Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Vine Chronicles - Week 16 (June 30, 2007)

Week 16 brought incredible cane growth. As you can tell the vineyard rows are filling in with green. During week 15, bloom was is full swing. The vineyard is properly manicured and has a great feel of harvest coming. The clusters are beginning to size and the harvest looks smaller than usual. We will keep you informed!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Gala Celebration on Saturday the 23rd

Concorso D'Eleganza's grand dinner event. On Saturday, June 23rd, we had a "Cocktail and Dinner held in honour of the Concorso" Can you guess who is picture #2. Yes, it is Michael!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Winner - 1st Place Award at Concorso d'Eleganza

Alright, just being invited by Piero Farrari, was enough for most of us. This was the 60th Anniversary party of the creation of Ferrari. Not only did I get the opportunity to speak with Piero, I got to race behind him through Tuscany on Friday the 22nd. The extreme good news was receiving the Class 7 award for 1st place. The cars were from all over the world and this was an incredible award for the car. The competition was all the 275-GTS, 365-GTS and 365 - California Spyder automobiles from the 60's. Because I have not posted to the blog for a week, I will start at the end and fill you in during the next week. The award was presented by Gerheardt Berger (F-1 Driver from the 90's) and his wife.

Monday, June 18, 2007

On the Road to Ferrari, Maranello

The trip has begun and I am sitting at the KLM Lounge having a glass of wine (not ours) while I review emails. The excitement of the trip has set in! Spoke with Tony Nobles this morning, he will be travelling to catch up with me in Italy. If you don't know Tony, he became a friend 3 years ago at the 40th anniversary of the 275 Event in Italy. Stay tuned - The flight leaves in 2 hours!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Concorso d'Eleganza Ferrari 60 Programme

Time to leave for the 60th Anniversary party at Ferrari. I hopefully will be able to upload pictures from this event directly from Italy.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Screw Caps as reported by Wine & Spirits Daily

Wine & Spirits Daily NewsletterJune 14, 2007 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

SCREW CAPS MORE ACCEPTABLE, THOUGH STILL STRUGGLING. Wine Business Monthly's 2007 Closure Survey provides a bit of insight into what consumers and winemakers think about the industry's four main closures: natural cork, screw caps, technical and synthetic.

Natural corks remain the most widely used closer. A majority (80%) of the 237 foreign and domestic wineries surveyed say they use natural corks for at least some of their 750 ml bottles. Alternative corks are making inroads, however, particularly on more expensive bottles including the $25 and above price segment.

The theme of the survey, or at least part of it, suggests that American consumers just don't get screw caps. While other countries have embraced the closure, many Americans still view it as cheap which makes domestic winemakers more cautious in using the non-traditional closure. A lack of education on the consumer side seems to be the consensus among wine insiders, according to Wine Business. Australian, New Zealand and other New World winemakers, meanwhile, have wholeheartedly embraced screw caps.

However, most respondents believe that U.S. consumer opinion on screw caps is improving as screw cap usage continues to grow in 2007.

When it comes to preserving the wine, respondents rated screw caps as the clear leader with natural corks slightly behind. Technical and synthetic corks were rated lower, but Wine Business points out that these closures are typically used on wines that are made to drink within a 12-18 month period.

In terms of consumer acceptance, readers rated natural corks as the highest followed by technical corks, screw caps and synthetic.

In overall ratings, Wine Business finds that natural corks have increased significantly since the 2006 survey, while screw caps have improved slightly. Technical corks remained the same and synthetic corks decreased.

Mid-sized and large wineries are more likely to use alternatives than small wineries which usually stick to corks. When it comes to color, mid-size and large wineries will generally use screw caps on white wines, while mid-size and small wineries are more likely to use natural corks for red wines. Large wineries are less discriminatory and are increasingly likely to use all closures on red and white wines equally.

In general, though, natural corks are used at higher price points. Wines sold under $7 are most likely to be closed with synthetic corks. Technical and synthetics are most likely to be used in the $7-$10 range, while the $10-$14 segment is the point at which natural corks begin to dominate as the preferred closure. In the $14-$25 category, screw cap preference increased from the previous year.

What remains to be seen is whether U.S. consumers will grow more accepting of the screw cap and if it will continue as a staple in the industry. The wine business is filled with differing opinions on the subject, but one thing is clear. Screw caps remain in a niche market that depends on a number of factors such as varietal, price, color and country of origin.

The Vine Chronicles (Week 14) June 14, 2007

Week 14 brought on rapid growth. You could almost hear and see the vines growing. We finally got our warmest days of the year, so far. It was 87 degrees this morning, a new high for the year. Bloom "Flowering" has almost finished and we now are looking at a crop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bitter - Sweet

The 275-GTS left this morning for it's short trip to Maranello, Italy. The car was selected as one of 80 invited by the Factory to participate in the "Concorso d'Eleganza 60 Programme" next week. Stay tuned for pictures from Italy, as this gala event unfolds.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A day on Lake Millerton, June 10, 2007

Nothing beats a trip to see your kid or kids! We, Patty, Jodi and I took a few days to visit with Bobby and did some boating. Pictured below are Cory; Jodi; Brandon; Bobby and Beth. The water was about 50 feet lower than last year due to the lack of California rain!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Vine Chronicles - Week 13 (June 9, 2007)

Week 13 of the 2007 growing season was colder than normal, but sunny. The beginning stages of bloom are evidenced in the pictures. The grapes must "Flower" and "Set" in order to mature into a crop. We are probably 2 weeks behind last year in the vineyard.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Monterey Wine Festival - Opening Night June 7, 2007

Opening night at the Aquarium, Monterey, June 7, 2007.

Bad News for those in favor of Immigration reform!

IMMIGRATION BILL DIES IN SENATE. Bad news today for California winegrape growers. President Bush's immigration bill died yesterday in the Senate on a procedural vote. Only 45 of the necessary two-thirds of the senators voted to proceed, and 50 were opposed. The stalemate ends, at least for now, months of bipartisan negotiations between the White House and a key group of senators.

The legislation would have legalized the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country, created a large new guest-worker program, with separate provisions for farmworkers, toughened enforcement at the border and imposed a new verification system on all U.S. employers and workers.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Monterey County Hospitality Association - Employee Appreciation Day

June 5th, 2007 at the Monterey Fairgrounds! Monterey County Hospitality Association held Employee Appreciation Day. Nearly 1,200 hospitality workers participated in the celebration and event. Bob Brower was a timing judge for the bellman race and the food and beverage race. Pictured below is the General Manager of Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca - Gill Campbell and the General Manager of the Hyatt Regency, Monterey, Mark Bastis.