The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium’s impact could be felt last week all along the K Street mall, given the masses wearing Unified convention badges and the packed restaurants catering to them. A record 14,000 attendees had registered for Unified, once again making this three-day wine industry event the largest convention hosted annually in Sacramento.
The news springing from Unified was mixed. On one hand, attendees of Wednesday’s “state of the industry” seminar learned that 2013 spawned an especially fruitful crop with 4.05 million tons of crushed grapes. That marked the second straight year in which California crushed more than 4 million tons of grapes. This abundance has helped ease previous fears of shortages and sets up the industry with plenty of supply in 2014.
That juice is very much needed; 2014 could make for an especially challenging growing season, given a prolonged drought. The wine industry also faces increasing competition from craft beers and cider, plus price wars in supermarkets and bottle shops.
But through all the Power Point presentations and fervent sales pitches coming from the jam-packed trade show, Sacramento emerged as a star of Unified, and not just for hosting the event for more than a decade.
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Bogle Vineyards was named as Unified’s “2013 Winery of the Year” at the state-of-the-industry presentation. The Clarksburg winery, now in its second generation of family ownership, shipped more than 2 million cases in 2013 – 12 percent over 2012.
Wine Business Monthly, the trade publication that sponsors Unified’s state-of-the-industry presentation, also named two regional wineries in its annual “hot brands” feature.
So who was hot? According to Wine Business Monthly, that would be LangeTwins of Lodi. The winery was selected for its long-standing contributions to Lodi agriculture and using sustainable growing practices for nearly 30 years.
Vino Noceto of Amador County was also deemed as “hot,” primarily for its championing of Italian varietals and wide range of sangiovese bottlings.
So, how will the drought affect the 2014 crush? We’ll tell you by Unified 2015.