Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Wine News You Can Use: The Eastern U.S. Meets & Greets

I have at admit that one of my favorite wine conferences is the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) - Eastern Section meeting.  The people are so friendly and so, so funny.  It's always like coming home to a wine event.  Plus, it's a constant remind of how far the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions have come in their wine production practices and quality.  I hope you enjoy their updates as much as I did.

This article was originally found through Wines and Vines.  It is pasted here for your convenience.

Eastern U.S. Wine Industry Meets ASEV's Eastern Section takes on stink bugs, winemaking and grapegrowing  
 by Linda Jones McKee and Hudson Cattell

Read more at:
Copyright © Wines & Vines

ASEV Eastern Section Oenolympics
Oenol-Entertainers: (left to right) Hans Walter-Peterson, Anna Katharine Mansfield and Fritz Westover get the crowd warmed up at the Oenolympics.

Baltimore, Md.—Pest management joined winemaking and grapegrowing on the agenda at the American Society for Enology and Viticulture’s 36th annual Eastern Section conference held July 11-14 in Baltimore. “Pest Management Symposium: Impacts in the Vineyard and Winery” took aim at a wide variety of pests and problems from grapevine yellows to leafroll to late-season fruit rots and stink bugs. 

One session included a tasting of wines made from stink bug-contaminated juice. Stink bugs are appropriately named—when crushed, they emit a strong odor, sometimes described as “citrusy” or “piney.” When large numbers of brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) devastated the peach crop in Maryland during the 2010 harvest, grapegrowers and winemakers worried about the impact of BMSB taints on wine, if these pests were present in grape clusters or harvest lugs and inadvertently crushed into the juice. 

Dr. Joe Fiola, extension specialist in viticulture and small fruit at the Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Keedysville, worked with Dr. Tony Wolf at Virginia Tech during the 2010 harvest to conduct trials and determine the potential for BMSB to contaminate wine. During the Pest Management Symposium, grapegrowers, winemakers and other researchers tasted the research results. 

Fiola added specified numbers of stink bugs to different lots of both white and red juice from stink bug-free grapes. “I used to like cilantro,” Fiola told Wines & Vines. “But the aroma of cilantro caused by the stink bugs in grape juice has ruined that flavor for me.” Each lot of juice was then fermented, and over the winter the wine was finished and bottled. 

At the Eastern Section meeting, each participant tasted three glasses of white wine and three glasses of red wine. The goal was to determine which wine, if any, was made from BMSB-dosed juice. Fiola served one glass of control wine and two stink bug-tainted wines in each flight. With both the white and red wines, the group could not detect any levels of stink bug taint in either the aroma or the taste—good news indeed for the wine industry. 

While this news of unaffected wine quality came as a happy surprise, grapegrowers remain concerned that stink bugs may cause damage as they feed on grapes. The BMSB suck the juice from grapes, leaving shriveled berries in a bunch. The site where the bug’s proboscis penetrates the berry may become a place where other rots and diseases can further damage the clusters. 

Research continues on a variety of crops to determine how to control or eliminate BMSB: To date no perfect spray has been found. In eastern Asia, where the BMSB originated, a parasitic wasp controls population levels, but, needless to say, researchers are hesitant to import another potential pest that might have other negative impacts in North America. 

Eastern Section awards and scholarships 
At the section’s annual banquet July 13, Dr. Bruce W. Zoecklein, emeritus professor of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech, received the Eastern Section’s Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his distinguished career in Missouri and Virginia. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Lallemand Inc. in gratitude for sponsoring the student paper competition for many years. Clayton Cone accepted on behalf of Lallemand. 

Eight $1,000 student scholarships were awarded this year. Recipients, listed here with their institutions and major professors, were: Patricia Chalfant and Yi Zhang, Ohio State (Imed Dami); Celine Coquard-Lenerz and Mark Nisbet, Cornell (Anna Katharine Mansfield); Cain Hickey, Virginia Tech (Tony Wolf); Lydia Rice, Arkansas (Jean-Francois Meullenet); Imelda Ryona, Cornell (Gavin Sacks); Amanda Stewart , Purdue (Christian Butzke). 

