Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Drew Goin
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#1 Post by Drew Goin »

In efforts to help keep the "Advanced Search" button from overload, I would like there to be a thread devoted to the unique winemaking and grape growing history of the Contra Costa County.

Personally, the Antioch and Oakley areas hold immense appeal in the grape varieties grown, the deep, sandy soils abutting the cooling Carquinez Strait, and the ancient age of many vineyards.

Please share your experiences with CoCo wines, trivia, history, and such.
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#2 Post by Drew Goin »

An older, fascinating article that still echoes the vulnerability of vineyards of a certain age:



East Bay Times
"Oakley’s Disappearing Vineyards Showcase Past, Point to Future"
by Hannah Dreier
March 22, 2010 (updated August 15, 2016)


"...Contra Costa County has lost two-thirds of its vines in the past 100 years, and Lucchesi estimates that 50 percent of Oakley’s vineyards have been uprooted since the 1980s.

"Money talks, and these farmers are just going nuts,' said Linda Ghilarducci, a Liberty High School teacher who owns 23 acres of vines in town.

"Joe Dewart, 71, sold his vineyard to developers in the early 1990s and used the proceeds to buy a local shopping center. He passes the homes that stand on his former land every day and describes the sale as bittersweet.

"...The few remaining farmers seem to hope their children find a more stable profession.

“'When my father saw (development) coming, he thought we would go to college,' Lucchesi recalled. 'They wanted us to do something else because it’s hard to make a living farming.'

"Still, some grape growers have no intention of leaving the area if they can help it...."


20100322__eect0320olyvineyards1.jpg
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#3 Post by Drew Goin »

On a recent Facebook/Instagram post, someone shared with the Internet that the eBART rail lines are expected to threaten some of Antioch and Oakley's old vineyards. The City of Oakley development/current projects webpage has a phrase inserted multiple times in building plans to the effect that all heritage agricultural sites will be preserved to the best of the City's ability in hopes of honoring the community's history.

Of course, this can be ignored when convenient, but I am baffled by the prior efforts (described below) that were expended to save old vineyards IF, moving forward, other historically significant vineyards are to be steamrolled...

Extreme and Not-So-Extreme Efforts to Save CoCo Vineyards:
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20947158/ ... -vineyards

https://romickinoakley.wordpress.com/20 ... -heritage/

https://romickinoakley.wordpress.com/20 ... rsh-creek/

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#4 Post by Peter Petersen »

Drew, you have come out next year as HVS is doing CoCo.
In other news the '14 Turley Duarte is a winner!

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#5 Post by Drew Goin »

MTP alerted me to this latest SF article on the Evangelho Vineyard:

http://www.sfchronicle.com/wine/article ... o-10175371

Edit: The following link shows the article author's Tasting Notes on several Evangelho Vineyard wines:

http://www.sfchronicle.com/wine/article ... ate-result
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"Ruckstuhl Vineyards"

#6 Post by Drew Goin »

I was doing some "research" on the Contra Costa winemaking history and came across a book that mentions a gentleman named Joseph Ruckstuhl.


In the early 20th Century, he owned one of the largest vineyards in the area. This property was located North of the "Old Hwy 4" and East of Bridgehead Rd. The book states that the site was eventually sold to the DuPont Company.

I know that Cline Cellars makes extensive use of the surviving vineyards surrounding the old DuPont facility. However, I have always understood that the Old Hwy 4 referred to Oakley Dr, which would possibly mean that the "Ruckstuhl Vineyard" occupied the "Continente Vineyard", the vineyards of the DuPont site, and/or other parcels of century-old vines.

Does anyone know about this matter?

Can anyone tell me definitively where the "Old Hwy 4" runs?


* EDIT *

I found some additional information on the Ruckstuhl family's property:


Images of America: Antioch
Antioch Historical Society
C. Bohakel, P. Hiebert, E. Rimbault, & C.A. Davis
Acadia Publishing, 2005

Ruckstuhl Vineyards, from Antioch book p68.jpg


On a follow-up thread post, more details are shared about late 19th Century grape-growing in Antioch and Oakley. Parcels owned by the Ruckstuhl, Viero, and Trembath families are identified on a map excerpt of eastern Antioch/western Oakley, dated 1892.


