1-800-441-8780

1-773-735-0700

Industrial Packaging for Critical Contents

Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

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.

Ripple Effects of Steel Tariffs Impacting California Wine Industry

June 12th, 2018 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

According to a recent article in the Napa Valley Register, China has followed through on threats to raise tariffs on U.S. wines and a range of other American products, retaliating against the rate increases the Trump administration levied on steel and aluminum from China in March. The new retaliatory tariffs raise the rates on U.S. wines entering China by 15 percent, adding to pre-existing tariffs and taking the total levies paid on a bottle of American wine from 48.2 percent to 67.7 percent. “Wine is a luxury item, if you will, that the U.S. has become a real exporter of and mainland China is the fifth-largest export market for U.S. wines,” said Michael Kaiser, vice president of WineAmerica, a national trade association and public advocacy group representing wineries in all 50 states. “The fact that it’s become such a high-end good in China right now I think is one of the main reasons for (the tariffs),” Kaiser said. China’s growing taste for U.S. wines accounted for more than $80 million of American wine passing into the country last year, with the vast majority coming from California producers. A report last month from Wine Institute, the trade group for more than 1,000 California wineries, noted that consumption of imported wine in mainland China had increased 2.5 times in the past five years. In a statement issued after the tariffs took effect, Robert Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute, said, “This new increased tariff will have a chilling effect on U.S. wine exports to one of the world’s most important markets.” With the pre-existing tariffs, American winemakers are already at a disadvantage when competing with other countries importing wine to China, Koch said, “and this will only exacerbate that problem.” Echoing that sentiment, the Napa Valley Vintners trade group said Tuesday, “This puts our producers at a further disadvantage for selling our wines in the China market and makes it even more difficult for consumers in that country to have access to our high-quality wines.” In particular, the newly added 15 percent tariff widens the gap between American wines and those from competitors in countries like Chile, New Zealand and Georgia, which enter China tariff-free. Wines from Australia will also be tariff-free in China by 2019.Scott Meadows is general manager at Silenus, a “small winery in Napa that, of course, employs proud Americans.” The winery sells 80 percent of its wine to export, Meadows said. “And of that 80 percent we probably sell 80 percent of that to China. So for us, it’s a huge problem.” The winery, which has been working in the Chinese market for eight years, currently has several ongoing contracts with distributors that were supposed to be completed at the end of last month, but have been put on hold because of the price increase, Meadows said. That said, check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

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.

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.