Eastern Winery Exposition | Conference Program

Dedicated to providing members of the Eastern wine and grape industries with relevant, practical and valuable information to further their product quality and business success.

The 2016 Conference program is currently in the planning stage. The full program will be posted in early Fall 2015. See below for what took place in 2015.

Highlights of the 2015 program included:

  • Two day-long workshops; one for new vineyards and wineries, and one for expanding vineyards and wineries;
  • Solutions to current issues in Eastern viticulture, from plant material to frost damage, crop loads and more;
  • New technology sessions for enology and viticulture;
  • Varietal focus on riesling, pinot noir, and two Austrian reds;
  • The most popular speakers from previous years and many new ones;
  • Wine flaw focus on volatile acidity;
  • The Northern Grapes Symposium
  • 23 state and industry associations offering conference registration discounts to their members

The Northern Grapes Symposium

Think of it as a conference within a conference. The Northern Grapes Symposium (NGS) took place Wednesday, March 18, and featured sessions focused on cold climate hybrids. It was a collaboration of EWE and the Northern Grapes Project (NGP), a Coordinated Agriculture Project funded by the USDA NIFA Specialty Crops Research Initiative. The goal of the NGP is to provide research to help producers overcome production and marketing constraints and increase the profitability and sustainability of emerging cold climate grape and wine industries. The NGP’s extensive research and findings provided the framework for the symposium.

Expanded Workshops and Stand-Alone Workshop Modules

EWE offered two workshops on Tuesday, March 17: Launching Your Vineyard or Winery or Growing from Small to Mid or Mid to Large Size Vineyard or Winery. Each workshop contained five modules, includes lunch, and featured multiple speakers throughout the day.

Richard Leahy interviewing a speaker at the Eastern Winery Exposition ConferenceRichard Leahy has organized major wine industry conference seminar programs from Pennsylvania to Minnesota since 1997, and has been writing about wines of Virginia and the East since 1986. In 2007 he organized the Virginia Wine Experience in London which brought the top 64 Virginia wines there for leading British wine media and trade to taste. He was a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide, and was Mid-Atlantic and Southern Editor for the Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America. He was East Coast Editor of Vineyard & Winery Management for over ten years. He is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and the Circle of Wine Writers. Richard’s book on Virginia wine, Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, was published in June 2012 by Sterling Publishing. He also has a website and blog focused on wines of the East at www.richardleahy.com.


Conference sessions are listed below in order by track: Enology, Money/Management/Marketing, Northern Grapes Symposium, and Viticulture. Scroll down or click on the links below to review the session descriptions.

For a full schedule by day see the Schedule at a Glance

E01 | Reserve Riesling
E02 | Two Austrian Reds for Cool Climates
E03 | High Quality Pinot Noir in the East (Enology)
E04 | Wine Flaw Focus
E05 | New Yeast Tools

Money / Management / Marketing
M01 | Website Design Makeover Success Stories
M02 | The Three Most Common Tasting Room Problems (and How to Fix Them)
M03 | Wine Market Council Annual U.S. Consumer Report
M04 | Events Sense
M05 | Consumer Expectations and Buying Patterns in the Tasting Room: Study Results

Logo for H & W Equipment for Vineyard and Winery

Northern Grapes Symposium
N01 | Recovering from 2014 Winter Damage in New York and Ohio
N02 | Managing, Adding and Enhancing Tannins for Red Hybrid Fermentations
N03 | Optimal Training Systems, Cropping Levels, and Canopy Management
for Marquette, Frontenac & La Crescent

N04 | Achieving Optimal Fruit Expression for White Hybrids
N05 | Northern Grapes Project: Scope and Accomplishments

V01 | Straight Talk on Plant Material
V02 | How to Achieve Economically Sustainable Vineyards with Quality Fruit
V03 | High Quality Pinot Noir in the East (Viticulture)
V04 | Red Blotch Virus Update
V05 | Organic Viticulture: Is It for You?

W01a | The Seven Best (and Worst) Ways to Start a Vineyard
Lucie Morton
In this session Lucie will focus on the following aspects of vineyard development that can go right or wrong depending on your answers to the following: (1) why are you planting wine grapes? (2) where are you planting them? (3) when are you planting them? (4) which varieties/rootstocks are you planting? (5) how are you planting them? (6) who will take care of them? and (7) how much do you have to spend?

