Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

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Adam Frisch
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#351 Post by Adam Frisch »

Drew - Gary Gonsalves and his family owns Sandy Lane vineyard. They have quite a few parcels spread out. Lots of old vine Zin and interplanted stuff. In fact, one of the vineyards that is interplanted is right next to Evanghelo and is from same era. I took old vine Zin from him this year and we walked the old vineyard at night that's next to Evanghelo. Mourvedre, Carignan and Zin interplanted. All sandy soils, almost like walking on the beach. Let me know if you need his number.
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#352 Post by Drew Goin »

Adam Frisch wrote: November 10th, 2020, 6:22 am Drew - Gary Gonsalves and his family owns Sandy Lane vineyard. They have quite a few parcels spread out. Lots of old vine Zin and interplanted stuff. In fact, one of the vineyards that is interplanted is right next to Evanghelo and is from same era. I took old vine Zin from him this year and we walked the old vineyard at night that's next to Evanghelo. Mourvedre, Carignan and Zin interplanted. All sandy soils, almost like walking on the beach. Let me know if you need his number.

Thanks for the info, Adam!

I know that the Gonsalves family owns many acres of land, and I recognize that their Oakley vineyard has gone by several names. However, I always have struggled verifying the names/locations of viticultural sites specific to Antioch.


A recent article from a City of Antioch publication indicated that the "Evangehlo Vineyard" is the sole old-vine parcel in the city. That had me scratching my head. IF "Evangehlo" is the only old vineyard in Antioch, what about the "Enea Vineyard" used by Bonny Doon? The "Trembath Vineyard" (Nottingham Cellars/Vasco Urbano)? And now, the "Horse Ranch Vineyard"(Tulocay, Revolution)?

I understand that wineries are prone to adopting proprietary designations for certain single-vineyard bottlings. This had previously led me to wonder whether any of the above sites were from the "Evangehlo Vineyard", but labeled otherwise (for one reason or another).


In my years of "investigating" the locations/names/ownership of eastern Contra Costa's ancient vineyards, I found a handful of online articles that were of assistance.* The problem is that almost every piece was written over 5 years ago. If you search for more up-to-date newspaper articles or blog posts, nearly all of them are about the "Evangehlo Vineyard".

As for contacting Mr Gonsalves personally - I would love any help you might be able to provide!!! I live in Louisiana, so it is virtually impossible for me to verify any of the stuff I share on this thread through a primary source.



* I must mention that the City of Oakley's 2013 ACVP vineyard map was of immense help. Again, as the details are 7 years old, some of the survey data is prone to obsolescence. Many of the vineyard plots are owned by land development companies, and it is heartbreaking to compare the Google Earth images of 2013 with those of today. It's as though they paved paradise and...well, you know.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#353 Post by seanr »

I was listening to the Bedrock 2020 Winter release podcast and they brought up that the Salvador vineyard (RIP) produced a 98 point (Parker) wine with the 2013 Turley Salvador. Aside from being bummed out that the vineyard was ripped up, it got me thinking about scores from Contra Costa. Is 98 the highest score ever for a CC wine?

Great note from RP by the way....

RP98 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Zinfandel Salvador Vineyard comes from another ancient, organically farmed vineyard, this one in Contra Costa. Its vines were planted in 1896, and the soils are pure sand. An absolutely amazing Zinfandel, this gorgeously proportioned, super-rich wine crosses the palate with a surprisingly unnoticeable 16.1% alcohol. Good acidity, a corpulent, full-bodied, multi-dimensional mouthfeel with blueberry and blackberry jam, some cassis, earth and forest floor notes are all present in this spectacular wine that again will transport a blind taster to the South of France rather than the backwaters of California. I suppose if the FX series “Sons of Anarchy” had a house wine after a long ride on their choppers, this would be it. This is pedal-to-the-metal, full-throttle Zinfandel at its greatest, what California does so well and what no other region in the world can produce. This is killer stuff and a tribute to our early immigrants, who had the foresight to plant these vines at this remarkable site. Drink it over the next decade.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#354 Post by Drew Goin »

seanr wrote: November 11th, 2020, 9:36 am I was listening to the Bedrock 2020 Winter release podcast and they brought up that the Salvador vineyard (RIP) produced a 98 point (Parker) wine with the 2013 Turley Salvador. Aside from being bummed out that the vineyard was ripped up, it got me thinking about scores from Contra Costa. Is 98 the highest score ever for a CC wine?

Great note from RP by the way....

Jeez, way to rub it in there, Sean! [cry.gif]


I never have had a subscription to the WA, but the scores of CoCo wines in Wine & Spirits have been few and far between - never higher than perhaps 88-90 points.

The highest score given to any Contra Costa wine in Wine Spectator has been 94 points, for the 2016 and 2017 vintages of Bedrock's "Evangehlo Vineyard" Heritage Wine. As a matter of fact, the top 4 rated Contra Costa bottlings are vintages of this wine.

The 2013 "Salvador", which Tim Fish gave 92 pts (along with the '14), isn't even the highest rated vintage of Turley's "Salvador Vineyard" Zin in Wine Spectator. The '16 bottling rated 93 pts.

Of corse, one could argue against numerical scores and differing preferences among critics, but that "Sons of Anarchy" metaphor really captivates the imagination, doesn't it!



Food and Wine
"The Battle for America's Oldest Vines"

by Ray Isle
October 31, 2015


"It would be easy to drive by the Salvador Vineyard in Oakley, California, without giving it a second thought. The plot is on a residential backstreet, 10 or so acres of widely spaced, low-growing vines. On one side, behind a wooden fence, is a cookie-cutter subdivision full of dun-colored suburban houses. On the other side, more houses. There's no office at Salvador Vineyard and certainly no winery, only a ramshackle, ranch-style building that the Gonsalves family, who own the property, use for storage. In fact, the Salvador Vineyard basically looks like a big, drab, sandy backyard, one that just happens to be filled with vines. It's the definition of unprepossessing.

"...The Salvador vines were planted by Portuguese immigrants in the late 1800s, like most of the old vineyards in Contra Costa County, a once-rural area that is now an East Bay commuter suburb. The soil they grow in is sandy, the texture of dunes; the stumpy, gray, knotted vines push their roots down through it, 40 feet or more, in order to produce tiny bunches of intensely flavorful grapes. Passalacqua uses those grapes for the Turley Salvador Vineyard Zinfandel, a fragrant red wine with a slightly feral spiciness that makes it unlike any other Zinfandel I've run into....".

