In this October 2013 newsletter:

MWI Named Recipient of Grant Award
Media and Trade Wowed By Mendocino Visit
Wine Regions Get Aggressive
Harvest Party Wraps Up Busy Year
Briefs, tidbits, and a rumor
(You can download a PDF version of this newsletter or copies of previous newsletters: Sept 2013September 2012November 2012 ).


MWI Named Recipient of Grant Award

Agriculture has announced that Mendocino Winegrowers Inc (MWI) is a recipient of the Risk Management Education grant for 2014. The grant award — totaling $80,452 — will be used to support MWI’s 2014 Grower Initiative Education Series. This will provide essential resources for MWI as it continues to promote the reputation of Mendocino County grapes and wines.

“This is a big win for MWI, and proof of our commitment to finding resources outside of our membership,” according to George Lee, MD, MWI’s Board Secretary and Yorkville grape grower.

The 2014 Grower Initiative Education Series includes programs that are already woven into MWI’s plans, plus a handful of new workshops. Partners in the program include Visit Mendocino County, the Yorkville Highlands Growers and Vintners Association, the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association as well as partners from other areas like the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

A portion of MWI’s grant application reads: “Our program will put producers in a better position to manage risk…The result of these actions would be improved quality, improved farm operations, and simplified access to buyers helping winegrape growers be competitive and improve their economic viability in a tough economy.”

Information on the 2014 Grower Initiative Education Series will be available soon on the MWI Website,; for more questions about MWI, please contact Aubrey M. Rawlins at 707-901-7629 or


Media and Trade Wowed By Mendocino Visit

What makes Mendocino special? Ask any of the media and trade attendees to the Discover Mendocino tour and they can share a whole list of reasons after their 3 day tour of the region. Every grape grower in the County is invited to participate in the first campaign.

The goal of the tour was to share a boots-on-the-ground Mendocino experience with key players in wine media and trade. Our guests committed three days from their busy schedules to join the tour.

As we toured from Hopland, Yorkville, Anderson Valley, and Redwood Valley we showed our guests different grapes and different wines while the common themes that define Mendocino came to light. “Wow” was the feedback we received. In our guests’ own words:

  • Mendocino County is the genuine article.
  • The willingness of the winemakers to accommodate us was really great.
  • It was truly our pleasure and we are converted Mendocino believers now!
  • It was an invaluable experience.
  • From Twitter: "Move over #Napa -- sip by sip, acre by acre --#Mendocino Wine Country is growing a name for itself"


Harvest Party Wraps Up Busy Year

Growers and vintners found lots of reasons to drink wine, tell jokes, and relax at Seebass Vineyards during the Mendocino Harvest Party. The event capped not only the end of a successful harvest but the end of a busy 2013 marketing season for MWI.

The party, co-sponsored by MWI, Hopland, Anderson Valley, Redwood Valley, Yorkville, and Coro drew 180 growers and vintners from all corners of the County. Visit Mendocino County brought six VIP judges — in town for the Mushroom Festival — to share in the fun.

The evening brought several surprises and rounds of good news. MWI announced that it was continuing the George Zeni award and named a surprised Glenn McGourty as the 2013 recipient. The award includes a distinct old-vine Zinfandel trophy.

On the good news front George Lee announced that MWI was selected as the recipient of a major grant from the USDA. Soon thereafter the party showed its philanthropic side as it raised $3000 for the Winegrowers Scholarship .

The party wound down near 10pm. On their way out, many guests suggested “we should do this more often.”The cleanup crew reported that “several” wine bottles had been emptied by the end of the evening.

Organizers Linda Klein, Kit Lee, and Aubrey Rawlins, along with host Seebass Vineyard, deserve the credit for a great event.

Wine Regions Get Aggressive

Every major wine region in California has a marketing organization to promote the grapes and wines of its area. When successful, these organizations create regional recognition, increase wine sales, and support grape prices.

Sonoma County recently completed its conjunctive labeling. With support from wineries and growers, Sonoma enacted a state law requiring that all regional wines include the words “Sonoma County” on the label. Regional appellations, such as Dry Creek and Russian River, are still encouraged but the wine label needs to say Sonoma County along with the appellation. Napa, Lodi, and Paso have enacted similar rules.

Napa promotes itself with a annual budget well north of $1 million each year. Wow! Yet it is a small program in the vast Napa portfolio that seems especially clever. Each year Napa invites sommelier candidates to the region for a two day “education.” As a result, tomorrows sommeliers start their careers as Napa experts.

Also noteworthy: Paso Robles has a clever social media campaign underway. Google “Paso Wine Man.” Paso seems to be targeting tomorrow’s wine consumers.


Briefs, tidbits, and a rumor

Coro Invites New Wineries Consortium Mendocino is inviting wineries to participate in the Coro program with their 2012 vintage. The program dates back 10 years when a group of winemakers decided to collaborate in building new ultra-premium wine blends to celebrate Mendocino’s heritage varietals. In accordance with the bylaws, each Coro blend must have between 40-70% Zinfandel and blend with nine named varietals honoring the old Italian field blends of Mendocino. 

As a final test, the wines are judged in a series of independent blind tastings and only then certified to carry the Coro Mendocino mark and label. These are the only wines in the USA and, we believe, the world that adhere to such stringent quality rules.

For more details and a copy of the Production Protocol contact Bob Swain at (707) 463-5377

Rejuvenate Your Roots  Fred Buonanno from Philo Ridge is excited about a new microbial soil amendment designed to support vine health. Soil System 1 is in use at several local vineyards. Contact Ag Unlimited for more details.

Amazon Seeks More Mendocino : If anyone is interested in selling wine on in 2014 don’t hesitate to reach out to Lauren Lukjanowicz Gordon. Lauren can be reached via email at or by phone at 206-915-9998.

and Finally, the Rumor:   Red Blotch has been confirmed in Mendocino County. This virus — which is relatively easy to ID because of the distinct red veins in the leaves — was previously limited to Napa, Sonoma, and other regions to the South. Science on this new threat is moving quickly. We know the virus slows fruit maturation. Does it also affect yield? What about vine longevity? Hopefully these answers are coming soon.