California Revealed
Collection: "Contra Costa County Historical Society"
"Contra Costa County Tax Assessor's Maps"
All Parcel Maps:
"Contra Costa County (Calif.). Assessor's Deputies"

Antioch/Oakley Maps


Contra Costa County Historical Society:
http://www.cocohistory.com/

Antioch Historical Museum:
https://www.antiochhistoricalmuseum.org/

Antioch Interactive Map:
http://www.antiochprospector.com
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#7 Post by Eric S n y d e r »

My dad is an Antioch native and my great grandparents lived in this area. I believe Old Hwy 4 was what is now Main Street running east of Hwy 160. That would have run through Oakley and down into Brentwood.

Also, a friend I grew up with lived at the intersection of Oakley Rd and Neroly, which is covered in old Zin looking vines.

Nowadays, there's vineyards all through there, not sure what's what though.

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Locating the "Ruckstuhl Vyds"

#8 Post by Drew Goin »

Thanks, Eric!

Looking back at my notes, I think you hit the nail on the head:

"Old Highway 4" = Main Street

Therefore, "Ruckstuhl Vineyards" = Cline Cellars' properties

Alan Lucchesi's Mule Head Growers manages the Cline vineyards nowadays, as well as many other Oakley plantings, I believe.


Oakley's DuPont Plant website: "History"
http://75.151.125.93/history.html

The old DuPont facility was "cleaned up", meaning that none of the surrounding old vineyards that produce the Cline red wines should make you glow in the dark. ;)


* EDIT *

As the former DuPont facility has been demolished, I wanted to preserve the site's history.


"The History of the Chemours Oakley Site"
Click to see spoiler:
"In 1955, DuPont purchased over 500 acres of land along Bridgehead Road (in what was then considered part of the City of Antioch) in Contra Costa County California. The property was bordered by the San Joaquin River to the north, Burlington Northern railroad tracks to the south, Big Break Road and the Big Break Marina to the east, and Highway 160 to the west.

1950-historic.gif

"DuPont operated a manufacturing plant on the site from 1956 to 1997. At the height of the facility's operations, DuPont employed nearly 600 people. The facility was originally built to make the gasoline "anti-knock" agent tetraethyl lead; however, DuPont began manufacturing refrigeration cooling compounds called Freon® shortly after the facility began operation. In 1963, DuPont expanded its operations again to include the production of titanium dioxide, a white pigment used in a variety of household products.

1970s.gif

"DuPont stopped all production activities at the former manufacturing facility in 1998 and demolished many of the buildings in 1999. In October 2013, DuPont announced that it was going to separate its Performance Chemicals segment from its other businesses. On July 1, 2015, all remedial obligations for the site were transferred to Chemours. Chemours is working with the DTSC to remediate the site with the intent of returning the site to productive use that will benefit the Oakley community. Three parcels (the Western Development Area, Eastern Development Area, and Focus Area [FA] 1) have already been released for unrestricted development. Soil remediation in the portion of the site referred to as FA3, is complete."

1980s.gif
East Bay Times
"Oakley: Entire 348-acre DuPont Property to be Sold to Industrial Developer"

by Aaron Davis
October 11, 2016


Local News Matters
"Oakley Breaks Ground on ‘Job Magnet’ Logistics Center"

by Sam Richards, Bay City News Foundation
January 31, 2020

The Press
"Complex Coming to DuPont Site in Oakley"

by Kyle Szymanski
January 2, 2020

Chemours Oakley (DuPont) Site website:
http://75.151.125.93/index.html
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#9 Post by Drew Goin »

Here are just a few of the online resources I have found in my regular exploration of the Antioch/Oakley area of Contra Costa County:


"Romick in Oakley" blog
"Saving Oakley's Heritage"
March 31, 2011

Mr. Romick's "Oakley Vines" section of his blog shows the successful transplantation of old Alicante Bouschet vines from one site to another!


History of Contra Costa County, California; with Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified with its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present:

Archive of CoCo History - the Ruckstuhl name does not appear anywhere, but the Continente and Dal Porto names do.

· Pittsburg, by Marti Aiello

Continente family mentioned in photo-history of Pittsburg


Co-CoFermented blog:

This valuable blog's early posts are predominantly involved with the locating of famous, old vine sites around Oakley.