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#355 Post by Drew Goin »

The Winter Release from Bedrock Wine Company includes the winery's other famous Contra Costa vineyard source - Pato Vineyard:

Bedrock-Wine-Company-2019-Pato-Vineyard-Heritage-Wine-product-image-412-large.jpg

Bedrock Wine Company Notes:

"2019 Pato Vineyard Heritage Wine, Contra Costa County

"The 2019 Pato Heritage is perhaps my favorite we have made from the site. For the first time, it includes part of the vineyard planted in the 1940s we have historically sold to Turley for their great Duarte bottling that produces some dramatic and dense Zinfandel. This is blended with the old Mataro and Petite Sirah from the site to create a deeply fruited, dark and satisfying wine. As always, this shows off the richer and more unctuous side of Oakley and will be a great drinker on the earlier side with some decanting. From own-rooted vines planted in sand."


Bedrock Wine Company website:
https://www.bedrockwineco.com
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#356 Post by Gabe Berk »

seanr wrote: November 11th, 2020, 9:36 am I was listening to the Bedrock 2020 Winter release podcast and they brought up that the Salvador vineyard (RIP) produced a 98 point (Parker) wine with the 2013 Turley Salvador. Aside from being bummed out that the vineyard was ripped up, it got me thinking about scores from Contra Costa. Is 98 the highest score ever for a CC wine?

Great note from RP by the way....

RP98 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Zinfandel Salvador Vineyard comes from another ancient, organically farmed vineyard, this one in Contra Costa. Its vines were planted in 1896, and the soils are pure sand. An absolutely amazing Zinfandel, this gorgeously proportioned, super-rich wine crosses the palate with a surprisingly unnoticeable 16.1% alcohol. Good acidity, a corpulent, full-bodied, multi-dimensional mouthfeel with blueberry and blackberry jam, some cassis, earth and forest floor notes are all present in this spectacular wine that again will transport a blind taster to the South of France rather than the backwaters of California. I suppose if the FX series “Sons of Anarchy” had a house wine after a long ride on their choppers, this would be it. This is pedal-to-the-metal, full-throttle Zinfandel at its greatest, what California does so well and what no other region in the world can produce. This is killer stuff and a tribute to our early immigrants, who had the foresight to plant these vines at this remarkable site. Drink it over the next decade.
RIP Indeed. I always buy a few bottle of Turley Salvador. It really is pedal to the metal full throttle wine which is kind of unique to CoCoCo. Reminds me of a Sonoma Valley, Napa Valley or Dry Creek kind of Zin but from the dry arid sandy soils of Antioch. I think 2019 is Turley's last vintage and I plan to buy as much as they'll let me.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#357 Post by Drew Goin »

Here's an older article that discusses Rosenblum Cellars and its use of Contra Costa fruit:

winebottleglass.png

Pacific Sun of Marin
"Feature 3: Zin-mania: Spreading the Love for Zinfandel"

by Richard Paul Hinkle
May 7, 2015


"...One concern that [winemaker John] Kane faces is that some of the small vineyards Rosenblum draws from are increasingly impinged upon by the expanding demands of residential housing 'We recently lost half of one of our best vineyards (Carla’s Vineyard) in Contra Costa County when Kmart tried to buy the whole of it. We were able to retain half of the vineyard, but it was a close call. Another of our Contra Costa vineyards, Planchon in Oakley, is completely surrounded by a housing development, so we have to let the neighbors know to close their windows when we spray the vines'...".


Rosenblum Cellars currently bottles a "Carla's Reserve" Zinfandel, a "Rosie Rabbit" Petite Sirah, and an "Isabella Francesca" Malbec/Petite Sirah. A 2016 vintage "Rosie Rabbit" Alicante Bouschet is still available via retail sources.

The "Rosie Rabbit" designation may or may not be a single vineyard in CoCo. "Isabella Francesca" is a young vineyard in Brentwood that also serves as a grape source for Rock Wall Wine Company. The "Carla's Reserve" has me scratching my head.

In all appearances, the Meadows family's "Carla's Vineyard" in north-eastern Antioch, was paved over; a permanently-closed K-Mart and other commercial land occupies the spot where the vines once stood. That area is a California Designated Qualified Opportunity Zone ("Contra Costa #1 of 2": Census Tract 3060.02). The information from Rosenblum's website indicates that "Carla's Reserve" comes from a 16-year-old vineyard in Oakley. I don't know if they simply chose to rename a different site after the original vineyard or what.



Rosenblum Cellars website:
https://www.rosenblumcellars.com
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#358 Post by Drew Goin »

I found two articles featuring Cline Cellars and its winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos. Here's one of them...


Daily Chronicle
"Uncorked: Finding Ancient Vines in the Sands of Oakley"

by James Nokes
September 14, 2018


"...There’s beauty in the imperfections of Oakley, located in Contra Costa County.

"It’s a humble area that doesn’t have the panache of other wine grape-growing regions in California. But, it makes inspired wines from vineyards that are more than 100 years old. Planted by immigrants before the turn of the last century and preserved by Cline’s owner Fred Cline and others who have flocked to the sandy soils and sprawling vineyards that are frozen in time.

“'What amazes me about Oakley is it is just a whole different world,' Tsegeletos said. 'It only gets about 10 inches of rain per year. The rivers have deposited what looks like 30 inches of soil there over the years. It started in the early 1900s and it’s immune from phylloxera because it can’t walk through the sand. So the vines are still on their original rootstock. The fruit has developed an amazing concentration. It’s a wine that we don’t have to do a lot to. We don’t do any wine fining. We farm the vineyard like they would have 100 years ago.'

76njx3qnygjogxb7zhmq6kmvedsy2bx.jpeg

"Because Cline and other wineries have supported vineyards like Oakley, the temptation to modernize has been avoided.

"'Some people think we should pull up the vineyards, put some wire out there for vines to grow on and increase the yields to turn a better profit,' Tsegeletos said. 'But these are unique wines that really over deliver. The extra work you have to do to harvest them is worth it.'"
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#359 Post by Drew Goin »

Photographs taken by Mr Kevin Romick of Oakley, California, and posted this morning to Facebook:

FB_IMG_1605479657874.jpg

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#360 Post by Drew Goin »

The following is an article from Somm Journal posted to a reading-format website (issuu.com):


Somm Journal
"Sands of Vine: Cline Cellars Works to Preserve its Ancient Contra Costa County Treasures"

by Jonathan Cristaldi
June/July, 2019

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#361 Post by Drew Goin »

Drew Goin wrote: August 13th, 2020, 1:45 pm I noticed that Ridge harvested grapes from "Sandy Lane Vineyard" in 2019:



In addition to the above Twitter post, Ridge Vineyards has bottled and begun selling an "Evangehlo Vineyard" Red wine blend.

