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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Selling the Romance of Wine

May 11th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing in a recent Wine Industry Advisor blog, Elizabeth Slater writes that: “One of the best ways to connect is through the senses. Use all five of your Tasting Room guests senses to connect them with your wine. When you see the listing of the five senses, they are usually listed in this order:

See ● Hear ● Smell ● Taste ● Touch

However, with wine, the order should be:

See ● Hear ● Touch ● Smell ● Taste

First, guests see the wine in the bottle. Next, they see and hear the wine being poured into the glass and note the rich color. Your guests then pick up and feel the glass in their hand before they swirl the wine around in the glass.” Slater, who writes a regular blog for her consulting business, “In Short Direct Marketing”, goes on to explain that: “The gentle swirl has brought out the aromas of the wine as the guests raise the glass to their noses to catch the different, rich aromas that make up the wine. Finally, they taste the wine as the aromas, flavors, and feel of the wine blend in their mouth and flow into their throats. Lastly, coming back to touch as the wine is savored filling their mouths and throats with flavor. The goal is to light up all your guests’ senses for an interesting and satisfying experience. With this kind of an experience and the connections they now have with you, the wines, and the winery, they should be thinking about buying.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, using our stainless steel wine barrels is a satisfying experience. 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 here.

The Supply Chain Shipping Crisis Affecting Global Wine Imports

April 13th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Writing in a recent Wine Spectator article, Collin Dreizen reports that: “When the massive container ship Ever Given managed to wedge itself sideways in the Suez Canal on March 23, blocking traffic for nearly a week, it provided a fitting symbol for the state of global shipping in the past year. And while dredging, tugboats and the high tide of a full moon, freed the ship, the shipping slowdowns continue. For wine lovers, that means some of their favorites may not be on store shelves anytime soon.”

Dreizen goes on to write that: “Importers gave a sigh of relief when the Biden Administration paused the tariffs on wines from France, Spain, and Germany last month. But they continue to face a major challenge: It has become increasingly difficult to get wines, or any cargo for that matter, to the U.S., and in the short term it is possible that the tariff reprieve has made things worse.

While global shipping had become a logistical nightmare for many companies after the pandemic shutdowns began, the wine industry’s problems started earlier: when the Trump administration imposed the tariffs as part of a fight over airplane manufacturing. Importers began delaying orders from Europe to avoid deeper costs.”

Shipments of tariffed wines decreased by 30 to 40 percent in some months during 2020. Importers adjusted their pricing and logistics, but then there was a new snag. Not only did the pandemic shut down vital customers like restaurants, but it also made shipping far more difficult.

Altogether, these trends have put worldwide shipping in a state of disarray, creating delays, holding up cargo at ports and dramatically reducing available freight space for several industries.

Here at Skolnik Industries, there is no shortage of our 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 here.

Cheers! How a COVID toast revealed a trend.

March 16th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Cheers! Two nights ago, my wife and I raised our glasses of champagne and celebrated receiving our second COVID vaccine shots. The bottle we opened was from Mousse Fils, located in the village of Cuisles, France. Four years ago, we had had the pleasure of touring the vineyard and enjoyed a tasting with the owner, Cedric Mousse. And since then, we have celebrated every New Years’ and special occasion with this champagne. During our travels, (back when we could), we picked up a supply of this champagne at wine stores in New York and San Francisco. Unfortunately, after our recent “COVID” New Years’ eve, we ran out. Days later, searching the internet, I located a source, and six days later we had our champagne! It was not my first online wine purchase, but it made me curious as to whether I was part of a growing trend?

Writing in Wine Business Monthly, Andrew Adams reports that: “Winery direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments and off-premise sales saw double-digit gains at the start of 2021. DTC shipments grew 21% to nearly $165 million in January, while off-premise sales increased 23%. “All price tiers again north of $11 continued to grow at a rapid pace,” relates Danny Brager in his regular monthly report on the shipping channels, which are tracked through a collaboration of analytics companies.

