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Last week our Executive Director of Winemaking Penny Gadd-Coster led part of our winemaking team on a vineyard visit to check the health and status of our grapes in the Carneros appellation of Sonoma. Bloom is underway for both Rack & Riddle’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, with south-facing vines showing the most advanced bloom, and north-facing vines about ready to blossom.
As a member of our business development team, I was honored to tag along, receiving interesting answers to all my questions from our executive director Penny and winemakers Steve Fredson and Carolyn Craig (the two winemakers who went on this trip, out of our team of seven full-time winemakers).
Over the following weeks leading up to harvest—sparkling wine grapes are typically harvested in late July or early August—the entire team of winemakers will take turns making vineyard visits every other week to check on the health and status of our vines and grapes. Observations will be discussed and passed along with instructions to the vineyard managers.
“We’re looking at how much shoot thinning they’ve done, should we do more for the time of the year it is, how are the clusters looking, are we on time and on average—those types of observations,” said Penny.
These grapes will go into numerous separate winemaking programs at Rack & Riddle: blended into different lots of four sparkling méthode Champenoise varietals in our Rack & Riddle brand of Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs and Rosé. The grapes will also be used in premium blends for our wide selection of private label méthode Champenoise sparkling wines, available for wineries or businesses.
The wines will age an average of 18 months en tirage, so the grapes in bloom you’ll see in the photos and videos below will become the juice for sparkling wines that we can drink in about two to three years.
Our winemakers observed everything looking very healthy, with only small, infrequent disease spotted on a couple Pinot Noir vines; as Penny said, “Caps are a flyin’”—revealing the stamens of the blossoms and releasing a sweet scent in the air. Thinning had taken place to allow air to circulate, and suckers removed from the trunks and rootstocks.
Here are some of the questions that popped up for me as I tagged along.
Elizabeth: What is the status of the Pinot Noir vs. the Chardonnay at this point (in mid-May?):
Penny: The Pinot Noir is about a week ahead of the Chardonnay; generally for harvest we pick the Pinot Noir grapes first, but within three to four days usually we’re already picking the Chardonnay; sparkling wines are picked earlier than table wine grapes.
E: What’s the purpose of a rootstock?
P: Each of the vines is on a rootstock to encourage or enhance the growing area for the vine and create resistance to certain pests.
E: Being right next to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I imagine the biodiversity is beneficial?
P: There are certainly more bugs and wildlife. With grape growing we’ve changed the land, so how can we make use of it without stressing it further, and keep those beneficial bugs? Not getting rid of the bad bugs and also the good, but keeping the balance.
E: What is this chalky pink residue where some of the vines/trunks have been pruned?
P: When they trim the vines, they sometimes put a solution on the vines to keep them from bleeding, to prevent molds.
E: What happens to the few vines that are diseased?
P: A few do have some diseasing, with some vines barely hanging on. They’ve interplanted with newer, healthy vines. Eventually the diseased vines will die off.
E: Can you predict anything at this point about harvest?
P: There’s a pretty good crop on the vines. I don’t like to make predictions about what harvest will yield until May is over—but then you can start to look at predictions, whatever those are worth. Everything is looking on track—we’re not seeing any major issues at this point, but that can change drastically in a month to two months.
E: How does the climate here affect the grapes?
P: With the cooler weather and the fog, you get nice, small berries. There’s not too much vigor so they ripen and get a lot of fruit flavor.
E: What is the soil like here?
P: The soil is basically what you would find at the bottom of the bay. A lot of debris has created a lot of nutrient-rich soil, but there is enough sand that in the summertime going through here this is going to be silty and sandy… It’s an interesting area that we’ve recovered to grow grapes. All of the stuff that has died in the bay—plants, animals, bugs—we’ve got great fish emulsion here!
E: Why did they disk so deeply between all the rows?
P: Deep disking has been done to help aerate the roots, then it also tills in the nitrogen sources from the cover crops.
E: What could a frost do at this point?
