Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Drew Goin
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#51 Post by Drew Goin » January 4th, 2018, 6:08 pm

I dug through the Wine Berserkers archives and discovered a history of the now-defunct Hecker Pass-area Mary Carter Vineyard, compliments of our own Tom Hill!

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=90554

The site, once used by David Bruce as his source of fruit for modern California's first varietally-labelled "Grenache". Its disappearance led Randall Graham, in the earliest days of Bonny Doon, to George Besson's nearby vineyard, which has continued to provide old-vine grapes for Grenache-based wines for operations like Birichino, A Tribute to Grace, and others.

http://www.birichino.com/index/#/besson/

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#52 Post by Drew Goin » January 5th, 2018, 2:07 pm

From a 1986 interview "The Evolution of a Santa Clara Valley Winery" with the Mirassou brothers:


"E.A. Mirassou: I have a list of principle grapes grown in the early 1930s.* In Santa Clara County it gives Alicante, Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mission, Grenache, Mataro , Sauvignon vert, Mourastel, Rio Nero - I don't know that one.

"Traminer, Burger, Palomino, Colombard, and Riesling. Those were said to be the main Santa Clara County grapes at that time.

"That Colombard is not the French Columbard that we speak of today. The other name for it was Sauvignon vert; that is the correct name for it , but it was called Colombard in those days. The Saint-Macaire is not on that list; it was never planted in great quantities in this area, but I know that it was in our vineyards here, and it was also in the vineyards of Schilling at that time, which was later the Cribari ranch.

*Typewritten list in the library of the Wine Institute, source not given but probably a state agency."




Norbert C. Mirassou and Edmund A. Mirassou, "The Evolution of a Santa Clara Valley Winery", 1986
Last edited by Drew Goin on April 10th, 2018, 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

Wes Barton
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#53 Post by Wes Barton » January 6th, 2018, 2:13 am

Drew Goin wrote:I dug through the Wine Berserkers archives and discovered a history of the now-defunct Hecker Pass-area Mary Carter Vineyard, compliments of our own Tom Hill!

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=90554

The site, once used by David Bruce as his source of fruit for modern California's first varietally-labelled "Grenache". Its disappearance led Randall Graham, in the earliest days of Bonny Doon, to George Besson's nearby vineyard, which has continued to provide old-vine grapes for Grenache-based wines for operations like Birichino, A Tribute to Grace, and others.

http://www.birichino.com/index/#/besson/
Tom was wrong about the Mary Carter Vineyard being ripped out. It's being restored, and was the source of the one-off Carignane from Left Bend. You might want to ask the folks at Bedrock about it...
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Morgan Twain-Peterson
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#54 Post by Morgan Twain-Peterson » January 6th, 2018, 5:26 am

Wes Barton wrote:
Drew Goin wrote:I dug through the Wine Berserkers archives and discovered a history of the now-defunct Hecker Pass-area Mary Carter Vineyard, compliments of our own Tom Hill!

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=90554

The site, once used by David Bruce as his source of fruit for modern California's first varietally-labelled "Grenache". Its disappearance led Randall Graham, in the earliest days of Bonny Doon, to George Besson's nearby vineyard, which has continued to provide old-vine grapes for Grenache-based wines for operations like Birichino, A Tribute to Grace, and others.

http://www.birichino.com/index/#/besson/
Tom was wrong about the Mary Carter Vineyard being ripped out. It's being restored, and was the source of the one-off Carignane from Left Bend. You might want to ask the folks at Bedrock about it...
We have been working with the Gregory family for three years now starting the process of restoring the beautifully situated vineyard off of Redwood Retreat Road. Unfortunately the blocks of Grenache are beyond restoring along with an older block that had some CS in it as well. That said, the Zinfandel and Carignan blocks are making huge strides and the wines from them are promising. Our first Heritage wine from the vineyard, a blend of the Zinfandel and Carignan and a few other interplanted varieties, will be released in the Spring as "Vineyard Under the Mountain Heritage Wine" (which is what the new owners want to call it). There is also a block of mixed Petite Sirah that still goes to Storrs Winery I believe.

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#55 Post by Wes Barton » January 6th, 2018, 5:06 pm

Great! I look forward to trying that. A '70 David Bruce Carignane from there was one of the best wines I had all year a few years ago. (Then, another bottle purchased on release and lovingly stored at an old DB tasting we did last year was awful.) I thought the Left Bend take was excellent, masterfully bastardized with 15% Syrah.

Isn't there some Black Muscat there, too?
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#56 Post by Drew Goin » January 6th, 2018, 5:32 pm

Wes Barton wrote:Great! I look forward to trying that. A '70 David Bruce Carignane from there was one of the best wines I had all year a few years ago. (Then, another bottle purchased on release and lovingly stored at an old DB tasting we did last year was awful.) I thought the Left Bend take was excellent, masterfully bastardized with 15% Syrah.

Isn't there some Black Muscat there, too?
A very positive Cellar Tracker note (by you, Wes?)of the 1970 David Bruce "Santa Clara" Carignan, along with my re-reading of Comiskey's American Rhône, led me to search for information on the Besson Vineyard.

The Wine Berserkers archive thread by Mr TomHill was fascinating. Though I have read many of the blog entries by Randall Graham, I had forgotten about the Mary Carter Vineyard completely. The site is mentioned in Mr Comiskey's book on page 71:

"...This is how, in 1969, Bruce bottled the first dry varietal Grenache table wine in the modern era, from a single vineyard of older vine fruit owned by Mary Carter in the Santa Clara Valley, planted by her father, and at least thirty years old."

I never knew that Phil Gregory's Under the Mountain Vineyard was the very same site! That's awesome! :)

Everything comes full circle...

In regards to the Muscat, Wes, Mr Gregory's original email stated:

"It may be of interest to you that we are 'clearing' a former block of Muscat that had been let go and returned to forest. The old vines have survived in spite of sharing the acreage with oak trees. Our intention is to clear the block by hand and bring the old Muscat vines into production."

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#57 Post by Drew Goin » January 6th, 2018, 5:37 pm

I am immensely grateful to you, Mr Morgan, for contributing to my little echo chamber. :)

I am always hopeful of input from experts and locals on the "Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Wine Heritage", "Contra Costa Wine Heritage", and "What, No Mourvedre Appreciation Delegation?" threads here on Wine Berserkers!!!

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#58 Post by Drew Goin » January 20th, 2018, 7:20 pm

I have been trying to find more information on the Enz Vineyard in San Benito County.

From Mr Ryan Stirm's website:

"...Enz vineyard, which sits in it’s own appellation called the Lime Kiln Valley. This appellation is defined by a warm to hot climate, similar to Wirz, but with less wind. The soils are comprised of deep granitic sand, that is very well drained and in places has limestone cobbles. The limestone from this area was once mined and used for a variety of industrial purposes, hence the 'lime kiln' reference. The vineyard was planted first in 1895, with additional blocks planted in 1922; it’s been dry-farmed it’s entire existence."

