Mini Symposium

Wine Economics Issues in South Africa and California

August 23, 2010


Overview of the South African Wine Industry Gert van Wyk (and colleagues)
Viticulture in California:  Issues, Research Strategies and Priorities Andy Walker
Sensory Science in Viticulture and Enology Hildegarde Heymann
Economic Perspectives on the California Wine Industry Jim Lapsley


  • Gert van Wyk, VinPro, South Africa
  • Leon Dippenaar, VinPro, South Africa
  • Hennie Visser, VinPro, South Africa
  • Marco Ventrella, Graham Beck Wines, South Africa
  • Andy Walker, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
  • Sonet van Zyl, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
  • Roger Boulton, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
  • Jim Lapsley, Agricultural Issues Center and Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
  • Hildegarde Heymann, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
  • Julian Alston, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
  • Kate Fuller, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
  • Travis Lybbert, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
  • Steve Sawyer, City of Vacaville, RMI Center for Wine Economics

Leon Dippenaar VinPro, South Africa
Viticulturist: Breedekloof district

Hennie Visser VinPro, South Africa
Viticulturist: Robertson district

VinPro is the service organisation for 4 500 South African wine producer members, which represents them in dealings with the government and on all relevant wine industry forums. VinPro provides the following services:
• Consultation in viticulture, oenology, soil science and GIS, agro-economics, general management and black
economic empowerment (BEE)
• Access to quality grafted vines, as well as rootstock and scion material via a 50% shareholding in Vititec Ltd
• Information transfer through the monthly WineLand magazine (incorporating Wynboer) and the annual
publications Wynboer Technical Yearbook and the SA Wine Industry Directory
• Strategic industry information through websites and electronic and printed newsletters –
• Facilitating Technology Transfer for Winetech

Marco Ventrella, Graham Beck Wines, South Africa
Group Viticulturist

Viticulturist Marco Ventrella is very passionate about what he does! From the intricacies of photosynthesis to our ancient soils or the challenging vagaries of Mother Nature, Marco has an innate ability to convey an awe and fascination for our natural world. Armed with his laptop and state of the art software Marco (a force of nature himself) can’t wait to take you on a magical virtual tour of Graham Beck Wines, as you’ve never encountered us before. Or, even better, hop inside his bakkie (small truck) for a whirlwind glimpse of the real thing!
After school Marco elected to study finance, but soon found he couldn’t face the idea of becoming an auditor! Instead he gained experience in the hospitality industry, managing restaurants and clubs. “I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do for a living – but it had to be something I enjoyed,” he recalls. As someone who becomes bored with routine, Marco discovered that the world of wine offered him the stimulation and challenges he craved.
"The more I learned about wine, the more I realized this is what excites me,” says Marco. He decided to pursue a career in the wine industry and enrolled in Elsenberg Agricultural College. Although winemaking had a distinct allure for Marco his true calling lay outside the cellar – in the vineyards. After being named the John Deere Agricultural Student of the Year for 2003, Marco proved he was more than ready to make his mark on the South African wine industry.

Graham Beck Wines
Graham Beck Wines is a small to medium family wine business with four farms in three growing regions (Robertson, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch), two cellars and production facilities and one beating heart. Undeniably the premier Cap Classique (Methóde Champ) house in South Africa, they also produce still red and white wines at varying price points from Premium to Ultra Premium. Included in their makeup are 1 885 ha of formal nature conservancy, community skills centre, crèches, community halls and development trusts in the fields of social upliftment through education, housing, health and sport and a lot more.

