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

Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Grape Harvest 2016!

October 11th, 2016 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

The short version of this years harvest: it’s good, again. Rain fell on much of Northern California this week, in some places for the first time in months. But it didn’t really matter because practically all of the thinner-skinned early-harvest varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were safely inside already. In fact, 2016 has seen such an early harvest that some winemakers don’t know what to do with themselves.The early harvest is the result of another mild winter, after which the vines awakened and started the whole process early. Also, there have been no major heat spikes of the type that can temporarily put a halt to the grapevines’ natural processes. As a result, the harvest has been not just early, but smooth and predictable. In terms of crop size, Northern California had a string of three huge vintages in a row that was broken last year, perhaps because there are only so many big crops vines can produce in a row. Vintners this year are reporting that their yields are more in line with the big crops of 2012-14 that may have become the new normal.As for what type of wines we’ll see when they eventually get to stores, that appears to be hard to characterize, because 2016 has not been a cold year or a hot year. Stylistic choices by wineries will be as important as ever, as well as the differing terroir across the region. While it’s easy to lump all of Napa Valley or Sonoma County together, one reason they are great wine regions in the first place is the microclimates, so asking winemakers what their grapes are like this year gets you answers that are literally all over the map. It’s all good news; just different versions of it. Also, for this season’s harvest, check out all our stainless steel wine barrels.

Canned Wine Grows in Popularity

September 13th, 2016 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Crain’s Chicago Business recently reported that over the past few years canned wine has skyrocketed in popularity. "Cans are the fastest-growing packaging category for wine in the U.S.," says Bill Terlato, CEO of Terlato Wines in Lake Bluff. Canned wine sales have grown from just under $2 million nationally in 2012 to more than $14.5 million in 2016, according to a recent A.C. Nielsen report. "Whole Foods predicted (canned wine) would be one of the biggest retail trends of 2016," says Stephen Sullivan, owner and founder of Vinejoy Chicago, a wine distributor carrying both Fiction and Alloy Wine Works canned wines made by Field Recordings in Paso Robles, Calif. "So far they’ve been dead-on. I’ve sold more cans in June 2016 than in all of 2015." While canned wine has been around since the 1930s, early efforts resulted in a cloudy product that often corroded the tin cans. Those production problems persisted until about 1940, but it wasn’t until today’s new generation of canned wine that things got good. With recent packaging innovations, canned wine is slowly overcoming its image problem. Sofia Minis, a sparkling wine by Francis Ford Coppola introduced in 2004, led the way of this new generation of canned wine. "The cans have a coating on the inside that does not affect the wine’s taste or chemistry," says Marlow Bruce, director of public relations and communications at Francis Ford Coppola Winery. "You can equate the can to wine being stored in a stainless steel tank." The 187-milliliter cans of Sofia come with a straw attached, like juice boxes. Wines in cans aren’t exactly grand cru Burgundy. These are value brands meant for casual, fun consumption. But are canned wines acceptable to a discerning drinker, and do they taste the same from a can as from a bottle? Wine producers say it should taste the same whether coming from a bottle or from a specially lined can.

Though larger than cans, click here to view the Skolnik line of stainless steel wine barrels.

Keeping Wood Barrels Safe During Earthquakes, and the Stainless Option

August 15th, 2016 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Skolnik Industries has been one of the most reputable names in the steel drum and packaging arena for nearly a century. Today we have a global market, but it all started in a small, family owned drum reconditioning facility in Chicago. As we approach 90 years of presence in the steel drum community, we have compiled a pictorial history of our company with photos, product brochures, and news events that date back as far as 1943. Originally started circa 1925 as peddlers of wooden barrels, in 1940, the company moved to steel drum reconditioning and as of 1960, solely manufacturing new steel drums. In 1985, the company was bought by Howard Skolnik and in 2012, Howard’s long-time friend, Brian Hand became a shareholder. The focus has been to develop the niche products for unique markets which were not being served by conventional 55 gallon steel drum manufacturers. During these last 30 years, Skolnik has achieved the highest levels of quality manufacturing with a vast array of products and services. Today we operate under ISO 9001:2015 as well as Nuclear Quality Assurance – 1. We participate in the global regulatory arena to “save lives” by helping to prevent hazardous material accidents.

If you would like to see what we’ve been doing for these past 90 years, check out OUR HISTORY at Skolnik.com. We’re proud of our past, working hard in our present, and looking forward to a stimulating future.

Red, White and Blue!

July 11th, 2016 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

There’s red wine, white wine, even pink wine. But now thanks to six young Spanish entrepreneurs, in collaboration with the University of the Basque Country and Azti Tecnalia (the food research department of the Basque Government), blue wine—which targets millennial drinkers—is about to hit European markets. Created by Iñigo Alday, Imanol López, Jen Besga, Gorka Maiztegi, Aritz López, and Taig Mac Marthy in Spain’s Basque region, Gik—which fits into the chilled, sweet white wine category—is made from an undisclosed blend of red and white grapes predominantly sourced from vineyards in La Rioja, Zaragoza, León (all located about three hours north of Madrid), and Castilla-La Mancha (about two hours south of Madrid). The 11.5 percent ABV juice is hued neon blue with anthocyanin (a pigment found in grape skin) and indigo (a dye extracted from the Isatis tinctoria plant), and a non-caloric sweetener is added as well. A 750ml bottle retails for 10 euros, or about $11 USD.After two years of research and development, Gik soft launched last year in Spain when the wine was sold via the company’s website. But in the next couple of months, Gik will expand retail sales to France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany. And after that, founders are eyeing the U.S. Co-founder Aritz López explains that neither he nor his partners had prior winemaking experience, but that they “wanted to create something really innovative.” The team collectively felt that Spain’s wine industry was “missing a little revolution.” He continues, “We were raised in a country with a strong wine culture, but wine has always been a beverage put on a pedestal. So we thought about how it would be to have real people making wine for real people, not a wine made by experts for pseudo-connoisseurs”. Making wine? Check out the full line of Skolnik Stainless Steel Wine Barrels Skolnik Stainless Steel Wine Barrels here.