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ALTA VISTA INSURANCE AGENCY

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CONTACT INFO

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Address

1020 S Santa Fe Ave. Ste. K
Vista
CA, 92084
United States
Phone
(888) 724-2124
Fax
(760) 630-1597
Primary
George Francis

Who Are We?

Alta Vista is a full service agency specializing in both commercial and personal insurance. We provide coverage for an array of exposures including group health, worker's compensation, general liability, product liability, and moreâ¤|

CORE IDEOLOGY

With all the challenges today, no one has time to become an insurance expert. Instead you need an experienced team who can analyze the various options open to you and suggest the best alternatives for your needs. That's the kind of team you'll find at Alta Vista Insurance Agency.

Our Mission
Alta Vista Insurance Agency is a full-service insurance agency. We treat our clients as we would want to be treated; leave our clients more informed than when they met us; take our service one step beyond what is expected, and; are profitable without compromising our integrity or our client's needs.

Our Clients
We are dedicated to always putting our client's needs first, to providing value added service, and strive to maintain an understanding and empathic environment from which we provide fair, fast and friendly service. We are an agency where our clients can place their trust.

Our Staff
We are a close-knit agency and encourage a family approach with our staff, maintain a nurturing and supportive environment, and place a high value on our staff's community involvement.

Our Business
We adhere to honest, ethical business practices, strive to remain aware of the emerging needs of our agents and policyholders, and respond to their needs as appropriate.

 

GEORGE FRANCIS/PRESIDENT/CEO

George has been in the insurance industry for over 40 years. He started as a claims trainee and worked his way to Regional Claims Manager for a prominent California based insurance company. George was Sales Manager and then Chief Operating Officer for a major regional insurance broker before purchasing Alta Vista Insurance Agency in 1989. Professionalism is a major part of George's philosophy about insurance and risk management. He has been a senior instructor for the Insurance Educational Association teaching college level courses in all aspects of insurance. He is a member of the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU).

George has been a member of Kiwanis since 1989 and was the Governor of the California Nevada Hawaii District for 2006-2007. George has a true passion for the wine industry. His extensive knowledge of the industry and true passion had led his focus to wineries and vineyards.

What We Offer...


Alta Vista is a full service agency specializing in both commercial and personal insurance. We provide coverage for an array of exposures including group health, worker's compensation, general liability, product liability, and more...

No two people or businesses are the same, that's why we tailor all our insurance policies specifically to work best for you or your business. With experience in all types of insurance, we're certain you will find everything you need right here.

Business Insurance
Property Insurance
Worker's Comp
Health Insurance
Life Insurance
Product Liability
E&O Insurance
D&O Insurance
Equipment Breakdown

 

Download(s):

Murphy and Hans, the office dogs!
The Alta Vista Insurance Agency!
Producer Fred Gross
Vice President of Operations Rick Ferriss
Social Media Specialist Amanda Foster
CEO George Francis
Dianna Connelly Winery Insurance Specialist for Washington and Oregon
Wine Leakage: A Message from George and Hans
Wine Leakage: A Message from George and Hans
George from Alta Vista Insurance Agency introduces our Mascot Hans and discusses wine leakage coverage within your winery insurance
Understanding your Winery Insurance Policy
Understanding your Winery Insurance Policy
President George Francis of Alta Vista Insurance discusses the importance of understanding your Winery Insurance policy in order to avoid financial risks like contamination.
Cass Winery
Cass Winery
Alta Vista Insurance's Featured Partner Cass Winery
Alta Vista Insurance's Featured Partner Madrigal V
Alta Vista Insurance's Featured Partner Madrigal V
Since the late 1930's, three generations of the Madrigal family have farmed the vineyards of the Napa Valley. Our family history here is a constant source of inspiration and something that guides us in our wine making. We value the long relationship we've had with the land and people here, believing

News Archive


Protect Your Vineyard & Winery Before Harvest
21 July, 2017

Alta Vista Insurance has a unique knowledge and passion for the winemaking industry. Insuring wineries is complex and if your insurance agent doesn't understand the process of making wine, how are you going to be completely protected?

Our personal service and commercial insurance experience, combined with our knowledge and understanding of the wine-making industry, allows us to offer comprehensive winery insurance and vineyard insurance coverage.

Vineyard and Winery Insurance may cover the following:

  • Outdoor vines, growing grapes and trellises
  • Harvested grapes
  • Packaging materials and containers
  • Damage to in-process and aging wine goods
  • Wine leakage
  • Wine contamination
  • Loss or damage to outdoor trees, plants, shrubs

If you already have a winery insurance policy, we can help you identify gaps that may exist in your current coverage and help you take the proper steps towards better securing your winery.

Click here for more information. 


3 Business Income Coverages Most People Miss...
18 November, 2016

The end of the year is a good time to review your business insurance policies, especially business income coverage.

The following additional endorsements are often overlooked:

1. Coverage for restoration period
It is common to underestimate the time it will take for a company to return back to normal operations after a loss. Cleanup and debris removal can take much longer than anticipated. Building codes, permits and inspections all add many months to the process. Two years of business interruption insurance is generally needed. Make sure to review the dollar limits in your policy.

2. Increased monthly limits for peak months
Be sure your Business Income amount is adequate for your business type. If your business is seasonal, the peak months need adequate limits. Review coverage and limits often

3. Transit coverage
Most businesses rely on fully insured carriers, like UPS or FedEx for shipping customer goods. These carriers generally use a release bill of lading for most shipments. If the shipper damages or loses your items, your coverage may be limited to as little as />00, and you may have no further recourse. If you ship large quantities and values consider a blanket transit policy.

Think you need some help? Contact an agent from Alta Vista today! 


Common Questions about Winery Insurance
03 May, 2016

There are many questions that vineyard and winery owners may have about winery insurance, but yet they never get the answers. Why you may ask? Have you ever wondered something in a classroom, or a work meeting, but you were too intimidated to ask, or you feel like there isn’t an expert to give you the answer you need?

George Francis from Alta Vista Insurance Agency has so much knowledge and answers about the winery industry and insurance, that he wants to answer your questions that you may have yet never had the opportunity to ask your agent.

1.  How quickly can I obtain Winery Insurance Coverage from Alta Vista Insurance?

Answer: At Alta Vista Insurance, you can obtain a Winery insurance policy in a week or less after the application process

2. How many insurance carriers do you work with?

Answer: Alta Vista Insurance Works with 6 Insurance Companies that specialize in Winery Insurance or have programs for Wineries and Vineyards

3. Are earthquake, hurricane, and flood covered on a Winery insurance policy?

Answer: Flood and Earthquake are excluded perils on most policies.  Wind is typically a covered peril in the California, Oregon and Washington.

4. Do rates vary in different states?

Answer: Yes, rates vary by location, both within and between states. Rates are different because of location differences, laws, and perils.

5. What states do you insure?

Answer: Alta Vista Insurance insures winery and vineyard operations in California, Oregon and Washington.  

6. What is typically not covered under a winery insurance policy?

Answer: Just to name a few, leakage, contamination, equipment breakdown, transportation, product recall, auto, as well as earthquake and flood.

7. Are policy payments made on monthly terms?

Answer: Payment schedules are available; full annual, quarterly and/or monthly

8. Do you take credit card payments?

Answer: Unfortunately, no we do not

9. Am I required as a winery owner to let you know every time I ship my wine?

Answer: No

10. Do I need separate coverage if my wine is sold in different states?

Answer: No

11.    Is there a policy fee for renewals?

Answer: No

12. Does fair market value mean what I paid for the wine?

Answer: No, fair market value is the value of the wine at the time of loss

13. How soon can I receive a copy of my winery insurance policy?

Answer: Generally, you can receive it within 20 to 30 days

14. How important is it to obtain the best policy at the best price?

Answer: Proper coverage is more important than price. The true test of an insurance policy is when your claim is paid in full.

15. If I call Alta Vista Insurance today, who do I want to speak with?

Answer: Call 1-800-410-9099 and ask for George Francis for California wineries, and for Dianna for the states of Washington and Oregon.  

Crops.jpg


Common Questions about Winery Insurance
29 March, 2016

There are many questions that vineyard and winery owners may have about winery insurance, but yet they never get the answers. Why you may ask? Have you ever wondered something in a classroom, or a work meeting, but you were too intimidated to ask, or you feel like there isn’t an expert to give you the answer you need?

George Francis from Alta Vista Insurance Agency has so much knowledge and answers about the winery industry and insurance, that he wants to answer your questions that you may have yet never had the opportunity to ask your agent.

 

1. How quickly can I obtain Winery Insurance Coverage from Alta Vista Insurance?
Answer: At Alta Vista Insurance, you can obtain a Winery insurance policy in a week or less after the application process

2. 
How many insurance carriers do you work with?

Answer: Alta Vista Insurance Works with 6 Insurance Companies that specialize in Winery Insurance or have programs for Wineries and Vineyards

3. 
Are earthquake, hurricane, and flood covered on a Winery insurance policy?

Answer: Flood and Earthquake are excluded perils on most policies.  Wind is typically a covered peril in the California, Oregon and Washington.

4. 
Do rates vary in different states?

Answer: Yes, rates vary by location, both within and between states. Rates are different because of location differences, laws, and perils.

5. 
What states do you insure?

Answer: Alta Vista Insurance insures winery and vineyard operations in California, Oregon and Washington. 

6. 
What is typically not covered under a winery insurance policy?

Answer: Just to name a few, leakage, contamination, equipment breakdown (wear and tear), transportation, product recall, auto, as well as earthquake and flood.

7. 
Are policy payments made on monthly terms?

Answer: Payment schedules are available; full annual, quarterly and/or monthly

8. Do you take credit card payments?

Answer: Unfortunately, no we do not

9. 
Am I required as a winery owner to let you know every time I ship my wine?

Answer: No

10. 
Do I need separate coverage if my wine is sold in different states?

Answer: No

11. 
Is there a policy fee for renewals?

Answer: No

12. 
Does fair market value mean what I paid for the wine?

Answer: No, fair market value is the value of the wine at the time of loss

13.  
How soon can I receive a copy of my winery insurance policy?

Answer: Generally, you can receive it within 20 to 30 days

14.  
How important is it to obtain the best policy at the best price?

Answer: Proper coverage is more important than price. The true test of an insurance policy is when your claim is paid in full.

