Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#251 Post by Drew Goin » September 23rd, 2020, 11:44 am

seanr wrote:
September 23rd, 2020, 8:49 am
I happened to see a property for sale on Redfin on Redwood Retreat in west Gilroy that looks to have about 1-2 acres of older head trained vines. Anyone know anything about this property? I am hoping the new owners keep up the vines as they look to be pretty old.

4285 Redwood Retreat Rd. GILROY, CA 95020

Here are a few Google street view shots.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.0291229 ... 384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.0295376 ... 384!8i8192

Sean, I looked up the address on the Assessors website, but was only able to discover limited information. I do not know about the ownership or the end use the vineyard/grapes:

https://www.sccassessor.org/index.php/o ... l-property


756-29.pdf
Redwood Retreat Assessors Parcel Map
(

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seanr
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#252 Post by seanr » September 24th, 2020, 11:44 am

Drew Goin wrote:
September 23rd, 2020, 11:44 am
seanr wrote:
September 23rd, 2020, 8:49 am
I happened to see a property for sale on Redfin on Redwood Retreat in west Gilroy that looks to have about 1-2 acres of older head trained vines. Anyone know anything about this property? I am hoping the new owners keep up the vines as they look to be pretty old.

4285 Redwood Retreat Rd. GILROY, CA 95020

Here are a few Google street view shots.

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.0291229 ... 384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.0295376 ... 384!8i8192



Sean, I looked up the address on the Assessors website, but was only able to discover limited information. I do not know about the ownership or the end use the vineyard/grapes:

https://www.sccassessor.org/index.php/o ... l-property



756-29.pdf
Drew - Thanks for looking into this. I might grab the bike this weekend and ride up there to check it out. So many cool older vineyard plots in this little area.

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#253 Post by Wes Barton » September 24th, 2020, 1:25 pm

I've seen it driving by and wondered. Being head trained is unconventional and laudable, so seems pretty interesting. Information on what's grown there and who's been getting the fruit would be much appreciated.
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Al Osterheld
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#254 Post by Al Osterheld » September 24th, 2020, 1:29 pm

Supposedly Carignane and Mission, about 100 years old.

https://gilroydispatch.com/making-wine- ... fun-of-it/

-Al

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#255 Post by Drew Goin » September 24th, 2020, 1:57 pm

Thanks for the additional information, Wes & Al!!

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#256 Post by Wes Barton » September 24th, 2020, 4:41 pm

Al Osterheld wrote:
September 24th, 2020, 1:29 pm
Supposedly Carignane and Mission, about 100 years old.

https://gilroydispatch.com/making-wine- ... fun-of-it/

-Al
Thanks! That explains why they look like old vines.
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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#257 Post by Drew Goin » September 25th, 2020, 1:46 pm

I encountered the website for Coastal Range Vineyards by chance yesterday. I do not know much about this farming operation other than the fact that it appears to work with a large, diverse selection of properties across Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Clara, Ben Lomond, etc...


Here's what their website says about the Santa Clara & San Benito region:


"...Below an elevation of 800 ft., the Santa Clara Valley Appellation lies adjacent to the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Encompassing the Silicon Valley, this AVA has immense history and is home to many wineries with strong reputations. Less mountainous in topography, we find more alluvial silt loam and deeper, more fertile soils here. Much of the planted acreage in this AVA has gradually been pushed south by the constant urban sprawl, resulting in many small residential vineyards. The versatility of this growing region allows us to plant almost any variety, including cultivars originally from Burgundy, Rhone, Bordeaux, Italy etc.

"Traveling further south between the Santa Cruz and the Gabilan Ranges, lies the San Benito County AVA. We are just now getting familiar with this dynamic appellation that was made famous by the consistently reputable Calera Wines. Their founder Josh Jensen has secured a sub-appellation for their estate vineyards know as Mt. Harlen as of 1990. We look forward to working with more vineyards in this AVA, as the potential is becoming more and more realized...".


