Lessons From the Vineyard

What the Wine Industry Understands About Connecting with Consumers

MARCH 05, 2019

In the battle to gain an edge over competitors, companies spend millions of dollars to understand consumers through focus groups, surveys, and sophisticated analytics. But too often, because most people don’t really know what they want, these methods waste time and resources. There is a better way:  educating consumers, rather than listening to them.

Consider, for example, three very different products: coffee, diamonds, and smartphones. Billions of people around the world have enjoyed coffee for over five centuries. But our understanding of the product has changed dramatically since Starbucks debuted in Seattle in 1971 and grew to a global powerhouse with more than 28,000 locations. Similarly, DeBeers took a luxury gemstone — diamonds — and created a broader market for it by associating it with romance and marriage. By 2013, diamond sales topped $70 billion, up from virtually nothing in 1932. The stones were the same, but consumers were taught that they had a new meaning — and value. Finally, in the case of smartphones, Steve Jobs famously argued against the traditional approach: “Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do…People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

To better understand how firms succeed by educating consumers, we studied the U.S. wine industry. Winemaking has remained largely unchanged for 7,000 years, but the United States wine industry has ballooned from just over $30 billion in 2002 to more than $60 billion today, making it the largest in the world. The number of U.S. wineries has grown by 50% to nearly 10,000 just in the past decade. Some have redefined great wine, gained the loyalty of passionate consumers, and command extraordinary prices.

How did these firms achieve the benefits often associated with disruptive innovation in an industry in which the technology has remained largely unchanged for millenniums? To explore this question, we have since 2010 immersed ourselves in the wine industry, focusing primarily on U.S. producers but also studying a few from Italy and France for whom the U.S. market is important. These ranged from small, boutique wineries to large multinational firms; some were established in the last 30 years, while others date back to the 14th century. We met with winemakers, vineyard workers, marketing executives, CEOs, critics, writers, importers, and we observed and interviewed consumers in their homes and at wine shops, multi-vendor events, bars, restaurants, and wineries. From 58 interviews, we produced more than 2,300 pages of transcripts, field notes, documents, and photos. We found that, like Starbucks, DeBeers and Apple, wine producers shape markets through vision and social influence. Here’s how they do it.

Step 1: Envision something extraordinary

Wine producers see customers as having limited expertise and demonstrating inconsistent, difficult-to-predict preferences. This is why, rather than seeking and responding to consumer input, they seek to influence tastes.

Christian Moueix, best known for producing France’s legendary Château Petrus from Pomerol, offers an example. Moueix purchased a vineyard in Napa Valley, where vintners make rich, lush, wines that are high in alcohol. Industry professionals call these wines fruit bombs, and the most popular sell for hundreds of dollars. But Moueix told us that he “hates” this style of wine, and he rejects many common California practices. Instead, he prefers an approach he developed in Bordeaux, which includes no role for consumer input. “I make what pleases me,” he explained.

We heard versions of this sentiment again and again. One American winemaker told us that consumers “don’t respect the product … don’t understand wine … don’t care.” Another executive said: “I’m not going to be asking the market what it wants because they don’t know what they want until I show them.”

Some producers even wear their lack of interest in profit as a badge . “We are not here to break even, we are here to break the rules, break records, and break through,” one California winery owner proudly proclaimed.

Instead of responding to consumers or chasing financial returns, winemakers pursue a vision, much like an artist imagines a work. Constrained only by the vineyard and history, they aim to make a personal contribution.

Step 2: Mobilize those with influence 

Even as wine producers dismiss customer input and the pursuit of profit, they value the opinions of peers and influential media and critics, including Karen MacNeil, Jancis Robinson, The Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Vinuous Media, and The Wine Advocate’sRobert Parker.

Critics typically score wine on a 0-to-20 or 0-to-100 scale and provide tasting notes; an additional point from Parker generates €2.80, or $3.00, of revenue per bottle, according to one analysis, while a difference of ten points can mean millions of euros for a large-scale producer, and a perfect score of 100 can support a three- or fourfold price increase.

Some producers engineer wines to earn high scores, but those that shape markets are more subtle. They aim to build influential relationships with industry movers and shakers, rather than to please them. They educate these experts in their histories, winemakers, and visions for the future and thus gain some control over the stories that reach the public. They provide the language needed to help people “discover the soul” of their wines.

