If you stand in the middle of the Matchbook vineyard and wonder why we decided to plant grapes on the tops of these Dunnigan Hills, look down. The answer is underfoot. The rocks and red gravel are why we are here. Rocks don’t hold water, they provide no nutrients, this is heaven to a grape farmer. Vines need a little stress to produce flavorful grapes, and well-drained, rocky soils restrict vegetation and force vines to search deep for all-essential water and nourishment. This stress naturally reduces bunch and berry size, controls canopy development and builds strong roots.
The review highlights the 2014 Black’s Station Red Blend as a substantial wine, from the dark, dark color to the ripe but dry fruit flavors….full bodied, hefty in mouthfeel, blending oaky spice accents with blueberry and blackberry flavors. We couldn’t agree more, this wine embraces the bold spirit of the pioneer town for which it is named. Click here for the full review.
We love the Matchbook 2014 Dunnigan Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, but it never hurts to have Wine Enthusiast highlight our first home grown vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon as a Crowd Pleaser and award it 88 POINTS in the Best of Year 2016 Issue. Click here to read the full review.
Lauren King captured the innovative spirit of the Matchbook story in her August 23, 2016, feature in the Daily Democrat:
A Yolo County winery is blazing a new path in an industry from an unlikely vantage point.
John and Lane Giguiere began Matchbook Wine Company in the Dunnigan Hills to bring great wine and reputation to the region.
The couple met and fell in love at Woodland High School and after college, they joined John’s brother in taking over the family farm.
“I studied psychology in college and it didn’t seem very relevant. Everything was theoretical, nothing real. Putting a seed in the ground and seeing it come out of the ground and grow, that was real,” said John of his decision to move back to the family home.
At first, the couple tried their hand at the traditional trades of the area — dry grains and sheep. When that didn’t work, they tried planting beans, corn, and other irrigated crops. The couple could still not make ends meet.
“In a last ditch effort, we planted 10 acres of grapes to sell to other wineries. We ended up not selling them and instead hired a grad student out of UC Davis to make wine for us. That worked,” recalled Lane.
In the first year, they sold 4,000 cases of wine. In the next year, that number would grow to 40,000 and to 150,000 in the next.
With a flash of metal against glass, the crush began for Yolo County’s wine grapes of 2016.
Held at Matchbook Winery, the Thursday morning picking and crushing signaled the start of harvest season in the rolling Dunnigan Hills surrounding Zamora in northern Yolo County.
Winemaker Dan Cederquist and owner Lane Giguiere celebrated by “sabering” bottles of sparkling wine before toasting the occasion with others in the winery. Sabering involves using a specially designed knife to remove the top from a bottle of sparkling wine.
“This is our ninth harvest,” said Cederquist just before raising his glass and before several tons of temperillo grapes were dumped into a corkscrew-like device used to separate the berries from stems and leaves.
“There’s something about the ‘nines,’” Cederquist said. “I think it’s an old Scottish proverb (which goes) ‘and to the nines means perfection.’ And this year, 2016, we have perfection, at least in the vineyards.”
“We’ve probably had the most perfect growing season we’ve ever had,” he continued. “We’ve had no issues with pests or bugs or fires — the fires are over there,” Cederquist said pointing toward the northwest, “but they haven’t affected us at all. We had nice rains in the springtime that got everything nice, moist and wet and got everything growing. We had a nice fruit set. No thinning really necessary. Absolutely perfect.
“So, we had the perfect year out there, and now it’s our job in production to make fine wine. So this harvest we’re going to dedicate it to perfection, or to the nines.”
Cederquist has been the chief winemaker at Matchbook since 2004 and the crush came after field hands started cutting grapes of their vines at sun-up.
While some workers used cutters to personally cut verdot grapes in a half-acre area, others used machinery to shake loose temperillo grapes. Late night or early morning is considered the best time to harvest since the sugar content of grapes is at its highest.
The winery has 1,500 acres of grapes.
Matchbook was founded by John and Lane Giguiere after they sold their first winery, R.H. Phillips, located outside Esparto, to a Canadian group.
Matchbook wines were on the shelves in 2005 and today there are four brands: Matchbook Wines, produced primarily from grapes grown in the Giguiere’s Dunnigan Hills vineyard; Mossback, featuring Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from Chalk Hill; Chasing Venus, showcasing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc varietals; and Sawbuck from grapes grown in Yolo County.
Read the article and see the video of the harvest celebration on line here