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Guide To Mendocino Wine Country

Posted on January 09, 2019 by michelle_magnus

Mendocino County is quickly becoming one of California’s top wine destinations. Featuring the famed Anderson Valley and highly acclaimed Pinot Noir wines, Mendocino is a beautiful mix of charming small towns and rugged nature.

Mendocino seems to have more than its share of natural beauty— the county is expansive, with many diverse regions, ranging from the expansive coast to the warm interior valleys. Defined by soaring redwoods, flowing rivers, an expansive coastline and, of course, lush vineyards, this county will not disappoint.

If you want to make a part of Mendocino County your own, check out our great listings in the area:

Take some time out in Mendocino and be sure to check out the following vineyards and resources as you plan your visit.

Balo Winery and Estate—This ultra-premium winery is located in the in the heart of Anderson Valley—far enough from the city to experience quiet country charm, yet close to the comforts and modern conveniences of town to attract plenty of wine enthusiasts.

Yorkville Highlands Vineyards—These vineyards represent approximately 30% of the entire Yorkville Highlands Viticulture Area. The property is comprised of eight parcels and offers numerous estate-building sites with spectacular views.

Talmage Vineyards—103± acres of premium vineyards in Mendocino County. This property includes 2 homes, an irrigation pond, plus barns and staging area’s developed for amazing events.

Towns and Regions

Check out this guide from VisitMendocino.com to you wrap your head around the various parts of the county. Explore the website to find a ton of useful articles and event listings as well.

“Mendocino County is not so much a place as a state of mind. Spectacular scenery, a sense of isolation, an aesthetic sensibility, and a strong sense of community are the standout highlights of a trip to Mendocino County.” READ MORE


Appellations

This article is a good overview of the various appellations in Mendocino County. In it you will find descriptions of the AVA’s and which notable producers call them home.

“The overarching “Mendocino County” appellation is home to a total of eleven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).

One of them is named, simply, “Mendocino AVA” which largely nests together six smaller AVAs that you may be familiar with (Anderson Valley, Yorkville Highlands, McDowell Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, and America’s smallest AVA, Cole Ranch).

In addition, “Mendocino County” appellation also encompasses “Dos Rios” AVA, “Covelo” AVA, and “Mendocino Ridge” AVA.” READ MORE

 

This article from GuildSomm describes both the history of wine in Mendocino, as well as a detailed descriptions of the various AVA’s and their exceptional features.

Mendocino is a county with two faces. One face, the softer side, is well known. This is the coastal half that contains Anderson Valley, where delicate Pinot Noir and exceptional sparkling wines are enjoying increasing, and deserving, renown. The other face of Mendocino resides further east, in the cache of old vines that sprawl across the Redwood Valley appellation and surround the towns of Ukiah, Talmage, and Hopland. Here the vines have long labored without fanfare, their fruit blended into anonymity across county lines. But a growing number of vintners, both local and ex-county, are waking up to the remarkable quality contained within these venerable vineyards, and more attention is sure to follow. As exciting as the lacy creations of the coast may be, it’s time to turn our backs to the sea and our eyes toward the remarkably preserved historic legacy of inland Mendocino.” READ MORE

 

*map courtesy of mendowine.com

News This Week: Northern California Fires and Veraison

Posted on August 03, 2018 by michelle_magnus

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES HOT OFF THE PRESS FOR YOUR WEEKEND CLICKING PLEASURE.

Helping Fire Victims
Fires in Lake and Mendocino Counties have forced the evacuation of over 19,000 people. The road to recovery will be long for those affected—discover some ways to help. READ MORE

Signs of Harvest Are Here
Grapes changing color—known as veraison—is one early sign that harvest is approaching. Now that the colors are changing, vineyard managers are reporting that yields may be larger than they have been the last few years. READ MORE

Cannabis Related Leases Slow
This years legalization of recreational marijuana created a boom for commercial real estate that could accommodate cannabis based businesses. However, property owners are seeing a slow down in interest as regulations are implemented. READ MORE

California’s Must-Do Adventures
Summer is coming to an end and we all want to get away one last time. Check out this guide to some of California’s best outdoor destinations for inspiration.  READ MORE

*Featured image courtesy of 7×7.com

Veraison, Smoke Taint & Napa Vineyards

Posted on July 04, 2018 by michelle_magnus

© Daily Republic | The fire started in Yolo County and is already bigger than the Tubbs fire that ripped through Napa and Sonoma last year.

