Viticulture briefs: Penfolds to use Napa grapes

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Penfolds to use Napa grapes

Penfolds, the iconic Australian wine label, will add Napa Valley grapes to its wines staring with the 2018 harvest.

Penfolds is under ownership of Treasury Wine Estates of Melbourne, Australia, which also owns local wineries Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena; and St. Clement and Stag’s Leap in Napa County. That will make it easier to secure and crush the grapes.

“Our Penfolds House Style certainly allows and embraces the freedom to explore premium viticultural regions across the world,” said Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago in a statement. “We are striving to add outstanding California-sourced wines to our offering by fiscal 2022.”

The move also coincides with Penfolds expanding its portfolio to add a single batch brandy; a fortified syrah; and a sparkling wine sourced from grapes from various countries.

Penfolds will celebrate its 175th anniversary next year.


Court ruling to have limited winery effect

Wineries should see minimal effect from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said states may require online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes even if they don’t have a physical presence in the state, according to a leading trade group.

The June 21 ruling in Wayfair v. South Dakota was a victory for states seeking to collect tax revenue on digital transactions. However, most states already collect sales tax on wine shipped to their residents, according to the Wine Institute, which represents California wineries. The institute said it believes the ruling will have a “limited impact” on wineries that ship directly to consumers.

Only a few states — Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and the District of Columbia — don’t collect state sales taxes from licensed wine shippers, the trade group said. However, Alaska, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., do collect excise taxes. Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wyoming currently do not impose any sales taxes on alcohol, but they do assess their own excise taxes and/or state markups, according to the institute.


New executive chef at Sterling Vineyards

Spencer Wolff has joined Calistoga’s Sterling Vineyards as its executive chef. He was most recently at Charlie Palmer’s Harvest Inn in St. Helena.

He will oversee the winery’s wine-and-food pairing as well as hospitality for its trade guests.

Wolff has also served as the executive chef for special events at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. He also is a certified sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers and has a Level 3 certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and the Hospitality Institute of Chicago.


Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

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