Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wine Industry News

As reported by Wine & Spirits Daily"


Tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 5) marks the 75th anniversary of Prohibition Repeal, but Discus says a handful of states continue to suffer from Prohibition-era attitudes against alcohol that "punish consumers and small business owners across the country -- especially during this economic downturn."

Fifteen states still ban Sunday spirits sales at package stores. Seven states ban all forms of spirits tastings, while another 7 states continue some form of a ban on the sale of alcohol on Election Days.

"Consumers deserve and are increasingly demanding more convenience," Dicus president Peter Cressy said, adding that states are repealing Blue Laws as a means to increase revenue without raising taxes. Since 2002, 13 states have repealed Sunday sales bans.

"As America marks this historic Anniversary of Prohibition Repeal, let's raise a toast to those states who took a stand 75 years ago against one of the biggest policy debacles in American history," he concluded"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Distributors for California

Chateau Julien Wine Estate and Emerald Bay are proud to announce that J &L Wines and Megawines will distribute our brands throughout California. See the below map and details for the company that carries our great wines!

I thought it prudent to notify everyone, with details, of our new California distributors. Please find attached a map of our state with color coded counties. Counties in Blue being MEGA WINE Inc. and counties in yellow being J&L WINES.
Mega Wines Corporate / Southern California Office:14718 Raymer Street, Van Nuys, CA 91405 T: 877-MEGAWINE
T: 818 781 9686 Fax: 818 781 9292 e-mail:

Mega Wines Northern California:8359 Elk Grove Florin Rd, Suite 103-171 Sacramento, CA 95829 Tel: 916 686 2144 Fax: 916 686 1574

J & L Wines
P.O. Box 2399Paso Robles, CA 93447 OFFICE: (805) 239-1377FAX: (805) 239-2466EMAIL:

Thank you!
Lisa Belle Kaufman
National Sales & Marketing Manager
Chateau Julien Wine Estate
T 831-624-2600
C 831-224-2224

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What is up for "Wine Consumption" at the Holiday's

As reported by Wine & Spirits Daily:


A new report from Nielsen says consumers are likely to view alcoholic beverages as an "affordable indulgence" this holiday season. In fact, Nielsen expects more Americans to give alcoholic beverages as gifts this year, "helped by the usual selection of special 'value-added' packs." Nielsen's report gives a much brighter outlook then other outlets that have suggested the business will suffer in November and December, which accounts for a big chunk of annual sales. For example, AdAge printed an article yesterday claiming Champagne sales are expected to take a serious hit.

Grocery stores, c-stores and other off-premise retailers will benefit most as Americans increasingly choose to drink at home. Meanwhile, restaurants, bars and nightclubs "are facing serious challenges in the current economy" during a period when more consumers go out than any other time of year.

When Americans are eating out, some people are cutting back on how much they spend by ordering fewer or lower-priced drinks, especially as it relates to higher-priced wines and spirits. Other consumers are trading down by visiting "fast casual" restaurants and quick service restaurants that may offer few or no alcoholic beverages.

"Given the importance of the holiday season to restaurants and bars, these establishments will need to pull out all the stops to lure consumer traffic back, using a variety of creative incentives as a hook," said Richard Hurst, senior vice president, Beverage Alcohol, The Nielsen Company. "Watch for on-premise outlets to push customer loyalty programs to drive repeat business."

On-premise retailers are targeting consumers who used to go out more in order to drive repeat business. For example, Nielsen said grocery stores are targeting restaurant-goers with well-priced easy meals, and other stores are adding alcoholic beverages to their line up. Nielsen also expects to see a continued increase in online shopping, especially for wine, where legal to do so.

Richard suggests that on-premise retailers "consider multiple store display locations to capitalize on impulse purchasing, as well as providing gift accessories nearby, such as bottle openers, gift bags, mixed drink party pack ingredients and glassware."

DOMESTIC VS IMPORTS. Domestic wine, spirits and beer is now outperforming imports for a couple of reasons. For one, a weak USD is making imports more expensive. Also, "consumers are often biased toward national or local products" in tough economic times. According to Nielsen, domestic and imported wines were growing at the same double-digit rates last year, but domestic growth is now ahead of imports.

