Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Drew Goin
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Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#151 Post by Drew Goin » April 18th, 2018, 12:34 am

Bertus van Zyl, winemaker at T-Vine, surveys the Evangelho Vineyard of Antioch, California. T-Vine Winery makes a Carignan and a Mataro/Mourvèdre from this famous old vineyard:


Last edited by Drew Goin on August 21st, 2018, 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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timmy roos
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#152 Post by timmy roos » April 19th, 2018, 7:34 am

Lucca winery in Ripon is run by the Luchessi family and features Oakley wines. Never tried
Things are getting funny these day

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#153 Post by Ken Zinns » April 19th, 2018, 7:54 am

Drew Goin wrote:
Matt Wood wrote:Viano Vineyards is on Vine Hill in Martinez. Those vineyards have been there for about 130 years I think.
Thanks for the pointer, Matt!

My brain is not always firing on all cylinders. :P

Given the pricing of the wines from Viano, Zinfandel from 130-year-old plantings at ~$10-15/btl is ridiculous!!!

The webpage could use a little sprucing up, but that might just be my bitterness speaking (they don't ship to where I live). ;)

Here's what the Viano Vineyards site says about the estate:

"Conrad Viano Winery:

"Our century-old vineyard is nestled on hillsides surrounding a fertile little valley where cooling breezes from the Carquinez Straits provide the necessary balance of heat and coolness. Here in our valley, we have a proven combination of ideal soil and climatic conditions favorable for growing premium wine grapes. Included are Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, French Columbard, Muscat Canelli, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Zinfandel.

"This Family Estate, now with its 4th and 5th generations, was founded by the Viano family in 1920. They purchased the already planted vineyard which was established in 1888. It reminded them of their vineyards in Piedmont, Italy. This area, once so rich in grapes, was named Vine Hill and home to more than 15 wineries.

"Some of the original vines still remain while the balance of the vineyard has been expanded and replanted to keep up with new world tastes and desires. Using the most natural, cultural practices possible, combined with traditional winemaking techniques, which includes natural yeast and aging in small oak cooperage, we bring you these fine handcrafted wines."


While the Viano "Zin Port" contains fruit from +70-year-old vines, I am fairly sure that the "Sand Rock Hill" Reserve Zinfandel is the sole bottling produced with +100-year-old vine fruit, per the description of the wine on the site:

"2012 Contra Costa County Sand Rock Hill Zinfandel
Vineyard: Estate, Sand Rock Hill
Composition: 100% Zinfandel
Harvest date: September 16, 2012
Sugar: 24.5 Brix
Total acid: .75g/100ml
pH: 3.56
Aging: 12 months French Oak
Release date: December 2015
Vineyard: The Sand Rock Hill vineyard consists of 85-129 year old vines growing on sandrock. The soil varies from 6 inches to 3 feet in depth, producing smaller berries with great intensity and flavor.

Tasting notes: Our 2012 Reserve Selection Sand Rock Hill Zinfandel has a full regiment of ripe fruit, excellent depth, with a spicy finish. Perfect with savory grilled meats. Limited production - 300 cases"


Viano Vineyards Homepage
Cool - thanks for the info, Matt and Drew!
ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

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#154 Post by Drew Goin » April 20th, 2018, 6:57 am

The Contra Costa Wine Group is one of the top-rated home winemaking clubs in the nation. I have searched for more links on the organization, as it has won more recent Wine Maker Magazine awards since the below article.


Diablo Gazette
"Contra Costa Wine Group hosts 38th Annual Wine Judging"
February 9, 2016
by Richard Eber


"Welcome to the Contra Costa Wine Group’s (CCWG) 38th annual professional judging of vino, mostly produced in the garages of its 75 members. Each year the club, which has been recently named Wine Club of the Year for the third time in five years by Winemaker Magazine, holds its competition where gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for different varieties of red, white, and dessert wines.

"The CCWG has been around since 1972 and relies on its member’s love of winemaking to be the guiding light behind the club’s activities. 'Our success is based upon our location in Northern California near high-quality grapes, the wonderful sharing of information among members and the spirit of the club,' states the group’s President, or should we say "Wine Czar" Bonneau Dixon.

"...CCWG members reside primarily on the 680 corridor from Martinez to Livermore with several members living in Concord, Clayton, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill. They all understand the purpose of the organization is to make the best wine possible by improving their methodology each year. Monthly meetings hosted at a member’s house include a happy hour of drinking each other’s vintages followed by an expert speaker on some aspect of winemaking.

IMG_8930-1.jpg
CCWG Club Contest Tasting Entries
"...For the judges, the task of evaluating 99 entries is an act of love. There is no monetary compensation. They are content receiving a six-pack of quality wine from the group. At the awards dinner, Judge Maria Terry was asked if she grew tired of drinking wine. As a judge for the CCWG, she distinguishes between evaluating wines and enjoying them. To this, she raised a glass and replied 'There is a difference between tasting and consuming wine. I like to do both.'"[/i]


According to the group's secretary, Al Turner, the CCWG has won the WineMaker Magazine 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 & 2017 (International) Club of the Year!!!


Contra Costa Wine Group "About Us" webpage

Contra Costa Wine Group "Newsletter" archive

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#155 Post by Drew Goin » April 29th, 2018, 10:42 pm

Dirty & Rowdy Family Wines has two videos available for viewing on Vimeo:


"Evangelho Vineyard"

https://vimeo.com/176982106


"Evangelho Vineyard (1 minute)"

https://vimeo.com/177016839

Evangelho-Vineyard-300x285.png
Evangelho Vineyard - photo from Dirty & Rowdy website
https://www.dirtyandrowdy.com/vineyards

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#156 Post by Drew Goin » May 3rd, 2018, 6:14 am

Google Books can offer a treasure trove of information about historic wine production statistics, regional varieties grown, etc, if one knows exactly what he or she is seeking. Otherwise, it's pretty easy to get lost! :o

Directory of the Grape Growers: Wine Makers and Distillers of California, and of the Principal Grape Growers and Wine Makers of the Eastern States
published by California Board of State Viticultural Commissioners
1891

Contra Costa County harvest numbers are provided on page 4:

3,141.5 total acres of vineyards
1,750.5 acres bearing
2,085 acres of wine grapes

Pages 22-27: Directory of Grape Growers & Winemakers for Contra Costa County:

The directory is organized by townships and last names of the growers/Winemakers alphabetically. Common varieties for this region in the register are:

• Zinfandel
• Mission
• Rose of Peru
• Mataro
• Black Malvoisie/Cinsault
• Carignan
• Chasselas
• Muscat
• Burger
• Black Ferrara (???)


It's fascinating to see that the number of growers and varieties are listed in such detail. If only this sort of information was available nowadays in a single book. *Sigh* :(

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#157 Post by Drew Goin » May 6th, 2018, 2:01 pm

I located an online weather/climate reporting source for Antioch, California:

University of California Agricultural & Natural Resources (UC-ANR) Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program's (IPM) California Weather Data: Report

contracosta_stations.gif
Contra Costa Stations Map
California Weather Data: "Station Description for ANTIOCH.C (NCDC #0232, Antioch Pumping Plant 3)"

"Observer:
CONTRA COSTA WATER DISTRICT

Location:
• County: Contra Costa
• Nearest City: Antioch
• Latitude: 37 deg 59 min N
• Longitude: 121 deg 44 min W
• Elevation: 60 ft

Station and Site Characteristics:

Available Data:
• UC IPM database records begin/end: March 1, 1955 / about six months ago
• Reporting interval: Daily


Report: "Daily Averages Report for Antioch - Climate (NCDC #0232, Antioch Pumping Plant 3): 1955-2018"

Measurement Details about Antioch - Climate Variables:
Air Temperature: Daily max/min measured at 5 feet.
Precipitation: Daily total measured in 8 inch diameter gauge.
Pan evaporation: Daily total measured 7 days per week."



Admittedly, this is awfully nerdy stuff. Anyone interested in checking out similar data for other locations in California may visit:

California Weather Data: County and PestCast Network Maps

Outside of California:

NOAA Links to Regional Climate Centers:

Western Regional Climate Center

High Plains Regional Climate Center

Midwestern Regional Climate Center

Northeast Regional Climate Center

Southeast Regional Climate Center

Southern Regional Climate Center

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#158 Post by Drew Goin » May 19th, 2018, 4:53 pm

I received an email message from Mr Rory Williams of Calder Wine Company for the "Carignan Renaissance, Part Deux" thread today. To my surprise, he announced that he will be bottling a Carignan from Antioch's "Evangelho Vineyard"!!!

Evangelho CN.jpg
"Evangelho Vineyard" Carignan, BWC - from Calder Wine Co

Here are a few comments taken from his responses to my Carignan-related questions:

"...Evangelho (in CoCo) is in its characteristic sand. All make great Carignane; I'd say a unifying feature is a lack of excessive fertility and good drainage, features essential to helping control Carignane's natural vigor. "

"...I also started working with a bit of Evangelho fruit in 2016 thanks to a call from Morgan--I think folks on the WB board have probably heard of him. Can't say no to Evangelho."


Regarding regional expressions of Carignan:

"Darker fruit, blood, iron, more weight, more tannin in Mendocino; softer fruit, more friendly texture, perfume, floral, bright aromatic focus in CoCo. Both areas find their own paths to interesting, intense flavors."


