April 2019 Newsletter

Bud break in the vineyards, Lake County, CA by Nathan DeHart

A Note from Commission President

Bud break abounds amid swaths of bright orange poppies and purple lupine. Lake County’s springtime landscape dazzles in warm sunshine-filled days and blue skies. Be sure to celebrate spring by raising a glass of Lake County Sauvignon Blanc on May 3 (International Sauvignon Blanc Day). And mark your calendar for a great viticultural session on irrigation and pest management to be held on June 13…stay tuned for details…

Debra Sommerfield

In this Issue…

June 13: Implementing Sustainable Farming Practices
June 13: AgVenture Lite: What We Know About Clear Lake
More Upcoming Events
Update on Breeding Pierce’s Disease-Resistant Winegrapes
Recent Events
Lake County Wines in the News
Welcome, New Affiliate Sponsors
Agriculture Financing: Understanding the Basics of Financial Statements
The Wonderful Company Aims for 100% Renewable Power
Weather & Climate Report

June 13: Implementing Sustainable Farming Practices: Water and Pest Management

Location: Beckstoffer Vineyards-Red Hills, Kelseyville
Date/Time: June 13, 8:45 AM to 12:30 PM

Presented by Lake County Winegrape Commission and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Advanced registration is required. Details coming soon.California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance logoLake County Winegrape Commission logo

June 13: AgVenture Lite: What We Know About Clear Lake

Location: Soper Reese Theatre, Lakeport
Date/Time: June 13, 5:30 PM – 8:-00 PM

Presented by: California Women for Agriculture, Lake County Chapter, and Lake County Winegrape Growers

Tickets: http://bit.ly/agventure-lite

California Women for Agriculture logoJoin us for an informative presentation by Greg Giusti, Emeritus Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension. Learn about Clear Lake, one of Lake County’s biggest tourism assets. The evening includes Lake County wine and appetizers. Advanced purchase is strongly recommended.

For all the event details and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

More Upcoming Events

May 9: 2019 Economic Summit and Trade Show, Ukiah

Presented by the Mendocino WineGrowers. Tickets: http://www.mendowine.com/events/2019-economic-summit-and-trade-show.php

Lake County Wine Adventure logoMay 18 – 19: Lake County Wine Adventure

Explore the Lake County wine region with a one- or two-day passport to the Lake County Wine Adventure. Discover new wines and enjoy the fun at each participating winery. Organized and sponsored by the Lake County Winery Association.

June 6 – 7: Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

Learn some of the driving forces behind the increasing interest in sustainable winegrowing. Purchase your tickets for the U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit West, hosted by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

US Sustainable Winegrowing Summit banner

Visit the LCWC calendar for more events, Winegrape Commission meetings, and other important activities.

Update on Breeding Pierce’s Disease-Resistant Winegrapes

From his research vineyard at UC Davis, Dr. Andy Walker reports on his progress on breeding Pierce’s disease-resistant winegrape vines and when growers might expect to have access to them from nurseries.


Recent Events

UC Davis: “On the Road in Lake County”

UC Davis event, Lake County, April 2019, speaker on stage giving presentation at Soper Reese Theater

Thank you to UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension for hosting “On the Road in Lake County” on March 28, 2019, at the Soper Reese Theater.

Expert researchers Glenn McGourty, Mike Jones, Anita Oberholster, Andrew Walker, Megan Bartlett, Kaan Kurtural, and Kendra Baumgartner provided valuable research on topics such as smoke impact, canopy management, trunk diseases, and rootstocks.

Pan American Ag Supervisor Training

Pan American seminar, Lake County, March 2019, presenter at Big Valley Grange talks to group

Thank you to Pan American Insurance Services, a LCWC affiliate sponsor, for hosting Ag Supervisor Training on March 20, 2019, at Big Valley Hall. Approximately 30 participants learned supervisorial skills and received training in preventing sexual harassment.

If you missed this event, be sure to attend the next one. Pan American will provide additional training sessions throughout the year related to vineyard worker safety.