Oakley History (brief)


GIS Map Tool for the City of Antioch


Oakley City Development & Maps


Big Break Oakley EOI Site


Oakley DuPont Site


Various Articles on CoCo Wines:


"Oakley takes steps to preserve its ‘ancient vines’ vineyards"


"Study to help Oakley leaders balance growth, ag preservation"


"Oakley steps into debate over saving old vines versus habit restoration"


"Photo book preserves history of ancient vines"

"Oakley finds new home for century-old grapevines"


"Oakley considers program to preserve agricultural land"


"Oakley’s disappearing vineyards showcase past, point to future"


"Family wants to promote Oakley vineyards"

"Growth By the Glass In Oakley / Vineyard revival emerging amid stores, subdivisions"


"Where the heck is OAKLEY? / In Contra Costa County, and few know that some of California's best wineries have been buying grapes here for decades"
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#10 Post by Peter Kleban »

Drew Goin wrote:MTP alerted me to this latest SF article on the Evangelho Vineyard:

http://www.sfchronicle.com/wine/article ... o-10175371
Thanks Drew, great article--and you know my proclivity for the Mouvedre from that site ;-)
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#11 Post by Drew Goin »

Older Food & Wine article (by Ray Isle) as a brief survey of Our Vine Vineyards - including the Salvador Vineyard:

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/the ... dest-vines

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#12 Post by Drew Goin »

These are all from the Pato Vineyard (Paw-toe) in Oakley. The images were originally posted in Facebook by MTP of Bedrock, who has a 10-20 year lease on the property:
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#13 Post by Kevin O'Connor1983 »

Neyers also makes a great 100% Mourvèdre and 100% carignane from this vineyard. It's such a great site!

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#14 Post by Drew Goin »

Kevin O'Connor1983 wrote:Neyers also makes a great 100% Mourvèdre and 100% carignane from this vineyard. It's such a great site!
Thanks for mentioning these wines, Kevin!

I bought a 3-pack from Neyers in December:
1 x Evangelho Vineyard Carignan
1 x Evangelho Vineyard Mourvedre
1 x Sage Road Red Wine

Everything I read on Cellar Tracker seems to encourage me to hold on to the bottles for a few years prior to drinking...

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#15 Post by Larry P »

Oakley Road Vineyard:
_DSC_6827_tl.jpg
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#16 Post by Drew Goin »

Thanks for the picture, Larry!! :)

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#17 Post by Drew Goin »

I am curious about the development along Carpenter Road in Oakley. A random comment on the Romick blog leads me to believe that this site was once a vineyard in Oakley.

Does anyone have any information about the location? Can you confirm that it was a vineyard?
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#18 Post by Dale McClaran »

Cool thread Drew, I'm pretty damn stoked to get my first Bedrock Evangelho Heritage this fall.
GO HAWKS!

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#19 Post by Drew Goin »

I think the region suffers from neglect (particularly from consumers, but apparently from some growers, as well).

The Evangelho Vineyard itself is an incredible site, and the wines I have enjoyed from different producers reveal a broad range of styles across the flavor spectrum. The Dirty and Rowdy and the Bedrock vineyard-designates are special stuff!

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#20 Post by Drew Goin »

The current vintage of the Cline "Small Berry" Mourvedre derived from a single vineyard, the Big Break Vineyard in Oakley ( http://clinecellars.com/our-wines/single-vineyard-wines ).

I found the old "Cline Times" archived website from the 1990's. The Tech Notes for many vintages of Cline bottlings are listed therein. The "Small Berry" Vineyard Source notes are:

"VINEYARDS:
The Small Berry Vineyard is a small 9-acre block that has consistently produced one of our most complex and concentrated Mourvèdre's. Always a major component of our previous Reserve Mourvèdre bottlings, this vineyard designated wine exemplifies the unique characters of the variety while showcasing the elegant flavors that are contributed by the phylloxera resistant sandy soils described as our singular Oakley terrior. The vines in this block are 100 plus years old and were originally planted on their own roots, which make this one of California's most historic vineyards. Cline Cellars has chosen to dry-farm these ancient, head-pruned vines in the Small Berry Vineyard, continuing a practice employed by the Italian and Portuguese immigrants that planted this vineyard well before the turn of the century."