Calder Wine Company website

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#159 Post by Drew Goin » May 26th, 2018, 1:06 pm

This graph is from an unpublished book by wine/viticulture historian Ernest P. Peninou:

A Statistical History of Wine Grape Acreage in California, 1856 - 1992 (download)
by Ernest P. Peninou
Copyright 2000


Contra Costa County "Total Winegrape Acreage (1856-1992)"
Screenshot_2018-05-24-15-03-12.png
Contra Costa Total Winegrape Acreage - from Peninou

As discussed elsewhere, the Contra Costa area hosted huge levels of wine production many years ago. Today, newer vineyards have been cultivated to the East, West, and South of Antioch and Oakley's historic plantings. Commercial and residential development are replacing the vulnerable century-old Zinfandel and "mixed blacks" vineyards.


Wayward Tendrils website: "Downloadable Viticultural Histories"

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#160 Post by Drew Goin » June 2nd, 2018, 10:43 am

I felt the need to post the results of this annual wine competition in order to highlight the bottles that actually contain fruit from Contra Costa County - the original link (below, in blue) includes all the wines from Contra Costa-based producers.

It seems like everyone gets a medal at these events, yet the "SF Chronicle Wine Competition" still serves as a reference for current CoCo-sourced bottlings.


Contra Costa Today
"San Francisco Chronicle Announces Its Medal-Winning Wines"
January 17, 2018


"The San Francisco Chronicle has announced its 2018 wine competition medal-winning wines.

"With more than 7,100 entries, this was the largest competition of American wines in the world. A public tasting will be held February 17 from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

"...Here is a look at how Contra Costa Wines were scored:

Bloomfield Vineyards CA White Blends – $30.00 and above 2016 Contra Costa County Bloomfield Vineyards 'Devil’s Daughter' $30.00 Silver

Bloomfield Vineyards CA Pinot Gris/Grigio – $20.00 and above 2016 Contra Costa County Pinot Grigio $30.00 Bronze

Bloomfield Vineyards CA Chardonnay – $30.00 – $33.99 2016 Contra Costa County Chardonnay $30.00 Silver

Campos Family Vineyards CA Dry/Sweet Rose/Blush – RS>1.00 and more 2016 Contra Costa Rose $29.00 Bronze

Campos Family Vineyards CA All Other Red Blends – $30.00 and above 2015 Contra Costa 'GiGi’s Blend' $34.00 Silver

Campos Family Vineyards CA Cab Franc – $30.00 – 39.99 2015 Contra Costa Cabernet Franc $34.00 Silver

Campos Family Vineyards CA Petite Sirah – $29.00 – $32.99 2015 Contra Costa County Petite Sirah $32.00 Bronze

Campos Family Vineyards CA Barbera – $30.00 and above 2015 Contra Costa Barbera $32.00 Silver

Campos Family Vineyards CA Zinfandel – $32.00 – $35.99 2015 Contra Costa County Zinfandel $32.00 Silver

Cline Cellars CA All Other Red Varietals 2015 Contra Costa County 'Ancient Vines' Carignane $14.99 Silver

Cline Cellars CA All Other Red Blends – Up to $14.99 2016 California 'Cashmere Black Magic' $14.99 Gold

Cline Cellars CA Mourvedre 2016 Contra Costa County 'Ancient Vine' Mourvedre $14.99 Silver

Cline Cellars CA Zinfandel – $28.00 – $31.99 2015 Contra Costa County 'Live Oak' Zinfandel $29.99 Silver

Cline Cellars CA Zinfandel – $28.00 – $31.99 2015 Contra Costa County 'Big Break' Zinfandel $29.99 Silver

Cline Cellars CA Dry Rose/Blush – RS >.25-.99 2016 Contra Costa County 'Ancient Vines' Mourvedre Rosé $12.99 Bronze

Dashe Cellars CA Carignan/Carignane 2015 Contra Costa 'Evangelho Vineyard' Carignane $28.00 Bronze

Ehrenberg Cellars CA Dry/Sweet Rose/Blush – RS>1.00 and more 2017 Contra Costa County 'Favlora Vineyards' Rosé $25.00 Bronze

Ehrenberg Cellars CA Carignan/Carignane 2015 Contra Costa County Carignane $48.00 Silver

Rock Wall Wine Company CA Montepulciano 2015 Contra Costa County Montepulciano $30.00 Bronze

Rock Wall Wine Company CA Zinfandel – $44.00 – $54.99 2014 Contra Costa County 'Pearl Hart' Zinfandel $50.00 Silver

Rock Wall Wine Company CA Dry Rose/Blush – RS 0 2016 Contra Costa County 'Zin Nymph' White Zinfandel $22.00 Silver

three CA Petite Sirah – $33.00 – 38.99 2014 Contra Costa County 'Mazzoni' Petite Sirah $38.00 Silver

three CA Zinfandel – $36.00 – $39.99 2015 Contra Costa County 'Live Oak' Zinfandel $36.00 Gold

three CA Zinfandel – $36.00 – $39.99 2015 Contra Costa County 'Bigelow' Zinfandel $36.00 Silver

Trinitas Cellars CA All Other Red Varietals 2014 Contra Costa 'Old Vine' Mataro $35.00 Silver

Trinitas Cellars CA Petite Sirah – $33.00 – 38.99 2015 Contra Costa 'Old Vine' Petite Sirah $35.00 Double Gold

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.winejudging.com. For a full list of medal winning wines, click here."

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#161 Post by Drew Goin » June 2nd, 2018, 11:06 am

The Press
"Leer Vineyards Officially Becomes Campos Family Vineyards"
by Aly Brown
March 2, 2017


"Tears, cheers and toasts were seen all around Friday, Feb. 24, as the former Leer Vineyards officially became Campos Family Vineyards, and the oversized scissors sent the ceremonial ribbon fluttering to the ground.

"With escrow closed and Alcohol Beverage Control licensing all tied off, Ric and Michelle Campos were thrilled to climb the final steps to their business operation and celebrate with family, friends and the community as a whole.

58b87973c3f8f.image.png
Ric and Michelle Campos cut the ceremonial ribbon on the official opening of their Campos Family Vineyards - photo by Hannah Broocker, Discovery Bay Studios.
"...'We want the winery to serve the community, and we feel it will bless many different people in many different ways,' said Ric.

"As far as the beverage of choice is concerned, the family plans to focus on estate wines, with five different varietals of grapes. They’re working with a winemaker in Lodi to bottle their wares and they recently released two wines – a Zinfandel and a Petite Sirah. After closing escrow, they worked diligently to upgrade just about everything while finalizing permits and licenses to serve alcohol...."[/i]


Campos Family Vineyards website

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#162 Post by Drew Goin » June 2nd, 2018, 11:38 am

Trinitas Cellars currently offers two wines from Contra Costa County:

Trinitas 2013 "Old Vine" Mataro:

Vineyard Details: "Mataro (also known as Mourvèdre) is grown in the Gonsalves’ Vineyards in the eastern hills of Contra Costa and hand picked at 28 brix to hone in on mature and deeper flavor development on the vine. With vines dating back over 90-plus years, the mature vines produce low yields that are focused and concentrated in their flavors."

Tasting Notes: "The 2013 Mataro is a beautiful wine with a luscious ruby red color. The nose is rich with bright notes of muddled strawberries, cinnamon sticks, and smoked Cherrywood. The palate is dense and structured. The big cherry, blueberry, and strawberry notes are bold and hit you in the cheeks with flavor. The Mataro also has hints of cedar, hickory, and vanilla, with a nice finish of cherries jubilee."


Trinitas "Old Vine" Mataro Video:





Trinitas 2013 "Old Vine" Petite Sirah:

Vineyard Details: "The Trinitas Old Vine Petite Sirah comes from the Sandy Lane Vineyard in the town of Oakley in
Contra Costa County. Our growers, the Gonsalves family, have been growing grapes since 1892 here and some of the original vines are still producing our Petite Sirah. The vineyard has sandy soil, thus the name of the vineyard, which is important for two key reasons. First, phylloxera cannot live and breed in sandy soil types, this key fact allowed this vineyard to survive the multiple onslaughts of phylloxera that has plagued Northern California in the last 150 years. Secondly, the sandy soil allows for great drainage and promotes the vines forming strong and deep root systems. The old vines produce small tonnages per acre and tiny berries which both combine to create incredible intensity of structure and flavor."



Tasting Notes: "This is ink in a bottle! The color is highly extracted from the 100+ year old vines. Too many people pass by the Petite Sirah in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine represents a excellent value for a full-bodied wine. The nose offers dense aromatics of fruitcake, brier, vanilla, baking spices, and strawberry. The palate is dominated by jammy blackberry, with notes of espresso and spice. The palate is structured with complex layers of uber ripe dark fruit, dried cherry, persistent oak and a vanilla tinged finish. Aged exclusively in American oak barrels."


Trinitas "Old Vine" Petite Sirah Video:




Trinitas Cellars website
Last edited by Drew Goin on October 19th, 2018, 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#163 Post by Drew Goin » June 3rd, 2018, 4:32 pm

Mr Kevin Romick brought to my attention that the Oakley Certified Farmers Market is opening on 3231 Main Street on Saturdays from June 2nd through December 29th, 8am-12pm.