2018 Ridge "Evangehlo Vineyard":
(57% Carignane, 26% Mataro, 17% Zinfandel)

"Winemaker Tasting Notes: Dark garnet red color. Scented cherry and blueberry fruits, seductive, layered and deep. Opulent bramble fruit entry, sensuous tannins, rich and complex. EB (9/20)"


And, to confirm that this is not a one-off bottling...




Ridge Vineyards website
"2019 Harvest Report - Monte Bello"

by Eric Baugher
December, 2019

"...Our first pick was done on August 23rd, bringing in the old vine carignane from the Evangleho vineyard in Contra Costa County."

All "Evangehlo" bottlings from Ridge Vineyards: Link


Ridge Vineyards website:
https://www.ridgewine.com

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#362 Post by Drew Goin »

Two Shepherds is a small production winery that has offered Mourvedre wines from the "Windsor Oaks Vineyard" Russian River Valley and one of Ron Mansfield's vineyards in Sierra Foothills/El Dorado. Now, there is a very limited amount of Mourvedre from Contra Costa County.


Two Shepherds' website has announced that its 2016 "Old Vine" Contra Costa Mourvedre is temporarily back in stock:


"(For now) our last vintage of 100% Mourvedre bottled as a single variety. From 125 year old vines in the arid sand of Antioch, head trained and dry farmed. Only 3 barrels, 75 cases made. On the lighter side for Mourvedre, savory and bursting with red fruits.

"Wine Specs:
· Vintage: 2016
· Varietal: Mourvedre
· Acid: 6.3 g/l
· pH: 3.7
· Aging: 15 Months Neutral French oak
· Alcohol %: 12.7 "


Two Shepherds website:
https://www.twoshepherds.com/

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#363 Post by Drew Goin »

The featured "Wine of the Week" in the SF Chronicle is Cody & Emily Rasmussen's Desire Lines "Evangehlo Vineyard" Red wine, sourced from Antioch, CA:

420x0.jpg

SF Chronicle
"Wine of the Week: 2019 Desire Lines 'Evangehlo Vineyard' Red Wine"

by Esther Mobley
December 2, 2020



Desire Lines website:
https://www.desirelineswines.com/wines
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#364 Post by Drew Goin »

I am late in posting this September 5, 2020, email announcement from Mr Al Turner, Secretary for the Contra Costa Wine Group:


"Once again, the Contra Costa Wine Group garnered “Club of the Year” honors! We won in 2010 and 2011 and now 2015 through 2020 for 6 in a row!

"...It should also be noted that the primary shipper of our wines to this competition, Mike Orton of the Valley Vintner garnered “Retailer of the Year” as well. I believe that Mike shipped around 80 of our entries to Manchester Center, VT to WineMaker Magazine’s headquarters."


Contra Costa Wine Group profile on the WineMaker Magazine website:
https://winemakermag.com/location/821-c ... group-ccwg

The former website for CCWG is defunct.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#365 Post by Drew Goin »

Ken Zinns wrote: January 31st, 2018, 7:16 am Drew, I was watching some news on TV yesterday and saw a story about a proposed Islamic Community Center in Oakley. The reporter was standing in front of the site and there were lots of old vines behind her - I figured if anyone here would know that vineyard, it would be you. It's at the northwest corner of Oakley Road and Neroly Road, just east of the freeway. You may have posted about this site before, but it just came to my attention yesterday.

Google Maps satellite view
Google Street View

Story about the proposed project

Can you tell us what vineyard that is?

The "Pending Plans" section of the City of Oakley's "Current Projects" page STILL lists the Ibn Sina Community Center. It has not been approved yet for construction.

The City of Oakley previously had been canvassing for potential buyers for this parcel of land for a few years.



"APN: IBN Sina Community Center Conditional Use Permit (CUP 06-17) and Design Review (DR 08-17)

"Application by Hossam Mohamed requesting a Conditional Use Permit (CUP 06-17) and Design Review (DR 08-17) for approval to establish and construct a mixed use public assembly and residential project consisting of: 100,000 sq. ft. senior housing building consisting of 200 units; a 20,000 sq. ft. private PK-12 school with an 8,000 sq. ft. gym; a 10,000 sq. ft. mosque with an attached 10,000 sq. ft. event hall and a 3,237 sq. ft. temporary shelter for families. The project is proposed to be developed in multiple phases. The project site is designated Commercial in the Oakley 2020 General Plan and zoned General Commercial (C). The Project is located at the NW corner of Oakley Road and Neroly Road. (APN: 051-210-025)."

mapImg.png

This land previously was listed as property of the City of Oakley. I just looked this up on the Contra Costa Assessors website. It's currently owned by Ibn Sina Community Center.


Unofficially, it's known as the "Oakley Road Vineyard". [cry.gif]


Once & Future Wines website: "Oakley Road Vineyard"

I do not known exactly how many acres under vine in the immediate vicinity are publicly or privately owned at this time.
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#366 Post by Drew Goin »

The Gardiennes des Vignes Winery once specialized in old-vine Napa Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines. Now, the old website seems to be dated, and newer bottlings appear on the Odisea/Cochon winery website.


The following info for the 2016 Gardiennes des Vignes Contra Costa "Elm Vineyard" Zinfandel is from the Trade page of the Odisea/Cochon website:


"Vineyard: Elm Vineyard located on Elm Lane just East of the town of Antioch in Oakley, is a dry farmed, head-pruned Zinfandel and Mourvedre vineyard planted in the late 1890’s. Elm benefits from the areas warm days and cool nights and the vineyards deep sandy soils and extreme low yielding vines which create Zinfandel fruit that is intensly fruited, vibrant and juicy with distinctive spice. We have been working with Elm Vineyard for several years for Mourvedre; this is the second bottling from us of their Zinfandel. We were thrilled at the chance to once again work with a little bit of this great Old Vine fruit from this historic site."


The winemaker for the Gardienne des Vignes "Elm Vineyard" Zinfandel is Adam Webb. Presumably some Contra Costa grapes were blended into Odisea or Cochon wines in the past.


Odisea, Cochon, & Gardienne des Vignes website:
https://cochonwines.com/

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#367 Post by Drew Goin »

The "Bridgehead Vineyard" is a Cline Cellars property that once was a fruit source for a Ridge Vineyards Mataro. Located across the railroad tracks from the "Big Break Vineyard" to the North, and Main St to the South, it is one of a dwindling number of ancient vineyards in Oakley, CA.


