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A special section of The Healdsburg Tribune, The Cloverdale Reveille, The Windsor Times and Sonoma West Times & News
October 27, 2016
2016 grape harvest a ‘blockbuster’ by Rollie Atkinson Staff Writer
f the story of the 2016 Sonoma County winegrape harvest were to be made into a movie, it would probably be a box office disaster. Why? Because it would lack any drama, it would have no plot twists, and all the leading roles would be played by men and women who’d rather drive tractors than limousines and who would walk down dusty vineyard rows instead of a red carpet. But outside of a movie theater, local vineyard owners and winemakers are already calling the 2016 harvest another “blockbuster.” Following the 2015 drought-impacted light crop, vineyard reports for the 2016 crop are recording a 10 to 20 percent increase in tonnage, marking a return to “near average or better” totals. “Overall, it was excellent,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, reporting on the collected reviews from her growers. “We really didn’t have anything get in our way.” Following a slightly early bud break in March, there were a few April showers but no frost damage. The vines mellowed into a mostly relaxed and long growing season that was low on heat spikes and long on foggy, cool mornings in most reaches of
Photo by Kim Carroll
HEIGHT OF THE HARVEST — Harvesting at A. Rafanelli Vineyards.
Sonoma County. Overall, disease and pest pressure were light except for some mid-season fights against powdery mildew. One grower from Dry Creek Valley summed the season up as “happy vines.” Vines that produced record heavy vintages in 2012, 2013 and 2014 were tired by 2015, but Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar said this year’s yields are “back to normal, about 15 percent over last year, but a little below the recent record years.”
Total wine grape production for 2015 was 182,785 tons, compared to 255,635 tons in 2014. Linegar’s calculations put this year’s crop yield at about 210,000 tons. Official crop numbers will not be released until mid-2017 in the commissioner’s official crop report on all commercial production, agriculture including apples, dairy, nursery, vegetables, livestock and field crops. The county’s total agriculture production in 2015 was valued at $757 million, topped by winegrapes ($447 million)
and market milk ($119 million.) All of this year’s crops and farming enterprises fared better over the previous year’s because of fewer drought effects. That’s not to say there aren’t lingering impacts and lessons from the five-year drought experienced throughout California. All farmers are still wishing for more rains this winter to continue replenishing groundwater levels and regional reservoirs. “The timing of the rain is almost more important than
the amount,” said Linegar. “This year’s generous February and March rains set the stage for a ‘great bloom’ in local vineyards.” The county’s apple crop rebounded from its worst year ever in 2015, with over 90 percent of this year’s fruit sold directly to juice, sauce and vinegar processing. A small increase in demand from cider makers was noted in the crop sales, according to Linegar. “Thank goodness we have Manzana Products (apple producers in Graton). They’ve really done a fantastic job of
pushing for organics and offering a market.” Vineyard harvest action started in late July and ramped up steadily through August, setting near-ideal picking conditions for crews and eager winemakers. The harvest then became very condensed due to late August and September heat that in many vineyards ripened varietals close to one another. “We had a lot of very tired growers who were working around the clock,” said Kruse. More mechanized harvesters and nighttime crews were used to catch up with the fastrising sugars in the maturing grapes, Kruse and others reported. Duff Bevill, owner of Bevill Vineyard Management and a veteran of 40-plus harvests, raved about this year’s growing season. “It’s been real good. For the most part, we got to the fruit just when we needed to. Things happened pretty much on time.” Fellow grower John Balletto of Sebastopol praised the “perfect weather.” Calling the fruit outstanding, he said its quality is “some of the best we’ve seen. I’d actually say the quality is off the charts.” Kruse, who not only grows six acres of her own grapes but also travels the world promoting the Sonoma County winegrape industry, offered an explanation for this year’s lack of drama. 2016 continues on page 13
School Garden Network grows farmers Instilling a love of the land into the younger generation by Heather Bailey Staff Writer
hen asked about the primary purpose of the School Garden Network, board member Elizabeth Westerfield had an immediate response. “I think we can grow farmers,” Westerfield said. “I think we can grow people that are interested in stewardship of the land. I think that starting so young is going to give children a real basis for everything to move our county forward. We’re an agricultural county, and we, I believe, are on the forefront of best practices: best sustainable practices, best organic practices. And I think all that is passed on to our children.” The School Garden Network was founded in 2003 as a resource for school garden programs and coordinators throughout Sonoma County. Westerfield believes the program should occupy a vital place in all schools. “School Garden Network enables kids who don’t have parents that are in agriculture or aren’t involved with stewardship or growing things, it gives them that chance. I think in terms of curriculum, it’s as important as computer lab. School Garden Network is really the only organization that directly funds garden-based education in Sonoma County.” Photo by Ray Holley According to its website and to WE GREW THIS — School gardens, like the one at Healdsburg Elementaary School, get support from the School Garden Network.