http://www.sonic.net/~epcline/oldsite/mv99sb.htm

Here is what the old Cline site says about the Big Break Vineyard itself:

"VINEYARDS
The Big Break Vineyard, named for Big Break Road which runs adjacent to the block, has traditionally produced one of our most powerful and individual lots of Zinfandel. An early ripener, Big Break Zinfandel is year in and out among the first lots of grapes we pick; 1995 was no exception. The combination of extremely sandy, well-drained soils; dry-farming; century old, head-trained vines and the unique band of cooling air from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers that favors Oakley's best vineyard sites create a synergy of elements that is ideal for ripening Zinfandel and expressing the full character of the fruit."


http://www.sonic.net/~epcline/oldsite/zinbb95.htm

Just FYI.

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#21 Post by Drew Goin »

Photos of the Bedrock and Dirty & Rowdy Evangelho Vineyard 2016 harvest:
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#22 Post by Drew Goin »

Additional photos from the 2016 Evangelho Vineyard harvest:
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#23 Post by Sean Devaney »

Notice how sandy the soil is...

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#24 Post by Ken Zinns »

Drew Goin wrote:I think the region suffers from neglect (particularly from consumers, but apparently from some growers, as well).

The Evangelho Vineyard itself is an incredible site, and the wines I have enjoyed from different producers reveal a broad range of styles across the flavor spectrum. The Dirty and Rowdy and the Bedrock vineyard-designates are special stuff!
Drew, if you haven't checked out the Precedent Evangelho Vineyard Zinfandel, give it a try. It's a field blend but predominantly Zin - according to the Precedent website, there's also some Carignane, Mataro, Palomino, Muscat, Chasselas, and other varieties. Precedent is the label of Thomas Fogarty winemaker Nathan Kandler, who's worked with the Evangelho fruit for a number of years.
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#25 Post by Drew Goin »

Ken, ironically enough, I had a bottle of the 2012 Precedent 2012 Evangelho Vineyard Zinfandel, but gifted it to a friend on a trip to Austin, Texas, a few months back. I do occasionally regret having done so... ;)

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#26 Post by Drew Goin »

I see that Cameron Hughes sells a "Field Blend" (currently the Lot 522: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah; $13/btl, on sale for $9.10/btl) sourced completely from "vineyards in Contra Costa, each with an average vine age over 70 and 80 years old, with many well over 100".

Has anyone tried this wine, or any other interesting CoCo wines, lately?

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#27 Post by Rich Brown »

Drew Goin wrote:I see that Cameron Hughes sells a "Field Blend" (currently the Lot 522: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah; $13/btl, on sale for $9.10/btl) sourced completely from "vineyards in Contra Costa, each with an average vine age over 70 and 80 years old, with many well over 100".

Has anyone tried this wine, or any other interesting CoCo wines, lately?
Yep, I've had this multiple times and I think I even commented on it somewhere here at one point. It's a really, really solid wine, and for $9.99 at Costco, literally one of my favorite QPR's ever. It's a bigger wine that I feel will do well with some age on it, as I've actually enjoyed it more on days 2 and 3.

I think I've purchased around a case and a half so and will probably be getting more. For me, a no brainer to stockpile.

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#28 Post by Rich Brown »

Rich Brown wrote:
Drew Goin wrote:I see that Cameron Hughes sells a "Field Blend" (currently the Lot 522: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah; $13/btl, on sale for $9.10/btl) sourced completely from "vineyards in Contra Costa, each with an average vine age over 70 and 80 years old, with many well over 100".

Has anyone tried this wine, or any other interesting CoCo wines, lately?
Yep, I've had this multiple times and I think I even commented on it somewhere here at one point. It's a really, really solid wine, and for $9.99 at Costco, literally one of my favorite QPR's ever. It's a bigger wine that I feel will do well with some age on it, as I've actually enjoyed it more on days 2 and 3.

I think I've purchased around a case and a half so and will probably be getting more. For me, a no brainer to stockpile.
Drinking this again tonight, and it's awesome. Ideal Sunday night wine when it's a little chilly outside (for Phoenix) and I'm grilling.

Highly, highly recommended......especially at the $9 price point.

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#29 Post by Drew Goin »

I received an email offer from Dropout Wines the other day. The wines included a Castanho Vineyard Mourvedre from the Contra Costa area (supposedly West of Antioch).

