Winegrape Grower News – August 22, 2012

Seaplane Tours Paying Dividends

KELSEYVILLE – In the late 1800s visitors to Lake County arrived by stagecoach, and steamers provided trans-portation between towns located on the shores of Clear Lake. Today, the Lake County Winegrape Commission is bringing guests to the area by

David Weiss explains grape growing in the Big Valley region.

seaplane and offering tours of wineries and vineyards throughout the county.

Hosting wine writers, sommeliers, radio and television personalities, and consultants via the seaplane rides/wine tours is paying off for Lake County, according to Winegrape Commission President Shannon Gunier.

Read entire article: click here

Gunier Invited to be Member of Symposium Planning Committee

KELSEYVILLE – Lake County Winegrape Commission President Shannon Gunier is “one of a select group of people” invited to participate on the Unified Wine & Grape

Shannon Gunier

Symposium’s Program Development Committee for the 19th annual symposium in 2013.

The Unified Symposium is the largest wine and grape show in the United States. Held each year in January at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, the show attracted a record number of attendees (12,400) earlier this year.

 Read entire article: click here. 

Wines with Altitude in San Francisco

The Lake County Winery Association gears up for the second annual Wines with Altitude event, a San Francisco invasion of Lake County wines offering wine enthusiasts an opportunity to discover the “high elevation” wine region of California’s Lake County and sample over 100 wines, on September 8, noon – 3 p.m. at The Winery SF on Treasure Island in San Francisco.

Tickets for Wines with Altitude are on sale now and offered at Early Bird pricing through August 25. Buy two tickets at the special pricing of $70 per pair or $40 for one. To order tickets go to: or

For more information email or call 707-355-2762.

 Read entire article: click here.

Lake County Farm Bureau
Hosts Workshop


DATE:  Tuesday, August 28
TIME:  9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
LOCATION:  Lake County Farm Bureau, 65 Soda Bay Road, Lakeport, CA 95453

RSVP by August 24 by calling (707) 263-0911

COST: Lake County Farm Bureau President’s Club Members – $20
Farm Bureau Members – $30
Non-Farm Bureau Members – $40


Course will cover:  Identifying hazards, hazard assessment,
written programs, lockout-tagout, entry controls, employee duties, exit and control.

Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to read about the Lake County Winegrape Commission’s recent happenings, events, and news. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about this newsletter or about the Commission’s efforts and events.

By Susan Stout, Contributing Writer

Lake County Winegrowers Sustainable eNews – August 2012

Welcome to our next edition of the Lake County Winegrape Commission’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program eNewsletter.

In this edition, we feature information for growers on how take advantage of substantial financial and other resources available to get involved in achieving certified sustainability…

The Lake County Winegrowers & The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Offer Significant Support

Lake County, CA – As many of us know, our region is an industry leader when it comes to sustainability in the vineyard. As you also likely know, the Lake County Winegrowers are committed to the concept and have set ambitious goals to achieve it. While more than 70% of Lake County growers have participated in the Code of Sustainable Winegrape Practices Self-Assessment Workbook, the LCWC is supporting our growers to take the next step in Sustainable Winegrowing by obtaining third party certification. In the next two years we have set a goal of achieving 25% of our region’s vineyards to become Certified Sustainable with the primary goal of 80% by the end of 2015.

Additionally, we have implemented the Master Vigneron Program (MVP) that builds the capacity and increases advancement opportunities for vineyard workers in the industry. It also seeks to increase quality by improving knowledge, skills and performance. It is a significant investment in the human capital portion of the sustainability in the vineyard equation.

There may not be a better time than now to get your vineyard involved and move towards certified sustainable. The LCWC and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) have partnered to offer substantial incentives to you in order to defray the cost and time required as well as providing you with key resources to navigate the process confidently and effectively. “I am very excited,” said Paul Zellman, Education Director for the Lake County Winegrowers. “A primary focus of the LCWC board, at the moment, is supporting growers in becoming certified sustainable.”