The student paper competition, sponsored by Lallemand Inc. and National Grape Cooperative, awarded $500 each to Patricia Chalfant and Vinay Pagay, a student of Alan Lakso at Cornell. 

Results of elections for the coming year were announced at the annual business meeting. Fritz Westover of Texas A&M becomes chairperson-elect. Three new directors were elected: Katie Cook, University of Minnesota; Jodi Cresap-Gee, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Paolo Sabbatini, Michigan State University. Kevin Ker of KCMS Applied Research and Consulting was re-elected. 

Hans Walter-Peterson of Cornell Cooperative Extension was installed as the chairperson for 2011-12; this year’s chair, Imed Dami of Ohio State University, remains on the board of directors as past chairperson. 

The next annual conference will be held at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Mich., from July 15 to July 19, 2012.

Oenolympics debut
ASEV Eastern Section Oenolympics
The winning team participates in the first Oenolympics challenge: uncorking bottles using non-traditional uncorking implements.

ASEV’s Eastern Section has always emphasized participation of enology and viticulture students from the colleges and universities throughout the East that train future industry leaders. Scholarships honor top students, and students are encouraged to present their research in the student paper competition during the conference. 

This year, after the pest-management symposium, three teams of students competed in an inaugural Oenolympics, cheered on by their professors and other attendees. Under the guidance of Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield, toga-wrapped “wine goddess,” and entertained by SNL hopefuls Hans Walter-Peterson and Fritz Westover, teams mixed from various schools undertook four challenging tasks. 

First, they had to open six bottles of wine using a variety of implements, none of them designed for the task at hand. Second, they siphoned wine from a jug into six bottles, and recorked them. Next, each team had to spit wine accurately into a pitcher, with each participant moving farther from the pitcher. In the fourth task, two students on each team were blindfolded and served tastes of six wines by their teammates. They were required to identify the six wines by both for their variety and their states of origin. 

Ultimately, the team of Cain Hickey (Virginia Tech), Celine Coquard-Lenerz (Cornell University), Alexandra Ray (Southern Illinois University), and Amanda Stewart (Purdue University), was declared the winner. The victors took home bottles of wine and, of course, bragging rights.

ASEV Eastern Section Oenolympics
Patricia Chalfant tries to guess the grape variety and state of origin after sipping wines during the Oenolympics.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wine Read: "The Vintner's Apprentice" by Eric Miller

I've recently been introduced to this book, "The Vintner's Apprentice," and I'd have to say that it's worth the buy just for the pictures!  Eric Miller, winemaker at Chaddsford Winery (in the Philadelphia area, near Longwood Gardens) wrote this book together with his wife, Lee Miller.  The excerpts about wine growing are incredibly catchy, and everything from planning a vineyard to actually making the wine is captured in small easy-to-read-and-understand paragraphs.  "The Vintner's Apprentice" is also filled with a huge collection of unique pictures, many which were produced by my dear friend, Mark Chien. 

The cover of "The Vintner's Apprentice" by Eric Miller
(Found on

Eric has said that he envisions this book would be a classic, must-read for all those wine students interested (or fascinated... completely enthralled even...) with wine.  I would say this book is perfect for all wine lovers that want just a tad bit of extra information, not too scientific, but also a wild array of images on what wine production looks like.  I found a few that were posted online through Google Images:

A look at the inside of the book

The wine industry's Lucie Morton

Eric Miller, author of "The Vintner's Apprentice"

This book gives wine an image - not the Napa image, not the French image, not even the Australian image - but the wine image.  It ensures the fact that wine is everywhere - in so many cultures, in so many forms, and in so many situations.  This truly will take your breath away...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's in My Glass Wednesdays! Bare Bones White by Mazza Vineyards

Absolutely adored this wine when I first got a taste!  In a recent visit to Erie, I fell in love with the concept of producing thrifty, white blends fit for your every-day consumer.  (By thrifty, I'm talking approximately $10 for a good-quality white wine.)  "Bare Bones White" caught my eye.

