On Friday, June 7th, 46 invited guests got a rare look at some of Calaveras County's most innovative vineyards not generally open to the public. The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance (CWA) hosted the “Calaveras County Innovations in Grape Growing and Winemaking Vineyard Tour”, to highlight the unique innovations and sustainable efforts of four selected vineyards alongside industry experts. An event program can be found here.
The tour took place from 9:30 - 3:30 and was be led by Steve Collum, Calaveras Winegrape Alliance Board Vice President and owner of Vineyard Concepts Vineyard Management Company. After attending Fresno State with majors in Biology and Viticulture, and spending summers fighting fires in Yosemite National Park, Steve moved to Sonoma County with his wife Cindy to find a job in Vineyard Management. Collum worked for a few small vineyards which eventually led him to St. Francis Vineyards and then Kendall Jackson. In 1988 Steve and his wife purchased property in the Sierra Foothills where they currently live and grow Sangiovese grapes that have gone into many award winning wines. Steve is a consultant for many winemaking families and vineyard owners throughout Calaveras Wine Country.
“Vineyard Tour attendees got up close and hands-on with vineyard owners to learn why this historical wine region has been an integral part of the California wine industry since 1851”, comments Sandra Hess, Executive Director. "As vineyard owners discover the unique and diverse soil profiles available in Calaveras County, the wine region continues to grow in popularity with a total of 33 vineyard properties today".
Calaveras County is home to family vineyards ranging in size from a few acres to eighty. Winery teams produce award-winning, handcrafted wines and offer unique tasting experiences at 30 boutique tasting rooms and wineries. Nestled in a beautiful landscape, at the base of the Sierra Foothills and just 90 minutes from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento regions, Calaveras Wine Country offers year round natural beauty and recreation. Calaveras County is a perfect growing region for hearty Spanish and Italian varietals. Visitors to Calaveras Wine Country enjoy wines that include: Barbera, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Grenache, Graciano, Toringa, Albarino, Marsanne, Verdelho, Symphony, old vine Zinfandels, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. This historical wine country is welcoming and winery properties range from modern tasting rooms to large estates with vineyard views, to century-old buildings that house modern wineries.