Coastal Range Vineyards website:
http://coastalrangevineyards.com/

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#258 Post by Drew Goin » November 16th, 2020, 11:45 am

The Winter 2020 Bedrock Wine Company release includes the return of the "Vineyard Under the Mountain" bottling:


Bedrock-Wine-Company-2019-Under-the-Mountain-Heritage-Wine-product-image-415-large.jpg
Bedrock Vineyard Under the Mountain label

"2019 Vineyard Under the Mountain Heritage Wine,
Santa Clara County


"A classic vintage from this exceptional vineyard in Santa Clara County. Composed of Zinfandel and Carignan, with small amounts of Petite Sirah and Grenache, this coolly situated vineyard located north of Hecker Pass rendered a wine of deep color, dense fruit and typical brightness in 2019. Though the planting date is unknown, we are guessing these scant cropping vines (less than 1 ton per acre) were planted sometime in the 1910s or 1920s and are some of the last remaining old vines in a region that was once covered with vineyards."


Bedrock Wine Company website:
https://bedrockwineco.com/

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#259 Post by Drew Goin » November 18th, 2020, 12:17 pm

I found an old-vine site listed with the Historic Vineyard Society roster that I was unfamiliar with - until now.


Historic Vineyard Society profile for Kuchan Estate Lepi Bregi Vineyard

IMG_6802-2-scaled.jpg
Kuchan Estate Lepi Bregi Vineyard - from HVS website

Old World Spirits / Kuchan Estate Winery website:

"...Kuchan family acquired the Kuchan Cellars Estate vineyard in 2016. It was originally planted in 1925 by the Marchetti family, Italian immigrants. The old vines still produce, low yielding but incredible fruit."


2017 Kuchan Estate Ancient Vine Zinfandel

"Our Flagship Estate Wine

"The original vineyard was planted in 1925 by the Marchetti family. The gnarly vines are head trained, which means that they have no trellis and are self supporting. Santa Clara Valley and a unique position at the foothill of the Hecker Pass allows hot days and cool nights, with frequent temperature ranging +/- 40 degrees F. Rolling hills of Kuchan Estate Lepi Bregi vineyard provide constant breeze, which helps dry the foliage and reduce need for frequent spraying.

"SOIL: Lepi Bregi Vineyard is situated on an ancient riverbed, clay loom with large river rocks and excellent drainage. St. George rootstock reaches deep up to 30ft+, allowing for deep extraction of minerals and ground water. Dry farmed for majority of vineyard life...


"The vine (sic) is a blend of 75% Zinfandel, 15% Grenache and 10% Carignane, evocative of Ridge Vineyards' old vine Zinfandel blends

"...Zinfandel from Lepi Bregi vineyards is known for its lush red and black fruit aromas, balanced tannins and aromas closer to traditional Croatian roots and style of winemaking. It is picked at the early peak, limiting raisins and dry cherry aromas. Hand picked at 27 Brix, destemmed and fermented with carbonic maceration, not breaking berries and allowing natural yeast to burst berries. Cold soaked on skins for 21 days. Natural malolactic fermentation, 40% new oak, blend of French and American barrels.

"The vineyard sits the foothills of Hecker Pass, with hot days and cool coastal fog mornings from Monterey on an ancient river bed in the heart of Santa Clara Valley wine trail...".


Kuchan Estate website:
https://www.oldworldspirits.com/wine-kuchan-estates

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#260 Post by Drew Goin » November 20th, 2020, 11:00 am

Wargin Wines is based in Watsonville (Santa Cruz area) but many of its wines are sourced from the "Circle S Vineyard", a Siletto Family property in San Benito County.


Wargin Wines website Shop link:

Wines made from San Benito grapes

· Greco do Tufo Reserve
· Barbara
· Aglianico
· Freisa
· "Big & Beautiful" blend
· Négrette


Wargin Wines YouTube Video:
"Greco di Tufo, Italian Treasure"

June 3, 2020






Wargin Wines website:
https://warginwines.com

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#261 Post by Drew Goin » November 21st, 2020, 1:54 pm

I honestly don't know how I never found this article in my previous searches for Santa Clara Valley producers...


Gilroy Dispatch
"If These Vines Could Talk"

by Gilroy Dispatch Staff
August 27, 2005

http3A2F2Fgilroydispatch.blvds_.com2Fassets2F3c833a6119d31558abdcd92d989a28ca.jpg
George Besson Jr & his Zinfandel vines - from Gilroy Dispatch

"...'With an old vine, the characteristics of the grape are just enhanced,' said Gino Fortino, owner and vintner of Fortino Winery in Gilroy. 'For wine, that means you get more intense flavor, more color, so the wine quality is a lot better.'