"While there is evidence of consumers reducing on-premise consumption, as well as trading down to less expensive beverages, they are reluctant to cut back significantly on beer, wine and spirits, especially for at home consumption and entertaining. With the prospect of limited economic recovery in 2009, consumers are likely to consider alcoholic beverages as an affordable indulgence during the holiday season."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Last Day of harvest at the Chateau

Harvest 2008 came to a close on the 30th of October, just one day ahead of the rain. The quality of the harvest was exceptional (another California vintage year). The last grapes harvested are at the Chateau main estate and are Sangiovese. These grapes will become the Rosato (Rose) and Sangiovese (Red).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is your Wine - Too Smokey?

As reported by "Wine & Spirits Daily"

October 22, 2008

Smoke Taint Abroad

California is not the only wine grape producing region that has faced smoke taint in recent years. Australian vintners, Canadians and producers from Greece, among others, have reported brushfires which some scientists warn could get worse in the future as the climate changes. Exposed wine grapes run the risk of passing the flavor to wine, resulting in a not-so-pleasant product that is described as tasting like smoked meat.

Scientists are focusing their attention on smoke taint and ways to prevent it. An article in ABC news claims a variety of solutions are now on trial, including vine sprays and reverse osmosis. One thing scientists recently learned: grape leaves are most likely responsible for absorbing the smoke, although the skin of the grapes was initially considered the gateway.

Causes for alarm began with the 2003 brushfires in southern Australia and were heightened after Napa Valley faced its own brush fires this summer, which is now beginning to show effects in California wine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wine Pouring in New Jersey

Brother in laws can be great. I sure have one in Tony Jackapino. The top picture is Tony with Piero Ferrari, in Italy (for Ferrari 60th anniversary event, with me) and the next picture, Tony is pouring our wine with his lovely wife, Raeanne (unfortunately not pictured), in New Jersey at a fundraising event. Am I ever lucky!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Water and Climate in California as reported by ACWA

Delta Vision Strategic Plan to be DiscussedThe fifth and final staff draft of a strategic plan for the Delta was released Friday by the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. The task force will meet this Thursday and Friday to discuss the plan. Once finalized, it will be sent to a cabinet-level Delta Vision Committee charged with making recommendations to the governor and the Legislature.ACWA submitted formal comments last month on the fourth draft of the plan. ACWA’s comments are available here. The fifth staff draft is available here.The task force meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, at the West Sacramento City Hall Galleria, 1110 West Capitol Avenue, West Sacramento.Visit for more information.

MWD Closes Boat Ramps at Diamond Valley, Warns of RationingThe Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves nearly 18 million people, closed the boat ramps at Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County due to low water level. The lake is at 60% capacity. Opened in 2003, Diamond Valley was meant to be the major drinking-water storage facility for Southern California, as well as an insurance policy against a traumatic cutoff of water. MWD General Manager Jeff Kightlinger said that the district’s board will soon be considering rationing, either by “easing into it” in 2009 or cutting “steeply” in 2010.

New Report Says California's Heating UpAverage temperatures are on the rise in California and especially in the Central Valley, according to a new report released today by Environment California Research & Policy Center. The report, “Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States,” compares government temperature data for the years 2000-2007 with average temperatures for the preceding 30 years. It finds that Central Valley cities such as Redding, Stockton and Fresno recorded average temperatures up to 1.8° F above the historical average in 2000-2007. In 2007 alone, the average temperature was 1.4° F above normal in Redding and 1.6° F in Fresno.The report cites a recent report by the Bush administration that identified water shortages from early snowmelt, degraded air quality, wildfires, drought, extreme rainfall with flooding and sea-level rise as particular risks for California and the Pacific region if warming continues as projected.The Environment California report is available here.

Some Bottled Water Exceeds State Limits, Tests FindOakland-based Environmental Working Group has tested 10 brands of bottled water and found that several contained chemical levels that exceeded legal limits in California.The tests discovered an average of eight contaminants in each brand. Four brands including Wal-Mart's Sam’s Choice also were contaminated with bacteria.The environmental group filed a notice of intent to sue Wal-Mart Tuesday, alleging that the mega-chain failed to warn the public of illegal concentrations of trihalomethanes, which are cancer-causing chemicals.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Great kudo's for our winemaker Marta Kraftzeck

Dean of female winemakers
Kraftzeck crafts products for Chateau Julien
By ROBERT WALCH • For The Salinas Californian • October 13, 2008

CARMEL VALLEY - It's very possible that had Marta Kraftzeck not become a winemaker, the Monterey native would have gone into teaching.