15.  
If I call Alta Vista Insurance today, who do I want to speak with?

Answer: Call 1-800-410-9099 and ask for George Francis for California wineries, and for Dianna for the states of Washington and Oregon. 

 


Green or Scheme?
29 April, 2015

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Green construction is becoming increasingly popular. about 35% of construction in 2013 was green, and it is expected to increase 55% by 2016. Although green construction is becoming the new fad, it may not be the choice. Here are a few topics to consider before going green:

  • Make sure your green contractor has insurance. If he doesn’t, don’t hesitate to hire a new one. If you like your contractor, but he doesn’t have insurance, as part of the contract, require he gets it.
  • Property damage coverage is not traditional! Although your building may be fully functional, it may not achieve “green status”, or meet LEED standard. If that’s the case, normal liability policies may not cover that issue. It is important to remember that  some certified green professionals may be excluded from some liability policies; property damage may not be covered.

So, how can you stay protected?

DO YOUR RESEARCH! Go through a company that specifically offers green insurance. This way, if any construction falls into the “gray-green” area, you will be covered.


Valuable information for the restaurant owners looking to expand!
10 September, 2014

Pretty woman with open sign

Every day, people around the world are romanced by the dream of opening their own restaurant. The story goes something like this: “We’ll open our own restaurant, cook the food that we like, hang out with our friends, franchise it and make lots of money.”

The reality is that it takes a great deal of hard work, lots of money and business acumen to initially get a business off the ground and even more to keep it growing.

Making your dream restaurant come true, but first…

Everyone knows that location, location, location is crucial, but you must also pay attention to local building codes and zoning laws. When selecting your property, even if you are purchasing, make sure you know in detail what rights you have to alter the space, including expansion possibilities. And select the best contractor to build the space even if it means spending a little more. Often, going with the cheaper bid costs more in the long run.

Advice for restaurant owners that are looking to expand

Restaurants are always looking for new ways to increase customer traffic and revenues.  Sometimes restaurant owners and managers implement new ideas that change their exposure to loss without communicating those changes to their insurance agent. This situation can create problems with the insurance carrier, especially if a loss results from an exposure that was not disclosed to the carrier. We as agents emphasize the importance of communicating any operational changes.


Examples of popular changes/additions to restaurant operations include
:

  •  Entertainment and/or a dance floor
  •  Extended hours of operation
  •  Drink specials
  •  Delivery
  •  Catering
  •  Participation in off-site events

Depending on the carrier, some of the above exposures may require new coverage endorsements and/or make the risk ineligible from an underwriting standpoint.

 

Building a great restaurant takes years of blood, sweat and tears and the financial rewards are generally smaller than most people imagine. If you don’t love the food business and all that it entails, don’t get into it. It’s a vocation, not a vacation.

To make sure your restaurant is properly insured, speak with an agent from Alta Vista Insurance Agency and we can make sure your business can thrive safely.


How did the Napa Earthquake affect the Wine Industry?
25 August, 2014

California was given one damaging surprise over the weekend to over 9 million people. Napa Valley experienced a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 that rocked the entire wine country Sunday morning. Bricks and concrete came falling to the ground, with damages to many historical buildings. At least 15 were left uninhabitable. Power outages and fired consumed the city. Many residents compared this to the major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay 25 years ago.

According to an article from USA Today, Jerry brown declared a state of emergency, and many schools were closed in Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and surround cities. The quake was centered near American Canyon about 6 miles southwest of Napa, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It's the largest quake to hit the Napa Valley region near San Francisco since the Loma Prieta temblor in 1989.

At least three people were reported in critical condition following quake injuries, officials said. One of them, a 13-year-old boy injured by a falling fireplace, was airlifted to the University of California-Davis hospital for surgery.   Napa's local hospital, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, treated 172 patients Sunday and admitted 13, CEO Walt Mickens said. Most were treated for cuts and bruises, while at least three were admitted for broken bones and two for heart attacks.

The USGS said the quake is likely to produce 30 to 70 small aftershocks with magnitude 3 to 5 within the next week. The probability of a strong and possibly damaging aftershock with a magnitude of 5 or greater in the next week is 54%, the USGS said.

The quake is the strongest temblor to hit the USA outside Alaska this year, according to USGS.

How did the Napa Earthquake affect the wine industry?

California suffered 4 billion dollars in losses fueled by damaged wineries and shuttered businesses that rely on tourists. Insurers will probably cover about $2.1 billion, according to an estimate from Kinetic Analysis Corporation. Many suggest the lack of coverage is due to homeowners not having earthquake coverage.

The main source of claims could well be commercial claims, those coming from wineries and vineyards and other commercial interests. It will take a while for the business owners to sort this out.

This is a critical example of the importance of obtaining earthquake insurance for wineries in California. We don’t know how this interruption will affect this winery season. It is unknowable at this point. The Napa-Sonoma area is home to one of California’s best-known wine-growing regions. Napa County has 789 licensed wineries which had sales of $5.5 billion in 2011, according to the Napa Valley Vintners Association, a trade group.  

Take this as an opportunity to speak with a winery insurance specialist, so you can make sure your winery or vineyard is prepared for the next big surprise.  Call us 877-410-9099 and ask for George Francis.


Introducing our NEW Partner Copperworks Distilling Company
27 June, 2014

We are so excited to announce our new Partner Copperworks Distilling & Tasting Room, which is a craft distillery, tasting room and retail store located in the heart of Seattle’s downtown waterfront. They focus on creating premium spirits that can stand impressively on their own or serve as a delicious base for new and classic cocktails. For more information, click here: http://www.altavistainsurance.com/partners/1084-2/


Hailstorms and Crop Insurance for Wineries: Is this a covered peril?
11 June, 2014

According to an article from The Drinks Business, hundreds of Bordeaux vines were completely decimated in five regions of France due to a huge hailstorm. Reports suggested that they hail stones were as big as 2cm in diameter.

Vineyards in Charente, the home of Cognac brandy, were also hit by hail and winds of up to 130km per hour, with many homes damaged, flooded and suffering power cuts. This damage was so immense that winemakers are asking officials to declare a state of natural catastrophe, allowing for those worst affected to claim financial aid to restore their crops.

This storm wasn’t the first of its size. Last year, hailstorms destroyed crops in the region of Bordeaux to over 100 producers. Although this natural disaster occurred outside of the United States, it is still critical that winemakers look that this exposure as something that can happen to them as well. Did you know that in the U.S., over 50 percent of hail storms occur from March to May. However, the largest crop losses to corn from hail occur from June to September. That’s because early in the growing season, losses are typically limited to leaf defoliation and reduced stand counts.

According to agronomic research, hail losses increase rapidly after the V6 growth stage when the growing point breaks the soil surface. The degree of hail loss depends on the crop growth stage. Yield losses due to defoliation during this vegetative stage can be estimated, but the stalks may need to be split to determine if the plants are alive. However, when hail losses occur during the reproductive stage, direct damage to the ear will also need to be considered. Total corn yield loss from hail is estimated by combining the expected yield loss from stand reduction, direct damage and defoliation.

Three reasons to purchase hail coverage

  1. You’ve accepted a large deductible by limiting coverage to only a multi-peril crop insurance policy. Should hail damage occur, the 15 to 35 percent deductible you’ve accepted (electing 65 to 85 percent coverage) has never represented more dollars per acre at risk.
  2. Protection from spotty loss events such as hail on one farm and not others is more important if you’ve elected enterprise units.
  3. It’s cheap! Crop insurance typically has low rates and significantly less than their expected losses. Current crop hail rates would have to be twice as high to cover claims and expenses for an average loss year.

Hailstorms are a huge reminder of managing risks with Crop Insurance. Does your winery policy cover the damages of hailstorms? Speak to your specialist and make sure you are protected. Remember that Hail protection policies require a certain waiting period until the coverage begins, so don’t wait until the last minute!


Money Continues to Flow into the Effort to Privatize Oregon Liquor Sales
13 May, 2014

According to an article from The Oregonian, money continues to flow into the effort to privatize Oregon liquor sales.The distilled Spirits Council of the United States donated another $100,000, being a total of $300,000 so far. Combined with large contributions from Safeway and Fred Meyer, the grocery based group raised about $2,000,000.

Opponent of privatization also are raising money to fight a possible November ballot measure. Oregon Beverage PAC, which represents beer and wine distributors, recently received a $63,200 donation from Young’s Columbia. They are one of the biggest contributors in the Northwest.

What is this initiative all about?

Privatization backers, who call themselves Oregonians for Competition, want to allow retail stores with more than 10,000 square feet to be able to stock and sell liquor. They’re working on an initiative that would make wholesale changes in the way booze is bought and sold in the state.

Where are we today with this battle?

At this moment, the continued wrangle over the issue has slowed down the process of anything getting accomplished. Supporters can’t start collecting signatures until the dispute if resolved.

What do consumers have to say?

“We’ll be paying more for a worse selection of both booze and food, and replacing local businesses with international corporations. No thanks”

“Washington prices skyrocketed because lawmakers, in a fit of greed and vindictiveness, jacked up taxes on alcohol. I live in CA right now and liquor is sold in the grocery stores. There are also liquor stores who keep the doors open just fine. I patron both.”

“The loss of revenue would be replaced in the form of a steep alcohol tax, just like Washington. There is no way that does not happen. You can say “limit the taxes” as much as you want, but that’s just a slogan, not a plan for replacing lost revenue.”

What do you think?


The New TTB Permits Online System is great news for the alcohol, tobacco, or firearms and ammunition industries
28 April, 2014

According to an article from the TTB Weekly News, there have been some major changes to the Permits Online program (PONL). The PONL is a web-based system that will facilitate and streamline the online submission, routing, and internal processing of original and amended applications to the Alcohol and Tabaco and Trade Bureau (TTB).

Those applying for federal authorization to start a business in the alcohol, tobacco, or firearms and ammunition industries are no longer required to submit original documentation for bond forms and power of attorney forms. Although these forms can still be accepted, there is now a Permits Online System.

Why is this system better?

The TTB Permits Online system allows you to electronically file original applications and to amend those applications. Using this free system eliminates the need to complete and mail in most forms, which saves you time and effort and generally results in faster processing of your application

Previously, applicants were required to submit paper copies of these forms, which could prolong the application approval process. With these changes, you can send bonds and Powers of Attorney forms to us electronically, eliminating the need to mail us paper forms. Expanding the uses of newer technologies is part of an ongoing effort to provide you with the programs and tools you need to help ensure a lawful, thriving future for our TTB-regulated industries.

