Wine Institute: 2016 California Wine Harvest Report Early, Normal Yield, Exquisite Quality

According to the Wine Institute (, The 2016 California winegrape harvest was early, with a mostly normal yield of exceptional quality fruit throughout the state. A relatively even growing season followed welcome winter rains that helped to alleviate the drought.

It’s been a good season so far—the grapes are in great condition, showcasing spectacular flavors,” said Randy Ullom, winemaster at Kendall-Jackson Wines, with vineyards in Sonoma County and statewide.

Wine Institute Harvester

Wine Institute Harvester

Cathy Corison, owner/winemaker at Corison Winery in Napa Valley is equally pleased: “2016 was early, small and delicious. The entire ripening season enjoyed cooler than average daytime highs and cold nights—perfect for inky, complex wines. Measured in pace, it was also easy on the winemakers.”

The overall state crop was estimated to be near the historical average of 3.9 million tons by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in August 2016.

Anticipated El Niño rainfall was less than hoped for (eight inches) in Paso Robles, but still greater than the prior four vintages of drought, and appears to have had a positive effect on yields and quality in our Bordeaux and Rhone varietals in 2016,” said Jeff Meier, director of winemaking/president, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. “Yield projections for 2016 were slightly below long-term averages, but most varieties are coming in at or above estimates—a welcome outcome for Paso Robles growers. Overall, the vintage of 2016 is delivering high quality, high color density Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the cooler microclimates and fruit-intensive Rhone varietals.

In Lodi, Michael David Winery hit the halfway mark at the end of September. “The harvest pace was steady and extremely level with little peaks of chaos. Small heat spikes followed by fairly moderate weather pushed sugars up in vineyards where needed and then allowed time for growers and wineries to get fruit off in a timely manner, without major fruit breakdown or raisining. Fruit looks exceptional so far—probably the cleanest Zinfandel crop I have seen in some time. The wines are coming out beautifully, and it’s another fantastic harvest in Lodi,” said Adam Mettler, director of winemaking.

Here in Santa Barbara, we have seen another early harvest, and much of the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc was harvested in the last two weeks of August,” said Frank Ostini, owner/winemaker of Hitching Post Wines. “We had a very warm spring and early summer, but July and August brought cool nights and gentle warmth that allowed the medium-sized crop to mature perfectly—small berries in pristine condition. We are excited to be making some of our best-ever balanced wines with fine color and intensity.

The 2016 harvest in Sonoma County looks a lot like the 2015 harvest,” said Ryan Decker, winegrower at Rodney Strong Vineyards. “We started early, we will finish early, and the winemakers are very excited with what they are seeing in the fermenters. One of the main differences— a welcome one—was the seven to 10-day break we had between the Pinot/Chardonnay harvest and the Merlot/Cabernet harvest. This year we had some unseasonably cool temperatures in mid-September that put the brakes on harvest, albeit temporarily, allowing us to free up some tank space. The yields are down just a bit from the long-term average, but wine quality looks to be stellar.

Another high quality California vintage is great news for wine consumers here and abroad who continue to drive sales of Golden State wines to record levels,” said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. “With California wine’s economic contribution of $57.6 billion annually to the state economy and $114 billion annually to the U.S. economy, it’s also excellent news for our state and nation which benefit from jobs, tax revenue, hospitality, tourism and community enhancement.”

Read more vintner quotes from 14 California wine regions.

Wet Seal to Open 13 Pop-Up Stores for the Holiday Season

The Wet Seal, LLC, a specialty retailer of young women’s contemporary fashion, announced today that it will open 13 pop-up locations during the 2016 holiday season at GGP regional shopping centers throughout the U.S.Wet Seal Holiday 2016

We see an opportunity for additional brick and mortar locations during the peak holiday season,” said Wet Seal CEO, Melanie Cox. “Customers have reached out to request the return of Wet Seal stores to their local areas, and we are pleased that we are able to meet that need.