Mike White
Mike will draw from his 14+ years of experience working with the “new” emerging winegrape industry in Iowa and the surrounding states. It’s a cold climate hybrid industry that has evolved from the blind leading the blind to a mature industry where newcomers have 100% more information they can use and experience they can share.

W01b | Winery Lab Focus
Tom Payette
In addition to moderating the session, winemaking consultant Tom Payette will cover square footage for the lab, lab set-up basics, and making logical and economical decisions on what to send to professional labs. Attendees will leave with the know-how to save thousands of dollars in lab expenses.

Barry Gump
Barry will review his 2014 presentation on MLF paper chromatography and summarize his current research on measuring SO2 in red wine.

W01c | TTB: Introduction for New Wineries and Online Resources for All
Nicole Candelora and Demaris Brown
Nicole and Demaris will provide a summary of wine labeling regulations and procedures for newcomers, including which online tools are available to make the transition to market a smooth one. They will also cover how to properly use social media as advertising while still meeting the TTB regulations and requirements.

W01d | Branding Focus: Who Do You Want to Be as a Winery?
Elizabeth “E” Slater
Wineries need more than good wine. You can’t succeed without branding differentiation. So what kind of winery do you want to be? Make conscious decisions about the personality of your winery, the products and programs you will offer to your customers, the people you are trying to attract (both employees and customers), how you will market, and how your vision stays within your comfort zone. This session will help you create or re-create a vision and a personality for your winery. So whether you are envisioning or re-visioning your winery, this session is a must for your business.
Note: When you register, a questionnaire will be sent to you to be completed and returned by email to the speaker, Elizabeth Slater so we may focus specifically (though anonymously) on attendee challenges. All answers are confidential.

W01e | Winery Design Considerations
Tom Payette
Tom will share with you the secrets he has learned about winery design in the three plus decades he has been helping start-up wineries. He will present practical ideas you can share with your architect and builder. He will provide the nuts and bolts of topics such as: HVAC, insulation, drains and concrete. The topics will go beyond what normal builders understand, saving the winery thousands of dollars.

Scott Scarfone
To create a memorable experience for their targeted customers and give their wine brands a competitive edge, wineries need to accentuate the physical assets of their properties. The land, architecture, and history of a place all choreograph together in how people experience a place. Providing visitors with a memorable winery experience is not only about the wine itself but also about establishing an entire winery image around the wine brand to have it and the winery stand out as a destination in the marketplace. Scott will discuss considerations on how to make your winery a destination.



W02a | Financing Vineyard or Winery Expansion
Dennis Urffer
Expansion of the vineyard or winery results in changing various financial aspects as the business grows. The following must be considered and will be covered in this session: improving cost accounting methods for sensible product pricing; increasing working capital requirements and financing growth, covering both bank loans and leasing requirements; expanding the volume in various sales channels; exploring the fact that growth does not always result in increased profits; the need to prepare Accrual Financial Statements vs. Cash Basis Financial Statements for a better banking relationship; and additional tax requirements for mid and large size wineries.

W02b | Design & Construction for Winery Expansion
Allen Rossignol
Making the leap? Allen will be your guide to planning and constructing your winery – keeping sustainability at the forefront and creating a destination for your customers. Allen will focus on key topics that every winery has heard of, and thought of: designing and planning to reduce power consumption, utilizing sustainable design and materials in construction, and creating brand destinations and environments. Success stories and strategic planning will be shared with you during this presentation. Topics of focus: site planning and budgeting, space needs, master planning for the future, and sustainability. If you are planning for expansion, be sure to catch Allen’s presentation to get an inside look at how to successfully plan for a sustainable new project or expansion.

W02c | New Winery Technology
Eglantine Chauffour, Enartis Vinquiry
Improving Color Stability in Red Hybrids
Many red hybrids and Labrusca grape varietals are characterized by producing wines rich in color but hard to stabilize mainly due to their low tannin content. To obtain red wines with deep, stable color, it is fundamental to ensure adequate anti-oxidant protection for grape tannins and promote co-pigmentation and color condensation. Enartis Vinquiry has done several trials with wineries from the Midwest and East Coast have been done to evaluate the impact of tannin and polysaccharide additions and the use of oxygen between alcoholic and malolactic fermentation on color stability and their results will be presented.