Click HERE for the Permits Online Customer User Guide, where is will help you follow the steps.


West Coast Wineries from California, Oregon, and Washington take on Europe
27 March, 2014

  According to an article from Wines & Vines, wineries from Oregon, California, and Washington banned together and went to take on the European market. Over 100 wine brands of all three states were called to London for a great business opportunity. What made this special is that it was marked as the first time that three major wine regions had collaborated on a tasting event for the trade and consumers. The first event was held at the Queen Elizabeth  II Conference Center in London, then it was followed by a tasting in Copenhagen.

How did all this begin?

The efforts in Northern Europe kicked off in 2012, as Washington State Wine and Oregon began participating in ProWein and holding small events in Stockholm and Copenhagen. This year, Washington State and Oregon are collaborating on all efforts in Europe, with a greater percentage of the two states’ overseas marketing budget dedicated to promotions in Northern Europe.

The United States exported 244.6 million liters of wine to Europe in 2013, or 56% of the total wine volume exported. Those shipments were worth $617.25 million, or 39.7% of the value of export sales. The West region of the United States are looking forward to the future partnerships with international trade events.

The collaboration between California, Oregon and Washington brought more customers and importers and helped expand the knowledge and awareness of Washington state as a premium wine region that offers great value. The West Coast will definitely be back in 2015 and hope to expand collaborative efforts.

Yes, it is important to have the best Winery Insurance coverage. But remember, there is also another very important part to securing your wine, and that is the coverage while in transit.  Make sure you have the right coverage while in transit so you can deliver your wine with peace of mind. We can help you with that.

Photo: West Coast Wineries from California, Oregon, and Washington take on Europe! How much wine do you think was shipped to Europe in 2013? You will be surprised--->http://bit.ly/1l8kYXs #Wineryinsurance


Data Breaches Mounting: Reviewing Cyber Liability Coverage
06 March, 2014

Are you covered if your wine club database is breached? California businesses and government agencies have experienced 300 separate data breaches exposing the personal information of more than 20 million customer accounts. Cyber security is a key focus on our state's top crime-fighting. Call us today and get your business protected with Cyber Liability Insurance! 877-410-9099!

 


Booze hike price in Washington: Will it follow through?
24 February, 2014

According to an article from the SFGate, booze prices at bars and restaurants in Washington may go up this year as multiple interests fight over rules following the voter-approved privatization of the state's liquor system.

The possible price hike could be a hangover from battles among two giant national distributors, Costco and its allies, and the state Liquor Control Board.

Since the end of Prohibition in the 1930s the state had tightly controlled the distribution and sale of liquor. But in 2011 Washington voters approved a privatization initiative that was supported by Costco and other retail interests. Costco spent more than $20 million backing Initiative 1183 and distributors also provided millions.

Following privatization there have been multiple lawsuits and some consumers have complained about sticker shock in grocery aisles.

Idaho liquor regulators said this month that Washington residents crossing the border boosted the Gem State's booze sales by $10 million last year. Similar stories came from liquor stores on the Oregon border. While prices have decreased, off the shelf liquor prices in 2013 were still significantly higher than pre-privatization prices. For example, average price per liter of liquor in October of 2011, a month before the ballot vote, was $21.61. Two years later that average price was $24.12 — an 11 percent increase, according to date from the Department of Revenue.

This most recent possible price hike stems from the Liquor Control Board deciding in November that discounted volume sales of booze from distributors to bars and restaurants wasn't OK under the new law. The issue was brought to the board by former state contract stores, which weren't getting the discount prices restaurants were enjoying. The board, however, left a window for a legislative fix, recognizing that the so-called channel pricing works for distributors and restaurants.

In Washington, more than 90 percent of distribution is controlled by two national giants, Young's Market Company and Southern Wine & Spirits. The distributors, which opposed the privatization initiative, are also playing defense on another bill, one being lobbied hard by restaurants and Costco.

Costco and the Initiative 1183 group have already sued the Liquor Board over volume limits on sales from retailers to restaurants. Currently, retail stores can't sell more than three cases to bars and restaurants. That lawsuit stalled and the group tried to pass that language through measures in Olympia. So far, they haven't succeeded.

How can this affect your winery insurance? Call Alta Vista Insurance Agency today and talk to our Washington Winery Specialist Dianna Connelly at 425-806-0401.


5 Strategies for Keeping your Vineyards Alive during these California Drought Conditions
20 February, 2014

Today, everyone is hearing and experiencing this natural disaster we call a “drought.” California is making history for its lack of rain and snow this winter. These dry conditions typically occur during the summer time, which is why the winters are so important to provide rainfall for our vegetation.  , many California vineyards not only have a limited water supply for irrigation, but the water in their root zones is well below their full water holding capacities. With our rainfall future uncertain, we need to prepare for the worst.

According to an article from the Lodi Growers, here are four drought management strategies for your consideration.

1. Artificial Rain: This first strategy is Artificial Rain. In it, flood, furrow, or sprinkler irrigation artificially refills root zone moisture. This recharging ought to occur about 3 or 4 weeks prior to bud break to ensure roots emerge from dormancy normally, leading to normal bud break, shoot emergence, and early season shoot growth. After that, schedule irrigations as in any other year. The Artificial Rain strategy, of course, assumes a supply of water sufficient for both root zone recharge and normal irrigations through the growing season. This assumption, along with the surface irrigation system requirement, is prohibitive for many vineyards.

2. Regulated Deficit Irrigation: The second drought management strategy is familiar to wine grape growers. It is Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI). The only difference for this year is that RDI schedules begin 3 or 4 weeks before bud break instead of sometime between May and July. This early onset of drip irrigation is necessary to accommodate our current soil moisture deficit. Even with these early irrigations, the soil profile will likely only contain about 4% to 13% of the moisture that it could if fully recharged from rain. After initiating irrigations, monitor vine moisture status, soil moisture status, and evapotranspiration (ET) as you normally would, and irrigate accordingly. The longer RDI season requires more irrigation water than in a normal year, but less than Artificial Rain due to greater irrigation efficiency and plant water use efficiecy.

3. Stretch the limited irrigation water: With the Stretch the limited irrigation water strategy, soil moisture status is the primary basis for irrigation schedules. This strategy uses a specific level of depleted moisture as a threshold for applying water. This requires soil moisture sensors within the root zone that are read at regular intervals. Install at least 2 sensors at each monitoring location: one at about 10″ or 12″ for irrigation scheduling and another at 30″ or 36″ to monitor deep soil moisture depletion. The deep sensor indicates when vines become entirely dependent on irrigation water. Often, it is insightful to have sensors at two locations within a block: one where vines are most prone to water stress and another where they are least prone. With Stretch the Limited Irrigation Water, stress prone areas will become more pronounced than usual. For this reason, they ought to be carefully monitored and irrigations adjusted to minimize the severity water stress there.

4. Keep the vines alive: Keep the vines alive is a strategy of last resort because its goal is to save the vines but not the crop. Apply water only when necessary to prevent complete defoliation. As such, irrigation scheduling depends almost entirely in visual observations of canopy condition. As with the Stretch the Irrigation Water strategy, focus your observations on the areas prone to water stress. With Keep the Vines Alive, however, there is greater tolerance for leaf damage and on the lower (basal) portions of shoots, leaf loss (fig. 3). This strategy also requires removal of all crop to avoid crop stress and minimize vine decline.

Food and Farm Drought Wineries


Esquin Wines found! Who pays for the reward?
15 January, 2014

In a previous blogwe posted in December 2013, we highlighted a story about wine bottles stolen from a South Seattle Wine shop worth over $500,000. According to my northwest, the thieves broke in to Esquin Wine Merchants in the SoDo neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 29. The business houses 450 privately-rented, temperature controlled wine storage locker. The suspects painted over security cameras, then spent the next 13 hours hauling out more than 200 cases of wine valued at approximately $648,000 from the shop and storage lockers. The business offered a reward of $20,000 to whomever can find the wine and who had stolen the collection.

Here is the update!

The Esquin wine collection has been found. According to the Seattle Police Department, a search warrant was served at a building less than a mile from Esquin. Police are still doing inventory on the recovered wine but the amount of wine found makes the LeFevre optimistic all the missing wine is accounted for.

So who found the wine?

Two men successfully reported where the wine had been hiding, and they were rewarded the $20,000 for their hard work. Detectives are also looking into a possible connection between the suspects — Samuel Harris and Luke Thesing — and the theft and resale of $100,000 worth of wine earlier this year in San Francisco.

Does Insurance play a role in this crime?

Coming from an insurance standpoint, who pays the reward money for the stolen items? Would it be the owner, or their insurance carrier? Many places like Esquin often require those who store their wine to obtain their own insurance for their collection. This is where the complexity of this kind of crime can bring up a lot of valuable questions that only an insurance professional can answer. Alta Vista Insurance is here for those who are looking to find answers. Call us 877-410-9099

Although this was a terrible experience for Esquin, the owners were so happy to hear of the findings. There was high sentimental value when it came to the lost collections.

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Freezing Temperatures are a Reminder to Review your Fire Sprinkler Protection
09 January, 2014

Winter is far from over and, with the recent polar vortex that blanketed much of the country, some businesses, wineries, and farms may have turned fire sprinkler systems off temporarily due to damage or impairment. Coverage could be jeopardized in the event those clients experience a fire loss if the carrier was not notified that the system was turned off, even temporarily. Does your carrier require you to notify them if you decide to turn off your fire protection? It also depends on the verbiage of your policy. Have you fully looked at your policy to see what is covered? What if a pipe bursts and causes flooding is that covered?

 

                In a prior blog we highlighted a story about The Port of Walla Walla where a brand new fire suppression system malfunctioned? The system spewed water at 300 gallons a minute for upward of a half-hour. The flood doused the ceiling, drywall, and insulation and wood floors, destroying months of work. It dismantled the tasting room, hallway, bathrooms, utility room and kitchen, during the harvest.  Luckily, one room was saved. It was the event room, a space created for parties, wedding receptions, and other special events. To make things a little on the bright side, the winery turned this room into a “Disaster Relief Room” where wine appetizers and music lessened the loss.  Damage to the property was estimated at $180,000 to $200,000

               

Anything can happen. That's why it's always a good practice to review your policy annually.  We do not want any malfunction or stormy weather to affect your coverage, or your business.


