Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

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Sean Devaney
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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#51 Post by Sean Devaney » November 22nd, 2018, 10:46 am

Thanks for this post Drew. I really enjoyed the Reichwage wines at the HVS tasting back in April. Definitely a producer to watch out for.

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Drew Goin
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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#52 Post by Drew Goin » December 10th, 2018, 3:56 pm

Here is a cool article about the intervention of smaller wineries, saving old-vine sites that might otherwise have remained unrecognized as potential viticultural gems. Though not every vineyard purchased is old, I am including the piece here as 2 of the author's subjects did step in to farm or purchase (or both) locations that could have remained unrecognized...

Winemakers Collage.jpg
"Clockwise from top left: Tegan Passalacqua, Matthew Rorick, Morgan Twain-Peterson (at left) with partner Chris Cottrell, Matt Naumann" - photo from GuildSomm

Guild Somm
"Interview: Expats of Napa & Sonoma"
by Kelli A White
September 21, 2017


"...To shed some light on the complexities of becoming a vineyard owner in contemporary California, I interviewed four winemakers who have settled in five distinct regions—Matt Naumann, General Manager of Hudson Wines; Morgan Twain-Peterson, MW, of Bedrock Wine Company and Under the Wire; Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope; and Tegan Passalacqua of Turley Wine Cellars and Sandlands.

"...Kelli White: Tell me about the property you purchased.

"Morgan Twain-Peterson: Our first purchase was eight acres of own-rooted Zinfandel planted in the 1910s in the Mokelumne River AVA in Lodi—just vines in really poor shape. We knew the potential quality of the area, as we bought fruit from our friend Tegan Passalacqua’s 'Kirschenmann Vineyard', located about 20 feet away.

"The second purchase was earlier this year when, after several years of friendly negotiations, we bought 'Evangelho Vineyard' in Contra Costa County. For me, this is a jewel of California—incredibly healthy, own-rooted Zinfandel, Carignan, and Mataro planted in the 1890s on deep banks of beach sand along the Sacramento River Delta. It has 36 acres under vine and a few small structures on it.


"...Tegan Passalacqua: I purchased [the 'Kirschenmann Vineyard'] from the granddaughter of the person who planted it; that was the summer of 2012. It is a 20-acre plot with 19 acres of vines and an old trailer, located on the east side of the Mokelumne River in Lodi, about a mile down the road from no place. Fifteen acres of the vineyard were planted in 1915, primarily to Zinfandel with some Carignan, Mondeuse Noir, and Cinsault. The other four acres were originally English walnuts, but in 1991, they planted Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio. I kept the Zinfandel, grafted two acres of the Pinot Grigio over to Chenin Blanc, and ripped out three-quarters of an acre that I am replanting to rootstock.


Tegan vineyard.jpg
"Passalacqua's 'Kirschenmann Vineyard' in Lodi" - photo from GuildSomm

"...KW: How did you find your vineyard, and what made you decide to buy it?

"...MTP: We found the vineyard in Lodi, which we have named 'Katusha’s Vineyard' as it had no name, when we saw a 'for sale' sign on it. A walnut grower was about to purchase it for the land and was going to rip out the vines, which naturally pissed Chris [Cottrell] and [me] off, knowing the potential quality. We made a couple of calls and had an all-cash offer in and accepted in a few days.

"'Evangelho Vineyard' we had worked with since 2011 and had become the largest buyer of fruit, so it was a natural transition. However, we also wanted to buy it [because] almost every vineyard in the area is for sale right now, in the hopes a developer will come in. This was a rare vineyard we could afford and protect from the continued eastward Bay Area sprawl.


"...TP: In 2004, I was introduced to this area—there are no less than 12 old-vine vineyards in close proximity. In 2010, Turley started buying Zinfandel from the neighbors. I was overseeing the farming and the then-owner of my vineyard admired the work. Her name was Holly Laske, a Kirschenmann. She and her brother had owned the vineyard, but he had died of cancer in 2004.

"I floated the idea of buying her vineyard, and we set up a meeting. I did my math and presented my number, but it was too low for her. The next morning, I was driving to work, and my phone rang. It was her. She said to me, 'When I drove by the vineyard last night, I just suddenly knew that my grandfather, father, and brother would have wanted you to have it, so if the offer still stands, it’s yours.' I fought back tears when I heard that.