The "Bare Bones" series is created as a second label for Mazza Vineyards.  If you haven't been up to Erie, you should definitely plan a visit to this winery:

Mazza Vineyards
Wish I snagged a better picture!
(Photo by author)

Tell me the label isn't catchy?  On the back, there is an explanation on what is in the bottle with emphasis that there is no oak, no tannins, no extras - "just the bare bones."  I encourage all of you to try this one out.  It is, as it was intended to be, a basic table wine composed of hybrid, and European wine grape varieties and but very well done.  Who is this wine for?  I'd so Riesling lovers, naked-Chardonnay lovers, and white wine drinkers.  Cheers!

Label for "Bare Bones White"
(Photo from Google Images)

Bare Bones White

The D-2010 Scale 
Bare Bones White by Mazza Vineyards (Erie, PA)
Appearance (10 points possible): light yellow in color, clear - 10 points
Aroma/Bouquet (20 points possible): This wine is a floral bouquet of aromas plus peach/apricot, pineapple, and citrus. - 19 points
Taste (10 points possible):  Light bodied, very floral and fruity on the palate.  Nice crisp of acidity to match the flavors and a hint of sweetness in the finish. - 6 points
Balance (5 points possible): Wine was well balanced as a simple, light, white wine. - 4 points
Finish (5 points possible):  Lingering finish with pleasant floral and citrus notes.  A touch of sweetness makes this a nice pairing wine. - 4 points
Packaging *Introduction to the D-2010 Scale*
Quality of Package (5 points possible):  Glass quality is made for basic table wines.  Bottled with a screw cap.  Complete package for a cost-efficient time. - 3 points
Label Marketability (10 points possible):  I think this label and name is quite clever.  With the added message on the back of the label, this is a sure fire hit! - 9 points
Other (5 points possible): Well, ok... no extras, so I guess we'll take some points away in this category (not that making good wines is all about the package, but still, it counts!).  I do, however, think this bottle has good marketing potential. - 2 points
Total Points: 87 points
Overall Thought: I think this is a super awesome deal of a wine that is perfect for these hot summer days that many of us are experiencing in the eastern U.S.  (Not on the east side?  Then this will pair well with your cooler nights!)  It's a great food wine, wine-opener (aka the wine you'll drink before dinner), or every-day summer wine.  On the winemaking side, I love that this is a blend of 4 varieties: Vidal Blanc, Cayuga White, Traminette, and Riesling.  It's definitely worth the buy and I know I'm hoping to stock up in my cellar!  
Food Pairings:  What doesn't go with a simple, light-bodied white wine?  Well... who knows!  I'm thinking this would be great with all of your veggies fresh from your garden, seafood - honestly - grilled fish or jerk seasoned fish, and probably grilled chicken.  Anything light and simple, much like this wine.
Cost: $9.95 - what a bargain!
Splurge Factor (out of 4): 1 - not only in your budget, but it'll get you lovin' PA wines.
Where to buy:  You're probably going to have to visit Mazza Vineyards (or search on their website, listed under "Premium Wines" for Mazza Vineyards in PA.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wine Glass Flower Arrangements

I guess I'm feeling quite girly this week... upon a recent trip to Michaels, I found some rather large vases shaped like wine glasses and flutes:

Wine Glasses & Margarita Glasses

Champagne Flutes

This got me thinking - what kind of flower arrangements could you manage with these types of vases?  So I did some online searching and here's what I like!  I think this is such an easy way to bring a touch of the wine world to your home!

Awesome spring time bulbs

How catchy and classy


Next time I entertain, I'll steal this idea!

This is definitely a bigger vase like the ones from Michaels

Very modern and pink! 
(That's a flute glass)

Cozy dinner centerpieces

The margarita vase arrangement
(All photos above from Google Images)

Here's 1 I created myself a few years ago...

(Last 4 photos by author)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Modernize Your Home with Wine Glass Candles

Here's something small that can add a touch of shimmer and shine to anyone's home or festive get together.  I see these in many retail stores, including such commonalities as Michaels.  I really enjoy these small features.  They really spruce up the home and are thrifty buys for your friends.  Some of them even smell like wine varieties!  Here are some of my favorites that I've found:

The Perfect Wedding Favor for Wine Loves!
(Photos from Google Images)

Love the Deep Purple on these from Style Hive

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Wine News You Can Use: Introducing Cruvee

This article was sent to me via a coworker as I begin my social media exploration.  For those that are totally into it, I thought it may be worth sharing.  Enjoy!