Megan Hereford, Scott Labs
Lenticular Filtration
In this session Megan will discuss options, challenges and tradeoffs in filtration for wineries increasing production; improvements on lenticular filtration systems and how to get the most out of your filtration media; and depth filtration options prior to kegging wine and filling tankers.

W02d | New Winery Management Software
Richard Kline, Granbury Wine Solutions
Richard will discuss and demonstrate integrated winery solutions for managing customer relationships, marketing, direct sales, wine production, point of sale, compliance, social commerce and reporting. He will also discuss the move to evolve from traditional winery tasting rooms to hospitality venues.

Sam Weiner, Vintrinsic
Vintrinsic specializes in 3D Commerce – integrated point of sale, eCommerce, and what we call Social Commerce, all within our Vintrinsic Winery Operating System. This session will focus on what we mean by Social Commerce and will introduce our new software product, VinSocial.

W02e | New Closure and Container Technology
Lowell Gibbs, VinPerfect
We will start by outlining the advantages and considerations of the four major closures (bark cork, technical cork, synthetic cork and existing screwcaps) which all have at least two fundamental flaws. We will discuss the benefits of small amounts of oxygen in post-bottling development. We will outline the optimal closure which would combine the benefits of cork’s oxygen ingress with the consistency, ease and cost effectiveness of a screwcap. We will highlight how oxygen exposure during aging and/or bottling impacts the choice of closure. We will describe and profile the VinPerfect SmartCap™ which adds the patent-pending oxygen-regulating liner to the standard 30 x 60 mm ROPP screwcap. The SmartCap™ provides winemakers with a powerful winemaking tool by allowing them to finely control their wines’ post-bottling oxygen ingress. VinPerfect offers SmartCaps™ with three different proven oxygen transmission rates (based on a 750ml bottle) and are suitable for all varietals and styles. Winemakers using Saranex or SaranTin lined screwcaps are encouraged to attend the session to understand the impact of oxygen-regulating screwcaps. Winemakers using cork should attend to learn about an oxygen-regulating, cost effective, consumer friendly alternative to traditional cork.

Dave Moynihan, Astrapouch®
The category of alternative packaging is growing quickly in all commercial product categories, but most notably in wine and spirits. The wine consumer continues to look for and adopt eco-friendly, lightweight, less resource-intensive packaging solutions that can solve consumer use problems. Dave will discuss the latest trends in alternative wine packaging which will include pouches, bag-in-box and wine on tap systems.

Sam Weiner, Vintrinsic
Our Vintrinsic Winery Operating System includes proprietary software modules such as Vintrinsic Keg Management, Vintrinsic Case Club Management, and Vintrinsic Shipping Limitations. This session will be a demo and discussion of Vintrinsic Keg Management, and will be presented by the Wagner Valley Brewing company.


E01 | Reserve Riesling
Meaghan Frank
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, located in the heart of the Finger Lakes, specializes in riesling, a varietal which we have been making for over 52 years. Among the seven styles of riesling, the Reserve Riesling is among our most celebrated and award-winning. Made with roughly 50% botrytis, this Auslese style riesling has a brisk acidity that keeps the wine balanced. The Frank family has a long history of making botrytis rieslings with Konstantin making the first TBA (trockenbeerenauslese) style in the U.S. in 1962. In this session the harvest parameters, production methods and market response will be discussed and a tasting of the 2012 Riesling Reserve will be provided.

Fred Merwath
Fred will explain how he looks to international reserve standards regarding yield, ripeness and quality of fruit to guide his own reserve rieslings. Since there are no domestic regulations he implements meticulous and unwavering viticulture practices that have allowed the harvest of a reserve level of fruit each vintage since 2002.

Johannes Selbach
Johannes Selbach will show a ten year old star designated Riesling from his favorite vineyard, the Schlossberg in Zeltingen, made as a Spaetlese in the classic, fruity style. The star Spaetlese came from the best parcel and it stood out in several comparative tastings with the other Schlossberg barrels. In vintages with the luxury of many good lots of the same pedigree from the same single vineyard or cru, the barrels are tasted and assessed several times during fermentation and as young wines. In some years, one lot or barrel sticks out as better and more complex than the others. Such single barrels get their own individual bottling and to recognize the special quality of this wine over its brethren from the same vineyard and Praedikat, Selbach-Oster uses a star on the label, instead of the term reserve.The Selbach family has been making wine since 1600 and makes acclaimed Rieslings from 22 hectares ( 51 acres) on the steep slopes in the heart of the Mittelmosel, Zeltingen, Wehlen, Graach and Bernkastel. Johannes hopes to produce high quality Rieslings, Mosel style, from the steep slopes on the southern end of Lake Seneca. In this project he is partnering with his colleague Paul Hobbs from California.