If you are a smaller grower, fully 75% of the cost required to complete the certification process is being offset by the LCWC and CSWA through rebates and direct financial support (larger growers can also qualify for some benefits.) This opportunity will, likely, not last for too long. From an expenditure standpoint, this could save several hundred to a few thousand dollars. The connected costs primarily relate to the fees associated with the third party audit required to achieve certification. Growers are asked to assume just 25% of the total expenses incurred through the process.

Another significant component is time. Depending on the size of your vineyard and other factors, the time requirement to complete the process – from the initial application submittal to third party verification – is estimated at between 10.5 to 23.5 hours (though it could vary.) However, the LCWC is also providing assistance in this regard. “I am here to provide support to the growers throughout the process,” said Zellman.
“Part of my role is to assist and to coach – from assistance with the initial application, compiling needed information and preparation for the audit,” he continued.

All things considered, the opportunity to take advantage of both the financial assistance from the LCWC and the CSWA as well as receiving direct support from Paul Zellman, now is the time to get involved. With harvest almost upon us, we are preparing to ramp up later in the year, once the growing season is done. However, since resources are limited, if you are interested in participating while all of this support is still available, it is recommended that you get in touch now to hold your spot in the program. If you are interested, please contact Paul at For more on the sustainability program, visit our website.

In our next edition, we will discuss how some of the issues connected to participating and becoming certified sustainable is not only good for the environment, but is also a sound business decision. It can, potentially, reduce cost in the vineyard significantly, increase quality and better position your business for a changing marketplace with increased demands for certified sustainable wine. Stay tuned…


Sustainable Winegrowing Program

To learn more about the Lake County Winegrape Commission’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program please visit our website’s program page here.

There is more information on the program, our goals for a sustainable future in our vineyards and how Lake County is a regional leader in sustainability. Check it our and get involved!

Follow the Winegrowers on Social Media -


Get Involved…

Are you interested in participating in the program and becoming a certified sustainable vineyard? If so, the Lake County Winegrape Commission and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance are offering terrific incentives, including rebates and support resources to lessen both the cost and time it takes to be a part of it. The LCWC can provide assistance and more information. Please contact Paul Zellman, Education Director, at for more information…



Copyright © 2012 Lake County Winegrape Commission, All rights reserved.

Commission’s Seaplane Rides are Paying Dividends

August 21, 2012 • Susan Stout, Contributing Writer

KELSEYVILLE – In the late 1800s visitors to Lake County arrived by
stagecoach, and steamers provided transportation between towns located on the shores of Clear Lake. Today, the Lake County Winegrape Commission is bringing guests to the 
area by seaplane and offering tours of wineries and vineyards throughout the county.

Hosting wine writers, sommeliers, radio and television personalities, and
consultants via the seaplane rides/wine tours is paying off for Lake County, according to
Winegrape Commission President Shannon Gunier.

“We are seeing the first ‘dividends’ from our latest promotion of Lake County’s
wine industry,” said Gunier. “Lake County wines and vineyards have been the focus of
articles and blogs by well-known industry writers. Paul Franson, a regular contributor to
several publications, and W. Blake Gray, an author, columnist and publication
contributor, were guests on two separate seaplane ride/wine tour events.”

Writing about a visit to Beckstoffer vineyards as well as Brassfield, Shannon
Ridge and Ceágo, Franson touted Lake County in both the Napa Valley Register and in
the online magazine, Wines & Vines.
Gray wrote about his visit in his blog entitled The Gray Report and in his column
for Wine Review Online (
on_Lake_County.cfm). “People think writing about wine is all fun and games, but my
visit to Lake County was hard work,” Gray scribed in his column. “But I thought it was
important work, because Lake County is trying to position itself as the next great
Cabernet Sauvignon area in California.”

