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Legendary Grapegrowers Give Away Grapes

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Beckstoffer Lake Co Vnyd PicmonkeyBeckstoffer Amber Knolls Vineyard

TASTE News Service, January 29, 2016 – The Beckstoffer name is synonymous with the highest quality vineyards in Northern California wine growing regions including Napa Valley, Mendocino County and the Red Hills of Lake County. It's the latter where Andy and David Beckstoffer will offer ten experienced or aspiring winemakers the opportunity to receive grapes, free of charge, from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 harvests from their vineyards in the Red Hills AVA.

David Beckstoffer PicmonkeyDavid Beckstoffer Though best known for their six Napa Heritage Vineyard sites: To Kalon, Dr. Crane, Bourn, Las Piedras, Georges III and Missouri Hopper, for more than 20 years, the father and son duo have focused time and resources on what they believe to be the most promising new Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard sites from the New World of wine – the Red Hills AVA in Lake County. Roughly 60 miles north of Napa Valley, the lure of the Red Hills is its winning combination of rich volcanic soil and optimal growing climate that produces grapes with greater tannins and complex flavor. Since acquiring three Red Hills vineyards in 1997, the Beckstoffers have been focused on elevating the health of the vineyards by farming to the standards of excellence and sustainability of their renowned Napa Valley vineyards. The vines produce fruit of exceptional character and color, with all the potential of an ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

The father and son growers will be offering ten eligible winemakers the opportunity to select one acre of Cabernet Sauvignon from the their Amber Knolls Vineyards in the Red Hill AVA, with each winemaker or vintner receiving one acre of grapes (approximately three and a half tons) for three years.Andy Beckstoffer PicmonkeyAndy Beckstoffer

Andy and David will back the winemakers not only with grapes, but also by farming their Red Hills Vineyards to the criteria of their notable Napa Valley Heritage Vineyards. Their farming standards include working with winemakers on monitoring soil, ground and vine moisture measurements, custom canopy management tailored to specific vine row sun exposure and trellis design ensuring even ripening, and harvesting all grapes by hand into small containers. Each winemaker will have the chance to work directly with the Beckstoffer vineyard team to monitor the growing and harvest seasons. After the three year, free of charge program, the winemakers will be given first rights to enter into a long-term contract for their chosen acre at 2019 market value.

The Red Hills AVA

Established in 2004, the Red Hills AVA is located in the northern Mayacamas Mountains on the southwest edge of Clear Lake. At the foot of Mount Konocti, the AVA is comprised of dozens of volcanic hills ranging from 1,350 to over 3,700 feet above sea level. Grapes are grown in mountain climate conditions with the majority of the AVA's acreage planted at or over 2,000 feet allowing for greater levels of sunlight. The exposure to sunlight, combined with low humidity and temperate climate create a perfect growing season, allowing grapes to ripen without dramatic fluctuations, resulting in bright, balanced wines with complex flavor. Beckstoffer Vineyards owns approximately 1,250 acres in the Red Hills of Lake County, with the 844-acre Amber Knolls Vineyard planted at 2,000-2,400 feet elevations.

Editor’s Note: If you are thinking of visiting this up-and-coming wine region, you may want to first visit the North Coast listings of Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of Lake County Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to area wineries.

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