One producer we interviewed invites sommeliers, journalists, and others to experience the harvest at his vineyards in France each fall. A small group of five to six guests stay at the elegant home of the owner. Accompanied by the winemaker, the guests stroll through the vineyards, taste wines from previous vintages, and discuss their experience over dinner. The event is designed to make them feel connected to the brand and then advocate for it.

Through these kinds of experiences, a consensus emerges about which wines are excellent, and which are extraordinary, and ultimately this is what defines the winners and the losers in the industry.  Moueix’s Dominus Estate offers a case in point. When he released the first vintage of Dominus Estate in 1988, it was neither a Napa Valley fruit bomb nor a Moueix wine from Bordeaux, which prompted debate: Was it more French or more Californian? Was it really worth $40? Moueix explained his vision to critics and journalists, as a songwriter might explain the meaning of a lyric. He wanted the wine to express its terroir — the soil, the weather, the sunshine, the natural environment — of its legendary Yountville, California vineyard.  He also favored dry farming (no irrigation), thinning the crop, and harvesting grapes early. Thus, Dominus Estate became understood as a unique blend of “Napa terroir, Bordeaux spirit.” Over time, critics began describing it as a new benchmark for the region, and high scores followed. Parker awarded the 2001 vintage 98 points. Three critics awarded the 2013 vintage a rare 100 points—perfection.

Step 3: Let consumers react and share

Consumers looking to buy a bottle of wine confront thousands of choices. In fact, many of the shoppers we spoke to described the experience as stressful; they were fearful of making a poor choice and looking ignorant or of missing an opportunity to make an evening more special.  To navigate, they invariably turn to those experts that the wineries have worked so hard to influence.

Despite questions about the objectivity of wine scores, critics still drive the behavior of retail and hospitality buyers and consumers. One retailer conducted an experiment in which he stacked two California Chardonnays next to each other and posted their Wine Advocate scores and tasting notes below the bottles. The bottle with a score of 92 outsold the bottle with a score 84 ten to one. When the same wines were displayed with tasting notes only, sales were roughly even. As another example, Moueix sold every case available from the 2013 Dominus Estate vintage and bottles that remain on retail shelves bear price tags of $300 or more.

The chain reaction is clear. Vision flows from producer to critic. Retailers stock wines critics and other experts praise, and sommeliers add their newest discoveries to wine lists. Retailers and sommeliers then share their favorite wines with consumers, who share what they’ve bought and enjoyed with their friends and families. The most dedicated visit celebrated wineries, join wine clubs, learn more, and share what they have learned with others. From beginning to end, the process is an educational one.

Producers of wines deemed extraordinary define categories and set benchmarks. Consumers become fans and pay premium prices, despite the availability of literally thousands of excellent alternatives. This ensures the financial success of those firms, even as they reject consumer input and feign the pursuit of profit.

From learning to educating

As products become more complex and consumers feel more pressed for time, we believe that firms in all industries will increasingly succeed by having a unique vision, cultivating expert advocates through authentic connections, driving expert consensus, and allowing consumers to react and share.  Firms that gain advantage through simply responding to customers are vulnerable to disruption. Those that shape markets using social influence and education can endure.

Gregory Carpenter is James Farley/Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is co-author of Resurgence: The Four Stages of Market-Focused Reinvention and co-hosts the school’s annual Marketing Leadership Summit, where thought leaders explore the future of marketing.

Ashlee Humphreys is Associate Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, and Associate Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. She is author of Social Media: Enduring Principles.

from:  https://hbr.org/2019/03/what-the-u-s-wine-industry-understands-about-connecting-with-customers?ab=hero-subleft-2

A Little Weed With Your Wine?

The Latest Craze In Winemaking: Marijuana-Infused Wine

Cannabis WIneThere’s been a lot of buzz about pot and wine recently. It’s hard to separate the toga party contingent’s thirst for a potion into which two psychoactive substances have been crammed, from the more sober, scholarly consideration of the 3,700+ year history of fortifying wine with cannabis. And the allegedly potent healing powers of cannabis-wine are almost always overlooked, advocates complain.

Come on. Isn’t pot-wine just an elevated partying tool? Or can it actually help people who suffer from various maladies? Also – is it any good? And where can we get it?

