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Calwineries Blog

Illness is Infecting California’s Syrah Vineyards

An illness is infecting Syrah vines through California, causing concern amongst many winemakers. Although no one knows for sure what is causing the ailment, many experts believe it may be what is known as “Syrah Decline” in France. Syrah Decline has been affecting France since the early 1990s, but seems to be even more potent in California.

This development is particularly worrisome given the rising popularity of Syrah amongst California wine producers and consumers. Plantings of the grape have increased by over 2000% over the past decade bringing total acreage to about 19,000.

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News from California Wine Country - 11/28/07

Open House at Newton Vineyards

On December 1st, Spring Mountain’s Newton Vineyards will be hosting an open house from 1 – 5 pm. They will be pouring large format wines as well as some library selections. In addition to the wine, there will be some gift ideas for the holidays, including packages, accessories and books. The event is free to Newton Vineyard wine club members, and is $20 for everyone else. To RSVP, call 707-204-7622.

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California's 2007 Grape Harvest Slightly Larger Than Last Year

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the state’s 2007 grape harvest weighed in at 3.2 million tons, up a bit from 3.1 million tons last year. It is still substantially smaller than 2005, which weighed 3.5 million tons.

Because of inconsistent temperatures and weather patterns, grape picking was sporadic in 2007. Temperatures were warm through August, but September saw some rain, forcing many vineyard owners to delay picking their grapes until things had dried out a bit.

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UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Recieves $12.5 Million Gift

The UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Department received a donation of $12.5 million that will fund projects in dire need of money. This donation came at a very important time in enology and viticulture research, as Australia is spending more than five times than the United States.

The donation was made my one of the Napa Valley’s oldest wine families. The Rossi family has been growing grapes in the Napa Valley since 1905, when Fred and Rachel Rossi purchased St. Helena Ranch. The Rossi’s sold their grapes to some of the most famous producers in the Napa Valley; Robert Mondavi Winery and Krug Winery.

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When Weather affects Harvest: A Winery’s Response

Harvest can be a beautiful time for winery owners, viticulturalists and winemakers. When conditions are right, the fruit comes off exactly as planned, and the vineyard staff can exert full control over the entire process.

However, when conditions take a turn for the worse, like this year, it can ruin a years worth of hard work. Right around harvest time in the Napa Valley, a storm front blew through that dropped temperatures and even rained. Cold and rain can devastate a perfectly good crop of fruit.

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Napa Valley Vintners Set to Donate $8.8 Million to Charity

The Napa Valley Vintners will donate $8.8 million to several charities at a ceremony to be held at Copia on November 3rd. Beneficiaries include non-profits focusing on affordable housing, healthcare and youth services.

The funds were raised by the Napa Valley Vinters’ flagship event, Auction Napa Valley 2007. Earlier this year, they pledged to donate $5 million a year over the next 5 years. The Napa Valley Vintners have clearly exceeded their most optimistic goals, and the local community will benefit from this success.

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Michael-David Winery Wins Case for Small Wineries

The complexity and absurdity of the three tier distribution system is something that the average consumer rarely thinks about. And rightly so, who cares how it gets to your grocery store or favorite restaurant, right? What matters is that your favorite wines are there ready for you to buy and drink at any moment.

However, the issues of the three tier system have a huge affect on the wineries, and the selection you have as a consumer. A perfect example of this situation playing out was the trial between Michael-David Winery and distributor Frank-Lin Distillers. After five weeks of trial, the jury ruled in favor of Michael-David Winery, which protected wineries rights against distributors.

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New line of Wines benefit Breast Cancer Research; Ironically, Wine Causes Breast Cancer

A new line of wines recently launched as part of a fundraising campaign to fight breast cancer. Cleavage Creek wines feature models that are survivors of the disease that affects millions of women world wide.

Winery owner Budge Brown said, “My goal was to honor their courage and inspire them.” Brown started this campaign after his wife of 48 years died from breast cancer. Cleavage Creek wines will cost between $18 and $50, and will debut this month, with the release of 2,000 cases. 10% of the proceeds of the wine will go to breast cancer awareness

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5 Excellent California Syrahs for Under $20

In the spirit of Dr. Debs’ fantastic blog, Good Wine Under $20, I thought I’d post 5 of my personal favorite California Syrahs for under $20. This list is by no means exhaustive, but represents some of the excellent values I have come across. If you have any to add, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

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'Rock Garden Roll' Auction Raises $800,000 for Copia’s Education Programs

Copia held its six annual ‘Rock Garden Roll’ auction, dinner and dance this past week. The auction was a considerable success, rising over $800,000 for the center’s educational programs.

The event was held under the grand tent in Copia’s Edible Gardens, and saluted guest of honor Margrit Biever Mondavi. There were some 240 guests at the event, ranging from supporters of the center, to some of the most influential people in California’s wine industry.

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