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Isabelle Adams of Soda Rock Winery chooses her wine competitions very carefully. The 8-year-old winery produces about 6k cases yearly, and relies on direct to consumer sales for most of the production.
Winning “Best of Marin” at the 2018 North Coast Wine Challenge with the 2015 DeLoach Marin Pinot Noir made it four years in a row that Brian Maloney, Director of Sonoma County Winemaking for Boisset Collection, claimed the honor.
Cache Creek Vineyards, located in eastern Lake County off Hwy 20 near Clearlake Oaks, got its formal start as a winery in 2005, but first and foremost, was a vineyard known for excellent fruit. It all started with the family patriarch, Bill “Poppo” Van Pelt, father of the present-day owner, Don Van Pelt. When “Poppo” first set foot on the land in 1997, he encountered a herd of Tule elk, and vowed to make the land a preserve for them.
Ask Mick Schroeter how the Late Harvest Chardonnay project came about at Sonoma-Cutrer, and the well-versed Aussie, who began his career as a red winemaker in the Barossa Valley with the iconic Penfolds brand, says simply, “Chardonnay and Pinot Noir just don’t cut it with dessert. We were doing all these wine dinners, and we’d get to the dessert course, and nothing would be quite right. So, we decided it was time to do a Late Harvest.”
When winemaker Erik Miller got the call informing him that his 2015 Gopher Hill Pinot had just garnered a 100-point score, and oh, by the way, it took Best of Show at the 2018 North Coast Wine Challenge, he didn’t quite know what to expect.
There aren’t many of Jed Steele’s contemporaries still making wine. Most have hung up their hoses and gone fishing, or passed on to the great vineyard in the sky. Few have as many stories to tell as this man. And far fewer have made as many wines from as many different places. And fewer still can claim to have been at the forefront of the creation of two powerhouse AVAs: Mendocino and Lake County.
Cindy Lauper said it best: girls just want to have fun. And women pretty much want the same thing. Women in the wine industry just want to make wine fun. Women winemakers mostly want to make wine that’s fun, and have fun doing it. Otherwise, what’s the point? And in general, we wine women are just like other women: we mostly want to drink wine that’s fun.
As we gathered for the judging of the sweepstakes wines at the Dan Berger International Wine Competition earlier this month, the suspense was killing us. Did any of the wines we loved on our panel make it? Not that it really mattered. We trusted all the wines would be great. And we knew there would be some Berger ringers: we anticipated a Gamay Noir, as he mentioned it the night before at the judges dinner, graciously hosted by the generous Cline Family at their stunning Jacuzzi facility, where they served grass fed beef from their Meadowbrook Ranch accompanied by a panoply of produce from their Green String Farms. The meal was as memorable as the bottle of 1978 Ahlgren Zin brought by long-time judge Tom Bohr.
Tim Hanni, one of two resident Americans to receive the title Master of Wine and well-known industry myth-buster, would like the wine industry to stop foisting untruths upon an unsuspecting public. “The whole business of wine education is sadly wrong and does no service to consumers,” he says. “It’s group think. We really don’t know anything about consumers. The industry has its head up its anatomy.”
Rosé is definitely the big buzz these days, with wine drinkers of all ages, and not just millennials (21 to 39) going crazy for rosés of all hues. Pantone’s 2016 color of the year was, unsurprisingly, Millennial Pink, and it is still showing up all over.
The numbers don’t lie: there has been a steady loss off immigrant labor back across the Mexican border for the past 10 years, and it’s creating a true brain drain.
by Laura Ness Owner/Winegrower Bradley Brown of Big Basin Vineyards has been on a long, tumultuous journey as a self-taught winemaker in the middle of...
by Laura Ness With a simple pair of shears and a compassion for saving trees and bushes others thought were simply in the way, the...
Regardless of the size of a winegrowing region or the number of wineries or vineyards in it, the biggest challenge is continuing to attract visitors in an ever-evolving marketplace. For many of them, add the challenges of a not large enough budget, not enough hours in the day, and not enough hands on deck.