Historically, wine fortified with cannabis hasn’t been guzzled at the average Thirsty Thursday happy hour. Instead, pot-wine has been consumed during religious rituals and used as a form of anesthesia in surgery. Yes, it’s that powerful.

Records of the marijuana plant being utilized for medicinal purposes date back to the 28th century B.C. In China during the second century A.D., archeologists found records showing that the founder of Chinese surgery, Hua T’o, used wine fortified with cannabis resin to reduce pain during surgery.

Religious initiates of various stripes also drank psychoactive wine as part of their practice. Participants in the Eleusinian Mysteries (initiations held yearly for the cult of Demeter and Persephone in ancient Greece) and early Christians (including, allegedly, Jesus Christ) are two of the most noted groups of cannabis-wine enthusiasts, but far from the only ones, according to Carl Ruck, a professor of classical studies at Boston University. He coined the use of the term “entheogen” when discussing the use of psychoactive substances during sacraments to free the topic “from the pejorative connotations for words like drug or hallucinogen.”

Healing Properties of Cannibis-Wine

And unlike the sophomoric Cheech and Chong-esque cackles of glee greeting most discussions of weed-wine, the professor’s pronouncements on the subject are refreshingly staid, reeking more of damp tweed than patchouli oil. The tradition of adding “fortifying herbal additives to wine [have been] documented by archaeological evidence” he says, noting that “entheogens were at the very origin of religion.”

Don’t worry: not everyone whipped out the pot-wine for the E.R., temple and church, even back in the day, Dr. Ruck explains. There were a few Bronx agers who are thought to have used pot-wine as a shortcut to fun. (Toga! Toga! Toga!)

A personal wine cellar in a palace in modern day northern Israel was discovered a decade ago. Dating back to 1700 B.C. it’s the oldest (and probably the coolest) cellar that has ever been found, with a personal stash of more than 500 gallons of wine (it would fill about 3,000 modern bottles) infused with cinnamon, honey, mint and … psychotropic resins.

About 572,762 Californians are thought to be card-carrying cannabis users (out of a population of more than 38 million).

And though he refrained from commenting on the “advisability” of renewing the practice of brewing weed-wine, he did say that “cannabis would be one of the less dangerous additives” to make a comeback, of which there are a few other less promising entries in the wine fortification market. “Evidence for the additives comes from folkloric traditions and the practice is apparently often employed in the making of home brews,” Professor Ruck explains. “One with salamander venom is marketed in the Balkans. Modern Greek retsina is fortified with toxic terpenes.”

Let’s all agree to forget the salamander venom Balkan wine, shall we? Unless you’re up for making a home brew yourself, Marijuana wine is (somewhat) available and legal in America, and probably will become increasingly so in the years to come. (About 53% of Americans support marijuana legalization now, compared to roughly 42% of Americans in 2010, according to Pew Research). Four states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska – and the District of Columbia have passed measures legalizing marijuana use, 14 states have decriminalized certain amounts of possession and 23 states plus D.C. have legalized medical marijuana.
Melissa Etheridge Weed Wine
While the exact recipes for the pot-wines of yore aren’t available, a commonly used manufacturing method now is cold-pressed, never heated. It may not have the exact psychotropic effect one would expect. Instead, cannabis acts more like an herb would, adding depth of flavor and structure to wines. Melissa Etheridge, who became an unlikely, vociferous advocate of medical cannabis after going through a bout of chemotherapy, has created a line of pot-wine through Greenway in California, called “No Label.”

In California, it’s legal to possess and cultivate cannabis for personal medical use given the recommendation or approval of a state-licensed physician. Patients are commonly issued a cannabis ID card. About 572,762 Californians are thought to be card-carrying cannabis users (out of a population of more than 38 million). Greenway, founded in 2005 in Santa Cruz, the first dispensary in California to be backed by both the city and the state, embraces both the medicinal and the recreational possibilities of cannabis, and is at the forefront of making cannabis consumption as delicious and sophisticated as possible.