A Woodinville trolley car to connect wineries and downtown? Yes please!
20 November, 2013

Great news for the Washington community and the Wine Industry! According to an article from the Woodinville Weekly, A 1920s trolley car that Woodinville could use to connect its wine districts with downtown is up for auction at a low price. The starting bid for the trolley car is $179,000. Although there are a lot of loose ends to the plans of this operation, there is a good chance that this system will bring success to the southern wine tourism, downtown Woodinville, and northern wine warehouse district. A connection like this is exactly what the wine industry needs!  

            Councilmember Hageman was enthusiastic about moving forward with the trolley project because it would help Woodinville differentiate itself from other cities, he said. Rubstello said many nearby cities don’t have railroad tracks or only have them on the outskirts of town. It would be an extremely unique idea for the city, and place it above cities like Kirkland and Redmond.

            Although this trolley is up for auction, it is not set in stone whether the city will invest in this operation. It is going to take a lot of steps to get the idea properly placed. We wonder what the people of Woodinville are feeling about this new form of convenient transportation. 

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Do I Need Workers Compensation Insurance for my Part-Time Employee?
23 October, 2013

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Many small businesses hire part-time workers to save money, whether the company is growing or shrinking. However, experts warn the choice of a part time worker due to the possible downsides. Not understanding the labor laws could make your business face major legal battles. Too often, part-time workers are not considered regular employees by their employers. According to the LA Times, small businesses, especially, often lack the human resource expertise needed to follow the many rules and requirements that come with having even a single part-time employee.

Part-timers qualify for overtime, and meal and rest break rules might apply to them. In California, which has a daily overtime rule, even an employee who comes in one day a week could be due overtime if he or she works more than eight hours in one day. Some benefits, including certain retirement plans or leave laws such as the federal Family Medical Leave Act, can be triggered if a worker exceeds a certain number of hours in a year, regardless of the employee’s part-time status.

The answer to the question: Yes! Even a single part-time employee must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and minimum-wage laws must be followed. But did you know that bringing a part-time worker aboard might bump up a business’ status with regard to employment laws? For example, if adding a part-time worker boosts the workforce from four to five, the business might have to comply with California’s workplace disability rules.

If a small business expects to add part-time workers, it’s important for the owner to learn the rules that apply ahead of time and put the proper procedures in place. Benefits policies for part-timers should be decided ahead of time and put in writing. If you’re confused about the rules regarding part-time workers or the true cost of bringing them aboard, speak to an agent from Alta Vista Insurance Agency and we can determine the financial steps to Workers Compensation Insurance.


Is your winery covered from a fire suppression system malfunction? How this winery wont let a flood take them down!
25 September, 2013

According to an article from the Union Bulletin, CAVU is holding a “Disaster Relief Party” on what should have been a celebration of its new winery. A mere three weeks after opening in the completely renovated building at 175 Aeronca Ave. at the gateway to the Port of Walla Walla’s airport industrial park, a head on the brand new fire suppression system malfunctioned. The system spewed water at 300 gallons a minute for upward of a half-hour.

    The flood doused the ceiling, drywall, and insulation and wood floors, destroying months of work. It dismantled the tasting room, hallway, bathrooms, utility room and kitchen, and all this in the time of harvest season.  Luckily, one room was saved. It was the event room space created for parties, wedding receptions, and other special events. To make things a little on the bright side, the winery has turned this room into a “Disaster Relief Room” where wine appetizers and music tries to lessen the loss this fiasco. Talk about having a great attitude for such an unfortunate event.

    The Port of Walla Walla was still under contract with Cascade Fire when the sprinkler system malfunctioned a mere 10 days after installation, which had caused some sleepless nights for the owners. Damage to the property is estimated at $180,000 to $200,000. They are kindly asking for donations to lessen the loss.

How does Winery Insurance play a role in this kind of claim?  

The Waites had their personal property covered by their own insurance. But there are a lot of details to determine. From an insurance standpoint, there is:

 

Loss of property (building interior, fixtures and supplies)
Loss of income (possible loss of revenue as a result of not having a tasting room)
Loss of stock (if any)
Cost of repair and replacement
Sprinkler Leakage Coverage


In the meantime, the family remains bright spirited and is looking forward to showing off the space that is complete, and sharing the wines for which CAVU is known. We applaud the owners for keeping a smile, even with such damage. Maybe that is what is going to make their business shine through the others in the end.
Talk to George Francis from Alta Vista Insurance Agency about how you can avoid this winery exposure with the right protection.

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State Privacy Notification Laws
19 August, 2013

What does your state mandate when your system is breached and client data is accessed or stolen by a hacker?  The federal government has not mandated policies or rules governing notification when unauthorized access and release of personal information occurs.  This is left to each state so it is important to know what your state requirements are. The cost of notification, even for a small breach can be between $50 and $250 per person to be notified.

Most states require certain content in data breach notifications. In California that includes the time and date of the breach and the toll-free numbers and mailing address of the credit-reporting agencies. You may be required to offer a credit reporting service for a year or more to the affected clients. California also requires that notification of the breach be sent to the California Attorney General

The insurance industry has responded to the issues associated with a breach and loss of personal information.  In addition to offering policies that cover the cost of notification and damages some have “800” number that allow a policy holder to access to consulting services with no additional charge. These services can include sites where clients can access cyber-security news and information, state specific requriements, online tools for self-assessment and even a time with an attorney specializing in cyber-breach issues.

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Obamacare and the Liability Insurance Exposure to your Business!
13 August, 2013

Every business owner is concerned about how the new healthcare plan "Obamacare" will impact their business. But, there is one area that many business owners need to be aware of, and that is a liability exposure. President George Francis tells you what you need to do right now!


Environmentally Friendly Wine Kegs!
01 August, 2013

               Wine kegs are coming to a restaurant near you! Be ready! And here is some good news: According to an article from Life/ Columnists from Lubbock Online, environmentally friendly wine kegs should be more easily available.

                 Similar to beer kegs, wine kegs have been around for years, but many state lawmakers historically restricted or forbidden their use. Thirty-six states allow for wine kegs, although each state marks their territory by adopting different regulations. Some states limit kegs to one gallon, other states allow more than five.

Why choose a wine keg over wine bottles?

               Wine kegs keep wine fresher and make restaurant and bar service easier. Serving by-the-glass wine to customers becomes as simple as serving tap beer. Kegs can also be cleaned and reused for 20 years or more, compared to the one-time use of bottles and bags

How are wine kegs environmentally friendly?

               Wine kegs are more environmentally friendly because they eliminate dumpsters full of glass, closures, capsules, plastic bags and cardboard boxes.

What do we see in the future of wine?

               Wine bottles will remain a staple of home use, but wine kegs in bars and restaurants seem such a clear win for quality, convenience, cost savings and environmental benefits. There is no standing in the way with this new process within the wine industry.  


HEAT WAVE! This California Wine Harvest Might be Early this Year!
12 July, 2013

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HEAT WAVE!!! According to an article from Wine Searcher, the wine harvest could be early this year for California due to the recent heat wave that has occurred. Some days were reported to be over 100 degrees in wine countries like Napa and Sonoma counties. Although this means production will get going quickly, we are yet to find out what the quality of the grapes will be like.

How does the recent heat wave affect the wine production process?     

The hot and humid days in the beginning of July came before most vines in the area went through veraison, which meant that the growth of the vines themselves slowed down. Growers fear that another heat wave will hit at the end of the month, which would accelerate sugar development without concurrent flavor development. Large wineries are worried about where to ferment a crop that's due sooner than usual. Some predict that this harvest will be one of the largest on record in California! For right now, all we can do is hope that the temperatures stay cooled, and the days are sunny and dry.  

What does this weather mean for wine consumers?  

Prices down! For consumers, back-to-back large harvests could mean lower wine prices, so watch out for great sales in your local grocery stores!  But let's not get our hopes too high until the grapes are in the tanks.


The “A” List Boutique Wineries in San Diego 2013 and When to Visit!
17 June, 2013

           

There is no question that wine tasting is always in season. But when is it really the best time to take a trip to your favorite wine country? Although the United States has a number of impressive wine regions, when we think of wine country, we normally think of northern California. Among the top vacation destinations in America, California's wine country is the chic choice for wine tours, honeymoons, anniversary celebrations, graduation trips and girlfriend getaways. But when should you go? Which time of year will provide you with the best possible experience?

Spring? Tourist season begins in spring. This is the time when growth appears on the vines, and wild flowers bloom in the hills. The temperatures have not heightened and the outdoor activities like horseback riding begin.

Summer? Tourists flock to the wine country in the summer and winery tours run more frequently. The crowds turn out for summer events ranging from Fourth of July celebrations to local heritage festivals.

Fall? Fall is harvest season, which allows tourists to witness the process of pressing and bottling the wines. Crowds tend to be fairly large, but not quite as large as in summer. Temperatures cool off slightly, although Indian summers can still push the temperatures into the 90s. The leaves on the vineyards turn a brilliant yellow in the fall, and the evenings stay warm and pleasant.

Winter? Winter is the quietest season in the wine country, when the rains come and the tourists are in short supply. The vineyards are bare as the vines go into hibernation, and outdoor activities are kept to a minimum. In February, the mustard flowers begin to bloom, which adds to the scenery, but overall, the landscape is less vibrant than during the rest of the year.

When is the best time of year?

According to Travel Tips from USA Today, the best time to visit wine country depends on what you’re after. Spring offers a good combination of nice weather and outdoor activities, while summer visitors need to balance the landscapes and events with the large crowds. Fall is a good time for those with a serious interest in viticulture, while winter provides respite for people hoping to sample the wines and enjoy the local restaurants without great hordes of fellow visitors.

According to an article from Discover San Diego, here are some of the top locally made boutique wines:

            Featured Winery of San Diego- Wilson Creek Winery: Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards is located in Southern California's wine country, Temecula Valley. Family owned and operated since 1996, Wilson Creek is known for its Almond Champagne and Chocolate Port. Their tasting room is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and the fee is $15 per person on weekdays and $20 per person on weekends and holidays.