"...KW: Why didn't you buy in Napa or Sonoma? Was cost the main reason?"




Read the rest of this amazing article here.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#53 Post by Drew Goin » February 26th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Drew Goin wrote:
May 18th, 2018, 4:51 am
Alas, another ancient vineyard is suffering from housing needs to accommodate population growth...this time, in Mendocino County!


Ukiah Daily Journal *UPDATED 8/23/18*
"Ukiah Declines to Support Ag Protection for Lovers Lane Vineyards"
By: Justine Frederiksen
March 10, 2018


"The Ukiah City Council Wednesday declined to support barring development on more than 100 acres of vineyards along Lovers Lane.

"'One hundred and 33 acres is a lot of land … and forever is a long time,' said Vice-Mayor Maureen Mulheren, referring to an agricultural conservation easement that would have forever blocked development on the property owned by Mendo Farming Company, which includes Paul Dolan and his son Heath. 'I'm concerned about tying the hands of the community to a piece of agricultural land that 10 years from now might be determined to not be as fertile or as necessary.'

""This is an opportunity for the Ukiah Valley to preserve farm land and to bring a million dollars into the county," said Ann Cole of the Mendocino Land Trust, which requested and received a conditional award of $1.17 million from the state to pay the owner of the property for agreeing to forgo future development.

"...Baldwin said in his view, the easement 'seeks to bamboozle all of us to achieve a dangerous precedent for paving over farm land whenever the economically powerful claim a housing crisis.'

"'I'm certainly open to considering this at some point if the project for the housing doesn't go through, or even if it does go through,' said Council member Steve Scalmanini. 'But as it is tonight, I'm very reluctant to support half a loaf, when the whole thing was there at one point. I'd rather go for the whole thing.'

"'I withdrew my application (when I learned some acres were being excluded) because I believe it is in the community's best interest to include all of the agricultural land in the conservation easement north of Lovers Lane, not just a few,' said Ray, describing some of the 23 acres being considered for development as 'heritage vines that were planted over 50 years ago, and they should be preserved, not plowed under.'..."



Ukiah Daily Journal
"Ukiah Declines to Support Ag Protection for Lovers Lane Vineyards"


I found this article last night while surfing the interwebs...


Ukiah Daily Journal
"Easement on Lovers Lane Vineyards in Ukiah Donated to Mendocino Land Trust"

by Justine Frederiksen
January 18, 2019

"About 133 acres of vineyards along Lovers Lane in Ukiah have been protected from development after a 'conservation easement' was donated to the Mendocino Land Trust by Paul Dolan and his partners in the Mendo Farming Company.

"Described by Ann Cole, executive director of the Mendocino Land Trust, as 'Plan B', the donation of the easement on the 133.5 acres was at least the second attempt to permanently protect the land. A previous attempt by the land trust to purchase an easement at 610 Lovers Lane with $1.7 million from the state’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program was blocked when it did not receive enough support from the Ukiah City Council.

"...'This project was a unique opportunity to protect vital farmland within the City of Ukiah’s sphere of influence,' said Cole in a press release announcing the donation, which was made on Dec. 26, 2018. 'We are pleased that the landowners are eager to protect this historic farmland, even in a time when we know that housing is also important, as we must maintain our critical soils and precious agricultural areas.'

“'In addition to preserving prime farmland, the protected vineyard provides important scenic agricultural value to the Ukiah residents who live in the area,' said Doug Kern, director of conservation for the Land Trust. 'The historic vineyard is also used informally on a daily basis by the local public for walking, which will continue to be allowed.'..."

