August 21, 2014
From Vigilance, July 2014
Vigilance Vineyards, July 2014                   Photo by Susan Stout
A Note from the Commission President ...


Lake County's 2014 grape harvest is well under way in most growing regions (see the roundup story below).


If you need a break and haven't yet had a chance to, please feel free to stop in and check out the new office and educational center on Main Street in Kelseyville. We invite all Lake County winegrowers to use the space - whether it's to hold meetings or technical tastings. If you want to know more, please contact me directly.


Wishing all growers a quality crop with good yield and solid pricing!




In This Issue

Lake County Winegrape Harvest Under Way,

A Week Earlier Than Prior Years 


Kelseyville, CA - The 2014 winegrape harvest in Lake County is under way, and growers are optimistic about the quality and yields despite an early ripening season.

Vineyard owners and managers are reporting the start of harvest up to 10 days earlier than last year due to dry, warm conditions, Lake County Winegrape Commission President Debra Sommerfield reported Monday. In some vineyards, picking started as early as last week and will continue the next few weeks.

"It's probably our earliest season ever," said Randy Krag of Beckstoffer Vineyards, a producer of winegrapes in Lake County during the last 15 years. "A warm spring and early summer pushed the crop to develop early."

Quality and yield appear to be much like that of 2013, which was "an excellent year at Beckstoffer Vineyards, Red Hills," Krag added. He said that picking began last Wednesday with approximately 80 tons picked.

According to Clay Shannon of Shannon Ridge Vineyards & Winery, crews in his vineyards also started picking Sauvignon Blanc grapes last Wednesday. He noted that while the crop was about 20 percent lighter than anticipated, the winegrape quality looked to be good.

Eric Stine of Langtry Estates characterized the 2014 growing season as "dry but good... a warm spring got everything moving faster than normal but the mild summer has been nice for ripening."

Noting that there will be very little time between the harvest of whites and reds this year, Stine added that he did not expect any issues with the quality of the grapes. "It should be a very nice vintage if things continue," he said. "Yield is average at best -- another good California vintage."

"Quality potential looks great right now," said Jeff Lyon of Robin Hill Vineyard, which is located in the Clear Lake AVA. "The fruit is clean; and as the weather cools, ripening is moving ahead quickly."

He added the warmer growing season has not been a negative issue for the vineyards. "We applied irrigation in anticipation of the heat waves, and the vines and fruit were not impacted in a negative way."

Vineyards at Brassfield Estate in the High Valley AVA are also producing good quality fruit with an earlier harvest, according to Vineyard Manager Jonathan Walters.

He anticipated picking Sauvignon Blanc last weekend, which would then be followed by Syrah and Pinot by the end of this week.

While noting the crop may be slightly lighter than last year, "quality should be to our standards," Walters said, adding that the growing season had been unusual. He described it as "dry with an early bud break" resulting in a shortened time between vine flowering and bunch closure.

Some vineyard representatives reported very few impacts due to the drought and dry soil conditions, Sommerfield stated.

In the Guenoc Valley near Middletown, where Langtry Estates Winery and Vineyards is located, Stine indicated the drought necessitated moving more water and nutrients through drip lines.

At Beckstoffer Vineyards, dry soil conditions prompted grasses to be aggressively mowed to reduce moisture demand, and fertilizer and herbicide applications were reduced, according to Krag.

Lyon said, "As we slide toward fall and harvest, we maintain the vines, lightly irrigated to prevent stress that could negatively affect fruit quality."

Lake County growers are continually monitoring quality, yields, and water use with many growers using the latest technology to monitor water holding capacity in the soils with special tools like probes to allow for very targeted, timely irrigation only when it's needed, Sommerfield said.

NOW AVAILABLE: The Lake County Wine Guide


     The Lake County Wine Guide is an illustrated, informative guide to "California's Unique Mountain Wine Country." This comprehensive guide showcases the Lake County wine region with interesting features on the area's geology, including Clear Lake's development and the many volcanic periods, and a history section that gives particular emphasis to the development of viticulture and winemaking in the area pre- and post-Prohibition. It includes detailed viticultural information about the region's AVAs, soils, microclimates, and why elevation is so important to the area's world-class grape quality.