According to the STiRM Wine Company, the old blocks from the Enz Vineyard include: Mission, Mataro/Mourvedre, Carignan, Orange Muscat, Palomino, Alicante Bouschet, Zinfandel, Cabernet Pfeffer, and possibly others.

http://www.stirmwine.com/inventory/los- ... ilan-blanc

http://www.stirmwine.com/inventory/los- ... -campo-ros

I rediscovered the 1987 article below, highlighting the Enz Family's winery and vineyard. The piece makes me wonder why are a red and a white Zinfandel, a Pinot St George, a DRY Orange Muscat, and even Chardonnay and Sauv Blanc among the wines once bottled by the Enz Family, but no Mourvedre?

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-10-11/ ... n-bautista

• According to the Ser Winery website:

"Enz vineyard is located in Cienega Valley on the east side of the Gabilan Mountain Range. Soils are decomposed granite and limestone. The Mourvedre vines are ~100 years old, head trained, dry farmed. Cool climate for Mourvedre, the fruit typically ripens in the last week of October or early November."

http://www.serwinery.com/enz/

According to sales/tech sheets from Kenneth Volk Winery, the 7-acre Mourvedre plot was planted in 1992.

http://www.volkwines.com/trade/

How old are the Mourvedre vines at the Enz Vineyard? If the older interplanted blocks of the site include Mataro/Mourvedre, AND there are newer (1992) plantings of the grape, what vine material was chosen for the 7-acre addition?
Last edited by Drew Goin on January 21st, 2018, 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#59 Post by Drew Goin » January 20th, 2018, 7:53 pm

*Geographic Location of the Enz Vineyard in the Lime Kiln Valley AVA, San Benito County*
images.jpeg
Enz Vineyard
images.jpeg (17.86 KiB) Viewed 818 times

Details from a document permitting expansion of the Enz mining/quarry project:

The Enz Vineyard:

Owner/Applicant: The 2001 Enz Family Trust

Location: 1781 Limekiln Road, Hollister, CA 95023; Approximately
11 miles south of Hollister California, and 5 miles west of State
Route 25, in San Benito County.

"The appropriate map for determining the boundaries of the Lime Kiln Valley Viticultural area is: ‘Paicines Quadrangle, California,’ 1968, 7.5 minute series."[/u]

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... jqBAeaUvyd)

USGS Map Site for ‘‘Paicines Quadrangle, California,’’ 1968, 7.5 minute series:

http://servlet1.lib.berkeley.edu:8080/m ... 7.5-minute
Enz Vineyard Map Assessor Parcel.png
Enz Vineyard Parcel Map
Enz Vineyard Map Assessor Parcel.png (138.7 KiB) Viewed 818 times
The Enz Vineyard is located in the center-right parcel that is Tetris-shaped. Sorry for the poor image quality and tiny size. ;)

ATF/TTB Lime Kiln Valley AVA "Final Rule" Report:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... mgOHcl_ivH

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#60 Post by Drew Goin » January 23rd, 2018, 5:26 am

Here are a some older articles highlighting the wineries and growers of San Benito County:


San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
"World-Class California Wineries"
by Michael Albright
September 10, 2015




Napa Valley Register
"San Benito - California's Hidden Wine Region"
by Paul Franson
June 27, 2008




"San Benito County: Life After Almaden"
by Tim Patterson [downloads as PDF]
Last edited by Drew Goin on April 10th, 2018, 5:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#61 Post by Drew Goin » January 24th, 2018, 3:40 pm

From the Internet Archive website:

History and Biographical Record of Monterey and San Benito Counties : and History of the State of California : Containing Biographies of Well-Known Citizens of the Past and Present, Vol II* (1910)

by JM Guinn, AM
Secretary and late President of the Historical Society of Southern California
Member of the American Historical Association of Washington, D. C.


https://archive.org/stream/historybiogr ... n_djvu.txt

* I have not been able to locate the first volume of this work. :|

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#62 Post by Drew Goin » January 24th, 2018, 3:58 pm

Monterey County Local History Directory
of Archives and Resources
*

"A project of the Monterey County Historical Advisory Commission in conjunction with the Monterey Regional Collections Roundtable. Updated from the 2010 printed version to the online version in 2014. This directory lists local archives and local resources pertaining to Monterey County History."

https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/library/MCLHD.html

*Even though Monterey County is not Santa Clara or San Benito County, historically speaking, the history of Santa Clara County (in the least) is undeniably intertwined with that of Monterey County, as the two were once part of the same political entity.

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#63 Post by Drew Goin » January 24th, 2018, 4:34 pm

Map of the Santa Clara County Ranchos

Map-Santa Clara County Ranchos-full-size.jpg
Ranchos of Santa Clara County
Map-Santa Clara County Ranchos-full-size.jpg (41.29 KiB) Viewed 770 times
http://www.losaltoshillshistory.org

Full size map available via:
http://www.pinsdaddy.com/biographical-l ... s9PrMJSdQ/

Historical Map of Santa Clara County:
CASA0020A.jpg
Historical Map of Santa Clara County, CA
CASA0020A.jpg (77.37 KiB) Viewed 770 times
https://www.mapsofthepast.com/mm5/graph ... A0020A.jpg

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#64 Post by Drew Goin » January 24th, 2018, 7:25 pm

From the "Wayward Tendrils" viticultural history website:

"A History of the San Francisco Viticultural District": (Alameda, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties).
332pp, 31 illustrations [PDF file download]

This file is a very comprehensive look at the wine growing/making history of a large part of the state of California, including tables, photos, etc.

http://www.waywardtendrils.com/download ... ories.html

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#65 Post by Drew Goin » February 5th, 2018, 7:57 pm

From Mr Ryan Stirm's "Spring 2017" Newsletter for STiRM:
d84fe48c-32d0-454b-9b54-6c3a2671d552.jpg
Old field blend of the Enz Vineyard
d84fe48c-32d0-454b-9b54-6c3a2671d552.jpg (43.56 KiB) Viewed 746 times
"The Enz Vineyard's mixed Mataro block, planted 1922, flanked by the Gabilan Mtns."


From an email Mr Stirm sent me...

"Original planting was 4 1/2 acre blocks, two are Zinfandel (with Muscat, Mission/Rosa del Peru, other table grapes) and the Cabernet Pfeffer (another story on it's own, with 4 varietals out there) planted in 1895. Those blocks still exist, and make excellent wine (I took all of it in 2016). The Old vine mataro was planted in 1922. It was originally a field blend of everything out there, Mataro, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Mission, Muscat, Palomino, Zinfandel, and a few others. A lot of those vines we're then grafted to the Mataro about 20-30 years ago, hence the Ken Volk story*. The vines are guaranteed old as s***, no doubt. The Sauvignon Blanc out there was planted in 1967 or so, and grafted to Pinot Noir about 20 years ago as well. The SB is probably way better suited to that climate than Pinot, for sure.

"The new plantings (less than 30) are Zin and more pfeffer. As far as I know, the Enz family just purchased Chardonnay from neighbors, not very close to the Lime Kiln Valley. They've never had Chard out there."


* Ken Volk oversaw the planting of a separate plot of Mourvedre/Mataro on the Enz Vineyard in 1992.

