Maybe you’ve noticed the sheep. Or you’ve seen the carpet of green grass, peas and flowers blanketing the vineyard floor.
Both are evidence of Matchbook’s conversion from conventional farming to regenerative and organic. Three years into this project, our sustainable efforts have been recognized by Project Harvest’s California Rules Sustainable Winegrowing certification on the 400 acres of estate vineyards.
The California Rules Certified Green seal signifies a third-party audited commitment to farming that is environmentally and socially responsible while also being economically viable. This credential is just the first step in our mission to become certified organic and regenerative.
While the winery’s initial goal of improving vine health through regenerative farming was to increase the quality of our Estate Bottled wines, “The environmental benefits are now as big a focus,” says John Giguiere, owner of Matchbook Wine Company. The prolonged drought and rising costs make the move to regenerative agriculture more important. Cover crops, grazing sheep and compost teas have eliminated the need for synthetic fertilizers, created a carbon sink and increased the water-holding capacity of the soil.
“It’s been invigorating to take on this large and very important project at this stage of our careers,” Giguiere continues. “Reversing 40 years of farming philosophy is not easy, but we see the need to reduce our farming inputs and water usage while increasing quality and profitability. Sustainable and regenerative agriculture is a win for both the farmer and the environment.”
The California Rules Certified Green Sustainable Winegrowing seal will be added to Matchbook’s estate grown wines beginning with the 2022 vintage.
Pictured: John, Greg, and Karl Giguiere enjoying a Matchbook Tasting Room food truck event.
The Matchbook Wine Company family farming lineage dates back five generations. The Dunnigan Hills vineyards were previously inhabited by the Giguiere family’s sheep ranch. Today, thousands of acres are covered in wine grapes, olive trees, and onsite winery production facilities. The family legacy is continued through the leadership of Karl Giguiere and husband and wife team, John and Lane Giguiere.
Adding to the family efforts is Karl’s son, Greg Giguiere, who serves as Director of Operations and daughter, Aimee Giguiere heading the Vineyard Administrative team. The Giguiere family is no stranger to hard work, which is why you’ll see Greg’s son, Declan, and Aimee’s daughter, Andrea, out in the vineyards taking sugar samples and helping out with other harvest needs. Another important member is Aimee’s husband, Brian Villegas, serving as Vineyard Manager.
You’ll often find John and Lane’s niece, Sofie Brown, working at the winery during her breaks from Occidental College. Sofie is a welcome member of both the admin office and the production team.
Pictured: Sofie topping barrels during in the Summer of 2019
The family succession doesn’t end there, we have several families working on the Matchbook Vineyard and Winemaking team. This year we wanted to highlight these folks as they buzz around fulfilling all the tasks that a busy harvest season demands. The added family dynamic enhances the already tight-knit culture at the winery.
Karl, Aimee & Husband, Brian Villegas, & Greg Giguiere
Pictured: Karl & Aimee Giguiere, Brian Villegas & Greg Giguiere at the 2020 crush ceremony.
Pictured: Andrea (Aimee’s Daughter) & Greg Giguiere, taking sugar samples for the 2020 harvest.
Mikayla Callen Ruvalcaba, Laboratory Director & Laboratory Assistant, Samuel
Adan & Petro Gallo | Cellar Crew
David Moreno Jr. & Sr. | Bottling Crew
Not pictured, but certainly appreciated: Maria & Kevin L.| Bottling Crew José & Christian Cardenas | Cellar Crew
What is ‘Crush’? A term that loosely describes the entire harvest season. Crush begins when the grapes are picked and continues through processing and fermentation until the last wine is safely in a barrel or tank.
Crush is in full swing! This harvest season we wanted to take time to shine light on some of our talented winemaking and vineyard team members. We would not be able to produce delicious, award-winning wines without these guys and gals! Everyone from intern to winemaker serve as an integral part of the process. This year we are honoring them as the Kings & Queens of CRUSH!
What is ‘Crush’? A term that loosely describes the entire harvest season. Crush begins when the grapes are picked and continues through processing and fermentation until the last wine is safely in barrel or tank. Check out our team in action on the first day of our 12th Annual CRUSH, click here to watch the video.
Mikayla Callen Ruvalcaba, Lab Director
Our recently married Lab Director, formerly Mikayla Callen, now Mrs. Ruvalcaba, is one of our Queens of Crush! You’ll find Mikayla in her lab running various tests and tastes of our wines. Pictured: Mikayla goes mad scientist on us and “inoculates a tank” of what will soon be Tinto Rey Rosé. With a cocktail of yeast Mikayla coerces our grape juice to turning into wine. We are so thankful for her and we literally could not produce wines without her.
Merlissa Gamino, Winemaker
Hooray for women in wine! Merlissa Gamino has been an important member of our team since 2015. Merlissa enjoys everything about wine from analyzing and manipulating the blends to the processing aromas and colors. Pictured: Merlissa checks and reviews our harvesting equipment with winery consultant, Ken Lazzaroni, to ensure everything is in order for the next harvest load of grapes. Thanks Merlissa for all you do!
Dan Cederquist, Head Winemaker
Our fearless leader, Dan Cederquist, guides our winemaking team into creating the delicious wines you taste in every bottle of Matchbook. Dan has been with Matchbook from the beginning and has tasted every barrel, created every blend and is the driving force behind the Matchbook style of wines. Dan’s stellar skills are responsible for creating the positively reviewed and awarded wines that you find in each bottle of The Arsonist, Matchbook, Tinto Rey, Mossback, Chasing Venus and Black’s Station.
Petro Gallo, Warehouse Supervisor
Longtime cellar crew member, Petro Gallo, keeps busy by managing the massive amounts of harvested grapes that come onto the crush pad. Petro can be found buzzing around the cellar, keeping everything in order and somehow, managing to do it with a friendly smile on his face. Pictured: Petro prepares for another 10 tons of Chardonnay to hit the hoppers.
José Cardenas, Cellar Supervisor
José Cardenas joined Matchbook this past February and has since made a great impact on our cellar team. In addition to his positive attitude and work ethic, José’s wit and humor make the work day even more enjoyable! Pictured: José changes out ball valves with butterfly valves on a wine tank.
Luc Mercado, UC Davis Chemistry Student & Winery Intern
Luc is in his senior year at UC Davis as a Chemistry student, which made him the perfect fit for our summer intern program. He ventured bravely out in to the vineyards early every morning with the company of rows and rows of grapes (and big spiders!) to collect samples and cluster counts to determine crop size. Pictured: Luc weighs and analyzes the sugar content of the grapes.
Greg Giguiere, Director of Vineyard Operations
Greg Giguiere leads our vineyard team on the farming side of the business. Greg can be found out in the vineyards surveying and constantly studying our soils, fruit and environment. In true farmer fashion, Greg is always experimenting with new processes and practices to better our fruit. Pictured: Greg works with his team to measure and analyze the sugar content in this season’s grapes.
Erick Canchola, Davis High School Student & Vineyard Intern
The vineyard team was very lucky to have a hardworking high school student on board over the summer. Erick helped Greg Giguiere and the vineyard team prepare for harvest through hands-on sugar sampling, cluster counts and various other tasks that are essential to our harvest season! We love piquing the interest of a new generation of winemakers. Pictured: Erick and vineyard crew members carefully weigh and measure the sugar content in this seasons grapes.