executive director Lauren Bowne, the School Garden Network, since its inception, has awarded over $150,000 in grant funding to 45 local schools. Fundraising and outreach for these programs continue to be SGN’s top priorities. Other projects include “providing paid mentors to support grantee schools with guidance and resources; providing garden nutrition education and cooking classes in elementary schools; linking school garden programs and volunteers; offering events, workshops and networking opportunities; donating gardenrelated curriculum to the Sonoma County Office of Education; distributing free plants and seeds to garden programs; creating alliances with local community partners; and supporting farm-to-school connections.” SGN not only offers cash grants to schools, but it also funds a variety of other programs. Water-Wise School Garden Mini Grants, formed in conjunction with Harmony Farm Supply, provides drip irrigation systems for school gardens. Another popular outreach is Healthy Roots, an on-site nutritional education program designed to tie healthy eating habits to school gardens. The Schoolyard Habitat Program partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A new program called the Gardens continues on page 12
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2016 Sonoma County Harvest Fair! Our Academy Awards of Wine
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October 27, 2016
BEST OF CLASS
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SONOMA COUNTY! 2016 PRESS DEMOCRAT READERS CHOICE
Keeping farmers farming Thoughts from Red H Farm COMMENTARY by Caitlin Hachmyer
all is fast upon us and it is that time of year that we like to call harvest season. When you look at the agricultural history of this region, this is an apt description. From the late through 1800s the1950s and ‘60s, hops were ready to be stripped from the vines in August. During their heyday, the apples started early in mid-July with the Gravensteins and into extended November for the late CAITLIN HACHMYER season varietals. And today’s grapes – we’ve all seen the trucks whizzing along, laden with fruit of the region’s currently dominant crop. In the past few years, we’ve begun to see a renaissance in the hop and apple industries. The NorCal Hop Growers Alliance, founded last year, is working quickly to bring hops back to our landscapes, and the burgeoning cider industry is helping neglected apple orchards flourish. This time of year will continue to bustle with the harvest of these heritage crops. However, harvest season is a misnomer for some. For the diversified vegetable grower, the producer of annual crops, the harvest season is ubiquitous, as are the planting season and the season of tending. There are no cut and dried periods of management on a diversified vegetable farm. In order to keep the year-round farmers’ markets alive and vibrant, to supply the bounty of restaurants with the crops needed for them to live up to their local goals, and to keep the community fed, vegetable farmers are always harvesting. In fact, for the year-round growers, the dead of winter is often the time when harvest dominates other activities. It is the month or two when seeding and transplanting and tending the land slow, and harvesting those fall-planted crops is the main farm activity aside from repairing greenhouses and perusing seed catalogues. Your vegetable farmers just don’t stop. Sometimes, I find it necessary to gently remind folks – food doesn’t just happen. We enjoy a plethora of farmers’ markets overflowing with beautiful produce, locally grazed meat, shining flowers, musical offerings and the chance to connect and find community. These markets exist as the public face of something that sweat and toil and 12-hour days and a heck of a lot of hard work on the part of countless folks who are at the foundation of this local food movement make happen all year long. As such I find it paramount for all of us, as
a community, to consider how this is all coming together and whether or not it is happening in a way that has sustainability and longevity for those choosing this land-based path. Farming is full of joy. Farmers experience the childlike wonder of the world that might pass others by, those who aren’t able to deeply experience the nuances of their landscapes and ecosystems all day, every day. It is full of the outdoors, the nurture of the land and community, the bringing forth of life and the enjoying of the best food there is. It is a gift to choose this path. Farming is also full of strife, uncertainty, precariousness and immense risk. In this region, one of the most beautiful in the country, the cost of living has skyrocketed, and the price of land makes ownership of it all but unattainable for most – particularly the new generation of farmers. When we look at the blessedness of living in this county – the local food, the local wine, the local landscape and shared values – I find it crucial to consider the people at the heart of these systems. Your farmers don’t have it easy. We rent land. We live in tiny houses, yurts, tents and converted garages. We often live a bohemian lifestyle that, while perhaps a positive example in an overly consumerist society, is not quite in step with the broader community in which we live. We are tremendously grateful for those who share their land with us on which to grow. But as those stewarding the land, managing our ecosystem, creating our local food system, and now being tasked with sequestering the carbon needed to slow climate change, we sure would love to own that land, alone or in community, privately or through community land trusts. To have security, stability and home. Together, we need to take a deep look at this new food system we are trying to create. Are we building it in a way that can last? In a way that will keep farmers farming? Are we building something transformative? It is the community that values this culture, this way of being. We must come together and consider our collective investment in this new food system we’d like to create. It is not just farmers. It is not just food movement activists. It is our whole community. As you sit down to enjoy a fresh-hopped local beer and a meal rich in the season’s bounty, consider whose dirt-crusted hands planted those seeds, tended those crops and brought you that harvest. If we want this life, this culture, we need to come together as a community to figure out how to make it last.
“Together, we need to take a deep look at this new food system we are trying to create. Are we building it in a way that can last? In a way that will keep farmers farming? Are we building something transformative?”
Caitlin Hachmyer is the full time farmer and owner at Red H Farm, an educator at the Permaculture Skills Center and Sonoma State University, a contract researcher with Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy and the author of two forthcoming book chapters on land justice.
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October 27, 2016
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Generations foster passion for fickle grape A. Rafanelli’s zinfandel synonymous with Dry Creek Valley
HANDS-ON EFFORT — The Rafanellis sort grapes at this year’s harvest (l-r): Stacy, Shelly, Dave and Patty. Photo by Kim Carroll
by Amie Windsoer Staff Writer
but learned from his wife about growing crops and raising animals. They made their home and farm f Dry Creek Valley is known as where today’s Healdsburg High Sonoma County’s — perhaps School sits. They cultivated that California’s — zinfandel land to produce prunes, pears and Shangri-La, then the A. Rafanelli wine grapes. Winery is the lamasery from which “She worked the vineyards and one of the best zinfandels is created. taught Alberto on the side,” Dave Tucked within West Dry Creek said. “We owe everything to her.” Road, beyond the one-lane Lambert Alberto and Laticia kept the Bridge, A. Rafanelli doesn’t brag or vineyards alive and working boast hundreds of acres of vineyards through Prohibition, which lasted or an expansive mansion for tasting. from 1920 to 1933. Wine grapes The Italian-made home is simple were sold to Italian families in San yet beautiful, its grounds decorated Francisco and around Healdsburg with chalk drawings of the vine- who could (and did) make their own yards, done wine, Dave masterfully by said. the hand of D a v e ’ s S h e l l y father, Americo, Rafanellishared Laticia’s Fehlman’s 7passion and year-old son. for interest A. Rafanelli winemaking is a family winand took over ery. Four generthe family busiations of pasness in the late sionate vintners ‘40s and early have worked ‘50s, moving the hard — and vineyard to its together — to current location create a legacy in Dry Creek Stacy Rafanelli of zinfandel Valley. The wine dating vineyards lining back to the earthe rolling hills ly 1900s, starting with the grand- within A. Rafanelli’s 85 acres conmother of the third generation and tain some of the transplanted origicurrent owner, Dave Rafanelli. nal pre-Prohibition plants. Dave’s grandmother came to the “Dad loved the land so much,” United States from a small town in Dave said. the northern Tuscany region of Italy Dave was like his dad. He found after her brothers refused to let her his passion in the land and especialtake part in the family winery. ly in the zinfandel grape, which “They told her she wouldn’t be a flourishes in Dry Creek Valley. part of it because she was a wom“It’s a delicate and peculiar an,” Dave said. “So her brother grape, thin-skinned and temperaaccompanied her to Ellis Island, mental,” Dave said, noting that the dropped her off, and she never came grapes often ripen unevenly. “It’s a back.” big challenge to get them on an even She found her way to San ripening path. It takes a lot of leaf Francisco around 1903 and met pruning and trimming.” Dave’s grandfather, Alberto, a couThe work paid off early on in ple of years later. Dave’s career as zinfandel’s popularThe pair married and moved to ity exploded in the ‘70s. However, the countryside to raise their family. interest in the wine waned and Alberto was a carpenter by trade prices declined in the late ‘80s and
“There are perks for working for a family business,” Stacy said. “It’s not always easy, but we’re always there for each other. There’s never a boring moment.”
