November 2022 Newsletter

Vineyard worker pruning in the vineyard

A Note from Commission President

As another successful harvest concludes and the brisk autumn air hints at winter’s approach, Lake County Winegrowers would like to extend a note of gratitude to those who purchase Lake County grapes – winemakers, winery owners, and grower relations teams – to the many vendors, contractors, and suppliers who assist at harvest and throughout the year, and to all Lake County residents for their patience amid weeks of harvest operations. Many thanks as we look forward to the holiday season, gather with loved ones, and enjoy the harvest bounty!

NOTE: There are just a few spots left for the inaugural year of Lake County Pruning School. Read on for details…

Debra Sommerfield

In This Issue…

Lake County Wines Poured in San Diego
FELCO Teams Up With LCWC to Sponsor Forthcoming Pruning School
REMINDER: UCCE Virtual IPM Seminar
Lake County Wines in the News
Weather & Climate Report
Affiliate Sponsor: Wine Industry Network
Affiliate Sponsor: Circadian Crop Sciences, LLC

Lake County Wines Poured in San Diego

Bruce Merrilees pouring in San DiegoPadraic Sherlock pouring in San Diego

The Lake County Winegrape Commission continued its outreach to trade professionals and consumers by again participating in the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival on November 11 and 12.

At the events, several Lake County wines were poured by three Lake County representatives: Bruce Merrilees (Castilleja Farms LLC and LCWC Vice Chair), Padraic Sherlock (Beckstoffer Vineyards and LCWC Research & Education Committee Chair), and Debra Sommerfield (LCWC President).

They shared details about Lake County wines and engaged in conversation with attendees about our high-elevation volcanic winegrowing region.

Debra Sommerfield pouring in San Diego

Lake County Pruning School logo, a program of Lake County Winegrowers

FELCO Teams Up With Lake County Winegrape Commission to Sponsor Forthcoming Pruning School

The Lake County Winegrape Commission is honored to announce that FELCO USA is a major sponsor for the forthcoming Lake County Pruning School.

Internationally renowned for providing cutting-edge, first-quality durable pruning tools, FELCO will support Lake County Pruning School participants in proper pruning tool selection, maintenance, and servicing of their FELCO tool.

“FELCO USA, in collaboration with the Lake County Winegrape Commission and Simonit & Sirch, intends to raise awareness among winegrowers and vineyard employees in the Lake County, California, winegrowing region on topics such as vine pruning, training, and growing quality vineyards. Choosing the most suitable tools for the safety and comfort of those who work in the vineyards is essential to premium winegrape growing,” explains Jennifer Thomson, FELCO California Representative.

“We have received such a positive response to the launch of Lake County Pruning School, and we are so excited to have industry leader FELCO – a company known around the world for quality pruning tools – contribute their knowledge and resources to make the program even more robust for our region’s vineyard teams,” says Debra Sommerfield, Lake County Winegrape Commission President.

The Lake County Pruning School comprises a theoretical introductory online lesson and three days of practical hands-on lessons in the vineyard — two days during the winter for vine pruning and one day during the spring for shoot thinning. The program provides in-depth fundamental principles applicable to all grapevine training systems, such as controlled branching, vascular flow, cuts and crown buds, and protective spare wood.

“The Commission’s collaboration with both Simonit & Sirch and FELCO promises to deliver a comprehensive and immersive educational experience, one that focuses on pruning – arguably the most important of all viticultural practices – and its critical role in vine health and vineyard sustainability,” says Sommerfield.

“The utilization of FELCO tools ensures precise and clean cuts in the vineyard and leads to sustained longevity and consistent production in vineyards,” states Thomson. “FELCO tools are engineered with superior ergonomics, which lessens muscle fatigue and increases productivity. One FELCO tool will last a lifetime, reinforcing overall cost savings to employers who outfit employees with FELCO tools. FELCO maintains a market research department whose purpose is to anticipate the needs of its various markets and to respond with tools that are perfectly adapted to the evolving needs and requirements of end users.”

FELCO offers 27 single-handed pruning shear models based on hand size, cutting diameter, and application. Both right-handed and left-handed models are available as well as fixed and rotative handle options. Lake County Pruning School participants will utilize their own personal pruning tool of choice, ideally suited to their hand size and in good working condition.

Lake County Pruning School attendees will learn to properly select tools based on ergonomics and hand size, as well as cutting diameter and type of work, be it either annual pruning or conversion pruning, single-hand pruning shear or lopper models. Daily, ongoing, and annual maintenance of the tool will be a focus, as well as tool dis-assemblage, cleaning, and re-assemblage. Attendees also will be instructed on how to properly and safely sharpen tools to maintain the longevity of the blade, as well as selecting and sourcing genuine FELCO replacement parts.

Students in vineyard learning pruning techniques
Photo provided by Simonit & Sirch

Lake County Pruning School Affiliate Sponsor

FELCO logo with red background

News from University of California Cooperative Extension

REMINDER: UCCE North Coast Virtual IPM Seminar

UC IPM logo

The 25th Annual UCCE North Coast IPM Seminar will be held virtually on November 16 and 17, 2022.

Time: 8:00 AM – 12:15 PM both days
Fee: $30
CE Credits: 2 hours of Laws and Regs and 5.75 hours Other DPR CE hours pending approval. 7.5 hours CCA units pending approval.

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

In the News

Wine Business Monthly: 2022 Wine Industry Leader

Editor’s Note: Clay Shannon makes the Wine Business Monthly’s list of 2022 Wine Industry Leaders.

“Clay Shannon is a pioneer in Lake County, finding mountain vineyards and farming them organically. Though the region has been long known for more affordable grapes, whether for blending or use in a second label, Shannon has also built a branded wine company that has proven Lake County wines can achieve high scores, fetch higher prices and compete with ultra-premium brands.”

View full issue.

Robb Report: The 10 Best Red Wines to Drink This Fall

Editor’s Note: This article by Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen on the Robb Report website includes a review of Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Grapes for this delicious wine are grown in a certified organic and biodynamic vineyard located in the Red Hills AVA in Lake County. It is garnet ruby colored in the glass with aromas of violet, slate and dark fruits. In the mouth there are rich fruit flavors and a strong mineral backbone from the rocky, red volcanic soils.”

Read the full article.

Weather Banner

Weather & Climate

View November report from Dr. Gregory Jones.

Affiliate Sponsor: Wine Industry Network

WIN Expo logo
The North Coast Wine Industry Expo (WIN Expo), the largest tradeshow and conference that focuses exclusively on the north coast, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year!

WIN Expo has expanded to include an outdoor equipment showcase, wine-trial tastings throughout the venue, an extensive educational conference, and the tradeshow featuring nearly 300 exhibitors all presenting the latest products and services. All Lake County winegrape growers are invited to join the celebration on Thursday, December 1st, 2022, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

New Affiliate Sponsor: Circadian Crop Sciences, LLC

Circadian Crop Sciences logo
Circadian Crop Sciences, LLC is a Placer County business that manufactures Minimum Risk pesticides.  They have economically viable alternatives to sulfur and offer short-lived, low-toxicity pesticides that perform in the field and in conjunction with IPM. Their products are also compliant with Lodi Rules sustainability certification. Learn more.


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