SALC Program Agricultural Conservation Easement Grants: Lovers Lane Vineyard
download

Mendocino Land Trust
Agricultural Land Conserved at Lovers Lane in Ukiah Valley


Oh, and here is an piece addressing earlier efforts to preserve the historic site:


Ukiah Daily Journal
"Land Trust Looking to Protect Much of Ukiah Lovers Lane Vineyards"

by Justine Frederiksen & Ukiah Daily Journal
March 6, 2018


The "Lovers Lane Vineyard" has been a source of grapes for Harrington's old-vine Carignan:


loverslane2-700x683.jpg
Lovers Lane Vineyard - from Harrington Wine

SF Examiner
"New Generation Reviving Longstanding Carignan in California"

by Pamela S. Busch
August 8, 2014

"...Harrington Carignan 'Lover’s Lane Vineyard', 2012 (Mendocino County):

"Local vigneron, Bryan Harrington sources his carignan from a Depression-era organic vineyard in Ukiah. It has a bit of weight, but the bright acidity keeps it from feeling fat. With blue fruits, dried leaves, herbs and moderate tannins, it is reminiscent of the best carignans from the Languedoc — Roussillon region of France. No suggested retail price."

Harrington Wine website:
http://www.harringtonwine.com


What potentially could sew confusion in the wine-drinking public is the identity of this specific geographical nook. There are several Ukiah growers who reside in Lovers Lane, and there is more than one vineyard that includes "Lovers Lane" in its name:

Mendocino County Winegrapes & Wine Blog

• Profile: "Lovers Lane Vineyard"

• Profile: "Rosewood Vineyards: Lovers Lane"
Last edited by Drew Goin on September 11th, 2019, 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#54 Post by Drew Goin » February 27th, 2019, 7:10 pm

California's Department of Conservation released a survey of the changes in agricultural land acreage (mostly losses) between the years 2000-2008. Comprehensive data for individual counties is available in this large downloadable report:


California Department of Conservation
"2008-2010 California Farmland Conversion Report"

published in 2014

"...During the 13 biennial reporting cycles since FMMP [Farmland Mapping & Monitoring Report] was established, nearly 1.4 million acres of agricultural land in California were converted to nonagricultural purposes. This represents an area larger in size than Merced County, or a rate of nearly one square mile every four days."


Download link (2.9 MB PDF)



Press Democrat
"Statewide Farmland Loss Felt Least in Sonoma County"

by Guy Kovner

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.jpeg
"Vineyard manager and grape grower Duff Bevill at his Dry Creek Valley home ranch amongst Chardonnay vines he planted in 2012 to replace vines planted in 1986. Photo taken in Healdsburg, on Wednesday, July 2, 2014" - photo by Beth Schlanker

"...The net loss of irrigated farmland amounts to a sliver of Sonoma County, which spans about 1 million acres, and about 0.15 percent of its 80,000 agricultural acres. Sonoma had the smallest net loss among the 47 counties included in the report, ranking it just behind 10 counties — including Mendocino — that had net gains in irrigated farmland.

"...The recession limited net urban growth to 473 acres in the county during the report period. Most of the growth was in new housing, schools and schoolyards. The county’s urban growth ranked fourth in the San Francisco Bay Area, behind Santa Cruz with a net gain of 737 acres, San Mateo with 638 acres and Contra Costa with 629 acres.

"...Tim Tesconi, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, said the recession that began in 2008 brought local development to a virtual standstill.

Urban growth boundaries also have limited sprawl and protected agriculture, he said.

“'Our farmlands are sacred,' Tesconi said. 'We’ve done a really good job.'

"But the pace of urbanization is 'likely to speed up again as the economy gets stronger,' John Lowrie, assistant director of the Conservation Department’s Division of Land Resource Protection, said in a press release...."


In reference to the above statement, many old-vine sites in Sonoma, Contra Costa, and other counties gain a tenuous "stay of execution" during economic downturns, as landowners often must wait for more prosperous times and an increased interest in commercial development.

This gives readers an opportunity to consider the priorities of those who have a choice between preserving a viticultural heritage site and seeking a more profitable use from the land.

Although conservation easements may be offered to landowners as means of keeping ancient vineyards in the ground, the incentive is not always sufficient. I do not understand the situation sufficiently to comment on how to improve the situation.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#55 Post by Drew Goin » March 11th, 2019, 5:46 am

This article falls more under "heritage" than "economics", but the two are almost always intertwined...


National Museum of American History
"Grape Gluts and Mother Clones: Prohibition and American Wine"

by Paula J. Johnson
May 24, 2018


Wine Postcard_0.jpg
"Postcard, around 1910s. American Food History Reference Files, Division of Work and Industry."