Brager who is a former Nielsen Vice President and now runs his beverage alcohol consultancy said Napa and Oregon wines were “standout” leaders in growth as well as rosé and sparkling wine followed by Sauvignon Blanc. While sales growth had slowed during November and December it appears at-home celebrations in January helped push growth back to levels previously seen from June through October. Here at Skolnik Industries, you’ll say “cheers” to our 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 here.

Working to Understand COVID-19’s Impact on Our Senses

February 9th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

One of the telltale symptoms of coronavirus infection is a nightmare for wine lovers: loss of smell and taste; researchers are studying why it happens and if it can be cured. Shawn Zylberberg, writing in the Wine Spectator, reports that: “When Dr. Christian Squillante traveled to South Africa in February 2020, he enjoyed safari rides and explored the local wine regions. But halfway into the trip, the Minneapolis-based oncologist developed a fever and severe fatigue that lasted two days. He recovered quickly and didn’t give it much thought until two weeks later, when he opened a bottle of Chenin Blanc he had brought back from his trip and found it tasted like water.”
“I was having a friend over for one of our weekly wine nights and suddenly noticed that I couldn’t taste anything,” Squillante told Wine Spectator via email. “My loss of smell came on almost instantly.” Nearly a year later, Squillante says his senses of taste and smell still haven’t fully returned, and most flavors are “muted.” Zylberberg goes on the relate that: “Pro golfer Greg Normanhad a similar experience in December 2020, when he believes he contracted COVID-19 at a PGA Tour event in Orlando, Fla. Norman says he lost his sense of taste and smell about a week after the event. I was experiencing other symptoms first, like bad back pain, joint aches and fever, and I noticed the roof of my mouth was very ‘pasty,’” Norman told Wine Spectator via email. “My senses have returned, but only in the past few days.”
The article goes on to report that: “Dr. Felicia Chow is a neuroinfectious disease specialist at the University of California at San Francisco and has seen numerous patients suffering from lost sense of taste and smell. According to Chow, the nose contains multiple types of cells, including neurons that sense different odors and transmit signals to the brain, as well as supporting cells along the nasal epithelium. “It seems like the virus in the nose itself is not infecting the actual smell neurons or the nerve cells that help us to smell, but rather the supporting cells,” Chow told Wine Spectator. “Those supporting cells play an important role, and when those are infected it seems to impair our sense of smell.” Time, she believes, is the key to recovery. “What we find is that sometimes as cells figure things out, there are signals that direct them to the right place,” Chow said. “Over time it could correct itself.”
Here at Skolnik Industries, we know that you will please your senses with our 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.

“Cheers!” The Birth of the Champagne Bottle

January 12th, 2021 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

At the start of the 16th century, spurred by the invention of the printing press and a push for overseas exploration, wood had become a critical part of everyday European life. It was used to construct homes and buildings, like fuel for heating and glassmaking, and it was the primary raw material for building ships. But by mid-century, Europe faced a serious wood shortage that would change the course of history. Yet despite its terrible cost, the shortage had an ironic silver lining: the birth of the Champagne bottle.

The origin of sparkling wine itself is a tangled web, most of it considered apocryphal or disputed at best. Perhaps the most famous creation myth is attributed to Dom Perignon, the 17th-century Benedictine monk, winemaker, and cellar master of the Abbey of Hautvillers, whose alleged discovery of secondary fermentation in the bottle led him to proclaim, “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!”

Others assert that the technique of secondary fermentation, now popularly known as “Method Tradtionelle” and associated with Champagne production, was stolen by Perignon from winemakers in southern France. While likely a tall tale, the southern commune Limoux claims to have created sparkling wine in 1531 predating Champagne production by an entire century. Despite his controversial role, famed Champagne house Moët & Chandon still tends a statue of Dom Perignon on its grounds.

While these famous tales and the ubiquity of Champagne have buttressed France’s claim to sparkling wine, one of the most intriguing origin stories comes from an unexpected source. In England, a royal decree led to amazing innovations in glassware that allowed for the creation of bottles capable of withstanding the rigors of carbonation and may have helped propel the creation of Champagne itself.

