March 2017 Newsletter

Snow in Vineyard by Nathan DeHart

A Note from Commission President

Bud Break by Bruces MerrileesSigns of spring…

As we officially welcome spring, winter weather is still hanging on, and vines in most parts of Lake County — as in much of the North Coast — are a little behind. Overcast skies do make for a lovely backdrop to one of the first signs of bud break.

Thanks to Bruce Merrilees for the beautiful photo showing a Grenache vine waking up in Lake County’s High Valley AVA.

Debra Sommerfield

Table of Contents

Reminder: Ballots Due March 31
Momentum This Thursday
Lake County Wines in the News
Traps for Moths and Mealybugs
Discount for Annual Conference on Oak Education
Recipe: Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb
Weather & Climate
Lincoln-Leavitt: An Insurance Agency with Vineyard Experience 

Reminder: Ballots Due March 31

The Lake County Winegrape Commission is conducting its annual Board Member elections for three of the seven elected Board positions. Ballots are due by March 31, 2017.

Completed ballots are submitted to and tabulated by the auditing firm of Pehling & Pehling CPAs and certified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

For more information, please contact LCWC President Debra Sommerfield at (707) 279-2633, ext. 302.

Momentum 2017 Logo


Lake County winegrape growers can attend for free: Register in advance and enter the promo code GROWER17.

Space is limited. Advance registration required.

Presented by the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

Lake County Wine in the News Banner, microphone with six glasses of white wine set up for technical tasting

Lake County Wines in the News

Wine Enthusiast Reviews
Jim Gordon recently reviewed the following 90+ point Lake County wines:

Six Sigma Ranch 2012 Christian’s Reserve Tempranillo
93 points, Cellar Selection. “Rustic but fascinating earthy and herbaceous aromas join rich dark fruit flavors in this voluptuous wine that’s delicious now but best after 2020…” Read the full review

Six Sigma Ranch 2013 Christian’s Reserve Tempranillo
92 points, Cellar Selection. “Beautifully structured for aging, this wine is deep and dark in color, with rosemary and tobacco aromas and ripe black cherry, black olive and cranberry flavors…” Read the full review

Langtry 2013 Old Soldier Road Tephra Ridge Vineyard Red
92 points. “This is a giant of a wine, packed to bursting with dark chocolate, black cherry, black pepper and clove flavors, all wrapped in a soft layer of tannins…” Read the full review

Buck Shack 2013 Red (Shannon Ridge)
91 points Cellar Selection. “This bold, densely flavored and impressively tannic wine is dry, very well structured and will be interesting to age until 2018-2019…” Read the full review

Gregory Graham 2012 Crimson Hill Vineyard Grenache
90 points. “This full-flavored, richly textured wine offers impressions of plum, black cherry and dark chocolate shavings…” Read the full review 

Traps for Moths and Mealybugs

County of Lake logoIn 2017, the office of the Agricultural Commissioner in Lake County will be placing traps in vineyards for two important pests, European Grapevine Moth and Vine Mealybug.

In August 2016, the European Grapevine Moth was declared eradicated and all quarantines in California were eliminated. The European Grapevine Moth, Lobesia botrana, is a serious pest of grapes, causing significant damage to the flowers and berries of grapevines. This year, traps will be placed in vineyards for the European Grapevine Moth as part of a statewide survey requested by the California Department of Food & Agriculture. This program will run from April 2017 through the end of August 2017. The Agricultural Commissioner’s office would like to ask for your cooperation in assisting our staff with the survey this year. Our staff will need to access vineyards throughout the county. If you have locked/coded gates please contact our office.

The Vine Mealybug is a small insect that can cause severe economic damage in grapes. This pest has been previously detected in the county and is still present in some locations throughout the county. The spread of this pest can present long term pest control issues. The Agricultural Commissioner’s office will be placing a limited number of traps throughout the county to monitor for this pest. This program will run from May 2017 through the end of October 2017. Grape growers are highly encouraged to place traps within their own vineyards for Vine Mealybug. At the end of the trapping season, personally placed traps can be brought into the Agricultural Commissioner’s office to be inspected by staff members. Vine Mealybug traps can be purchased through Ag Unlimited. The approximate cost is $5.53 per trap/lure.

For more information or if you have locked or coded gates please contact the Agricultural Commissioner’s office at (707) 263-0217. 

Discount for Wines & Vines Annual Conference on Oak Education and Immersion, April 26

Wines & Vines is pleased to invite any interested wine producers in the Lake County Winegrape community to its third annual conference on oak education and immersion for winemakers, April 26 in Santa Rosa.

Members of the Lake County Winegrape Commission can receive $50 off the $229 registration fee. Visit Choose Winery Full Pass registration. Enter LCWC17 in the Promo Code box and click Apply. You’ll see the discounted price on your payment page.
Wines & Vines Oak Conference banner 

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Photo by Penny De Los Santos

Recipe: Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb

By Jim Gordon. Recipe by Rachel Ahlmann. Published on

Food and wine pairings don’t get any more local than this one. Both the lamb for this tender, slow roast and the grapes for the suave Tempranillo were raised on the Six Sigma Ranch in California’s scenic Lake County. Infused with fresh herbs and lemon juice, this dish makes a statement when you have several guests to feed. Even better, thanks to its long roasting time, the entrée is virtually foolproof.


  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bone-in leg of lamb (4-5 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 10 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock 1 cup dry red wine

Heat oven to 400˚F.

Rinse and dry lamb. Arrange onions on bottom of roasting pan, and lay lamb on top. Rub lamb with lemon juice. Remove leaves from 5 rosemary sprigs and chop. Pat chopped rosemary leaves and garlic evenly over meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast lamb for 30 minutes. Cover roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Reduce heat to 300˚F. Cook for 3½ hours. Transfer lamb to carving board. Let rest, covered, for 20 minutes before carving.

After transferring lamb, place roasting pan on stove burners over medium heat. Add remaining rosemary sprigs, chicken stock and wine. Stir with wooden spoon until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Strain sauce and reserve. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over top. Serves 6-8.

Recommended wine pairing: Six Sigma 2013 Christian’s Reserve Tempranillo

See the original article and recipe on the Wine Enthusiast web site

Weather Banner

Weather & Climate

The March climate report from Dr. Gregory Jones is out. “Precipitation amounts continued to be wetter than average conditions in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies, with many areas seeing 150% to over 300% of normal for the month…” Download Report (pdf) 

Affiliate Sponsor

Lincoln-Leavitt: An Insurance Agency with Vineyard Experience

Tom Lincoln and Jill JensenInsurance agents, especially in rural areas, tend to serve a broad spectrum of clients. As a result they may know only a little about a lot of different businesses and industries. From a customer’s perspective, the opportunity to work with an agent who really understands your business can make a big difference. Agents who know you and your industry are better able to advise you on protecting your investment, offer help in the event of a loss, and find specialty products for your particular situation.

For Lake County vineyards and wineries, Lincoln-Leavitt Insurance Agency embodies that experience and expertise. Located in Lakeport and serving Lake County since 1999, the agency provides insurance to families, individuals, and businesses. Winegrape growers can take advantage of products such as crop insurance, general liability, and coverage for their equipment, structures, and homes. Read more

Pictured: Tom Lincoln and Jill Jensen of Lincoln-Leavitt Insurance Agency


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