Harvest Begins in Yolo County – Matchbook Wines

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August 19th, 2016

Harvest Begins in Yolo County

by: Lane Giguiere

Matchbook Wine Company’s celebration of Harvest 2016 is featured on the front page of the August 19 edition of the Daily Democrat!

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A field hand surveys a verdot vineyard at Matchbook Winery in the Dunnigan Hills. JIM SMITH — DAILY DEMOCRAT

By Jim Smith, Woodland Daily Democrat

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