P: A frost at this point could kill the grape clusters. Usually these are on little temperature alarms to let you know when it gets to a certain temperature, and they have fans to control temps. At this point we don’t want to shoot-thin too much—you want to have the backup plan. Thinning too much can make the vines a little more vulnerable to frost, which we do have to worry about until about June 1st. I don’t see anything in the forecast—they do say it will stay cool, which is good because we got off to a little bit of an early start; people did some late pruning to keep that vigor down a little bit.
Thank you so much for the vineyard tour, Penny! We look forward to tagging along on many more of your vineyard check-ups!
P.S. If you’re looking for a home for your grapes this year, check out Rack & Riddle’s full-service custom crush programs for both sparkling and still wines. Click to request a custom crush quote. From grape to bottle, to riddling and disgorging to just finishing and bottling your wine, Rack & Riddle offers every winemaking service you may need. For those seeking sparkling or still wine shiners, take a look at Rack & Riddle’s private label wine program of award-winning wines. The shiner program turn-around-time from order to finished case goods is an average of just three months. Contact Rack & Riddle or call anytime to discuss your needs: 707-433-8400
Piece by piece, Rack & Riddle over the last year has upgraded every part on its sparkling wine disgorging line but one. “Only the neck freezer is original from when we started up in Hopland in 2007,” said Rack & Riddle Facilities Manager Stan Jennings. “Each piece was carefully hand-picked and is the best available on the market.”
Rack & Riddle upgraded to a new foiler and labeler during its facility expansion in 2014, followed by a flurry of new equipment upgrades over the last year: a Valentin corker and wirehooder, a Perrier bottle turner, a Cames bottle washer and just in the last month, a Perrier disgorger/doser as well as a new bank of riddlers.
The still wine and sparkling wine custom crush facility is used to tight timelines when setting up equipment. Rack & Riddle moved its entire operation from Hopland to new locations in Healdsburg and Geyserville over a nine month period to open in June 2014; strategically moving and upgrading equipment reduced down time on the bottling lines during the transition.
“We built a 1.2 million-case-a-year custom crush facility from the ground up in Hopland, and everything was very much built with the needs of our client winemakers in mind,” said Rack & Riddle Executive Director of Winemaking, Penny Gadd-Coster. “Then we had the rare chance seven years later to do it again, this time further improving our layout and design.”
The expansion has meant increased production capabilities. In Hopland, Rack & Riddle would max out at 6,400 tons, but after the move to a 67,000-square foot bottling facility in Healdsburg and a 50,000-square-foot crush facility in Geyserville, production capacity has increased to a potential 8,000-plus tons.
Rack & Riddle caters to client winemakers, from small to large producers, and offers still wine and sparkling wine programs, from grape to bottle or from clients’ base wine. A private label program allows a fast turn-around-time for those seeking to privately label a sparkling or still wine from Rack & Riddle’s stock. The private label, or, “shiner” program as it’s known in the industry, averages just three months’ turn-around from quote to labeled product ready to ship out.
Custom crush business makes up 70 percent of Rack & Riddle’s production, and 30 percent is private label. About half of the projects are sparkling and half are still wine. Rack & Riddle also takes on unique projects like Sangria, innovative packaging concepts and new varietals for sparkling—like Pinotage, Syrah and Zinfandel—that used to be more rare.
Rack & Riddle aims to unlock the ability for producers of all sizes to craft premium, méthode Champenoise sparkling wines, the labor-intensive, traditional French method of sparkling winemaking.
It couldn’t come at a better time. Sales of sparkling wine continue an upward climb, far outpacing still wines.
Nielsen figures released in October showed that sparkling wines overall were up 10 percent in value over the previous year, and increased eight percent by volume. Contrast this rapid gain with a just 0.2 percent growth in volume for the entire wine category in the United States, including still wines, according to IMPACT Databank’s projections for 2015.
“We’re able to meet the demands of producers who need to boost their still programs with a sparkling wine, or increase their sparkling portfolio,” said Rack & Riddle General Manager Mark Garaventa.