I believe that strengthening the local population's direct participation in area agriculture is an important step in increasing awareness of the viticultural heritage in citizens' back yards.

FB_IMG_1528066551522.jpg
Oakley Certified Farmers Market
According to the "Oakley Farmers Market" FB page:

"A certified Farmers Market, run by All Bay Farmers Market Association. The market will showcase local farmers and vendors. The market will operate every Saturday (except September 22nd, this is due to the Heart of Oakley Festival) from 8am to noon, rain or shine. For more information about the market or to become a vendor, please contact Bill Harlow at 408-831-8741 or the Oakley Chamber of Commerce at 925-625-1035."
Attachments
FB_IMG_1530462436898.jpg
Oakley Certified Farmers Market - FB 3
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Oakley Certified Farmers Market - FB 2
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#164 Post by Drew Goin » June 6th, 2018, 9:14 pm

Kreck Wines, first mentioned here, has made its current release of wines available for purchase:

"It's been an incredible spring and we could not be more thrilled to finally release our inaugural vintage of Kreck Wines. We started this project a few years back with a vision of what we wanted to put in a bottle and over the last two years it has truly come to life. We are grateful for everyone who let us share our wines and share the stories of the amazing vineyards that they came from. And a special thank you to both our family and friends for their support and helping hands, we could not have done this without you!

"And with that, we are pleased to finally announce the inaugural release of our Kreck 2016 'Del Barba Vineyard' and 2016 'Teldeschi Vineyard' zinfandels.


"Due to our very small production, please order early to secure availability.
To avoid shipping in hot weather, our release period will conclude on June 8th.

"Thanks again for your interest and support of Kreck Wines.

Cheers,
Jeremy & Mindy Kreck



"KRECK 'Del Barba Vineyard' Old Vine Zinfandel 2016:

"Flavors of blackberry pie, dried figs, and ripe plum layered with white pepper and toffee. Big, bold zinfandel fruit with layered nuances continue to evolve from beginning to end. A full mouthfeel and viscous middle is balanced by the moderate acidity.

APPELLATION Contra Costa County | HARVEST DATE September 5, 2016
BARREL AGING 25% new French oak for 17 months
ALCOHOL 15.5%
pH 3.78
T.A 5.8 g/L
BOTTLING DATE April 13, 2018
CASES PRODUCED 47 cases


"KRECK 'Teldeschi Vineyard' Old Vine Zinfandel 2016:

"Notes of fresh black cherry and raspberry intertwined with vanilla, nutmeg, and cocoa powder dominate on the nose. The body is silky in texture with a round, viscous mouthfeel. Ample acidity bolsters the fruit and body with an elevated finish.

APPELLATION Dry Creek Valley
HARVEST DATE September 24, 2016
FERMENTATION 25% new French oak for 17 months
ALCOHOL 15.7%
pH 3.81
T.A 5.1g/L
BOTTLING DATE April 13, 2018
CASES PRODUCED 45 cases"



Kreck Wines website: https://kreckwines.com

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#165 Post by Drew Goin » June 17th, 2018, 1:10 pm

So far, almost all of the content featured on the "Contra Costa Wine Heritage" thread has been limited to the vineyards of the Eastern area of the county. I am trying to find more information about the winemaking heritage and viticultural history of the rest of the region. With the exception of Viano Vineyards, most of the older vineyards have been gone for a long time


Mercury News
"Three Contra Costa Wineries"
by Jessica Yadegaran
March 27, 2014


"Wine is a growing presence in Contra Costa County. The county now has its own winegrowers association, a wine competition and 18 bonded wineries — including some in the unlikeliest places...

"I recently visited a selection of Contra Costa wineries that are open to the public. Here’s what stood out as new or interesting.

Sterling Albert Winery/Mt. Diablo Winery & Custom Crush

*Closed?*

Four Fools Winery

"...Four Fools is
[John] Conroy’s first commercial gig as a winemaker. He continues to hone his craft, sourcing fruit from Lodi, Livermore and beyond for a growing portfolio that currently includes 400 to 600 cases of six wines. For now, stick with the 'Queen’s Revenge' cabernet sauvignon and 'Harlequin' chardonnay (if you like buttery). If the marina unfolds the way Conroy imagines it, with wine enthusiasts strolling over from Hercules on an extended bike path, I think Four Fools will thrive.

"Open noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 13 Pacific Ave., Rodeo; fourfoolswinery.com

Viano Winery

"When the Viano family purchased their Martinez vineyard in 1920, this was a thriving grape-growing area and home to 15 wineries. 'Viano Vineyard' itself was planted in 1888, and some of those vines are still there.

"Now, with the third and fourth generations in charge (namely, John and David Viano), the property is home to 60 acres planted to 20 varieties, including cabernet sauvignon, chenin blanc, valdiguie and zinfandel...

"Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Mondays; 150 Morrell Ave., Martinez; vianovineyards.com "

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#166 Post by Drew Goin » June 17th, 2018, 1:31 pm

Library of Congress website
"Map showing portions of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, city and county of San Francisco, California, carefully compiled from official and private maps, surveys and data"
published by Britton & Rey (SF), 1894



Description:

"Relief shown by shading, hachures, and spot heights. Covers Alameda and Contra Costa counties west from Pittsburgh and north from San Leandro; and only street pattern and major features of San Francisco. Cadastral map showing drainage, roads, section lines, land ownership, landowners' names, townships, ranchos, etc. LC Land ownership maps, 11 Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image."
default.jpg
Cadastral Map of Alameda, Contra Costa, & SF Counties, 1894
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/2012590175



Wine-dering*
Map of Contra Costa Wineries

* Not comprehensive

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#167 Post by Drew Goin » July 1st, 2018, 11:17 am

For a few vintages, Ridge Vineyards bottled red wines from Contra Costa vineyards. While CellarTracker includes consumer tasting notes for 12 different Ridge wines from Contra Costa, the winery website only features information on 4 bottlings. The 1993 Ridge "Evangelo" Mataro even makes mention of the national release of a wine from the "Bridgehead Vineyards", located in northern Oakley.

I am not certain whether the winery plans to offer any further products from these old-vine sites in the future.


From the Ridge website, the following wines are sourced from the ancient vineyards of Contra Costa County:


1990 "Evangelo Vineyard" Mataro (90% Mataro, 5% Zinfandel, 5% Alicante Bouschet)*

Notes: "Often planted in field blends with zinfandel, this varietal has been grown in California for more than a century. In the south of France it is called mourvedre, and is the dominant varietal (or a component) in a number of very fine wines. We harvested zinfandel and alicante as well as mataro from this 19th-century vineyard; together, they have produced a rich, complex wine. With ten months iin small cooperage, it is quite lovely now and-with its softer tannins-should develop fully over the next five years. PD (7/91)"


1990 "Evangelo Vineyard" Zinfandel (80% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane, 4% Alicante Bouschet)

Notes: "We harvested this 19th-century vineyard principally for its mataro, but also for its old zinfandel , carignan, and alicante vines. initially had and closed, the wine, after sixteen months in barrel, has surprised us all. It is almost late-picked in style, and has begun to soften gracefully. Aging potential is had to predict, but its richness makes it immediately enjoyable. PD (3/92)"


1993 "Evangelo Vineyard" Mataro (100% Mataro)*

Notes: "We have used the Evangelo Vineyard’s hunded-year-old mataro vines for the 1990 Advance Tasting Program release and all subsequent national ones. In the 1993 vintage, the national release comes from the Bridgehead vineyards, a quarter-mile to the east; all the Evangelo was set aside for this, our second ATP mataro. The wine was fermented with grapes fully submerged, and spent fourteen months in air-dried american oak barrels. Stylistically elegant, showing intense varietal fruit, it can be enjoyed immediately-and will develop fully over the next five to eight years. PD (1/95)"


2003 "Pato Vineyard" Mataro
(95% Mataro, 5% Petite Sirah)

Notes: "These old mataro vines on the warm Sacramento River delta set a small crop in 2003. This year, we included none of the vineyard’s zinfandel, choosing instead to add a small percentage of petite sirah for additional structure. After a natural-yeast fermentation in small submerged-cap fermentors and a long natural malolactic in well-tempered american oak barrels, the earthy, spicy character of the varietal dominates. Forward fruit and beautiful balance make this an immediately-enjoyable quaffing wine. It will be at its best over the next three years."


* For unknown reasons, the Ridge 1990 & '93 wines were labelled as "Evangelo Vineyard", while the proper spelling of the property is "Evangelo".

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#168 Post by Drew Goin » July 2nd, 2018, 7:27 am

The western side of Contra Costa County is home to several Wineries, including a couple of historically significant wine grape-growing/producing sites.


Pat Paulsen Wines (Tasting Room in Livermore, Special Events Facility in Oakland, CA)

"Founded by Sonoma County vintner Pat Paulsen and his wife Jane in 1971, Pat Paulsen Vineyards garnered tremendous praise and a wide following. By 1976, Pat Paulsen Vineyards was featured prominently as a vineyard designate, with wineries such as Pedroncelli Winery and Chateau St. Jean. The flagship wine, an Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon earned many gold medals throughout the years, taking 'Best of Show' awards at prestigious competitions.