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Drew Goin
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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#56 Post by Drew Goin » September 11th, 2019, 2:57 pm

Fox 40 News
"Lodi Growers Ripping Old Vine Zinfandel Vines Out of the Ground"

by Dennis Shanahan
September 11, 2019


"...Growers FOX40 spoke with said they are battling rising labor costs and changing tastes in the market. There is more global competition these days and the trade war with China is also making it hard to ship wine overseas.

"Lucas also pointed out the governments of some other counties where zinfandel grows subsidize grape growers.

“'We don't have that benefit in California, nobody really helps us,' (David) Lucas (of Lucas Winery) said. 'We're out here with these old vines, tending them and hoping that people will enjoy the fruits of the vine's labor.'..."



This article features a short news video in addition to the text information.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#57 Post by Drew Goin » November 10th, 2019, 12:27 pm

From the Winter 2019 Release - Bedrock Wine Company email:


"Winter Release Letter 2018: The Year it Finally Came Together" (part 1)


"In some strange way, the groundwork for one of the most exciting achievements for Bedrock Wine Co. was laid by an agricultural devastation in the late 19th century. In the late 1870s, Sonoma Valley was as densely planted to grapevines as any place in California, so when the root louse phylloxera vastatrix established itself in the valley’s soils it spread quickly, leaving a trail of decimated vineyards in its wake. The only fortunate result of this agrarian tragedy was that some of the very first vineyards planted on resistant rootstocks were replanted in Sonoma Valley in the late 1880s. Though the valley has some great old vineyards (Fredericks, Maggie’s, Rossi and others come to mind), there are really just four remaining from that initial 1880s replanting, each of which we consider to be among the greatest old vineyards in the world: Monte Rosso, Old Hill Ranch, Pagani Ranch and Bedrock.

"In 2018, we worked with all four of them in the same vintage, a first for any winery and a dream come true for this Sonoma Valley kid. And to top it all off, it was an extraordinary vintage for Sonoma Valley (for more of me waxing poetic about this fantastic vintage, see the fall release letter). Since this release contains the second pair of these—Monte Rosso and Pagani—I figured it would be interesting to go a little more in-depth on each, highlighting some key characteristics which I think defines each site and providing a brief history of each.

"These four vineyards have a few things in common: all planted in the 1880s, all predominately planted to Zinfandel, all make inspiring and age-worthy wines. Apart from those similarities, we get a kind of Venn Diagram of comparisons and contrasts. Monte Rosso and Bedrock Vineyard are both planted in Red Hill Clay Loam but at starkly different elevations. While Bedrock, Old Hill and Pagani are roughly the same elevations, their differences in soil types and their locations within Sonoma Valley make for far different wines. The varietal compositions themselves present a “theme and variations” on Zinfandel: at Bedrock, the hodge-podge of esoteric varieties like Castets and Bequignol; at Old Hill, Grenache and an assortment of Alpine varieties; and at Pagani, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet and other coloring varieties (including Lenoir itself)."



"Monte Rosso Vineyard
Soil: Red Hill Clay Loam
Elevation: 800’ to 1400’
Dominant Varieties: Zinfandel, small amounts of interplanted Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir
Owner: Gallo Family



'Goldstein vineyard, 535 acres of choice hill grape land in full bearing, was sold last week for $32,500 to Martini Grape Products, Inc. The vineyard was owned by the Goldstein family many years and the late Carl Blanckenburg was long its superintendent. The late John Bethune was also employed there. Formerly, excellent wine was made on the place and a fine cellar for crushing and storage maintained, but in recent years the grapes have all been marketed and shipped for manufacture into wine elsewhere…'

-Sonoma Index-Tribune, Oct 14, 1938


"Yep, $60 an acre (closer to $200 a planted acre) is what this vineyard sold for when Louis M Martini bought it from the children of Emmanuel Goldstein in 1938. This, for a vineyard that wine retailing legend Frank Schoonmaker would call “Quite possibly the most beautiful vineyard in California.” What is equally amazing is the vineyard already had a reputation spanning to 1880, when the Goldstein family first started clearing land on the Sonoma side of Mt. Veeder and planting grapes on the mineral-rich, rusted crimson soil.

