The concept of Hot Foot America’s Knotless InvisiNet bird netting and complementary repellents is simple, yet brilliant, and takes advantage of a bird’s natural patterns. The virtually invisible netting excludes avian pests by preventing them from nesting. The Hot Foot Spikes create inhospitable landing areas even in curved or tight spaces, and the Hot Foot Gel creates a surface that birds don’t like and won’t return to, all without harming a feather! Their installation process starts with an assessment of the type of birds that are making your winery their home, and which locations they are frequenting. A personalized plan is then created to meet your winery’s needs, and may include one, two or all three of the repellents, depending on the spaces that are being affected. A thorough cleaning, followed by the application of an EPA registered sanitizer precedes the placement of the netting. Inspection outlets are also created to allow access for the changing of overhead lights, etc. There is no recommended maintenance, as the netting is guaranteed for ten years, with the additional labor guarantee that no bird will penetrate the netting for two years. The originally conceived Hot Foot bird netting was created back in the late 70’s by a company founded in the UK who had a long history of making high quality fishing nets. A new generation of netting was then developed in 1990, which is resistant to abrasion, has a fire retardant, and is sag resistant for the life of the net. What then keeps the birds away? Using flock mentality, each deterrent offers a possibility for birds to change their pattern. Once changed, it is unlikely for them to return. Working around the country, Hotfoot has installations under way in Virginia, Texas, California, Washington and Oregon, with crews able to head to every part of the US where wineries are located. With the ability to cover 120 square feet or 300,000 square feet, their largest installation, Hot Foot is the right choice for wineries of all sizes, and for whatever any other spaces that are subject to unwanted bird droppings.