Editorial Rollie Atkinson Heather Bailey Caiti Hachmyer Ray Holley Tony Landucci Frank Robertson Krista Sherer Stuart Tiffen Elaine Watkins Amie Windsor Production Jim Schaefer Diana Lerwick
THE NEXT GENERATION — Shelly and Stacy Rafanelli in one of the family vineyards with their children, Caden and Jordan. Photo by Kim Carroll
early ‘90s. Dave wasn’t ready to give up on the grape, though. Instead of moving onward to more popular varietals like pinot noir (“which doesn’t grow well in Dry Creek Valley; it’s just too hot here,” according to Dave), A. Rafanelli continued to perfect its zinfandel process. “A lot of the time we spend goes into the vineyard,” said Shelly, Dave’s oldest daughter. “We don’t cut costs in the vineyard. If you can bring in the best quality fruit, you bring in the best quality wine.” Time and patience add to the vineyard’s high quality wines during the fermentation process. A. Rafanelli relies on open top fermentation, working with small batches of grapes — “one to two tons at
most,” Shelly said. “It’s the old traditional winemaking.” From there, the wine ages in French oak barrels, which separates their final product — described as having deep color, rich fruit and a full supple mouth feel — from the competition. There’s no filtering and no refining. Even with hundreds of California zinfandels available on the market, A. Rafanelli has carved out a unique niche. The winery only sells directly to consumers through a mailing list. Each year, roughly 11,000 cases of A. Rafanelli wine are packed and shipped, and there’s a long waiting list. The customers are what the family loves the most about their business.
hArvESt 2016 is a special supplement to the October 27, 2016 edition of:
The Healdsburg Tribune
The Windsor Times
SONOMA WEST T I M E S
N E W S
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“We have families who have shared our wine at their tables for generations,” Dave’s other daughter, Stacy, said. “We have a product that’s made for family get-togethers.” Stacy loves how their wines bring families — especially her own — together. The vineyard and winery continue to be family-operated. Dave and his wife, Patty, are its current proprietors, Shelly is the winemaker and her husband, Craig Fehlman, is in charge of the vineyards. Stacy is the operations manager. “There are perks for working for a family business,” Stacy said. “It’s not always easy, but we’re always there for each other. There’s never a boring moment.”
Administration Sarah Bradbury Jan Todd Stephanie Caturegli Advertising Sales Paula Wise Cherie Kelsay Glenn Lurie Carol Rands
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October 27, 2016
Value of cannabis crop a mystery Cannabis could be included in 2017 county crop report by Tony Landucci Staff Writer
his is going to be the most highly regulated crop that I’ve ever dealt with, bar none,” said Sonoma County Agriculture Commissioner Tony Linegar, talking about cannabis. California has been going through the process of regulating medical cannabis available in dispensaries up and down the state. On Nov. 8, voters will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults via the vote on Proposition 64. No matter the results of prop 64, cannabis is moving toward becoming a legitimate, mainstream crop in Sonoma County and in California. Crops, from corn, wine grapes and chicken eggs to ornamental flowers are all accounted for in county crop reports, each year. Currently, cannabis is not included in the Sonoma County crop report, and never has been. Linegar said he will recommend that cannabis be included in the 2017 crop report, which will be made available to the public in, or around, June 2018. There are no plans for the county to include next year’s cannabis crop in the 2016 crop report. According to the 2015
Photo courtesy Patrick KIng
LEGIT — Cannabis farmer, advocate and Cloverdale business owner Patrick King said his small farm is “the cleanest, healthiest role model farm in California.” The farm’s location was not disclosed. This photo, taken from an aerial drone, was provided by King.
Sonoma County Crop Report produced by the county agricultural department, of the crops included the total value for Sonoma County was $757 million for last year. Wine grapes remain Sonoma County’s most valuable reported crop at $447 million in 2015. But will grapes still be king
REGULATING CANNABIS According to the Sonoma County Cannabis Economic Impact Task Force Report dated October 7, 2016, regulatory bodies and their impact on the industry include: Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation – Licensing transporters, distributors, dispensaries and testing laboratories Department of Fish and Game – Environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation Department of Food & Agriculture – Licensing cultivators and establishing a track and trace program Department of Pesticide Regulation – Pesticide use for cannabis cultivation Department of Public Health – Licensing manufacturers of products, such as edibles State Water Resources Board – Environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation on water quality
after cannabis is counted as well? The total value of Sonoma County’s cannabis crop remains a mystery and although there have been attempts to estimate the value, none were citable due to a lack of hard data. Sonoma County Grows Alliance is a cannabis industry advocacy group led by Executive Director Tawnie Logan. Logan offered an estimate of the economics for small cannabis farmers growing up to 5,000 square feet in total canopy size. For county permitting, these growers would be considered Type 1 cultivators, as defined by California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. “On average, a Type 1 cultivator earns $80,000 to $100,000 per year,” said Logan. After cannabis businesses begin paying business and payroll taxes, unemployment insurance and permit fees, in addition to other normal business expenses, cultivation will be less profitable than it is now. “We’ve looked cash-flush but as soon as we have to participate as a normal business,
this is actually looking like a $40,000 to $60,000 annual income for a Type 1 cultivation,” Logan said. The crop report will only include commercial cannabis, “what’s for sale,” said Linegar. Medical marijuana patients growing as a collective will not be included. “I would say that’s more personal use,” said Linegar. There is history of cannabis
“This is going to be the most highly regulated crop that I’ve ever dealt with, bar none.” — Tony Linegar
being included in government crop reports. In 1979, agriculture commissioners in what was known as the Emerald Triangle (Humblodt, Trinity and Mendocino counties where illegal marijuana grows were pervasive for genera-
Healdsburg Printing, Inc.