I have only seen one other winery offer a red from this vineyard - Rosenblum. The site was planted in the past two or three decades, so it's not an ancient agricultural location.

Has anyone else heard of the Castanho Vineyard?

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#30 Post by Ken Zinns »

ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

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#31 Post by Drew Goin »

Most excellent, Ken!!!

As Matt Cline states in the article, the hard rains will aid the vines for months, prepping them for a healthy start to the 2017 vintage.

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#32 Post by Jon K »

Drew Goin wrote:I received an email offer from Dropout Wines the other day. The wines included a Castanho Vineyard Mourvedre from the Contra Costa area (supposedly West of Antioch).
I have only seen one other winery offer a red from this vineyard - Rosenblum. The site was planted in the past two or three decades, so it's not an ancient agricultural location.

Has anyone else heard of the Castanho Vineyard?
Hey Drew,

2015 was the first year we (Dropout Wines) worked with Castanho. The Mourvèdre we get was planted in 1981 in sandy soil. Walking the vineyard is like walking the beach. The vineyard is in Oakley near the corner or Brownstone road and Anderson Lane. Mark Herold gets some Mourvèdre from this vineyard, and I believe the rest goes to Bedrock. We are very happy with the wine and excited to be able to work with such an amazing site.
Jon keyes

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#33 Post by Drew Goin »

Thanks for the information, Jon!

I am always excited to see new Mourvedre wines - especially those from Contra Costa!!! Best wishes to you in your endeavors!

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#34 Post by MitchTallan »

I've been sampling the '14 Bedrock Evangelho over the last two days. As a matter of context, I've been drinking CC zins my entire wine drinking life-meaning roughly 40 years. This wine possesses fantastic color and a very bright attractive, bordering on exemplary nose. Unfortunately, things drop off precipitously after those two characteristics. The mid-palate borders on hollow and the fruit is hard to detect under two successive walls of acidity and tannin. The tannins are fine-grained, but way too dominant over the fruit. In some ways this wine is similar to a very young Barolo but here is where experience and context come into play with wine; if I know the producer and track record of a specific Barolo with similar profiles of obtrusive acidity and tannin I am more inclined to say it just needs time. With CC zin, I have never seen/observed this much acidity and tannin recede in proportion to the fruit. Unfortunate effort here IMHO.
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#35 Post by Ken Zinns »

Hey Drew, don't know whether you've seen this Contra Costa map on page 18 of this book before, from 1903 (scroll up a little to see the map):
Contra Costa County - partial

There are a number of vineyards and wineries shown. This is only part of the map, and this portion doesn't show the eastern part of the county near Oakley. It looks like the full map is on newspapers.com, but you have to pay to access it (although there's a free 7-day trial subscription):
Contra Costa County map from Oakland Tribune, Nov. 4, 1903
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#36 Post by Ken Zinns »

Here's an image of the map in that book:
[resizeableimage=717,1024]https://books.google.com/books/content? ... 23A&w=1280[/resizeableimage]
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#37 Post by Drew Goin »

Ken Zinns wrote:Hey Drew, don't know whether you've seen this Contra Costa map on page 18 of this book before, from 1903
Whoa!! Thanks, Ken!

I don't know how I missed your post. I have been searching for maps of the Antioch/Oakley region. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any like this!

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#38 Post by Drew Goin »

From the Once and Future Email:

"Oakley Road Mataro

Contra Costa

Mataro is the name Mourvedre, the famous grape of Bandol, is known by in California. The Mataro grape has been planted in California since the 1870’s, mostly as an adjunct in blends were Zinfandel dominated. Though scarce, there are a few places where Mataro is an exceptional standalone grape. One of those places is Oakley. In the eastern rain shadow of Mount Diablo near the San Joaquin river, vines on the own roots planted to sand dune like soils in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s still produce some of the most interesting and highly regarded Mataro in California. The soils are so sandy that early growers in this region were disparaged as Sand-Lappers. Little did those wags know that the delta sands with their Phylloxera inhibiting properties would be the key to the survival of these amazing 100 plus year old, own rooted, unirrigated vines.