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#66 Post by Drew Goin » February 5th, 2018, 8:02 pm

From the STiRM Winery website:
Wirz+Vineyard.jpeg
Wirz Vineyard
Wirz+Vineyard.jpeg (44.67 KiB) Viewed 745 times
"Wirz Vineyard looking South towards the head-trained old-vine Riesling during spring before budbreak"


"Farmed by Pat Wirz, this old-vine, dry-farmed vineyard was planted in 1965 on its own roots. It's located at about 1000' in the Gabilan Mountains about twenty miles north of the Pinnacles National Monument in the Cienega Valley AVA (San Benito County). Although it lies only twenty five miles east of the cold waters of the Monterey Bay, the coastal influence is dampened by the mountain topography and geology surrounding this site. The San Andreas fault runs through the property highlighting the convergence of two giant tectonic plates. Granite and limestone are the dominant geologic influence here. As these rocks eroded over the eons, they weathered into very deep sandy loam (Salinian granite) and clay loam (limestone) with plenty of fist-sized granite and limestone cobbles remaining. The rocky, nutrient poor soil forces the roots to grow deep in search of water and minerals. These old vines ripen late and are extremely low-yielding, around 1 ton/acre annually."

http://www.stirmwine.com/vineyards/

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#67 Post by Drew Goin » February 5th, 2018, 8:13 pm

From the Big Basin website:
wirz-2.jpg
Wirz Vineyard - Big Basin image
wirz-2.jpg (39.47 KiB) Viewed 745 times
"Wirz Vineyard is located on the north eastern side of the Gabilan Mountains in the Cienega Valley. The old head-trained vines are dry farmed with organic farming practices."

Data on the Wirz Vineyard (also from Big Basin):

• Planted: 1904 to 1952
• Hillside Mourvedre: planted 1904
• Carignan: planted in the 1930s
• Zinfandel: planted in the 1930s
• Riesling: planted in 1952
• Elevation: 1094 feet
• Exposure: East and relatively flat
• Spacing: Varies; approximately 8 x 8
• Soil: decomposed granite and limestone
wirz-1.jpg
Wirz Vineyard - Big Basin image (also)
wirz-1.jpg (51.89 KiB) Viewed 745 times
https://www.bigbasinvineyards.com/viney ... z-vineyard

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#68 Post by Sean Devaney » February 6th, 2018, 11:04 am

Thanks for all the research Drew! Love this thread.

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#69 Post by Drew Goin » February 6th, 2018, 11:52 pm

From the "Michael Short Photography" Blog:

"Wirz Vineyards Harvest"
February 25, 2015

"Covered a harvest of Riesling grapes hand picked from dry-farmed, head trained vines at Wirz Vineyards in Hollister, California back in October. These folks worked fast fast fast."
Attachments
wine_harvest_26.jpg
Bedrock? Wirz Vineyard Harvest 3 @ M Short Photography
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wine_harvest_03.jpg
Wirz Vineyard Harvest 2 @ M Short Photography
wine_harvest_03.jpg (17.49 KiB) Viewed 723 times
wine_harvest_04.jpg
Wirz Vineyard Harvest 1 @ M Short Photography
wine_harvest_04.jpg (28.93 KiB) Viewed 723 times

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#70 Post by Drew Goin » February 7th, 2018, 12:12 am

From the "Michael Short Photography" Blog:

"Wirz Vineyards Harvest" part 2
February 25, 2015
wine_harvest_11.jpg
Wirz Vineyard Harvest 4 @ M Short Photography
wine_harvest_11.jpg (33.1 KiB) Viewed 722 times
If the harvest photographs were taken the previous harvest, then this appears to be the 2014 Riesling pick for Bedrock Wine Company.
wine_harvest_25.jpg
Wirz Vineyard Harvest 5 @ M Short Photography
wine_harvest_25.jpg (37.18 KiB) Viewed 722 times
wine_harvest_12.jpg
Wirz Vineyard Harvest 6 @ M Short Photography
wine_harvest_12.jpg (35.16 KiB) Viewed 722 times
https://mshortphotography.wordpress.com ... s-harvest/

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#71 Post by Drew Goin » February 7th, 2018, 6:07 am

The DeRose Winery website says this about the estate vineyard:

"DeRose has 100 acres of vineyards including 40 planted before 1900. All of the old vines are dry-farmed in deep sandy-loam soils on terraced hillsides. Situated directly above the San Andreas Fault, they lie in one of the world’s most active earthquake areas.

"Both sides of the infamous fault are under cultivation. Soils east of the fault line contain fragmented granite and crumbled sandstone, while those west of the fissure are mostly granite and limestone. Relatively young in geologic time, these soils contain very little clay and are absent of unwanted hardpan layers, promoting thorough drainage. They are a wonderful medium for growing ripe, well-balanced grapes.

vineyards_2.jpg
DeRose Vineyard
vineyards_2.jpg (13.31 KiB) Viewed 714 times
Principal Grape Varieties

"Zinfandel
The 15 acres of zinfandel vines were originally planted on their own roots in the late 1890s. They grow in an assortment of soil types including a rocky mixture created by the San Andreas Fault and a fine sandy-loam that contains fist-size chunks of dolomite. This brilliant white mineral is mostly calcium, an essential element found in all great vineyards. Head trained and spur pruned, the dry-farmed vines yield only three-quarters of a ton per acre.

"Negrette
DeRose has a handful of 'old-vine' varieties, but none is more exotic than the 115-year-old negrette. These vines are even rare in their native land of France where records show less than 100 acres planted in the Toulouse region on the Garonne River. Adding to the mystique, the variety was called pinot St. George until the BATF changed its name effective with the 1997 vintage. Ten acres of negrette are planted in gray clay-loam soils that contain large chunks of dolomite. The dry-farmed vines, head trained and spur pruned, grow on their own roots and yield about one-half tons per acre.

"Viognier
The three acres of viognier were planted before 1900. These ancient vines are dry-farmed in deep sandy-loam soils on terraced hillsides. Now on bilateral trellising, they produce wines with enormous concentration and viscosity. Annual yields are less than two tons per acre.

"Cabernet Franc
A temperamental grape variety in many locations, cabernet franc thrives on the DeRose estate, creating heavily extracted wines with wonderful viscosity. The 15-year-old vines grow east of the fault line in loosely packed loam where the drainage is excellent. Trained on bilateral trellising, the six acres of cabernet franc average 3.5 tons per acre."


http://derosewine.com/about-us/vineyards/
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DeRose Vineyard Hillside
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#72 Post by Sean Devaney » February 8th, 2018, 9:31 am

One clarification on the DeRose Vio. The vines were planted before 1900 but the Vio was grafted onto the vines recently. Tom Hill posted about this a while ago.

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#73 Post by Drew Goin » February 8th, 2018, 11:16 pm

Sean Devaney wrote:One clarification on the DeRose Vio. The vines were planted before 1900 but the Vio was grafted onto the vines recently. Tom Hill posted about this a while ago.
Thanks, Sean! That was floating around in the back of my head when I posted it.

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#74 Post by Drew Goin » February 8th, 2018, 11:25 pm

Something exciting is just around the corner from the Santa Clara Wine folks!

"Thank you for you email to the Wineries of Santa Clara Valley. I'm the new marketing manager and one of the items I need to create is a varietal list of all our wineries.

"...Please check back in another 3 months and we should have it up on the santaclarawines.com site.


Thank you,
Stacy Giannini

http://creativefools.com/#/
https://www.facebook.com/CreativeFools
https://instagram.com/one_creative_fool


In the first quarter of 2018, "Wines of Santa Clara Valley" should provide a roster of wineries along with the variety/varieties produced!