Bernardo Winery
Founded in 1889, Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo is the oldest continuously-operating winery in Southern California. Guests can explore the sprawling property, home to 2,500 vines, browse more than a dozen shops on site and visit the tasting room where there are over 30 local wines on the list. The tasting room opens daily at 9a.m. and pours until 5p.m. on weekdays or 6p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Hacienda de las Rosas Winery
Hacienda de las Rosas Winery is a family-owned, boutique winery located in Ramona that uses California grapes, many grown in San Diego County, to produce wines that embrace the essence of Spanish winemaking traditions. They also have a convenient tasting room located in Fiesta de Reyes plaza, in the heart of historic Old Town San Diego. For just $5, the tasting room is open daily at 11:30 a.m. and closes at 7:00 p.m. except on Friday and Saturday when it stays open until 9:00 p.m.

Hawk Watch Winery
Hawk Watch Winery, located in the mountains near Warner Springs, uses old world winemaking techniques that result in full-bodied, bold reds and elegant, fruit-driven whites. The entire winemaking process from crushing the freshly picked grapes to bottling the finished wine is done on-premises and visitors can sample the results in their tasting room on Fridays between noon and 5 p.m. or Saturdays and Sundays between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Menghini Winery
Julian’s Menghini Winery is nestled in the foothills of Volcan Mountain and surrounded by apple orchards and a six acre vineyard. They produce 4,000 cases of wine each year and you can sample some of them in their tasting room for $5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily and until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Orfila Vineyards & Winery
Orfila Vineyards & Winery is a boutique winery nestled in the picturesque San Pasqual Valley outside Escondido that produces award-winning Rhone-style wines. Sample six of them for $10 in the winery's tasting room overlooking the 70-acre estate daily between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. or join one of the free 25-minute tours, offered daily at noon, that details the process of winemaking.

San Pasqual Winery
San Pasqual Winery is an urban micro winery located in Pacific Beach that uses grapes grown in local vineyards to produce wines that pair sophistication with down-to-earth accessibility and are perfect for sunny al fresco dining. Visitors can pop into their La Mesa tasting room beginning at 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. A flight of samples is $8.50.

Shadow Mountain Vineyards
Located near Warner Springs, Shadow Mountain Vineyards is a third generation family-owned estate vineyard and winery that specializes in limited production white and red table wines grown from the grapes on the estate. Guests can visit the winery’s tasting room Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and sample the fruits of the vine for $5 per flight.

Winery on Cedros
Visit the Winery On Cedros and experience a fully-operational winery in an urban setting in Solana Beach. They source their grapes from vineyards in Northern California but the fruit is crushed, pressed, fermented, barreled, aged and bottled in San Diego. In their tasting room, you can sample flights of six or seven hand-crafted, single-vineyard sourced wines for $10. The winery and tasting room are open daily from noon to 9:00 p.m. except on Sundays when they close at 6:00 p.m.

Witch Creek Winery
Witch Creek Winery is located on historic Highway 101 in the heart of Carlsbad and produces small-lot, handcrafted wines using traditional winemaking techniques that result in full-bodied well-balanced wines that are rich in flavor. Witch Creek has a tasting room in Carlsbad on site at the winery, just one block from the beach, and another nestled in the mountains of Julian. The Carlsbad tasting room opens at 11:00 am daily and pours until 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Julian tasting room is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Alta Vista Insurance Agency takes pride in being one of the leading Winery Insurance Agencies providing coverage in Washington, Oregon, and California! Call us today and tell us your favorite time to visit wineries, and which ones!

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Are All Wines Vegan? Common Questions about Vegan Wine Production
21 May, 2013

When you think of the process of wine, you would think that the fruit by definition would be vegan. Vegan refers to a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products. But guess again! According to an article from Wines and Vines, the recent launch of the Vegan Vine Wine Club called that into question.  

As it turns out, many wines are not strictly vegan because animal-derived products are used for fining or filtering. Common filter/fining materials including isinglass (fish derived), gelatin, egg whites or milk protein caseins, even if only trace amounts remain in the finished beverage are not appropriate for the vegan lifestyle.

Are there true vegan wines on the market?

There are thousands of wines produced in the United States that produce vegan wines, but unfortunately, the list is never up to date and the techniques for production change from year to year, so there is still some room for refining the process. Here is one winery that made the change:

Clos LaChance, the Murphy family’s 60,000-case winery in San Martin, Calif., decided to make it easier for vegan imbibers. They created The Vegan Vine and began to market Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends under the label. With enthusiastic distributors, and the energetic promotion efforts of partner and Ambassador John Salley, a former NBA champion, Vegan Vine has already sold through some 5,000 cases.

The very well-known animal-protection activists at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) verify on the organization’s website: “Thankfully, there are several common fining agents that are animal-friendly and used to make vegan wine. Carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel and vegetable plaques are all suitable alternatives.” PETA also publishes a list of vegan wines.

What are some common questions about vegan wine?

1.    Can mead (made with honey) be vegan? No. Mead is not vegan. Honey is not considered vegan because it comes from an animal.

2.    Is diatomaceous earth (a common material in wine filters) vegan? Yes. Diatoms are a type of hard-shelled algae, a plant.

3.    Is yeast vegan? Yes. Yeast, like mushrooms, are eukaryotic micro-organisms classified in the Fungi kingdom, which in layman's terms means that yeast is not derived from animal products or classified as an animal and is thus vegan-friendly.

4.    Is Biodynamic wine vegan? Probably not. Biodynamic production allows no manmade products. Vegan production cannot employ animal-sourced materials. I don’t think you can be both Biodynamic and vegan.

Although many people are grateful to see the vegan wine production flourish, there are still not enough vegan’s to sustain the business. Would you support buying vegan wine?

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Fire at Lake Chelan Winery: Were they protected?
16 May, 2013

According to an article from The Great Northwest Wine,A fire Saturday afternoon nearly destroyed a winery on the north shore of Lake Chelan. A runaway tractor was to blame. Four Lakes Chelan’s warehouse was consumed in flames. The tractor lawnmower rolled off the top of a bluff and down a hill. The operator was thrown off halfway down the hill, according to the World. He suffered bruises and cuts and spent the night at Lake Chelan Community Hospital.

The accident caused a fire that destroyed the warehouse and a nearby building, as well as about 8 acres of brush near the intersection of Highways 97A and 97, according to the World. Highway 97A was closed for about four hours because of the smoke.

Because there are no fire hydrants in the area, firefighters had to rely on water tenders, and when they ran out of water, the blaze spread.

A 250-gallon propane tank on the property was threatened by the flames but did not ignite.

The winery tasting room is at another location and was unaffected. However, the winery noted on its website that it will be unable to ship wines for “a few months.”

From an insurance standpoint, the loss should be covered by insurance on the building and equipment.  The valuation of the wine lost to the fire will determine if the winery is made whole for the lost income and product.  Business income and extra expense coverage would allow the winery to get back in operations quickly. 

Review coverage and limits now, don’t wait for a loss!

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Great News for the Napa Tourism Industry!
30 April, 2013

Have you ever visited California’s beautiful Napa Valley?  According to an article from the Napa Valley register, Napa Valley drew 2.94 million visitors who opened their wallets for $1.4 billion in direct tourism spending. The study found that winery tasting rooms were the largest draw, with 82 percent of visitor interest, followed by restaurant dining, 77 percent, and shopping, at 53 percent. There is even better news: the survey revealed that those who came to visit are “likely or very likely to return.”

Napa Wineries are very happy with this data about the economic impact. It really shows the importance of the tourism industry for the Napa community. 

What was the most visited Napa region?

            St. Helena was the most-visited town, with 66.6 percent of tourists stopping there, followed by the city of Napa, at 63.2 percent, Yountville, 48.3 percent, Calistoga, 43.6 percent, Oakville, 36.2 percent, and Rutherford, 34.3 percent. Carneros, American Canyon, Lake Berryessa and Angwin rounded out the remaining areas.

How does this study reveal about the economic impact of tourism?

            The average per-person, per-day spending for visitors staying overnight was $355.28. That translates to 10,498 people employed in the visitor industry and $300 million in payroll, according to the study. From that, $51.7 million was generated in tax revenue for local governments, which breaks out to $1,041 per household in the county.

            Napa is confident that the growth of their winery industry will increase. Are you an owner of a Napa Vineyard or Winery? Just remember to speak to your Winery Insurance specialist from Alta Vista Insurance Agency about the changes you have in the growth of your winery production. We want to make sure you are insured to value. 


Common Questions about Winery Insurance
08 April, 2013

There are many questions that vineyard and winery owners may have about winery insurance, but yet they never get the answers. Why you may ask? Have you ever wondered something in a classroom, or a work meeting, but you were too intimidated to ask, or you feel like there isn’t an expert to give you the answer you need?

George Francis from Alta Vista Insurance Agency has so much knowledge and answers about the winery industry and insurance, that he wants to answer your questions that you may have yet never had the opportunity to ask your agent.

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  1. 1.     How quickly can I obtain Winery Insurance Coverage from Alta Vista Insurance?

Answer: At Alta Vista Insurance, you can obtain a Winery insurance policy in a week or less after the application process

  1. 2.     How many insurance carriers do you work with?

Answer: Alta Vista Insurance Works with 6 Insurance Companies that specialize in Winery Insurance or have programs for Wineries and Vineyards

  1. 3.     Are earthquake, hurricane, and flood covered on a Winery insurance policy?

Answer: Flood and Earthquake are excluded perils on most policies.  Wind is typically a covered peril in the California, Oregon and Washington.

  1. 4.      Do rates vary in different states?

Answer: Yes, rates vary by location, both within and between states. Rates are different because of location differences, laws, and perils.

  1. 5.     What states do you insure?

Answer: Alta Vista Insurance insures winery and vineyard operations in California, Oregon and Washington. 

  1. 6.     What is typically not covered under a winery insurance policy?

Answer: Just to name a few, leakage, contamination, equipment breakdown (wear and tear), transportation, product recall, auto, as well as earthquake and flood.

  1. 7.     Are policy payments made on monthly terms?

Answer: Payment schedules are available; full annual, quarterly and/or monthly

  1. Do you take credit card payments?

Answer: Unfortunately, no we do not

  1. 9.     Am I required as a winery owner to let you know every time I ship my wine?

Answer: No

  1. 10.  Do I need separate coverage if my wine is sold in different states?

Answer: No

  1. 11.  Is there a policy fee for renewals?

Answer: No

  1. 12.  Does fair market value mean what I paid for the wine?