The micro climate of Oakley allows grapes to ripen early. It is not so much that it is hot during the growing months, the average temperature is about 74 degrees with the nights being in the mid 50’s and the days being in the 90’s during the month of July and August, it is that the sandy soils warm begins in the year than most other areas in California and vine growth starts sooner. As the season progresses the grapes continue to ripen consistently, in spite of the cooling maritime winds from the Carquinez straits, due to the reflected sun from the Antioch sandy soils. These are the kinds of conditions that are perfect for a slow ripening grape like Mataro.

The resulting wines can be, in a word, graceful. The smoky, soft cherry, plum flavors are well developed and full, the acid perfectly balanced and the tannins soft and round. The combination of own roots , old vines, deep sandy soils and cooling afternoon breezes seems to encourage gentle, suave wines. While some winemakers like to make big powerful dark wines from these grapes though I believe the wines are much more enjoyable, interesting, complex and finer when picked earlier.

These Oakley Road vines may not be around much longer. This part of Contra Costa (CoCo for short) is changing rapidly. It has been an industrial back water for a long time. High tension electrical lines, a PG&E power plant, motels that rent by the hour stand in contrast to an inordinate number of churches, and an increasing number of fast food restaurants populate a disjointed human landscape. There is increasing urbanization as roads are widened and BART pushes east. A number of these vineyards are for sale with inflated land prices having been designated as commercial land, land costs that are more compatible with strip malls than farming. For now, the vines remain in the ground producing viticultural treasure. For now, we continue to make lovely wine and cherish our moment.

2015 Oakley Road Mataro, Contra Costa County - $35"

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#39 Post by Drew Goin »

587d6532_219d_92.jpg
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#40 Post by Drew Goin »

Photo of the pruned Carignan vines in the Evangelho Vineyard (posted to Facebook by Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock):
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#41 Post by Drew Goin »

Possibly a new name for an old vineyard: Bigelow?

From the Wine Access email received today:

"On one side of Neroly Road, east of Antioch in Contra Costa County, 130-year-old gnarly bush-trained vines are rooted in entire fields of white beach Delhi sand. The other side is mix of auto body repair shops, a convenience store, and single-family modular homes.

"But if our good friend Matt Cline of Three Wine Company has anything to do about it, those ancient Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, and Mataro plants will stay right where they are another 130 years.

"...'Bigelow takes its name from a gentleman farmer and fiddle player named Marcus James Bigelow,' he told us. 'Marcus planted the first vines on the property in the mid 1880s. Today, these 130-year-old vines eek out minuscule quantities of tiny, thick-skinned berries. And this is the result...'

"The 2014 Bigelow Zin is a brand-new release for Three Wine Co. The wine was deep purple to the rim, and as we swirled it, it stained the glass with long, slow tears. A red blend, 77% is devoted to Zinfandel while a smattering of Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Carignane, and Mataro round out the cuvée. From three inches away aromas of ripe plum, violets, and hint of vanilla lifted out of the glass. Supple on the entry with velour-like texture and staggering ancient-vine concentration, loaded to its dark-fruited core with ripe boysenberry, sweet spice, and cola, bracketed by round tannins and exuberant acidity, into a lengthy finish suggesting 6 to 7 years of longevity.

93 points from Wine Enthusiast and an “Editors' Choice” (review to be released in the spring). 100 cases"


https://beta.wineaccess.com/catalog/201 ... 8111&jb=15

I get very confused trying to keep track of what vineyard is which in the Antioch/Oakley area. I often fear that the region's old vine sites will be ripped up in a future economic boom, as many belong to property development corporations, and are still in the ground due to events like the 2008/09 crash.

I sincerely hope that communities along the sandy banks of the Delta preserve their agricultural heritage beyond assigning residential communities evocative names like "Stony Vineyard" or "Harvest Ridge". :|


EDIT: from the Three Wine Company's downloadable tech sheet on the 2015 "Bigelow Vineyard" Contra Costa Zinfandel...
05_61240_HRE_zinfandel_15BW_750F_TTB.JPG
"Marcus James Bigelow was a gentleman farmer and hoedown fiddler who enjoyed playing cards with friends more than farming. While he moved and worked slowly, he was reported to have been a very fast driver. Originally planted in the mid-1880’s, his vineyard on Neroly Road in Oakley is still producing a minuscule quantity of small berry Mataro, Carignane, and Zinfandel. This 130 year-old vineyard is dry-farmed and grown in Delhi Sand series loam soil, which is similar to beach sand. These vines produce a mere 1.5 to 2.5 tons of fruit per acre and are some of the first grapes to arrive into the winery."