The veteran Monterey County winemaker, who will celebrate two decades at Chateau Julien in Carmel Valley next year, has discovered she enjoys sharing her knowledge of wine and winemaking with anyone interested enough to listen.
In fact, her eyes light up when someone asks a question about her profession. In a sense, she considers herself an ambassador for the wine industry.
"I enjoy explaining how we make wine and why we do the things we do," Kraftzeck said.
She also likes to help people determine why they like a particular wine. If an individual can master a few "descriptors" - adjectives that describe a given wine - he or she will be better equipped to make intelligent wine purchases, she said.
"Rather than asking for a bottle of white wine, if a person can say he or she wants a Chardonnay with no oak or a 'soft' cabernet, the individual is saying much more," Kraftzeck said, as she explained why some knowledge is important when selecting wine. "I think the key is to determine what you like or what you don't like and then be able to describe that wine in simple terms."
Although she has always enjoyed talking about wine, the dean of Monterey County's female winemakers has discovered there are a lot of people eager to hear what she has to say.
About 10 years ago when Peter Meckel, director of Hidden Valley in Carmel Valley, asked Kraftzeck if she would be interested in conducting wine classes as part of the Elderhostel program offered at the center, she said, "Sure, why not?"
Since then, Kraftzeck has become certified as a wine educator. There are only a few hundred individuals in the U.S. holding such certification.
Liking an educational challenge, Kraftzeck said she took the test not because she was conducting Elderhostel classes but because she wanted to see if she could get the certification.
"I think there's a little intimidation that's been created by some people in the wine industry," she said. "I'd like to lessen that fear some people have that they should be afraid of voicing their likes or dislikes about wine."
Kraftzeck emphatically stated that she encourages her students to "follow their own taste buds" and not be influenced by someone's ranking or how many medals a wine has captured.
When she conducts her Elderhostel classes two or three times a month, Kraftzeck will have between 12 and 50 people in the room. What she likes about working with seniors is that they are very honest.
"They are very up-front and not afraid to say anything," she said. "At their time in life they aren't shy, nor do they care what someone else thinks. But best of all, they are still interested in learning and that's why they participate in the Elderhostel program."
Does she ever take offense when some of the seniors nod off during a class?
"Never!" Kraftzeck exclaimed. "It's after dinner, so of course that will happen occasionally. I never take it personally. Someone falling asleep doesn't faze me at all - as long as there's no snoring."
Kraftzeck also teaches a monthly class at Chateau Julien called The World of Wine.
"I give a slide presentation of various wine regions so everyone has a visual idea of the area, and then we do some wine tasting," she said. "We have had about 25 people at each session."
As with any dedicated teacher, Kraftzeck is also striving to learn more about her subject area.
"I like to study and keep learning new things," she said. "I believe learning should be a lifelong passion, not something that stops when you leave school."
To this end she recently took and passed the first level test to be a certified sommelier. In December she'll tackle the second of four levels.
"I don't think I'll go any further than level two, since I have no real desire to serve wine," she said. "I just wanted to see if I could do it."

What Does the Federal Reserve have to say about the West

October 15, 2008
Federal Reserve Districts
Twelfth District--San Francisco
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Full report