According to a NY Times article, the "Bridgehead Vineyard" also is capable of bending the rules of time and space!



NY Times Blog: Diner's Journal
"Greatness Within Reach"

by Eric Asimov
November 14, 2007

"...We then tasted four [Ridge Vineyards] wines from the 1990’s. The first was a rarity, a 1993 Bridgehead mataro. This wine comes from mourvèdre grapes grown in an old vineyard in Contra Costa County, which was pulled out after the 1997 vintage. Mourvèdre, known as mataro in parts of southern France and monastrell in Spain, makes spicy, peppery red wines like the best reds from Provence. The ’93 was in a sort of autumnal phase. It still showed some spice but its fruit had evolved into a dry leaf kind of aroma that was still enjoyable, but maybe not for many more years...".

· Ridge Vineyards profile: 1993 "Evangelo" Mataro

"...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."

Ridge produced two Contra Costa Mataro wines in 1993, but the winery website only provides data for the ATP "Evangelo" (sic) bottling.

· Wikipedia entry for "Schrödinger's Cat": link


From the "old" Cline Cellars website:

"The Bridgehead Vineyard, named for Bridgehead Road that runs adjacent to this treasured block, consistently produces one of our most individual and refined lots of Zinfandel. Planted by Italian immigrants well before the turn of the century, the Bridgehead Vineyard in Oakley, California is among this country's most historic. Ancient, 100 plus year old head-trained vines, dry-farming and sandy soils combine with a unique band of cooling air from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers that favors Bridgehead Vineyard to create an incredible synergy of elements for expressing the unique character of this site."

Cline Cellars website:
https://clinecellars.com



SF Gate
"Where the Heck is Oakley?"

by David Darlington
May 22, 2003

"...The transcontinental railroad hugged the southern shore of the San Joaquin River and Carquinez Strait. In order to load trains with fruit for amateur vintners in the east [during Prohibition], Napa and Sonoma growers had to take the Vallejo ferry to Contra Costa County, adding to their time and expense.

"Oakley grapes, however, grew beside the tracks, and owing to a warmer microclimate could be harvested as early as August. Hence, according to Joe Duarte -- a local grape grower descended from Portuguese immigrants -- 'On Labor Day weekend, the streets of Pennsylvania ran red with Oakley wine.'

"...Cline Cellars continues to produce an array of wines from Oakley grapes, many originating in its Big Break/Bridgehead vineyard. Situated right on the San Joaquin River, this 140-acre property is a textbook Oakley tableau: acres of wizened, Bansai-like stumps bordered by walnuts, willows and eucalyptus, growing on what can accurately be called a beach."


Cline Cellars has made a vineyard-designated Zinfandel from the "Bridgehead Vineyard" every year from 1992 to 2016, excluding 1998 and 2000. As indicated by Mr Darlington's article above, the railroad tracks existed next to to northern Oakley vines for generations. I can find no reference to any loss in acreage of the "Bridgehead Vineyard", circa 1997.


*** Should any reader have insight into why a gathering of extremely knowledgeable wine folks, sitting down to taste rare and old Ridge wines, would result in such a specific, odd statement regarding the uprooting of CoCo Mourvedre vines, please chime in with your thoughts! ***

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#368 Post by Drew Goin »

In a recent Wine Berserkers thread, the question was posed: "Undervalued but not for long?"

The OP asked: "Not sure if everyone wants to give away their secrets/ speculations, but I thought this might be useful.

"What wines do you think you should stock up on now as you think they are going to jump in price?"


Mr Dildine, a cognoscente of heritage California vineyards if ever there was one, simply stated: "Evangehlo Vineyard, Contra Costa County, CA."

My response: Link


Do YOU agree that the wines produced from the "Evangehlo Vineyard" in Antioch are undervalued...for now?

Is it fated to become the last of eastern CoCo's ancient vineyards?



Historic Vineyard Society profile: "Evangehlo Vineyard"

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#369 Post by Adam Frisch »

It's certainly been elevated by Bedrock and Dirty & Rowdy. I can tell you that the fruit prices from the next door vineyard Sandy Lane - same age, same soil - didn't reflect a premium yet. I don't know how much a ton at Evangelho costs (or if any is available for others), but SL was rather competitive.
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#370 Post by Drew Goin »

Facebook post by Mr Kevin Romick of the "José/Emerson/Lucchesi Vineyard" in Oakley, CA:

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#371 Post by Drew Goin »

I found a YouTube video of Mr Matt Cline of Three Wine Company touring the "Bigelow Vineyard" in Oakley, CA. Please forgive the silly vocal dub:


The Raleigh Wine Shop YouTube video:
"Three Wine Company Zinfandel"

May 10, 2020




Three Wine Company website:
https://threewinecompany.com/

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#372 Post by Adam Frisch »

BTW, my labels went in for approval with the text of "Contra Costa" on them an got rejected by the TTB, as Contra Costa is not an AVA. I have to put the full Contra Costa County on label. I thought it was an AVA for sure, but apparently it is not.
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#373 Post by Drew Goin »

Adam Frisch wrote: January 14th, 2021, 10:36 am BTW, my labels went in for approval with the text of "Contra Costa" on them an got rejected by the TTB, as Contra Costa is not an AVA. I have to put the full Contra Costa County on label. I thought it was an AVA for sure, but apparently it is not.
To the extent of my knowledge, "Contra Costa County" is permitted as a place of origin, but the official AVA remains "San Francisco Bay AVA" or Central Coast AVA, per the Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms' AVA guide.

LaMorinda received its own AVA status, but Contra Costa as a whole has not.



I do congratulate you on your upcoming old-vine Zinfandel, headaches notwithstanding! [cheers.gif]

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#374 Post by Drew Goin »

In 2020, several of California's major league wine regions suffered from risks of fire and smoke taint, unfavorable weather, etc. Be on the lookout for unconventional bottlings bearing "Contra Costa" somewhere on the label.

As devastating as the year's events were, an opportunity exists for CoCo to receive a little additional positive attention. Just as many California wineries source Carignan from Mendocino County or Cinsault from Lodi, producers may be inclined to pad their offerings with blends or varietal wines using Contra Costa fruit.