tions) faced backlash for including the illegal plant. In Del Norte County the 1979 crop report included $2.1 million for marijuana, and in Mendocino County the value was estimated at $90 million. Listed under “nursery products,” Trinity County’s 6,000-pound marijuana crop was estimated to be worth $3.9 million, at the price of $650 per pound. A caveat in the report said, “Value based on known plantings, estimated to be 10 percent of total crop grown in Trinity County.” Blowback for including the illegal crop put an end to the counties including it in the crop report after just one year. In Sonoma County, Linegar said that in determining the value of a crop, regardless of what it is, his department measures total acreage planted and total yield for the whole county. “And then we break that down in total yield per acre and value per unit,” Linegar said. Cannabis will present a challenge in recording quantities because it is grown year round indoors. The agricultur-
al department for Sonoma County might have to send out forms for cannabis cultivators separately so that they can record their yields through the end of the year. The Agriculture Commission will measure the total canopy of the cannabis cultivation area and apply an average crop yield per pound to determine the value of the crop. “We haven’t exactly dialed in how that’ll be,” said Linegar. No distinction will be made between the flowers, or “buds,” and any other part of the plant for determining value, an average will be determined and applied to total crop yield. There are regulations that are unique to the cannabis crop. The most notable is that cannabis cultivation cannot be permitted within 600 feet of public schools, parks and alcohol treatment facilities. “No other crop has a setback from schools,” said Linegar. Like any crop, cannabis will be regulated for water use, water quality, pesticide use, fertilizer use and how waste is disposed of, among other common controls.
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October 29, 2015
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From 3-star kitchens to the farmers’ market Franco Dunn and ‘succulent units’ by Stuart Tiffen Staff Writer
or a big guy, Franco Dunn moves deftly around the counters in the kitchen at Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria in Geyserville. With a “con permiso,” he navigates his way through the troop of assistants preparing for the day’s meals at the busy eatery. “These guys are my friends,” he says. “I have to work around them and they tolerate me. I have to speak Spanish, and my Spanish gets better all the time.” With visible effort, Dunn heaves a tray of pork cushion meat toward a grinder. “This is 80 pounds,” he says, “which I used to be able to lift with ease, but now I’m pushing 70.” Dunn, 68, explains that he’s using Diavola’s kitchen to make sausage for the Cloverdale farmers’ market. “Today, I am making Peruvian sausage called huachana, which has yellow ají amarillo — which is kind of like yellow paprika; pisco; a little bit of cumin and oregano; and a little bit of aniseed, garlic and orange peel. It's kind of a mild sausage. It's really bright orange and it looks great in a case. That's one that I’ve made over the last year; people really like that one.” Dunn makes dozens of varieties of sausage, which he or his brother will take to markets in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Sebastopol and at the Luther Burbank Center for sale in shrink-wrapped packaging under the name One World Sausage Company. He tries to provide the most popular varieties, as well as something that will challenge the more adventurous souls at the market. “I get these customers who come and say, ‘Well, I like Toscana; I get Toscana every time.’” He smiles wryly. “And I try to keep my temper down and grin and say, ‘Well you know I make 60 kinds or so.’ I always make something that they know. At the market I’ll typically have four to six kinds of sausage.” During the busy summer market months, Dunn produces some 200 pounds of sausage each week (he calls them “succulent units”), but as the weather cools and fewer browsers frequent the markets, he lowers his output to about 100 pounds.
He does it all himself, he says with pride. “No other hands touch the sausage but mine,” he says, attributing the high quality of the encased meats to his total control of the process. Dunn’s love of sausage goes back almost 40 years. He spent part of his teens and almost all of his ‘20s in the Marine Reserves during Vietnam as a ballistic meteorologist. Then he sold stereo equipment for a time and worked for a company that made movies about dental work, before falling into the sausage business at age 29. In the late ‘70s Dunn’s roommate in the Berkeley Hills, Bruce Aidells, decided to open a sausage company in his home, and Dunn began working with him. “At first we’d start with 50 pounds,” he says. “We’d hang them on this railing up above the sink;
He also put in several months at the three-Michelin star restaurant Antico Osteria del Ponte, in Milan. It wasn’t all haute cuisine. “I went to Piedmont [Italy] where my grandparents are from and worked at a couple of places there,” he says. “I went to Puglia and Calabria, where most Americans didn’t go, two of the poorer regions. I worked at a restaurant frequented by the Camorra (organized crime group) in Naples.” During his time in Italy, he learned how to make what he calls “tweezer food” at the Michelinstarred restaurants, as well as peasant food. Jordan Winery hired Dunn back on when he returned to the U.S., where he worked alongside chef Thomas Oden. After a couple of years working together, the two launched Santi Restaurant in Geyserville. The menu at Santi was informed by Dunn’s love of the people’s food of Italy. After three-and-a-half years he sold his interest in Santi, though he continued to work in the kitchen until the restaurant moved to Santa Rosa. He speaks fondly about the people who worked with him at Santi, too. Many of his souschefs went on to culinary accomplishment in the area, something that Dunn practically beams with pride over. Dino Bugica, chef and owner at Diavola, was once Dunn’s sous-chef at Santi and now lets Dunn prepare his sausage in the kitchen “for a minimal fee.” “He and Ari Rosen of Campo Fina and Scopa, they both worked for me at the same time, and when I stepped down at Santi, those guys took over,” Dunn says. “Eventually, they both left and started their own restaurants, and Liza Hinman took over — Liza of Spinster Sisters. I’m kind of proud of the people who I worked with who have their own restaurants. They’re all really good and they’re great people.” After he retired at age 62, Dunn went on making sausage, as he had been doing on the side throughout his cooking career. He makes only classic sausages, but with a scope and range that should sate even the most curious market-goers, including a derivative of linguiça from Goa in India, Chiang Mai sausage from Thailand and more. Dunn says he’ll be making sausages until he “checks out.” “I spend 40 leisurely, older-person
“I spend 40 leisurely, older person hours a week making sausage and selling at the market. I get my Social Security and what I make from sausage. I’m not going to be rich and I don’t want to expand.” Franco Dunn
then we’d start doing more and more, and eventually the railing would come crashing down and the sausage would end up on the floor. Then we’d reinforce it and the same thing would happen.” Aidell’s sausage-making operation continued to scale up, providing Dunn with critical hands-on experience. He realized that he wanted to be a chef and entered the California Culinary Academy. After graduating, he worked as a chef at Beringer Winery in St. Helena and then at Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley. At age 39, he left Jordan and spent two and a half years travelling around Italy, working in 14 different restaurants and a pizzeria. Often one of the older chefs in the kitchen, Dunn talked and cooked his way into working for Enoteca Pinchiorri, which was at the time a twoMichelin star restaurant.