The Wet Seal pop-ups will open at the following locations:

  • Tucson Mall- Tucson, AZ
  • Altamonte Mall- Altamonte, FL
  • North Point Mall- Alpharetta, GA
  • Cumberland Mall- Atlanta, GA
  • Perimeter Mall- Atlanta, GA
  • Peachtree Mall- Columbus, GA
  • Northbrook Court- Northbrook, IL
  • Rivertown Crossings- Grandville, MI
  • Woodbridge Center- Woodbridge, NJ
  • Sooner Mall- Norman, OK
  • Quail Springs Mall- Oklahoma City, OK
  • Park City Center- Lancaster, PA
  • Northtown Mall- Spokane, WA

The temporary locations are slated to open simultaneously on Thursday, November 3, 2016. The Wet Seal, LLC and GGP have entered into this venture in response to a need for additional retail locations in anticipation of the busy holiday season. The stores will range from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet and will offer contemporary fashion and holiday gift giving items, all at a great value.

We are focused on curating our shopping centers with the retailers that our customers want,” said Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of GGP. “Brick and mortar plays a significant role in the holiday-shopping experience, and through its pop-ups, GGP is excited to bring the Wet Seal brand to new communities.”

The Wet Seal, LLC is an Irvine, California-based specialty retailer of young contemporary women’s apparel and accessories. With over 160 stores in the United States and a sizeable ecommerce presence, Wet Seal offers trend-focused young women the opportunity to purchase the latest styles at attainable prices. Since the founding of the company in 1962, the Wet Seal brand has been synonymous with the casual-chic Southern California lifestyle. The same effortless style is reflected in its brand offering today. To find out more, visit

Kipling Launches Holiday 2016 Collection

Kipling USA’s 2016 Holiday Collection reveals an ongoing evolution through refreshed aesthetic.

Kipling North America, a division of VF Sportswear, Inc., is excited to announce the launch of its Holiday Collection this October.

Kipling USA celebrates feminine festivity this holiday season, introducing a new approach to the creative direction and elevated designs. Armed with a 360° Holiday campaign and fashion influencer Olivia Culpo as the face of it, the brand dives into the refreshed vision of Nina Flood – newly named President of Kipling North America in June. In tandem with this new leadership, the 2016 Holiday collection will mark Christine Lee‘s second season with the brand as its Head Designer, North America. Lee brings with her years of experience and a pioneering vision for the brand’s aesthetic. Continuing to experiment with fabrics and treatments, Kipling’s 2016 Holiday Collection promises luxe textures, brilliant hues, and famed functionality.


Kipling USA’s 2016 Holiday Collection reveals an ongoing evolution through refreshed aesthetic.

Founded in 1987 in Belgium, Kipling crafts lightweight handbags, luggage and accessories with a playful approach. Through innovative and contemporary designs, Kipling combines quality, function and style, creating the ideal accessory for an active lifestyle. Kipling established itself as a global brand by pioneering the use of its trademark crinkle nylon in expressive colors and patterns.

Inspired by the seasons festivity, the 2016 Holiday Collectioncelebrates femininity, adding luxe touches to everyday functional styles“, Lee, explains. At the forefront of the collection sits a plethora of styles in metallic treated nylon. Ranging in shades of champagne and platinum to rose gold, the metallic bags and accessories mimic the brand’s classic features in function, and exude holiday festivity. Complimentary to the metallic, the collection will debut two new styles, the Paola backpack and Frieda cropped-cross-body. Plush to the touch, velvet styles feature golden hardware and sateen straps, offered in midnight black, emerald green and dusty rose pink.

The campaign images feature Culpo Making Spirits Bright by attending festive parties, wrapping presents and interacting with the brand’s newest collection. Culpo will also be highlighted in the brand’s 360° campaign through filmed moments of her holiday season happenings as she shares festive outfit ideas and DIY tips.

Kipling set its sights on Olivia Culpo, the former Miss Universe, as the face of the brand this season, who with her infectious energy has made a name for herself in the world of fashion and entertainment. An up-and-coming fashion influencer in her own right, she has created a substantial platform in both the modeling and fashion/media industry. Guest-hosting for E! Entertainment and gracing the cover of fashion magazines are among her recent successes.

