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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!

2010 Mendocino Harvest Report

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By Courtney Cochran

With smoke-tainted 2008 vintage wines in circulation now, Mendocino winegrowers no doubt are keen on a strong harvest this season. Still, this hardy group from one of Nor Cal's most northerly wine regions is all too familiar with the vagaries of inclement weather - not to mention so-called acts of god (hello, fires!) - which means they're used to holding their breaths come near-harvest-time.  

I caught up with standout Mendo vintner Paul Dolan of Paul Dolan Vineyards to get his take on what's in store for Mendo wines in 2010.


Taste Mendocino Wines

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wineTasting.jpgLooking for some great tasting wines from the Mendocino wine region? Check out the latest winners of the recent 34th Annual Mendocino Wine Competition There were 194 entries in 20 categories representing all 12 growing regions in the county.

Five wines were awarded double gold medals:
  • Yorkville Cellars 2009 LH Semillon
  • Yorkville Cellars 2009 Sweet Malbec
  • Bonterra Vineyards 2009 Riesling
  • Navarro Vineyards 2009 Muscat Blanc
  • Harmonique 2006 Pinot Noir


Since Mendocino is known as "America's Greenest Wine Region", it's only fitting that wineries compete for the "green" award as well. Two wineries tied for first place for this coveted award:
  • Husch Vineyards ~ Sauvignon Blanc ~ 2009 La Ribera
  • Handley Cellars ~ Pinot Noir Rose ~ 2009 AV Estate
For a complete list of winners, visit www.truemendocinowine.com. You can taste these winning wines at the upcoming Mendocino County Fair in Boonville on Saturday, September 18, 2010. Or you can plan your next wine tasting trip to Mendocino Wine Country

Wine Festivals in Mendocino

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Esterlina Tasting Room, Anderson Valley, CA

Image by Ethan Prater via Flickr

MENDOCINO, CA - Let us help you pick which weekend to escape to Mendocino Wine Country. With so many wineries to taste at throughout Mendocino, why not attend a wine festival where you can taste all your favorites and discover new ones too. See at a glance all the wine festivals happening in Mendocino Wine Country May - December this year!

MAY
May 14-16, 2010 (THIS WEEKEND!) - Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
Anderson Valley is known for producing great Pinot Noir. If you love Pinot, then this is the event for you. Scratch whatever plans you have this coming weekend and attend this not to be missed Pinot Noir festival where over 40 wineries will be pouring their wines. Enjoy gourmet treats & music in the vineyard at Goldeneye Winery. Learn about Pinot Noir at the tech. conference & dine with the winemakers at Sat. evening dinners in Anderson Valley and on the Mendocino coast. On Sunday, visit the wineries for special wine tastings, seminars, food pairings, and more.
Fee: $50 to $125/person; Time:  Fri. 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.,Sat 11a.m. - 3 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Phone Number: (707) 895.9463Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
PH-Oppenlander-06.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

In the world of wine as we know it, few winemakers have followed so circuitous a route to oenophilia as Toby Hill, owner/winemaker for Phillips-Hill Estates in Philo. A California native who grew up in Manhattan before returning to the Bay Area for high school, then heading back to New York to pursue a successful career as an artist and ultimately settling down in Mendocino, Hill literally began making wine on a whim when a friend gave him several bottles of unfinished wine one harvest. Several years later, the self-taught winemaker is turning heads with his extremely limited, Burgundian-style Pinots made from Mendo's emerging comptche sub-region. Read on for notes on my favorite of his current offerings.

Earth to Ukiah

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By Robert Farmer

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It's fairly obvious that, although Earth Day is officially April 22, what is less known is that April is actually Earth Month. But what everyone ought to know is that every day is actually Earth Day. We have one planet. We have one chance to make it work. So it is that I continually bring up the subject as it relates to Wine Country. Because when it comes to the wine industry, the connection to the earth is top on the list of Things That Are Important.

Parducci Puts it in "Neutral"

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By Robert Farmer
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You've read in this space about my efforts to espouse the benefits of living "green" whenever possible. And when that can include drinking green, all the better. The wine industry has noisily been getting into the act, cleaning up their vineyards to reduce environmental impact, and putting wine in bottles that are being called "organic" or otherwise good for the environment.

In Ukiah, Parducci Winery is not just talking the talk; they are walking the walk - in a big way, apparently. The winery, which has long been a leader in biodiversity and organic grape farming, announced recently that they have become "carbon neutral" in their wine production process--the first U.S. winery to achieve the status. That's very impressive, in my view, and not easy to do, from what I know of it. To get "neutral," Parducci worked closely with the California Climate Action Registry, which enabled the winery to calculate greenhouse gas emission helped them take step to offset or mitigate that harmful output. It took three years to accomplish and included such arduous steps as increased use of solar power, use of bio-diesel in farm equipment, and simple steps like switching to compact fluorescent lights in the winery.

But the results have been impressive and I commend Parducci on the effort to set higher standards for the wine industry. Perhaps I'll toast to the effort with a biodegradable paper cup full of their always-zippy Signature zinfandel--one of my personal favorites.

How Green Was My Winery

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By Courtney Cochran

It used to be enough to be “green.”  

But with Parducci Winery’s recent recognition as a carbon-neutral winery – the first of its kind in the United States – there’s a new standard for environmental achievement on the domestic wine scene.

Mendocino County’s oldest family-run winery was awarded the prestigious 2007 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) last month in Sacramento for its pioneering work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change.  Parducci’s use of solar power, wind energy and bio-diesel fuel was applauded, as was the winery’s commitment to taking additional steps to offset its remaining carbon footprint.  

Besides achieving carbon neutrality, Parducci and its parent company, Mendocino Wine Company, farm according to organic and biodynamic principals and are committed to sustainable viticulture practices that will protect the environment for future generations.

I’ll drink to that.        

mendocinowineco.com

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