Friday, February 3, 2012

El Dorado Vineyard Owners ~ 2012 Concerns and Communications

The fact that fruit from El Dorado vineyards is quarantine free, and the wonders of intense and flavorful grapes that come from high elevation vineyards -- those are two important messages for vineyard owners in El Dorado to communicate loud and far.

Jerry Stidham
 A conversation with Jerry Stidham, Marketing Committee Chairman for the El Dorado Wine Grape Growers Association was a dicussion of many topics concerning vineyard owners in this Sierra Foothill region.  He's justifiably proud of the fact that membership in this vineyard owners group grew from 75 to 100 members last year, and pleased that many wineries who also sell some fruit from their vineyards have joined the association too.  Expect that in 2012, you'll hear more from this group than ever before.  Their website is being improved, (click here to see it now) although in my opinion it's pretty good already.

Wine is made in the vineyard.  That's an expression so old as to make many eyes roll, but as a consumer comes up the wine self-education curve and develops his or her palate, that consumer always gains a deeper appreciation for this fact.

So what are the concerns of El Dorado vineyard owners this year?  Two major ones, says Jerry.

" We may be dealing with a situation of limited tonnage again.  More vineyards need to be planted," Jerry noted as his foremost observation.

"El Nino or Nina, whatever it is.  We are subject to the weather patterns, like everywhere else.  No one knows what is really going to happen.  Water.  Fruit Set.  We will just have to wait and see."

Look to this, and other, vineyard and winery associations to keep the news flowing as the 2012 year in wine moves forward.


  1. We don't need more vineyards planted , we need more farmers that know how to grow wine (grapes ). In El Dorado county , there was plenty of un-picked fruit in vineyards last season . Lack of planning and knowledge is the biggest enemy that holds back the counties' wine industry .

  2. I spoke again with Jerry Stidham, and here is his note: "I'll rest with my earlier comments, which just happen to parallel those expressed by major, well respected industry presenters at this year's recent Unified Symposium in Sacramento."

    My own note: Unless a comment is rude or obscene or smacks of unlawful behavior, I'll publish it. It would be nice, however, if commentators had the courage of their convictions and would post under a name instead the "anonymous" moniker.

  3. hey Anonymous...I would not be too critical of farming decisions based upon last year...I know a lot of very experienced farmers all over NCAL that had tons of issues with rot, lost crops, etc. Lets hope this year is different (and it is cetainly shaping up to be different, although maybe not in a good way)


  4. Ann Walker JohnsonFebruary 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    As a grape grower in El Dorado County, I must disagree with the comments posted by "anonymous". Our family has grown wine grapes for the past 38 years. We are continually evaluating our approach to farming to produce the highest quality grapes. In fact, our vineyard (Walker Vineyard) was recently certified a Fish Friendly Farm. This certification means that our choices in viticultural practices (such as filter strips, cover crops, owl houses, IPM practices and irrigation monitoring) are not only good for our grapes, but good for the soil, water and air as well. There are over 20 different farms within El Dorado County that are now Fish Friendly certified. This translates to farmers that are knowledgeable about how to grow quality grapes and willing to invest in the planning required to put practices into action.