E02 | Two Austrian Reds for Cool Climates
Peter Bell
Lemberger, also known as blaufränkisch, has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years in the eastern U.S. A mid-season ripener, it is relatively easy to grow and produces good yields. Lemberger is very successful as a dry red, and has also gained fans when made into rosé and even fortified wine. In this session, Peter will relate his experiences with making lemberger over the past 20 vintages, focusing on ripeness parameters, fermentation considerations, maturation and blending.

John Iszard
Fulkerson Winery has been a leader in the production and winemaking of several reds for cool climates, such as dornfelder, lemberger, pinot noir and zweigelt. Fulkerson Winery produced a zweigelt under our William Vigne label in 2013 for the first time from local grapes sourced from Gigliotti Vineyards just south of our winery on the west side of Seneca Lake. We will explore our first impressions and our future with this varietal in the Finger Lakes Region.

Tim Moore
Tim and Inspire Moore work with up to four vineyard sites on three lakes integrating two trellis methods, including V.S.P and a European method of a mid-wire cordon, umbrella-trained with densely plated vines. Tim will discuss how these vineyard methods impact wine quality and style. Inspire Moore practices barrel fermentation with blaufränkisch, a hands on approach to integrating mid-palate tannins. Tim will discuss the tools and techniques for achieving this and why he feels this impacts wine quality.

Galen Troxell
Galen will discuss grower experiences for zweigelt including cold hardiness, pruning, canopy management and lessons learned over the period of six vintages. The discussion will also include zweigelt’s ripening parameters, typical yields relative to wines produced, and the market’s reaction to the varietal.

E03 | High Quality Pinot Noir in the East (Enology Focus)
Christopher Bates
Christopher will discuss high quality pinot noir, both on the east coast and around the world. He will focus on the challenges and the attraction to producing pinot noir and what causes the fanaticism that makes winemakers and drinkers alike go to unbelievable lengths to master this grape. The discussion will also include a full discussion of his process in the winery including lessons learned and some of the ideas for future vintages.

Thomas Bachelder
Thomas makes terroir-specific pinot noir and chardonnay in Burgundy, Oregon and the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario. He will give us a feel for what it is like to work with the terroirs of all three regions, but will focus on what he’s doing in Niagara, discussing yeast selection, harvest triage, fermentation and post-fermentation regimen and oak choices for the best expression of terroir, and how his work in Niagara is informed by his work in Burgundy and Oregon.

Nathan Vrooman
Ankida Ridge makes small-production, high-quality pinot noir from a small vineyard with an elevation of 1800 feet, very rocky soil, and excellent air drainage. At Ankida we believe that gentle treatment of grapes, attention to detail, and patience are essential to good wine making. Our micro production allows us to meticulously sort through the grapes to ensure only the best fruit makes it into our wines. We whole berry ferment our pinot noir in small lots. More specific enology details will be provided in this presentation.

E04 | Wine Flaw Focus: The Silent Wine Spoiler…Volatile Acidity
Denise Gardner
Some of the most common wine flaws associated with commercial wines include problems with oxygen and sulfur dioxide management. Volatile acidity is often mistakenly assumed to be easily sensed by the winemaking and tasting room staff. However, acetic acid, the primary contributor to volatile acidity, has a very high odor detection and recognition threshold. By the time the winemaker perceives the acetic acid sensorily, it is often near or above legal limits. However, the breakdown product of acetic acid, ethyl acetate, has a lower detection threshold. Although ethyl acetate is more difficult to identify analytically, it may be perceived before the acetic acid concentration rises beyond the legal limit. This session will focus on volatile acidity, management practices affiliated with volatile acidity, and how to identify these problems in the winery. Winemakers, winery personnel, and tasting room employees are encouraged to attend. A series of wines will be included for sensory analysis.