In his blog of July 13 (
much-more.html), Gray said, “We landed at Ceágo, which gets lots of visitors
by boat on weekends, and enjoyed lunch with Ceágo owner Jim Fetzer. Everything came
from his certified biodynamic property, including the lamb that had fattened itself on the
cover crop for his vines before being grilled in the open-flame oven. Lavender was being
harvested, and after we watched it distilled into aromatic oil, we had lemon bars with
lavender and a delicious lavender honey cake.”
Gray continued, “I particularly liked Ceágo’s unoaked Chardonnay, which was
lively with plenty of stonefruit flavor and very refreshing on a 99-degree day. ‘I hate oak
on Chardonnay,’ Fetzer says. I don’t always agree, but when the grapes are as vivacious
as his, he’s right: why hide all that character?”
A second blog by Gray, on July 26, focused on Clay Shannon’s use of sheep for
vineyard maintenance.

Favorable publicity for Lake County’s wine industry is the goal of the seaplane
ride/wine tours, said the Commission president. It is an idea that was conceived by the
Commission’s Marketing Committee. “We have known for years that ‘if we can get you
here, we can sell you on Lake County,’” said Gunier. “Plus, we are up against some
heavy competition from Napa and Sonoma; we have to differentiate ourselves in a
dramatic way.”
“We also have requested from our growers a list of prospects. We would fly them
up and give the grower an opportunity to take them around,” she added. Winegrape
growers who would like to invite distributors, winegrape buyers, journalists or other
media for the seaplane ride and wine tours are encouraged to contact Gunier to add
individuals to the list of invitees.
“We are pleased with the results from the first three tours. We hope to entice
many more wine writers, wine industry representatives, and media. We enjoy showcasing
our vineyards, wineries, and winegrape growers’ methods, as well as Clear Lake and
other attributes of our county. We think we have a winner with our seaplane rides and
two-day itinerary with each group.”
Three seaplane ride/wine tour events have been conducted by the Winegrape
Commission. The first guests, in April, included wine writer and sommelier Chris Sawyer
and marketing specialist Stacie Jacob of Solterra Strategies. Jacob is the former executive
director for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.
The tour in June welcomed guests Leslie Sbrocco, the host of KQED television’s
Check, Please!; Tina Caputo, editor-in-chief for Vineyard & Winery Management
magazine; Ziggy Eschliman, known as “The Wine Gal,” Sonoma County radio
personality, sommelier and wine and spirits educator (mentioned on her website as one of her summer wine picks is the 2009 Shannon Ridge Petite Sirah, Lake County); and Franson, author and contributor to Wine Business Monthly, Wine Enthusiast, Decanter,The San Francisco Chronicle, Food & Wine, and Wines & Vines.

Among the visitors by seaplane in July were Gray, author of California Winetopia
and former wine writer/editor for The San Francisco Chronicle; Randy Caparoso,
contributing editor of Sommelier Journal (; Sally
Mohr, one of only 17 master sommeliers in North America and the second woman in the
United States to achieve that distinction; and John Vankat, wine writer for the Arizona
Daily Sun.
Additional rides combined with tours of Lake County’s vineyards and wineries
are planned, said Gunier.
For more information about the Lake County Winegrape Commission, its events
and marketing promotions, visit its website at or call the
Commission office at 707-995-3421.


Taking High-Elevation Wines to New Heights

08/16/2012 11:44:48 AM PDT • Susan Stout — Contributing Writer

Lake County Record Bee

KELSEYVILLE — Lake County Winegrape Commission President Shannon Gunier is “one of a select group of people” invited to participate on the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium’s Program Development Committee for the 19th annual symposium in 2013.

The Unified Symposium is the largest wine and grape show in the United States. Held each year in January at the Sacramento Convention Center, the show attracted a record number of attendees, 12,400, this year.

As a member of the program development committee, Gunier is involved in discussions regarding the session topics and content that aim to benefit wine and grape professionals from all over the world.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to represent the Lake County Winegrape Commission in the planning of next year’s symposium workshops and presentations,” Gunier said. “The commission has participated in the trade show for several years and has found it to be an important link to the industry. It affords us the opportunity to showcase Lake County wines at the most prestigious winegrape trade show in the nation.”

The Unified Symposium was one of several shows the commission attended and participated in this year. During the 2010 Unified Symposium, Lake County’s high elevation winegrape growing was featured during a full day of sessions titled “High Elevation/High Latitude Seminar: Wine Growing On the Edge.” Commission Chair Peter Molnar joined Glenn McGourty of the University of California Cooperative Extension to moderate the discussions.