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#75 Post by Drew Goin » February 14th, 2018, 6:39 am

I recently received an email from Mr Phil Gregory, whose "Vineyard Under the Mountain" site on Redwood Retreat Road in Santa Clara County is currently on offer from Bedrock Wine Company:

"Drew,

"I’m grateful to have received your email. And yes we are excited and joyful about Morgan’s announcement (Bedrock’s announcement).

"Our family bought Under the Mountain in early 2013 (renamed of course by our family). Seth (my son and copied on this email) has made a tremendous effort to 'recover' the remaining vineyard, all of which was either poorly cared for or, in some instances, returning to forest.

"To answer your question our vineyard contains blocks of mostly Zinfandel, Carignane, and Petite Sirah, Within those blocks we have several varietals interspersed such as Grenache and Alicante Bouschet. We even have a scattered handful of old white vines we have not been able to identify.

"Additionally, Seth is taking back a small block from the forest (which requires taking out trees, brush, and digging out stumps. All by hand). That particular block is Muscat and Palomino.

"In total the vineyard covers about 15 acres with much of it surrounded by forest. In our opinion, it’s a beautiful setting. Additionally, the weather/climate is absolutely affected by Mount Madonna which is just west of the property. And makes the Redwood Retreat area entirely unique within the larger Santa Clara Valley appellation. Hence the name of the vineyard.

"In order to further your work, we would love to show you the property and discuss both the vineyard and the larger surrounding area. Additionally, we have involved ourselves in quite a lot of investigation into the history of both our property and the surrounding area (with a view towards creating an Under the Mountain website) and would love to compare notes and knowledge with you."

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#76 Post by Drew Goin » February 20th, 2018, 8:56 am

Wines and Vines of California: A Treatise on the Ethics of Wine-Drinking (1889) by Ms Frona Eunice Wait features a good amount of detail on the grapes, wineries, etc, that were in fashion during her time. Chapter 12 highlights the "Other Wine-Making Counties", beginning with Santa Clara County.

I strongly recommend this book, as it is free to peruse online and offers information that I have not seen anywhere else! :)

https://books.google.com/books?id=sbg6A ... ra&f=false

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#77 Post by Drew Goin » February 24th, 2018, 6:09 am

History of Santa Clara County, California
by Eugene T Sawyer (1922)

Upon performing several text searches in this book, I am slightly disheartened by the lack of information on the early importation of grapevine cuttings and specific details of varieties grown and the locations of vineyards.

________________________________________________________________


The following "For the Love of Apricots" blog entry celebrates (or, rather, laments) the old agricultural heritage of Santa Clara's "Valley of Heart's Desire" with a quote from author Wallace Stegner:

"Silicon Valley is probably good. The Valley of Heart’s Delight was a glory. We should have found ways of keeping one from destroying the other.“

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Valley of Heart's Delight
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Guglielmo Vineyard
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Edible Silicon Valley
"Aging to Perfection: Tasting History of the Region"
by Peg Champion
June 28, 2017

I strongly recommend fans of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara wines read this then-and-now article.

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Charles LeFranc Wine Label
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Last edited by Drew Goin on April 10th, 2018, 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#78 Post by Drew Goin » February 24th, 2018, 7:13 am

I found a UC Santa Cruz Library map resource for Santa Clara County.

1939-E Santa Clara County Flight CIV Topographic Index 1

1939-E Santa Clara County Flight CIV Topographic Index 2

If a viewer of either of the ↑↑↑ above maps ↑↑↑ identifies a parcel that one wishes to see up-close from 1939 aerial photo maps, select the match on the following webpage.

Additional years' aerial photos, standard maps etc are also available below:

More Digitized Maps

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#79 Post by Drew Goin » February 24th, 2018, 7:24 am

Though I have cited this website before, I must stress the overall value of its content to those interested in the history of winemaking in the Santa Clara area.

Evergreen Mural Walk website
"Through the Grapevine – Pellier Contributions"
May 5, 2016

http://www.evergreenmuralwalk.com/2016/ ... ributions/
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Evergreen Map
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"Redundant Theme – Evergreen’s Vineyards"
May 6, 2016

http://www.evergreenmuralwalk.com/2016/ ... vineyards/
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Cribari Label
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#80 Post by Matt Wood » February 24th, 2018, 8:03 am

Thanks for posting these Drew. I'll have to look through them.
My family ranched in San Jose since the early part of the 1900's, First in the (what is now) King and Story road area and then later in the south San Jose area. (About where "Southern Pacific" is in the "Edenvale" area on your post 63 map. I think our story is similar to many that were from that area. My grandparents and great Aunt and Uncles owned a ranch of mostly fruit trees that they sold in the mid 80s. With the development of San Jose and it turning from "The Valley of Hearts Delight" into "Silicon Valley" it pushed many ranching families out. At least in my families case eminent domain cut land holdings in such a way as to make it impossible to farm and make a living. Land was taken to build highway 101 (one of the major n/s freeways in CA) that just about cut the property in half and other small pieces were nibbled up by it also. It made more sense to sell while you had something to sell than to wait for it to be taken piecemeal and get pennies on the dollar for the land. I'm sure other families had similar experiences and others had their own unique ones. It seems now most of the things in San Jose are named for what used to be there.

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#81 Post by Drew Goin » March 7th, 2018, 12:37 pm

STiRM Winery's Spring 2018 Newsletter Offer:

"The trio of red wines available are all within twenty miles (as the crow flies) to the winery. They are a study in mountain reds; the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Gabilan Mountains. The wines are starkly different; the Santa Cruz defined by a cool, coastal influence with dense second-growth redwood trees; the Gabilan Mountains are defined by it's geology-limestone and granite, and a much more arid landscape; think chamise and sagebrush. Two miles north, is where the Wirz vineyard is planted. This is the land of ancient vines.

"Although not named, all of the red wines come from single vineyard sites. Both the Zinfandel and Cabernet Pfeffer we're planted in 1895, and are very old-school. Head-trained, bush vines, and interplanted with a smattering of other old gems including Orange Muscat, Mission/Rosa del Perú (Zinfandel) and Trousseau, Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Pfeffer). The Pinot Noir comes from a steep, two acre site in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains."

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Cab Pfeffer Vines
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"Well, since I'm neither a grape amphelographer, nor a geneticist, I can give you the old-timers story. Supposedly it's a cross between Trousseau and Cabernet Sauvignon done by William Pfeffer, in the nearby Santa Clara Valley in the late 1800's. The only DNA profiling done names it Gros Verdot (Mourtaou is another synonym), which is an ancient Bordeaux variety not grown really anywhere else on the planet but the Cienega Valley. Since we don't want the entire world to know of it's existence, I'll let you figure out the rest."

Current Wines:


2016 Wirz Vineyard Riesling: The grapes were picked by hand and clusters infected with noble rot were retained, about 1% botrytis. At the winery the grapes were given 24 hours of whole cluster maceration to extract tannins, aroma, and flavor compounds in the skins, followed by pressing the grapes. No sulfur was added to allow the juice to oxidize. After a 36 hour cold settle in tank, the clean juice was racked off the solids to another tank for spontaneous fermentation. The wine was sulfured post completion of secondary fermentation with elevage in tank on fine lees. Racked off fine lees a month prior to bottling. Unfined and unfiltered. The only addition we ever use is sulfur. Bottled June 27th, 2017. 117 cases produced.