Good Times
"Santa Cruz Mountains Winemakers Grapple with Aftermath of Fire"

by Christina Waters
October 6, 2020

"...Grapes from beyond the smoke’s reach also came to the rescue for [Ryan] Beauregard, who was able to purchase Pinot Noir grapes from Hirsch Vineyard on the Sonoma coast. 'I also bought fruit to make the "Lost Weekend" wine from 130 year old vines in Antioch, plus Zayante and Regan vineyards,' he says. As for his Zinfandel and Cabernet? 'It’s not looking good,' he admits...".


I have discovered a handful of random bottles over the years that, to my surprise and delight, included CoCo grapes. Though many Contra Costa wines are capable of standing on their own merits, market volatility and vintages of varying quality could draw additional attention to the Antioch and Oakley's uniquely rewarding centennarian vineyards.

Keep your eyes peeled.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#375 Post by Sean Devaney »

Drew Goin wrote: January 14th, 2021, 11:56 am
Adam Frisch wrote: January 14th, 2021, 10:36 am BTW, my labels went in for approval with the text of "Contra Costa" on them an got rejected by the TTB, as Contra Costa is not an AVA. I have to put the full Contra Costa County on label. I thought it was an AVA for sure, but apparently it is not.
To the extent of my knowledge, "Contra Costa County" is permitted as a place of origin, but the official AVA remains "San Francisco Bay AVA" or Central Coast AVA, per the Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms' AVA guide.

LaMorinda received its own AVA status, but Contra Costa as a whole has not.



I do congratulate you on your upcoming old-vine Zinfandel, headaches notwithstanding! [cheers.gif]
Interesting I have picked up a couple of Sunce wines that use the San Francisco Bay AVA. The 2018 Zin is listed as from the Gary Gonsalves Vineyard and the 2018 Carignane is listed as Sandy Lane Vineyard. As you research seems to show these are two names for the same vineyard I have no idea why they are different. No mention of Contra Costa or Antioch on either label. Both are really nice wines. I hope to find more of the Zin.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#376 Post by Matt Wood »

The Gonsalves family owns a few different vineyards in Oakley. Sandy Lane is probably the most vineyard designated one but they do have others in the area.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#377 Post by Sean Devaney »

That makes sense Matt. Thanks.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#378 Post by Matt Wood »

I just looked on the Sunce site and they make a wide range of wines from Sandy Lane. I've gotten grapes from there a couple times but didn't realize they had Mission or Barbera or Alicante. I've only known it to have Zin, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#379 Post by Drew Goin »

From the February 22, 2021, Post & Vine Spring Release email:


"We are pleased to announce the release of our 2020 Post & Vine Rosé of Carignane, the second vintage ever of this wine. Sourced again from the Sandy Lane Vineyard, home to gnarly, century-old vines overlooking the San Joaquin River near the town of Oakley, California. In the same family since 1904 and cared for with an experienced hand by Gary Gonsalves, the vineyard is named for the sandy loam soils that offer near perfect drainage. The cool afternoon breezes that temper the warmth of this historic wine-growing region combined with free draining soils produce small, concentrated Carignane clusters of exceptional flavor and bright natural acidity. The 2020 Post & Vine Rosé of Carignane perfectly expresses the personality of old-vine Carignane. Aromas of fresh picked strawberry, rhubarb and herbs are matched with flavors of juicy watermelon, white peach, and white grapefruit...".


Post & Vine website:
https://www.postandvine.com/

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#380 Post by Drew Goin »

From today's Once & Future Wine Spring 2021 release email:


"...These 2019 wines are bright and juicy on the palate with a strong spine of acid and tannin...".

"2019 Oakley Road Vineyard Contra Costa Mataro

"Ancient dry-farmed vines planted in the late 1800s spread down a north and east slope facing in the direction of the cooling afternoon winds and San Joaquin River, which, at one point in its past history, deposited the deep granitic sand dune-like soil where the roots of these vines have found safe haven. This is one of the few places in the world with Vinifera vines that are this old, grown on their own roots. The sand, the wind, and the ancient, own-rooted vines define the place. Mataro from this place is not the dark phenolic stuff that one expects of the grape but has a power that is much more balanced and charming.

"The 2019 Mataro has an aroma that is redolent of sweet red cherries, with hints of bay leaf and wood smoke. A dollop of vanilla and caramel from the new (25%) French oak adds roundness and depth to the bouquet. In the mouth, the wine is bright, rich, and red fruit-driven, with all the suppleness that one would expect from own-root vines in such sandy soils."

Once--Future-2019-Contra-Costa-Zinfandel-product-image-87-large.jpg

"2019 Oakley Road Vineyard Contra Costa Zinfandel

"The 2019 Oakley Road Zinfandel has aromatics that are a harmonious mix of black raspberries and pomegranates mingling with hints of vanilla, allspice and sandalwood. The wine is full in the mouth with sweet raspberry/cherry flavors. The finish is juicy, long, and punctuated by the lovely silky tannin finish that define these Oakley own rooted sandy soil wines."


Once and Future Wine website:
https://www.onceandfuturewine.com
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HVS 2021 Contra Costa & Lodi Guided Tasting Event

#381 Post by Drew Goin »

The Historic Vineyard Society sent out an email invitation on February 25, 2021:


"Please join us for a...

"Centenarian Vines Virtual Tasting
Lodi + Contra Costa County

hosted by Certified Sommelier & Wine Director at Sonoma's Best, Todd Jolly

"Thursday, March 11th
from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


unnamed (1).jpg

"This virtual tasting will feature Bechtold Vineyard and Stampede Vineyard in Lodi along with Evangelho Vineyard and Duarte Vineyard in Contra Costa County. Panelists include Tegan Passalacqua (Turley), Shauna Rosenblum (Rock Wall), Nathan Kandler (Precedent Wines) and Alex Pitts (Maître de Chai)!

"$35 per person - limited availability!
Includes tasting kit with four wines and Zoom link to our virtual tasting and panel discussion.

"Tasting kits will be available for pickup only the morning of March 11th at Sonoma's Best, located at 1190 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476.

"Interested in joining but live outside the Sonoma area?
Please let us know by replying to this email -- we'd love for you to join the Zoom call with a glass of your favorite wine from Lodi or Contra Costa in hand
(or one in each hand...)."

Ticket Purchase Link: Sonoma's Best HVS Tasting Kit

Historic Vineyard Society website "Events":
https://historicvineyardsociety.org/events
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#382 Post by Adam Frisch »

Like I've said elsewhere, the Maitre de Chai Stampede Zin is absolutely amazing. Best I tasted in years. I hope it "wins".
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#383 Post by Drew Goin »

I unfortunately missed this week's HVS Contra Costa/Lodi ZOOM event.


