Also: Jess Jackson, Kunde and Balletto families receive honorsAs they watch for color change in winegrape clusters, or the verasion phase that starts maturation, North Coast growers will have to keep an eye out for the next wave of the European grapevine moth this season.

Large areas of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties are part of a statewide quarantine for the moth, which was first found in the U.S. in Napa Valley last fall. Larvae from the first generation of a season feast on grape flowers. Second- and third-generation larvae eat into immature and maturing grape berries fouling clusters with rot.

Adults of the third “flight” of the season are expected around Aug. 1, based on degree-day modeling by the Napa County U.C. Cooperative Extension.

The optimal window for applying conventional and approved organic pesticides to have the biggest impact on newly laid eggs and longest effect through the rest of the season is 10 to 15 days after the first third-flight adult is trapped, according to the extension.

However, treatments with longer-lasting agents, which can be effective up to a month, for early-harvest grapes should be applied a week after the third flight is detected, according to the farming advisory office. A primary treatment for certified-organic vineyards, Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly called Bt, may need an additional application.

In preparations for harvest, local agriculture regulators are signing compliance agreements with growers, harvesters, haulers and wineries, which are required for picking, moving and receiving grapes within and out of quarantined areas.

Agricultural commissioners for Sonoma and Mendocino counties issued compliance agreements at meetings in June. The Napa County Agricultural Commissioner’s office will hold mandatory compliance-agreement meetings at the UC Cooperative Extension office at 1710 Soscol Ave. in Napa on July 27 at 9 a.m., July 29 at 4 p.m. and Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. Registration is required and can be made, along with alternative arrangements, by calling 707-253-4357.


The Ranch Winery in St. Helena is has expanded its tank, barrel and crush capacity as well as hospitality facilities. Tank capacity now is more than 800,000 gallons of wine, in a number of tank sizes ranging from 350 to 100,000 gallons. The custom winery now accommodates 17,000 barrels in a climate-controlled facility.

The property, acquired in 2006 by a team of investors led by Joel Gott, has certification from California Certified Organic Farmers and is pursuing U.S. Department of Agriculture Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point certification for juice facilities.

“The economic downturn has created a situation where some labels have opted to delay investments in infrastructure, making The Ranch a very sensible production choice,” Mr. Gott said.


Several new venues for experiencing wine have opened in the North Coast recently. St. Helena-based Boisset Family Estates, whose portfolio includes the DeLoach and Raymond labels and wines from Burgundy, opened its Taste of Terroir sampling salon at 320 Center St. on the Healdsburg Plaza last week.

Included in the North Coast-meets-Burgundy format are portfolio wines DeLoach, Bouchard Aîne & Fils, Jean-Claude Boisset, Domaine de la Vougeraie and JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset and Burgundy traditional-method sparkling wine Cremant de Bourgogne by Louis Bouillot. Flights range from $8 to $100.

This month, Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman Corp. completed a renovation of the tasting room at chardonnay specialist   Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards southwest of Windsor and opened the property to tours for the first time since the winery was built in 1981.

“We wanted to do it for a while, because consumers were asking for it,” said spokeswoman Maggie Peak.

The hour-long “grapes to glass” tour includes a trip through the vineyards, crushpad, chilling tunnel and ends at the tasting room. Appointments are required for the tour and limited to 12 people at a time. The tour costs $15 and tasting of five wine selections costs $10.

In Marin County, Dominic Phillips, Jacquelyn Mahaney and Peter Vizcaino opened the 123 Bolinas wine and beer pub in Fairfax on July 19. Fairfax resident Mr. Phillips operates an events marketing business in San Francisco, and Mr. Vizcaino, who managed Teatro ZinZanni in San Francisco for nine years, is the food and beverage manager for Mr. Phillips’ firm. The new venture focuses on small-production, sustainably produced beverages and foods, such as Broc Cellars, Mary Elke and Peay Vineyards.


Wine People

Justin Dragoo will become president and general manager of Gargiulo Vineyards in Oakville this month. His career has been in finance and business administration, first with PricewaterhouseCoopers and then 12 years at IBM, leaving as vice president of global technology services in charge of division with $450 million in revenue. Before that, he was assistant winemaker at family-owned Central Coast winery Belle Marie.

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Sonoma County Vintners Co-Operative of Windsor has two new members of the board of directors. Fred Buonanno is consulting winemaker and owner of Philo Ridge Vineyards in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley. John Hart is owner and winemaker of Hart’s Desire Wines in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley.


The Sonoma County Farm Bureau recognized Jess Jackson and the Kunde and Balletto families at its Love of the Land gala at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard on July 15.

Mr. Jackson, 80, was inducted into the farm bureau Hall of Fame for his impact on local agriculture, community service, land stewardship and clean water. That included planting more than 10,000 oak trees since 1996. He started with 80 acres of pears and walnuts in Lake County and grew the Kendall-Jackson wine brand into an extensive Santa Rosa-based family company with thousands of acres of in California coastal regions and a number of domestic and foreign brands.

Kunde Estate Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma Valley received the Luther Burbank Conservation Award. The family has been farming the property, now totaling 1,850 acres, for 106 years.

John and Terri Balletto were named Farm Family of the Year. The farming operation has progressed from vegetables in the late 1970s to cultivating more than 500 acres of Russian River Valley vines today for Balletto Family Vineyards and Winery.


Submit items for this column to Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256 or fax 707-521-5292.