Wine Stats
Brix at harvest: 21.1
Titratable Acidity: 6.5 g/L
pH: 3.25
Residual Sugar: 0.6 g/L
Alcohol: 12.7%


2016 Cienega Valley Zinfandel: The grapes were picked by hand, sorted in the field. At the winery the grapes were hand sorted into a 1 ton fermenter, without destemming. About 5% of each Orange Muscat and Mission grapes were picked with the Zinfandel (field blend). Pumped over once daily, pressed after a 10 day fermentation. Elevage in old (10 years) barriques for 18 months. Racked to stainless just before bottling. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled February 19th, 2018. 33 cases produced.

Wine Stats
Brix at harvest: 24.5
Titratable Acidity: 6.1 g/L
pH: 3.75
Residual Sugar: 0.0 g/L
Alcohol: 14.5%


2016 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir: The grapes were picked by hand, sorted in the field. At the winery the grapes were hand sorted into a 1 ton fermenter, without destemming. Pumped over once daily, pressed after a 9 day fermentation. Elevage in old (10 years) puncheons for 18 months. Racked to stainless just before bottling. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled February 19th, 2018. 70 cases produced.

Wine Stats
Brix at harvest: 22.0
Titratable Acidity: 6.8 g/L
pH: 3.81
Residual Sugar: 0.0 g/L
Alcohol: 12.5%


2017 Lime Kiln Valley Cabernet Pfeffer: The grapes were picked by hand, sorted in the field. At the winery the grapes were hand sorted into a 2 ton fermenters, one 100% whole cluster, one 100% destemmed. Pumped over once daily, pressed after a 10 day fermentation. Elevage in old (10 years) barriques for 18 months. Racked to stainless just before bottling. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled February 19th, 2018. 120 cases produced.

Wine Stats
Brix at harvest: 23.2
Titratable Acidity: 6.0 g/L
pH: 3.72
Residual Sugar: 0.0 g/L
Alcohol: 13.5%

Cienega Valley - Vintage Summary:

"The 2016 growing season was characterized by better than average winter rainfall returning to the Cienega Valley, because of the persistent El Nino conditions. This resulted in a recovery year for the vines, with stronger growth, but no yield increase. Cool nights were the norm throughout August, with a heat spike in early September to finish off ripening. The grapes were harvested on September 10th."

Santa Cruz Mountains - Vintage Summary:

"The 2016 growing season was characterized by better than average winter rainfall returning to the Santa Cruz Mountains (over 40” in parts) because of the persistent El Nino conditions. Even though rainfall was abundant, yields were kept in check by the cool spring flowering conditions. Cool nights were the norm throughout August, and allowed the grapes to ripen slowly. The grapes were harvested on a foggy morning of September 12th."

STiRM Wine Company website

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#82 Post by Drew Goin » March 7th, 2018, 1:03 pm

Matt Wood wrote:My family ranched in San Jose since the early part of the 1900's, First in the (what is now) King and Story road area and then later in the south San Jose area. (About where "Southern Pacific" is in the "Edenvale" area on your post 63 map. I think our story is similar to many that were from that area. My grandparents and great Aunt and Uncles owned a ranch of mostly fruit trees that they sold in the mid 80s. With the development of San Jose and it turning from "The Valley of Hearts Delight" into "Silicon Valley" it pushed many ranching families out. At least in my families case eminent domain cut land holdings in such a way as to make it impossible to farm and make a living. Land was taken to build highway 101 (one of the major n/s freeways in CA) that just about cut the property in half and other small pieces were nibbled up by it also. It made more sense to sell while you had something to sell than to wait for it to be taken piecemeal and get pennies on the dollar for the land. I'm sure other families had similar experiences and others had their own unique ones. It seems now most of the things in San Jose are named for what used to be there.
Thanks for sharing your personal connection (very poetically, yet concise, I might add!) with the changes in the Santa Clara area, Matt!


It truly is a sad pattern in modern Californian history. The very events you related are still occurring in places across the state.

Think of the century-old vineyards of Oakley that have been uprooted and replaced with housing divisions with names evoking the very things destroyed to make way for East Bay commuters.


What might be the icing on the cake is the fact that some folks are decorating their yards with ornamental grapevines.

To celebrate the heritage of the region by making use of newly planted vines is certainly a different matter, however...

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#83 Post by Matt Wood » March 7th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Sure thing Drew. I think there were many other families with stories similar to mine. I was too young to know the nuts and bolts but that story is what I picked up from my parents and grandparents and all the other old timers that my grandparents knew.

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#84 Post by Drew Goin » March 8th, 2018, 6:08 pm

Matt Wood wrote:Sure thing Drew. I think there were many other families with stories similar to mine. I was too young to know the nuts and bolts but that story is what I picked up from my parents and grandparents and all the other old timers that my grandparents knew.
Matt, I do my best to share historically significant links on this thread, but there's a decent amount of additional information out there on the internets.

Plus, I would strongly recommend that you check out some of the wine-centered books. Bev Stenehjem's Images of America: Wineries of Santa Clara Valley as well as Mr Charles Sullivan's Like Modern Edens: Winegrowing in Santa Clara Valley & Santa Cruz Mountains, 1798-1981. I enjoyed both books tremendously. Each has played a large part in building my enthusiasm for additional information on the current growers and vintners of this area and beyond.

If you are more fascinated by the general history of the region, the Evergreen Mural Walk website is priceless. The Internet Archive has contemporary pieces on San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

As I do not live anywhere near California, my attempts at sharing the viticultural heritage of specific regions in the area are not going to be as comprehensive as the efforts of locals. :)

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#85 Post by Drew Goin » March 15th, 2018, 11:59 am

I found this website last night. The following section of the site, from a 1955 digest, covers Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, & San Luis Obispo Counties.

Old & Sold - "Notable Wineries By District And Region"
(from 1955)



Part 1: "SANTA CLARA-SANTA CRUZ AND CENTRAL COASTAL DISTRICT"

Part 2: "SANTA CLARA COUNTY SANTA CLARA VALLEY-LOS GATOS-SARATOGA AREA"

• Almaden Vineyards, Los Gatos

• Lone Hill Vineyards, Los Gatos

• Novitiate of Los Gatos, Los Gatos

• Paul Masson Vineyards, Saratoga

• Martin Ray, Inc., Saratoga

Part 3: "SANTA CLARA COUNTY SANTA CLARA VALLEY-EVERGREEN AREA"

• Mirassou Vineyards, San Jose

Part 4: "SANTA CLARA COUNTY-LOWER SANTA CLARA VALLEY"

• Richert & Sons, Madrone

• San Martin Vineyards Company, San Martin

• Bertero Winery, Gilroy (Hecker Pass)

• Bonesio Brothers, Gilroy (Uvas district)

Part 5: "SANTA CRUZ COUNTY"

• Hallcrest Vineyard, Felton

• Bargetto's Santa Cruz Winery, Sequel

Part 6: "SAN BENITO COUNTY"

• Valliant Vineyards, Hollister

Part 7: "MONTEREY COUNTY"

• F. W. Silvear, Soledad

Part 8: "SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY"

• York Brothers, Templeton

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#86 Post by Drew Goin » March 15th, 2018, 2:29 pm

Old Images, Postcards, etc, of Santa Clara:

Santa Clara Valley
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Santa Clara Valley
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Novitiate of Los Gatos
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Novitiate of Los Gatos
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City Limits of San Jose
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City Limits of San Jose
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Valley of Heart's Desire
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Valley of Heart's Desire
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#87 Post by Drew Goin » March 15th, 2018, 3:06 pm

University of Texas Libraries
"Perry-Castañeda" Library
Map Collection

California Topographic Maps

"All maps on this page were published by the U.S. Geological Survey and are in the public domain. The date given for each map is the date of latest survey. More information about these maps is available on the Topographic Maps Home Page."