"After establishing the winery as a serious player in the premium wine field, Pat Paulsen Vineyards released some very successful fun wines playing on Pat's dead pan humor, such as Refrigerator White, White House White, and American Gothic Red. Twenty years later, Pat’s son Montgomery (Monty) Paulsen, a graduate of the UC Davis School of Winemaking and Duke Fuqua School of Business, has revived the winery and the brand.

"The winery has moved to Napa, with private event space and offices in Oakland, and a tasting room in Livermore to continue the tradition of producing outstanding wines of great value and serious quality. Teaming with his partner in crime, Gigi Benson, they aim to top the legacy they've inherited with 'each and every bottle.'"


Wines:

Paulsen Vineyards "Rancho Las Juntas" Contra Costa 2013 Petite Sirah ($26.00)

"Black cherry fragrance with a rich, chewy texture and full bodied flavor. French oak barrel aging adds a nice mocha element and age-ability."

Paulsen Vineyards "Rancho Las Juntas" Contra Costa 2013 Zinfandel ($26.00)

"Light strawberry aromas and a rich creamy finish – great on its own or a nice companion to delicate summer dishes of pasta or fresh vegetables."

Paulsen Vineyards "Rancho Las Juntas" Contra Costa Late Harvest Zinfandel 375ml ($22.00)

"The 2013 Late Harvest Zinfandel from the 'Rancho Las Juntas Vineyard' is a special treat. The grapes for this wine were picked late in the season by a team of dedicated and hard-working friends, who persevered despite the cold weather and late hours. The results are worth it. Deep fruit flavors and a soft finish makes this great with dessert. The sugar level is a bit lower than many Late Harvest wines, making this easy to drink on its own or with semi-sweet desserts.

"This Late Harvest Zinfandel was a bit of a fluke. When we originally picked grapes intended for it, they turned out to be a lot less sweet than we needed, so we used those grapes for a 2nd lot of regular Zinfandel. Impending rains gave us no hope for a 3rd picking. But the weather subsided, and the grapes were perfect for the 3rd and final picking that season.

"We fermented the wine in a small open top vessel, which was kept cool indoors during the day, and then moved out into the cold autumn air at night. A yeast was selected that purposely dies out once it achieves moderate alcohol, leaving behind sugar. The 2013 ended up on the high end of the alcohol range, and a little lower in sugar, which makes it less of a dessert on its own, but just the right wine to serve with treats.

"This combination makes for a wine that is not excessively sweet, and bold and rich enough to work as a regular wine with spicy foods, or as something to sip with semi-sweet desserts. Try it with bitter chocolate, which will be enhanced by the texture of this wine, creating a moment to share and to delight."

- Monty Paulsen, Winemaker

About the Grower: "Guest Vintner and grower Steve Welch, along with his wife Genene have been growing grapes for many years on their ranch in Martinez, which has been in the family for six generations. The 'Rancho Las Juntas Vineyard', named after the original Spanish land grant in 1844, benefits from warm days and cool nights and produces wines of excellent depth and structure."

Paulsen Vineyards "Jesse’s Vineyard" Contra Costa Zinfandel Reserve (Sold out)

"Ripe and delicious this small lot reserve is loaded with fruit and bursting with vanilla oak. Stefanie Jackson (from Rosenblum Cellars) contributed to this effort from a world famous vineyard. The vines are celebrating their 124th birthday this year, and it looks like this vineyard will continue to supply wine lovers with beautiful wines for decades."
Jesse_large.jpg
"Jesse's Vineyard" - Pat Paulsen Vineyards
Pat Paulsen Vineyards offers over 40 different wines from California to Texas; the above are those derived from vineyards in Contra Costa County.

Virgo Cellars

"Stefanie Jackson is an award-winning winemaker with over ten years experience crafting ultra-premium boutique wines, as well as the founder of Virgo Cellars.

"The wines we produce exhibit Stefanie’s finely tuned sensory expertise coupled with her astute attention to detail and extensive working knowledge of the entire winemaking process."


Ms. Jackson produced Paulsen Vineyards' "Jesse's Vineyard" Reserve Zinfandel.

Cuisine Noir
"Urban Winemaking with Virgo Cellars"
by V. Sheree Williams
June 31, 2014

More information about Stephanie Jackson and Virgo Cellars

William Welch Wines (Martinez, CA)

"The Story of William Welch and Rancho Las Juntas"
view-from-front-patio_orig.jpg
"Rancho Las Juntas Vineyards" - from William Welch Wines
Wines:

William Welch 2013 "Rancho Las Juntas" Contra Costa Zinfandel ($26.00):

"California is known for its Zinfandel; rich and fruity, dark red in color, mid-range tannins, and higher alcohol content. 'Rancho Las Juntas' winegrapes possess the classic Zinfandel attributes, making it the perfect dinner wine. The William Welch 2013 Zinfandel begins with strawberry aromas and a hint of French oak vanilla, a smooth mid-palate, and a lingering spice finish."

William Welch "Late Harvest" Zinfandel ($22.00)

William Welch "William's Windfall" Port ($26.00)

"Rich Mocha-chocolate accents with deep dark cherry and raspberry flavors. Heavenly paired with a chocolate dessert."

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#169 Post by Sean Devaney » July 2nd, 2018, 9:57 am

Thanks for the info on Pat Paulsen winery Drew. I thought this was just another brand bought by Bronco when I saw the Gothic Red and putting out plonk under a once famous brand. I will search out these wines out.

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#170 Post by Drew Goin » July 3rd, 2018, 12:37 pm

I must warn you that I have not tasted anything from Pat Paulsen Vineyards and, aside from the wines specifically mentioned, the inventory of forty-one wines are not from Contra Costa.

The entire line of products may be phenomenal - I don't know.

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#171 Post by Drew Goin » July 3rd, 2018, 2:16 pm

I believe that Virgo Cellars' Stephanie Jackson is a friend of Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Company (and daughter of Ken Rosenblum, founder/former owner of Rosenblum Cellars). I am unable to confirm this right now, however...

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#172 Post by Drew Goin » July 7th, 2018, 12:50 am

High Quality Maps from the Boston Public Library's Norman B. Leventhal Map Center:


"Post Route Map: States of California and Nevada Showing Post Offices, December, 1897"
commonwealth_cj82kk796_access800.jpg
CA Postal Map 1897 - Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center
Von Haake, A., and United States. Post Office Dept. "Post route map of the states of California and Nevada showing post offices with the intermediate distances on mail routes in operation on the 1st of December, 1897." Map. 1897. Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center



"Map of the Fresh Water Tide Lands of California (1873)"
commonwealth_4m90fc22v_access800.jpg
Fresh Water Tide Lands of CA 1873 - Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center
"Map of the fresh water tide lands of California." Map. 1873. Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center

Not Shown:

"Map of California Pacific Railroad, 1870"


California Pacific Railroad Company. "Map of California Pacific Railroad." Map. 1870. Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center

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#173 Post by Drew Goin » July 7th, 2018, 10:35 pm

I have discussed the Lucca Winery on this thread before. The "other" Lucchesi brother operates this winery in Ripon, but the fruit is almost exclusively from old-vine sites in the Oakley area, farmed by Alan Lucchesi.


Manteca Bulletin
"Red Tie Concerts in Ripon: Lucca Winery Hosting Three More Summer Concerts"
June 10, 2017


"...Red Tie Arts is a Modesto based non-profit organization dedicated to presenting quality entertainment and helping underprivileged talented children achieve their artistic goals There are three evening concerts left that will be hosted by Mark and Lynette Lucchesi. It includes tastings of award winning wines from the Grande blend to the Mourverde varietal.

"...The winery is open for tasting and sales Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 209.761.5553 to visit the winery Monday through Thursday.

"Dionisio Lucchesi immigrated from Italy, and landed in Oakley, a small farming community in the Delta. He purchased land along O’Hara Avenue and planted grapes, almonds, and apricots. His love of the land and his passion for farming were passed to his son, Guido, who continued as caretaker for the trees, vines, and the sandy soil in which they grew. During Guido’s tenure, the apricots and almonds were harvested and sold, but a small portion of each grape harvest was retained for his own venture into homemade wine. Without any formal training, Guido created wines from his zinfandel grapes that he shared with his family and friends.

"In 1990 Guido’s son, Alan, took over stewardship of Lucchesi Family Farms. He expanded the operation to include over 400 acres of vines. Alan shared grapes harvested from his Oakley properties with his brother, Mark, an almond and peach farmer in Ripon. Mark began making small batches of wine to share. After a number of years, his production increased, and he began experimenting with blends. Mark’s interest in crafting and perfecting his homemade wine culminated in Lucca Winery.

"Grape vines grown in the sandy soil in and around Oakley have the advantage of being of forced to reach deep into the earth for water and nutrients, thereby creating grapes that are deep in flavor. The climate in Oakley fluctuates between the warm days of summer, and the cool Delta breezes. The soil and climate coalesce to produce the fine wines of Lucca Winery."