"A growing number of wineries around the globe are cashing in on this flavor, and beginning to put the words 'old vine' on their labels, denoting not just varietals, but also the age of their vineyards.

“'You never did see an old vine description on a label 5, 10, 15 years ago,' said George Guglielmo, viticulturist for Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. 'As people become more educated on wine, though, they realize that an old vine gives you more character, so they’re more interested in buying old.'

"...Along Gilroy’s Hecker Pass Highway, the Besson family has been growing grapes for decades. The bulk of their estate is old-vine zinfandel was likely planted in 1922.

“'My grandfather bought the ranch in 1925, and he ran it, then my dad ran it, so I’m the third generation now, and my daughter is starting to learn so that she can take over,' said George Besson, Jr., 57. 'We sell the grapes to Sarah’s Vineyard, but we’re keeping it in the family because you don’t see too many old vines today.'

"That’s partially because old vines, many of which were grown from imported European seed near the turn of the century, have been largely wiped out, between the encroachment of new homes onto former vine land, and the virulence of modern diseases, Besson said.

"'New varieties of grape are more resistant,' said Besson. 'Before you plant, you take a soil analysis, then you buy the grape you want, grafted to the root stock that’s best for your soil. Years ago, they just planted whatever they had, so they’re susceptible to all kinds of diseases.'

"Most older vines have been exposed to soil-borne parasites and pests, and above-ground they’re prone to termite attack, said Guglielmo, so they produce fewer grapes than young vines. Old vines, for instance, will produce 1.5 to 2 tons of grapes per acre in a season compared to the 4 or 5 tons young vines will yield in the same time span, according to Fortino.

"Still, the vines are also relatively resilient. Some 99 percent of them are dry farmed, meaning their root structure goes deep enough that they don’t need watering, said Besson, and they also collect most of their own nutrients.

"'The biggest problem with any grapes are mildew factors, so the vines have to be sprayed every 10 to 14 days with sulfur to keep them dry,' Besson said. 'Now you take leaf analysis, too, so you can see if they’re not getting something below and you can treat the soil.'

"To test the virtue of old vines for yourself, pick up a bottle of Guglielmo zinfandel, in which Guglielmo often uses a mix of old and new grapes for added flavor, or pick up a bottle of Fortino’s old-vine carignan, which just picked up a silver medal at the Los Angeles County Fair."


Fortino Winery website:
https://fortinowinery.com/

Guglielmo Winery website:
https://guglielmowinery.com/


Historic Vineyard Society "Besson Vineyard" profile:

- Grenache

- Zinfandel

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#262 Post by Drew Goin » December 2nd, 2020, 5:26 pm

Initially mentioned by Mr Wes Barton on this thread, and included in a limited capacity in my previous post on the Monte Bello area, the Picchetti Winery deserves a little more attention.

Clio: Your Guide to History
"Picchetti Brothers Winery and Ranch"

by Matthew Power's and Clio Admin
February 2, 2020


"...In the years following the Civil War, vinification served as Santa Clara County's principal economic driver with more than one hundred wineries in operation at the turn of the twentieth century. The Piccetti brothers, Secondo and Vincenso, were among the first settlers on a ridge they named 'Monte Bello', which means beautiful mountain. And, they were the first to plant grapes -- Zinfandel, Carignane and Petite Sirah -- on this ridge, which was to become one of Santa Clara County's important vineyard areas.

"The brothers started with 160 acres in 1880, but they expanded to 500 acres by 1904. They built the first house on the property around 1882, followed by a much larger residence in 1886. As well, after first selling their grapes to other winemakers, they built a winery on the property in 1896. The first bottles of wine created by the brothers' included the name 'Picchetti Bros.' on the label, which continued until 1963.

"...Although commercial wine production ceased in 1963, both homes, plus the stone winery, remained in Picchetti family until 1976 when much of the land was sold to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The prominent, nearby Ridge Vineyards took over the remaining vineyards and produced wine under the Ridge/Picchetti name. Later, the Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission funded the restoration of the winery building, which consequently allowed for new wine production (1982 - 1998) under the Sunrise Winery* label. Leslie Pantling took over the winery in 1998 and today produces roughly 9,000 cases per year under the 'Leslie's Estate' label."