E05 | New Yeast Tools

Michael Jones
Yeast can be immobilized in alginate beads which allow for the passage of juice or wine through them without allowing the yeast to escape. Originally used for champagne production, the use of the beads has expanded into their use for lowering malic acid (particularly in cool climates) and in the production of dessert wines where fermentation needs to be stopped in a timely manner. Mention will also be made of new research using inactivated yeast in the vineyard as a bio-stimulant to promote phenolic maturity and improve aromatic elements.

Matthew Dahabieh, Ph.D.
H2S-Preventing Wine Yeasts
Matthew will outline the principles and problems of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) formation by yeast during wine fermentation. He will discuss the identification and scientific characterization of a novel H2S-preventing strain of yeast—commercialized by Renaissance BioScience Corp.—that eliminates H2S spoilage and produces more open, approachable, and vibrant wines.

Money / Management / Marketing

M01 | Website Design Makeover  – Success Stories
Patty Held
Does your website need a redesign? If your website is not responsive or mobile-friendly, if you have to contact your web developer to make simple changes or your website does not represent your brand, it’s time for a redesign. Your website is the foundation of your business; it must work 24/7 for you. We will look at three website redesigns and explore the top five website features you must have to be found in online searches and convert visitors to customers.

M02 | The Three Most Common Tasting Room Problems (and How to Fix Them)
Patty Held
Wineries spend a lot of time and money getting visitors to walk through the front door. That expensive effort can be for nothing if the visitor has a bad customer service experience, if the tasting room staff aren’t properly trained or if you stop the conversation after the guest leaves the winery. In this session Patty will detail how a successful and profitable tasting room results from focus on these three areas; great customer service, properly trained tasting room staff and staying in contact with customers after they leave the winery.

M03 | Wine Market Council Annual U.S. Consumer Report
John Gillespie
Gain fresh insights into the behaviors, motivations, and trends of U.S. wine drinkers as John reviews results of the most recent Wine Market Council surveys. The Wine Market Council conducts annual tracking studies of U.S. beverage alcohol consumers with a focus on high-frequency wine drinkers. The presentation will summarize the findings of the latest Wine Market Council segmentation survey and tracking survey of wine consumers. An overview of the U.S. wine market will include the latest sales and consumption data, per-capita consumption trends, and the demographics of U.S. wine consumers. John will also review segmentation data which breaks down wine consumers by generation, gender, consumption frequency, wine package preferences, and other relevant factors.

M04 | Events Sense
Elizabeth “E” Slater
Are your events as successful and profitable as you want them to be? Events are a great source of customer engagement and connection, as well as sales if they are done right. In this session learn what creating the right type of events means for your winery. Examine your resources and discover what else you need. Focus on the logistics of your events, including how the different elements of the event will affect attendees physically and emotionally. Consider your goals and how the events help you reach those goals. Examine what worked and didn’t work with past events right down to the tiniest details.
Note: When you register, a questionnaire will be sent to you to be completed and returned by email to the speaker, Elizabeth Slater so we may focus specifically (though anonymously) meeting the challenges of creating events and your goals. All answers are confidential.

M05 | Consumer Expectations and Buying Patterns in the Tasting Room: Study Results
Miguel Gómez
Two studies shed light on strategies to increase sales in tasting room sales. In the first study, we examine the impact that tasting sheet sensory descriptors have on wine sales in tasting rooms that rely on direct-to-consumer sales to sell the majority of their wines. We find that sales increase when tasting sheets without sensory descriptors are used. In the second we study the linkages between customer satisfaction and sales performance among wineries in New York State’s Finger Lakes region. We identify five principal drivers of customer satisfaction: ambience, tasting protocol, service, retail execution, and tasting experience. Of these, ambience and service exerted the most influence on overall customer satisfaction. Furthermore we find that increased customer satisfaction significantly influences purchase intentions and the amount of dollars spent in a given tasting room visit.

Dan McCole
Just as a quality wine region requires the right combination of climate, soil and grape variety, a quality wine destination requires leaders from wineries, tourism businesses and communities who understand their visitors and collaborate to produce exceptional experiences that will generate future visits and cultivate the reputation of the wine region. Dan will present the results of several wine tourism studies conducted in Michigan and other growing wine regions. Findings about wine tourists include: their motivations, travel behaviors, taste preferences, wine knowledge and experience, trip planning behaviors, and itinerary patterns. Additionally, studies of wine tourism partnerships generated recommendations for collaboration in wine regions.