“Cannabis is highly medicinal,” Lisa Molyneux, Greenway’s founder-farmer says. “And even when people think they are just using cannabis recreationally or to relax, it probably has an underlying medical or psychological component. Personally, I abhor grain alcohol. Many years ago, I tried cannabis-infused wine that a winemaking friend of mine made for his own personal consumption and I loved it. I got the recipe from him and I started working on my own batch seven years ago. As it turns out, I misunderstood his directions, but even he agrees that my results are better.”

Ms. Molyneux’s products – which consistently win accolades from patients and the press, including coveted awards in the annual High Times Cannabis Cup – come in many forms, including edibles, concentrates, balms and capsules. Her cannabis-wine, developed for her own personal use initially, became a secret cult favorite among California’s in-the-know cannabis consumers who are more interested (or at least just as interested) in the medical uses of the plant as they are in the blissed-out high the toga contingent is after.

Getting the benefits of cannabis from edibles and tinctures are popular alternatives to just smoking the stuff, but Ms. Molyneux’s disdain for the taste and effects of grain alcohol prompted her to try to get her wine tincture on the market, especially when Melissa Etheridge got ahold of her brew and approached her about turning it into the first commercial cannabis-wine available in the U.S.
Marijuana Grow HouseThe Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter is eagerly embracing her role as a “ganjapreneur” and it’s hard to think of a better place on earth than California to launch another wine revolution. California wines are known for their robust, daring flavors and vertiginously high alcohol content (consumers are demanding fuller-bodied flavors from wines, so producers are leaving grapes on the vine for longer to ripen, which ends up imparting more flavor but also packing more alcohol) and California culture is known for it’s paradoxically assertive and laid-back approach to launching and then dominating new, upstart markets and ideas. And winemakers in Northern California have allegedly been making it for decades – it was probably just a matter of time before someone canny capitalized on the opportunity.

“I am a wine-lover and I truly believe that a glass of wine a day can be medicinal too,” she explains. “The problem is, few people stop at one, so the health benefits kind of fly out the window when you’re downing three or four glasses a night. Once I got clearance from my legal team and was able to sell a wine tincture at Greenway, I heard from a lot of wine-loving customers that two ounces of the tincture was all they needed to get the relaxing effects of wine. Ironically, my wine tincture is probably helping people drink and smoke less!”

It tastes just like wine, but you get the herbal kick in the back of the throat from the cannabis.

Ms. Molyneux, who grows Greenway’s roughly 20 strains of cannabis in her backyard in Santa Cruz herself using organic, sustainable growing methods, pairs carefully selected “hybrid” strains with specific varietals. (At last check on Leafly, there were 1,548 strains of cannabis, categorized as Indica, Sativa or hybrid). She has been making cannabis-wine for several years, but because it’s so expensive and time-consuming (her secret recipe and method involves barrel-aging and extraction for about one year), she can only experiment with pairings and batches one barrel at a time; still, at any time, she has about a dozen different tinctures to choose from, and she always has core customer favorites (hers is the Syrah and the Viognier, Ms. Ethridge’s is the Grenache, she believes) on tap.

Every strain of cannabis, like any herb, imparts different flavors and Ms. Molyneux pairs them accordingly with Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet, Grenache, Chardonnay and Viognier varietals (she uses grapes from wine-makers who grow their grapes organically, but she won’t reveal their names and says that in five years she hopes to have her own organic wine vineyard). Ms. Molyneux says always use hybrid strains because many people report anxiety or rapid heartbeat after consuming sativa strains and pure indica strains can have a somnolent effect.

“Because of the way I make the tincture, it’s much better for you medicinally than grain alcohol tinctures, and it tastes incredible,” she says. “It tastes just like wine, but you get the herbal kick in the back of the throat from the cannabis. The process of making the wine tincture is also superior to grain tinctures because it’s not heated, it’s just cold-pressed, so the slow process of extraction reacts differently in your body. The TCH in the cannabis isn’t activated in the same way as it is in edibles and tinctures that are heated. It’s slower, longer lasting, and more subtle. You won’t feel the euphoria, it’s more like a full-body and mind happy relaxation. My patients with sleep issues, gastro-intestinal problems, especially Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and anxiety problems have told me that the tincture has helped them enormously. Seriously, two ounces at dinner is perfect, and while it won’t make you sleepy, people tell me it delivers the best night of sleep four hours after drinking it that they’ve had in years.”