“Our riddling capacity has increased by 30 percent, and we’re setting records in disgorging production with our entirely modernized lines. The addition of new riddling capacity and the completely new sparkling line positions us as the leader in the custom sparkling wine sector, with the ability to continue to grow and expand capacity for our custom crush services,” said Garaventa.
Being in a constant state of improvement and growth has been Rack & Riddle’s M.O. since the early days.
“It’s exciting—we started Rack & Riddle with just seven of us, with a used disgorging line and building the place using tools out of my garage,” said Jennings. “Everyone wore many hats—shoveling tanks, washing bins and weighing trucks. Now we’re coming up on our 10th harvest, we have 80 employees and produce over a million cases of wine a year… it’s been a fun ride.”
Rack & Riddle adheres to tradition by crafting sparkling wine in the age-old French méthode Champenoise, but is entirely modern in its technologies. While centuries ago Champagne bottles were turned periodically by hand on racks called pupitres to riddle out sediment, Rack & Riddle employs a high-tech riddling system without parallel, where thousands of cases of wine can be riddled—with various riddling programs at once—and even operated remotely in the near future.
With Rack & Riddle’s winemaking methods hailing from France, it’s fitting that some of its latest technologies do, too.
This month, Rack & Riddle’s team of mechanics: Beto Duran, Javier Acevedo, and Jose Ramirez, led by Facilities Manager Stan Jennings and John Clark, installed a set of new high-tech riddlers built and shipped from the Champagne region of France.
“We worked on everything from setting up the new frames and structural wiring, to installing the cages and sensor switches. We emptied out the existing riddlers, set them in the new, correct position, and put new sensors and control panels on each of them so they’re all connected,” said Rack & Riddle Mechanic Jose Ramirez. “We’re unique in the sense that there aren’t too many facilities out there that have this set up.”
The project, which increased riddling capacity for Rack & Riddle by 30 percent, wrapped up in under two weeks’ time, two days ahead of schedule and under budget. The team, along with the manufacturer Oeno Concepts’ Frederic Questiaux, engineered a customized riddling control system to incorporate Rack & Riddle’s original riddlers, some dating back to 1983. The resulting installation allows winemakers to create riddling programs at their desks, and easily modify riddling to meet clients’ varied needs.
“That’s a great thing—before you had to stand at the riddler itself and modify it, and before I was buying parts off eBay to maintain our old set up. For the VLMs (large riddlers housing 384 cases each), we used to have to bring in programmers to modify it,” said Rack & Riddle Facilities Manager Stan Jennings.
“Now our winemakers can create a riddling program at their desks, and just take a USB stick to the control panel. In six months to a year, they expect to have the ability to remotely monitor, so winemakers can view the riddlers from their offices and know how much time is left on each one,” said Jennings.
The team of mechanics, overcoming a trifecta of language barriers—with various team members speaking French, Spanish and English—worked with Jennings, Clark and three engineers from France, nimbly applying their mechanical and electrical expertise to learn a complex new system, and install and operate the set up with no errors.
The six new quadras (each containing four cages) have brought Rack & Riddle’s riddling capacity to a total of 4,032 cases. The riddlers are considered the best available in the industry—manufactured and shipped from Oeno Concepts in France.
“The updated control panel gives us the ability to have multiple riddling cycles, and do smaller, more customized trials for our clients,” said Rack & Riddle General Manager Mark Garaventa. “We can know the outcome of a trial by utilizing a pair of cages for testing, vs. having to devote numerous riddlers to testing. This makes us much more efficient in determining the proper riddling cycle for specific products.”
With the expansion of riddling capacity, along with a new sparkling wine disgorging line, Rack & Riddle is positioned as one of the largest of a handful of custom crush houses in the nation specializing in méthode Champenoise, and a leader in the custom sparkling wine sector.
