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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Is Falconer the Coolest Wine Industry Profession Out There?

November 12th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

I’ll come right out and say it: Of the many wine industry professions one could pursue, falconer is arguably the coolest. The name alone seems reserved for some fantastic all-knowing superhero. It’s not a character type you’re likely to run into very often, but they play an important role, especially in vineyards come late summer and early fall. In a recent Wine Industry Advisor article, Mark Stock writes: “Harvest time is a glorious stretch of fresh and vibrant wines, and agricultural camaraderie. It’s also a pensive, tension-filled time involving serious decisions about when to pick fruit and how best to ferment it. And as the grapes ripen and sugar levels rise, flying pests begin scheming up ways of feasting on your favorite vineyard block. Enter the falconer. The hero arrives in style, sporting a beautiful bird of prey on their shoulder or thickly gloved hand. The bird, often a kestrel, peregrine falcon, or some species of hawk, is highly trained. It’s released in the vineyard and it begins patrolling as it spirals above the ripening fruit, scaring away hungry birds like finches and starlings. It’s mostly a scare tactic, but the predatory birds will pick off a smaller flying snack now and again.” But with harvest on the line, some estates simply need a little extra protection from grape thieves. There are other means, such as propane cannons, reflective tape, netting, recorded bird sounds, or parading through the vineyard with a shotgun — but none is more romantic than falconry. “It’s so effective and silent,” says Nadine Lew of Soter Vineyards. “And there are no demands on my team to mess with nets or deterrents when I need everyone focused on harvest.” She adds that it’s fun for guests to witness and doesn’t come with the issues that other methods bring.

“We do love having the falconer and his falcons here,” she continues. “He knows where the birds like to hang out, knows where there might be some damage, and is really effective at flushing them off of the property.” In addition to vineyard and agricultural work, falconers also find gigs in sprawling metropolitan areas. They’re called in to scare off everything from pigeons in town squares, to gulls in dumps and recycling centers. Airports are also known to dial up their local falconer, looking to clear the runways of unwanted and potentially disastrous bird encounters. But it’s before a backdrop of vines where the birds seem most at home, chasing away harvest headaches for grateful winemakers. Here at Skolnik Industries, winemakers are grateful for our selection of stainless steel wine barrels. Note that 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.

“Hey Alexa, will you pour me a glass of Riesling?”

October 15th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In a recent Wine Advisor report, details emerged about Travel Oregon launching an innovative voice search game using Amazon’s Alexa device. Why Oregon? Because Oregon is home to more than 760 wineries and 19 distinct growing areas, making it one of the largest wine-grape-producing states in the nation. It’s tough for even the biggest Oregon wine aficionados to know everything about Oregon wine. That’s why Travel Oregon created the new “Oregon Wine Quiz” for Alexa users to test their wine knowledge. Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, the quiz highlights some of the undiscovered facts about the Oregon wine landscape and tells the deeper story of Oregon wine. It’s estimated that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Currently 17% of American households have a smart speaker installed. By 2022, this number is anticipated to increase to 66%. The shift to voice search has already begun. The “Oregon Wine Quiz” is a way for Travel Oregon to integrate tourism marketing and voice search and stay ahead in the ever-changing media landscape.

“We need to keep evolving and expanding our content platforms if we‘re going to remain relevant to our target audience,” said Mo Sherifdeen, Global Integrated Marketing Director at Travel Oregon. “We’re thrilled to be the first tourism agency in the country to experiment with distributing content through voice search. But more importantly, we’re excited to give wine enthusiasts another way to learn about Oregon wines before they head out to wine country this fall.”

To activate the quiz, simply ask Alexa to “play the Oregon wine quiz.” Users will then be asked a series of questions about Oregon wine. Depending on the answers, users will unlock one of four podcasts, featuring interviews and storytelling from some of Oregon’s most prominent wine industry professionals, including: Travel Southern Oregon, Abacela, Brooks Winery Troon Vineyards, Tuality Healthcare and Willamette Valley Vineyards.

