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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Who Moved My Wine?

May 14th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing in the “Wine Economist”, Mike Veseth discusses the varying approaches to selling wine in a retail environment. Mike asks: “What’s the best way to organize supermarket products to facilitate consumer purchases?” He goes on to observe that “Over in the canned vegetable aisle, the system is pretty simple. All the canned green beans there. All the canned corn here. Easy to find what you want. Easy to compare. Over in the breakfast cereal aisle an entirely different geography applies. The corn flakes are found here, there, and elsewhere, not all in one spot. That’s because most of the products are organized by producer. All the Post cereals here, all the Chex products over there”.

I travel a lot, and am struck by how much variety there is in how wine stores and supermarkets display their wines. Even my favorite hometown supermarket often moves an entire section, for no apparent reason, prompting my exasperation: who moved my wine? Mike has some interesting thoughts: “I have been trying to figure out what works best for wine for quite some time, but I am still a bit stumped. The wine wall, the name I have given to the space where wines are put on display, probably has the greatest number of SKUs of any single section of an upscale grocery store. You will find 1000-2000 in many stores today and the big box alcohol superstores like Total Wine have about 5000 wine choices at any given time.”

In a book that Mike wrote in 2011, “Wine Wars”, he makes the following observation about “wine walls”: “The domestic wines are often arranged like the canned veg aisle — all the Zinfandel here, all the Pinot Noir there. Imports are mapped like the United Nations. France, Italy, Germany, and so on. Sometimes groups of countries get lumped together (Spain + Portugal, Chile + Argentina). I have seen the entire southern hemisphere reduced to a couple of shelves. There is often a sort of Siberia over in the corner for “other” wines, sweet, fortified, alcohol-free, kosher, organic, and so on. Sparkling wines from wherever are all collected together in one place, something that is often true of Rosé wines, too. Alternative packaging rates its own section with box wine and now also canned wines holding forth. You will also find smaller wine displays here and there in the store — near the cheese, meat, fish, and deli counters, for example. Wine, wine, everywhere. Organized chaos!”

And maybe it is no surprise either that some of the stores that sell the most wine are the ones that keep it simple like Trader Joe’s and Costco. Costco, which sells more wine than any other U.S. retailer, intentionally limits the number of wines available at any moment, changes stock frequently, keeps prices low, and uses a very simple system. There are more expensive wines and less expensive wines. There are red, white, pink, and sparkling wines. It’s the Rolling Stones system, really. You can’t always get what you want at Costco, in terms of a particular wine, but you can usually get what you need. The wine flies out the door.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, we believe that selecting the right wine barrel should be easy. 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.

Thinking “Outside the Bottle“, the Growth of Boxed Wines

April 9th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing in “Shanken News Daily”, Danny Sullivan reports that “Premium boxed wines have become an increasingly potent force in the U.S. market, with multiple boxed brands earning Impact “Hot Brand” awards this year. The two largest players in the category—Constellation-owned Black Box and Bota Box from Delicato Family Wines—combined to sell nearly 14 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank.” The growth in boxed wines is driven by their ease of use, ability to keep wine longer once opened, and a growing environmental concern about the use of glass bottles.

Black Box, a fixture on the Hot Brands list, delivered over 7 million cases last year, up from 6.6 million cases in 2017. The brand, which features 12 expressions, has grown by 2.6 million cases over the past three years. “Consumers are increasingly aware and accepting of alternative pack formats,” says Jim Sabia, Constellation’s CMO. “As a result, we’re seeing growth on 3-liter and 500-ml. packs. We’ve also expanded our offerings with the recent launches of Black Box Rosé and Black Box Sangria.”

Competitor Bota Box has also been on a long-term growth curve, earning its 11th consecutive Hot Brand award. The brand has expanded by nearly 3 million cases since 2015 and looks set to blow past the 7-million-case mark this year. Bota Box currently counts 15 wines in its arsenal. Bota’s Dry Rosé leads the 3-liter rosé category, according to Jon Guggino, executive Vice President of marketing at Delicato. “The 3-liter and alternative packaging categories continue to grow and gain acceptance, and our marketing efforts will focus on our quality and leadership position in the category.”

Another domestic wine, Washington-sourced House Wine, also has been making gains in the boxed segment. Owned by Seattle-based Precept Wine, House Wine’s 3-liter boxed format was up 5% to 181,000 cases in 2018, accounting for just over half of the brand’s total volume. Retailing in line with Bota Box and Black Box at around $20 a 3-liter, House Wine’s boxed portfolio includes a Chardonnay, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, Pinot Noir, Red Blend, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Dark Sauvignon. Overall, House Wine has expanded by more than 50% since 2015, reaching 341,000 cases last year.

Using bottles or boxes to package your wine? Here at Skolnik Industries, 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.