If you’re looking for a home for your grapes this year, check out Rack & Riddle’s full-service custom crush programs for both sparkling and still wines. Click to request a custom crush quote. From grape to bottle, to riddling and disgorging to just finishing and bottling your wine, Rack & Riddle offers every winemaking service you may need. For those seeking sparkling or still wine shiners, take a look at Rack & Riddle’s private label wine program of award-winning wines. The shiner program turn-around-time from order to finished case goods is an average of just three months. Contact Rack & Riddle or call anytime to discuss your needs: 707-433-8400
Announcing a Gold medal for Rack & Riddle Blanc de Blancs in the Finger Lakes Wine Competition and No.1 on GAYOT.com - The Guide to the Good Life's "Top 10 Mother's Day Wines" list!! Now through Mother's Day, purchase Blanc de Blancs with promo code FORMOM to receive 15% off. Shop here.
Here's an excerpt from the Gayot review:
"The winery's attention to detail can be seen and tasted in the North Coast Blanc de Blancs. This lively sparkling wine boasts bright and fruity aromas of green apple and melon, followed by strong flavors of lime and lemon curd, all of which resolve in a smooth and crisp finish..."
This latest set of accolades comes on the heels of the 92 points and "Best Buy" honors received for our Blanc de Blancs earlier this year. The Rack & Riddle winemaking team keeps racking them up (pun intended):
#1 WINE ON GAYOT LIST
"Top 10 Mother's Day Wines" 2016
Fingerlakes International Wine Competition
BEST BUY & 92 POINTS
Tastings World Wine Championships
DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
San Francisco International Wine Competition
BEST OF CLASS & GOLD MEDAL
Sunset International Wine Competition
San Francisco International Wine Competition
With the arrival of spring, we winemakers find ourselves in the midst of full-blown prep and maintenance out in the vineyards, barreling toward harvest 2016! Signifying new beginnings, spring is the perfect time to launch the first of my “In the Vineyard” series. In this series of columns, I’ll be sharing my observations and what’s currently happening in the vineyard for my winery Coral Mustang at my home in Cloverdale, where I grow nine different red varietals. As I prep for harvest 2016, I look forward to checking back in with you throughout the year to share photos and interesting occurrences among the vines.
Let me back up to set the stage. Last year Mother Nature wreaked havoc on my vineyards. While yields were low across Sonoma County, I was even less fortunate—my vines suffered from Millerandage, also known as “hens and chicks,” a fruit-set defect where underdeveloped and fully developed berries appear in the same cluster. With only a dozen berries per cluster on my vines—harvest was impossible at Coral Mustang. In my 30 years I’d never seen anything like it. Looking back at bloom I realized there had been two blooms—in my mind it was one very long bloom! This was due to weather conditions and the vines being determined to produce fruit no matter how cool the weather or how little water they had. Survival was the name of the game. After bloom things didn’t look too bad… Then the hens and chicks clusters became more evident with time, and with more chicks than hens.
From the lessons of last harvest, I am leery of saying what 2016 will bring as bloom has not happened yet. This year, I’m hopeful for a 2016 crop, but also in “wait and see” mode. At this point, all nine different varietals in my vineyard have undergone bud break, after a warmer than usual winter. This is about average timing for the vineyard, which sits at an elevation of 800 feet above sea level.
About two months ago I began late-pruning my vines, mainly because I couldn’t get into the vineyard before that due to El Niño—there was muck up to my waist! Full-on leafing was happening on the tips of the vines; I was concerned about extensive bleeding and the risks that can present, like odd molds or microbial issues; special paint can be used, but I’m not a fan. I decided to try a biodynamic farming trick on the recommendation of some of my vineyard workers. We pruned on the full moon—this was during the King tides, when the tides are especially high. It worked! As the vines were being pruned there was little to no bleeding. Even with the full leafing on my Tempranillo vines, there was no bleeding. I thought for sure there was going to be a mess, but with no bleeding, I haven’t seen any mold or microbial growth. I will be remembering this technique for the future.
Last week I started the suckering process as the vines are growing pretty fast at this point and without being diligent they can get out of hand quickly with growth between spurs, extra growth on spurs and growth on the trunks—craziness ensues. For me this will become a biweekly event for the next couple of months. But caution is the key at this point as frost can still occur.
