What Were We Thinking? – Matchbook Wines

Hot News Blog

Read the lastest news about our wines and winery!

December 1st, 2011

What Were We Thinking?

by: Lane Giguiere

“Why aren’t you relaxing on a tropical beach someplace?” We hear that question so often we are starting to believe we must have been absent during that life lesson on what to do after you sell your winery in middle age. But faced with retirement at the end of 2005, we realized that a massive amount of free time was not our life goal. We had to face the fact that we thrived on massive amounts of stress. It was the 24-year journey that we loved; the long and bumpy ride from the threat of foreclosure to the phenomenal success of Toasted Head. We had plenty of skeptics in those early days who said we could not grow quality grapes in the Dunnigan Hills and that was motivation enough to dedicate our careers to prove that we could. Through many years of trial and error, we discovered which grape clones worked in our hills, what trellising techniques and farming practices were best for our microclimate. With each new vineyard, we tried a new idea and some worked beautifully and some failed in spectacular ways. And by the end of our tenure with R.H. Phillips, we simply were not finished with everything we wanted to do in the Dunnigan Hills. Sure, we had proven that we could grow grapes and make wine that exceeded all expectations, and on a very large scale. But we had more experiments in mind on how we could improve quality in both the vineyard and the winery. Things like seeking out new varietials and honing in on the grape clones that we knew worked well in our heat; tracking down the land with the rockiest soil to improve drainage; playing around with native yeasts, punch down bins and red wine barrel ferments at the winery to extract more complex flavors.  We wanted to do all this and more and still keep our wine prices right around $15. That’s the challenge and the thrill of Matchbook. And why we are still hard at it even while we find ourselves far north of middle age. As alluring as that tropical beach sounds, it’s going to have to wait; we are still having fun creating something special here in Yolo County.