December 2023 Newsletter
In This Issue…
Lake County Winegrowers Celebrate Addition of Two New AVAs
2023 Harvest Recap
Lake County Wines Poured in San Diego
News from Industry Partners
Lake County Wines & Vines in the News
Grape & Wine Marketplace
Weather & Climate Report
Lake County Winegrowers Promote Addition of Region’s Two Newest AVAs
Excerpt from recent LCWC press release:
“Lake County continues to raise the bar of quality wine production in California and welcomes two recently approved AVAs, the Long Valley-Lake County AVA, and the Upper Lake Valley AVA.
The approval of the two new AVAs is one of many recent achievements for the Lake County region. This high-elevation, mountainous region of the prestigious North Coast AVA is gaining traction as the market looks for high-end, California wines at an accessible price point. With its volcanic terroir, the region is being recognized for its capacity to produce quality winegrapes that result in wines that are complex and distinct. The wines offer great aromatic and flavor intensity alongside noticeable aging potential. The region has become a go-to source for high-end Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Read the full press release.
2023 Harvest Recap
Winegrape producers throughout Lake County completed an exceptional harvest that started later than usual, lasted longer than usual, and produced flavorful berries that exceed the already high quality of recent years. Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the region’s most grown varieties, reflected normal to increased yields compared to prior years.
“Brix increased gradually, allowing the phenolics to develop steadily,” said Pedro Rubio, General Manager of Beckstoffer Vineyards – Red Hills. Rubio noted, “The outstanding growing season allowed an extended hang time for the vines. This year’s almost perfect climate produced fully ripe fruit with character and depth. In my opinion, this could be a remarkable vintage. I am looking forward to the winemakers’ feedback.”
Jonathan Walters, General Manager of Brassfield Estate Winery, remarked, “Brassfield had one of the best vintages in recent history. The cool, wet spring led to a slow start to the season, but ample sun exposure during the summer months provided ideal growing conditions.”
Pilar Luchsinger White, Owner of Luchsinger Vineyards, noted, “Quality was elevated this year since we did not see any major frost events, heat spikes, or significant rain during harvest season. Lake County is fortunate not to experience any significant fog throughout the year, so mildew or rot was not an issue if proper intervals were adhered to.”
Lake County Wines Poured in San Diego
Lake County had a more prominent presence than ever at the 2023 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Seven wineries and Visit Lake County joined LCWC for the weekend’s festivities, along with Lake County’s musical duo Austin & Owens.
The Friday night VIP event attracted consumers and several members of the trade. At the Saturday Grand Tasting where thousands enjoyed the beautiful weather, the Lake County tent was full of southern California locals eager to experience Lake County wines and hospitality.
Thank you to the following wineries that participated:
News from CDFA & Wine Institute:
Call for Applications for the 10th Annual California Green Medal Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards
California vineyards and wineries are encouraged to apply for the prestigious 2024 California Green Medal Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. Applications are now being accepted at greenmedal.org through January 12, 2024, for the 10th annual awards, which are widely recognized throughout the wine industry.
News From California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI) and Fish Friendly Farming:
Agriculture & Climate Conference
Experts will present information on weather predictions, heat-adapted variety plantings, water management and conservation practices, fire management techniques, and how to incorporate best management practices to mitigate challenges and evolve with a changing climate.
Wednesday, January 17
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
News from Visit Lake County:
Lake County was recently in the spotlight as distinguished community members and Lake County Tourism District representatives went to Sacramento to share the distinct attributes of the region at the Visit California North Coast Destination Mixer. The event was designed to educate Visit California staff and partners about the state’s unique “hidden gems” represented by Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, and Del Norte Counties. It provided each region an opportunity to showcase what they do best. Lake County presenters included local limnologist Angel DePalma-Dow from Lake County Water Resources Department, who spoke about the unique qualities of Clear Lake and surrounding waterways; Joy Merrilees, vice president at Shannon Family of Wines, who focused on Lake County’s volcanic wine; and Melinda Price, co-owner of Peace and Plenty Farm in Kelseyville, who spoke about Lake County’s rich agricultural heritage and small farms producing niche crops.
In the market for bulk wine? Visit the Marketplace page of the LCWC website for an up-to-date list of Lake County bulk wine and grapes available for sale.
In the News
Breaking Barrels, Part 2: Women in the Sonoma and Lake County Wine World
Editor’s note: Full article is posted on Wine Review Online.
Miranda Franco recently interviewed Joy Merrilees of Shannon Family of Wines about her wine industry background, professional goals, and community involvement.
“Joy Merrilees, with a career spanning over two decades, is a driving force behind the success of the Shannon Family of Wines in Lake County. She has a B.S. in Plant Science and Landscape Design from Humboldt State University and continued her formal education through winemaking courses at Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand, and the extension program at the University of California, Davis. For years, Lake County served as sources of affordable grapes for its southern sisters, Napa and Sonoma. However, now the region is establishing its own identity. As Vice President of Production, Joy has played a pivotal role in producing wines that reflect the unique terroir of Lake County, California. Further, her commitment to sustainable farming practices and environmental stewardship has earned the winery acclaim and established it as a beacon of responsible viticulture in the industry.”
Read the full interview.
Exceptional Wines for Your New Year’s Eve Celebration
Editor’s note: Full article is posted on Home Business’ website.
“The Shannon Family of Wines encompasses more than 2,000 acres of mountainous terrain, with approximately half devoted to vineyards. In understanding the challenges to the Earth’s climate, they converted over 1,000 acres into a regenerative organic farming system, minimizing their environmental footprint. Clay Shannon is a notable guide to the enchanting landscape of the secluded Californian realm, adorned with lakes and volcanic mountains. Nestled on the north slope of High Valley, within Franciscan soils, a petite 2.7-acre parcel thrives at the heart of Betsy’s Vineyard. Here, 30+-year-old vines yield petite clusters of the tantalizing Petite Sirah grape. The Clay Shannon Ovis Petite Sirah, a luscious red wine, emanates captivating aromas of dried blueberries, accompanied by subtle notes of Dutch chocolate and vanilla. On the palate, it unfolds into a burst of concentrated fruit, earthy dried herbs, oats, molasses, and warm spices, leaving a lingering and satisfying finish.”
Read full article.
Congratulations to these Lake County wines, which Wine Enthusiast reviewed:
- Vie Winery 2019 L’Imaginaire Grenache, 90 Points
- Six Sigma Ranch 2019 Else’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 91 Points
- Pestoni Family 2020 Pestoni Family Quackenbush Mountain Vineyard Petite Sirah, 92 Points
- Outlier 2022 Pinot Noir, 90 Points
- Meeker 2021 La Sierra Vineyard, Block 8 Mourvèdre, 90 Points
- Fly By 2020 Zinfandel, 90 Points
Weather & Climate
View December report from Dr. Gregory Jones.
- Recently appointed as District Conservationist, USDA...In his winemaking, Arpad Molnar sources grapes from two...What’s the key to taking a one-thousand-acre mountain...
- With major wildfires occurring every year in California,...More than 60 growers, vineyard consultants, and pest...