Click HERE for the 1926 California Topo Map Index.

Click HERE for the 1917 San Benito County Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1939 San Benito County Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1895 San Jose Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1895 Mt Hamilton Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1918 Gilroy Hot Springs Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1919 Hollister Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1915 Morgan Hill Topo Map.

Click HERE for the 1916 New Almaden Topo Map.

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#88 Post by Drew Goin » March 21st, 2018, 9:15 am

Congratulations to fellow Berserker Ian Brand on his Le P'tit Paysan 2016 "Le P'tit Pape" earning 91 points and top value recommendation in the latest Wine Spectator's "California Rhône-style Wines"!!!

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WS Value US Rhônes
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#89 Post by Drew Goin » March 29th, 2018, 11:06 am

There are some Santa Clara & San Benito Mourvèdre wines that I have been interested in tasting that have eluded me so far. Here are a couple:

Woodside Vineyards "AutoVino" Santa Clara County Mourvèdre

"Mourvèdre, with its deep, rich, fresh, spicy character is the perfect wine when paired with slow braised, stewed meats, lamb, grilled meats, veal, duck, pork and beef. With its fresh spicy character, Mourvedre works well with a wide variety of different hard and soft cheeses.

Bottled......................................50 cases
Acid...........................................0.61g/100ml
pH..............................................3.36
Alcohol......................................13.9%"
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Woodside Vineyards logo
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The Woodside Vineyards winery is a new one for me, brought to my attention by Wine Berserkers' own Wes Barton.

The Santa Clara Valley used to produce a good amount of Mourvèdre but, as is the case with most of the vineyard land in the area, its presence is a fraction of what it once was.


I. Brand & Family "Enz Vineyard" Lime Kiln Valley "Old Vine" Mourvèdre

Reviews of fellow Wine Berserker Ian Brand's wines (sourced from throughout the Central Coast), have garnered praise in various magazines and websites.
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I Brand & Family Enz Mourvèdre
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Coeur Wine Company Information:
I. Brand & Family 2015 "Enz Vineyard" Lime Kiln Valley Old Vine Mourvèdre

"The Mourvedre block at Enz is just under 8 acres and was planted in the 1920s. It’s a dry-farmed 8 acre block consisting mostly of Mourvedre but also Pais, Carignan, Muscat, Alicante Bouschet on 10 x 10 spacing. Vineyard is at southern base of Mt. Harlan on a 5% incline on north facing slope. Soils are granitic sand with significant limestone and dolomite deposits. The Mourvedre is an isolated genetic line from what’s commonly available in California- the budwood was sourced from original planting in Lime Kiln Valley and brought over from an immigrant from Southern France. Spontaneous fermentation with 50% whole-cluster with stems, other 50% whole berry. Aged in 3 neutral barriques and 1 new lightly toasted 500 L puncheon. The portion that went into new puncheon spent 3 months before returning to barriques. 11 months total spent in barrel. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled and aged 9 months in bottle before release. 94 cs produced."

Grapelive Tasting Note 4/22/2017
"Wine of the Day: 2015 I. Brand & Family, Mourvedre Old Vine 'Enz Vineyard' Lime Kiln Valley, San Benito County

"Ian Brand has made a gorgeous old world style wine from the little known Lime Kiln Valley from old vine Mourvedre that rivals many a Bandol, while Brand may not be a household name yet, he is one of Monterey’s most talented winemakers, crafting his Le P’Tit Paysan and La Marea wines as well as his signature I. Brand & Family offerings. His Enz Vineyard Old Vine Mourvedre is deeply colored with a dark garnet/purple hue that starts with a bouquet of flowers, spice and earth with intriguing violets and bramble berry leading to a palate of rich fruit, leather, peppercorns, loam and seductive meatiness. Layers of dusty boysenberry, wild plum, tart currant and baked cherry flow seamlessly in a dense mouth feel that is held together with ripe tannins and the savory raciness making for a serious wine that reminds me somewhat of Bedrock’s Heritage or Bonny Doon’s mid nineties Old Telegram and a bit like a Cornas too, though with the old school charm of a classic Bandol without the stinky brett, this is impressive stuff that is what is now commonly called 'The New California' it’s a wine that reflects the best of what it’s own terroir is as well as paying homage to it’s historical cousins of the old world in a balanced fashion...."

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#90 Post by Wes Barton » March 29th, 2018, 2:10 pm

Woodside Vineyards was founded around preserving Emmett Rixford's old La Questa Vineyard ([re]planted to cuttings from Chateau Margaux) around 1961. The Rixford wines were very well regarded, winning international acclaim and commanding exorbitant prices, akin to Paul Masson Champagne. His sons revived the label post-Prohibition. Martin Ray restored the vineyard and sourced from there while his vines (from La Questa cuttings) matured at his Mount Eden Vineyard.

If you look at various national publications through maybe the mid-'80s you'll see Woodside well-regarded. But, the town had their production capped. They hit a point where all their wine sold out locally, so they disappeared from distribution and much attention. They've concentrated on various home vineyards within the town, which they manage, some quite old vines, much more planted in the '60s to '80s, which they can call estate. With the help of an investor they were able to move out of town to neighboring Menlo Park, enabling them to increase production. But, this seems to have just meant they've increased their local sales, with an odd business model that brings in more loyal customers.

Haven't visited in a few years. Hadn't heard they were doing a Moo.

As an aside, their winemaker, Brian Caseldon, planted the first Rhys vineyards.
ITB - Useless lackey

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#91 Post by Drew Goin » March 31st, 2018, 3:23 am

Wes Barton wrote:Woodside Vineyards was founded around preserving Emmett Rixford's old La Questa Vineyard ([re]planted to cuttings from Chateau Margaux) around 1961. The Rixford wines were very well regarded, winning international acclaim and commanding exorbitant prices, akin to Paul Masson Champagne. His sons revived the label post-Prohibition. Martin Ray restored the vineyard and sourced from there while his vines (from La Questa cuttings) matured at his Mount Eden Vineyard.

If you look at various national publications through maybe the mid-'80s you'll see Woodside well-regarded. But, the town had their production capped. They hit a point where all their wine sold out locally, so they disappeared from distribution and much attention. They've concentrated on various home vineyards within the town, which they manage, some quite old vines, much more planted in the '60s to '80s, which they can call estate. With the help of an investor they were able to move out of town to neighboring Menlo Park, enabling them to increase production. But, this seems to have just meant they've increased their local sales, with an odd business model that brings in more loyal customers.

Haven't visited in a few years. Hadn't heard they were doing a Moo.

