Mendocino County: A 'Grape' Cinderella Story

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mwd_MendoArticle.jpgOne of the original counties of California, Mendocino County is located on California's north coast above San Francisco Bay Area and west of the Central Valley. Most notable in Mendocino are the distinctive Pacific Ocean coastline, Redwood forests and quality wine production.

Mendocino's history in winegrapes began following the California Gold Rush in the 1850's. Immigrant farmers, in lieu of riches in gold, turned to farming; choosing the slanted, roughed up, sun-drenched hillsides for winegrape growing. Production started small and then grew with successes.

The more southern markets of Napa and Sonoma proved to be tough competition. Their proximity to distribution channels in larger cities like San Francisco gave them an advantage over the locally sold Mendocino wines. Then, during Prohibition, wine production all but stopped in Mendocino. Only one small family vineyard kept production alive, until the 1960's. Mendocino winemakers had their work cut out for them!
mwd_WattleCreekRed.jpgThen came the "wine boom" in the 1960's. Mendocino winegrape farmers were ready to show the nation their wines could rival some of California's best. With shipping routes now more established in Northern California, Mendocino farmers worked to revive old vineyards and plant new ones. Through the 1970's and 80's winemaking skills were sharpened and production increased even more.

Today, Mendocino County's authentic "green" credentials are unsurpassed. From pristine wild lands and coastline to multi-generational hands-on family farmers and winemakers, this region is at the forefront of the sustainable, organic, Biodynamic farming movements.

Try some of Mendocino's finest:

Chestnut Peak Chardonnay 2008, Mendocino County, CA: A fresh white with lemon, pear and mineral aromas, along with a light-bodied texture that doesn't need any oaky overtones.

Wattle Creek Chardonnay 2007, Yorkville Highlands, CA: A complex Chardonnay, with fruit aromas of yellow plum, pear and peach, that blend well marzipan and baking spice touches.

Wattle Creek Triple Play Red 2006, Yorkville Highlands, CA: Rich, ripe blueberry and spicy oak, seasoned with a little black pepper. Big and lush, this one won't leave you wanting.

Of course, if you're visiting Mendocino, be sure to try the do-it-yourself wine tasting itineraries. See below:

Tasting Itinerary: Mendocino
Tasting Itinerary: Mendocino Coast
Tasting Itinerary: Anderson Valley 

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