Northern Grapes Symposium

N01 | Recovering from 2014 Winter Damage in New York and Ohio
Imed Dami
Following the extreme minimum lows brought by the polar vortex in January and February across Ohio, many vineyards were affected and vines sustained extensive bud damage, trunk damage, and even vine death. Imed and his Viticulture Group assessed damage by evaluating more than 10,000 buds; organized workshops to train growers how to assess bud damage and how to prune damaged vines; and conducted an online survey to estimate the extent of crop loss. Imed will present his findings and observations following the worst cold damage of grapes in Ohio and will share lessons learned and how to prepare for future damaging cold events.

Tim Martinson
While Ohio is recovering from significant vine loss, New York fared better than thought. Bud examinations following January low temperatures of -7 to -22°F showed 15-95% primary bud death, yet crop and vine losses were moderate. Recovering from winter injury involves prompt trunk replacement and retraining. Adjustments in pruning severity helped growers produce a crop that was close to average in some cases.

N02 | Managing, Adding and Enhancing Tannins for Red Hybrid Fermentations
Murli R. Dharmadhikari and Alex Fredrickson
Hybrid grapes present a special challenge for quality red wine production because tannin extraction and retention is often inadequate for optimal color, structure, and ageability. Many hybrids have low concentrations of endogenous tannins, and most contain relatively high concentrations of compounds that bind and remove existing tannin from must during processing. In practical terms, this means that processing methods that improve tannin concentrations in red V. vinifera may not work for hybrids, and that additions of exogenous tannins should be timed carefully. This presentation will cover current research on the sorption and retention of exogenous tannins during red hybrid wine production.

N03 | Optimal Training Systems, Cropping Levels, and Canopy Management for Marquette, Frontenac & La Crescent
Recent research results from the Northern Grapes Project will be shared by a panel of viticulturists from New York, Michigan and Iowa about practices for Marquette, Frontenac and La Crescent cultivars, three new cold-hardy hybrids providing opportunities for wine grapes in cold climates, based on studies and trials in their individual states.

Tim Martinson
Training Systems in New York
Early results from the Northern Grapes Project suggest that high training systems produce significantly higher yields, using 30-40% less labor than midwire VSP systems. Shoot thinning, at 1-6 inch shoot growth, provides the most cost-effective way to manage the light environment in the fruiting zone.

Gail Nonnecke
Canopy Management Practices and Effects on Fruit Quality
Grapevines of cold-climate cultivars are adapted to Iowa’s climatic conditions, but some cultivars have high levels of acids in the fruit at harvest. Improving fruit quality through the management of the canopy by shoot positioning, shoot thinning, and lateral shoot thinning was investigated in the past two years. Field trials determined the effects of canopy management practices on sunlight into the fruiting zone, fruit quality, and time required to complete the shoot manipulations; these will be described in the presentation.

Paolo Sabbatini
Cropping Levels and Impact on Fruit Composition in Michigan
The wine industry in Michigan has doubled in size since 2000 and growers are planting cold hardy cultivars because they have the potential to produce in areas unsuitable for production of French and American hybrids or classical European varieties. In Michigan, little is known about this new genetic material in relationship to optimal trellis systems and fruit quality, therefore these two topics are the objectives of our research at Michigan State University. Different training systems and yield per vine were evaluated in the last three years and the impact on vine physiology, fruit and wine quality will be the focus of this presentation.

N04 | Achieving Optimal Fruit Expression for White Hybrids
Murli R. Dharmadhikari
Murli will present relevant chemistry issues on phenolic management, acid management and harvest parameters for optimal fruit expression with white northern hybrids. Winemakers will pour and discuss examples of their commercial wines made with these grapes.

Craig Hosbach
Craig will discuss achieving optimal fruit expression for white hybrids with a spotlight on Prairie Star, La Crescent and Brianna varietals. The discussion will focus on making wine from quality cultivars in the vineyard, followed by yeast selection, fermentation control, stylistic approaches such as sur lie aging, batonnage, oak selection and aging, malolactic fermentation, and blending.