North America President, Nina Flood comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Olivia to the Kipling family. Her endearing, genuine personality is further complimented by a style that is both playful and sophisticated, aligning with the spirit of our brand.

The Kipling Holiday 2016 Collection will offer a complete range of styles available November 2nd on, Kipling retail stores, and select department stores nationwide.

Kipling has headquarters in New York, N.Y. and Antwerp, Belgium, is distributed in more than 80 countries and is available in more than 5,000 stores globally. Kipling has 10 full-price retail locations in the US and is sold in Macy’s department stores and specialty stores nationwide.

Mary Kay Launches Unprecedented, Omni-Channel Campaign Featuring Fresh And Authentic Faces Of The Company

“I CAN” Campaign Showcases Hundreds of Real Women with Entrepreneurial Dreams

Irresistible Products. Positive Community impact. Rewarding Opportunity.

Mary Kay Inc. has launched its newest advertising campaign – the “I CAN” campaign – that for the first time was created in direct collaboration with the company’s Independent Beauty Consultants. This unprecedented campaign builds on the inherent values of Mary Kay and its dedication to connecting at a deep level with its target audience by leveraging the use of real people and their stories in its marketing campaigns.Mary Kay Inc I CAN

For more than 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 3.5 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $4 billion in global annual sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world.

With a goal of amplifying the thousands of stories organically shared by Independent Beauty Consultants on individual and corporate social media channels, the campaign started by seeding the social hashtag #MyMKLife in 2015. The co-created campaign was developed with stories from the hashtag and activated over the summer, with a “social-first” strategy, amplified by paid media to generate additional

The campaign further took shape as Mary Kay entrepreneurs shared inspirational stories and quotes illustrating how the Mary Kay business has positively impacted their lives, including “I can be me,” “I can make a difference, not just an income” and “I can be a good example for my kids.”

During the activation stage of the campaign, more than 500 women were photographed and interviewed during Mary Kay Inc.’s annual Seminar in Dallas to participate as the fresh faces of the campaign. The campaign, a multi-platform initiative, includes digital, broadcast, outdoor and print placements and was featured in national media outlets, digital billboards in the heart of ever-bustling Times Square, on the company website and on Mary Kay Inc.’s social channels.

Additionally, Independent Beauty Consultants are featured in the campaign’s first television commercial, which will be seen by more than 2M+ viewers during Season 15 Episode 6 of the hit show “Project Runway.”

The ‘I CAN’ campaign gave us the chance to showcase, on a national stage, the heart of Mary Kay – our Independent Sales Force. These inspirational women of all walks of life chose the Mary Kay business for many different reasons,” said Sara Friedman, Vice President of U.S. Marketing for Mary Kay. “However, through the campaign, it is evident that they are united by their love for the diverse opportunities their Mary Kay business allows them on a daily basis.

Since the campaign’s launch in September 2016, it has garnered impressive results including 43.8 million impressions and 1.2 million engagements across social channels, and 40K+ uses of the “I Can” custom photo filter. These results demonstrate the strong adoption rates of authentic campaigns by consumers nationwide.

Discover what there is to love about Mary Kay by connecting with a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant at

Deck the Halls – Balsam Hill® is Set to Debut a New Float in the 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® Celebrating Holiday Traditions

The 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC-TV, on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 from 9 a.m. – noon in all time zones.

For the past decade, Redwood City-based Balsam Hill has been spreading Christmas cheer to families around the world with its highly-realistic artificial Christmas trees and holiday décor. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the company is partnering with Macy’s to debut “Deck The Halls,” a wondrous float bringing the magic of Christmas to life in the 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. For more than 3.5 million spectators and more than 50 million viewers nationwide, the Macy’s Parade signifies the beginning of the holiday season and Balsam Hill will be part of such a long-standing tradition.macyslogo


Balsam Hill is ready to Deck the Halls this November as it debuts a new float in the 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Graphic: Business Wire)

Standing more than 30 feet tall, Balsam Hill’s “Deck The Halls” will embody all that is Christmas – from toys and decorated trees to entertainment and joy. Modeled after the traditional wooden pyramid, each of the three levels are hand-carved and hand-painted by the Macy’s Parade Studio to encapsulate different aspects of the holiday season enjoyed around the world. “Knowing who Balsam Hill was, for us, we immediately zeroed in on authenticity. We wanted things to have that kind of detail and overall beauty,” said John Piper, vice president of Macy’s Parade Studio. He added, “This one was just a real work of joy and love for us.”