"Though that first generation of grapevines planted in 1880 quickly succumbed to phylloxera, a fair amount of the second generation of vines, planted on resistant rootstocks in the late 1880s and early 1890s, continue to flourish at the site today. Planted between 800’ and 1400’, Monte Rosso has many different aspects and subtle soil variation— our block of Zinfandel is located in the middle of a beautiful western-facing slope at about 1000’ elevation. Unlike the other vineyards highlighted here, Monte Rosso is nearly pure Zinfandel with only small amounts of the tincturing Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir interplanted. This makes the long-lived nature of the wines that come from then site even more amazing, as we usually find age-worthiness in Zinfandel-based wines to be somewhat dependent on the presence of mixed black varieties. For me, the best examples off the ranch combine depth of fruit with beautiful, citrus-tinged perfume and noble, lingering structure.

"A couple fun facts about Monte Rosso: we work with the exact same block my father made for Ravenswood from 1993-2002, which makes comparing our young wines versus his older ones quite interesting. The vineyard was nearly 50% white varieties as recently as the ‘70s, with large chunks of Riesling, Sylvaner, Folle Blanch, Traminer, Semillon and a couple Muscat varieties — almost all has been replanted to red varieties, though a few acres of the ancient Semillon still exist."

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#58 Post by Drew Goin » November 10th, 2019, 12:31 pm

From the Winter 2019 Release - Bedrock Wine Company email:


"Winter Release Letter 2018: The Year it Finally Came Together" (part 2)


"Bedrock Vineyard
Soil: Red Hill Clay Loam
Elevation: 175’
Dominant Varieties: Zinfandel, Carignan, Mataro, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Trousseau, Tempranillo and more—we are now about to 29 total varieties ID’s including, extraordinarily, varieties such as Castets, Bequignol and Castellana Blanca.
Owner: Peterson Family



"Bedrock is located on the valley floor below Monte Rosso Vineyard. The section of old vines is planted on an alluvial fan derived from Mt. Veeder— the same soils as Monte Rosso— except tossed with basalt and cobble, making it far rockier in appearance and harder on equipment. In some ways the soils are as if the perfect layers of Red Clay and basalt at Monte Rosso were put into a geological blender and poured on the valley floor. The vineyard is quite mixed, with many different interplanted varieties that we pick together as a field-blend and co-ferment. Beyond the field-blended blocks that are generally dominated by Zinfandel, there are also two blocks each of equally old Carignan and Mataro/Mourvèdre that are picked separately and blended back into the finished wine. We estimate the finished wine is usually 45-55% Zinfandel, 15-20% Carignan and 10-15% Mataro, with the balance being the many other varieties found in the vineyard.

"Bedrock is one of the oldest ranches in Sonoma Valley, having first been planted in the 1850s by future Civil War generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Joseph Hooker. The oldest vines date to 1888, when the vineyard was owned by George and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. Purchased by my family in 2004, it was the inspiration for starting the winery in the first place and has become the crown jewel of Bedrock Wine Co."


"Old Hill Ranch
Soil: Tuscan Cobbly Clay Loam
Elevation: 175’
Varieties: Zinfandel, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Syrah and more, including a group of Alpine varieties such as Persan, Mollard, Etraire de la Dui and Corbeau.
Owner: Bucklin Family



"Located three quarters of a mile north of Bedrock Vineyard, Old Hill Ranch lies on the next alluvial fan up on the valley floor. Here, the soils also show the red-tinged kiss of iron common on Mt. Veeder derived soils—however, the soils here tend to be less rocky than Bedrock. Organically farmed for as long as anyone can remember, this site is not just great because of its natural high-achieving aptitude but also because of the thoughtfulness of Will Bucklin’s farming. Though also a field blend of a jaw-droppingly high number of varieties, Old Hill is quite unique in that it has a high proportion of Grenache along with a number of Alpine varieties that we have found almost no place else. Old Hill makes some of the longest-lived, Zinfandel-based wines in the world—even the examples my dad made off the ranch in the mid-80s and the wines Merry Edwards made for Mt. Eden in the 1970s are still holding up nicely."

