Monday, July 23, 2012

FWWS BLOG POSTING for July 23, 2012

Dear FWWS Member,

It has come to our attention that some industry groups have proposed that the WSLCB repeal WAC 314-52-110 (3)(d) concerning competition in pricing. The current WAC section states:

“(3) Beer, wine, or spirituous liquor shall not be advertised, offered for sale, or sold by retail licensees at less than acquisition cost. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any sales made: …

(d) In an endeavor to meet the prices of a competitor selling the same article or product in the same locality or trade area and in the ordinary channels of trade.”

Ironically, this exception made little sense prior to the pricing freedoms gained under I-1183 since at that time wine was sold only by uniform and delivered pricing. The effect of repealing this exception now would be to limit the ability of retailers to meet the pricing of competitors who have lower costs of acquisition (for example through now legal volume discounts) should they choose to do so.

FWWS has joined the opposition to this repeal as an unnecessary new restriction on wine pricing. It is not clear to us that under this change the Liquor Control Board would have the resources to effectively police pricing under the newly liberalized law. It is clear to us that wineries do not wish to return to the pre I-1183 red tape days of “price posting” or “price filing” in order to facilitate State policing of price competition. We believe the passage of I-1183 has given the Liquor Control Board the opportunity to affirmatively and permanently step away from its role of alcohol pricing regulation in lieu of refocusing on its core mission of alcohol abuse prevention, nuisance abatement, and tax collection.

The deadline for comments has been extended until July 25th. If you would like to join FWWS in opposing the repeal of WAC 314-52-110(3)(d), please send your comments to Karen Mccall, Rules Coordinator at the WSLCB by email at or by fax at 360-664-9689

Thank you,

Your All Volunteer FWWS Board

Thursday, July 19, 2012

For the past four years, Family Wineries of Washington State (FWWS) has worked very hard in Olympia to change some of the antiquated liquor laws that make it very difficult for small wineries in WA to thrive.  This past legislative session, FWWS’s efforts achieved a significant measure of success when our bill to permit wineries selling 6,000 or fewer gallons of wine annually to opt to report their activities and pay their taxes to the LCB annually, rather than monthly.  Those wineries that are eligible for annual reporting recently were sent a notification by the LCB that, to avail themselves of this opportunity, the wineries must notify the LCB of their intentions to do so.  The deadline for notifying the LCB is Friday, July 20th.  This blog is to remind those eligible wineries who want to opt for annual, versus monthly, reporting to the LCB of the looming deadline.  This is a great opportunity to reduce your reporting paperwork load.  Don’t delay!  Notify the LCB of your desire to report annually NOW at:  (360)664-1721 or

Your All-Volunteer FWWS Board of Directors

Board of Directors
Family Wineries of Washington State

699 Lost River Road, Mazama WA 98833

Sunday, July 8, 2012

FWWS Blog for July 8, 2012 Introducing "Techbits" New service for FWWS members

Dear FWWS Member,

We at the Board are attentive to input from Members. One of the comments we have heard repeatedly is that our blog posts are sometimes too lengthy to easily digest. We regret that some of the issues that face our industry are unfortunately complex but nevertheless vitally important for our members to understand. We are doing our best in this regard to reduce issue fatigue.

Thinking about this constructive criticism highlighted another facet of our industry that we as fellow winemakers recognize, namely the wealth, sometimes overabundance, of technical information available to winemakers who are often too busy to attend seminars or keep up with journal articles. In the hopes that we can add a useful feature of membership in FWWS, we are inaugurating a new service to members to provide a condensed digest of technical information in enology. The first edition which follows summarizes a very interesting article on acetaldehyde, an important factor in wine quality. Your comments are on this new service are greatly appreciated.

Your FWWS Board

Introducing "Techbits" - Tidbits of wine technical information gleaned from industry sources and summarized in bite-sized pieces. A benefit of membership in FWWS

Acetaldehyde formation and degradation in wine.

Acetaldehyde can be formed in wine either chemically (by oxidation of ethanol) or biologically (by fermentation). It is a highly reactive molecule typically having an apple-like, nutty, or green grass aroma. Sensory thresholds have been reported as between 0.5 and 10 mg/L for odor, and between 100 and 125 mg/L for flavor.

It is a misconception that the risk of formation of acetaldehyde begins at the end of alcoholic fermentation and in the absence of SO2. Given careful cellar operations limiting exposure of finished wine to oxygen during cellaring, most acetaldehyde formation will occur as a result of fermentation, particularly by Saccharomyces cerevisiae (non-Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast typically produce much less acetaldehyde except for Schizosaccharomyces pombi, which also produces significant amounts). Most acetaldehyde is produced very early in fermentation. A significant amount of acetaldehyde is re-utilized by yeast during alcoholic fermentation, and a very significant amount – up to 94% - may be degraded by malolactic fermentation (MLF).

Residual concentration of acetaldehyde in wine is influenced by the following factors, which result in either higher creation of acetaldehyde during fermentation or lower utilization and degradation:

• Addition of SO2 to musts. Yeast produce more acetaldehyde in response to addition of SO2. Addition of 50 PPM SO2 to a must can increase the post alcoholic fermentation level of acetaldehyde by 10 to 25 mg/L. Since acetaldehyde is the most readily bound carbonyl compound in wine, this can also increase the bound SO2 concentration in wine by 15 to 37 mg/L.

• Anything increasing large viable concentrations of yeast during fermentation will lead to greater utilization of acetaldehyde and a reduction of its concentration in the wine post fermentation. These factors can include presence of yeast nutrients and maintenance of temperatures of 20 C.

• Consequently cooler temperatures (12 C or below), particularly in combination with poor yeast nutrient availability, can lead to higher residual acetaldehyde.

• Early racking and clarification of yeast can also increase residual acetaldehyde concentration by reducing utilization.

• MLF is the largest factor in the degradation of acetaldehyde in wine.

• In addition to increasing levels of acetaldehyde, large pre-fermentation SO2 additions also increase bound SO2 levels, which recent research shows have a significant adverse effect on malolactic bacteria (even in the absence of free SO2) and consequently on the reduction of acetaldehyde through degradation by MLF.

Source: “Role of Winemaking and Carbonyl Compounds” by Nick Jakowetz, Erhu Li, and Roman Mira De Orduna, Assoc. professor of Food Science, Cornell University. Published in Practical Winery and Vineyard Journal, Winter 2012.