Photo by Stuart Tiffen
THE DAILY GRIND — Franco Dunn, chef and owner of One World Sausage Company grinds pork in the kitchens at Diavola Pizzeria in Geyserville.
hours a week making sausage and selling at the market,” he says. “I get my Social Security and what I make from sausage. I’m not going to be rich and I don’t want to expand.” He says he gets the most joy from being around kitchens, working with young people and teaching them things but now without the pressure of being on the line. One point of concern for Dunn, in his otherwise seemingly carefree existence, is the cost of living in Sonoma County. “Me and a lot of other chefs, we spent a lot of time making this place into a sort of culinary mecca,” he
says. “But now it’s getting harder for chefs to afford to live here. It’s like we’ve worked ourselves out of a job.” One World Sausages can be found at the Cloverdale farmers market through Dec. 20, the Healdsburg market up until Nov. 26, the Windsor market on alternating Sundays until Dec. 18 and then Sebastopol and the Santa Rosa farmers market at the LBC through the winter. Sausage seekers can find out what Franco is cooking up on Facebook by searching for “One World Sausages.”
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Big Johnâ€™s Marketâ€™s wine selection features locally produced wines including dozens air of this year â€™s Sonoma County Harvest FFair medal winners. We offer great prices and present many of the smaller and harder to find local wineries. On your next shopping visit , be sure to browse our medal winner collection between stops at our meat , deli, cheese, bakery and produce sections where we feature the local bounty of our many harvests all year long.
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October 27, 2016
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Flower farms dazzle The Sonoma County Flower Farm Tour took place September 18 Farms featured included Dragonfly Floral Farm, Front Porch Farm, Full Bloom Flower Farm and Serenity Flower Farm. The tour was organized by Pam Bell of Dragonfly Floral and showcased the farms, the flowers and the inhabitants of each unique place. Photos by Loren Hanson
â€œDeep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.â€? Theodore Roethke
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ARTISAN WINERIES TEAM ANTOINE FAVERO Winemaker
CHIRS BARRETT Winemaker
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October 27, 2016
Farm faces Numbers and profiles behind the harvest by Rollie Atkinson Staff Writer The faces and numbers of Sonoma County’s wine and farming ownership and profiles sometimes tells a confusing story, leading some to fear “too much corporate” control while others find evidence of smaller family and multi-generational to be the thriving heartbeat of Sonoma County agriculture. So which is it? Well, it is mostly the latter where almost half (42 percent) of all vineyards are smaller than 20 acres and 80 percent are 100 acres or fewer. At the same time, the largest vineyard owners, Jackson Family Wines and Gallo of Sonoma each own 3,200 acres of vineyards, barely eclipsing Silverado Premium of Napa with 2,400 acres. Although among the largest vineyard and winery businesses in the world, both the Gallos and Jacksons are private, family-owned businesses. The Gallos and Jacksons also are successful multi-generational farmers, something they hold in common with hundreds of other county vineyard and farm owners. While the landscape of Sonoma County looks like an unending vineyard from some vistas, the 60,000 acres of planted vineyards is just six percent of the county’s total agriculture lands. (Those 60,000 acres of vineyards are owned by almost 2,000 individual, and mostly very small, owners. The county’s ag landscape also includes four million chickens, 30,000 cows and 37,000 sheep. For a trivia question likely to stump just about everyone, ask: how many horses live in Sonoma County?. The answer, accord-
photo by Healther Bailey
FUTURE HELP Elizabeth Westerfield and Jeremiath Gettle participated in the recent Heirloom Expo held in Sonoma County, that showcased both the region’s current ag diversity, but many of its future talents as well.
ing to the official 2015 Crop Report is 26,217, with quarter horses being the favorite type. There are over 325,000 acres of pasture, rangeland and field crops, but only 500 acres of vegetable crops. But that is enough to support 27 local certified farmers’ markets. All the farmers, of all size operations, share organizations dedicated to protecting their interests and future. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the smaller Sonoma County Farm Trails, the revitalized sranges and new networks of young farmers and guilds now share cross memberships. “When I see lots of farmers from these various groups get together the talk usually shifts to either the weather or regulations,” said county ag commissioner Tony Linegar. “They like to commiserate together.” Sonoma County is home to a very diverse ag community and industry, said Linegar. “We have a strong brand. Maybe we are most known for our wines, but Sonoma County is also known for our overall quality. We don’t
always compete on a volume basis, but we have many niches like organics. Our ag community has risen to the occasion to let consumers know where their food comes from and who is behind it.” Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers agrees. “A big strength of our grower-members is they have a story to tell,” said Kruse. Speaking about the winegrowers and family farms’ future, Kruse said the story is becoming more and more about the “next generation.” “It is not just about growing grapes,” she said. “More and more, the second and younger generations are getting more involved with winemaking, marketing and other innovations.” Succession planning among farm families has become an important focus for groups like the Winegrowers. A year-long series of workshops will begin next month for Winegrower families to develop succession plans for their families and key employees. It is being supported, in part, by a USDA grant.
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One behalf of our family at Wilson Artisan Wineries, we are in awe of the reception for our wines by the judges at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and humbled far beyond our wildest dream. Our relentless pursuit of excellence from the vineyards, to your glass and in our hospitible tasting rooms drives us in all that we do. We are thankful for your support as we continue to live our dream of growing grapes and making world-class wine in Sonoma County. – Ken and Diane Wilson
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High schools foster ag leaders Students learning about ag business and bounty by Krista Sherer Staff Writer
Academy correlate study topics with core teachings. â€œWe pull from all of our disciplines. For instance, one of the English teachers is covering George Orwellâ€™s book â€˜1984,â€™ so we are looking into future food trends and meeting with the police at SRJC and talking about surveillance in Sonoma County,â€? Ganister said. The training offered to Vineyard Academy students can be used as a stepping stone for further education in the hospitality industries, to help secure entry level jobs, or as preparation for further academic pursuits. â€œThe students walk out of our program as California certified food handlers, certified tourism ambassadors as well as receiving a certification in finance and business,â€? Ganister said. Another program that has been successful in highlighting agribusiness is Healdsburg High Schoolâ€™s Farm to Table Program. The high school has a rich history of supporting young farmers, starting the 108th Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter in California in 1929. Agriculture Instructor and Healdsburg FFA Advisor Wesley Hunt said the program is expanding and will include a larger garden, rows of vineyard, fruit trees and small livestock. Last spring, the class took in four different breeds of baby chicks, focusing on the socialization of raising them, which Hunt said is the â€œfun part of raising chickens.â€? A year later, the chicks are laying hens producing eggs for the Ag Marketing and Business class and the coop is running full time, Hunt said.