Three Wine Company website's "Tasting Notes" page for the "Bigelow Vineyard" Zinfandel
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#42 Post by Sean Devaney »

I've had a Bigelow vineyard wine years ago, most likely Zin but maybe Mataro, from Cline or Rosenblum.

Thanks for keeping this thread alive Drew. It is very cool to see all these ancient vineyards in and around Oakley.

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#43 Post by Drew Goin »

This is my attempt to compose a roster of Oakley and Antioch vineyards. The following is a list of the best-known sites, although plenty of other Contra Costa vineyards exist. Links are provided for old-vine sites listed on the Historic Vineyard Society (HVS) website.

Please share any other vineyards at you can, as well as approximate locations. Thanks!



Big Break Vineyard: N of RR tracks/Main St, E of the old DuPont site/Wilbur Ave

- HVS profile: "Big Break Vyd"

Bigelow Vineyard: on Neroly Rd in Oakley, CA (?)

Bridgehead Vineyard: N of Main St, S of RR tracks

Carapinha Vineyard: 1790 O'Hara Ave (also 1790 Grapevine Ln)

Carla's Vineyard (aka "Meadows Vyd"): Antioch, CA, S of former Gaylord Paper Mill, W of K-Mart (apparently adjacent to "Evangelho Vyd", but no longer in existence)

Castanho Vineyard: near Brownstone & Anderson

Continente Vineyard: several parcels; 112 Sandy Ln, Oakley, CA, 94561

Dawa Ranch: 1100 Vintage Dr, Oakley, CA, 94561

Del Barba Vineyard: SW corner of Main St and Rose Ave, Oakley, CA; multiple vineyards farmed/owned by this family, including:
- Vineyard (Fred): 4631 Rose Ave, Oakley, CA
- Vineyard (Louis/Dino): 4351 Rose Ave, Oakley, CA
- "Oakley Road Vyd": see below

Duarte Family Vineyard(aka "Jesse's Vyd" / "Diablo Vista Vyd"): 1200 Vintage Dr, Oakley, CA, 94561

- HVS profile: "Duarte"

Elm Vineyard: W of Elm Ln, E of Hwy 160

Enea Vineyard

Evangelho Vineyard: 3003 E 18th St, Antioch, CA

- HVS profile: "Evangelho Vyd"

Ghidossi Vineyard

Gonsalves Vineyard (aka "Sandy Lane Vyd"‡: dead-end @ 361 Sandy Ln, Oakley, CA, 94561; multiple area vineyards owned/farmed by this family

Live Oak Vineyard (aka "Bigelow"): E on Live Oak Ave, S of Main St/Public Storage, N of UPS (Three Wine Co. designate)

> Edit: Since the early 1990s, the "Live Oak" bottling from Cline Cellars was composed of fruit from the "Romiti Vineyard", which was sold and uprooted around 2019, as well as the "Marchetti Vineyard".

The "Marchetti Vineyard" is located at 20 Poco Lane in Oakley, off of Live Oak Ave (SW of the corner of Oakley Rd and Live Oak Ave). The vines are around 60-years-old.


Lucchesi Family Vineyard: 422 Laurel Rd, Oakley, CA (planned for residential development)

Lucchesi Vineyard (aka "Joaquin José Vyd" / "Emerson Vyd"): NW corner of Dutch Slough Preserve

Madruga Vineyard: 1600 Carpenter Rd, Oakley, CA

Marchetti Vineyard: 20 Poco Lane, Oakley, CA

Mazzoni / Massoni Vineyard: 5181 Live Oak Ave, Oakley, CA

- HVS profile: "Mazzoni-Live Oak Vyd"

Mori Vineyard: adjacent to/N of CoCo Water Dept, S of Laurel Rd

- HVS profile: "Mori Vyd"

Oakley Road Vineyard (farmed by Del Barba family): NW corner of Oakley Rd and Neroly Rd, E of Hwy 160

Pato Vineyard: adjacent to/E of CoCo Water Dept; 3641 Empire Ave, Oakley, CA, 94561

- HVS profile: "Pato Vyd"