Answer: No, fair market value is the value of the wine at the time of loss

  1. 13.  How soon can I receive a copy of my winery insurance policy?

Answer: Generally, you can receive it within 20 to 30 days

  1. 14.  How important is it to obtain the best policy at the best price?

Answer: Proper coverage is more important than price. The true test of an insurance policy is when your claim is paid in full.

  1. 15.  If I call Alta Vista Insurance today, who do I want to speak with?

Answer: Call 1-800-410-9099 and ask for George Francis for California wineries, and for Dianna for the states of Washington and Oregon. 

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Powerful Women and Wine
14 March, 2013

Claudia and Amanda from Alta Vista Insurance Agency attended the 2013 Wine Festival in Del Mar over the weekend. Specializing in protecting vineyards and winery with Winery Insurance, Alta Vista Insurance Agency strives to continue learning more and more about the industry in order to better understand exposures. The learning experience at the event was never ending for Claudia and Amanda. After the event, they wondered who the top women were in the wine industry. According to an article from The Daily Meal, here is the countdown of the top 10 women and wine:

Top 10 Women and Wine! 

 10. Laura Jewell, MW: As the head of the wine buying team at Tesco, the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain, Jewell wields enormous power over British palates.
9. Corinne Mentzelopoulos: The owner and manager of Bordeaux’s First Growth Château Margaux. Château Margaux holds the record for the most expensive bottle of wine ever broken. When a bottle of the 1787 was dropped, the insurance company paid out $200,000 for the spilled wine.

8. Judy Leissner: At only 24 years old, Leissner took over China’s legendary Grace Vineyard from her father and transformed the winery into an internationally recognized producer of fine wine.

7. Debra Meiburg, MW: Meiburg is the first Asia-based Master of Wine and the founder of Asia’s largest wine competition, the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition.
6. Danièle Ricard: Last year Ricard took control of her family’s legacy, Pernod Ricard, the world’s second largest drinks company. She’s now in charge of Mumm and Perrier-Jouët Champagnes, plus Australian brand Jacob’s Creek and Spain’s Campo Viejo.
5. Lalou Bize-Leroy: The grand dame of Burgundy was instrumental in raising Domaine de la Romanée-Conti to its current iconic status. Now, she has her own winery Domaine Leroy and produces some of the most expensive ($2,500 per bottle) wines in region.
4. Baroness Philippine de Rothschild: Once a young actress in Paris, Rothschild now directs the operations of Bordeaux powerhouses such as Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Clerc Milon, and Château d’Amallhac, as well as California-based Opus One and the Chilean winery Almaviva.
3. Annette Alvarez-Peters: Who is the largest importer of French wine to the U.S., with more than $1 billion in annual wine sales? Costco. And Costco’s director of wine buying? Annette Alvarez-Peters.
2. Jancis Robinson, MW: U.K journalist Robinson provides expert advice to Queen Elizabeth II for her majesty’s wine cellar. Robinson was the editor of the hallmark reference book, The Oxford Companion to Wine.
1. Gina Gallo: As chief winemaker at Gallo Family Vineyards, Gina Gallo oversees the winemaking operations of the world’s largest privately owned winery, with sales of 75 million cases of wine per year.
 
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Meet Gina Gallo!  Image from http://cltampa.com/tampa/gina-gallo-talks-about-the-family-wine-business/Content?oid=2034394#.UUH2Q1eiSe0

If Alta Vista Insurance could vote for the best Winery Insurance Women, it would be Claudia Lang and Dianna Connelly! Call them today 877-410-9099!!


Taste Washington
07 March, 2013

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Spring is almost here, and so is this requisite event: The Taste of Washington at Centurylink Field. This event takes place on March 23rd and March 24th, 2013. The Taste of Washington is the nation’s largest single region wine and food event.

    To get to this event, you can buy your tickets online, or at the door, but the

VIP tickets, however, are limited. The VIP enjoys these exclusive benefits:
•    An extra hour to savor the event
•    Access to the Barrel Room, our exclusive VIP lounge presented by Tulalip Resort Casino
•    VIP swag bag
•    Special giveaways each day during the VIP hour
So when does this take place and what are the general admission prices?
Hours: 1pm – 5pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Ticket prices:
One-day: $145 | Two-day: $185
The General Admission
Hours: 2pm – 5pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Ticket prices:
One-day: $80 | Two-day: $125
    This event has its “Green Thumb” as it works to minimize the environmental impact. These efforts include:
  •   Recycling any wine glasses left behind by guests
  •   Providing composting stations in each of our tasting pods for easy access by each restaurant
  •   Providing recycling stations throughout the event
So what wineries and vineyards are parts of this event?
 
•    Corvus Vineyard
corvuscellars.com
•    Cox Canyon Vineyards
coxcanyon.com
•    Kiona Vineyards and Winery
kionawine.com
•    Mission Hills
Locaticellars.com
•    Naches Heights Vineyard
nachesheights.com
•    Sagemoor Vineyards
sagemoorfarms.com
•    Stone Ridge Vineyards
stoneridgevineyardsroyalslope.com
•    Tapteil Vineyard
tapteil.com
 

And what are the Featured Wineries?  

 

14 Hands
Adams Bench Winery
Airfield Estates Winery
Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Almquist Family Vintners
Amavi Cellars
Ambassador Vineyard
Andrew Will
AniChe Cellars
AntoLin Cellars
Apex Cellars
Arbor Crest
Array Cellars
Auclair Winery
Avennia
Badger Mountain Vineyard
Baer Winery
Balboa Winery
Barnard Griffin
Barons Winery
Barrage Cellars
Barrel Springs Winery
Barrister Winery
Bartholomew Winery
Basel Cellars
Bergevin Lane Vineyards
Betz Family Winery
Boudreaux Cellars
Browne Family Vineyards
Buried Cane
Buty Winery
Cadaretta
Cadence Winery
Cairdeas Winery
Camaraderie Cellars
Canoe Ridge Vineyard
Castillo de Feliciana Winery
Cave B Estate Winery
CAVU Cellars
Cedar River Cellars
Celaeno Winery
Challenger Ridge Vineyard
Charles Smith Wines
Chateau Rollat
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chatter Creek
Chinook Wines
Chocolate Shop Wine
Claar Cellars
Cloudlift Cellars
Col Solare
College Cellars
Columbia Crest
Convergence Zone Cellars
Cooper Wine Company
COR Cellars
Corvus Cellars
Côte Bonneville
Cougar Crest Estate Winery
Covington Cellars
Cranberry Road Winery
DeLille Cellars, Grand Ciel & Doyenne
Desert Wind Winery
DiStefano Winery
Double Canyon
Doubleback
Duck Pond Cellars
Dunham Cellars
Dusted Valley
Eaglemount Wine and Cider
Echo Ridge Cellars
Efeste
Eight Bells WInery
Elevation Cellars
Elsom Cellars
Estrin Estates
Fall Line Winery
Fidelitas
Finnriver
For A Song
Force Majeure Vineyards
Forgeron Cellars
Four Lakes Winery
Foxy Roxy Winery
Gamache Vintners
Gifford Hirlinger
Gilbert Cellars
Girly Girl Wines
Glen Fiona Winery
Glencorrie
Goedhart Family
Goose Ridge Estate Winery
Gordon Estate
Gorman Winery
Gramercy Cellars
Guardian Cellars
Gård Vintners
Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards
Hedges Family Estate
Hightower Cellars
Hoodsport Winery, Inc.
The Hogue Cellars
Isenhower Cellars
Januik Winery
JM Cellars
Jones of Washington
Kaella Winery
Kana Winery
Kevin White Winery
Kiona Vineyards and Winery
Kitzke Cellars
Kontos Cellars
L'Ecole No 41
Laurelhurst Cellars
Lauren Ashton Cellars
Lodmell Cellars
Long Shadows Vintners
Lost River Winery
Lullaby
Mackey Vineyards
Maison Bleue Winery
Marcus Sophia Winery
Market Vineyards
Martinez & Martinez
Maryhill
Masquerade Wine Company
Matthews Estate
McCrea Cellars, Inc.
McKinley Springs
Mellisoni Vineyards
Memaloose
Mercer Estates Winery
Michael Florentino Cellars
Milbrandt Vineyards
Naches Heights Vineyard (NHV)
Naked Winery
Nefarious Cellars
Nelms Road
Northstar
Nota Bene Cellars
Novelty Hill Winery
O Wines
Obelisco Estate Wines
Okanogan Estate & Vineyards
Orca Wines
Otis Kenyon Wine
Owen Roe
O•S Winery
Page Cellars
Palouse Winery
Pepper Bridge Winery
Piccola Cellars
Pomum Cellars
Pontin del Roza
Powers Winery
Purple Star Wines
Rainier Wine
Ramseyer Vineyards
Reininger Winery
Revelry Vintners
Robert Ramsay Cellars
Ross Andrew Winery
Rotie Cellars
Ryan Patrick Vineyards
Saint Laurent Estate Winery
Scarborough Wines
Seven Hills Winery
Silver Bell Winery
Silver Lake Winery
Sinclair Estate Vineyards
Skylite Cellars
Smasne Cellars
Snoqualmie Winery
Sonoris Wines
Soos Creek Wine Cellars
Southard Winery
Sparkman Cellars
Spring Valley Vineyard
Stottle Winery
 
SuLei
Sun River Vintners
Swede Hill Cellara LLC
Swiftwater Cellars
SYZYGY
Tempus Cellars
Tenor Wines
Terra Blanca Winery
Tertulia Cellars
Thorny Rose Wines
Three Rivers Winery
Tieton Cider Works
Treveri Sparkling Wine Cellars
Trust Cellars
Tunnel Hill Winery
Two Mountain Winery
Upland Estates Winery
Vessel Wines
Vin du Lac Winery
Vina Salida
Walla Walla Vintners
Walter Dacon
Ward Johnson Winery
Waterbrook Winery
Waters Winery
Whidbey Island Winery
Whitestone Vineyard & Winery
William Church Winery
Willow Crest
Wind Rose Cellars
Woodhouse Wine Estates
Woodward Canyon
 



 Featured Restaurants
Seattle is home to unique culinary experiences, 13 James Beard Award-winning chefs and hundreds of amazing restaurants. We’ve selected over 60 local restaurants to represent the Seattle culinary scene and to pair with your Washington wine for this event.
Where can you stay?
Make it a Taste of Washington weekend! There are tons of hotel packages that go well with the tasting experience in downtown Seattle. Your perfect culinary getaway awaits.
Volunteers are also always needed! For more information on this event, visit http://tastewashington.org/restaurants-2013/

Washington Wines: What you need to know in honor of Washington Wine Month!
04 March, 2013

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Washington Wine Month in March is an annual celebration of Washington State's award winning industry. In this particular celebration, promotions happen at participating restaurants, wine shops, winery tasting rooms, and hotels.