As most of you know, Napa is on fire.  Again.  And those in the “know” in regards to wine are busy postulating on the effects of smoke taint as it relates to “veraison.”  Is smoke taint becoming a thing with wine? Too early to tell and certainly interesting speculation for wine conversation.

Meanwhile, what is the meaning of the cryptic term “veraison?”  Veraison is defined this way:  “In viticulture (grape-growing), veraison is the onset of ripening. The term is originally French (véraison / veʀɛzɔ̃), but has been adopted into English use.” (Wikipedia).  Veraison has everything to do with the permeability of the grape skin.  Less ripened grapes have thicker skins, which suggests they are less susceptible to smoke taint.  That’s where we are right now, in the early part of the grape ripening season, so most likely smoke taint will not be a factor for the current fire.

Here’s more about the current fire affecting Napa County, courtesy of W. Blake Gray | Posted Tuesday, 03-Jul-2018:

Growers are keeping an anxious eye on two large fires in Wine Country

A huge wildfire has crossed over into Napa County, less than a year after the region was devastated by one of the worst fire outbreaks in northern California history.

The air was brown in San Francisco, about 60 miles south of Napa County, on Sunday morning from smoke from two Wine Country fires: the County Fire, which started in Yolo County east of Napa, and the Pawnee Fire in Lake County north of Napa.

The County Fire is growing like Godzilla: 60,000 acres as of Monday evening, with only 5 percent contained. It is already larger than the Tubbs Fire that last year devastated northern Napa Valley and neighboring Sonoma County, and it is growing at a faster rate – 33 percent on Monday alone. Cal Fire believes it started in dry vegetation; the cause is under investigation.

However, some of the news on the County Fire is so far, so good (cross fingers). CalFire says it threatens 700 structures – six times as many as 12 hours earlier – but so far has not destroyed any. At this point, no wineries are believed threatened, and we learned last year that vineyards are effective natural firebreaks.

“I’ve looked at the map many times here. It’s not anywhere in our grapegrowing vicinity,” Heidi Soldinger, marketing and communications manager for Napa Valley Grapegrowers, told Wine-Searcher. “At this time, we’re feeling like we’re pretty safe. But after what we experienced in October, I’m not going to make any predictions.”

For wineries, smoke taint is almost as big a concern as the fire itself. California wineries have had great interest in smoke taint research since last year’s wildfires.

Napa’s grapes have not yet gone through the process of veraison, where white grapes turn black, so they are less vulnerable to smoke taint than they will be soon. But that doesn’t exempt them from risk. In 2008, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes were heavily smoke tainted by fires that occurred pre-veraison in June.

“We do not currently know exactly how much fresh smoke is needed for a real risk of smoke taint development in the wine,” Anita Oberholster, assistant cooperative extension specialist for UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, told Wine-Searcher. “However, we do know that pre-veraison it will take more fresh smoke and longer exposure times for smoke taint risk compared to post-veraison grapes. The less ripe the grapes, the smaller the risk. Green hard berries have low risk whereas larger, softer, green berries have medium risk, with post-veraison grapes having the highest risk.”

Fortunately, though the County Fire has leapt into Napa County, it is still north and east of Napa Valley, and the wind in Napa County tends to blow from the ocean (west) to east. Winds can change, and fires can leap, but for now it’s a worry for wineries more than a threat.

To the north of Napa, however, the Pawnee Fire has already destroyed 22 structures in Lake County. It’s only one-third the size of the County Fire, and it was 75 percent contained as of Monday morning. The cause of this fire is also under investigation.

It’s possible this fire might have more impact on 2018 Napa Cabernets than the County Fire, because much of the Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Lake County finds its way into Napa Valley bottlings. A wine labeled as “Napa Valley”, or any other AVA, must contain at least 85 percent grapes from that AVA. Lake County Cabernet grapes fetched an average of $2500 per ton last year; for Napa County Cabernet, the average was $7500 per ton. It’s also possible that the great majority of Lake County grapes won’t be affected at all.

California usually has dry summers – that’s why the wine is so good – and is thus vulnerable to fires. This season they seem to be early. The state had below-average rainfall again last winter after a rainy winter in 2016-17 ended a five-year drought. But rain might not matter: in 2017, after that wet winter, more than 500,000 acres burned in California, more than double the destruction of dry 2016.

