What is in this article?:
- Almonds vs. grapes a growerâ€™s dilemma
- Sweet sells
- Tree nut crops like almonds are more likely to provide a better return than vineyards, but that could change as water scarcity drives up costs.
Here are some observations made during other presentations at the 2013 San Joaquin Valley Wine and Grape Industry Forum presented by the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association:
• John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, talked of legislation that could pose challenges for growers.
Among those is the Food Safety Modernization Act. Aguirre believes wine grapes should be excluded from provisions of that act because they are a processed product distinct from, for example. table grapes.
“Grapes harvested for wine cannot be directed to the fresh market,” he said.
Both he and DiBuduo warned that the industry needs to continue to press its “sustainability” efforts to avoid directives that could be imposed by retailers out to put in place “key performance indicators.”
“If we don’t act, the Wal-Marts, Sam’s Clubs and Safeways will impose their own vision,” Aguirre warned.
On the state level, the association is pressing for changes in driver’s license legislation that covers undocumented workers. The current language identifies the licensed driver as undocumented.
• Alison Crowe, a consulting winemaker with Garnet Vineyards, said “sweet sells,” pointing to products that include Cinnamon Vodka.
“Winemakers are looking for spice box varietals,” she said, referring to an increase in red and white blends.
Crowe also talked of flash détente, a relatively new technique that involves “explodng grape cells under a vacuum” for color extracting and improvements in taste.
She said not having a facility allows her to be “mobile, very responsive.”
• Bob Torkelson, president and chief operation officer of Trinchero Family Estates, reiterated a theme of Crowe’s presentation: “Give the customers what they want.”
He also talked of efforts to build a $300 million winery and distribution building along Interstate 5 near Lodi, which would put the winery near the grape growing areas that are among Trinchero’s suppliers.
The company’s brands include Sutter Cellars, Ménage a Trios and Napa Cellars. It is the fourth largest wine company in the United States.
The company grows grapes in 10 California counties.
Torkelson said he is encouraged by the fact that preference for wine as the drink of choice has increased in the past 20 years among those 21 to 29 years old.
• Deborah Golino, director of Foundation Plant Services at the University of California at Davis, talked of the foundation’s efforts to ensure vines are free of diseases that can include red blotch.
She said use of new technologies is helping to do that, leading to vines “as squeaky clean as possible.”
A Cabernet Franc index is used to help detect red blotch, she said.
• Carson Smith, chairman of the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association, presented two lifetime achievement awards.
They went to Jack Farrior, whose farming operations included Bacchus Farms and Farrior Farms, and to Marko Zaninovich, whose family operations are also active in the table grape business.
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