Harvest – Matchbook Wines

Category: Harvest



August 21st, 2020

The Crush Bunch: It’s a Family Affair

by: Virginia Valdez Sandfer

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.

Check out our team in action on the first day of our 13th Annual CRUSH, click here to watch the video.

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 RosĂ©. 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

JosĂ© 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, JosĂ©’s wit and humor make the work day even more enjoyable! Pictured: JosĂ© 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: Virginia Valdez Sandfer

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.