Kristina Randazzo Ives
You don’t need a white lab coat to grow and make great tasting wine! You need the desire, passion and willingness to take chances. A new wine means new potential to be on the cutting edge of a spectacular opportunity. Kristina will be speaking on why Northern Hybrid Whites are so cool! You will have an opportunity to taste and talk about the wines during her presentation. She will outline why the grapes themselves express their potential with the terrior they are grown in. Excruciating detail to the vineyard, the utmost care in practices in the winery, and the dedication to the craft produce good fruit expression, balanced acids/sugars and amazing Hybrid White wines you will fall in love with

Seth McFarland
Seth will be discussing his approach to the white grape varieties with an anything goes mindset.  The best part about the northern climate wine/grape varieties is that there are little to no rules in regards to their production. However, there are certain challenges that need to be paid their attention, or the lovely bold flavors of a hearty group of northern gems can get away from you quickly. Seth will focus primarily on the fruit chemistry at harvest and how the Mac’s Creek crew handles the fruit into the fermentation phases, as well as other challenges during the finishing phases specific to different varieties; eg: Brianna, LaCrosse, LaCrescent.

N05 | Northern Grapes Project: Scope and Accomplishments
Bill Gartner
Wine benefits from branding more than most other products. Its complex nature and nuanced taste compete against hundreds if not thousands of other brands. Recent research conducted on cold hardy wines indicates that successful branding must be done not only at the individual level but also at the viticulture level if markets are to be enlarged. Bill will discuss the research results from our branding study, look at how the results relate to the different dimensions a brand possesses, and offer recommendations for branding cold hardy grape wines.

Jim Luby
The emergence of cold hardy, vitis riparia-based wine grape cultivars in the 1990s created a new and rapidly expanding industry of small vineyard and winery enterprises (over 300 wineries, 3300 acres of grapes, 1300 growers) in more than 12 states in the Upper Midwest and Northeast U.S. While the North American ancestry of these cultivars confers exceptional climatic adaptation (surviving as low as – 40°C) and disease resistance, other challenges to production, processing, and marketing slow their successful commercialization. Because their growth habit and fruit composition differ from traditional cold-tender v. vinifera cultivars, new viticultural and enological practice are needed. Marketing tools are also required to educate consumers unfamiliar with the grapes and the wine styles they produce. Consequently, the long-term viability of these new businesses depends on coordinated research and extension to optimize viticultural, enological, business management, and marketing practices. The Northern Grapes Project funded by the USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative seeks to meet the needs of this developing industry using a holistic systems approach, integrating the areas of production, distribution and processing, and consumers and markets. Objectives target optimized viticultural practices, genomic characterization, cultivar evaluation, enological characterization, optimized wine production, marketing strategies, agritourism, and product familiarity and preference.

Anna Katharine Mansfield
Northern Grape Project enology research has focused on yeast selection for optimizing flavor and aroma, biological and chemical deacidification, and use of tannin additions to enhance mouthfeel. Research wines from cold-climate cultivars were evaluated by area winemakers at a tasting workshop in Vermont last summer. Results show great potential for adoption of winemaking techniques for enhancing expression of flavors in cold-climate wines.


V01 | Straight Talk on Plant Material
Lucie Morton
The vines you buy should last about 30 years. Are you willing to be patient to be certain you get exactly the material that you will be counting on for several decades to attain your goals in quality and profitability? Do you know what issues there are with obtaining healthy plant material today? Do you know how to assess the quality of plant material that you are purchasing when it is delivered to you? In this session, we will review the responsibilities you have to assure that you plant vines that are most likely to succeed.

V02 | How to Achieve Economically Sustainable Vineyards with Quality Fruit
Tim Martinson
Balancing yield and quality requires critically evaluating cropping levels, canopy management practices, and labor inputs. Labor accounts for over 60% of annual production costs, and canopy/crop level management practices often reduce yield in an effort to maximize quality. Costs and benefits of each pass through the vineyard need to be evaluated in terms of their impact on a consumers’ willingness to pay for your product.

V03 | High Quality Pinot Noir in the East (Viticulture Focus)
Christopher Bates
Christopher will discuss high quality pinot noir, both on the east coast and around the world. He will focus on the challenges and the attraction to producing pinot noir and what causes the fanaticism that makes winemakers and drinkers alike go to unbelievable lengths to master this grape. He will also include a full discussion of his process in the winery including lessons learned and some of the ideas for future vintages.