Anytime a rock star is involved in marketing a legal drug, interest, both genuine and of the gawking variety, will ensue. Ms. Molyneux reports that they’ve had so many inquires from the whole state, her legal team is currently focused on how to ensure that more people in California can legally access it. “It’s a gray area,” she sighs.

But while her lawyers attempt to slash through the red tape cordoning off intra-state cannabis-wine transportation, Ms. Molyneux is tinkering with a new pet project: “I’m working on a cannabis beer now!” she exclaims. “So far, I’ve made an IPA and a Kolsh, both were incredible. Of course, I am only making them in 40-bottle batches and everyone’s mad at me for not making a larger sampling. As soon as it goes through corporate, I should have some on the shelf.”

The Healing Powers of Cannibis Wine

The beer will likely be much less expensive than the wine, which averages about $16-$20 an ounce, with a six-ounce minimum purchase. “The cold-extraction cannabis drink is seriously the best way to enjoy your meds,” she says. “It really is just a matter of time I think before other makers around the country will be finding ways to get wine and beer tinctures on the market. It will be good for everybody.”

Ms. Molyneux’s recipe is proprietary, and more than likely requires more gear and know-how than home vintners can muster. While we would never encourage illegal activity, DIY cannabis wine-making is a thing, and recipes are available online, most of which point to an original piece in The Daily Beast. It’s not as simple is garnishing a glass of Syrah with a bud. Aspiring cannabis wine-makers have to actually make wine because it’s the fermentation process that extracts the THC from the wine. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Buy a kit, available online or in home brew shops.

2. Drop 1 lb of cannabis into a cask of fermenting wine. The fermentation process converts the sugar in the grapes into alcohol, and the alcohol extracts THC from the cannabis.

3. Wait a minimum of 9 months before bottling.

4. What you do with that wine when it’s finished is between you, your doctor and your toga.

from:    http://vinepair.com/wine-blog/the-latest-craze-in-winemaking-marijuana-infused-wine/?xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_fw

Happy Cows and Vin Bovin

Why Is France Feeding Wine to Their Cows?

A Languedoc-Roussillon winemaker is experimenting with feeding cows wine after learning of studies that say happy animals create better meat.

Mon Jul 16, 2012
  • The French have taken a clue from the Japanese who serve beer to cows to create supple, tender Kobe beef.
  • The French cows are getting a daily dose of up to two bottles each of wine.
  • The daily cost of feeding the cows tripled from $6 to $18, which has led to a steep increase in the cost of the meat.

Dairy cows in the French countryside oblvious to the Tour de France peloton behind them.

First there was Kobe beef, Japan-born cows raised on beer. Now, the French have experimented with what is now called “Vinbovin” — cattle being served two or three bottles of Languedoc wine a day.

The idea came from the president of an association of wine, Jean-Charles Tastavy. Languedoc-Roussillon winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy conceived of his plan after hearing of studies in Spain and Canada that highlighted the merits of keeping animals happy to yield better meat.

“Why don’t we do what others are doing elsewhere?” Tastavy said.

With the assistance of the General Council of Hérault and FDSEA, an association has been created, the brand “Vinbovin” trademark was created and the rules made.

2 or 3 glasses of wine a day

“For each animal, alcohol intake should be equivalent to the amount recommended by health authorities for a man, namely two or three glasses of wine a day. For cattle, it is 1 liter to 1 liter and half,” explains Tastavy.

In 2011, the draft of an essay, a first in France, was launched. And it is Chaballier Claude, who owns a ranch where the bulls are in surplus for slaughterhouses, which agreed to embark on this adventure. A second experiment is scheduled from August to September.

After the last harvest, three cattle received grape pomace supplemented by the rolled barley and hay at will, all washed down with water. Then, two liters of wine from Saint-Genies of Mourgues replaced the marc. “The cattle liked the menu and ate with relish,” said Chaballier.

Gourmet marriage

This marriage of gastronomy with wine livestock has fallen short of expectations placed by the initiator. “It has been eaten,” remembers the breeder, within the “attractive returns” of an animal that has developed and particularly “tasty bits.”

For Chaballier, remains a downside: the price. The value of daily meals of broilers in wine tripled, from 5 to 15 euros, or a kilo of meat around a hundred euros for the noblest parts.

