The local wine association forgot to send us the announcement of their Feb. 19-20 Anderson Valley Winter White Wine Weekend, but 2022 marks the 15th year of the Big White Wine Weekend featuring the Valley’s “Alsatian and sparkling roots.”
These Alsatian roots are known for being grown in “cool climates,” by the way. So they are the primary reason most of Anderson Valley can’t sleep at night when the Alsatian growers crank up their giant wind blowers to keep the “cool climate” from doing much damage to their Alsatian roots.
For a mere $130 bucks White Wine visitors can enjoy “sumptuous food and wine pairings like smoked trout salad, Dungeness crab, paella, cheese fondue and much more.”
Participating wineries will include: Baxter Winery, Bee Hunter Wine, Boonville Road Wines, Brashley Vineyards, Domaine Anderson, Fathers & Daughters, Foursight Wines, Goldeneye Winery, Gowan’s Heirloom Cider, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Husch Vineyards, Lichen Estate, Lula Cellars, Maggy Hawk Vineyards, Maple Creek Winery, Meyer Family Cellars, Navarro Vineyards, Pennyroyal Farm, Phillips Hill Estates, Roederer Estate, Scharffenberger Cellars, Seawolf Wines, Seebass Vineyards & Family Wines, Toulouse Vineyards, Twomey Cellars, Weatherborne Wine Corp. and Witching Stick Wines.
IN OTHER LOCAL WINE NEWS, we were surprised to learn that the AV Winegrowers Association has a new boss, Courtney DeGraff. Apparently there’s been a good bit of turnover in the top spot, not to say confusion, because in just the last few years the Association has gone through John Cesano, Sarah Wuethrich, Alisa Nemo, Jacqueline Rogers, Janis McDonald and Kristy Charles, all of whom are listed as either “President,” “Director,” or Executive Director” of the Association at one time or other.
Ms. DeGraff says she “was bitten by the wine bug in college.” She arrived “sight unseen” in Anderson Valley in 2017 after leaving a career in the financial services industry in Boston and accepting a wine business internship with Boonville-based Foursight Wines. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and photography and has offered many of her images to the association to help share the story of this unique wine region. Ms. DeGraff says her most memorable wine experience is a 1947 Chateau d’Yquem and a 1978 Ridge Montebello.
But not all is well in the local wine biz.
“Farmers are reporting that crop yields were lower than average last year,” according to their website.
“In November 2020, a few days of below-freezing temperatures shocked some vines that had yet to go into dormancy.”
Not only that but they shocked hundreds of vineyard neighbors awake with their frost fans, not that they care about that.
“Spring frost in 2020 had some lingering impact on bud break this spring of 2021, followed by several days of rain in May 2021 that disrupted flowering and fruit set.”
The grape growers suffered some “lingering impact” from the “disruption” of having planted their cool climate loving grapes in a cool climate. But locals suffered a lot more from sleep disruption.
“Water has been the hot topic of the year,” the grape growers declare, but only as it affects grapes, of course. “The lack of winter rain means that the soil profile did not fully recharge leaving less water available to the grapes.”
Less water for people too, but again, unimportant.
“Making the situation worse, the lack of rainfall also meant that water storage ponds often used for spring frost protection and in season irrigation were far from full.” Oh no, no frost protection water? No matter, power up the fans!
But the freeze had an upside for the grape growers, if not for their sleepless neighbors.
“Apart from the winter freeze that may have damaged some young or unhealthy vines (and may require replanting), lower yields can potentially benefit winemakers. When water is scarce, the vines dig deep in search of it, this journey develops character along the way. Striking a balance at time of harvest is always difficult, and the conditions of the year lead to a concentration of flavor, sugar, and acid. The early reports from winemakers are that they are excited about what the vintage has yielded.”