As an aside, their winemaker, Brian Caseldon, planted the first Rhys vineyards.
Wow! :o

Thanks for all the details, Wes!

Please do feel free to post more information on this thread!!!

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#92 Post by Sean Devaney » March 31st, 2018, 10:22 am

Thank you Drew for this and your other historical threads.
[worship.gif] [worship.gif] [worship.gif]

I just wish I had more time to read all the links you've posted.

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#93 Post by Drew Goin » March 31st, 2018, 10:33 am

Thank you. I try!

I only have the internet as my source, as well as the occasional response via email to questions.

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#94 Post by Drew Goin » March 31st, 2018, 10:42 am

San Benito County vintage report for 2016:

San Benito
"Crop Report: A Rich Bounty"
By Hollister Free Lance
September 28, 2017

"Wine grapes had a tremendous year, with a 69 percent increase in value over 2015.

"Pat Wirz, who owns a 65-acre vineyard in the Cienega Valley, said the year’s bumper crop is because of good rainfall.

“'Your crop is made the year before, when the little bunches bloom and the buds are mature for the following year. And we had two pretty good rain years. For the first time in four or five years the quality looks good,' he said.

"The moist air does pose its own set of challenges, however.

“'Most vineyards had a little more mildew pressure, but we were able to keep it under control,' said Wirz."

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#95 Post by Drew Goin » March 31st, 2018, 10:45 pm

Wine Enthusiast magazine
"The Truth About California’s Oldest Vines"
by Matt Kettman
April 16, 2015


"...The Uvas Creek region between Morgan Hill and Gilroy, for instance, is experiencing resurgence with a number of wineries open for tasting along Watsonville Road, where Mission grapes were initially planted by Spanish friars long ago.

"This is a great place to find tastes of old vine Charbono and Carignan, although there’s quite a variance in quality. I’ve recently enjoyed bottlings of these grapes from Aver Family, Fortino and, down the road on Hecker Pass, Sarah’s Vineyard.

mk-400x250.jpg
Old Vines
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"Perhaps most promising, however, is that the next generation of winemakers is embracing these old vines. Such is the case with Birichino, a brand started in 2008 by Alex Krause and John Locke, who both worked for Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon Vineyard.

"Using grapes mostly from 19th- and early 20th-century vineyards, they produce incredibly intriguing wines, often rather light and elegant, which goes against the usual belief that old vines equal rich fruit bombs. I’ve liked the Zinfandel from St. Georges Vineyard, which was planted by a bootlegger in 1922, and thought that the Grenache from the Besson Vineyard, planted in 1910, was quite intriguing.

"...'I consider us very lucky to be able to work with these old sites, and also consider it an obligation to ensure that they remain viable and valued for the next generations of winemakers that will follow,' says Krause."
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#96 Post by Drew Goin » April 1st, 2018, 3:18 pm

In my search for the extant old-vine grape-growing sites in Santa Clara Valley, as well as the Cienega Valley of San Benito County, I have been reaching out to current and former producers of Carignan and/or Mourvèdre wines.



I received a rapid email response from JP and Kristine at River Run Wines today, who once offered a Carignan from the Santa Clara Valley:


"Hello: I don't grow grapes but appreciate good Carignane and Mouvedre. I made 'Wirz' Carignane for about 10 years for my Rhone blend. I vineyard designated the '96 and it got best red wine in Los Angles. The judges ordered 6 cases, remarking that finally someone made vineyard designate. It took over 2 years to sell the 150 cases at $11. Nobody would believe Carignane could be a great wine. So good on you and drink up.

"As far I remember there is an OLD Carignane vyd of some acres aproximately 4 miles east of 101 in Gilroy on 10th. Some old chicken sheds. Good luck. JP"


http://www.riverrunwines.com/

River Run Wines
65 Rogge Ln
Watsonville, CA
95076


Any guidance from fellow Wine Berserkers on other wineries to contact would be greatly appreciated!!! :)

________________________________________________________________

EDIT: I found the River Run notes for its 2009 "Wirz Vineyard" Carignan Rosé:

"Wirz Vineyard Carignane was planted 90 years ago on its own rootstock. Dry farmed, it produces a wine of depth and body. Of the 15 acres, 2 are planted in heavy clay soil and these grapes are always developmentally retarded and from where I source the Rosé wines. These grapes were picked at twenty one and a half brix, destemmed into the press and given fourteen hours skin contact before pressing into refrigerated stainless.
After settling the must was inoculated with Epernay 2 yeast and fermented until bone dry under cool conditions. Bentonite, cold stabilised, and sterile filtered. Our favoured house wine because it is easy company with and before any meal and assists in any serious discussion. Clean forward fruit and a crisp finish."


...AND the River Run 2012 "Wirz Vineyard" Carignane:

"Wirz Carignane was planted 90 years ago on its own rootstock. The vineyard is located on the San Andreas fault line south of Hollister. Dry farmed, the vineyard is a mixture of granite and limestone soil which brings the ideal acid and pH values to the wine and produces the most flavorful Carignanes I've ever tasted. Harvest yield is seldom more than two tons per acre. When the winemaker brings the grapes home they are destemmed and fermented in redwood tanks until 1 to 2 brix then pressed into tanks and settled before barreling. This vintage was aged eighteen months in a mixture of Hungarian and American oak and produced a moderate bodied wine with a delicate spicy bouquet, ample body and light tannins which can be enjoyed as a solo sipper or accompany a wide variety of foods as salmon, baked chicken, and meats."
Last edited by Drew Goin on April 22nd, 2018, 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#97 Post by Drew Goin » April 10th, 2018, 7:05 am

San Benito
"Guglielmo’s Dreams Continue"
by Chrissy Bryant
August 27, 2014


"Many may be familiar with Guglielmo Winery and its history in Morgan Hill. Emilio Guglielmo, winery founder, migrated to the United States in 1908 with a dream of one day owning a vineyard and in 1925 he purchased 15 acres of land in the Santa Clara Valley.

"The winery now has sprawling vineyards planted across nearly 70 acres of land and this family-owned winery is the oldest operating winery in the area. It has been passed down through three generations and is now run by Emilio’s three grandsons—George E., Gene and Gary Guglielmo.

"...'It’s a changing, changing, changing industry,' George said. 'Just the last 10 years have been monumental.'

"Techniques have evolved tremendously in the last 10 to 20 years, but George also notes a big change in the late 1960s—the change to varietal wines.

"Before 1969, the winery was known for making everyday table wine, with a jug of its Reserve Burgundy selling for about 70 cents. When George graduated from the Viticulture and Enology program at Fresno State University in 1969, the first premium varietal wine was bottled from the Guglielmo estate: the 1969 Petite Sirah.

"The history of California winemaking in the late ’60s often shows a similar transition in wineries—one from bulk production (table wine blends) to another form of winemaking, which became premium production—making finer wines that focused on grape varietals like Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

"Today, Guglielmo produces more than 40,000 cases of wine annually, bottling many varietals sold under three different labels: Private Reserve, Tré and the oldest label, Emile’s. But one thing hasn’t changed—many varietals have remained popular over time.

“'The top seller for white wine is the Chardonnay and top red wine would probably be the Zinfandel,' George said. 'It hasn’t really changed over the years.