209 Magazine
"Whenever the Door is Open, Come On In,’ says Mark Lucchesi of Lucca Winery"
by Melissa Hutsell


"...'I grew up making homemade wine,' says Lucchesi, who remembers making it with his father on their family farm in Oakley, Calif. Lucchesi’s grandfather emigrated from Italy to the Delta region where he bought land and planted grapes, almonds and apricots. After each harvest, the Lucchesis would make their own wine from the remaining grapes. The Lucchesi Family Farm has since expanded to include more than 400 acres of vines, and provides Lucca Winery with the selection of Rhône grapes for red varietals such as Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Carignane, and Mourvèdre.
lucca.jpg
Lucca Winery - 209 Magazine
"Mark has since brought his family’s tradition from Oakley to Ripon. After years of making small batches to share with friends and family, and experimenting with different blends, Lucchesi officially established his winery in 2011. He describes the winery as a retirement career, crafting the types of wine he has always enjoyed.

“'The community has been very supportive,' he adds, 'people are excited.'

"...The selections at Lucca Winery are for those with a taste for dry/bitter red wines, rich with tannin, and high in alcohol content. However, he recently released a Sauvignon Blanc, described as silky and slightly toasted. 'Old Vine' Mourvèdre is Lucchesi’s personal favorite, which he and his guests describe as being very drinkable with anything from meat to sweets.

"Lucchesi says what makes his wine so soft and smooth is the grapes he uses.

“'Wine is a character of the grapes you make it with,' he adds, 'you can make [bad] wine with good grapes, but you can’t make good wine from bad grapes.'

"...Bottles range from $14 – $20. Discounts are available for bulk orders.

Contact Info:
For a complete tasting menu, and to schedule and appointment, contact Mark Lucchesi at
(209) 761-5553
LuccaWinery.com
LuccaWinery@gmail.com

16265 E. River Rd
Ripon, CA, 95366 "[/i]

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#174 Post by Drew Goin » July 7th, 2018, 11:32 pm

From the Cline Cellars website:


"Heritage Zinfandel and What Makes Oakley so Special"


"One of our smallest production wines, the 'Heritage' Zinfandel, is a blend of three single vineyards in Oakley, CA - Bridgehead, Big Break, and Live Oak. With only about 500 cases made of this wine we are very excited about the final product. We love the chocolate and berry that this wine conveys along with the great acidity you would expect from a zinfandel!

"There are a couple reasons why we love Oakley as a place to get our zinfandel grapes, as our winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos puts it: 'Oakley is wonderfully consistent!' Usually Oakley is very dry and warm during the day, ripening the grapes to perfection and then cools off in the evening thanks to the Sacramento Delta just to the North, keeping the brightness and acidity in the grapes. These conditions translate into the beautiful zins from Contra Costa County, which keep growing and growing in popularity! We’re proud to have been producing wines from this region since we started in 1982!..."



"Bridgehead Zin: Ancient Vines Mean Great Wines!"


"...Hailing from Oakley, CA these vines have quite a long history (literally long: with their roots reaching up to 20 feet underground!). With the average age of these vines at 140 years, they are some of our oldest and produce some pretty powerful juice.

"So how did these vines survive for so long? Well, a couple reasons. First, they were phylloxera-resistant because they were planted in sandy soil; the phylloxera louse, which devastated a good portion of American vineyards in the late 1900’s, was deterred by the sand and sun found in the Oakley vineyards. Secondly, these vineyards are dry-farmed meaning we don’t irrigate them at all! Their roots struggle deeper and deeper to find water, which in turn strengthens the vines creating more durability.

"With dry-farming the goal is not quantity but quality: these vines produce far less fruit than irrigated vines, but with much more concentration, which is what we love in our Zin!..."

"Look for flavors of cooking spices, toasted vanilla, and blackberry with layers of complexity on the palate and enjoy a truly ancient wine!...."



Cline "Ancient Vines" Contra Costa Mourvèdre, Carignan, & Zinfandel Wines Video:

[youtube]IOUpUrbRJuo[/youtube]

Attention: the Price of Cline's "Ancient Vines" has jumped up ~$6.00/btl this new vintage!


Touring and Tasting
"The Story Behind Cline Cellars"


"...The winery is owned by Fred Cline, whose love for winemaking began as a child when he would visit his grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi, at his Oakley, California farm and help turn the fruit into wine. In 1981, Fred founded Cline Cellars in Oakley. When he married his wife Nancy in 1986, they relocated the winery to a historic 350-acre property in Sonoma, the original site of the 21st and final California Mission.

"...Besides wonderful wine and California history, Cline Cellars provides guests with an exciting lodging option: the luxurious Cline Villa next to the winery is available to rent...."

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#175 Post by Drew Goin » July 11th, 2018, 7:49 pm

Bedrock Wine Company's MTP posted these pictures on Facebook over the past year or so.

These are incredibly recent:

Historic Vineyard Society "Evangelho Vineyard" Sign:
FB_IMG_1531360407578.jpg
HVS Sign @ Evangelho Vineyard - photo by MTP @ Bedrock Wine Co
Name the "Evangelho Vineyard" Grape, Challenge #1:
FB_IMG_1531360351115.jpg
Evangelho Vineyard grape cluster - what variety? - photo by MTP @ Bedrock Wine Co
Name the "Evangelho Vineyard" Grape, Challenge #2:
FB_IMG_1531360412855.jpg
Evangelho Vineyard grape cluster #2 - what variety? - photo by MTP @ Bedrock Wine Co
Name the "Evangelho Vineyard" Grape, Challenge #3:
FB_IMG_1531360420423.jpg
Evangelho Vineyard grape cluster #3 - what variety? - photo by MTP @ Bedrock Wine Co
If you are an ampelography expert, please let me know which photo is of Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, or Carignan (or something else...).

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#176 Post by Drew Goin » July 11th, 2018, 7:57 pm

More photographs of Contra Costa vines, compliments of Bedrock's MTP:


Early Stage of Budding in the Vines:
FB_IMG_1531360637234.jpg
Early vintage buds - from MTP of Bedrock Wine Co
Incorporating Biochar into the sandy soils at the "Evangelho Vineyard":
FB_IMG_1531360958137.jpg
Incorporating Biochar into the sandy soils at the "Evangelho Vineyard" - from MTP of Bedrock Wine Co
Cover crops carpeting the sandy surface of the "Evangelho Vineyard":
FB_IMG_1531361178648.jpg
Cover Crops at the "Evangelho Vineyard" - from MTP of Bedrock Wine Co
Mr Randal Johnson of Hess/Artezin in the "Evangelho Vineyard", who bottles a vineyard-designated Carignan and Mourvèdre from the site:
FB_IMG_1531361004553.jpg
Mr Randy of Hess/Artezin at the "Evangelho Vineyard" - from MTP of Bedrock Wine Co

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#177 Post by Drew Goin » July 11th, 2018, 9:05 pm

More Facebook photo pictures from MTP of Bedrock Wine Company:


Rabbit Burrow among the "Evangelho" Vines:
FB_IMG_1531361035761.jpg
Rabbit hole at the foot of an "Evangelho" vine - from MTP @ Bedrock Wine Co
Once & Future's Mr Joel Peterson and "Oakley Road Vineyard" Mataro:
Attachments
FB_IMG_1531361461665.jpg
Mr Joel Peterson and "Oakley Road Vineyard" Mataro - from MTP @ Bedrock Wine Co

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#178 Post by Drew Goin » July 12th, 2018, 11:50 pm

Although both events have passed, I am unable to find mention of any 2018 Contra Costa County-themed tasting events at the moment. I am happy to know that the region's wineries have collaborated in organizing such interactions with the general public, nonetheless.


East County Today
"Contra Costa Winegrowers Offer Wine Passport Weekend"
by ECT Staff
April 25, 2017


"The Contra Costa Winegrowers Association is hosting its Passport Weekend on May 20-21 to showcase the multiple award winning wines of Contra Costa County.

"...May 20Viano Vineyards (150 Morello Ave Martinez Ca 94553):

• Cline Cellars
• J Doran
• First Generation Farmers
• Viano Vineyards
• Wedl Wine Cellars
.

Contra-Costa-Winegrowers.jpg
"Explore Contra Costa: Be Part of the Renaissance" - from East County Today
"May 21st – Brentwood:

• Bloomfield Vineyards
• Campos Family Vineyards
• Hannah Nicole Vineyards
• Newberry Estate
• Petersen Vineyards
• Tamayo Family Vineyards
...."[/i]



The Press
"Save the Date for Vintners Dinner at Campos Family Vineyards"
July 7, 2017


"Wine connoisseurs and fans of farm-fresh foods will want to pencil in Sept. 23 for the fifth-annual Contra Costa Winegrowers Vintners dinner at Campos Family Vineyards in Byron.

"The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. and feature a five-course harvest feast of local bounty, carefully paired with area wines. The following wineries will participate: Bloomfield Vineyards, Cline Cellars, Campos Family Winery, Hannah Nicole Vineyards, J Doran Vineyards, Newberry Estate Vineyards, Petersen Vineyards, Tamayo Family Vineyards, Viano Vineyards and Wedl Wine Cellars...

"'We are looking forward to the event,' said John Viano, president of the Contra Costa Winegrowers Association. 'We want to try and educate people on the pairing of food and wine and show that Contra Costa offers some of the finest wines … It’s all about Contra Costa wines.'"

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#179 Post by Drew Goin » July 13th, 2018, 4:14 am

No sooner had I asserted that no 2018 Contra Costa wine-centered event had been seen...