he future of our food is in the hands of young farmers, and high schools throughout Sonoma County have adapted to support the ever-changing industry of agribusiness. Itâ€™s not only children from farming families who have the opportunity to plant seeds, care for chickens or learn about viticulture; opportunities are available for any student interested in the many aspects of agriculture. For the second year in a row, Windsor High Schoolâ€™s Vineyard Academy has worked to create a platform for students interested in viticulture and its link to tourism in Sonoma County. Along with core structure classes that are required to graduate, students are encouraged to choose a focus area or core programs that supplements their studies. Instructor and Vineyard Academy coordinator Marie Ganister said the program focuses on business and entrepreneurship in the hospitality and viticulture industry and working with local businesses. The program focuses on commerce, food science, plant and soil science, culinary event planning, baking, growing grapes and how to maintain a small vineyard. â€œWe have a one and a half acre small vineyard of old vine zinfandel grapes that we maintain throughout the school year,â€? Ganister said. The program also works with a variety of industry partners with companies such as Francis Ford Coppola and E&J Gallo wineries and the teachers at Vineyard
â€œThe students are now working on the marketing aspect of the eggs,â€? Hunt said. â€œAnd turning the chickens into a small business.â€? The students take care of the hens and Hunt said the flock is a good one. Because the students have had the hens since they were young, sometimes allowed to walk around their desk leaving their refuse marks on papers, many of the students know you get what you give when it comes to raising an animal. Cradling an amber colored hen called Aspen like a baby, senior Zoe Fish-Oâ€™Brien said she â€œraised her right.â€? â€œTheyâ€™re a representation of how you raise them,â€? said Fish-Oâ€™Brien. â€œWe spent every day with them, weighed them and fed them.â€? Not born into a farming Photo by Krista Sherer family, Fish-Oâ€™Brien said she HANDS-ON â€” Anthony Garcia and Zoe Fish-oâ€™Brien hold hens at Healdsburg High School. wanted to learn more about agriculture because Healdsburg is such a farming community. â€œAgriculture is so present here, I just really wanted to get more involved,â€? she said. Fish-Oâ€™Brien said she definitely wants to make a career of agriculture, loves working outside and being with animals. The class, she said, has helped her to solidify her future studies, and in the meantime, she is happy to enjoy the fresh eggs the class is producing. â€œI love that we get to actually cook the eggs we collect,â€? she said. â€œWe made a frittata last week and it was delicious.â€? The students are currently Photo by Daniel Quinones working on general market HARVEST CREW â€” Windsor Highâ€™s Vineyard Academy after harvest at the Villa Terra Bella vineyard. research, creating labels for the egg cartons as well as sell- also supplied to the culinary Country Fair and the Sonoma she has an agricultural backing them to the families on classes on campus. County Fair, Plum was able ground but that itâ€™s also great campus, the district office and â€œThe students have really to pay for her own car. She for peers that may not be into local schools. The eggs are taken the project and run said she does all of it on her livestock and are more into with it,â€? Hunt said. â€œItâ€™s really own, applying for loans the food aspect or even the a neat project for them.â€? through the local credit union science. â€œIâ€™m able to raise my Students who take an ag and selling her steers for livestock at home but some class are automatically $2,000. â€œItâ€™s a lot of work but kids canâ€™t so instead they are enrolled in FFA and for some it pays off in the end,â€? she getting the whole FFA experifarming is a way of life. Lola said. ence in one class,â€? Plum said. Plum who is a junior and has Plum said she is lucky that been in FFA since she was a freshman and in 4H before that. Now a junior, Plum said HigH scHool ag programs she loves the program at Forestville FFa (affiliated with El Molino High School) â€“ Healdsburg high and apprecihttp://newforestvilleffa.weebly.com. ates that it brings other students into agriculture. sebastopol ag Boosters (affiliated with Analy High â€œFFA is the best thing ever School) â€“ find them on Facebook. and I hope students get the opportunities that I did,â€? Healdsburg FFa (affiliated with Healdsburg High Plum said. School) â€“ www. healdsburgffa.com. Raising beef cattle and Vineyard academy (affiliated with Windsor High pigs that she has sold at the Photo from Forestville FFA School) â€“ www.windsorhs.com or find them on Youtube. Healdsburg Future Farmers
WATCHING THE SHOW â€” Forestville FFA members watch a livestock show at the county fair.
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October 27, 2016
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For zin drinkers the old way looks new Dry-farmed old vines meet “premiumization” by Frank Robertson Staff Writer
sk John Haggard what he thinks of local dry-farmed old vine zinfandel and he doesn’t hesitate. “Spectacular,” said Haggard, proprietor of Sophie’s Cellars, the eclectic wine and cheese shop in Duncans Mills. When you’re talking about dryfarmed old vine zinfandel from the Dry Creek and Russian River valleys, said Haggard, “The quality of
12 places to get old This is by no means a comprehensive list of old-vine dry-farmed Sonoma County zinfandel producers, just a dozen good ones worth checking out.
1. Battaglini Winery, 2948 Piner Rd. in Santa Rosa. 578-4091. 2. Dry Creek Vineyard, 3770 Lambert Bridge Rd., Healdsburg. 433-1000. 3. Dutton-Goldfield Winery, 3100 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol. 823-3887. 4. Martinelli Vineyards and Winery, 3360 River Rd., Windsor. 525-0570. 5. Nalle Winery, 2383 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg. 433-1040. 6. Pedroncelli Winery, 1220 Canyon Rd., Geyserville. 857-3531. 7. Peterson Winery, 4791 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg. 431-0358. 8. Preston Farm & Winery, 9282 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg. 433-3372. 9. A. Rafanelli Winery, 4685 West Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg. 433-1385. 10. Scherrer Winery, 4940 Ross Rd., Sebastopol. (Not open to the public. Call 823-8980 for info.) 11. Carol Shelton Wines, 3354 Coffey Ln. B, Santa Rosa. 575-3441. 12. Wine Guerrilla, 6671 Front St., Forestville. 887-1996.