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#59 Post by Drew Goin » November 10th, 2019, 12:37 pm

From the Winter 2019 Release - Bedrock Wine Company:


"Winter Release Letter 2018: The Year it Finally Came Together (part 3)"


"Pagani Ranch
Soil: Haire Clay Loam
Elevation:
Dominant Varieties: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Lenoir, Carignan, Mataro, Mission/Pais/Criolla Chica, Aramon and more.
Owner: Pagani/Amantite Family



"'Oh the Pagani…' -countless fans at public tastings


"In many ways, Pagani Ranch is the greatest outlier of the four vineyards. It lies almost three miles to the north of Old Hill Ranch between the small hamlets of Glen Ellen and Kenwood, on soils derived from the Sonoma Mountain side of the valley rather than Mt. Veeder to the East. Climatically it is also quite different as it tends to receive less of the insulating fog exposure seen by the vineyards to the south— meaning that nights tend to be colder but days, warmer. It also has the highest chance of spring frost damage, which means it tends to be pruned later. This combined with the colder nights means that Pagani is always the last vineyard of the four to be picked— oftentimes over a month after we kick off Sonoma Valley harvest with Monte Rosso. Also a very diverse, field-blended vineyard, Pagani is planted to far more varieties that lend color, tannin and weight to the finished wine, resulting in the most muscular and broad-shouldered wine of the four.


"The ranch is farmed by Dino Amantite, who has been working on the property since he was a teenager (though born in Richmond like my dad, he spent much of his time alongside his Uncle Louie in Sonoma). For many years the fruit went into random bottlings of “Burgundy,” until 1990 when Ridge Vineyards recognized the site’s brilliance and began to vineyard designate it. Thanks to this exposure, Pagani is quite popular when pouring at events like ZAP; Chris and I often joke about the number of times we hear the phrase 'Oh the Pagani….' when showing it to the public.


"Thanks to Dino’s oversight, a long-needed replanting of missing vines is underway at the vineyard along with the development of some younger blocks, ensuring the legacy of Pagani will continue for the next generation."



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

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#60 Post by Nathan Smyth » November 10th, 2019, 12:49 pm

Drew Goin wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 8:37 pm
diesel-vineyard-destruction.jpg
If the vineyard owners are moseying up to the table with the $$$s necessary to rent [or, God forbid, actually own] big iron diesel rigs like that, then there's no reason whatsoever that the ancient vines couldn't be simply TRANSPLANTED to new soil.

The animal rights lunatics have all sorts of "Rescue Networks" for vicious pitbulls & ex-racing grayhounds & thoroughbred horses headed to the glue factory.

There's no reason we couldn't have an Old Vines Rescue Network, organized so that the owners could inform us when the vines were to be ripped out, and we could arrive with our pickup trucks, and load as many vines as we could haul, and take them home, and transplant them to our backyards.

I don't know how the California agriculture people would feel about that [in terms of possibly moving insect or mildew species across county lines], but if the transplanting process didn't cross state lines, then I doubt that the USDA could get involved.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#61 Post by Adam Frisch » November 10th, 2019, 11:41 pm

Interesting thread. I suppose I fall into the "newer, hipster wine" category of buyer, but I never set out to specifically buy from old vineyards. That just kind of happened naturally for the older varieties, such as Mission and Flame Tokay etc.

1. The Flame Tokays I take are from 118 year old Lodi vines. This we know for a fact as they're recorded in the house's deed.

2. The Missions we don't know for sure how old they are, but they're at the very least 50 years old, but could be 120 years old (Ken Zinns think they might be). Very vigorous producers still. As for Mission, the attrition has been all-encompassing. Today there are only about 4 places that still grow it: Deaver and Story ranch in Amador, Somers in Lodi and small planting in Santa Barbera/Santa Ynez area farmed by the Rusack Vineyards. I just got an email from a grower in Placer Country I had not heard of before, so that takes the number up to 5 known Mission plantings.