***If anyone did participate, please share your impressions.***


I hope that a video stream of the tasting will be posted on the interwebs eventually.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#384 Post by Drew Goin »

Yesterday, while searching for the Historic Vineyard Society tasting (mentioned above), I stumbled across a couple of links featuring Contra Costa wine and grapegrowing:


Zinfandel Advocates & Producers
Flights! Vimeo video
"Contra Costa"


Description: "A Virtual Seminar and Wine Tasting focused on the Contra Costa wine growing region"

The above video is moderated by Esther Mobley of San Francisco Chronicle, and includes Contra Costa Zinfandel bottlings from Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Co., Matt Cline of Three Wine Co., and Joel Peterson of Once & Future Wine.

Highlighted Contra Costa Vineyards:

· Carla's Vineyard
· Jesse's Vineyard
· Live Oak Vineyard
· Oakley Road Vineyard

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) website:
www.zinfandel.org

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#385 Post by Drew Goin »

Continuing the topic of ZAP's "Flights! Contra Costa", I found a blog entry from the Dallas Wine Chick...


Dallas Wine Chick blog
"Contra Costa: Putting Sense Before Dollars"

by Melanie Ofenloch
January 24, 2021


"Looking from San Francisco 'across coast' into Contra Costa County is a lesson in history. It’s what happens when hundred-year-old vineyards of plantings of Zinfandel, Mourvedre and Carignane collide with urban development that refuses to be stopped. When the average price of land today (according to Land Watch, is $2 million and there are $241 million of farms, ranches and land for sale, it takes a Herculean effort to preserve the source of these delicious wines. Today, there are more than a million residents colliding with the battle to save some of California’s premiere old vine Zinfandel vineyards...

BeFunky-photo-3-1024x555.jpg

"As part of ZinEX 2021, Zinfandel Advocates & Producers’ brought us together for a seminar hosted by Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Editor, featuring Once & Future Wine’s Joel Peterson, Three Wine Company’s Matt Cline and Rock Wall Wine Company’s Shauna Rosenblum. The session is here.

BeFunky-photo-4-1024x513.jpg

"These winemakers who all have their place in putting California Zinfandel on the map talked about the special sense of place and how important preserving the future of these vineyards is to them. Their passion for the AVA was evident and these are all winemakers who understand where the best wines can be made.

"...It’s time to save California’s wine history. In recent years, the Agricultural Trust of Contra Costa County has been working with growers. With city leaders, the organization is considering creating, for certain vineyards, permanent agricultural conservation easements, which would prevent the land from being developed and reward owners with money and tax benefits. We need to keep buying these great wines and support the farmers …. because who needs another strip shopping center and a CVS on every corner?"


Dallas Wine Chick blog:
https://www.dallaswinechick.com/

· Further reading from Dallas Wine Chick on Contra Costa Zinfandel:
"Zinfandel Wines to Match Summer BBQ"
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#386 Post by Drew Goin »

It took a bit of online sleuthing, but I finally tracked down the DEWN October, 2019, notes for Bonny Doon's "Old Telegram" Mourvèdre:


"2018 Bonny Doon 'Old Telegram' Contra Costa Mourvèdre

"From the nose, one scents licorice, blood(!) (make that very rare meat), blackberries (both berry and leaf ), and wet earth. There is a definite scent of beef bouillon, one of the absolute true signifiers of (proper) Mourvèdre. On the palate, the tannins are soft, with almost a sense of sweetness (emphatically no R.S. in this), but with a really vibrant acidity and very great length. We somehow skirted the peril of over- ripeness and raisination, which is always a bit of a peril in the sunny climes of Antioch, CA. The wine is rich but also quite elegant at the same time.

"We have purchased grapes from the Enea Vineyard in the sandy terroirs of Antioch for many years and have always found this shy-yielding vineyard to ripen as much as two weeks earlier than the other Mourvèdre vines in the neighborhood. I suspect that there is substantially less clay underlying the sand, resulting in diminished water-holding capacity and hence a bit more hydrologic stress on the vines, with resultant concentration in the fruit itself. A high percentage of sand in the soil limits the viability of phylloxera, and these very old (100+ year) vines have never seen rootstock.

"Now it can be told. As much as we love the fruit from the Enea vineyard - it is always the most concentrated and vibrant Mourvèdre we see - we have been habitually plagued by some of the ambient bacterial flora that hitches a ride along with the grapes. As a result, even with reasonable use of SO2, we have with almost vintage seen volatile acidity levels mount during and immediately after fermentation. Not that a little bit of VA is necessarily a bad thing, but these grapes represented a unique challenge.

"This vintage we experimented with a technique of ozone treatment of the grapes before harvest, wiping out the indigenous microflora and then inoculating both with cultured yeast and malolactic culture. I am as much for doing things naturally whenever possible, but in this instance, our enological intervention was certainly the wiser course. Volatile acidity well in hand without the need for major SO2 additions. Success!..."

"Statistics:
Varietal blend: 100% Mourvèdre
Appellation: Contra Costa
Vineyard Designation: Enea Vineyard
Production: 398 cases
Serving Temperature: 58° F.
TA: 5.2 g/L
pH: 3.59
Optimal Drinkability: Now - 2028
Label Artist: Chuck House
Alcohol: 13.7%"


Has anyone heard of a specific vineyard consistently providing challenges related to high volatile acidity from "ambient bacterial flora"? I have not read of this being a yearly issue linked to site/location, be it in CoCo or elsewhere.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#387 Post by Drew Goin »

Do you happen to enjoy any wines sourced from vineyards located along Laurel Road in Oakley, California?


Perhaps not for long...



The Press
"Development on Laurel Road Ramps Up"

by Kyle Szymanski
Updated Aug 17, 2017


"...'Laurel Road has long been planned as the main arterial through the community, and we believe that volume of traffic is what is encouraging these and other retailers to look along the Laurel Road corridor,' [Nancy] Marquez-Suarez [assistant to the city manager] said.

"...City Councilman Kevin Romick expressed similar sentiments, saying the future of the Laurel Road corridor is bright.

“'When there are four lanes from Main Street on the east to Highway 4 on the west, Laurel will become the most traveled road in the city,' he said. 'Placing commercial development along the corridor will provide residents access to neighborhood-serving retail and service businesses rather than traveling to Antioch or Brentwood.'”


What are some old vineyards located along the "main arterial through the community"?
Click to see spoiler:
"Duarte"/"Jesse's Vineyard"? "Del Barba"? "Mori"? "Calisesi"? Possibly "Planchon"?