3bf8b57066a839fceb50b0230c16f171.jpg
George E. Guglielmo fills wine bottles at Guglielmo Winery's 45th Cork Equity.
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"...But consumer tastes aren’t the only changes in the past decade or two.

“'Another major change over the past 15 years in Santa Clara Valley, as elsewhere in the state, is the explosion of small wineries,' said Larry Spivak, retired tasting room manager at Guglielmo (whom you will still find pouring wine on most weekends). 'Correspondingly, the decline in the number of wine distributors has forced anyone outside of Napa and Sonoma to depend on retail sales at the winery in order to stay in business.'

"...When looking toward the future in Santa Clara Valley, the hope is that more local wines will be sold in restaurants and markets in this area.


“'If you go to Italy or France and sit down at a restaurant, you’re going to drink local wines,' George said. 'We’re not at that point in Santa Clara Valley.'"



Guglielmo Winery Website

Guglielmo Winery also has a YouTube page!


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#98 Post by Drew Goin » April 10th, 2018, 7:55 am

San Benito County Agricultural Department's Annual Crop Reports (1941-2016)

According to the San Benito Ag Dept's 2016 Crop Report, "Wine Grapes" were listed as #5 in gross value of agricultural production. There were 4,382 acres listed as under production for wine grapes county-wide, which yielded a harvest total of 21,384.5 tons of fruit.


ARCGIS San Benito County Zoning Map

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#99 Post by Drew Goin » April 12th, 2018, 3:29 am

This 2012 article features Wine Berserker and super-winemaker Mr Ian Brand:

Edible Monterey Bay
"On the Vine: Brand-ed: A Young Winemaker Makes His Mark on Monterey County Wines"
by Deborah Luhrman
Summer, 2012


"...Whether it’s whitewater rafting or his other favorite sports— snowboarding and surfing—Brand likes taking it to the max. 'I’ve always been the person who goes harder, goes faster than everybody else,' he says.

"Perhaps that’s why in five short years—with little financial backing and no formal education in enology—35-year-old Ian Brand has managed to establish himself as one of Monterey County’s best and most prolific winemakers. He already creates premium wines for 12 different labels, including three of his own, and in May, he attracted some national attention when Wine Enthusiast Magazine named him to its '40 Under 40: American Tastemakers' list of rising stars in the American wine world.

"...Far from being a reckless adventurer, Brand has done his homework and understands that his new winery lies within easy reach of vineyards and small wineries in three counties, many of them with less than adequate equipment. According to his estimations, there are 15–18,000 acres of vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains with 80 or so wineries, 44,000 acres of grapes in Monterey County with 40–50 wineries and 20,000 acres in San Benito County with 20 wineries.

"Brand started his winemaking career in 2003, working on the bottling line at Bonny Doon Vineyards for $8 an hour. 'It was at the zenith of their production when they were making 25 varieties at that time, using micro-oxygenation and other strange winery practices,' he recalls. In no time he began working part-time in the lab and eventually worked his way into a cellar job.

"...The Bonny Doon experience also gave him the opportunity to make lots of different types of wines in one season—a lesson that serves him well in his business today.

"Brand then joined Bradley Brown in building up Big Basin Vineyards in Boulder Creek. They planted five acres of Grenache and Syrah on the site of a century-old abandoned vineyard. 'We did a lot of clearing land. It was hot, dusty work, but if I hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t be where I am today,' he says. 'At Big Basin I learned how small tweaks in the vineyard can really affect the finished wine.'

"...Monterey County stuck out because there were plenty of vineyards already in place and newer plantings of Grenache with which growers needed help. He partnered with John Allen, who owns Coastview Vineyard—a 35-acre ridgetop property at the north end of Chualar Canyon between Salinas and Pinnacles National Park. Allen showed him how good the geology of Monterey County is for growing grapes in the most unusual places, with rocky soils full of shale, granite and limestone—in addition to the good weather.

“'There’s a lot of unrealized potential in Monterey,' says Brand. 'It’s the most underdeveloped wine region between Santa Barbara and the Mendocino Coast.'

"So Ian and Heather moved to Salinas five years ago and he began working with Coastview and a number of other Monterey County labels, including Mesa Del Sol, Pierce Ranch Vineyards, De Tierra Vineyards, and Kevin Olson Vineyards. He also works with Chateau Lettau in Paso Robles and Benny Hernandez
[aka, Deciderio Hernandez], and handles fermentation for Birichino of Santa Cruz and Stefania from San Jose.

"He loves driving up and down dirt roads to find vineyards that 'don’t realize they are in great spots' and managing things like crop load and canopy to bring out the best in the grapes.

"Some of his clients grow organically—like De Tierra and Mesa Del Sol—and he encourages the others to switch over. It turns out grapes are one of the easiest crops to farm organically. 'My goal is to have a lively, healthful vineyard because if you respect the natural processes and maintain the ecosystem, you get a better crop,' he says.

"With so many labels to handle, he tries to make sure they don’t all taste alike. 'My style is noninvasive, bringing out the flavor of the vineyard in an approachable way. Pretty, but with substance,' says Brand.

"'I like to make wines that taste like they come from somewhere,' he adds, but don’t call him a terroirist.

“'That’s such a loaded word. It’s been cheapened by overuse,' he says. 'Part of the definition is screwball. It can mean historical practices, and newer wine regions don’t have the historical practices.'

images.jpeg
Ian Brand and Family
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"Brand’s own lines are starting to take off. There’s Le P’tit Paysan, which he calls a 'village level wine, approachable but off the beaten path'; La Marea, single vineyard Spanish varietals 'rooted in the sea, the soil and the sea air'; and Fieldfare*, a négociant label for 'blends that fit well together.'

"His 2011 Le P’tit Pape is a prime example. It’s an edgy Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend with a nod to the great French wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But since it’s made from grapes grown in the limestone soils of Spur Ranch in San Benito County, it has loads of minerality, along with bright notes of cherry and berries.

"The labels of each of the P’tit Paysan wines bear a clever cartoon of an older gentleman with a bushy moustache—said to bear a striking resemblance to Brand’s psychologist father—along with a chicken who always gets the best of him on the back label.

"...Harvest season at Brand’s operation is a three-ring circus. 'It’s crazy. We have six or seven lots showing up in a day,' he says. 'I drive everybody crazy, but I have a good crew and we go longer and harder than anyone else. It’s lots of fun.'

"It’s so much fun that he’s looking to take on even more projects next harvest season and rejects the idea of slowing down. 'I don’t want an easy job at a winery, churning out the same wines every year,' he says. 'There’s no satisfaction. There’s too much boring wine in the world and I don’t want to be part of that. I’m interested in using wine as a lens to understand where we live and the landscape we live in.

"'I want to develop something for my family and keep myself interested,' he adds. 'I’ve had my share of struggles, but I’m motivated to make my small mark. I’m not done yet.'"


* While I believe that this label no longer exists (the article was written almost 6 years ago), Ian Brand has since added a line of highly-acclaimed wines under the I.Brand & Family line.


Ian Brand's winery home page for Le P’tit Paysan, La Marea, and I.Brand & Family
Last edited by Drew Goin on August 30th, 2018, 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#100 Post by Drew Goin » April 12th, 2018, 8:49 am

I sorta regret posting the old overview of Mr Brand's work with wine, as I have found numerous newer articles today...

I will probably just keep posting them as I read 'em!

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