The business of wine is in a continual state of evolution with new markets, new consumer trends, new challenges and new solutions provided from the businesses trying to capture, shape or overcome them. The WINnovation Awards, sponsored by the Wine Industry Network (WIN), highlight those companies that have met this challenge by developing innovative products or services that contribute to the advancement of the North American wine industry.
WINnovation Award Winners 2014
- Biofiltro USA
- G3 Enterprises
- Øeno Vaults
- Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute
The WINnovation Award Winners will be honored along with the North Bay Business Journal Wine Industry Award winners December 2nd at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa. The event will kick-off a week-long industry celebration that culminates with the 3rd Annual North Coast Wine Industry Expo, held at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds on Dec 4th, 2014.
“Here at WIN, we have the privilege of seeing the newest products and services on a regular basis and I’m continually impressed by the level of innovation,” says George Christie, Wine Industry Network President. “In many cases, industry suppliers are the change agents that help winery and vineyard operations positively impact quality or improve efficiencies. The WINnovation awards are a way for us to acknowledge the efforts of these suppliers and their contribution to the wine industry.”
BioFiltro is a wastewater system originally developed in Chile, but recently introduced to the North American market. The system works by releasing wastewater into the BioFiltro where the earthworms reside in a layer of wood shavings. The worms eat the organic matter trapped by the shavings and produce castings with bacteria that break down dissolved contaminants in the water. The whole process takes about 4 hours for the waste water to be converted into water available for irrigation of vineyards.
Constellation’s winery in Madera is currently running a 6 month trial of the system. “The BioFiltro team is very innovative and understands the variability of winery operations, which has made our partnership thus far very productive,” says Wendy Garcia, Manager of Environmental Engineering Services for Constellation.
“With the growing demand for sustainable practices and the challenges that the drought presents for the wine industry in California,” says Christie, “BioFiltro’s system is an excellent example of innovation that benefits the industry.”
The WINnovation Award was presented to G3 Enterprises for their ingenuity and technical achievement in developing the G-Ink, which unleashes a new realm of creative possibilities for packaging designers to make impactful designs.
The G-Ink features both Bichromic and Thermochromic capabilities, which means that it can change appearance depending on viewing angle or package temperature. This gives the bottle’s added dimension and engages the consumer.
“In today’s competitive wine market, a quality product is not enough for success,” say Christie, “you need to stand out and G-Ink provides wineries a creative tool that adds value and shelf appeal to their packaging and brand. G3 has created the opportunity to carve out a marketing niche, now it’s up to the individual winery to seize that opportunity and write their own success story.”
Nomacorc is a leader in synthetic wine closures and oxygen management with the Select Series of closures, but with their new Bio Select, they’ve taken the extra step allowing winemakers to address the dual concern of creating a quality product and sustainable operations.
Bio Select is the world’s first zero carbon footprint wine closure. It is made using renewable, plant-based biopolymers derived from sugar cane and is fully recyclable. Sonoma County-based Avalon Winery is the first United States winery to use Nomacorc’s Bio Select for their flagship California CAB.
“We’ve striven to minimize our carbon footprint in all that we do – in the winery, in the vineyard and in our community,” says Lisa Ehrlich, Executive Vice President, Marketing of Purple Wine Company. “Our next step was to implement sustainable solutions and practices into our packaging. Nomacorc’s Select Bio closure is a perfect choice for our California CAB as it combines quality performance and environmental benefits.”
Nomacorc deserves recognition for their achievement in addressing multiple concerns,” says Christie, “with their Bio Select they deliver to the consumer the traditional experience of pulling a cork, to the winemaker, oxygen transfer control and protection from cork taint, and they answer the market demand for sustainable solutions.”
FLUX by Øeno Vaults is an innovative service that exists in the space between the winery and the consumer and adds benefits to both. For the consumer it provides a flexible means to manage, store, and ship their wines, and for a winery, the service and flexibility offered to its customers has the potential to increase both sales and retention.
Øeno Vaults ‘s cellar inventory management tool is available online and through a sleek mobile app that allows you to schedule free pickup of your wine club shipment at local wineries and easy shipping of your wines internationally and to most U.S. States.
“Multistate shipping and compliance issues continue to be a challenge for wineries selling their wines direct to consumer,” says Christie, “FLUX is an opportunity for wineries to overcome some of those challenges and offer the highest level of service to their best clients that can boost customer satisfaction, wine club retention, and the winery’s bottom line.”
Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute
Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute continues to expand its offerings in partnership with the local wine industry. It was the first university in the nation to offer an undergraduate BA, MBA, and Executive MBA focused exclusively on wine business, and continues to cooperate with local experts to provide the highest caliber of education in wine business.
“The Wine Business Institute has made great strides to be the leader in wine education and research in the North Bay. They have worked with the community and businesses to create one of the most innovative wine programs in the world,” says Brian Shapiro, Direct to Consumer Manager at Stryker Sonoma.
“The business of wine continues to evolve,” says Christie, “and it’s great to see an educational institution not just keeping up with new trends, but leading the way and making sure that our local wine businesses are equipped with talent ready to tackle the new challenges and be leaders in the wine industry going forward.”
To learn more about the latest wine industry innovations, visit the North Coast Wine Industry Expo on December 4, 2014 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. WINnovation Award winners BioFiltro, G3 Enterprises, Øeno Vaults, and the Wine Business Institute will be exhibiting along with 300 other wine industry suppliers, including the North Bay Business Journal Wine Industry Award winners Maverick Enterprises, Monvera Glass Décor, All American Containers, and Portocork America.
By Kim Johannsen