Plantings along O'Hara Road are also at risk.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#388 Post by Drew Goin »

While I was searching Vimeo's website for the above-mentioned ZAP "Flights!" webinar, I discovered an interview with Cline Cellars' winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos:


New York Wine Events Vimeo video:
"Cline Family Cellars"

June 11, 2020



Description: "Taste 4 special Zinfandel wines with Cline winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos.

"Cline Family Cellars is a family-owned and operated winery in Sonoma, California, built on a passion for winemaking and rooted in respect for the land. Fred Cline started Cline Family Cellars in 1982 in Oakley, California, making his first vintages from original plantings of Mourvedre, Zinfandel, and Carignane, some of which dated back to the 1880's.

"Innovation runs through Cline's blood. Fred Cline's grandfather and grand uncles invented the jacuzzi -- among other things."


Cline Cellars website:
https://clinecellars.com/

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#389 Post by Drew Goin »

It can be a challenge celebrating the grape-growing heritage of the Eastern Bay when many thread updates announce the loss of ancient viticultural sites - especially in the aftermath of Oakley's failed ACVP project. Commercial and residential development threaten some of the state's oldest vineyards.

...like the "Oakley Road Vineyard"?


Previous posts on this thread identified that the vineyard on the NW corner of Neroly/Oakley Rd is destined to become a community center.
Click to see spoiler:
(Contra Costa APN# 051-210-025)
Per the Rahma Community Center website:

"Location: 14+ Acre land zoned as General Commercial with great location at Oakley Ca on Norely [sic] Road between Oakley Rd and Elm Lane. The land is next to freeway, within 1.7-mile vicinity of BART station on the boarders of Antioch and Oakley. It will be located in an area with great housing and growth potential and within one mile of Antioch/Oakley’s large shopping/business center."

FB_IMG_1537057381936.jpg

At the time, I assumed that the land immediately to the of this plot was spared from the threat of development. It appeared to be the property of the City of Oakley - presumably less at-risk.

image.jpg

The vines abutting Hwy 160, at the NW corner of Neroly Road and Oakley Road, are slated for destruction:

mapImg.png

The Contra Costa Assessor's website states that the vineyard in the above map is privately owned, and it is planned to become residential properties in the future.
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#390 Post by Drew Goin »

The California winery best known for establishing the reputation of Contra Costa's historic vineyards is Cline Cellars. The Cline brothers' efforts to put the East Bay on the map began in the 1980s.

Matt Cline departed the winery to launch Trinitas; he now operates Three Wine Company with his wife Erin.


Charlie Tsegeletos took over winemaking in 2002. Today, Cline Cellars announced Charlie's retirement following 19 years as head winemaker.

According to today's email:

b28bf1a6-dc11-4da1-8793-5d0572a2c728.png

"...Charlie started his career at Cline in 2002. During his tenure, he played a critical role in building Cline’s portfolio of nationally and internationally recognized wine brands including Cline, Cashmere, Farmhouse, and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. With numerous accolades and awards culminating with Cline Ancient Vine Zinfandel 2016 being ranked #40 in the Wine Spectator's top#100 wines of the year."

29531d78-12d9-473c-815d-d7183d53bc7e.png

"With the announcement of Charlie's retirement, we are beyond excited to appoint Tom Gendall as our Director of Winemaking and Viticulture. Gendall has worked closely with Charlie over the past 5 years as Cline's assistant winemaker and is excited to uphold Charlie's tremendous winemaking legacy.

"Before starting at Cline in 2016 Tom had worked all over the world holding winemaking positions at Sojourn Cellars, Arrowood Vineyards and Winery, Bryant Family Vineyard as well as Pegasus Bay in New Zealand, and Weingut Keller in Germany. While Charlie leaves big shoes to fill, we are encouraged by the wonderful talent, deep understanding of wine, and vibrant energy that Tom brings to Cline as the new leader of our cellar...".


Cline Cellars website:
https://clinecellars.com/
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#391 Post by Drew Goin »

Photos of the "Lucchesi Vineyard", an ancient Carignan plot in the Dutch Slough Preserve in Oakley, CA. Photography by Mr Kevin Romick (shared on Facebook, April 5, 2021):

FB_IMG_1617816006095.jpg
FB_IMG_1617815998900.jpg

The "Lucchesi Vineyard", aka "Emerson/José Vineyard", is composed of 14 acres of own-rooted vines planted along the waterfront over 100-years-ago.


Romick in Oakley blog
"Ancient Vines Along Marsh Creek"

by Kevin Romick
April 2, 2014
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#392 Post by Drew Goin »

The "Evangehlo Vineyard's" evolution continues.

Bedrock Wine Company's viticulture team, led by Mr Jason Neustadt, provides ongoing care for the old Zinfandel, Mourvedre/Mataro, Carignan, etc. Cover crops add nutrients to the barren, sand-based soil, canopy management improves airflow and balanced sunlight penetration, while diligent eyes monitor against vine pests.


Here are a few photographs of the "Evangehlo Vineyard" posted to Facebook by Morgan Twain-Peterson, MW, over the past year:

April 22, 2020
FB_IMG_1616677568070.jpg
August 17, 2020
FB_IMG_1616677438304.jpg
January 29, 2021
FB_IMG_1616677213067.jpg

Historic Vineyard Society profile: "Evangehlo Vineyard"


Bedrock Wine Company website:
https://bedrockwineco.com/
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#393 Post by Drew Goin »

The Bay Delta Live website features a map of agricultural parcels in the East Bay region, including a large portion of Contra Costa County.

"Delta Crop Map:

"This is the official dataset of CADWR for determining agricultural land use and irrigated acres. The purpose is provide information for resource planning and assessments across multiple agencies."

https://www.baydeltalive.com/Yolo%20Basin/maps/20969


If a curious website user zooms-in on the map to see an area of specific interest, he/she can identify vineyard plots in purple. There is a slider to adjust the transparency of the painted agricultural blocks, enabling one to compare the data with the satellite imagery beneath.

To my understanding, the information to generate this map was compiled in 2015, but I suspect that it is more up-to-date than that.

Unfortunately, aside from differentiating grapes from field crops, no further property details are provided.