East County Today
"Contra Costa Winegrowers Passport Weekend 2018"


"Spring has sprung, it’s time to explore the Award-winning wines of Contra Costa. Due to the expanse of the region, we have divided it into 2 days, West and East.

"On May 19th, in the Western region, at Viano Vineyards in Martinez, enjoy the wines of:

Cline Cellars, Favalora Vineyard Winery, J Doran, Viano Vineyards and Wedl Wine Cellars.

Contra-Costa-Passport-Weekend.jpg
2018 Contra Costa Winegrowers Festival - from ECT
"On May 20th, visit these Eastern region locations in Brentwood:

Bloomfield Vineyards, Campos Family Vineyards, Favalora Vineyards Winery, Hannah Nicole Vineyards, Petersen Vineyards and Tamayo Family Vineyards. (map to follow)."[/i]
_20180808_021228.JPG
Facebook post - "Contra Costa Winegrowers Passport Weekend 2018"
Last edited by Drew Goin on August 8th, 2018, 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#180 Post by Drew Goin » July 15th, 2018, 5:48 am

I emailed Ms. Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall regarding a couple of vineyard questions and whether she indeed had been familiar with Ms Stephanie Jackson of Virgo Cellars.

Here are some of her responses:


"Stefanie was an AP at Rock Wall in 2008, but I haven’t seen her in about 10 years. I have no idea if she is still making Wine.

"You are correct, the 'Carla’s Vineyard' provides its last vintage of grapes in 2017.
I heard that they are pulling it out and building a charter school on the land.

"This is the location of what’s left of the original 1888 planting of my 'Jesse’s Vineyard'. It has been whittled down to about two acres now."

image1.png
Jesse's Vineyard - from Shauna Rosenblum
"Here is the location of 'Manuel Madruga’s Vineyard' which is in great shape, and fully intact."
image2.png
Madruga Vineyard - from Shauna Rosenblum
I am most grateful for Shauna's help in confirming the fate of the "Carla's Vineyard", as well as providing the locations of the "Jesse's Vineyard" and "Madruga Vineyard"!! :)

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#181 Post by Drew Goin » July 15th, 2018, 1:26 pm

USGS website
"U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-98: Quaternary Geology of Contra Costa County, and Surrounding Parts of Alameda, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Counties, California: A Digital Database"
by E.J. Helley and R.W. Graymer
1997

minimap.jpg
"Quaternary Geology of Contra Costa County, and Surrounding Parts of Alameda, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Counties, California (1997)" - USGS
The above link provides multiple file download formats and sizes for the geological feature map of the above regions of California, as well as interpretation guides.

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#182 Post by Drew Goin » July 22nd, 2018, 1:03 pm

I am posting this article summary on the "Contra Costa Wine Heritage" thread because I know of at least one vineyard that is having soil amendments (ie, biochar) incorporated into the deep Delhi Sand found around many old-vine sites in the eastern part of the county...



From the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology "Research Summaries" webpage:

"Alternative Soil Management for Sandy Vineyards"

"This author shares a cover crop type that worked very well in heavily-mechanized, poor soil situations taking place in sandy vineyards.

"The full text is in the journal Acta Horticulturae (you may need a password):

http://www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?session=1518 "

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#183 Post by Drew Goin » July 24th, 2018, 2:58 am

Ærena Wines is a project involving Aaron Pott and Kyle Mizuno of Blackbird Vineyards, with label design by Tony Hernandez. The Ærena "Crown in Shadow" San Francisco Bay Rosé, composed of 50% Mourvèdre and 50% Carignan, draws all of its fruit from the 135-year-old "Del Barba Vineyard" in Oakley.
aerena_rose.png
Ærena Wines "Crown in Shadow" Rosé - from Ærena Bespoke Collection site
Wine Details (from Bespoke Collection site):

"Vintage: 2017
Varieties: Carignan and Mourvèdre
Release: Spring 2018
Winemaking: Vin Gris
Alcohol: 12.9%
Production: 2,850 cases
Optimum Drinking: 2018 - 2020
SRP: $20"


The winemaking duo also makes an Ærena Chardonnay from RRV/Sonoma Mt fruit, as well as a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Red Hills.

https://aerenawines.bespokecollection.com/wine

From K&L Wines:

"A new edition to our rosé selections here at K&L and one I’m super excited about. Aerena’s San Francisco Bay AVA rosé is actually from a single 130-year-old vineyard in the Oakley area that grows in pure river sand. 'Del Barba Vineyard' is organically managed and the vines are own-rooted—it’s quite a spectacular sight! The wine is made from roughly equal parts old-vine Mourvèdre and Carignan. It’s bright, crisp and refreshing with crushed raspberry, orange zest, pink grapefruit and sandy minerals. This will be constantly stocked in my fridge this summer. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L Domestic wine buyer)"

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#184 Post by Drew Goin » July 25th, 2018, 9:34 pm

Here is the link to the independent thread on the recent passing of Mr Frank Evangelho, one of the last of the "old guard" of multi-generational families farming old vineyards in the Antioch/Oakley area of Contra Costa County:

"RIP Frank Evangelho"


Other figureheads of Contra Costa old-vine family farming who are no longer with us:

Joseph "Joe" Duarte: "...Joe was born on the family ranch at Big Break, Oakley, Ca and attended local schools. He is one of 5 generations of Duartes in Oakley. Joe was an agriculture farmer in Oakley for over 60 years...."

Dwight Meadows: "...He managed several vineyards in East County and was proud of the grapes he grew. His four grandchildren were the joy in Dwight's life...Dwight is survived by his wife Carla, son Aaron Meadows (Amy), daughter Stacia Ruffolo (Craig), grandchildren, Isabella and Anthony Meadows, Jake and Nicole Ruffolo and father Jesse."

Dwight Meadows and his wife (Carla Cutino-Meadows) farmed the "Jesse's Vineyard" and "Carla's Vineyard". According to an East Bay Times article commemorating his life's achievements:

"...Meadows also had a head for grapes, says Brentwood farmer Tom Bloomfield, who recalls the extensive research he did to develop the vines best suited to Oakley’s sandy soil.

“'He really put Oakley on the map as a prime Zin location,' he said.

"Indeed, a bottle of Zinfandel that Alameda’s Rosenblum Cellars made from Meadows’ grapes not only won best of show at the 2003 California State Fair but also was named among the top 100 wines in the world that year by Wine Spectator Magazine...."


Rich Pato: "...He was employed with the Contra Costa Water District from 1977 until 2004. He retired to concentrate on the loves of his life: family, his vineyard, and watching sports, namely, the SF Giants."

Rich Pato leased the eponymous vineyard from the Water District. Bedrock now has a ~10-year-lease on the "Pato", "Mori", and "Calisesi" plots.

The Co-CoFermented Blog says this about the "Pato Vineyard" (based on a phone conversation with the late Rich Pato:


"...Originally planted in 1896, back in the days when Oakley was a convenient railhead for shipping grapes back east, Rich’s plot comprises 26 acres planted to old-vine Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Mourvèdre. Located directly across busy Empire Avenue from Stan and Gertie Planchon’s vineyard, it’s also a textbook study in Oakley’s past and present: Directly adjacent to majestic vines looking forward to their 115th birthday, there’s an ongoing engineering-and-asphalt development designed to widen Empire to double its traffic capacity."

Stanley "Stan" Planchon: "...He had been a builder for the late Clint Sudweeks, constructing marinas and other buildings throughout the Delta. He also was a grower, raising wine grapes, both in Oakley and in southern Oregon. Mr. Planchon managed 40 acres of family-owned vineyards off Empire Avenue that were planted by his grandfather in 1902...."

Ben Romiti: "...He was a native and the oldest lifelong resident of Oakley, CA. Ben was a self-employed rancher, working 83 years on the family ranch. He also worked 26 years for Contra Costa County Public Works as an equipment operator...."

Remember that the Romiti property, mentioned elsewhere in this thread, was recently placed on the market for $5,000,000?
480x480.jpg
"Winemakers in Esatern Contra Costa County discover high-quality red grape vineyards dating back nearly a century. Winemaker Fred Cline with his 10 year old son Ramsey with a 100 year old Zinfandel Vine in Oakley. The vineyard is owned by Ben Romiti." - from The Chronicle, Photo by Michael Macor
According to a news article from ABC-7, the sons of Ben Romiti noted that, although the grapes continue to be bought by wineries, the family has lost its desire to continue working the land:

"...Six generations have enjoyed farming there but the two brothers who own the land are reluctantly selling.

"...Frank Romiti says, 'At this point, the fourth generation is not interested in farming anymore and we're getting surrounded by housing so we decided to put it up for sale.'

"Bernard Romiti added, 'I can't work the ranch no more and it's getting harder for him. We think the best thing to do is to sell.'"



Even though these individuals are gone, many of the grapefarming families of Oakley are interconnected in elaborate ways.

Consider Mr Stan Planchon's obituary from the Mercury News article:


"He is survived by: daughters, Linda Seeno, Diane Lovejoy and Carol Planchon; stepson Dino Del Barba; stepdaughters Vicki Mann, Cindy Del Barba and Juli Del Barba Favalora and numerous other relatives."