the fruit is really quite spectacular.” So is the price. With a bottle of the good stuff running north of $40, it’s a little out of reach for the average consumer looking for a decent red, especially zinfandel, once associated with bulk wine and the old Gallo Hearty Burgundy days of happy hippies and cheap rent. But increasingly knowledgeable wine-savvy millennials (and their parents) are lining up to buy spectacular zins that offer “the premier Zin experience,” as is promised at Forestville’s Wine Guerrilla, the relatively new wine outlet showcasing Sonoma County old vine dryfarmed zinfandels. It’s unclear whether the recent surge of interest in dry-farmed grapes reflects a fad among high-end winegrowers or if it’s the wave of the future in a new era of water scarcity. Maybe it’s both of the above. One marketing trend reported this year is the “premiumization” of zinfandel. It’s a mouthful to pronounce, but premiumization is also the year’s “most prominent retail trend,” according to Forbes, the business magazine. It means people like me on a beer budget end up paying champagne prices. Marketers are busy finding ways to tell us that we deserve it. Wine Guerrilla opened three years ago offering high-end zin in a wellkept corner shop on Front Street. “Our goal has been to procure Sonoma County’s finest zinfandels and provide the premier zin experience,” say Wine Guerrilla father and son owners, Andrew and Matt Railla. So far, wine lovers are showing up and appreciating Wine Guerrilla’s wines, whose bottles are adorned with Art Deco-looking labels recalling ‘60s rock posters from the Fillmore Auditorium era. Wine Guerrilla’s young tasting room associate Amanda Goldsmith was recently pouring a 2012 Forchini Winery and Vineyard Russian River Valley old vine zinfandel, grown just down the road and crafted into what Goldsmith called a “jam bomb,” with an alcohol level over 14 percent. It costs $40 a bottle and tastes like a
Photo by Frank Robertson
WINE GUERILLA — Amanda Goldsmith greets tasters at Forestville’s Wine Guerrilla shop that specializes in old-vine zinfandel.
sip of nirvana. Goldsmith, a graduate of El Molino High School, where classes include a highly regarded wine and food curriculum, didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked whether the Forchini vineyard is dry-farmed. Wine Guerrilla’s customers aren’t asking about that? “You’re the first one,” said Goldsmith. All Wine Guerrilla’s “old vine” offerings are dry-farmed, confirmed Matt Railla. Dry farming — growing a crop that relies only or mostly on natural sources of moisture for irrigation — has been around for centuries, but in modern wine country it’s still a marginal strategy. Napa County has about 1,000 acres of dry-farmed grapes out of a total of about 45,000 acres in winegrape production. Sonoma County probably has a few more dry-farmed vineyards; estimates put it around 3 percent of the county’s roughly
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60,000 acres of vines, of which about 5,000 acres are zinfandel. “We don’t have any specific stats on that,” said Sean Carroll, director of marketing and communications for the Sonoma County Winegrowers Commission. “That’s a tough one to track,” said Carroll, “because it’s the grower’s decision and not something that shows up in the county’s annual crop report.” Dry farming’s advocates cite a lot of good reasons to eschew irrigation. It can be a simpler, cheaper way to grow a crop, and there are environmentally friendly reasons having to do with sustainability, the Sonoma County Winegrowers’ current mantra. There’s also tradition. In the old days, “That’s the way everything was grown,” said Sophie’s Cellars owner, John Haggard. Do his customers care if a wine is made from dry-farmed grapes? “It never enters their mind,” said Haggard. “They don’t think about it.”
Wine Guerrilla’s patrons may not care about dry farming either, but they’re attuned to the term “old vines,” said Amanda Goldsmith. As a marketing strategy, “old vine” seems to have a resonance that suggests resilience, survival, perseverance, tradition, knowledge and proven quality. Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Vineyard claims its founder, David Stare, coined the term in 1987. How old does a grapevine have to be in order to be called “old vine?” “There is no legal definition,” according to Dry Creek Vineyard’s web page. “We define an old vine vineyard as having vines that average more than 50 years in age.” Dry Creek Vineyard’s zinfandel vines range from 95 to 110 years old, and the winery’s Beeson Ranch zinfandel uses grapes from vines planted 133 years ago by Healdsburg’s Beeson family. Joel Peterson, founder of the zin Zinfandel continues on page 13
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October 27, 2016
“If you’re excited and want to start a garden program, go to your principal and get them excited and get them to buy in. Get the teachers to buy in. Elizabeth Westerfield Gardens from page 1
School Garden Corps helps get older students involved in garden care and maintenance over the summer. “So we’re creating this group of kids who may or may not be on the college path and providing them with tangible skills. It’s twofold — helping the students get jobs in the future and educating them about agriculture,” Bowne said. Another project the School Garden Network works on every year is the National Heirloom Exposition, which Westerfield coordinates. “We’ve been here every year,” Westerfield said at this year’s expo. “We love the expo
and we’re very involved in organizing the kids’ activities. It was every day this year instead of one day. I’m loving the watermelon tasting here for the kids.” A final program that is open to all schools, whether or not they have their own garden, is the Harvest of the Month Club, which provides boxes of a new fruit or vegetable every month for participating classrooms. “It has a dual purpose — to support local farmers and introduce students to a new seasonal fruit or vegetable each month,” Bowne said. The farmers supply enough of the item to give tastes to all the students. According to Bowne, “It provides lessons, activities
and curriculums that the teachers can use to highlight and educate about this fruit or vegetable.” Bowne, Westerfield and Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator Laurel Anderson all agree that one of the most important components for a successful school garden is the establishment of infrastructure and a paid coordinator. “Every school wants a garden; the challenge is how to fund it,” Anderson said. “If you have the money you can pay someone to do the program, but often you’re relying on volunteers or a dedicated teacher, and it can be very hard for that person as it takes a lot of time and energy.” “I think often schools may
have the money, but they’re throwing money at the infrastructure of the garden or program and not the people,” Westerfield said. “I think a group of really interested parents will get together and develop a program for the garden, but then those kids get older and graduate.” She believes there has to be support from within the school — from the administration, from the teachers, from the kids and from the parents. “If there isn’t, you can’t see the program through.” Westerfield concluded, “If you’re excited and want to start a garden program, go to your principal and get them excited and get them to buy in. Get the teachers to buy in so
that everybody is working. The biggest thing is that if you tackle it by yourself and then run into all these stumbling
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blocks, then the garden kind of sits empty and that’s really depressing. It takes a village to build a garden program.”
