WinePod Newsletter (September 2007)
Dear Future WinePod Winemakers:

Greetings from California! As summer comes to a close, ProVina has exciting news to share regarding the WinePod: the world's first personal winery. We have enjoyed communicating with many of you in the past months, either by phone or by email. We thank all of you for your continued interest and support! This newsletter is our opportunity to update everyone with answers to the most asked questions and the latest information about our products.

Newsletter features:

  • 2007 WinePod Production and Delivery
  • The California Harvest and Our 2007 Vineyards
  • WinePod Winemaking Accessories and Consumables Kits
  • French Oak Barrels
  • Meet WinePod Winemakers: Dave Moore and John Kelly
  • WinePod News

The ProVina Team
2007 WinePod Production and Delivery

Although our production schedule has slipped a few times this past year due to new design implementations and delays from overseas suppliers, our team is working around the clock to bring the 2007 WinePod to market. Based on current assessments, we will begin to ship WinePods in February 2008. We will not release our product until we can deliver the best, possible personal winemaking device.

Many of you have waited patiently to receive a WinePod, and we are driven by your enthusiasm. Rest assured everyone who is on our waiting list will have the opportunity to purchase a WinePod and high quality grapes for winemaking. Please add to your address book. Our initial contact will be through email, and then it will be followed by a phone call from a ProVina sales consultant. We intend to contact clients on our waiting list, based on order of entry, as soon as firm delivery dates are established and sales/customer service structures are finalized.

Initially, our sales focus will be on U.S. customers. We will begin processing international orders by regions of greatest demand once distributor relationships are created and local support systems are in place.

The California Harvest and Our 2007 Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa River Ranch's Block B vineyard.

It is the beginning of September and vineyards in Napa Valley are full of ripening grapes. Winemakers are gearing up for an early harvest due to the recent heat wave in California, however they still hope for more "hang time" before the grapes are ready for picking.

After spending many days this summer meeting with winegrowers, surveying vineyards and sampling vineyard specific wines, we chose two main vineyards for the 2007 WinePod vintages. Many of you have indicated to us that you want to make Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. In response to your wishes, we have chosen two terrific vineyards-- both with a history of making great wine. You will have the opportunity to buy grapes from these two vineyards when you acquire your WinePod. Details of pricing, shipping and handling will be provided by your sales consultant.

The first vineyard selection is Napa River Ranch. This vineyard is in the heart of Napa Valley and is planted with 337 clone on the SO4 rootstock. The water is generous and high (because of the confluence of the various creeks and the Napa river). Planting is dense (1,800-2, 400 vines per acre) yielding a smaller plant with smaller fruit and greater concentration. Vineyard owners Kathryn and Craig Hall agreed to sell us premier fruit from their B Block. The vineyard is expertly managed by Patty Salvidar.

Ranch Sarco Vineyard.

Rancho Sarco Vineyard, located in East Napa along the Sarco Creek near the Silverado Country Club, is our other selection from the 2007 Harvest. With five acres of Napa Valley Cabernet planted in 2000, the owners of Rancho Sarco take great pride in what they grow and prefer not to sell to large, mass production wineries. Thus, several highly acclaimed single vineyard cabernets have been made with these grapes heralding descriptions such as "intense, well-structured, and age-worthy."

Our Cabernet grapes will be harvested at their optimal ripeness this October; and then they will be de-stemmed and fresh frozen. The freezing process reduces bacteria and unwanted natural yeast, but does not alter the character or quality of the resulting wine. Freezing eliminates the need for cold soak and enhances color extraction from the grapes. Many award winning wines have been made with frozen grapes! The frozen grapes will arrive to your home in 6 gallon pails. The grapes will be labeled with an initial analysis by a TTB certified lab. You will enter this information into your WineCoach software. Recommended lot size for the WinePod is 15 gallons of must (grapes) which yields approximately four cases of 750ml bottles.

Custom winemaking software specific to the Cabernet grapes from these two vineyards is included at no additional cost with the purchase of your WinePod. You will receive tested, expert advice on the best methods to make Napa River Ranch or Rancho Sarco Cabernet in your WinePod. Our professional winemakers will show you step-by-step exactly how they are crafting wines from these vineyards. Their winemaking data, notes and videos will be downloaded directly to your WineCoach dashboard.

WinePod Winemaking Accessory and Consumables Kits

Many of you have asked us about what accessories we recommend for use with the WinePod. We have carefully assembled all of the items you will need to make your WinePod winemaking experience as simple and as enjoyable as possible. The Winemaking Accessories and Consumables Kits are available for purchase in addition to the cost of your WinePod. The Accessories Kit contains those non-consumable items needed in winemaking such as a punch down tool, a racking wand, a thermometer, a hydrometer and more (click here to see complete list). The Consumables Kit contains yeast, tartaric acid, fermentation tannins and other additives that will be needed with each lot of wine you create in your WinePod (click here to see complete list).