Cabernet Block after 1st suckering. You can see it is not as far along as the Tempranillo in growth.
Tempranillo before 1st suckering.
Tempranillo after 1st suckering.
I wish I had taken photos last year to see what the difference might be at this point due to the increased water from El Niño. But from the snapshot in my head, I do not recall the same vigor that I am seeing today.
All I can say at this point is so far, so good—but then I say that every year! Until the next chapter in the series, cheers and happy grape growing!
P.S. If you’re looking for a home for your grapes this year, check out Rack & Riddle’s full-service custom crush programs for both sparkling and still wines. Click to request a custom crush quote. From grape to bottle, to riddling and disgorging to just finishing and bottling your wine, Rack & Riddle offers every winemaking service you may need. For those seeking sparkling or still wine shiners, take a look at Rack & Riddle’s private label wine program of award-winning wines. Turn-around-time from order to finished case goods is an average of just three months. Email Rack & Riddle or call anytime to discuss your needs: 707-433-8400
Penny, named “Winemaker of the Year” in the North Bay Business Journal’s inaugural Wine Industry Awards, is a renowned winemaker with 30 years of experience in sparkling and still wines. Penny and Rack & Riddle’s team of 80 industry experts are the trusted providers of grape-to-bottle, base-to-bottle and private label shiner offerings to a wide variety of clientele—producers both large and small. If you would like more information, please contact us at 707-433-8400 or visit www.rackandriddle.com. “Working for R&R has given me the opportunity to be an integral part of a growing company that is being built from the ground up, just like my career.”
With the 2015 vintage tucked away, buds breaking and harvest 2016 looming, now is the ideal time to get prepped for OND, the famous acronym for October, November and December that we in the wine industry have come to recognize as our key selling opportunity. I’d like to outline some processes that small or large winemaking operations can put in place to be ready for the rush—both end-of-year and in future years to come.
Know your grape needs
Get your grape contracts in order; they should be finalized at this point, along with projections. Are you increasing your production or decreasing production? If it’s a bumper crop what will you do with the excess juice if you haven’t planned for it in your program? Contingencies for adding an extra project or bolstering a current one are great to have in place in the unpredictable world of grape growing. Last year was the perfect example—a lot of wineries didn’t have enough grapes, and some wineries had no grapes. If your sales projections hinge on a certain tonnage, a contingency plan and relationships allowing you to go on the bulk market are crucial. Having a conversation early in the year with a wine broker like Turrentine—even if it’s just a backup plan—is ideal.
Craft a plan with short-term and long-term projections
While you adjust your plan for this year’s OND period, always be thinking three and four years down the line to determine your growth and projections; ensure your winemaking team works hand-in-hand with your sales department so you can manage your grape expectations. No pun intended. Populate a spreadsheet with metrics that the whole team shares, with blue sky and black sky scenarios. A simple spreadsheet or project portfolio management program works well. Track and measure how quickly you’re selling products, what the qualities of the wines were, tonnage and juice projections, and compare with past years’ sales and outcomes to make the best predictions, then adjust your bottling schedules accordingly.
As winemakers, we sometimes focus in on our grapes, not always keeping in mind that there are other teams who have to be involved in decisions. If sales and marketing wants to grow by 10 percent, and winemaking is on the other side saying, “hmm, we’re not going to make that,” it’s integral to do away with these separate silos of information, make everything transparent and schedule periodic meetings to keep all teams informed.
Here’s a snapshot of a great example spreadsheet that we use at Rack & Riddle, the idea courtesy of Charlie Tsegeletos of Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards’ Director of Winemaking:
Gauging your needs, measuring your outcomes, and having contingencies in place—while keeping your winemaking operations swift and unfettered by meaningless data or meetings—will save you from feeling flat-footed once harvest is said and done. So, let’s raise a glass to getting more organized and prepared in 2016!