The New Dynamic is “Bio”

March 12th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In an article published in “Seven Fifty Daily”, Hannah Wallace writes that “Biodynamic wines are gaining visibility—and popularity—in the wine world. Though they still make up only a small part of global wine production, there are more than 80 Demeter-certified biodynamic winegrowers in the United States, according to Demeter USA, the country’s first certifying body for chemical-free agriculture. There are nearly 500 such winegrowers in Europe.”

Rudy Marchesi, Demeter USA Board chair, states: “More than ever, people are becoming aware that conventional agriculture is using things they don’t want in their beverages or on their table—like glyphosate. So we’re seeing a real uptick in interest in biodynamic wines and we’re also seeing a greater awareness of how biodynamics impact the quality and expressiveness of wines.”

Most wine industry professionals are familiar with the basic tenets of biodynamics, including precepts like the prohibition against the use of pesticides and artificial herbicides in the vineyard. Growers must also generate as much fertility as possible on site (therefore, the presence of animals and the use of composting are crucial), and they must make use of nine biodynamic “preparations” to help promote soil and plant health. These preparations are made of such ingredients as cow manure, herbs, and chopped-up oak bark and are sprayed onto the vines and the compost pile.

Demeter-certified wine cannot contain any additives, either, except for minuscule amounts of sulfur; bentonite clay and organic or biodynamic egg whites or milk are also permitted during processing. “The biodynamic wine certification is the closest thing to a natural-wine certification,” says Dan Rinke, winemaker at Johan Vineyards in Rickreall, Oregon.

This first wave of biodynamic winemakers put Alsace, France, on the map as a hotbed of the movement—which it remains today.

In the 1960s and ’70s, two biodynamic consultants spread the philosophy to winemakers in the United States: Alan Chadwick and his student Alan York. Chadwick was from the U.K. His travels led him to San Francisco in early 1967. York worked and studied biodynamics under Chadwick at Round Valley, as did Jonathan and Katrina Frey. The Freys met in Covelo in 1976 and founded Frey Vineyards four years later—all 350 acres of which are biodynamic.

York went on to become one of the world’s leading biodynamic wine consultants, helping to convert to biodynamic practices wineries such as Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen, California; Bonterra in Ukiah, California; Cowhorn in Jacksonville, Oregon; and Cooper Mountain in Beaverton, Oregon. and Il Palagio, the Tuscan winery owned by Sting and Trudie Styler.

“You could taste the difference right away,” says Benziger. “Our first biodynamic wine, Tribute, was a beautiful, terroir-driven wine.”

Utilizing biodynamics or another method? Here at Skolnik Industries, 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.

It’s time to ditch your corkscrew!

January 16th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing for CNBC, Sarah Whitten writes that “Canned wine isn’t just a passing summer fad, it’s a $45 million business”. Wine in cans with pull-tops instead of corks isn’t new, but it has become a staple for young drinkers over the last few years and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Sales of canned wine grew 43 percent in the U.S. from June 2017 to June 2018, according to BW 166, a beverage alcohol market research firm.

While canned wine is still a tiny portion of the wider industry, with about 0.2 percent of total wine sales, it’s growing rapidly thanks to millennial drinkers, according to Nielsen data. By comparison, bottled wines grab nearly 90 percent of the industry’s sales, but are growing much more slowly. (Boxed and bagged wines take the remaining market share.) In her article Whitten explains that “Compared with previous generations, today’s young adults are more likely to drink wine than beer”. Ray Isle, executive wine editor at Food & Wine, also told CNBC that “Millennials don’t have as much disposable income, making more affordable wines in cans more appealing”. On average, a 750-milliliter bottle of wine will cost between $11 and $25. Whereas, canned wine drinkers pay about $4 to $7 for a 375-ml can. These cans are the equivalent of a half of a bottle or, about 2.5 glasses of wine. Some wineries are packaging their wine into even smaller cans of 250 ml (about two glasses of wine) and 187 ml (about one glass of wine).

These cans can be brought to places that glasses cannot, like the beach, the park and campsites. Wine cans are also easier to recycle than glass bottles and are seen as less pretentious to casual drinkers.

Devon Broglie, master sommelier and chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas division, said canned wines are “very drinkable” and a “solid value for the money.” While he predicts the incredible growth of the canned wine industry will start to stabilize over the next few years, he expects the market will continue to expand in selection and quality.

Another major benefit of aluminum cans is environmental. According to the Container Recycling Institute, aluminum cans are recycled 45.2 percent of the time in the U.S., glass bottles 27.8 percent. Many localities don’t accept glass for recycling. Even the carbon footprint of shipping the wine is reduced: The same amount of wine weighs less in aluminum than in glass.

Here at Skolnik Industries, 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.