Harvest – Matchbook Wines

Category: Harvest



September 4th, 2019

Kings & Queens of CRUSH!

by: Virginia Valdez Sandfer

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.

November 1st, 2017

#Harvest2017 is Complete!

by: Mikaela Leach

Head Winemaker, Dan Cederquist’s final #harvest2017 update: “The last grapes of the 2017 Harvest were crushed as we prepared to turn the calendar to November. The last day we crushed grapes was October 28th. We totaled 2,833 tons our largest harvest yet! The 2017 Vintage in the Dunnigan Hills will be highlighted by excellent concentration and extraction mostly due to the warmer weather, stronger winds and longer hang time. Our Vineyard Managers kept all the fruit in great shape during all these conditions and allowed us to harvest some of the best grapes in California. The first 2017 vintage wine to release will be our Tinto Rey Rose later this month! The Rose is an exciting blend of Tempranillo, Tannat and Verdejo – vibrant and fresh with crisp acidity.



September 20th, 2017

Harvest Update from Winemaker Dan Cederquist

by: Mikaela Leach
Topping a fermenting Chardonnay barrel in the cellar

“Harvest is in full swing at Matchbook Wine Company. We have all our Chardonnay off the vine and in the winery fermenting in barrel. Our Rosés are fermenting away nicely at 50 degrees,” said Dan Cederquist, head winemaker at Matchbook Wine Company.  “The quality of fruit has the makings of an exceptional year.  We have had 10 days of cooler temperatures in the Dunnigan Hills. This weather has slightly delayed the red varietals harvest date, but we are loving how the fruit looks and tastes out in the vineyard. The longer hang time in the vineyard is increasing flavor complexity.”



August 25th, 2017

10 Years of Crushin’ It – Harvest 2017 Kicks Off

by: Mikaela Leach

Matchbook Wine Company Kicks Off 2017 Harvest
10 Years of Crushin’ It!

Zamora, CA (August 25, 2017) – Early this morning, Matchbook Wine Company began picking the first grapes of the 2017 Harvest from the Matchbook Estate Vineyards in California’s Dunnigan Hills. The first to be picked is Verdejo from Matchbook Block 12. Verdejo is an aromatic white wine varietal originally from Spain.  

“2017 is a special harvest here at Matchbook as it marks our 10th crush at our Dunnigan Hills winery. We have grown 6-fold in the last 10 years.” says John Giguiere, Owner, Matchbook Wine Company. “I am proud of the wines we have produced and am excited about the quality of the wines to come from Matchbook.”

The 2017 Harvest is right on schedule with historical averages, but slightly later than the past few years. The Matchbook Vineyards fared well through the generous winter rains and summer heat spikes of 2017 thanks to the well-draining, Red Corning Gravel soil and rolling hills in the vineyards. Over the next several weeks, the grapes will be tasted and tested block by block and row by row, until they reach the peak of ripeness. Next, the grapes will be harvested at night to preserve the fresh fruit flavors and delivered within 30 minutes to the winery, crushed and fermented into wine.

“Harvest is an exciting time because it showcases a year’s worth of work in the vineyards,” said Winemaker Dan Cederquist. “2017 is shaping up to be a superior vintage. We are excited to get going.”

About Matchbook Wine Company
East of Napa, Left of Center: Family owned Matchbook Wine Company is tucked away in Northern California’s gently rolling Dunnigan Hills.  The Giguiere family pioneered grape growing in this region in 1981. By 1993, they had succeeded in making the Dunnigan Hills a nationally recognized American Viticultural Area. The Matchbook flame is an homage to the Giguiere brothers’ youthful fascination with fire.  Today, Matchbook Wine Company produces 110,000 cases and 15 unique wines from the Dunnigan Hills and other select growing regions. For more information, visit www.matchbookwines.com.


Media Contact:
Mikaela Leach | Matchbook Wine Company
mleach@matchbookwines.com | 617.549.7575