3. This year I also took a small batch of Syrah from Lodi from the oldest Syrah planting there (and most likely one of the oldest in California). The cuttings were smuggled into the US from Australia in the 60's and planted in what was long referred to as the Mettler block. I had no idea about all this this until Tegan Passalaqua informed me of its history via Instagram. Again, this was not by design at all, quite the contrary. The block has produced some award-winning wines in the past from a few different producers, so I'm glad I get to try it.

Next year I want to take some Zinfandel. So many really old Zin vineyards up in Lodi that didn't get to sell their fruit at all this year. It's a shame. Even if I just take a ton or two, every little helps in preserving these older vineyards.
Last edited by Adam Frisch on November 11th, 2019, 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#62 Post by Ken Zinns » November 11th, 2019, 7:08 am

Adam Frisch wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 11:41 pm
2. The Missions we don't know for sure how old they are, but they're at the very least 50 years old, but could be 120 years old (Ken Zinns think they might be). Very vigorous producers still. As for Mission, the attrition has been all-encompassing. Today there are only about 4 places that still grow it: Deaver and Story ranch in Amador, Somers in Lodi and small planting in Santa Barbera/Santa Ynez area farmed by the Rusack Vineyards. I just got an email from a grower in Placer Country I had not heard of before, so that takes the number up to 5 known Mission plantings.
Adam, I'd like to quote your paragraph on Mission on the Mission/Pais thread and expand on it regarding where there are Mission plantings in California - there are more than five for sure, perhaps way more. Most are old but I believe there are at least a couple of new ones that have been planted or are planned.
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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#63 Post by Adam Frisch » November 11th, 2019, 7:26 am

Ken Zinns wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 7:08 am

Adam, I'd like to quote your paragraph on Mission on the Mission/Pais thread and expand on it regarding where there are Mission plantings in California - there are more than five for sure, perhaps way more. Most are old but I believe there are at least a couple of new ones that have been planted or are planned.
I'm sure there are plenty more. I think there might be some in Sonoma and I think Bedrock has some in the vineyard for their Heritage blend. I know for sure there is a little around Rancho Cucamonga as I saw Scholium take some "Rosa de Peru" from undisclosed location there. Ryan Stirm gets some from San Benito, I think. But as far as bigger vineyards there's not that many left.
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Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

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Ken Zinns
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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#64 Post by Ken Zinns » November 11th, 2019, 8:03 am

Adam Frisch wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 7:26 am
Ken Zinns wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 7:08 am

Adam, I'd like to quote your paragraph on Mission on the Mission/Pais thread and expand on it regarding where there are Mission plantings in California - there are more than five for sure, perhaps way more. Most are old but I believe there are at least a couple of new ones that have been planted or are planned.
I'm sure there are plenty more. I think there might be some in Sonoma and I think Bedrock has some in the vineyard for their Heritage blend. I know for sure there is a little around Rancho Cucamonga as I saw Scholium take some "Rosa de Peru" from undisclosed location there. Ryan Stirm gets some from San Benito, I think. But as far as bigger vineyards there's not that many left.
Yes, I imagine you're correct that most remaining Mission in California is in small blocks scattered around various parts of the state. I also suspect that there may be more than is currently known since some of the old vines may not be known to be Mission if they've been farmed for decades as part of old, mixed-variety vineyards.
ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#65 Post by Morgan Twain-Peterson » November 11th, 2019, 9:05 am

Ken Zinns wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 8:03 am
Adam Frisch wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 7:26 am
Ken Zinns wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 7:08 am

Adam, I'd like to quote your paragraph on Mission on the Mission/Pais thread and expand on it regarding where there are Mission plantings in California - there are more than five for sure, perhaps way more. Most are old but I believe there are at least a couple of new ones that have been planted or are planned.
I'm sure there are plenty more. I think there might be some in Sonoma and I think Bedrock has some in the vineyard for their Heritage blend. I know for sure there is a little around Rancho Cucamonga as I saw Scholium take some "Rosa de Peru" from undisclosed location there. Ryan Stirm gets some from San Benito, I think. But as far as bigger vineyards there's not that many left.
Yes, I imagine you're correct that most remaining Mission in California is in small blocks scattered around various parts of the state. I also suspect that there may be more than is currently known since some of the old vines may not be known to be Mission if they've been farmed for decades as part of old, mixed-variety vineyards.
According to the 2018 grape crush report there was 1047 tons of Mission crushed in 2018 in California. it looks like 900+ if that was crushed in Fresno County with very small numbers coming from San Mateo County, Amador County, Lodi, Riverside County (Rancho Cucamonga), San Luis Obispo County, etc.. Mission is very common in old field-blended vineyards in the North Coast but I cannot think of any pure Mission plantings remaining in Sonoma, Napa, Mendo, etc.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#66 Post by Morgan Twain-Peterson » November 11th, 2019, 9:15 am