Microphone an six wine glasses with white wine set up for technical tasting, In The News banner

Lake County Wines in the News

Meet the Vintners: Kaj and Christian Ahlmann of Six Sigma Ranch

Originally published on the CA Grown Blog.

Six Sigma Ranch & Winery is a breathtaking example of California agriculture, the 4,300 property is home to vineyards, cattle, pigs and sheep as well as home to local wildlife. Owner Kaj Ahlmann was the visionary behind the ranch as you see it today and runs the lovely vineyard with his family.

Kaj and his son Christian took a moment from their very full day to tell us more about this unique vineyard that is also home to a mountain biking track and a future “glamping” resort…

Read the full interview with Kaj and Christian Ahlmann

Kaj and Else Ahlmann, Christian and Rachel Ahlmann, Six Sigma Ranch & Winery

Lake County Makes a Statement Among Its California Peers

By Jim Clark, Beverage Media Group

Vineyards, mountain, and trees, Lake County, Calif, Beverage Media Group

Altitude is rarely a part of the conversation in California’s wine industry, but Lake County’s 9,454 acres of vines lie between 1,500′ and 3,000′; that makes them the highest-elevation vineyards in the state. Long an anonymous component in North Coast wines, the county is coming into its own, offering great value wines from several varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon in particular.

“Only 3% of California’s vineyards sit above 1,000 feet,” says Peter Molnar, General Manager of Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, “and this is a region where almost everything is a good 2,000 feet or above.” He explains the benefits as twofold. At higher altitudes you get more ultraviolet light, which results in thicker grape skins and more phenolic intensity. And they have quite cool shoulder seasons in the spring and fall, which lead to a nice ripening window without excessive heat, and good acidity.” At higher elevations, winters are colder, and the air is drier; both factors lessen disease pressure and lower viticultural costs.

Read more

New Book, Wine Country Table, Features Lake County Winery

Wine Institute recently released a new book, Wine Country Table, written by award-winning author Janet Fletcher.

Wine Country Table by Janey Fletcher, published by Wine InstituteBeautifully photographed, the book offers a visual tour of 23 stunning farms and wineries, including Six Sigma Winery and Ranch in Lake County. The sustainable practices at these farms and wineries highlight the future of responsible farming and winegrowing throughout California.

You can order copies of this book at: www.discovercaliforniawines.com

High-Scoring Wines from Lake County

Congratulations to these Lake County wines, which Wine Enthusiast recently scored 90 points or better:

  • Boatique 2016 Petite Sirah (Red Hills): 94 Points
  • Boatique 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Hills): 92 Points
  • Bonterra 2017 Dry Muscat: 90 Points
  • Brassfield 2016 Grenache (High Valley): 91 Points
  • Brassfield 2017 Chardonnay (High Valley): 92 Points
  • Brassfield 2016 Cabernet (High Valley): 91 Points
  • Brassfield 2016 Mourvedre (High Valley): 90 Points
  • Dancing Crow Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc: 90 Points
  • Dancing Crow Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon: 90 Points
  • Dancing Crow Vineyards 2017 Volcano Ridge Cuvee: 92 Points (Editor’s Choice)
  • Shannon Ridge 2017 High Elevation Collection Zinfandel: 92 Points
  • Shannon Ridge 2015 Vigilance Cimarron Red: 90 Points
  • Sol Rouge 2015 Grenache (Red Hills): 93 Points
  • Sol Rouge 2015 Zinfandel (Red Hills): 92 Points
  • Sottomarino 2014 Primitivo: 90 Points
  • Steele 2016 Shooting Star Cabernet Sauvignon: 91 Points

Congratulations are also in order for these Lake County wines that scored highly in the North Coast Wine Challenge:

  • Boatique 2016 Malbec (Red Hills): 92 Points
  • Boatique 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (Big Valley District) 93 Points
  • Brassfield 2015 Eruption Red Blend (High Valley): 95 Points
  • Cache Creek Vineyards 2017 Reserve Chardonnay: 92 Points
  • Chacewater 2013 Gwin Red Blend (Red Hills): 94 Points
  • Enkidu 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon: 93 Points
  • Enkidu 2016 Diener Ranch Petite Sirah (Red Hills): 92 Points
  • Pech Merle 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (Big Valley District): 93 Points
  • Shannon Ridge 2017 High Elevation Petite Sirah: 94 Points
  • Steele 2016 Century Vines Zinfandel: 94 Points
  • Steele 2016 Malbec (Red Hills): 95 Points
  • R Vineyards 2015 Russel Rocks (Red Blend): 90 Points
  • R Vineyards 2016 Reba Red: 93 Points

Also of note: Wine & Spirits named the Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon form Red Hills on of the “Top 50 Wines in America’s Best Restaurants.”

Welcome, New Affiliate Sponsors

LCWC is pleased to welcome four new affiliate sponsors. Visit their websites to learn more about the products and services they offer.

ConeTech provides an array of services to the wine industry. The company’s most recent innovation is the creation of a proven out-of-the-box methodology to remove free and bound smoke taint compounds. Learn more about ConeTech

ConeTech logo
Working with vineyards owners and managers, PumpMan NorCal has helped turn water into wine for 50 years. Call to discuss your situation and get quotes on equipment, parts and services. Learn More about PumpMan NorCal

PumpMan NorCal logo
VinSense Technology is an innovative decision support software system for agricultural crop production. Please contact maddy.houghton@vinsense.net for further information or to schedule a demo. Learn more about VinSense

VinSense Technology logo
Noble Vineyard Management offers a collection of independent businesses to meet the varying needs of today’s North Coast premium grape growers. Learn more about NobleNoble Vineyard Management logo

American AgCredit logo

Affiliate sponsor

Agriculture Financing: Understanding the Basics of Your Financial Statements

Operators can benefit from a better understanding of their financial situation

By Clay Popko, Vice President, Vineyard & Winery Group, American AgCredit

You may know if your agricultural operation is making money or not, but do you know how profitable it is? For example, how much do you profit per acre of wine grapes?

If you are unsure, you may want to utilize a balance sheet, a profit and loss statement (income statement), and a budget to help answer these questions…

Read the full article by LCWC affiliate sponsor American AgCredit to learn more about balance sheets, income statements, and budgets.

Affiliate sponsor

Wonderful Nurseries production farm

The Wonderful Company Aims for 100% Renewable Power

California-based The Wonderful Company has announced its intention to use 100% renewable electricity in its U.S. operations by 2025, following a path that began in 2007 with a ground-mounted solar installation.

At the time that installation was the largest privately held single-site solar plant in the U.S., generating nearly 15% of the required energy at its processing facility for almonds and pistachios.

The grower-marketer has come a long way since then. In 2013, Wonderful quadrupled its investment in renewable energy, installing rooftop solar panels at its JUSTIN Wines, Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, and Halos facilities.

“As a responsible steward of the environment, we’ve invested more than $300 million in sustainability research and innovations, clean energy and prudent use of natural resources,” stated The Wonderful Company chairman and president Stewart Resnick. “This is the natural progression of our sustainability efforts and the right thing for us to do as leaders in the agriculture industry.”

Read more

Weather Banner

Weather & Climate

“The temperature forecast for April through June continues to show the odds toward a warmer than average western US, while precipitation is forecast to be near average south and lower than average in the Pacific North West…”

Download the April weather report (PDF) from Dr. Gregory Jones.


    Grower Conversation Series: Winegrape Wednesdays 4:00 pm
    Grower Conversation Series: Winegrape Wednesdays @ The Mercantile
    Jul 17 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
    Grower Conversation Series: Winegrape Wednesdays @ The Mercantile
    You are invited to attend the Grower Conversation series hosted by Lake County Winegrowers. This series aims to connect growers, buyers, and industry experts to discuss the climate of today’s market. Each conversation will feature[...]
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