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Berryessa Gap’s Springtime in the Vineyards

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Family and friends followed the smoke and scent of carnitas cooking on the grill up and down a windy dirt path, sharing their love of wine on the normally private lands of Berryessa Gap for the Sixth Annual Springtime in the Vineyards event on Saturday.

Despite the gray skies and even a light sprinkle, about 250 visitors, some with lawn chairs and blankets in tow, made the trek to enjoy three newly released wines: 2010 sauvignon blanc, 2010 Sunset Rose of Primitivo and 2008 petit sirah. The wines were paired with live bluegrass music by Doc Holler and a self-catered and, thus, essentially home-cooked meal, which included carnitas, corn salad, shrimp and strawberry-pineapple fruit skewers, all served in the vineyards under a 300-year-old oak tree.

Party goers socializing under the oak tree.
Though Winters resident and Berryessa Wine Club member Debbie Carbahal forgot her jacket to keep the cold winds at bay, she said, “I’ve to been a few other events before and they’re fun. So I came with family today and am still having a good time. I really enjoy the petit sirah and I’m pretty sure we’re going to be picking up a couple bottles.”

Part owner Corrine Martinez, who handles the company’s marketing, said the event was one of their most popular and has sold out the last few years. This year was no exception.

Martinez explained that there were three other partners, her brother Daniel R. Martinez, Santiago Moreno and winemaker Mike Anderson. All four individuals have known each other for years, and the business kind of all began with her father and Anderson’s uncle, who about 30 years ago partnered to grow and sell root stock to wineries in neighboring areas. Martinez said the history, growth and development of Berryessa has always been family- and friend-oriented and very synergistic.

“It wasn’t just a business that started then, but a friendship, too,” Anderson said. “When the partnership ended, the friendship remained, and that’s what allowed for us to get together years later and start up this business.”

What began as just a bit of fun between friends and a way to showcase to buyers what kinds of products the grapes could produce became Berryessa Gap, which is a company determined to provide people with the best product they can, Anderson said.

2010 sauvignon blanc.

“We are trying to make the best wine this place can produce, without being a slave to variety,” he said. Both Anderson and Corinne Martinez said the goal was not production of multiple wines, but rather production of the best kind of wine for that location.

They really want the wine to reflect the land location and community, Corrine Martinez said. She added that the proceeds of their events often go to groups at Winters High School. Saturday’s proceeds went to the football team, who were there that day helping out.

“Today’s events, like many of our events, is about sharing an experience with the people who support us,” Corrine Martinez said. “These are actual farming lands and are not usually open to the public, but we want to give people the opportunity to see and share this beautiful space with us, as well as give us the opportunity to meet as many people who are fans of what we’re producing.”

Berryessa Gap Vineyards.
For more information on the Berryessa Gap wine club and future events, such as their fall paella cook off, check their website or call (530) 795-3201.

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