Economic activity in the Twelfth District weakened further during the survey period of September through early October. Retail sales were very sluggish on net, and demand fell for most categories of services. Manufacturing activity slowed, but sales continued to grow for agricultural products and natural resources. Activity in District housing markets generally remained anemic, and demand for commercial real estate weakened further. Contacts from financial institutions reported a decline in loan demand and credit quality, along with a drop in credit availability. Upward pressures on prices remained significant overall, due to the delayed influence of past increases in the prices of energy and selected commodities.
Wages and PricesDespite some easing of late, upward pressures on prices remained substantial. Prices on energy and selected commodities, including food products and some raw materials, have come down from their recent highs. However, these prices generally remained at elevated levels and continued to exert substantial upward pressure on overall final prices, due to the delayed effects of earlier price increases. Prices for many retail items were held down by extensive discounting, but some contacts cautioned that pending increases have been working their way through the supply chain and will reach consumers late this year and in 2009.
Wage pressures eased further as the degree of labor market slack deepened. Job cuts were reported across a wide range of industries, particularly in the construction, finance, and real estate sectors. As a result, unemployment rose throughout the District, and contacts noted that wages have been largely flat of late. The primary exception is worker groups whose skills enable them to use advanced technologies, for whom wage gains remained significant.
Retail Trade and ServicesRetail sales were quite sluggish and appeared to fall during the survey period, despite the influence of the back-to-school shopping season. Sales remained weak and inventories rose further for department stores and smaller retail outlets alike. Discount chains continued to see stronger demand than traditional department stores, as consumers switched away from high-priced items and curbed discretionary spending; outdoor equipment such as camping gear was one bright spot, as households gravitated towards low-cost vacation options. Sales for retailers of furniture and household appliances continued to slide from already low levels, and unit sales of gasoline fell further. Sales fell considerably for all types of automobiles, both new and used, with reduced credit availability reportedly emerging as a significant constraint.
Demand for services fell further compared with the previous survey period. Health-care providers reported declining demand, with some medical centers noting a significant drop in cash collectibles recently. Sales weakened for providers of advertising, professional, and legal services, idling some workers and reducing capacity utilization. Activity remained moribund for providers of real estate services such as title insurance. Contacts noted modest declines in tourist activity in some major tourist destinations in the District, such as Southern California and Las Vegas; the drop was more significant in Hawaii and was accompanied by layoffs there.
ManufacturingDistrict manufacturing activity slowed during the survey period of September through early October. Although manufacturers of commercial aircraft still faced an extensive backlog of orders, activity in that sector was sharply curtailed by an ongoing labor dispute. Makers of semiconductors and other information technology products continued to experience high rates of capacity utilization and moderate sales gains, but signs of a softening in global demand have emerged. Demand for wood products remained very weak, causing additional mill shutdowns. Activity at petroleum refineries continued at low levels, and capacity utilization remained well below its longer-term average. Capacity utilization also was very low among metal fabricators, for whom demand has weakened substantially. Firms in most sectors reported limited capital spending of late, with plans to hold flat or reduce spending during the balance of 2008.
Agriculture and Resource-related IndustriesDemand and sales for agricultural items and natural resources continued to expand during the recent survey period. Brisk sales were reported for most crops, propelled in part by strong export demand. Demand remained solid for petroleum products, spurring further expansion of extraction capacity. However, the recent decline in oil prices has reduced the viability of some high-cost expansion projects, and the recent hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico sharply curtailed capacity utilization for District companies with operations there.
Real Estate and ConstructionThe District's severe housing slump continued, while demand for commercial real estate eroded further. Demand and sales remained very weak for new and existing homes, and prices continued to fall. Foreclosure rates on existing homes, which were already high in parts of Arizona, California, and Nevada, rose noticeably in Utah and Idaho. Widespread availability of foreclosed homes at bargain basement prices spurred sales of existing homes to exceed their levels from twelve months earlier in some parts of California. Demand for nonresidential real estate fell, and limited credit availability reportedly constrained property purchases and the number and scope of projects that were underway in some areas. Vacancy rates on commercial space rose in Las Vegas and other major metropolitan areas. Contacts noted that the strongest construction activity by far was for public buildings such as hospitals and schools.
Financial InstitutionsLending activity and credit conditions weakened noticeably during the survey period. Demand for commercial and industrial loans fell further, and demand for new residential mortgages remained very weak. Credit availability declined significantly as banks and other financial institutions faced rising difficulties securing short-term funding. Contacts also pointed to higher delinquency rates in all loan categories. Banks and customers are taking steps to enhance deposit-insurance coverage of existing holdings by spreading deposits across multiple banks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stock and Credit Market Woo's - What a Week!

