More than two dozen growers showed up for the pre-game warmup - a marketing how to session with self-made marketing dynamo and vineyard manager Jennifer Thomson, who Tweets from her tractor (more on her story in a separate post) and a presentation from broker Fred Buonanno's on selling to home winemakers and the more than 3,000+ small U.S. wineries outside of California. (The presentation will be available on his broker web site).
|Mark Stern, Senior Project Manager of PR and Events |
(in green shirt) speaks at the luncheon
More than 20 growers had exhibits in the showcase hall, with bulk wine available for tasting.
Roughly 70 percent of Mendocino County's wine grapes is crushed outside of the county. The average price per ton in 2010 was around $1,300.
About half of the growers at the showcase had organically grown grapes for sale. More than one third of California's organic wine grapes come from Mendocino.
Featured here are some of the organic growers from Mendo:
|Saracina, Testa and Upton were some of the growers on hand for the showcase.|
|Saracina winemaker Alex MacGregor (right) and friend|
|Norma Gibson had the most visual booth|
Bells Echo Vineyard had organic Petit Verdot and Merlot for sale
|Rich Shaefers of Beckstoffer Vineyards|
Beckstoffer owns about 3,000 acres of vineyards in Napa, Mendocino and Lake Counties with roughly 1,000 acres in each county.
"We found that in some years, it is cheaper to farm organically, but in a bad year, it's riskier to reverse course if things get started in a bad direction," Shaefers said. "In organic farming, you have to get out there early and if something you don't want starts happening [insects, bugs], you can't just pull the trigger later on. You've got gamble. It's more risk. But the grape quality is there with organic. But we haven't found higher prices or demand for it recently."
In Mendocino, Beckstoffer grows mostly cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and zinfandel, he said. "There is a price difference between counties, so if Mendocino chardonnay grapes sell for $1,000 a ton, Sonoma's go for maybe $1,300 and Napa's for $1,600 - but the quality of the grapes has little to do with the price."
Shaefers, who also serves as the interim president of the MWWC, hopes one day to see a "Judgment of Paris" style blind tasting pitting wines from Mendocino grapes against those from higher priced neighboring counties.