French Oak Barrels

Vernou French Oak Barrels with stands.

For the best results, we recommend that you age your WinePod wine in oak barrels. Barrels add subtle flavors of sweet oak, toast, vanilla, and spice for balance and delicacy in your wine. It is difficult to find high quality small barrels, but we have obtained French oak barrels made by Tonnellerie Vernou, a highly respected cooperage in Cognac, France. These barrels are made of oak from the forests of Central France. The wood is fire toasted, and 100% air (not kiln) dried for 24 months. 7.9 gallon (30 L) barrels, with matching stands, in medium toast will be available for purchase with your WinePod.

Meet WinePod Winemakers: Dave Moore and John Kelly

Dave Moore

Dave Moore, WinePod Winemaker.

Dave Moore began his career in the wine business as a teenager working in a small vineyard, part of the historic Martin Ray Estate, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Drawn to the mountains, the seasonal rhythms of agriculture, and the romance of wines and vines, Dave left his studies in Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to make his way in the wine industry. He obtained a harvest position at Zaca Mesa Winery in Santa Barbara County, and apprenticed in winemaking production: cellar, laboratory, bottling, and warehousing. His mentor urged him to continue his studies, and in 1993, he received a degree in Fermentation Science from UC Davis's prestigious Viticulture and Enology Department.

Since his time at UCD, Dave has worked with two different companies developing and tending many of the �micro-vineyards' that now dot the hillsides surrounding Silicon Valley. In Napa, he was employed by the renowned Pinot producer Kent Rasmussen, and contracted to a fledgling winery called Barnett Vineyards where he got his first taste of Napa Cabernet. After spending two vintages administering the winemaking process from an office desk, he jumped at the chance to work back in the cellar and returned to the Santa Cruz Mountains as Winemaker at the iconic Bonny Doon Vineyards.

Following Bonny Doon, Dave spent the next four years in vineyard management for an estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains located directly on the San Andreas Fault. Eventually, he was lured back from the soil and the grapes into the Winemaker position at Byington Winery. Today, Dave has returned to Silicon Valley as our WinePod Winemaker. He looks forward to assisting you with your winemaking, helping to grow the WinePod Community, and hearing your success stories.

John Kelly

John Kelly, Westwood Winery Owner/Winemaker and WinePod Winemaking Coach. Photo courtesy of Sonoma-Index Tribune.

Your winemaking coach for the 2007 vintage is John Kelly, the incredible winemaker behind Westwood Winery. With a post graduate degree in Biochemistry from UC Davis, John decided to pursue a career outside academia when he first took a job managing a high-end wine shop in Davis. After an internship at R. H. Philips Vineyards in 1987, he landed an assistant winemaker position with the prestigious Napa Valley Cabernet producer, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, in 1988. John's responsibilities at Stag's Leap included viticultural research, which allowed him to take advantage of his biochemist background. In 1992, John left Stag's Leap for a stint at Duckhorn Vineyards, followed later by a deeply rewarding research position at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, Sonoma County's famous chardonnay producer in the Russian River Valley.

John Kelly took over winemaking at Westwood Winery late in 1994. In 1995, following lessons learned from his associations with wineries successfully specializing in one grape � Cabernet at Stag's Leap, Merlot at Duckhorn, Chardonnay at Sonoma-Cutrer � John decided to focus his attentions at Westwood on only Pinot Noir and Syrah. In 1998, John and his business partners developed and planted the Annadel Estate Vineyard, a unique site located in the cooler northwest end of the Sonoma Valley appellation. He and his partners purchased the Westwood Winery in 2002, and the winery was moved from its original location in the Sierra Foothills to the town of Sonoma.

In addition to his wide-ranging winery and vineyard experience, John Kelly also served as Technical Director for Vinquiry, an independent, analytical laboratory and wine consulting service. John has been a great asset to ProVina through lending his winemaking expertise and his technical knowledge to the development of the WinePod. We are thrilled that going into his 21st vintage, he will be making Cabernet from Napa River Ranch and Rancho Sarco in his WinePod and sharing his knowledge with our WinePod Community!

WinePod News

WinePod Debuts in Times Square in PR Newswire Press Release.
  • "ProVina Incorporated Closes $4 Million Investment Led By Vantage Point Venture Partners."Read more.

  • Greg Snell, co-founder and CEO of ProVina, Inc., appears live on CNBC's "Power Lunch" in Tech Innovations segment on June 5, 2007.

  • WinePod featured on CNN Newsroom's "Pioneers" segment on June 10, 2007.

ProVina, Inc moved to a larger corporate facility on July 15, 2007. Please contact us at our new address and phone number.

ProVina, Incorporated

356 Piercy Road
San Jose, CA 95138
Phone 408-226-9463 (WINE)

Please visit our website at Employment opportunities available.

If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter, simply reply to us at