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“The value of what we produce here is really important and becoming well known. Compared to nearby Napa Valley and other prominent wine regions, Sonoma County offers lots of room and opportunity for wine variety, winemaking styles and pricing tiers.” Karissa Kruse 2016 from page 1
“I think we’ve become really good at what we do, which is farming. We know what varieties grow best where, and we really know about our soil types,” Kruse said. The brand of Sonoma County has become world famous not only for its premium wines but also for its many other farm products such as artisan cheeses, organic milk and chicken, free-range beef and grass-fed meats. “But it’s not just the quality of our foods and wine,” said Kruse. “We also have a story to tell that is associated with our farming and what we think is so important to us.” Linegar, who also travels the state and continent wearing his Sonoma County badge, says, “Nine out of 10 people I meet first recognize us for our wines, but then they are also
Zinfandel from page 11
fandel-renowned Ravenswood Winery, has defined old vines as 50 to 80 years old, with anything over 80 as “ancient.” Kristi Mohar, wine buyer at Sebastopol’s Pacific Market, says her criteria for “old vine” is 80 to 100 years old. Sebastopol winemaker Fred Scherrer, one of the county’s premier zinfandel growers and winemakers, tends a vineyard in the Alexander Valley where his grandfather planted zinfandel grapes in 1912. Scherrer gets $100 per bottle for his “old and mature vine” zin. Nevertheless, what makes it worthwhile for a grape grower to dry-farm old vine zinfandel? The price per ton is a little higher but yields are smaller. Only a few growers now take the trouble, although historically dryfarmed zinfandel was the centerpiece of California’s wine crop. Is it art, money or something else? Maybe it’s because it tastes good. Pouring a glass of 2012 estate zinfandel from the dryfarmed Gustafson Family Vineyards above Dry Creek Valley the other day, John Haggard knew the vines were dry-farmed because he’d visited the winery and walked in the vineyard. Haggard makes it part of his job as a wine shop proprietor to visit wineries and vineyards, and even to help pick grapes. “I want to learn,” said Haggard, regarding his annual efforts to see the harvest up close and firsthand to gauge its quality. “The only way to really know is to go out there. If you’re walking through the vineyards, you’re seeing what’s happening.” When he started out, Haggard said, “I wouldn’t know anything about it — except that I’d pick it,” regarding a dry-farmed grape crop. “And now I look for it.” This year’s zinfandel harvest “looks really good,” said Haggard. “I think it’s going to be excellent.” I’m sure he’s right, because he usually is. This year’s zinfandel won’t be out on the shelves for a couple of years, so I’m thinking I’d better start saving my money.
mentioning our other quality and organic products. They know about Clover milk, and consumers want to know more and more about where their food comes from.” These days, farming and management vineyard includes advances in viticulture; plant management; technology for monitoring weather, soil conditions, and water usage; and pest control. Sonoma County Winegrowers is finishing the third year under its Sustainability Program and is 70 percent toward meeting its 2019 goal to be 100 percent sustainable in all farming and land management practices. This December, Sonoma County will host the prestigious Wine Vision conference, which was previously held in London and in Bilbao, Spain. “The value of what we produce here is really important and becoming well known,” said Kruse. “Compared to nearby Napa Valley and other prominent wine regions, Sonoma County offers lots of room and opportunity for wine variety, winemaking styles and pricing tiers.” She added,
“Our members produce some $100 (a bottle) pinot noirs, but we also have room for $15 (a bottle) sauvignon blancs.” The Sonoma County Winegrowers Commission has about 1,600 members, representing mostly smaller vineyard owners and wineries. Supporting family farming is a key value and focus for the group, Kruse said. that end, the To Winegrowers just won a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to offer to all grape growers in Sonoma and Marin counties an eight-month series called “Protecting Family Farms for the Next 100 Years Through Succession Planning.” “It’s (succession and family inheritance) become our number one goal, and many of our members are dealing with this right now. Beyond all the focus on new technology, marketing, labor and other concerns, the question is ‘Do the next, younger generations want to take over?’” Farmers, no matter how big their bumper crop might be one year, are notoriously “land rich and cash poor.” Just as
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Sonoma County’s residential housing prices have soared to record highs, so has the price of vineyard or farm land. “Finding suitable and affordable land for young farmers or others is very challenging,” said Linegar. “We definitely want to keep our family farms in business, but there are increasing pressures. I’m a regulator but I’m very concerned about all the layers of regulations we keep putting on farmers. They are spending more time pushing pencils than doing actual farming. I’m afraid we’ll be running farmers out of California.” Some of the increased regulations involve groundwater management, erosion control, pest management, fishery impacts and special event permits. Now there’s a whole new
agriculture industry of marijuana cultivation, with volumes of new laws, permitting and government patrols. Linegar, county planners, and law enforcement and other government officials are gearing up to implement new cultivation and production laws next year for medical marijuana and possibly for adult-use recreational marijuana as well, if Proposition 64 passes on Nov. 8. Linegar said the marijuana crop will become “the most regulated crop in world history.” And he warned that some of these regulations might be adopted to other crops like grapes or orchards, adding more restrictions to older farming practices and land uses. “All this is making strange bedfellows of people like Farm Bureau members and young
marijuana entrepreneurs. I’ve even heard that some pot growers are joining the local Farm Bureau,” said Linegar. Over the winter, the Winegrowers Commission will conduct 45-60 grower educational seminars and workshops, covering everything from farm safety and integrated pest management to immigration reform and rural property theft protection. While waiting for the next harvest story with a possible big subplot about the new pot farming generation, the county’s family farmers will remain focused on the more routine issues of labor supply, the new agricultural worker overtime requirements, and even healthcare law changes and small business taxes. And everyone will hope for winter rains and another “blockbuster” year of crops for 2017.
“Finding suitable and affordable land for young farmers or others is very challenging. We definitely want to keep our family farms in business, but there are increasing pressures.” Tony Linegar
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THANK YOU, SONOMA COUNTY, FOR ANOTHER OUTSTANDING HARVEST.
P R E S E R V I N G LO CA L AG R I C U LT U R E
It’s a busy and exciting time here in Sonoma County. The late nights. The early mornings. The extra trucks and tractors on the road. But we also recognize that harvest season can be a little extra hectic for everyone here. Which is why, as the season winds down, the Sonoma County Winegrowers would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the entire community for your patience and support. Thank you for making Sonoma County such a welcoming, beautiful and bountiful place to live. And, as we enter the holiday season, we hope you toast family and friends with a local Sonoma County wine. Cheers! Relive the excitement and energy of this year’s season with our harvest tracker at SonomaWineGrape.org/harvest
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