Thomas Bachelder
Thomas makes terroir-specific pinot noir and chardonnay in Burgundy, Oregon and the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario. He will give us a feel for what it is like to work with the terroirs of all three regions, but will focus on what he’s doing in Niagara, why he is fascinated with the terroir possibilities of the Northeast, and the limestone soils of Niagara Bench in particular. He will mention clones, yields, pruning and training systems, and how his work in Niagara is informed by his work in Burgundy and Oregon.

Nathan Vrooman
Ankida Ridge makes small-production, high-quality pinot noir from a small vineyard with an elevation of 1800 feet, and very rocky soil, and excellent air drainage. Lucie Morton, our vineyard consultant, suggested we create a “little Burgundy” on this mountain saddle with pinot noir and chardonnay. We have planted at high density spacing. Even though we cannot apply for organic or Biodynamic certification, we still apply their farming practices to our vineyard. We try to hold on to our eco-friendly ideal while balancing the reality of the situation. The French have a term for this reasoned struggle, or La Lutte Raisonée. We emphasize biodiversity by planting cover crops and perimeter flowers, and providing habitat for beneficial insects. We use our sheep at designated times to weed the vineyard floor, and do whatever we can to keep our conventional sprays to a minimum.

V04 | Red Blotch Virus Update
Marc Fuchs
Red blotch is a recently recognized viral disease of grapevines. It was first described on Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet Sauvignon in California in 2008, but the causative agent was not characterized until 2012. The disease is widespread and caused by a DNA virus named Grapevine Red blotch-associated Virus (GRBaV). Infected red-berried cultivars exhibit symptoms similar to those associated with leafroll disease, with red blotches forming on leaves during the later summer months. In white wine cultivars, foliar symptoms are more difficult to identify and generally involve irregular chlorotic areas. GRBaV affects fruit juice chemistry, and delays fruit maturity and ripening. Information will be provided on the biology and ecology of this new disease that threatens the grapevine industry.

V05 | Organic Viticulture: Is It for You?
Jens Gemmrich
What is organic viticulture? This is the first question we need to answer before we can decide if it is right for you. Transitioning to organic is not just saying no to conventional pesticides and fertilizers. It is a lifestyle question. Organic grape growers face the same adversities as conventional grape growers; we just approach the problems differently. To farm grapes organically requires a good understanding of the biology of the grapevine, the vineyard and the pest you are dealing with. Additional questions that need to be asked are: (1) what yields do I need/want to achieve? (2) what is my threshold to deal with pests and other problems? (3) do I want to make a long term commitment to more manual, labor and less false security that comes with use of conventional pesticides? (4) what are the benefits of farming organically apart from financial bonuses for organic grapes and wines?

Organic food is the fastest growing sector in the food industry. Farming organically will guarantee you a share in tomorrow’s marketplace, and provide the benefit of a healthy, safe and enjoyable work environment.

The transition to organic represents a major, long term commitment for growers. In addition to more careful planning and detailed record keeping, the grower in transition to organic must produce a crop without any prohibited substances for three years before the first certified crop can be sold for a premium. First and foremost, where should you grow grapes organically? Proper site selection and preparation are the foundations for sustainable organic grape production. What grape variety should you try to grow organically? Wine cultivars of Vitis vinifera, have no resistance to many grape pathogens, and are often risky choices for organic production in wet, warm, humid parts of North America. Pesticides available to organic producers are often less effective than conventional materials, increasing the organic grower’s risk of economic crop loss. For this reason, I will stress the integration of sanitation and other cultural controls into disease management programs, relate to you what I have learned from our organic grape production research over the past several years, and present options to those considering the leap into organic grape production.

Thank you to the EWE Program Advisory Board for their input, ideas, feedback, and suggestions that continue to make the EWE Conference stronger every year.

  • Jerry Forest, Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Pennsylvania
  • Denise Gardner, Penn State, Pennsylvania
  • Patty Held, Patty Held Consulting, Missouri
  • Doug Moorhead, Presque Isle Wine Cellars, Pennsylvania
  • Lucie Morton, Lucie Morton Consulting, Virginia
  • Peter Oldak, Jewell Towne Vineyards, NH
  • Tom Payette, Tom Payette Wine Consulting, Virginia
  • Brian Roeder, Barrel Oak Winery, Virginia