In 1615, King James I issued a proclamation prohibiting the widespread use of wood in hopes of preserving forests and keeping the Royal Navy afloat. While the wood shortage would impact all of Europe, it affected Britain first. Economic historian John U. Nef suggests that Britain’s rapidly expanding population was to blame for the shortage there. As Nef wrote in a 1977 article for Scientific American, “The population of England and Wales, about three million in the early 1530s, had nearly doubled by the 1690s.”

In a report by the BBC, Nick Higham writes, “Early modern glassmakers used charcoal made from oaks to heat their furnaces, but the navy banned the use of oak for anything other than shipbuilding.” Working around the new restrictions, England’s glassmakers resorted to coal. In an invention born of necessity, they discovered that coal’s ability to burn at higher temperatures produced stronger glass. The newfound technique produced thick, sturdy vessels — ones in which the pressure from carbon dioxide could safely be contained. It was the red-hot dawn of the Champagne bottle.

“While European counterparts were still using wood, the Champagne bottle as we know it was born in the furnaces of England,” Jai Ubhi writes in a 2019 Atlas Obscura article. He continues, “Not only did these new bottles help spawn an embryonic wine industry, but they became status objects, themselves.”

No matter who invented sparkling wine, the ship-building supply shortage and glassmaking innovations of England’s working-class undoubtedly helped spark the still-burning flame of Champagne, igniting the proliferation of a beloved cultural delicacy around the world.

Could a Tool to Combat Coronavirus Also Protect Grapevines from an Annual Threat?

November 10th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Scientists and vintners are exploring using UV lights, now being employed in HVAC systems to reduce the threat of COVID-19, as a weapon against mildew on grapevines.

Writing in a recent Wine Spectator article, Lynn Alley, reports that Jim Bernau, founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards, was installing an ultraviolet light component to his HVAC system in the winery, to protect both staff and customers against COVID-19 when inspiration struck. “The light bulb went off when we started researching the UV light to kill COVID,” said Bernau. “It reminded me of the research I’d been reading about for years on using UV light to kill pathogens in the vineyard.” Alley goes on to write that: “Bernau, like most organic and sustainable growers, uses organic Sulphur to control powdery mildew in his Oregon vineyards. Many other vintners employ chemical fungicides. According to the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics at U.C. Davis, powdery mildew currently accounts for an estimated 74 percent of total pesticide applications by California grape growers. The fungicides are costly and environmentally unfriendly, plus the fungus typically adapts to the fungicides within a few generations, requiring heavier applications or changing formulas.”

An international consortium of scientists known as the Light and Plant Health Project, led by David Gadoury, a plant pathologist at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, N.Y., has developed an inexpensive answer. Gadoury has spent his entire career looking for ways to keep plants healthy. Although scientists have known for several years that UV light will kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, just exactly how to apply their finds in a working field or vineyard has been a challenge. “Research in using UV light to kill the powdery mildew pathogens is not new,” Gadoury said. “But it has accelerated with the discovery that UV is much more effective when applied at night.” Gadoury and his team have found that mounting UV lights on tractors or sending self-driving robots into the vineyards at night can scramble the mildew’s DNA and kill it faster, safely, and more efficiently than costly fungicides. “What makes it possible for us to use UV to control these plant pathogens is that we apply it at night,” Gadoury said. “At night, the pathogens don’t receive blue light and the DNA repair mechanism isn’t working.”

The team has partnered with SAGA Robotics in Norway to develop the first commercial robot fitted with UV lights. The Norwegian robots are autonomous vehicles fitted with an array of lamps. “Our initial assessment is that an autonomous vehicle will make UV light application far less expensive than the current seven- to 10-day application of organic sulfur via tractor and sprayer with operator,” said Bernau. “There is another significant advantage. Our spray windows vary due to the Willamette Valley’s periodic rainy or windy weather conditions, frustrating the best timing for applying sulfur via tractor and sprayer. The application of UV light is not restricted by weather.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, you’ll see the light with our 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 here.