When patriarch Louis Del Barba, father of Tom Del Barba, passed away in 2010, the family continued to work its vineyard properties. Son Dino Del Barba passed away last year; here are family members that (as of 2017) had passed away as well as those who have survived his tragic death:

"Dino is preceded in death by his father, Louis Del Barba, his mother Gertrude Planchon, step-dad Stan Planchon, and his niece Sophia Favalora.

"He is survived by his sisters Vicki Mann, Cindy Del Barba, and Juli Del Barba-Favalora. Nephews Robert Cloutier (Rachel), Nick Cloutier, Venanzio Favalora, nieces Rochelle Sikes (Brad), Giannina Favalora, great-nieces Hailey, McKenzie, Kylie, Remedi, Leyla, and great-nephew Bradley.

"Uncles and aunts Fred and Shirley Del Barba, Rico Cinquini (Rose deceased), Tino and Josie Bacchini, Janice Preszler and Nick Sacchetti, as well as many cousins."


It is apparent that the Planchon, Del Barba, and Favalora families are all inter-related, via marriage or otherwise.

Another anecdote shared by the Co-CoFermented Blog explained how many vineyards - and their owners - were interconnected:


"...Until a couple of weeks ago, when I ran into Tom Del Barba during harvest at one of his own neighboring properties, and had the ["Duarte Vineyard"] site confirmed by Rock Wall winemaker, Shauna Rosenblum. Turns out that we’d been driving past two big old-vine vineyards on busy Laurel Road for almost a year: One is Tom’s; he told me that the eastern one is 'Duarte'.
Duarte.1.jpg
Duarte Vineyard - from Co-CoFermented Blog, 2010
"The 'Duarte Vineyard' story is one that’s being retold a lot in Oakley. According to Tom Del Barba, Joe Duarte had been farming the land for years, when local developer Seeno Homes offered him big dough for the vineyard, intending to rip out the vines and build McMansions (there’s a big development already built just behind the vineyard). Well, the housing collapse put the boots to that plan, so rather than let the land sit fallow, Seeno leases the (currently) intact 'Duarte/Jesse’s' vineyard site out to a local grower and county land commissioner named Dwight Meadows. Dwight has vine interests in several parcels countywide (In fact, Shauna Rosenblum’s oh-so-tasty Montepulciano mentioned here months ago sources from younger vines planted in neighboring Brentwood and managed by Dwight Meadows). Completing the small-town vibe is the fact that Dwight is married to the former Carla Cutino, whose family ran the eponymous tire shop in town, and whose given name graces 'Carla’s Vineyard', located beside the Kmart. 'Carla’s' is yet another of Rosenblum Cellars’ vineyard designates. "

__________________________________________________________________

As many the region's vineyard owners pass on, it is natural to wonder if the current increase in land values will end multi-generational farming in Antioch and Oakley.

• Aaron Meadows has shifted his focus to commercial land development, eliminating the "Carla's Vineyard" piecemeal.

• The Romiti brothers are selling their land, which includes the home they grew up in and a parcel of ~150-year-old Zinfandel vines.

• The "Evangelho Vineyard" was purchased by Bedrock Wine Company, perhaps the best news I've heard coming out of the county in the lifetime of this thread. Bedrock is also leasing the "Pato", "Mori", and "Calisesi" parcels from the CoCo Water District.

• The City of Oakley has begun its "ACVP Phase 2", a project whose ultimate goal aims to save as many of the old vineyards as is possible.

Favalora Vineyards Winery has been established recently, injecting youthful vigor into the farming and bottling of some local viticultural sites. Other small wineries have been purchasing grapes from remaining ancient vineyards of the county.

• The Historic Vineyard Society continues to provide opportunities for vineyard owners and those wineries who offer old-vine wines a chance to increase public awareness of California's treasures.

Only time will tell what fate awaits the shrinking number of Contra Costa wine grape-growing families.
Last edited by Drew Goin on December 10th, 2018, 3:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#185 Post by Drew Goin » July 26th, 2018, 11:36 pm

After gathering the info for the prior post, I decided to take a closer look at a couple of older articles I encountered in my readings.

It is amazing how optimistic some of the writing was ~20-years-ago with respect to the future of Contra Costa's ancient, family-owned vineyards! Then again, a lot has happened in the world since then...



SF Gate
"Growth By the Glass In Oakley: Vineyard Revival Emerging Amid Stores, Subdivisions"
by John King
August 15, 1997


"Out in Oakley, you expect to see new subdivisions. You expect to see new high schools. New roads.

"But you don't expect to see what Fred Cline shows off with pride: a new field of grapevines, 20 acres of pencil-thin stalks topped by large leaves.

"'It's petite sirah and zinfandel,' the 40-year-old winery owner says with satisfaction in his voice. 'We planted it last week, and it's taking off quick.'

"Forget about suburbanization or the traffic jams on Highway 4 -- the story in Oakley right now is the revival of vineyards. Sixty new acres have been planted this year, and more are likely to follow.

"The reason is simple: In the wine world, Oakley is hip. There's a market for the grapes, the kind of market that makes it worth a farmer's while to ignore those phone calls from developers.

"...So if growers love their land, they can stay where they are. County statistics show the average price per ton of Contra Costa grapes climbed from $427 in 1990 to $713 last year, and it's even higher for grapes from Oakley's distinctive century-old vineyards.

"...For Cline, the triumph is that any farmland at all remains -- even if it's mixed in a checkerboard pattern with housing and shopping centers.

"...Still, the land devoted to grapes in the county dwindled from 851 acres in 1984 to 771 in 1990.

"'It was painful back then
[the early 1980's],' Cline recalls. 'I'd be going up to everyone who had five acres, saying "grow grapes," and all this great land is being plowed under.'

"The Clines built their winery in Sonoma, because 'it's hard to establish your national brand if people can't associate it with the wine country.'

"That was in 1991. Now, Cline's production is reaching the 100,000- case level, and the wine is sold in every state except South Dakota.

"...In Contra Costa, meanwhile, the amount of agricultural land devoted to grapes last year totaled 975 acres. Besides Oakley, this includes the vineyards of Viano Winery in Martinez, which has been in production since 1946.

"True, Oakley will never rival Napa as a tourist destination; the Bridgehead vineyard, which produces coveted grapes for high- priced offerings by Cline and Ridge, sits behind a convenience store. But when Cline looks into the future, things look good.

"'Oakley's viable forever as a grape-growing area,' Cline says. 'I wouldn't have been as confident saying that five or six years ago.'"



The construction of the BART line straight through the area, the recent boom in land prices, and the uncertainty of whether remaining farmers among the checkboarded blocks of vineyards, houses, and businesses holding onto their century-old vines all serve to cast a haze over the viticultural future of Contra Costa.

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#186 Post by Drew Goin » August 2nd, 2018, 8:56 pm

I have found other amazing photos of vineyards from the David Bayliss Photography website. Tonight, the "Evangelho Vineyard" was discovered among the various images...

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"Evangelho Vineyard" (1) - from David Bayliss Photography website
000053080001evangelho.jpg
"Evangelho Vineyard" (2) - from David Bayliss Photography website

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#187 Post by H Wallace Jr » August 3rd, 2018, 11:08 am


Drew, here is a new drone video I did earlier this week from Evangelho.
(rabbit photobomb at the 9 sec. mark)
Hardy Wallace itb
Dirty and Rowdy Family Winery: Mourvèdre and Semillon Together at Last

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#188 Post by Drew Goin » August 3rd, 2018, 4:24 pm

Thanks for the vid-jo, Hardy!!!

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#189 Post by Drew Goin » August 7th, 2018, 11:47 pm

I saw the rabbit! Maybe he lives under the vine in the photo earlier in this thread...? ;)
De_Alice's_Abenteuer_im_Wunderland_Carroll_pic_02.jpg
"I'm late!"
I always appreciate your cool overhead-cam videos of vineyards.

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#190 Post by Drew Goin » August 8th, 2018, 12:21 am

Seeing the "Evangelho Vineyard" video that Dirty & Rowdy's Mr Hardy Wallace posted above ↑↑ reminded me of a recent epiphany of sorts.
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"Matt Cline (left) has worked with grower Frank Evangelho (right) for eighteen years, buying the fruit of his old vines in Oakley [ANTIOCH!], which were planted in the early 1890's." - P. Comiskey, W&S 10/05
As pointed out previously in this thread, and confirmed by Ms Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Company, the "Carla's Vineyard" (adjacent to the "Evangelho Vineyard" in Antioch) is more or less gone. The fate of the vineyard was always uncertain according to the words of the late Dwight Meadows, husband of Carla Cutino-Meadows and father of Aaron, who owned the site.

I re-read a Wine & Spirits magazine article from October of 2005, written by Patrick J. Comiskey and entitled "Age Before Beauty". In the piece, the author writes that, in 1979, when Mr Meadows and a few partners first purchased the plot of land that included the 10-acre vineyard (then 80-years-old), the plan had always been to tear out the vines. An economic downturn led to the delay. In the meantime, old-vine Zinfandel became a hot product, and Rosenblum Cellars contracted with Meadows to buy the grapes...