In honor of month of March being Washington Wine Month,  Alta Vista Insurance thought it would be appropriate to brush up on the basics of the Washington wine industry and how it started.

Washington’s first wine grapes were planted at Fort Vancouver by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825. By 1910, wine grapes were grown in most areas of the state, following the path of early settlers. Today, Washington ranks second nationally for premium wine production and more than 31,000 acres are planted to grapes.

    Significant developments in Washington State include the formation of the Washington Wine Commission in 1987, a unified marketing and trade association. In 1999, the Commission established the Washington Wine Quality Alliance (WWQA) to spearhead development of industry standards in winemaking and labeling. Washington is the first state in the nation to define standards for ―reserve‖ wines.

Washington’s wine future is limitless. As consumers discover the quality of Washington wines, demand continues to grow nationally and internationally. New acreage and new varietals are being planted and new wineries are opening at a remarkable pace. Washington State is recognized as a premium viticulture region around the world.

Here are some Quick Facts!

  • Washington State ranks second nationally in wine production
  • Washington State wineries: 600+ today
  • Washington State wine grape growers: 350+
  • The Washington State wine industry contributes more than $3 billion to the state economy annually
  • Full-time equivalent wine-related jobs: 14,000
  • Wine-related wages paid: more than $466.4 million
  • Estimated 2004 production has a retail value of more than$684.9 million
  • Leading red varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese
  • Leading white varieties: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier
  • Red to white wine grape ratio: 56% white to 44% red
  • Up to 17.4 hours of summer sunlight per day during the growing season
  • Annual rainfall —8 inches (20 cm) in Eastern Washington (the major grape growing region)

Updating your Wine Premises Operations Report
25 January, 2013

Updating your Wine Premises Operations Report.

According to the TTB the most common concern they find is documentation support. The Wine Premises Operations (TTB F.5120.17) was either non-existent or inadequate. For new wineries making sure to promptly record breakage reports and having the Wine Premises Operations report quickly accessible and onsite are the two most noted issues the TTB encounters.  The TTB recommends keeping your reports well organized and readily available and reconciled in a timely manner, either the day of the transaction but no later than the close of business of the third day after the operation occurred.

When looking for winery insurance, Dianna Connelly and Alta Vista Insurance can show you how to insure your barreled wine stock and cased bottles in the event of a loss. The TTB requires the Wine Premises Operations report to be onsite at the winery, keeping an updated duplicate off site in the event of a total loss at the winery is a great records keeping measure. The duplicate copy can be used in the event of loss to help expedite the claims process.


Meet our New Winery Specialist Dianna Connelly!
25 January, 2013

Here we grow again!  Alta Vista Insurance Agency is proud to announce the addition of a new team member, Dianna Connelly.  Dianna joins our team as our new commercial insurance producer in Washington State.  Her specialty is in the winery industry.  Dianna’s extensive expertise and unique knowledge of the wine industry and the unique insurance needs is what we have been searching for—and we have found it in Dianna.  From the vines to the grapes to the finished product, Dianna knows the unique needs to insure the risks.  In addition to her winery knowledge, Dianna is an experienced equestrian which enabled her to develop a strong understanding of farms and ranches.

     Dianna and her family reside in Bothell, Washington. She and her husband David have been married 16 years and have two energetic boys, one is 12 and the other is 8. The Connelly family is a busy bunch with many extracurricular activities! While both boys play soccer, the oldest son Zach also likes to swim and the youngest son Jackson likes to play baseball. They also have a 12-year old black lab named "Harley." Dianna considers herself an "all-around gal" who loves the simple things in life. She and her family love the outdoors with camping, salmon fishing, and crabbing topping the list of activities. Dianna also enjoys cooking and exercising and, in fact, has competed in numerous sprint triathlons. Her passion for horses started early in life as she competed as a Hunter/Jumper and Cross Country Equestrian. If that isn't enough to keep anyone busy, she also loves to grow her own veggies and is a regular blood donor. When it comes to being a sports fan, Dianna loves her Washington Huskies and the Seattle Sounders.

    In recent years, the State of Washington’s wine industry has become one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the state.  Washington is actually the second largest wine producer behind California.  With all the growth in the Washington wine industry, Dianna cannot wait to be a major part of protecting the precious grapes and vineyards with creative insurance solutions from Alta Vista Insurance Agency.  Dianna looks forward to working at Alta Vista and we feel very fortunate to have her on board!  Feel free to call our office and say hello!

dianna profile.JPG


Hey homeowners: Did you hear about this new annual fire protection fee?
15 August, 2012

According to Mercury News, More than 800,000 Californians who own property in wildfire country will begin receiving bills this week for a new annual fire-protection fee. The fee, passed by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, is intended to raise an estimated $84 million in its first year for fire-prevention efforts. The annual charge can run as high as $150 for property owners with a single occupied dwelling, although there is a $35 discount for those who already pay a local tax for fire protection. The discount will apply to about 95 percent of rural property owners, but it's not enough to quell the anger in the parts of California where the fee will apply.


    Everybody that knows about this is upset, but 90 percent of the public has no idea it's coming. It's going to be quite a shock. The bills start going out Monday and will have been issued to more than 825,000 property owners by year's end. They are being sent to counties in alphabetical order, so residents of Alameda, Alpine and Amador counties will be first in line. The fee was imposed on those who own property within the 31 million rural acres covered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a responsibility area that includes about one-third of the state. Do you think this is right?


Fire danger there is growing more extreme, according to a recent University of California, Merced study prepared for the California Energy Commission. Climate change, development and changes to the landscape may double the fire risk to rural homes over the next 40 years, researchers found. They predict the greatest increase in risk in Northern California's foothills and mountains. Although more bills for the California resident are never a good thing, there some benefits to where this money is going.  This bill will help prevent spending cuts on state firefighters and pay for the department's existing fire-prevention efforts, including thinning brush and trees and clearing around homes. However, local fire officials said they worry the new fee will discourage residents from paying more for local services. They expect many people to follow through with the process of “redetermination” or appeal to the bill, arguing that it is not their responsibility to pay.  
    Now that you are aware of this bill that may be coming your way, it is till important to understand that California is a major area for fire during this season and state legislatures are only trying to prevent the worst from happening. All we can do as residents is keep our properties properly protected with affordable California Home Insurance and hold good faith in the golden state we will in.  


It's the worst drought since 1988: Crop Insurance can save you!
31 July, 2012

According to an article from Reuters.com, U.S. crops are being hit hard with the worst drought since 1988. But most farmers are not worried like they did 24 years ago when a drought hit as they were just starting to recover from a farm depression that brought down the Midwestern economy. While financial losses from the 2012 drought in the world's largest food exporting nation will no doubt top the $40 billion of losses in 1988 -- an inflation-adjusted $78 billion today -- U.S. farmers face this drought in their strongest financial position in history from less debt, record-high grain and land prices, plus greater production and exports, according to agriculture bankers, farm managers and economists.

            The hardest hit will be the dairy, beef, hog, poultry and fish farmers squeezed by soaring feed costs. But they too are better insured with Crop Insurance than 24 years ago. The older farmers should be well capitalized to be able to make it through a stress year like this. Maybe some of the younger producers or more aggressive producers might have some capital problems, where they haven't carried enough cash to handle their cash-flow needs in light of a small crop.

            CROP INSURANCE!

University of Illinois agricultural economist Gary Schnitkey, who advises farmers on planning for costs and returns, said: "Crop insurance will provide better protection in 2012 than in 1988." According to the U.S. Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency, in 1988 only 55.8 million acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops were covered by crop insurance. A total of $1.1 billion in indemnities were paid. By contrast, in 2011 a total of 265.4 million acres of U.S. crops were insured with payouts of $10.8 billion.

Overall, market prices along with better insurance will likely sustain core Midwest and Plains farmers in 2012 and the crop sector will come out of this year okay. There is definitely a setback, but farmers are confident in the normal weather predicted for 2013. 

Summer 2012 Crop Droughtimage from

http://www.indexstrategyadvisors.com/insights/weekly-stock-market-recap-july-20-2012/


Freak hailstorm came out of nowhere costing growers 100% loss! Crop Insurance is their only chance to survive!
24 April, 2012

A freak April storm came out of nowhere! San Joaquin Valley was hit with huge hailstorms along highway 99, causing major damage to crops. It will be several weeks before we know exactly how bad the losses are.  For some growers it amounts to 100 percent of this year’s production.  A number of crops suffered damage from the unrelenting power of hailstones measuring 1.5 inches in diameter. 

    Steve Johnson, a storm chaser with Atmospheric Group International, tracked the storm closely and estimated that the damage to agriculture could reach $25 million or more.  Thunderstorms typically move at about 25 miles per hour, these two cells were moving at about 7 or 8 miles an hour, so they just trudged along producing very large hail and a high quantity of lightning. Also, a supercell formed over farmland west of Lemoore, producing a tornado, and another one popped up near Huron, causing considerable crop damage to Westside lettuce and tomato fields. This level of devastation has not been seen in years.   Michael Miya, who farms walnuts, pistachios, wheat, corn, onion, and seeds, said that it was the worst hailstorm he has ever witnessed.   

    It is just a shame to see such devastation.  Farmers work hard, and with weather you can only pray it will work to your advantage. This storm was definitely a major problem for the industry. Specialists at Alta Vista Insurance Agency understand that  Crop Insurance is an essential part of managing risk. Speak to our specialists today. Protecting your life style, planning for the future and partnering with you.

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Egg-ceptional! Winemakers embrace concrete egg-shaped fermenters to add a unique character to wines!
05 April, 2012

Do you like eggs with wine? How about wine in eggs? Sounds a bit dicey, but it’s been happening more lately as winemakers embrace concrete egg-shaped fermenters as a way to add unique character to their wines. If you are going to try new equipment, such as this new and improved fermenter, you can’t take a chance without protecting your assets the right way!

