Napa Vintners Growing Green
The NVV coordinated the creation of this farm-planning program based on Laurel Marcus’ heralded “Fish Friendly Farming,” which takes into account all aspects of a farm’s impact on the land, including buildings, roads and non-farmed vegetation, as well as the farmed acreage.
This year, with the NVV leading the way, Napa Green takes the next step, going inside the winery to establish voluntary best practices for environmentally sound wine production. Included in the process will be topics from recycling and energy conservation to reusable water resources and more.
The goal for these best practices, both in the vineyard and in the winery, is to ensure future generations will be able to carry on Napa Valley’s rich heritage of growing grapes and making outstanding wine, and thereby maintaining the region’s industry standing as second to none in the world.
Notes from the Field
As the weather heats up, the cover crop is mowed to allow moisture in the soil to supply only the vines without competition from the grasses. This “green” farm strategy helps prevent erosion, regulates soil moisture and reduces irrigation needs.
As for the vines themselves, during most of this heavy rain season, they were dormant and experienced little or no damage. The threat of rot only comes after the vines begin to wake up as days get longer and temperatures get warmer. Late in April, with bud break a few weeks behind normal, drier weather patterns moved in to the region bringing sunshine. It appears vine rot has been avoided.
According to Jim Frisinger, VP of North Coast Vineyards for Beringer Vineyards, “We’ve had above-average rainfall which, in combination with cool temperatures, has slowed development. We did experience some early budbreak in the southern part of the Napa Valley in February when we had a warm spell, but the cool, wet weather pattern since then has changed things around and we’re currently on a later-than-normal track. Everything looks fine and the vines appear to be in good shape.” One positive side effect of the cloud cover and precipitation late into the season is that there has been less concern about frost damaging the vines.
Premiere Napa Valley : Rare Wines, Priceless Relationships
“Obviously, one benefit of Premiere is the opportunity to purchase unique, top-of-the-line wines. It’s easy to talk to customers about having a supply of some highly allocated wine at $600 per bottle,” says Marcus. “But with a Premiere wine, I can say, ‘There were only 60 bottles of this wine produced, and I have them all. No one else in the world does.’ How often can you say that to a customer?
“The second value to me is the relationship I develop with the wineries whose lots I purchase,” Marcus explains. “That part is priceless. The setup of the event, with its mix of attendees and its limited size, affords a perfect venue for developing and furthering relationships with wineries, which can translate into higher allocations of their other wines. So I benefit from buying these one-of-a-kind wines, but also from the relationships that develop out of Premiere—even if I were to only break even on the wines purchased at Premiere, I’d still be ahead on the deal!”
For more information on PNV or to sign up for an invitation to next year’s event, go to napavintners.com and click on “Trade.”
Vintners Hit D.C.
The vintners met with nearly twenty-five members of congress including the California delegation, the Ways and Means Committee and the Congressional Wine Caucus, in addition to the US Trade Representative (USTR), the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the European Union Mission. The focus was on educating leaders on the NVV’s recent U.S. Supreme Court victory on name protection, the Declaration of Place is Important to Wine, the status of the Napa Valley Geographic Indication (GI) and the just-signed Wine Accords. The meetings set the stage for continuing Napa name protection in the U.S. and abroad. A reception sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) was held on Capitol Hill to further showcase Napa’s wine, and Napa’s contribution of more than $9.5 billion annually to California’s economy.
The DC visit came on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal of the California Supreme Court’s ruling against the Ceres-based Bronco Wine Company. The appeal sought to overturn the state’s truth-in-wine-labeling law that prohibits brands that deceive the consumer by leading them to believe a wine is from Napa when it truly is not. While a victory, the court’s decision and the law that stands only affects California’s consumers.
On April 26, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with wine giant, Bronco Wine Co., and that Bronco would bring all of its brands into compliance with California state law. In a separate agreement with the NVV, Bronco agreed to be in compliance with their brands not only in California, but across the U.S. and around the world as well.
Linda Reiff, NVV’s executive director said, “We applaud Bronco for its commitment to come into compliance with the law, and for self-regulating itself in the domestic and international markets. The Bronco case is just one example and we will remain vigilant to protect against future abuses in the other 49 states and abroad.”
Your Tool Box
“The Science Behind the Napa Valley” Napa Valley is second to none in growing the world’s finest wine grapes, and we’ve got the facts to prove it. It’s all in an easy-to-use PowerPoint presentation that explains Napa’s unique geologic history, diverse soils, microclimates and appellations, bringing home the importance of place to wine.
“The Napa Valley’s Dirty Little Secrets” We’ve taken this same information and created a consumer-oriented version of the seminar on Napa Valley’s physical diversity: geologic history, soils, climates and appellations, available in pdf format.
Appellation Maps and Posters and Winery Maps
on press – trade edition
NVV Schedule of Events
Spring Has (Finally) Sprung in Napa Valley
Rain was not on anyone’s mind on February 26 at Premiere Napa Valley, our annual trade-only barrel tasting and auction, the weather was positively sunny, and fitting of the high spirits and bids placed that day: a record-setting $1.9 million was raised from 181 auction lots. See our interview with retailer Marcus Graziano for some insight into what makes Premiere such a hot ticket.
Soon after, the rain continued, setting new records. See the insider’s report in “Notes from the Field” All that rain means green on the hillsides and on the vines throughout Napa Valley, but learn more about a different kind of Napa Green in this issue.
Then check out our calendar of events—we may be headed your way!
And the Winner Is...
2006 NVV Calendar
International Wine & Spirit Trade Fair
Auction Napa Valley
ANV has raised over $60 million dollars to date for health care, affordable housing and youth services.
Institute of Masters of Wine Symposium
Society of Wine Educators Annual Conference
Taste Napa Valley: UK
Taste Napa Valley: New York