Top Winemakers to Speak at Oak Conference

Feb. 11 event and trade show to cover barrels, add-ins, cleaning, seismic safety

by Jim Gordon
Winemaker Jeffrey Stambor of Beaulieu Vineyard is among the speakers scheduled for the inaugural Wines & Vines Oak Conference to be held Feb. 11 in Napa, Calif.
Napa, Calif.—Accomplished winemakers from Ramey, Beaulieu, Quivira and other top wineries will share their research and practical experience with oak in the educational sessions and tastings at the Wines & Vines Oak Conference on Feb. 11 in Napa, Calif. The one-day conference was created with winemakers and winery purchasing managers in mind, and it will be accompanied by a focused trade show.

The conference sessions will cover everything from new barrel features to barrel maintenance, oak add-ins to stretching your oak budget with a multi-year barrel inventory, and how to secure your barrel stacks against earthquake damage.

Speakers will include noted researchers in tannin and oak as well as winemakers from premium Napa and Sonoma County properties including Jeffrey Stambor of Beaulieu Vineyard, Hugh Chappelle from Quivira Vineyards, Janet Myers from Franciscan Estate, Richard Sowalsky from Clos Pegase, Scot Covington of Trione Vineyards & Winery and Zeke Neeley from Trefethen Family Vineyards.

David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars is the featured winemaker speaker, and he will address “The Care and Feeding of Oak Barrels: 35 Years of Trial and Error.”

As of Jan. 12, a limited number of full-day tickets were still available at $199. These cover the hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include breakfast, lunch, conference sessions, a tasting session (on a first-come, first-served basis) and closing wine reception.

Wines & Vines just added a new $39 exhibits + lunch pass for winery personnel who wish to attend the trade show but not the conference sessions. Lunch will include wines from Ramey and other participating wineries. See the full schedule, speaker roster and registration page at wvoak.com

The exhibits will include 35 barrel and oak tank makers, oak add-in manufacturers, barrel-cleaning and sanitation suppliers and other oak-related wine industry vendors. The venue is the former Copia building at 500 First St., Napa, Calif. 94559.

Dr. James A Kennedy, professor and chair of the California State University, Fresno, Department of Viticulture and Enology, will present the latest research findings about oak and tannin.

Dr. Andrei Prida, director of research and development for Seguin Moreau Napa Cooperage, will follow Kennedy’s presentation. Prida will discuss the correlation between the compounds extracted from wood and the sensory perception of wines aged in barrels.

Making barrel rooms safer will be the focus of a talk by Joshua Marrow P.E., technical director of Partner Engineering and Science Inc. Marrow has been researching earthquake safety for years and will also present fresh observations based on the 6.0-magnitude quake that hit Napa, Calif., early Aug. 24, 2014.

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