The eggs, which can be two meters tall or higher, have a cuteness factor not usually to be found in wine making equipment. In fact, the Domaine Carneros winery in the Napa Valley was inspired to get in the seasonal spirit and had their 900-kilogram egg decorated for Easter complete with a frieze of white bunnies. Despite appearances, there’s a serious side to this fresh approach. And it all starts with permeability.

Stainless-steel tanks, which allow no oxygen in, create bright, sharp flavors. Wooden barrels, which are quite porous, create a rounder taste with flavors from the oak. The concrete egg fermenters, which fall somewhere between stainless steel and wooden barrels in permeability, offers a third option, says Domaine Carneros winemaker T.J. Evans. "What we get is a kind of an enhanced minerality and a richer texture, but without the oak," he says. "It’s a nice little tool that fills in the niche." Concrete fermenting tanks aren’t new. Huge, square ones are to be found in wineries around the world. But they fell out of favor in California with the push to modernize during the ’70s and the move to stainless-steel tanks. Getting the egg shape right is a technical challenge, but there’s no denying it amps up the decorative factor.

Wineries strive to find the best practices to improve the quality of their wine production. If you are wondering about ways to improve the success of your winery, speak to our Winery Insurance specialists at Alta Vista Insurance Agency. They are very knowledgeable at making sure your business is well protected.

 

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Are You Aware?
27 April, 2011

You have a small fire that destroys $20,000 of case goods and the insurance company settles the claim for only a fraction of the $20,000.  Mad, of course you are, and how did this happen?  Property insurance policies have a little known clause that can penalize a client when they have a loss, Co-Insurance. 

Co-insurance is designed to require the insured to properly value their buildings and contents, generally for full replacement cost, and not underinsure to save premiums. Typically the insured values must be 80% or 90% of the true replacement cost or a penalty applies to any loss.  Co-insurance applies to most all property policies; business and personal insurance.

You did not know you were underinsured as you were asked what the value of your stock was and at the time it was only about $10,000, a guestimate at best.  Stock values go up and down all the time, so how do you get the correct value for your insurance policy?   Set the value at the highest value you expect to have, add an endorsements that allows for seasonal fluctuations and look for an insurance policy that does not have a Co-insurance penalty.

 Give us a call if you would like to learn more. 


Are you Properly Insured?
01 March, 2011

Many winery owners have an insurance policy that does not adequately cover all their exposures. Do you have coverage for equipment breakdown? Wine Contamination? Property in Transit? Wine Leakage?

For a Second Opinion on Your Insurance Give us a call. We would be more than happy to review your current coverage with you.


Are Your Crops Insured?
14 January, 2011

   Many vineyard owners don’t carry crop insurance to protect against flood, drought, insects, hail, or disease. All of which are very common natural hazards that can literally disrupt your entire harvest, resulting in lost revenue. Crop insurance is not part of your normal insurance policy; rather it is a separate coverage. There are two kinds of crop insurance, Crop-Hail insurance offered by private sectors and Multi-peril crop insurance backed by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. Crop-Hail insurance can be purchased anytime during the year; however Multi-peril crop insurance must be purchased prior to planting, as this policy will extend coverage for drought, excessive moisture, hail, freezing, etc. According to the National Crop Insurance Services, “More than 80% of insurable farmland in the United States is now protected through the federal crop insurance program.” Are you part of that 80%?


Sued by Your Employees...
01 December, 2010

If you think your chances of being sued by any of your employees are one in a million…think again.  The chances are far greater than you think.  Even an organization with good human resources, and sound policies and procedures, can be sued.  The cost of defending such claims can be enormous.  It is not uncommon for legal fees to exceed $250,000 to defend and win such a case.  The national jury-award median for employment practice liability was $200,000 in 2006.

 

The areas of exposure for Employers are:

 

  1. Hiring
  2. Supervision/management of employees
  3. Termination of employees
  4. Administration of Benefits

 

Components of Employment Practices & Discrimination Liability:

 

  1. Discrimination (Compensation, hiring and promotion, everyday activities)
  2. Sexual Harassment
  3. Wrongful Termination
  4. Employment Benefits (Denial of benefits, conflicts of interest, imprudent investing)

 

Claim Scenarios

 

National Origin Discrimination-$250,000

 

An employee sued a company for national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.  The employee alleged that he was wrongfully terminated when he complained to his supervisors that co-workers had made disparaging remarks relating to his ethnic background.  The plaintiff was awarded $250,000 in damages.

 

Third Party Sexual Harassment-$100,000

 

Two employees of the company made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of a female freelance contractor working on the premises.  The contractor filed a claim against the company for third party sexual harassment.  The suit was settled for $100,000.

 

 

 

Discrimination and Retaliation-$317,000

 

A plaintiff alleged that the insured discriminated against him on the basis of his age and disability.  The plaintiff further alleged that he was terminated in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim and for complaining about discrimination.  The defendant contended that the plaintiff was not able to perform the essential functions of the job and that he was discharged for legitimate non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons.  The insurance company spent more than $175,000 defending the case and paid $142,000 in settlement costs.

 


Good News for Business Owners!
13 October, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FLASH REPORT!

Workers' Comp Carriers' Profitability An Issue At Commissioner's Rate Hearing

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Speakers at Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner's pure premium rate hearing yesterday questioned the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau's (WCIRB) conclusion that workers' comp carriers in California need a 27.7% increase in the state's workers' comp claims cost benchmark. Testifying on behalf of Compline and its broker members, J Dale Debber presented an independent analysis disputing WCIRB's conclusion that the industry lost $1.5 billion on its California book last year, as well as many of its other presentations. Workers' Comp Executive covered the meeting with its mobile camera crew. Click here to watch the action.

Copyright 2010 Providence Publications, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Workers' Comp Executive may be forwarded, copied or distributed subject to the following conditions: (1) The full report including text, graphics and links must be copied without modification and all pages must be included; (2) All copies must contain Providence Publications copyright notice; (3) This document may not be distributed for profit."


Leakage!
29 September, 2010

Most winery insurance programs include “Leakage”.  However all policies are not alike and coverage differences can cause a major uninsured loss.  The primary cause of loss of wine from a tank is employee error.  Make sure that this is a covered cause of loss, especially this year with the late harvest and shortened crush period. 


Errors do happen.  Does your policy cover manufacturer’s defects?  Most policies do not so if you lose a tank it may not be covered.  Take a look at the policy and make sure you have the proper coverage.

 


29.6% Rate Increase Recommended on Worker's Compensation???
18 August, 2010

Workers Compensation

 29.6% Rate Increase Recommended!

Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California decided to file its largest ever recommended increase in the workers' comp pure premium rate; 29.6%

 Don’t expect your Workers’ Compensation premium to increase by that amount, but do expect that the insurance carriers writing this coverage will increase rates, withdraw from the California market or reduce what they write.  Many carriers tend to file for a 4-8% increase. Change is coming.

 Insurance carrier loss ratios are high and getting higher.  This is caused by the cost of medical care, increased claim numbers and the recession.  This along with changes in how Experience Modifications are calculated and new case law are forcing the insurance companies to reevaluate their rates and what they are willing to insure.

Now is a good time to review this coverage.  Give us a call!  We have markets that will be here for the long term.


Winery and Vineyard – Equipment Breakdown
14 May, 2010

Wineries and Vineyards today, like most other businesses, are more dependant then ever on highly complex and fragile equipment and systems to maintain operations. Because of the dependence on this technology a breakdown at any part of the operation can cause down time and delays and perhaps damage the wine making process and possibly loss of revenue.

While equipment and systems are covered by the standard fire policy for fire and other perils they are not covered for breakdown. All businesses need equipment breakdown insurance as part of their risk management program. This insurance protects:

  1. Electrical Panels, Motors and other Electrical Driven Devices
  2. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (cooling jackets)
  3. Boilers or Pressure Vessels
  4. Computers and Communication Equipment
  5. Mechanical Equipment

Mark MacGougan, assistant vice president of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company states that Equipment Breakdown Insurance is like your companies Health and disability insurance for your equipment. If there is an accident this policy provides coverage including loss or income.

Wear and tear and software issues are not covered; there must be some sort of accident to hardware or equipment. A power surge that damages a computer system or destroys an electrical panel is an accident as is a part breaking unexpectedly in a piece of equipment.

An example of an accident that should be covered by Equipment Breakdown Insurance is a power surge that damages the control panel or causes the need for an electrician to reset the equipment or replace fuses for critical equipment. Many times these accidents are just considered maintenance and paid for by the insured, not the insurance carrier. It pays to ask if something is covered or just wear and tear.



" Alta Vista has been our insurance agent for several years now. From day one, they have always been extremely responsive, thorough and professional.
We've been pleased with their services and would recommend them without reservation. "
- Jeanne M. Andre, Finance and Administration Manager, The Australia - New Zealand Wine Connection
Title Name Email Phone
CEO George Francis george@altavistainsurance.com (760)724-2124
Producer Dianna Connelly Dianna@altavistainsurance.com (760)724-2124
Social Media Specialist Amanda Foster Amanda@altavistainsurance.com (760)724-2124

Winery Equipment Breakdown

Wineries today, like most other businesses, are more dependant then ever on highly complex and fragile equipment and systems to maintain operations. Because of the dependence on this technology a breakdown at any part of the operation can cause down time and delays and perhaps damage the wine making process and possibly loss of revenue.

While equipment and systems are covered by the standard fire policy for fire and other perils they are not covered for breakdown. All businesses need equipment breakdown insurance as part of their risk management program. This insurance protects:

  1. Electrical Panels, Motors and other Electrical Driven Devices
  2. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (cooling jackets)
  3. Boilers or Pressure Vessels
  4. Computers and Communication Equipment
  5. Mechanical Equipment

Mark MacGougan, assistant vice president of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company states that Equipment Breakdown Insurance is like your companies Health and disability insurance for your equipment. If there is an accident this policy provides coverage including loss or income.

Wear and tear and software issues are not covered; there must be some sort of accident to hardware or equipment. A power surge that damages a computer system or destroys an electrical panel is an accident as is a part breaking unexpectedly in a piece of equipment.

An example of an accident that should be covered by Equipment Breakdown Insurance is a power surge that damages the control panel or causes the need for an electrician to reset the equipment or replace fuses for critical equipment. Many times these accidents are just considered maintenance and paid for by the insured, not the insurance carrier. It pays to ask if something is covered or just wear and tear.