At the base of the float, multiple Balsam Hill trees will be adorned with stunning decorations in different styles to showcase a host of family traditions. Whimsical, larger-than-life ornaments, toys and a snowman help capture the magic and joy of Christmas. The centerpiece of the float is a stunning carousel that will spin as it is ridden by children dressed in snowy winter wonderland-inspired costumes. To complete the scene, a special performer will delight audiences as the float makes its way down the Parade route and into millions of homes this Thanksgiving.

Since our inception, it was our intention to be a long-standing holiday tradition that families around the world welcome into their home. After a decade, we can now realize that dream and join the float family of one of our world’s most beloved holiday traditions that millions welcome into their home, as they tune in to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Thomas Harman, CEO of Balsam Brands.

What people are going to see coming down the parade route on Thanksgiving is an exceptional float. It is perfect for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She added, “Balsam Hill, to me, is about family celebration – and this is a family celebration … Balsam Hill tells that story.

With more than 50 million viewers across the country and more than 3.5 million spectators that line up along the streets of New York City each year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a national icon that has grown into a world-famous holiday event. For 90 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season. Growing in size and scale, the Parade proudly marches down a more than 2-mile route in New York City with more than 8,000 participants in tow including Macy’s employees, their families, celebrities, athletes, clowns and dance groups spreading holiday cheer. The Parade also features America’s best marching bands, fabulous floats and Macy’s signature giant helium character balloons.

As part of the 10-year celebration, Balsam Hill is giving away a trip for four to New York City to attend the Parade and witness the float make its debut. To enter to win a trip to New York City to attend the 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and for rules and regulations, please visit For more information on the Macy’s Parade, please visit or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.

Founded ten years ago in Redwood City, Calif., Balsam Hill is committed to creating the best Christmas trees on the market. Founder Thomas Harman was inspired to start Balsam Hill by a family member who was allergic to live trees but wanted to create a festive atmosphere in his home during the holidays. When Harman‘ search for a lifelike artificial Christmas tree came up empty-handed, his mission was born to develop the most realistic and luxurious artificial trees. To accomplish this mission, the company’s designers carefully craft trees to mimic nature using site visits and cuttings from live trees as a guide. Balsam Hill holds several patented and trademarked technology that brings the holidays to life including ultra-realistic True Needle™ branches, unique Color+Clear™ or Candlelight™ LED lights, and innovative Flip Tree™ technology. (For more information visit the company’s website at

Norwegian Cruise Line To Debut New Ship Designed For Alaska Cruising In 2018

Norwegian’s next new build to seasonally homeport in Seattle beginning Summer 2018

Named Norwegian Bliss, the vessel will be the ultimate ship for Alaska cruising, with hull artwork designed by marine mammal conservationist Wyland

Norwegian Cruise Line will once again pioneer a new era of Alaska cruising beginning June 2018, as the company announced that its next new vessel, named Norwegian Bliss, will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America’s Last Frontier from Seattle and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City.Norwegian Cruise Line Logo

At a ceremony held at Port of Seattle’s Pier 66, Norwegian President and CEO Andy Stuart shared the exciting news, alongside Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton.

Norwegian was the first cruise line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Stuart. “Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer our guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination aboard a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship custom designed for Alaska, the first of its kind to ever debut in Seattle.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Bliss

Named Norwegian Bliss, the vessel will be the ultimate ship for Alaska cruising, with hull artwork designed by marine mammal conservationist Wyland

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities to offer guests the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit through the new locks, the ship will sail north along the West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season. It will then sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.Norwegian Cruise Line Wyland

Continuing Norwegian’s tradition of decorating each ship’s hull with signature art, Norwegian has also announced that the world’s premier marine life artist, Wyland, has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about the importance of marine life conservation. The enormous extent of Wyland’s public artworks, his award-winning art galleries and his non-profit foundation’s community service projects have made him one of the world’s most recognized and beloved artists. His engaging and beautiful design for Norwegian Bliss’ hull art will be revealed later this month.