This article was originally found at  It is pasted here for your convenience.

Social Media Monitoring: Is Vertical Specialization the Next Big Thing?

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.
Cruvee is unlike any other social monitoring tool on the market — in contrast to competitors, such as Radian6 andCrimson Hexagon, Cruvee focuses solely on one vertical, the wine industry. The free social monitoring tool helps wine brands track and engage in conversations across the web about their brands.
Acquired by VinTank earlier this year, Cruvee is used by 1,800 wineries (out of about 6,500 total wineries) in the United States and measures 1.5 million conversations about wine per day.
So, what makes Cruvee so special? Paul Mabray, VinTank’s chief strategy officer, says that Cruvee’s strength is in its ability to understand wine-specific language and taxonomy, as well as the fact that it monitors wine-specific social platforms.
The language of wine is already complicated enough, but when you throw in the 140-character confines ofTwitter, for example, it gets even more difficult to interpret. Mabray explained, “If I say ‘cab sauv’ on Twitter, because I only have 140 characters, what I’m really saying is ‘cabernet sauvignon.’ Or if I say, ‘blackberry in a six word spread of Twisted Oak,” there’s a high propensity that’s going to be a tasting note about Twisted Oak winery, and not about Twisted Oak golf course, for example.” Because Cruvee’s algorithm was built around wine conversations, it is able to parse such granular details.
Furthermore, Cruvee is able to monitor 77 wine-specific platforms, both mobile and web-based, that may be seen as too niche to track by other social monitoring tools. For example, it pulls in conversations from theDrync iPhone app and CellarTracker cellar management software.
Because Cruvee focuses solely on the wine industry, it includes a number of features that you won’t see in other social media monitoring tools. Take a look at the embedded gallery below for screenshots of the tool in action.

Click here to view the screen shots.

Cruvee is the first vertical social media monitoring tool we’ve seen, and it is being widely adopted in the wine industry, with nearly 30% of American wineries using it, as reported by VinTank. With Cruvee’s growth, we wonder why other industry-specific social media monitoring tools haven’t made their way to the stage.
After all, most industries operate on jargon — in the automobile industry, for example, social media monitors running solely on keyword searches, rather than industry-specific algorithms, would likely have a difficult time parsing whether the sentiment behind a post mentioning “sick rims” was positive or negative, or that it wasn’t talking about glasses or BlackBerry-creator RIM, for example.
Mashable spoke with Altimeter Group Industry Analyst Susan Etlinger, who focuses on social and mobile analytics, to hear her thoughts on whether this is a trend we’ll see blossoming in coming years. In short, Etlinger says:
“I am not convinced that this is the beginning of vertical social media monitoring. I think it does raise the bar for the monitoring tools out there to improve their domain expertise. Furthermore, I think domain expertise will become an even bigger differentiator than it is now. Building industry-appropriate lexicons is going to become critical in the next year, because the only way to truly understand a conversation about a particular product or industry is to understand the environment, the relationship between the customer and the business.”
Etlinger says that social media conversations are akin to detective work: “Every post in social media is a clue to something — it’s a clue about the relationship between that person and the business he or she is discussing. If you don’t understand the context of the conversation, then you are very vulnerable to drawing the wrong conclusions.”
We’d like to open this conversation up for discussion. Readers, do you think that Cruvee is leading the way towards a vertical social media monitoring trend? Have you seen other industry-specific social media monitoring tools on the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image courtesy of iStockphotoThomas_EyeDesign

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Introducing... Wines That Rock Website

Sorry for the delay on getting something up today, folks.

I had originally written up a segment on wine t-shirts and decided at the last minute this morning not to post it.  Unfortunately, I didn't have anything prepared to put in it's place.  However, one of my uncles graciously forwarded me this website: Wines That Rock.  I think it could be of great interest to all you wine/music lovers out there!  As they say on their website, enjoy "tasting the music..."  :)  Cheers!

(Photos from Google Images)

Here's their video intro into their philosophy of winemaking and music pairing: