[October 11, 2022 - Murphys, CA - Sandra Hess]
Mother nature certainly gave us a scare this past grape harvest season as extreme conditions including frost, drought and fires drastically reduced the normal yields expected. With that said, Matt Hatcher, winemaker and owner of Hatcher Winery and School Street Wines, found himself in a pinch as he worked to gather grapes for the 29th Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp that took place on October 1, 2022.
For many years, Duarte Nursery out of Hughson, donated the grapes needed for our annual grape stomp. Due to the extreme frost conditions this harvest season, our annual sponsor simply ran out of grapes. Matt Hatcher requires a specific type of grape for the stomp barrels that is a larger and more juicy style variety such as Barbera. So not any grape will do. This presented an even bigger challenge when sourcing grapes this year. So what was the solution? Matt personally called his grower friends across Calaveras Wine Country to ask for help! At the final hour, our friends at Indian Rock Vineyards and Six Mile Vineyard/Jackson Rancheria came through to essentially save the 29th Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp.
"Matt reached out and explained the dire situation a few days before the stomp was to take place. I spoke with our winemaker, Marco Cappelli, to find out if we could spare grapes from our already small harvest. Marco had reserved our Barbera grapes for a few buyers but knew how important it was to the Calaveras Wine Community to donate the grapes so that this year's Calaveras Grape Stomp could go on as planned. We provided Matt with 2.46 tons of Barbera," shared Dave Bauer. Dave is the owner of Indian Rock Vineyards of of Pennsylvania Gulch Road in Murphys. The Bauer family purchased Indian Rock Vineyards in 2003 with the intent of making high-quality, handcrafted estate wines. From the start, viticulturist and artisan winemaker Marco Cappelli helped the Indian Rock team grow spectacular fruit in their little valley and also craft a variety of delicious wines.
In addition to the incredible contribution from the Indian Rock Team, our friends at Jackson Rancheria also donated 1.67 tons of Mourvedre grapes to save the day! As the largest vineyards in Calaveras County, Six Mile Vineyards not only supplies grapes to Calaveras County winemakers but for years has sold fruit to the renowned Carneros Creek, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, and Rodney Strong wineries. Six Mile Vineyards have become synonymous with Sierra Foothill excellence, and the vineyards are noted for producing some of the highest quality fruit in the region.
The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance would like to thank these two outstanding members of our organization for going above and beyond! Our grape growing and winemaking families truly know what it takes to bring community together and support one another when the going gets tough.
You can find the 29th Annual Grape Stomp competition results HERE. This year's first place team, "Dwelley Devistators" is a couple who has been coming to our Grape Stomp for years as dad, Ron Dwelley, is our Grape Stomp Timer. What an impressive win with 18.32 pounds of grape juice collected in the final heat! The 2nd Place title went to Team Hatcher Winery with 17.18 pounds of juice collected. 3rd Place honors went to Team School Street Wines with 16.03 pounds of juice.
To get involved in the 30th Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp set for Saturday, October 7, 2023, contact Calaveras Winegrape Alliance Executive Director, Sandra Hess, HERE.