P.S. If you’re looking for a home for your grapes this year, remember we offer full-service custom crush for both sparkling and still wines. We also offer a wide selection in our sparkling private label wine program. The beauty of the sparkling shiner program is turn-around from order to finished case goods is an average of just three months. Give me a call anytime to discuss your needs, we’d be happy to help! 707-433-8400
Penny Gadd-Coster, named “Winemaker of the Year” in the North Bay Business Journal’s inaugural Wine Industry Awards, is a renowned winemaker with 30 years of experience in sparkling and still wines. Penny and Rack & Riddle’s team of 80 industry experts are the trusted providers of grape-to-bottle, base-to-bottle and private label shiner offerings to a wide variety of clientele—producers both large and small. If you would like more information, please contact us at 707-433-8400 or visit www.rackandriddle.com. “Working for R&R has given me the opportunity to be an integral part of a growing company that is being built from the ground up, just like my career.”
Learn the top 8 reasons your business needs a sparkling wine.
1) Sparkling Wine Sales Outpace Still Wine. The sparkling wine sector continues to outperform table wines. Check out our sparkling wine stats.
2) Custom Crush Makes it Easy. While making sparkling wine is expensive, a custom crush house like Rack & Riddle eliminates the costly equipment and overhead so any business can add bubbly to its portfolio.
3) Expand Your Brand. Tap into new branding concepts. Whether you’re a retailer offering bubbly to customers as a special promotion, or you’re unveiling a wine club, or sending clients your own branded bubbly as a thank you, the possibilities for branding – and boosting your image – are endless.
4) An Essential Event Marketing Tool. Imagine pouring bubbly featuring your custom-designed, branded label at trade shows, community events and non-profit fundraisers. As you pour the bubbles, you’ll have a captive audience and the perfect chance to chat up prospects. Gain exposure while also differentiating your business from others at events. Bonus: donations of bubbly to non-profit events are tax deductible.
5) Market to Millennials. Those ages 25 to 34 account for over 20 percent of sparkling wine drinkers, according to Impact, a sister publication of Wine Spectator.
6) Capture the Attention of Women. Women make up 64 percent of bubbly drinkers, according to the International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) consultancy. Women also make up over half of the core wine drinkers in the United States who drink wine on at least a weekly basis.
7) Sell Overseas. Worldwide, sparkling wine consumption is expected to rise 8.52 percent between 2012 and 2016 due to demand in the top four sparkling wine markets: the United States, Germany, France, and Russia, according to IWSR.
8) California: Bubbly Capital of the United States. If your market is local, you’ll be glad to know the top state for sparkling wine consumption is California. The top 10 states, according to an October 2014 study by The Beverage Information Group, are: California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ohio.
Ready to explore what sparkling wine can do for your business? Give Rack & Riddle a call at 707-433-8400. Request a quote for your own private label sparkling wine or request sparkling samples. Have your own base wine for a bubbly project? Request a quote for custom crush services.
This spring, you can find Rack & Riddle up and down the state of California pouring wines at various events, and even across the country at the Eastern Winery Expo this month! Check out our upcoming events below. We hope to see you while we're on the road!
Eastern Winery Expo
March 9th & 10th
Visit Rack & Riddle’s booth #172 to taste award-winning private label sparkling wine samples, and meet Rack & Riddle GM Mark Garaventa. Contact us by clicking here to make an appointment for a consultation at the expo!
Rack & Riddle is pleased to offer a FREE Exhibit Pass* to the Expo (a $15 value)
PROMO CODE: EWE16VIP
*This VIP pass also entitles the user to receive a free lunch on Thursday, March 10th in the exhibit hall!
WiVi Central Coast Tradeshow
Paso Robles, CA
Visit Rack & Riddle booth #306 to taste méthode Champenoise sparkling wine samples, meet Business Development Manager Cynthia Faust and Associate Monica Smith, and learn about our custom crush and private label wine programs.
SPECIAL INVITATION! Let us drop off samples or stop by to discuss your project, we would love to visit your winery on either March 15th or 17th. Just give us a call! 707-433-8400
We're pleased to offer a FREE Tradeshow Pass ($30 value) to our friends & clients!
