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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, July 8, 2013, 6:45 am

2013 winegrape harvest could start soon

Also: Kosta Browne buys vines; Mark West, Simi lift Constellation’s Q1

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    Jeff Quackenbush, Business Journal Staff ReporterSeveral days of temperatures around the century mark in late June and early July could bring the start of the 2013 North Coast winegrape harvest later this month.

    Sparkling wine producer Mumm Napa, often the first to pick for a season, is looking at July 22 as the target date, among the earliest start dates for the winery, according to a spokeswoman.

    Grapes for sparkling wine come off the vine a month or more before those for still wine because they are picked at lower sugar levels.

    ***

    Keefer Ranch

    Keefer Ranch

    Originally a high-end virtual brand, pinot noir specialist Kosta Browne now owns a vineyard as well as having its own new Sebastopol production facility. KB Wines, LLC, purchased the 20-acre K2 block from Keefer Ranch in Green Valley, a subappellation in the southwestern corner of Russian River Valley.

    Marcy Keefer, which has been selling pinot noir grapes to Kosta Browne since 2005 for a vineyard-designate wine, will continue to farm the remaining 30 acres of vines for existing clients.

    The purchase is part of Kosta Browne’s new estate-wine program. The company recently secured a long-term lease for 37 acres of the Gap’s Crown Vineyard.

    ***

    While beer dominated the buzz from first-quarter financial results reported by New York-based Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) last week, the giant global wine company noted a sales boost from the Mark West pinot noir brand purchased from Graton-based Purple Wine Co. a year ago.

    “Wine and spirits net sales on an organic constant currency basis increased 4 percent, primarily due to an increase in volume,” the company announced. “The acquisition of Mark West complemented the organic growth as total net sales increased 6 percent,” the company reported.”

    Another highlight for the quarter was the Healdsburg-based Simi brand, which had double-digit first-quarter increase in depletions. Similarly strong depletion rates were clocked for the Rex Goliath, Kim Crawford, Noblio and Black Box brands, noted Rob Sands, president and chief executive officer.

    ***

    The Napa Valley name gained more global protection from misappropriation with a trademark registration earlier this month by Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, a growing exporter of wine, according to Napa Valley Vintners.

    The trade group previously had obtained such protection in Brazil, Canada, India and Thailand. Last year, Napa Valley was the first wine region to receive Geographic Indication from China and received that status in 2007 from the European Union.

    ***

    Dan Chapin

    Dan Chapin

    Dan Chapin of Left Coast Marketing and Vickie Norris of marketing firm The Norris Group, both of Healdsburg, launched Wine Country Lifestyle magazine. The publication is designed to be personalized for club members of participating wineries, which would include it in shipments. Editions for Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley, Napa, Central Coast, Washington and other West Coast wine regions are planned.

    Vickie Norris

    Vickie Norris

    Mr. Chapin is marketing director, Ms. Norris is editor, Dana Johnson of Media Mix Advertising is advertising sales director.

    ***

    Organizers of the second North Coast Wine Industry Expo (wineindustryexpo.com) on Wednesday said they had sold reservations for all 329 available booths a the event, set to be held Dec. 5 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Based on demand from the event last year, the expo organizer, Healdsburg-based Wine Industry Network, added 130 booths for exhibitors in another building. The event is said to be among the largest wine industry trade shows in North America.

    Speakers and topics for the four educational sessions during the expo are set to be announced next month. Registration opens Aug. 5. North Bay Business Journal is a media sponsor of the expo.

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    Submit items for this column to jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4256.

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