Wednesday July 4 is the biggest fireworks day of the year in the US. Not, however, after last year in wine country.

“In Napa County we’re not having any fireworks this year,” Soldinger said. “Everyone is very aware. Our thoughts go out to everyone in Yolo and Lake County. We know how that feels.”

Wine Feature: Pinot Noir

Posted on June 26, 2018 by michelle_magnus

Our corner of Northern California is responsible for some of the best Pinot Noirs in the world. Pinot Noir grapes thrive in the low fertility soils and Mediterranean climates in several of our local AVAs, including Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley. Winemakers in the area use these world-class grapes to produce many outstanding wines including Pinot Noir, sparkling wines, white Pinot Noir, and Rosé.

About Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is usually a light red still wine. People unfamiliar with this varietal may expect the lighter color will mean less flavor, yet the full and complex flavors will leave them surprised. The flavor profile can shift as it ages — what starts out as tart red fruit mellows out over time. Pinot Noir can be paired with many different foods; it is light enough to be served with fish and can also highlight heartier food like grilled meat.

Russian River Valley AVA
The Russian River Valley is a highly sought after appellation for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. This AVA is made up of 15,000 planted acres situated in the geographical heart of Sonoma County. Located just 10 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, the weather is characterized by morning fog, warm days and pleasant evenings. The relatively cool weather encourages grapes to ripen slowly, establishing balanced acidity and a distinctive flavor profile.

Anderson Valley AVA
Pinot Noir thrives in the unique cool weather microclimates of Anderson Valley. A number of wineries in this region produce world-class sparkling and still wines; and several ultra-premium wine growers sell their sought-after grapes to winemakers in Napa, Sonoma and elsewhere in the USA.

While summer days are long and dry, with temperatures occasionally topping 85 degrees, a cooling fog rolls down the valley most evenings, slowing the vines’ metabolic activity. This daily Pacific Coast influence is responsible for a long growing season, which allows the grapes to ripen evenly and develop elegant flavors.

 

Check out two of our properties that will bring you to the heart of these premier Pinot Noir regions.

Wild Iris at Tumbling McD Ranch

 

Winner’s Circle Estate

News This Week: Living Roofs and Floating Houses

Posted on June 01, 2018 by michelle_magnus

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP STORIES HOT OFF THE PRESS FOR YOUR WEEKEND CLICKING PLEASURE.

New Wine Education Center in Sonoma County
Sonoma State University (SSU) has just opened a new wine education center as part of its Wine Business Program. SSU is hoping that the center will “cement the school’s status as the premier location for the study and research of the business of wine.” READ MORE

Living Roof Design Ideas
Living roofs are a gorgeous way to finish your home. Discover how to design your own green roof. READ MORE

Floating Village in San Jose
A company in San Jose is hoping they may be able to help with the housing shortage with their innovated design that makes building in flood zones less risky. READ MORE

Portable Wine
There’s no reason to think that great wine can’t come out of a box or a can. Wine Spectator released their list of the top 24 wines to have on the go. READ MORE

 

News This Week: Top Sonoma County Restaurants & Your Guide to West County

Posted on May 25, 2018 by michelle_magnus

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP STORIES HOT OFF THE PRESS FOR YOUR WEEKEND CLICKING PLEASURE.

Wine Country’s Best Eats
The dining reservation service, Open Table, just released its list of the ten best restaurants in Wine Country. We’re happy to see that one of our favorites, Terrapin Creek, is featured among the best. The incredible (local & fresh) cuisine is just one more reason why we love living in West County!
READ MORE

Lasers in the Vineyard
Automated lasers are now being installed to help deter avian opportunists (aka birds) from eating grapes. One grower reports that lasers have been significantly more effective than nets — plus they don’t harm the birds and use fewer resources. 
READ MORE

Wallflowers
Cutting edge design for luxury homes is becoming more wild. Top designers are now installing hydroponic garden walls, bringing more natural and green space indoors. “Homeowners say the planted walls make a striking visual statement while improving indoor air quality and softening acoustics.” 
READ MORE

Best of the West
Looking to explore West Sonoma County? This insightful guide highlights where to eat, drink, play, and stay.
READ MORE