"... Meadows is understandably pleased, but he's also a pragmatist, and he knows that one day he'll pull out the vineyard. 'There'll come a time when we have to,' he says, 'It's just basic economics. The price of land is already at ten or fifteen dollars a square foot. When the right opportunity presents itself, it will be time to make that decision.'..."
_20180808_010932.JPG
"Carla Meadows in Carla's Vineyard in Antioch, CA, a parcel of Zinfandel more than 100-years-old that Kent Rosenblum uses to make a single-vineyard wine." - P. Comiskey, W&S 10/05
Well, Mr Dwight passed away and his son is a commercial development guy. The ~120-year-old vines are going to the concrete-covered fate that they evaded twice in their lifetime.

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#191 Post by Drew Goin » August 10th, 2018, 4:01 am

After the City of Oakley's September 12, 2017, update and approval of the "Agricultural Conservation & Viticulture Program (ACVP) Phase 2" Sub-Committee final report, things kind of ground to a halt.


As indicated in the final report, the enticement to commercially develop vineyard land is very strong for some property owners, the community largely fails to demonstrate an enthusiasm for the preservation of old vineyards, and a few additional unforeseen complications have emerged. A lack of available funds is also an immediate obstacle in fulfilling some of the elements of the plan.

The mapping out of the target clusters of viticultural sites has to be refined; it cannot be just an survey of all the city's ancient vineyards, as not every location will ultimately be included in the program. One only needs to consider the "Romiti Vineyard", recently put on the market for millions of dollars.



At the time of the September "Oakley ACVP (aka OACVP) Phase 2" report, the following was included in the Progress Report Summary:

• The "Walnut Meadows" site (a transplanted collection of old Alicante Bouschet vines) would not be able to receive the needed electricity support for lighting and a solar-radiation irrigation pump system. This unique component of Oakley viticulture is no longer able to fulfill its intended role as a cultural showcase to the community at-large or to tourists at the moment.

• General research leading to funding assistance: little to no Conservation Easement funding opportunities were deemed possible; discussions with NRCS for "Walnut Meadows" development have been opened.

"O'Hara Cluster" easement plans have not been positively received by the landowner (Mr Lucchesi) after several attempts.

• Vineyard property values were assessed and outreach made by OACVP: the "Planchon Vineyard" in particular was evaluated for value; ANRT presentations were conducted at the Brentwood Harvest Festival, the Heart of Oakley, and via the ANRT website and Facebook page; the "Ancient Vine Historical Designation" was established for the "Planchon Vineyard".

20100322__eect0320olyvineyards1.jpg
Stan Planchon's vineyard, circa 2010 - photo by Dan Rosenstrauch from East Bay Times article (03/22/10)

The report states: "The Program was initially built on the prospective that landowners within each cluster would commit to a conservation easement, thus increasing the amount of acreage needed to secure grant funding. With only one cluster potentially available for an easement and the city not able to participate in creating the Walnut Meadows Vineyard Showcase to program has come to a halt.

Discussion on how and why to move forward is needed."
:(


I will follow this post up with the "Discussion points for next meeting with the sub-committee."
_20180810_054621.JPG
Projected City Growth for Oakley, CA
I am going to try to reach out to Ms Liz DiGiorgio (ANRT) and Mr Kenneth Strelo (Senior Planner, City of Oakley) in order to gather more up-to-date info on the fate of Oakley's vineyards.

Photo of the "Planchon Vineyard":
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2010/03/22 ... to-future/
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#192 Post by Drew Goin » August 15th, 2018, 10:04 am

Mr Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company posted this picture of a Carignan block in the "Evangelho Vineyard".

FB_IMG_1534350702857.jpg
FB photo of Carignan block in the "Evangelho Vineyard" by MTP of Bedrock Wine Co

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#193 Post by Drew Goin » August 20th, 2018, 11:02 am

Mr Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company posted this image of some 2018 Carignan from the "Evangelho Vineyard":

FB_IMG_1534787803647.jpg
Evangelho Vineyard Carignan from MTP of Bedrock (Facebook post)

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#194 Post by Drew Goin » August 21st, 2018, 10:24 am

Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company posted this aerial photo of the "Evangelho Vineyard" in Antioch.

FB_IMG_1534871552647.jpg
Evangelho Vineyard aerial photo from MTP on Facebook (#matt@newyork)

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#195 Post by Drew Goin » August 24th, 2018, 2:28 pm

The following notes come from a recent Wine Access email promoting Mr Matt Cline's Three Wine Company's 2015 "Ancient Vine Field Blend", composed of 100% Contra Costa grapes:


"...Matt’s 'Old Vine Field Blend'...Deep ruby to the rim with piercing, high-toned aromas of boysenberry, raspberry, and exotic spices. Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, and Alicante Bouschet from heritage vineyards planted by first-generation Italians make for a truly opulent wine and a massive attack, showing off all of its century-old-vine pedigree.

"...When you first see the vineyards, you can’t help but do a double-take. There’s no dirt, no gravel, no galets roules. Everything is sand. The varieties include Spanish Mataró, Carignan, Zinfandel, and Malvasia Nero. Purportedly hauled down in buggies from the old Buena Vista Winery to Contra Costa 100-125 years ago, 6-inch budwood was twisted into Delhi sand by Portuguese and Italian immigrant families. The family names were 'Spinelli', 'Lucchesi', 'Evangelho', and 'Jacuzzi'. Today those vines eke out a few clusters each, the tiny berries packed with dense red-fruit concentration.

"It would be almost 100 years before a young California enologist named Matt Cline, the grandson of Valeriano Jacuzzi, would walk us through which vineyards were best and why. 'Contra Costa summers are hot, the best vineyards are those planted closest to the river,' Matt told us a while back over an all-you-can-eat ribeye lunch at Mac’s Old House. 'The best vintages come from the dry, mild years. 2012 and 2013 were superb. 2015 was a roller coaster, but the end results were just miraculous.'


unnamed.jpg
"Contra Costa ancient vines" - from WineAccess via Matt Cline

"The early winter was rainy, replenishing hydric reserves, before drying out in a very warm January. By February, the rains were back at it, followed by cool spring temperatures that dropped yields severely in some places. July turned the burners on, putting ripening into hyperdrive and making for an early harvest that wrapped up by the last week of August and the first week of September. While the dust hasn’t yet settled, some have already called it the best of an incredible four-year run of brilliant vintages beginning with 2012 in the Central Coast...."


Wine Access Catalog Special Entry for Three Wine Company's "Ancient Vine Field Blend" Contra Costa County


Three Wine Company website: http://www.threewinecompany.com

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#196 Post by Matt Wood » August 25th, 2018, 11:09 am

I guess this is the best place to put this -On my way back from picking some grapes in the Oakley area this morning I passed a big rig loaded with Bedrock macro bins coming back on Highway 4.

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#197 Post by Hoang Pham » August 25th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Matt Wood wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 11:09 am
I guess this is the best place to put this -On my way back from picking some grapes in the Oakley area this morning I passed a big rig loaded with Bedrock macro bins coming back on Highway 4.
Did you join the pick with Cal Wine Broker? What varieties did you end up picking, and how was the overall quality?

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#198 Post by Matt Wood » August 25th, 2018, 1:24 pm

Hoang Pham wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 12:32 pm
Matt Wood wrote:
August 25th, 2018, 11:09 am
I guess this is the best place to put this -On my way back from picking some grapes in the Oakley area this morning I passed a big rig loaded with Bedrock macro bins coming back on Highway 4.
Did you join the pick with Cal Wine Broker? What varieties did you end up picking, and how was the overall quality?
No, I've picked with him before and might later this year but today I got Pinot Gris from a vineyard I've been getting grapes from for about 7 years. Quality was great 21brix under 3.4ph.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#199 Post by Drew Goin » August 27th, 2018, 6:57 pm

Thanks for the update, Matt!

I am always appreciative of your on-the-ground involvement with the vineyards of Contra Costa!!

Photos are a bonus, too! ;)

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#200 Post by Drew Goin » August 27th, 2018, 9:00 pm

Precedent Wines from Mr Nathan Kandler are the focus of this report from retailer K&L Wines:



K&L "On the Trail"
"A New Entrant into Old-Vine Winemaking"
April 12, 2018


"...Two wines from a new label named Precedent stopped me in my tracks. The first was an 'Evangelho Vineyard Zinfandel'. Rich, layered and complex, it was a field blend of several varieties grounded in Zinfandel from a legendary vineyard site.

kandler.png
Nathan Kandler - from K&L "On the Trail" article

"...The opportunity came in 2010, when Tegan Passalacqua, winemaker at Turley and an old-vine treasure hunter, turned Kandler onto 'Evangelho Vineyard'. 'Evangelho' is one of the most unique vineyards in California...'The age, the fact that it’s on its own roots, the fact that it’s dry farmed, the mix of varieties there. It’s a dream. You just don’t find that very many places.'

"...After tasting through Kandler’s wines, I’m convinced Precedent belongs on the short list of old-vine winemakers who deliver exceptional quality.

"...Looking out past the vines to the San Francisco Bay below, I asked Kandler what was next for Precedent. 'There’s a lot more land left to be explored in Lodi. You can make the wines at really good price points. I want to make wines that somebody like me would want to buy.'"



Precedent Wines website: http://www.precedentwine.com
Last edited by Drew Goin on September 1st, 2018, 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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