Planchon Vineyard: E on Empire, S of Laurel Rd, across street from "Pato Vyd"

- HVS profile: "Planchon Vyd"

Salvador Vineyard: 2371 Oakley Rd (uprooted; developed into residential properties)

Sophia Favalora Vineyard: SW corner of W Cypress St and Rose Ave (larger parcel, younger vines)

Spinelli Vineyard: SE corner of Main St & Live Oak Ave

Teixiera Vineyard: 3023 Anderson Ln, Oakley, CA, 94561

* EDIT * Locations & Additions

‡ The vineyard parcel (051-052-053-9) in Antioch, CA, W of "Evangelho Vyd", is owned by the same family (Sandy Lane Properties LLC, B Trust Of The Gonsalves Family)
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#44 Post by Drew Goin »

The team at Bedrock has revamped their website. The following link takes you to a "Study" of the Oakley area vineyards:

https://bedrockwineco.com/the-study/the ... of-oakley/

Thanks for the devotion to this awesome region!!!

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#45 Post by Drew Goin »

This photo of the Evangelho Vineyard was posted by Mr Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock. The image shows cover crops growing in the Delhi Sand soils. :o
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#46 Post by Rich Brown »

Rich Brown wrote:
Rich Brown wrote:
Drew Goin wrote:I see that Cameron Hughes sells a "Field Blend" (currently the Lot 522: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah; $13/btl, on sale for $9.10/btl) sourced completely from "vineyards in Contra Costa, each with an average vine age over 70 and 80 years old, with many well over 100".

Has anyone tried this wine, or any other interesting CoCo wines, lately?
Yep, I've had this multiple times and I think I even commented on it somewhere here at one point. It's a really, really solid wine, and for $9.99 at Costco, literally one of my favorite QPR's ever. It's a bigger wine that I feel will do well with some age on it, as I've actually enjoyed it more on days 2 and 3.

I think I've purchased around a case and a half so and will probably be getting more. For me, a no brainer to stockpile.
Drinking this again tonight, and it's awesome. Ideal Sunday night wine when it's a little chilly outside (for Phoenix) and I'm grilling.

Highly, highly recommended......especially at the $9 price point.
Another bottle of this tonight and it's even better than it was 3 months ago. More integrated and less brooding after only a little bit of air. Brambly blue fruits with a savory streak (probably from the syrah) and enough acidity to keep this from being over the top. Good now but more upside down the road, as the tannins are still noticeable on the finish.

For $9, this is just a silly good deal. Every time I open it bottle, It makes me want to grab another case (local Costcos here in AZ).

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#47 Post by Drew Goin »

Thanks for the note, Rich!!

When I discovered that I could not qualify for the discount price for the Cameron Hughes "Lot 522" Contra Costa Red Blend, I decided to pass on buying any.

Perhaps I was a fool...

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#48 Post by Ken Zinns »

Drew, not sure these articles have come up here before, on vineyards in the "Lamorinda" region of Contra Costa County. Lamorinda is a portmanteau of the three largest communities in the area, Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda.

From the Edible East Bay publication in 2008:
The Hidden Vineyards of Lamorinda

From the East Bay Times in 2015:
Grape growers, winemakers thrive in Lamorinda

As you know, this region was approved for an AVA about a year ago. As that 1903 map of Contra Costa County (posted earlier) shows, there were vineyards and wineries in the area at that time. I don't know whether any old vines still remain though.
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#49 Post by Matt Wood »

Those are good articles, thanks Ken. The Captain vineyard has such an amazing view. I love those steep hillsides from the Caldecott tunnel to Mt Diablo. I've been to Captain and had the wines from Bill English and Bullfrog but would like to explore the area more. They are so close by but I rarely think of visiting the wineries when I want to go tasting. I'll have to change that.

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#50 Post by Rich Brown »

Drew Goin wrote:Thanks for the note, Rich!!

When I discovered that I could not qualify for the discount price for the Cameron Hughes "Lot 522" Contra Costa Red Blend, I decided to pass on buying any.

Perhaps I was a fool...
So much good wine out there may man - I probably would not have taken the extra step to order the wine either....but when it's staring at me with that ridiculous $8.99 price tag every single time I walk through the wine section in Costco.....it's hard to say no to :)

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