My Visit to the DWR

With so much water this year, you probably think the state wouldn’t care about water for the coming growing season. Well, I am one of the lucky ones who got a stinging letter from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to wit: we have discovered dam sites impounding water on your property, and you are […]

The Mendocino Bargain

In my short life I have observed Mendocino County give away some great assets. In looking back, I can find no one who can justify just what was the thinking of our great leaders in the past years. The most talked about great give-away was Lake Mendocino. I recently attended the showing of the movie, […]

Alligare Sprays, Dempel Pays

Nothing is closer to me than my grapes. I live and breathe each and every vine. So when I traveled down the Pinot Noir rows and observed damage I was immediately concerned. In no time I inspected damaged leaves and stems. They were not growing properly. Something was dreadfully wrong. The leaves were misshapen, the […]

Garlic Gone Baby

Several years ago we rented a farm house to a couple new to the area. Ironically the man’s father-in-law had just purchased our property in Hopland, making it possible for us to purchase the small acreage plus the house in Healdsburg. We planted the small property into grapes. The tenant had a boat stored in […]

Horrible Harvests

The Savings Bank of Mendocino County published Rainfall amounts on a small card several years ago. I look at this card often due to a long rainy winter this year. The total amounts are high but I cannot remember having so much rain so late in the year. This becomes a problem for grape growers. […]

The Last Campbell

Just south of Healdsburg on the east side of Highway 101 was the Campbell Ranch. Almost every resident of Healdsburg and many on the North Coast knew the ranch with the friendly two-story house sitting up on a slight knoll. Today the house is surrounded by grapevines. A “For Sale” sign has been removed, leading […]

Vina Revisited

My late friend Ernest Peninou wrote four books on vineyards and wineries in California. I met Ernie in 1977 when he co-owned a grapevine nursery in Winters. Grape vines were in short supply and my usual supplier Jim Lider, owner of Casa Verdi Nursery was sold out. Lider suggested I contact Ernie Peninou. His Nursery […]

Who Poisoned My Grapes? (Part 4)

I waited 16 months for Sonoma County to issue their report on the spraying of my grapevines. I did not get a call as promised, but at a social occasion I happened to learn that the report had been finalized and released. I could make an appointment and come by the Commissioner’s office and pick […]

Who Poisoned My Grapes? (Part 3)

So the grape crop was picked, less than one ton, picked right next to the railroad. I gave a sigh of relief. But this was not the end of the saga. Derek Moore from the Press Democrat kept his word both in holding the story for one more day and meeting me at the vineyard […]

Who Poisoned My Grapes? (Part 2)

To review, I knew that my vineyard had been sprayed with an herbicide which originated from someone spraying the railroad property that borders me. I was surprised that while I was waiting for the biologists from the Ag Commissioner’s office to see a railroad pickup coming right down the tracks. The pickup had a large […]

Staying Warm

I was asked a few years ago to inspect a vineyard just outside of Geyserville. I used to get these requests often, and this was not a large vineyard, so no problem. When I arrived I could see the grapes in front; in the back was an older home surrounded by several out buildings. None […]