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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#394 Post by Drew Goin »

Drew Goin wrote: March 21st, 2021, 2:36 pm It took a bit of online sleuthing, but I finally tracked down the DEWN October, 2019, notes for Bonny Doon's "Old Telegram" Mourvèdre:

"2018 Bonny Doon 'Old Telegram' Contra Costa Mourvèdre

"...We have purchased grapes from the Enea Vineyard in the sandy terroirs of Antioch for many years and have always found this shy-yielding vineyard to ripen as much as two weeks earlier than the other Mourvèdre vines in the neighborhood. I suspect that there is substantially less clay underlying the sand, resulting in diminished water-holding capacity and hence a bit more hydrologic stress on the vines, with resultant concentration in the fruit itself. A high percentage of sand in the soil limits the viability of phylloxera, and these very old (100+ year) vines have never seen rootstock.

"Now it can be told. As much as we love the fruit from the Enea vineyard - it is always the most concentrated and vibrant Mourvèdre we see - we have been habitually plagued by some of the ambient bacterial flora that hitches a ride along with the grapes. As a result, even with reasonable use of SO2, we have with almost vintage seen volatile acidity levels mount during and immediately after fermentation. Not that a little bit of VA is necessarily a bad thing, but these grapes represented a unique challenge...".

The reason the folks at Bonny doon were willing to divulge challenges specific to "Enea Vineyard" Mataro (aka Mourvèdre) fruit in my prior post(s) - they are no longer going to bottle an "Old Telegram" Contra Costa red wine. [cry.gif]


Bigger Than Your Head
"Bye-Bye Old Telegram"

by Fredric Koeppel
February 22, 2021


"It’s a shame that the Bonny Doon Old Telegram 2018, Contra Costa County, is the last vintage that wine will be made.

"...When Grahm sold Bonny Doon Vineyards, in January 2020, to the strangely named War Room Ventures LLC, the first move was to trim the winery’s extensive and intricate roster to four wines: The red Le Cigare Volant; the white Le Cigare Blanc and Picpoul; and Vin Gris de Cigare, the rosé. Eliminated were a range of the winemaker’s wilder imaginings — the sparkling Vermentino, the Cuvée R Grenache (a personal favorite), the Old Telegram Mourvèdre (mentioned today), the Bien Nacido X-Block Syrah, the forays into holding Le Cigare Volant Rèserve in glass demi-johns...".

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Drew Goin
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Re: Contra Costa County Wine Heritage

#395 Post by Drew Goin »

The City of Oakley, home to the greatest number of old-vine Zinfandel vineyards in Contra Costa County, is poised to sacrifice another centennarian planting to commercial development.

I first read about the River Oaks Crossing Specific Plan on the CoCo-Fermented blog:


CoCo-Fermented blog
"May 31, 2010"

by Tony M.

"Kathy and I posted a while back about some Cline vineyard properties that are named after the Oakley streets to which they’re adjacent. Seeing old vines on Big Break Road made easy work of solving the mystery of where the grapes for Cline’s 'Big Break' Zinfandel come from — no further questions, Your Honor.

"Likewise their 'Bridgehead Road' Zin probably was sourced from the old parcel on (dot, dot, dot) Bridgehead Road?

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"But the trippy thang is that both vineyard parcels were originally part of a huge agricultural land parcel bordered by Bridgehead Road to the west, and Big Break to the east, and purchased by chemical giant DuPont in 1955. Eighty-nine acres along Big Break were sold to Cline, as were 79 acres along Bridgehead, the two vineyards divided by tracks for the Santa Fe railroad.

"...Even trippier is a draft of something called the River Oaks Crossing Specific Plan, sponsored by the City of Oakley and the Oakley Redevelopment Agency, and which Kathy found online. Dated September 2007, this proposal provides a detailed blueprint for, basically, paving over the entirety of Cline’s old-vine Bridgehead Vineyard (acquired by the family when DuPont sold it) in favor of, among other mixed use, big-box retail: a Wal-Mart was said to be shovel-ready...".


The Press
"Study: Wal-Mart Hurts Businesses"

by Ruth Roberts
September 28, 2007 (updated November 22, 2013)

"Nearby supermarket and retail stores, some of which are already struggling, might feel the pinch if Wal-Mart comes to town, according to a recently released Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

"Wal-Mart's plans for a 230,000-square-foot supercenter with groceries in the planned River Oaks Crossing shopping center on Main Street between Bridgehead and Big Break roads might negatively impact CentroMart and Raley's, according to the EIR."

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"'The proposed Project, either alone or in conjunction with the proposed Safeway and other projects including the possible Wal-Mart expansion in Antioch, would result in increased supermarket competition, especially in the short term,' the EIR states. 'This period of increased competition could lead to the closure of Raley's, the anchor at Cypress Square, which currently has sales reported below industry benchmarks.'..."


The above article includes viewpoints and concerns from different locals, business owners, as well as the mayor. No mention of Oakley's viticultural heritage is made. It appears that the total urbanization of the Main Street corridor was a forgone conclusion as far back as 2007.

The national retail chain's participation in the River Oaks Crossing development anchored the plan in reality. However, shortly after publication of the above article, the bottom dropped out of the US economy.



East Bay Times
"Oakley on Prowl for Businesses"

by Paula King
February 29, 2008 (updated August 15, 2016)

"Following the news that Wal-Mart had withdrawn its application for a Supercenter in Oakley, city officials announced this week that they are still actively pursuing commercial businesses and economic development.

"Due to the nation’s poor economy and stagnant stock values, Wal-Mart has opted not to build Supercenters across the nation, including the proposed 24-hour Supercenter in Oakley’s River Oaks Crossing commercial center on the north side of Main Street.

"...River Oaks was tentatively planned as a major commercial hub with 76 acres of businesses, including other big-box retailers, restaurants and retail shops. The Supercenter was also expected to bring more than 450 new jobs and $700,000 annually in sales tax revenue.

"Another reason that Wal-Mart pulled out of its plans is because the property owner was requiring Wal-Mart to purchase all 77 acres of the commercial center land, although the mega retailer only needed 20 acres for its Supercenter.

“'This was a major strike against the project since Wal-Mart would have to initially front the cost of the entire site which tipped the scales to not be in the project’s favor,' Economic Development Director Barbara Mason said...".


Today, the population of Oakley continues to grow. More residential developments are slated for construction. The Bay Area Rapid Transit system's easterward expansion will facilitate smoother commutes to and from work for thousands of people.

The status of the River Oaks Crossing plan is currently unknown. Whether a big box retailer will occupy the land where the "Bridgehead Vineyard" now exists may be a question of time. It appears that no contingency allows for the piecemeal destruction of the site. Perhaps "Bridgehead's" larger size, relative to other Oakley vineyards, has given it an extended lease on life...?


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