The website for the "Picchetti Brothers Winery and Ranch" includes a map, video clips, sources for more information about the winery, etc.

* According to this article in the February 8, 1981, edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the Sunrise Winery operated on the grounds of the old Locatelli Winery. *EDIT* An interview from the Dr Bennion Trust website notes that Sunrise Winery moved to the old Picchetti Winery site in 1983. Nevermind [swoon.gif]

historic_1.jpg
Old Picchetti Winery - from Picchetti website

Picchetti Winery 2017 Zinfandel "Ancient Vine" Picchetti Estate

"This dry-farmed, gnarly, head-pruned ancient vine Zinfandel is a classic example of what low yields, quality fruit and minimum intervention in the winemaking process can accomplish.

"Planted in 1882, these vines were the very first to be cultivated on Montebello, and the Picchetti Brothers transitioned from grapes into orchard farming during the dark days of Prohibition (1920-1933), they chose to retain this small 1-acre parcel during Prohibition because of the consistently high quality of wine that it produced.

"The sensational 2017 vintage has a complex texture and savory mouthfeel with flavors of rhubarb, holiday spice and black cherry, and enticing aromas of white pepper, cedar, all spice and dried blueberry. This rich medium-to-full bodied wine possesses an attractive balance of restrained sweetness and harmonious acidity with polished tannins that will permit it to evolve in the bottle through 2030...".


Picchetti Winery website:
https://picchetti.com/

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#263 Post by Drew Goin » December 2nd, 2020, 7:50 pm

Appellation America
"Understanding the Terroir of the Santa Cruz Mountains: An interview with Fernwood Cellars' Matt Oetinger"

by Laura Ness
November 3, 2006


"Fernwood Cellars is located in Gilroy, the very southern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains wine-growing region, in an area more known for garlic than for wine. Still, this area has long been a renowned area for growing grapes.

"...Laura Ness (LN): How many acres of vineyards do you have planted and what varieties? You mentioned plans for expansion. What additional varieties do you plan to add?

"Matt Oetinger with wife Tiffany Oetinger (MO): 'On our estate vineyard, I have 4 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 2 acres of Zinfandel, and 2 acres of Syrah, along with about 1/2 acre Petite Verdot. I’d love to put in a little Grenache and maybe some more Zin.'

"LN: 'What drove the decision to plan the varieties you did? Were there any which didn’t meet with success?'

"MO: 'We planted our vineyard mainly by looking at what was growing successfully in the surrounding vineyards. We planted only small amounts of Syrah and Zin because we weren’t sure how they’d grow. All of the grapes which we have planted (in 1999) have garnered Gold medals, Best of Show, etc.'

"LN: 'Describe the characteristics of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Redwood Retreat vineyard.'

"MO: 'I feel that the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Redwood Retreat area is spicy and has great structure for ageability. It has a somewhat classic Bordeaux flavor profile, with earthiness and tannin, but still some briar fruit notes which will blend nicely with the aging and diminishing tannin profile, as time goes on.'

"LN: 'How would you compare Redwood Retreat Cab with Cab fruit from Bates Ranch?'

"MO: 'I think the only difference is the age of vine, giving the Bates ranch fruit a little more subtleness which lends itself to a silkier mouth feel.'..."


Read the rest of the interview at Appellation America:
http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine ... inger.html


Fernwood Cellars website:
https://www.fernwoodcellars.com/

Fernwood Cellars: "The History of Redwood Retreat"


In a 2019 interview with Matt and Tiffany Oetinger by Bev Stenehjem in GmToday.com, Matt stated, "...Coming out soon will be wine made from Carignan grapes that have been grown in a 130-year-old vineyard that we farm."

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#264 Post by Wes Barton » December 2nd, 2020, 10:53 pm

Btw, I heard recent hearsay that Ridge will be managing and taking the old Picchetti grapes again. No confirmation, but that would make sense. They made a major land swap with the open space, where never developed land is going to the district and former vineyard land is going to Ridge. Don't know the details, but just a fraction of what was planted up there before Prohibition is current vineyard.
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