Andy Walker, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
Dr. Walker has been a faculty member of the Department of Viticulture and Enology since 1989, the same year he began breeding grapes. His research program focuses on developing new rootstocks with resistance to fanleaf, dagger and root-knot nematodes and phylloxera. His lab studies the genetics of resistance to these pests, their genetic diversity and aggressivity, and host/pest interactions of these pests with grape species. Dr. Walker's lab is also actively involved in breeding table, raisin and wine grapes for resistance to Pierce's disease and powdery mildew. Lab activities include classical breeding and inheritance studies, the development of rapid resistance assays, field trials of promising rootstock and scion selections, DNA marker analysis and mapping, and genetic engineering. He teaches two parts of a three-quarter course, Viticultural Practices VEN 101A and B, which instructs students in rootstock and scion selection and identification, propagation practices, pruning and training, trellising, and vineyard development. He also serves as Chair of the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group, which administers the M.S. degree in Viticulture and all applied plant programs. Dr. Walker received his Bachelor's in Botany in 1975, a Master's in Horticulture/Viticulture in 1983, and a PhD in Genetics in 1989 from the University of California, Davis. In November 2000, he was appointed the Louis P. Martini Endowed Chair in Viticulture.

Sonet van Zyl, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
PhD student, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis.

Roger Boulton, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
Dr. Boulton studies the chemical and biochemical engineering aspects of winemaking and distilled spirits production. His work involves fermentation and reaction kinetics; physical and chemical stability of wines; the mathematical modeling, computer simulation and control of enological operations; winery design (winemaking equipment selection, winery design and layout) and the economics of investment and operation. His current research involves a major effort into the phenomenon of copigmentation, a major color phenomenon in red wines, as well as fermentation interests involving juice composition and sulfide formation. Dr. Boulton's teaching covers the general areas of the physical and chemical stability of wines (VEN 126, 126L), the process equipment and winery design (VEN 135, 235), the production of distilled spirits from fermented beverages (VEN 140) and Biomanufacturing (ECH 160). Dr. Boulton is a member of the Jurade de Saint Emilion and was appointed the Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology in January 2000. In 2000 he was named among "the 50 Most influential people in the US Wine Industry" by Wines and Vines Magazine. In 1998, he and three colleagues (Vernon Singleton, Linda Bisson and Ralph Kunkee) received the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV) Prize in Oenology for their text The Principles and Practices of Winemaking. This text has been translated into Spanish and Chinese while still in its first edition. Dr. Boulton has been awarded the Outstanding Paper of the Year prize in the American Journal for Enology and Viticulture on four occasions, and was the Eminent Speaker in Chemical Engineering, chosen by the Australian Institute of Engineers in 1995. He has significant international involvement in the development of enology curricula, the teaching of short courses and advising wineries throughout the world. Dr. Boulton received both his Bachelor's and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Jim Lapsley, Agricultural Issues Center and Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
Dr. Lapsley is an internationally known author, winemaker, and instructor. His main areas of research are: the economics of wine production and marketing, and the history of California wine. Lapsley has authored Bottled Poetry, a history of the emergence of the Napa Valley as it evolved into California's premiere wine region. He co-edited, along with Kirby Moulton, Successful Wine Marketing, which was awarded the OIV Grand Prize in 2001 for the Best Book on Wine Economics.  Lapsley was President and Winemaker for Orleans Hill Winery from 1980-2002, a winery that specialized in wine produced from organically grown grapes. In 2003, Lapsley was a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay, where he collaborated with faculty in the Schools of Chemistry and Agronomy to create a much needed degree program in enology. In June of 2009, Dr. Lapsley retired from the University of California Davis Extension Program where he developed and administered courses for more than 10,000 continuing education students each year. He currently serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and as a Researcher for the Agricultural Issues Center.