     The guide aspect of the book covers each of the region's open-to-the-public wineries in detail and with photographs, as well as a large fold-out map, and a useful resource section that includes an "A-Z of Lake County Winegrapes and Wine Styles."

     Published by Meadowlark Publishing, the book is designed to be of interest to the local wine industry and out-of-the-area wine enthusiasts. The publisher's goal is to distribute the books through the region's wineries and via out-of-county distribution as well.


     For more information about the book or to order, contact Gaye Allen with Meadowlark Publishing at (707) 928-4590.

Wine Business Institute Seminars Coming to Kelseyville - Vote for Your Choice


The Wine Business Institute - part of Sonoma State University's School of Business and Economics - will be offering wine business seminars in Kelseyville this coming spring.


Staff members at the Wine Business Institute want to be sure the seminars offered will be of most value to Lake County wine industry professionals. To that end, they are seeking your input.


Please take three minutes to complete the brief online survey (four questions) to share your preferences. Simply click here to go to the survey:


The seminars will be held at the Lake County Winegrape Commission office on Main Street in Kelseyville.


Should you have any questions, please contact Erin Ringstad, Assistant Program Coordinator with the Wine Business Institute, at (707) 664-3235. 

Grower Workshop Online:

Sustainability Self-Assessment & Certification Webinar

When: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) will present a free self-assessment webinar workshop for winegrape growers.


Learn about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program and see how to complete the self-assessment module using the program's online system.


Jodi Wilson, Program Manager with the CSWA, will lead the webinar, walking participants through the use of the online system, and will discuss the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing certification program.


For more information, contact Wilson at 415-356-7544 or


Space for the webinar is limited. Reservations: 


Click here to visit the CSWA web page about this event. 

Keep Light Brown Apple Moth Out of Lake County

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) has been detected in at least five parts of Mendocino County, and a quarantine has been established in the Ukiah area.


The Lake County Agricultural Commissioner has provided the following guidance for our local wine industry to prevent inadvertent transport of LBAM into Lake County.


Here's what you need to do...


         Any winery/production facility in Lake County expecting to receive grapes from Mendocino County must have a Compliance Agreement in place with the Lake County Agricultural Commissioner for the proper handling of green waste.


         Any transportation company expecting to transport grapes from Mendocino County into Lake County must have a Compliance Agreement in place with the Lake County Agricultural Commissioner for the proper handling of green waste.


         Any harvesting equipment used in Mendocino County should not be transported to or used in Lake County, at the request of the Lake County Agricultural Commissioner.


For more information or to arrange for a Compliance Agreement, please contact Kris Eutenier in the Lake County Agricultural Commissioner's office at (707) 263-0217. Compliance Agreements are completed at no cost.


Thank you for your continued efforts to keep the Light Brown Apple Moth out of Lake County. 

Grape and Wine Marketplace 


WANTED: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Musque

Seeking 20 tons of Sauvignon Blanc; Sauvignon Musque preferred.

Contact: Randall Graham, Bonny Doon Vineyard, email: 


Looking to Sell or Buy Grapes or Juice?

Remember to post your grapes and bulk wine listings for free on the Commission's  web site.  

Upcoming Events 

Taste of Lakeport
August 23, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Main Street, Lakeport
Sustainability Self-Assessment & Certification Webinar
August 26
Presented by California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance 
Lake County Wine Auction
September 20, 4:00-10:00 p.m.
Cole Creek Equestrian Center, Kelseyville
Additional events can be found on the Commission's web site Calendar. Check out this month's happenings!

"Living with Drought"- A one-stop resource compiled by UC Cooperative Extension with links to several UC, state, and national resources.   


The Lake County Winegrape Commission's Drought Resource Web Page:  

Affiliate Sponsors
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