A luxury meat

This concept of luxury, Laurent Pourcel, Michelin-starred chef, does not deny. But in his view, there should no hesitation on the part of farmers to produce this meat that has a “very special” texture — “beautiful, marbled, tender which caramelizes during cooking.”

“She has a fine taste, very strong,” the chef Pourcel said. “Allowed to go stale and relax, the better it is.”

Pourcel has already convinced some of his confreres in a presentation made at his restaurant.

“All the great Parisian restaurants will take,” predicted the chef, stressing that this meat is an outlet for farmers and growers in the region.

from:    http://news.discovery.com/animals/cows-wine-beef-120716.html

Chardonnay Under Attack

New moth species invades Italy’s vineyards

By Victoria GillScience reporter, BBC Nature

New species of leafminer moth (c) Antispila oinophyllaThe moth is common in North America and was first spotted in Italy in 2006
A moth with a taste for Chardonnay leaves, which has infested vineyards across northern Italy, is a new species of leafminer, scientists say.

The pest was first discovered by Italian scientists in 2006, but they were unable to identify it.

Now, by examining a snippet of the moth’s genetic code, researchers have confirmed that it is a previously unnamed species.

The team published their findings in the journal ZooKeys.

The Italian team enlisted the help of insect expert Erik van Nieukerken from the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity in Leiden.

“We first turned to the [scientific] literature to find out what was already known, which was appallingly little for this group [of moths],” Dr van Nieukerken told BBC Nature.

He and his colleagues used a method known as DNA barcoding to examine a section of the insect’s genetic code.

  • “I figured out that this one, despite being quite common in North America, had no name,” he recalled.

The new species, which now bears the name Antispila oinophylla, had previously been confused with a North American species (Antispila ampelopsifoliella), which feeds on Virginia creeper.

Only the genetic studies revealed it to be a different species with a taste for grapevines. Its native range is across eastern North America, where it feeds on several species of wild grapes.

So far, the species has been found in vineyards in Italy’s Trento and Veneto regions, spreading and increasing in population since it was first recorded.

Having observed the moths in the field, the scientists say that the insect seems to have a preference for the leaves of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat grapes, but they added that the economic impact of this particular pest was not yet clear.

The researchers do not know exactly how the moth arrived in Italy, but Dr van Nieukerken said that it was very easy for the cocoons containing the larvae to be accidentally transported with plant material.

“They’re very small and exactly the same colour as the leaves,” he told BBC Nature. “So if you were carrying plants, you would probably not notice them.

The scientist said that another species from this same group had been discovered in commercial walnut crops and that more needed to be known about the insects.

“This group is very poorly studied,” he told BBC Nature.

“If you know exactly what it is and where it belongs, if you know its evolutionary history…. you can understand better how to control it.”

from:    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/17139837

The Benefits of Wine Swirling

Mechanism of Wine Swirling Explained

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2011) — Wine drinkers know that swirling a good vintage around in a glass aerates the wine and releases its bouquet. Just how the process — known as “orbital shaking” — works, however, has been something of a mystery.

Wine swirling. (Credit: © Patricia Hofmeester / Fotolia)

Fluid dynamicists have long observed that orbital shaking generates a wave that propagates around the inner edge of the glass, churning the liquid as it travels. “The formation of this wave has probably been known since the introduction of glass or any other kind of cylindrical bowl, but what has been lacking is a description of the physics related to the mixing and oxygenation,” says Mohamed Farhat, senior scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

To figure out how the mixing occurs, Farhat and his colleagues generated such waves in clear cylinders and used state-of-the-art instrumentation to track the motion of traveling waves and measure the liquid velocity.

The researchers found that “as the wave propagates along the glass wall, the liquid is displaced back and forth from bottom to top and from the center to the periphery,” Farhat explains. “This pumping mechanism, induced by the wave, is more pronounced near the free surface and close to the wall, which enhances the mixing.” The research team also discovered that, “for a given glass shape, the mixing and oxygenation may be optimized with an appropriate choice of shaking diameter and rotation speed,” he says.