The topics covered include: community winemaking, The Applegate Valley Wine Trail, and sustainable winemaking. This Alexa application was built by Portland-based agency, Sparkloft Media with content support from the Oregon Wine Board. Are you ready to take your Oregon wine knowledge to the next level? Take the quiz today. And, no, Alexa can’t pour you a glass of Oregon Riesling yet, but here at Skolnik Industries, you can ask us about our stainless steel wine barrels. They 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.

“Terroir…Is that a dog?”

September 11th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing for Wine News in “The Decanter” Chris Mercer reports that: “From planet ‘Sauternes’ to those cute ‘terroir’ dogs, a new survey in the UK suggests Britons have room for improvement in their wine knowledge – but many say they are keen to learn. Wine experts have grappled with a definition of ‘terroir’ for decades, but more than one in four Britons surveyed thought that it referred to a small breed of dog, according to results published this week.”

The correct definition of terroir is, the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as soil, topography, and climate. Chris Mercer further reports that; “While 34% did correctly connect ‘terroir’ to wine, another 30% of respondents believed it was a type of French horror film.” Their answers were part of a survey of 2,000 people commissioned by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) ahead of its upcoming Wine Education Week, which runs globally from September 9th to the 15th.

Perhaps my favorite detail of the survey was that there was also confusion about Bordeaux’s premier sweet wines. Mercer writes that: “Seven percent of people said that Sauternes was a planet, while one in five thought it was a beach resort and 29% argued that it was a type of orange.” And he goes on to observe that: “When it comes to spotting a corked wine, 37% of people thought it meant broken pieces of cork in the bottle and 7% thought it was a term for being drunk.” However, 51% of people said they wanted to learn more about wine, reflecting a separate survey recently that saw wine beat beer, cider and spirits as the UK’s favorite drink. When it comes to food, 28% of those surveyed said they had successfully paired specific wines with certain dishes. However, 55% said that they wouldn’t know where to start with wine and food pairing. And 17% of respondents said that they had been ‘traumatized by snooty wine waiters’, said WSET. The top reason for choosing a wine was “I had drunk it before and loved it,” with 34% choosing this description — closely followed by 33% admitting they choose a wine based on an “attractive label.”

Speaking of attractive, here at Skolnik Industries, you can’t miss noticing our stainless steel wine barrels. They 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 First International Canned Wine Competition

August 13th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In an article featured in the “Wine Industry Advisor” Robert Whitley writes about the first International Canned Wine Competition (ICWC) held at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds, on July 24, in California. He reports that the best line of the event was uttered by Handley Cellars winemaker Randy Schock, who was among the judges evaluating the more than 200 entries at the July 24 event. Schock said tasting the canned wines made him “think about how to approach winemaking outside of the bottle.”

Whitley goes on to write that: “At a time when growth in wine sales across the United States has slowed to a crawl (year-to-year sales last year managed a meager 1 percent increase), the industry is looking for the next big thing. Canned wine, which delivers both ease of portability and convenience, could be the ticket.”

All that’s holding back the full embrace of wines in a can is perception. That’s where the International Canned Wine Competition steps in. The results, with 37 gold medal winners from the 200-plus entries, are a strong indication that the industry has overcome some of the early issues surrounding canned wine. Whitley explains that: “Current production techniques utilize a lining inside the can that eliminates the possibility of a metallic taste interfering with flavor and overall balance. And quality is good to very good, meaning wineries aren’t simply diverting the wines they’ve rejected from their bottled blends into can production.”

There are now about 400 wineries producing 900-plus canned wine products, according to organizers of the ICWC, with more to come as acceptance spreads. The competition attracted wines from Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand as well as a number of wines from across the United States. Benmarl Winery of New York, for example, earned three gold medals, as did Leelanau Cellars of Michigan. Traditionalists may cringe at the thought of fine wine from a can, but we’ve seen that act before. There was resistance almost 20 years ago when domestic wineries began to use screw-cap closures for many premium wines. Oh, the horrors! Never mind that Australian and New Zealand wineries made the switch years earlier with little or no downside.

Today, many consumers go out of their way to purchase screw-cap wines, particularly white wines, rather than those with traditional cork closures. There is no downside in terms of taste, so the purchasing decision often comes down to convenience. I don’t know that wines in a can will go through the same evolution with consumers, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Here at Skolnik Industries, you can bet on our stainless steel wine barrels. They 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.