The 2013 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium is scheduled for Jan. 29 to 31 in Sacramento.

It is jointly organized by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

“With commitment to our audience of professionals, our responsibility is to develop sessions that deliver strong take-home’ value,” according to Nick Frey, chair of the program development committee. In his invitation to Gunier to join the committee, Frey, of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, stated “wine and grape industry professionals who attend the symposium seek information, ideas and insights that they can use to augment, improve and streamline their operations and to maintain quality and profitability in a highly competitive market.”

Information about the symposium, including a list of speakers and topics, is available on the Unified Symposium’s website, To register for participation visit the website or call 530-753-3142.

For information about the Lake County Winegrape Commission, go to or call the Commission office at 995-3421.


Dalliance: Everyone Wants a Taste of this Wine

Under The Tuscan Gun • Holly Wilde

Eating dinner with my family at Harwig’s in Steamboat Springs, CO, a restaurant famed for its wine list and multiple Wine Spectator awards, I asked the sommelier to suggest a bottle. “What do you like?” he replied. “We like Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel,” I answered, “but we love to try new things.”

Our sommelier darted off with, “I have just the thing for you,” and returned sporting a bottle not even on the one inch thick wine list. It was Dalliance (pronounced in the French way), a 2010 red from Lake County. An unusual blend of Zinfandel, Barbera, Syrah, Tempranillo and Grenache–four out of the five varietals being a favorite of one guest at the table–this wine has something for everyone. Further, the varied varietals blend in perfect harmony, contributing individually discernible characteristics, yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Not needing much time to open up, the Dalliance red has berries, oak, and a hint of bacon from the Syrah on the nose. Smooth feeling, this wine is big and full on the palette: complex without being overbearing, and with a carmel finish. (Yay!) Dalliance created so much excitement at our table, we immediately crowned it our new favorite red. And that was before the food even arrived.

With every course, it was superb. We paired the Dalliance with Lobster Bisque and Beignets, Bone-in Antelope and Strawberries, and Grilled Lamb. Any game or rich, buttery shellfish would produce a winning combination. You could also try Gabriele’s Wood Fired Leg of Lamb or Saltimbocca alla Romana.

Our sommelier postulated that it was a wine made by artists, who set out with a goal in mind and were able to accomplish it. Intrigued, I decided to contact the winemaker himself, Mike Wood at Shannon Ridge Winery.

What was your vision when you set out to make this wine?

My goal on this wine was to create something fun, easy to drink on its own and also paired well with different foods. Celebrating the fun things in life, good food, great friends and those special moments with your lover!

Why did you choose the varietals you did? What does each bring to the wine? How did you decide on the blending ratios?

I chose the varietals based on what each could bring to the party and wanting to use varieties you don’t see very often. The Zinfandel adds the ripe jammy fruit, the Barbera helps balance the acid, the Syrah bring a little back bone and earthy character, the Tempranillo brings a little spice and the Grenache brings a little fresh strawberry fruit. The blending ratio was determined by trying different percentages of each until I felt the balance and mouth feel fit the style I was looking for.

How does being aged in French and American oak add to the wine’s complexity?

The addition of oak brings another layer of flavor and richness adding soft vanilla notes and helping with the tannin structure.

Is there anything else about Dalliance that you would like to share?

We will be coming out with a white version that will be Viognier based. It will be a great summer sipper that should pair well with fresh summer salads.

Tara Thomas, Shannon Ridge winery spokesperson also had this to add about the vineyard’s sustainable farming practices:

Each vineyard block was carefully planned to fit the contours of the land and maximize ideal sun exposure. Varietals, rootstocks, clones, vine spacing and row direction were matched to the soil composition and exposures. More than 1,000 sheep patrol the property, turning cover crops and fire dangers into instant compost.

The best part about this wine? Suggested retail is under $20. But you can’t buy it online. Ask your local wine store, like Wally’s, to order it for you. I’m ordering a case myself.