I would add that the same vineyard in Lodi where we got our Mission for Angelica is used by a number of other people (I believe Broc's stuff comes from here as well).

We are planning on planting a block at Bedrock Vineyard as well for our Angelica needs as we will be building that Solera over time and want a consistent source of well-farmed fruit. I think it will be the first block of Mission planted in the North Coast in a long time.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#67 Post by Adam Frisch » November 11th, 2019, 10:32 am

Great to hear you're planting some Mission again, Morgan! Let me ask you this - how much Mission do you have in your Bedrock mixed field? Do you know?

Yes, the Mission Ken and I got was from the Somers Vineyard in Lodi. Broc gets from there, and this year so did Pax Mahle (and quite a lot). Numerous other smaller producers also get some there. It has to be one of the bigger Mission vineyards still producing - my guess it's probably at least 50 tons per year.
Sabelli-Frisch Wines

Owner, proprietor and winemaker (with a little help) at Sabelli-Frisch Wines. I make wine from low-impact vineyards, focus on rare, forgotten, under-appreciated or historic grape varietals. Mission grape is my main red focus. IG: sabellifrisch

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#68 Post by Morgan Twain-Peterson » November 11th, 2019, 10:46 am

Adam Frisch wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 10:32 am
Great to hear you're planting some Mission again, Morgan! Let me ask you this - how much Mission do you have in your Bedrock mixed field? Do you know?

Yes, the Mission Ken and I got was from the Somers Vineyard in Lodi. Broc gets from there, and this year so did Pax Mahle (and quite a lot). Numerous other smaller producers also get some there. It has to be one of the bigger Mission vineyards still producing - my guess it's probably at least 50 tons per year.
We have about a dozen vines at Bedrock, a couple dozen at Evangelho, a few dozen at Pagani Ranch, and similar small amounts at a number of other old vineyards.

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Re: Saving Old Vineyards - Economics vs Heritage

#69 Post by Ken Zinns » November 11th, 2019, 1:07 pm

Morgan Twain-Peterson wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 9:05 am
Ken Zinns wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 8:03 am
Adam Frisch wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 7:26 am


I'm sure there are plenty more. I think there might be some in Sonoma and I think Bedrock has some in the vineyard for their Heritage blend. I know for sure there is a little around Rancho Cucamonga as I saw Scholium take some "Rosa de Peru" from undisclosed location there. Ryan Stirm gets some from San Benito, I think. But as far as bigger vineyards there's not that many left.
Yes, I imagine you're correct that most remaining Mission in California is in small blocks scattered around various parts of the state. I also suspect that there may be more than is currently known since some of the old vines may not be known to be Mission if they've been farmed for decades as part of old, mixed-variety vineyards.
According to the 2018 grape crush report there was 1047 tons of Mission crushed in 2018 in California. it looks like 900+ if that was crushed in Fresno County with very small numbers coming from San Mateo County, Amador County, Lodi, Riverside County (Rancho Cucamonga), San Luis Obispo County, etc.. Mission is very common in old field-blended vineyards in the North Coast but I cannot think of any pure Mission plantings remaining in Sonoma, Napa, Mendo, etc.
Morgan, any idea whether the Fresno County Mission is likely to be from old vines or from plantings within the past 40-50 years? I'd thought that there had been hardly any Mission planted in California since the late 1800s, but perhaps I was mistaken on that. The possible 1970s planting date for the vines at Somers Vineyard in Lodi would be an example. Wondering why some Central Valley growers in the 1900s might have chosen to plant Mission rather than other varieties. I'm sure it does well in the San Joaquin Valley but so would a number of other varieties.
ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

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