Breaking Box — Upscale Wine Market Ready for Cardboard Cabernet?

American wines have secured a spot on the world stage — as noted by NBC News, it’s been 40 years since the “Judgment of Paris” which saw new-breed California wineries triumph over established French classics. American winemakers haven’t stopped innovating and are now spearheading a move to boxed wines on an even playing field with the best in the business. But are consumers and wine experts ready for upscale boxes of Cabernet and Merlot?

The Cardboard Conundrum

Boxed wines got their start in Australia more than 50 years ago thanks to winemaker Penfolds. The company developed a cardboard box and plastic bladder system which both dramatically lowered production costs and came with the added benefit of keeping wine fresh much longer — what could possibly go wrong?

Problems started once producers realized that they could corner an even more cost-effective corner of the market by pairing the low-price container production with their least expensive wines. The result? Decades of truly awful blends at rock-bottom prices.

Changing the Game

According to Marketwatch Magazine a number of brands are now looking to conquer the high-value wine market. At the lower end of the scale are table wines like Franzia which shipped 23 million cases last year. Brands like The Naked Grape, Black Box and Bota Box have also seen marked success, although it’s worth noting that — at least for the moment — $20 seems to be the ceiling for a 3-liter box. Nonetheless, these wines are a marked departure from their lower-priced progenitors and there’s a good chance that “ultra premium” boxed wine isn’t out of reach.

Sanitary Service

If boxed wine makers really want to compete with established bottle brands, however, they need to do more than simply improve the quality of what’s inside the bag; wineries also need to ensure that tier offerings meet — and exceed — all sanitary standards. First up is wine barrel maintenance. With the exception of brands like The Naked Grape, most wines are still aged in oak barrels. As noted by Wines and Vines, there’s now renewed interest in steam-cleaning barrels rather than using traditional hot-water soaks — and just like the evolution of boxed wine there’s also a trend away from wet steam to dry steam options which use less water, offer improved portability and leave behind virtually no moisture.

There’s also a case to be made for dry steam cleaning solutions and the equipment necessary to manufacture plastic bladders and cardboard boxes. Production lines require regular maintenance to prevent the build-up of dust and debris, but if moisture is left behind the result could be ruined boxes or contaminated bladders. Dry vapor steam cleaning systems not only get tap water hot enough to kill any bacteria in its way — up to 360 degrees Fahrenheit — but the dry steam expands when it contacts a cold production surface to explosively loosen dust, dirt and grime.

Boxed wines are making a comeback and they’re a cut above original offerings. Conquering the market, however, means going beyond the box to ensure every aspect of production and packaging meets the high standards of wine snobs and sociable consumers alike.

Buying a Coil Cleaning System? Avoid these Five Mistakes

coil cleaning systemsSummer is coming, and with it a huge uptick in your facility’s HVAC usage. If your cooling systems aren’t properly serviced and maintained both your facility and your boss may be heating up fairly soon. Want to stay cool, optimize efficiency and still keep costs down? Avoid these five mistakes when buying an enterprise-grade coil cleaning system.

1 – Buying Same-Old System

As noted by AHCR News, coils have undergone significant evolution as companies look for ways to reduce refrigerant use without a loss of cooling power. Advances such as MicroGroove and micro channel technology, for example, leverage smaller-diameter copper tubes to carry less refrigerant at higher pressures. The result? Old cleaning tools may not have the ideal combination of pressure and flow to properly maintain new coils — for example, pump sprays may provide basic surface scrubbing but aren’t powerful enough to penetrate new coil beds. Bottom line? If you’re running new coils, you need new cleaning tools.

2 – Buying One-Size-Fits-All System

Another common mistake? Using generic tools rather than specific coil cleaning solutions. While “one size fits all” solutions may offer a quick clean they’re not designed for regularly scheduled, long-term cleaning. Look for industry-standard solutions — such as Goodway’s CoilPro line — which are tailored to meet specific cleaning needs.

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How Deferred HVAC Maintenance Fails can be Catalyst for Proactive Plans

Sick of School: Air Quality Impacts LearningThe numbers are clear: Deferred maintenance of cooling towers may save money in the moment but comes with big costs over the long term. Worst-case scenario? Employees or members of the public contract serious, water-borne illnesses such as Legionnaires’ Disease. While knee-jerk repairs can put a band-aid on this problem companies need a better way to do business: Proactive maintenance plans that both address emergent issues and keep spending under control. Here’s how to get started.

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Outdoor Air Quality: Laudable Effort or Legal Expectation?

Issue of Outdoor Air Quality for HVAC IndustryAre companies responsible for reduced outdoor air quality caused by infected or dirty cooling towers? As it stands, citizens have no legal expectation of clean air. With urban pollution rising and environmental litigation becoming a viable option, however, businesses need to think twice about the outside impact of poorly maintained cooling systems.

Urban Issues

Pollution in metropolitan centers has been on the rise for decades. Now, citizens and watchdog groups are taking action in hopes of improving outdoor air quality. It’s a significant concern; as noted by the World Health Organization (WHO), outdoor air pollution contributes to 6.7 percent of all deaths.

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The Dangers of Deferred HVAC Maintenance

CTV1501_Cooling_Tower_Vacuum_In_useCompanies are on the hook to cut costs; staff, services and technology all fall under the ax of balanced books. In an effort to minimize day-to-day impacts, many businesses are turning to deferred maintenance —putting off required repairs or upgrades on HVAC systems and cooling towers until they’re absolutely necessary or the unit fails. The problem? As noted by a HealthCareCAN report, this is a “short term solution with long-term consequences unless additional resources are provided at a later date.” Best case? Cooling towers fail and you’re out time and money. Worst case? Killer infections. Here’s a look at the pitfalls of deferred maintenance for HVAC units.

Big Savings, Big Problems?

At first glance deferred maintenance seems like a reasonable solution to an immediate need: If HVAC and other systems are still performing within expected parameters it’s easy to put off maintenance until the “next budget.” If the same scenario exists a year later deferring again only makes sense, right?

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