Hildegarde Heymann, Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis
Sensory scientist Dr. Hildegarde Heymann joined the Department of Viticulture and Enology in January 2003. Formerly a Professor at the University of Missouri, Dr. Heymann has worked in all areas of sensory science and has evaluated numerous food and non-food products including wine, meat, ice cream, cereals, juices, cat litter, soap, and toothpaste. At UC Davis Dr. Heymann has continued her work with descriptive analysis methodology and multivariate data analyses. She has also worked on food-wine interactions, wine color perception, and the effects of drying methods on the sensory characteristics of raisins. Additionally, she is working with her Viticulture and Enology colleagues on the sensory evaluation of grapes and wines. Dr. Heymann teaches the popular VEN 125 Course: Sensory Evaluation of Wines, as well as VEN 215: Sensometrics, and VEN 225: Advanced Sensory Descriptive Analysis. Dr. Heymann received both her M.S. in Food Science (Enology), and her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from UC Davis. From 1982 to 1986 she was a Ph.D. student in Dr. Ann Noble's laboratory, studying the effect of methoxypyrazines on the flavor of Cabernet sauvignon wines. Between July 1986 and December 2002, Dr. Heymann was on faculty at the University of Missouri - Columbia and while there she produced over 60 publications. She is the co-author (with Harry T. Lawless from Cornell University) of the sensory textbook Sensory Evaluation of Foods: Principles and Practices, currently the most prescribed sensory textbook worldwide. Additionally, she has presented workshops and short courses on sensory science in South Africa, Finland, New Zealand and the USA. Heymann was named Honorary Researcher Lecturer by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture in 2004. In 2000, Dr. Heymann received the Faculty Alumni Award from the University of Missouri Alumni Association; in 1993 she received the Gold Chalk Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching from the Graduate Professional Council; and in 1991 and 1993 she was awarded "Professor of the Year" from the Food Science Association.

Steve Sawyer, RMI Center for Wine Economics
Senior Civil Engineer
City of Vacaville, California
B.S. College of Engineering, University of California, Davis, 1975
While studying engineering at UCD Mr. Sawyer developed an interest in viticulture and enology.  An award winning amateur wine maker and home brewer Mr. Sawyer’s enjoyment and appreciation of fine wine and great food grew into a passion for crafting fine wine and gourmet cooking. He has traveled through some of the grand wine regions of Australia, France, and the United States. Mr. Sawyer has taken numerous courses in viticulture and enology through the University’s Extension Program, and frequently converses with grape growers and winemakers about grape farming and wine production.

Travis Lybbert Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
Travis Lybbert joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis as an assistant professor in August 2006. Dr. Lybbert earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Economics from Cornell University, where he also taught engineering economics in the Operations Research Department. Prior to coming to Davis, he was an assistant professor of economics at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Lybbert conducts research in four interrelated areas of applied economics: risk, poverty dynamics, technology, and environment. Often motivated by international economic development problems, he has worked in North Africa, India, and in the Intellectual Property Division of the World Trade Organization. Among his current research projects, Dr. Lybbert is assessing drought risk, drought coping and vulnerability in Morocco and Burkina Faso; risk and poverty dynamics among Kenyan pastoralists; micronutrient supplements and household welfare in Malawi, Burkina Faso and Ghana; and cell phones and adult literacy in Niger. Dr. Lybbert currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in economic development and applied economics.

Kate Fuller, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
PhD student, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis

Julian Alston, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
Julian M. Alston is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics of the University of California, Davis, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in microeconomic theory and the analysis of agricultural markets and policies.  At UC Davis, Alston is a member of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics and serves as director of the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics and associate director for science and technology policy at the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.  Alston was raised on a family farm in northern Victoria, Australia.  Prior to beginning in his current position in 1988, he was the Chief Economist in the Department of Agriculture in Victoria.  His experience in public policy analysis and advice, and the administration of a large scientific organization shaped Alston's scholarly and applied research interests in the economic analysis of agricultural markets and public policies concerning agricultural incomes, prices, trade, and agricultural research and promotion.  He has published many journal articles, chapters, and books related to these subjects, including Making Science Pay: The Economics of Agricultural R&D Policy (AEI 1996), Science under Scarcity: Principles and Practice for Agricultural Research Evaluation and Priority Setting (CAB International 1998), The Economics of Commodity Promotion Programs: Lessons from California (Peter Lang Publishing 2005), Agricultural R&D in the Developing World: Too Little, Too Late? (International Food Policy Research Institute, 2006), Regulating Agricultural Biotechnology: Economics and Policy (Springer 2006), Persistence Pays: U.S. Agricultural Productivity Growth and the Benefits from Public R&D Spending (Springer 2010), and The Shifting Patterns of Agricultural Production and Productivity Worldwide (Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, CARD-MATRIC e-book 2010.  He is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association, a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, and a Distinguished Scholar of the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

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