PROMO CODE: GUEST16
Family Winemakers of California San Diego Tasting
San Diego, CA
This event is for the public and the trade to enjoy tasting wines from over 125 wineries! Visit the Rack & Riddle table to taste award-winning private label sparkling wine samples, and meet Rack & Riddle co-owner/founder Bruce Lundquist, chairman of FWC, and Rack & Riddle GM Mark Garaventa.
San Francisco, CA
Rack & Riddle is pleased to be a featured winery at the upcoming BubblyFest in San Francisco on Saturday, April 9th! Enjoy Rack & Riddle's award-winning bubbly poured by our GM Mark Garaventa, plus wines from other top wineries!
Get 20% OFF your tickets (good towards BubblyFest SF and BubblyFest by the Sea this October in Avila Beach if you want to pick up tix for both events!) PROMO CODE: RNRBUBBLY2016
With Texas ranking among the top five states for sparkling wine consumption (Source: The Beverage Information Group), it's no surprise wineries in the Lone Star State are racking up big rewards by offering bubbly.
Rack & Riddle was featured in an article this month, A Toast to Texas Sparkling Wine, as the custom crush facility used by two outstanding bubbly producers: Messina Hof and William Chris Vineyards.
If you're an out-of-state producer, consider Rack & Riddle. We're a custom crush house with seven in-house winemakers, who together with a team of over 80 employees, work round-the-clock to ensure your bubbles are in the best of hands. Specializing exclusively in the age-old méthode Champenoise, we offer grape-to-bottle, base-to-bottle, or any winemaking need in between. We also offer a roster of award-winning private label wines. Request a quote or samples today, and pop the cork on a new bubbly adventure!
HEALDSBURG, Calif., Feb. 11, 2016 – Rack & Riddle Custom Wine Services, a large custom crush operation founded by wine industry veterans Rebecca Faust and Bruce Lundquist, announced that Lundquist has been named board chair of Family Winemakers of California (FWC). The non-profit trade organization represents and advocates for the success of its California member wineries.
FWC aims to advance California’s wine industry through political advocacy, and promotes wineries to both trade and consumer audiences through events and outreach.
Lundquist has been active in the wine industry for nearly 20 years—first as the General Manager at J Vineyards, then as a partner at Longboard Vineyards before founding Rack & Riddle with Faust in 2007. He has been a board member of FWC since 2005.
"Being elected as the board chair of FWC is a wonderful honor,” said Lundquist. “On behalf of the Family Winemakers of California, my energy and focus will be directed to the many challenges and opportunities facing the California wine industry. Whether those issues be regulatory, legislative, or market access—Family Winemakers will work to ensure a continued vitality and success for our entire membership."
“Bruce is well respected by the entire board, and not only brings a toolbox filled with solid wine industry experience; Bruce has consistently demonstrated real leadership through thoughtful and considerate dialogue while serving on the board,” said Phillips.
FWC Board and Secretary Treasurer Jon Phillips, owner of Inspiration Vineyards & Winery in Santa Rosa, Calif., said the board looks forward to working with Lundquist to address the business needs and concerns FWC’s member wineries face.
Lundquist graduated from Linfield College in 1978 with a BA in Accounting and Business, earned his MBA from the University of Portland in 1982 and completed the wine executive program at UC Davis in 2005.
ABOUT RACK & RIDDLE CUSTOM WINE SERVICES:
With its expansion in 2014 to two new locations in Sonoma County, Rack & Riddle is proudly committed to providing pristine facilities where winemakers craft both still and sparkling wines. Rack & Riddle offers complete custom crush and private label wine programs, and houses nearly 2 million gallons of stainless steel storage and fermentation vessels. An exceptional winemaking team produces 1.2 million cases of wine annually. For more information, please visit www.rackandriddle.com.
Bottom left photo courtesy Jeff Quackenbush / North Bay Business Journal. (L-R: Rack & Riddle co-owners and co-founders Rebecca Faust and Bruce Lundquist at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento Jan. 27, 2016.)