This has been a difficult week to pay attention to anything other than CNBC. The world has, once again, is in financial distress. Hard to find fun things to Blog about.
One good thing, our Estate Sangiovese, used for Rosato and Sangiovese, is nearing harvest as the Brix level has reached 20.2. We are fully two weeks ahead of last year and look forward to harvest in a few weeks.
Observation - A few Glasses of wine and the world seems to be a better place!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

$3,800 per Bottle - Now that's expensive

As Reported by Wine & Spirits Daily -


In the Chicago this weekend Hart Davis Hart Wine Company sold one of the largest single-owner wine collections to date. The Fox Cellar, whose pre-sale estimate was $6.8-$10.2 million, exceeded expectations with $11,160,583 realized, becoming the fourth largest wine auction in history, and the largest cellar sold so far in 2008. 100% of the 1746 lots on offer sold.

An "unprecedented" selection of Château Lafite-Rothschild realized $1,819,627 against a pre-sale estimate of $1,067,200-1,598,700. The price achieved by the first lot of a seven case parcel of 1982 Château Lafite-Rothschild beat the world record for the wine. It sold to a Chinese bidder in the room for $54,970 against an estimate of $20,000-30,000. A case of 1982 Lafite sold for $46,000 (aggregate $54,970).

Large selections of wines from Haut-Brion, Latour, Margaux, Pétrus, and Domaine de la Romanée -Conti all soared over their respective pre-sale high estimates. The average lot value in the sale exceeded $6300 per lot over 1746 lots.

Bidders traveled to Chicago from 40 states as well as Australia, Europe, Canada and Asia to attend the acution which took place at Tru restaurant.

"During these times of uncertainty in the financial markets, the relationships that we have built over decades with buyers from all over the world are invaluable, and the results bear this out," said chairman John Hart in a statement. "I am thrilled for the consignor, and so proud of our team at Hart Davis Hart."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chateau Julien Team for the Best Buddies Event

Team Chateau Julien raised $8,324.00 for the Best Buddies program through donations raised by our team. The most money was raised by our Manager of Wine Collector programs, Melinda Klescewski. The bike run was from Chateau Julien Wine Estate to Hearst Castle - a 100 mile trip. All ten of the group participated in the run.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chateau Julien Event in Fresno

Well, the father and son team from Chateau Julien Wine Estate worked together at Max's Restaurant in Fresno for a wine magazine event. Son, Bobby, is a student at Fresno State studying Enology.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Germany Roadshow 2008

The fourth annual German Roadshow was held from September 8th through the 12th. We visited Koln and stayed at the local Hotel Lyskirchen - then on to Wiesbaden to stay at the Hotel Hansa (don't stay there) - then on to Stuttgart and the Hotel Maritim (great) and finally on to Muchen and the ACHAT Hotel and back to Frankfurt. As in the past, old supplier friends got together to share notes and enjoy the show. I began to call the show the 24 hours of Roadshow, as we poured wines for 4 days in 6 hour increments. Thanks to Mike and Gunda (our importers - Pacific Wine Company) for putting on the show and we will be back next year for another adventure.
ps - The beer was so heavy it required two hands to lift!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Les Kincaid's Lifestyles show in Las Vegas

On August 21st, 2008 I had the privilege of appearing on Les Kincaid's Lifestyles show. As some of you remember, in September of 2000 he started a unique wine show with Americas first wine show that has a live audience and tastes wine during the show while interviewing the winery owner (me), winemaker, wine writer, sommelier or master sommelier. I brought our 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, 2005 Reserve Merlot and 2006 Black Nova. The wine and food was a great experience.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Off to the Les Kincaid Show - Las Vegas

I thought I would post a picture taken from last weeks Ocean Avenue Concours by a fan of the wine estate. Next post should be from the Les Kincaid Radio Show in Las Vegas. I look forward to pairing our Chardonnay, Merlot and Black Nova with the restaurant that Les has selected for the event.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula - 2008

Car week on the Monterey Peninsula is 9 days of pure enjoyment for car enthusiasts (no time to post to the blog). From the pre-historic early weekend with FXX and Formula Clienti to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance the week was full of great historic automobiles and just plain fun. I participated in the Ocean Avenue Concours and the Concorso Italiano. In the later, a double podium finish for third overall and Platinum (Best of Class) award. Now for the deserved rest! - forgot - back to work!