“The intuitive and efficient motion of wine swirling has inspired engineers in the field of biopharmaceuticals,” Farhat says, where cell cultures can be placed in large cylindrical containers — or bioreactors — and “shaken” in a manner similar to the aeration of a glass of wine. The new work, he says, demonstrates that “such bioreactors offer better mixing and oxygenation over existing stirred tanks, provided that operating parameters are carefully optimized. Moreover, the gentle nature of orbital shaking also ensures a better viability and growth rate of the cells at reduced cost.”

Martino Reclari, a Ph.D. student and a member of the Swiss team, presented the findings in a talk at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting, which takes place Nov. 20-22, 2011, at the Baltimore Convention Center in the historic waterfront district of Baltimore, Maryland

from:   http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111121104142.htm

Paper Wine Bottles?

Greenbottle’s paper wine bottle is biodegradable, compostable

16 November 11

A British company called Greenbottle has designed a wine bottle made entirely out of paper, which weighs nearly a tenth of the amount of a regular glass bottle.

It was developed by Martin Myerscough, the technology director of the company, who came up with the concept after talking to the manager of his local tip, who told him that air-filled plastic bottles are the biggest problem he had to deal with. Myerscough started with milk bottles — creating a design that crushes flat and decomposes, leaving nothing but a small residue from the waterproof bag that contains the milk (which is recyclable if facilities are available locally).

Now, he’s turned to reinventing the wine bottle. Each paper bottle contains the same type of bag found in boxed wine so that the wine is kept fresh. The carbon footprint is cut to 10 percent of that of glass bottle but the big bonus is in terms of weight — each bottle weighs just 55g, whereas a regular glass bottle weighs more like 500g, which slashes transport costs.

It remains to be seen whether shoppers go for it, and — at least at first — hardcore oenophiles are likely to be unimpressed by the bag approach, but Asda’s promised to put milk cartons on shelves in 2012, so wine won’t like be far behind. Myerscough’s strategy for that is to approach wine manufacturers — he wants to license the patented technology to vineyards so that the wine doesn’t need to be shipped to a bottling plant first.

from:    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-11/16/paper-wine-bottle

Witness Tree Wines

My daughter, Cate, is in Oregon learning about viniculture and the wonders of the wine making process at Witness Tree Vineyards.  SHe finds it amazing, the recognition of the grapes, the percentage of sugar versus water, and all the rest still to come.  Check out their website to learn more about their wines:


Witness Tree Vineyard is a small producer of premium quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made entirely from grapes grown on our 100-acre estate. As winegrowers, we believe that only by tending our own vines can we produce the finest wines. Low yields in the vineyard and minimal handling in the winery allow us to create wines of depth, elegance, concentration, and character. They are the ultimate expression of the earth from which they were born.

Witness Tree Vineyard is owned by Dennis & Carolyn Devine. The Devines are originally from the Midwest, but have lived throughout the country during Dennis’ career as a clinical researcher in the pharmaceutical industry. Carolyn serves as President and Business Manager. Witness Tree is located in the Eola Hills, northwest of Salem, an area recognizedas one of Oregon’s premier growing regions.

Witness Tree
for more, go to:    http://www.witnesstreevineyard.com   (and don’t forget to mention Cate)med for an ancient oak which towers over the vineyard – it was designated a surveyor’s landmark in 1854 – Witness Tree is dedicated to the production of exemplary estate – bottled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Dennis and Carolyn Devine welcome you to our tasting room.

Wine & Waistlines

How a glass of wine a day could help you lose weight

Jessica Laurence

By Jessica Laurence, Aug 18, 2011

How a glass of wine a day could help you lose weight

Giving up alcohol in order to lose weight is one of the most annoying parts of being on a diet.

Dieters are usually advised to cut out wine, cocktails and beer, all of which are high in sugar and empty calories.

However the results of a new study have suggested that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol every day could actually stop us putting on weight.

According to scientists at the Navarro University in Spain, people who drink wine and diet could lose weight more easily than people who abstain, or those who drink other types of alcohol.

A spokesperson for the researchers explained: “Light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially of wine, may be more likely to protect against, rather than promote, weight gain.”

“As positive associations between alcohol and weight gain were mainly found in studies with data on higher levels of drinking, it is possible an effect on weight gain or abdominal adiposity [fat around the middle] may only be experienced by heavy drinkers.”

The researchers said they analysed the results of 31 studies and did not find a link between moderate drinking and weight gain.