To further enhance the overall guest experience for cruisers from Seattle, Norwegian’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has entered into a groundbreaking 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities. From expanding the guest check-in space by 300% to more than 150,000 square feet to a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and the addition of two new elevated passenger boarding bridges to provide easy and comfortable passenger boarding, the new amenities will provide guests with the perfect send-off to start their Alaskan adventure.

The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see the great Pacific Northwest from Seattle to Alaska,” said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick. “Our long relationship together is evident in this historic and unprecedented 15-year lease here at Pier 66.

The ship will be available for reservations in January 2017.

For more information on Norwegian Bliss, please visit To book a cruise aboard one of Norwegian’s newest ships, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit

Delta Air Lines Unveils Zac Posen-Designed, Inspired Employee Uniforms

Delta Air Lines and New York fashion designer Zac Posen together unveiled an exclusive uniform collection today, which will be worn by more than 60,000 of the airline’s frontline employees including customer service agents, flight attendants, ramp agents and technicians. The contemporary line fuses together bold color palettes and classic styles, while paying homage to the heritage and iconic design from decades past to elevate the look and brand of Delta employees.


Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit (PRNewsFoto/Delta Air Lines)

Delta Air Lines serves nearly 180 million customers each year. In 2016, Delta was named to Fortune‘s Top 50 Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the fifth time in six years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for an unprecedented five consecutive years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 319 destinations in 57 countries on six continents.

Delta Air Lines Zac Posen

Delta unveils Zac Posen-designed, inspired employee uniforms (PRNewsFoto/Delta Air Lines)


Zac Posen with Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO.

Delta last updated its uniform collection for above wing employees including flight attendants and airport customer service agents, in 2006 with designs by Richard Tyler. The airline last updated its uniform collection for below wing employee employees, including technical operations employees and ramp agents, in 2000.


Uniforms for Delta’s non-customer facing employees were developed by clothing retailer Land’s End with design inspiration and color consultation from Posen. Delta announced the production and design partnership with Land’s End last week.

The world’s best employees deserve the best uniforms and this new collection is classically influenced, yet modern,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO. “Zac and the Delta team worked closely with our people to create timeless and fashionable pieces that reflect the thoughtful and innovative spirit of Delta.

Posen partnered directly with Delta employees from nearly every work group to design the collection, developing a functional wardrobe fit for Delta’s diverse employee group and the environments where they work. Employees influenced the design and final selection of each uniform piece.

We wanted Delta employees to look glamorous on the job without sacrificing functionality and style,” said Posen. “I worked alongside employees to understand how they interact with the clothes they wear and developed a look that empowers and excites, because we want Delta’s global workforce to exude the confidence and thoughtfulness that reflects the airline’s brand.”

Posen’s designs drape employees in a wholly-reimagined mix of colors dubbed Passport Plum, Cruising Cardinal and Groundspeed Graphite, with accents of Skyline Slate and Traveling Thistle to bring a cohesive look across customer-facing and technical job functions.

There are a number of subtle details including a signature winged collar on the women’s Traveling Thistle blouse, the Delta logo, also known as the widget, accented throughout the collection and for non-customer-facing employees, reflective Delta widgets on high-visibility outerwear.

At the Delta Hub Runway Unveiling, some of the items in the lineup for the flight attendants and customer service agents include a feminine Passport Plum V-neck dress, peplum sweater, wrap dress, ottoman skirt suit and swing jacket. For men, a Groundspeed Graphite three-piece suit, Passport Plum crew neck sweater and widget-printed tie, among other pieces. For technical employees working on the airport ramp or in Delta’s TechOps division, a mid-layer sweater, three-in-one ANSI jacket and rapid-dry polo shirt are among the lineup. Continue reading