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Mendocino Hits the Road

June 2009
by Kate Lavin
Sixty-five Mendocino vintners came to San Francisco armed with wine and stories to share April 7, when the Mendocino Winegrape & Wine Commission (MWWC) held its first Taste of Mendocino event at the Presidio's Golden Gate Club. According to the MWWC, the afternoon tasting was the largest sampling of Mendocino-grown wines ever held in San Francisco.

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Ranna Khoury and her father Nadiem Khoury (left) pour at the growers' showcase in Santa Rosa. Karen Dennison (right), grower relations rep with Constellation Wines, meets vineyard owners.
The event, open exclusively to trade and media, highlighted the environmentally responsible mind-set of Mendocino winegrowers, many of whom used the opportunity to discuss sustainable, organic and Biodynamic farming practices with attendees. Mendocino County has trademarked the title "America's Greenest Wine Region"--it has the highest number of organic wineries in the United States.

Fostering connections

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Stuart Bewley (left), owner of Alder Springs Vineyard, greets winemakers. Growers Lillian Kimmel and son Gary Kimmel (right) recently bottled their first Chardonnay.
Two weeks later the group celebrated Earth Day in Santa Rosa, Calif., by holding its fifth annual Winegrape Growers Showcase, where Napa and Sonoma vintners were encouraged to meet Mendocino growers and shop for new grape sources.

Unlike the San Francisco tasting, which drew attention to finished wines, the stars of this event were the grapes. More than 50 Mendocino winegrowers attended, most of them bringing blends, barrel and juice samples from their vineyards.

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Eliza (left) and Caroline Frey chat with members of the trade and media in San Francisco. Right Photo: Mariangela Sassi (left) and Joanne Weir sample wines from Londer Vineyards of Mendocino.
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