Wilson Creek Blog
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Emmanuel Community Demonstration Garden, Fullerton, planted a small vineyard called the ‘Back Forty’ in 2014. With approximately 100 vines, four rows of Merlot and four rows of Zinfandel, this vineyard serves more than just wine drinkers. After two years of growing, we had our first vintage in 2016. Our aim was to produce sacramental wine for the Church along with wine for our Guild members. We had reasonable/drinkable quality wine that continued to improve each year.
However, during the 2018 Harvest, we noticed that several bunches of grapes had dried up like raisins and the leaves were blotchy thus turning red and dying. The harvest in 2019 wasn’t any better! The vines contained many red colored leaves, which dropped off the vine and brought along the shriveled-up grapes with it. So, we set about finding answers to our problem. After much research and consideration, we thought it was a possibility that we had Pierce’s Disease. What is Pierce’s Disease you may ask? PD is a disease that affects grapevines and is prevalent across the US spanning from California to Florida. The contents of this disease infects different plant hosts and negatively affects the yields of many economically important crops-many more than just grapevines!
Through our research, it was recommended that we join the Temecula Valley Small Wine Growers Association. During the first session we attended, on Zoom, they were talking about Pierce’s Disease. Greg Pennyroyal, Vineyard Manager of Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, and leader of the association, had instructed concerned grape-growers to drop off samples of their vines to be sent off and tested for this deadly disease-PD. After receiving a plethora of samples, he promptly sent them to their testing site in hopes of being able to salvage vines for the concerned vineyard managers.
A few weeks later, we learned that unfortunately, all of the samples had PD. Although the disease is not harmful to man, it is a death toll for many vines. Because there is no real way to stop this disease from overtaking the vines, the only alternative was to dig them all up and plant anew. This time, we made sure to plant a disease resistant vine that would last and not be overtaken.
We arranged to meet Greg and his foreman, Pedro, at Wilson Creek Winery to discuss our situation and to get their expert advice. Greg shared that he and Pedro had some work planned in Rancho Cucamonga in a couple of weeks and that they would be glad to come and visit our vineyard before returning to Temecula.
Greg was pleasantly surprised with what he saw, saying that it was one of the best designed private vineyards he had ever seen-which meant the world. As they sauntered through our vineyard, Pedro began brainstorming how they could help. He concluded that they would send a group of skilled vineyard workers from Temecula to come and replant our vineyard with vines known to be resistant to PD. We set about preparing our vineyard for replanting.
On March 28, 2021, a Wilson Creek truck appeared in our church parking lot. Before we knew it, we had a crew of 12 helping us revitalize what used to be our prized possession. They worked like a well-oiled machine, each worker knowing precisely what to do. With few breaks, the crew finished the job just before 1pm. Not only had they planted 100 or so vines; they had tied them up to newly placed stakes and modified the watering system for the entire vineyard.
–Emmanuel Community Demonstration Garden and Vineyard
Pumpkin Turkey Chili Recipe
To pair with 2020 Roussanne
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium bell pepper, red, yellow, or orange, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/3 pounds ground turkey or chicken
1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup tomato paste, no salt added
1 14-oz. can pumpkin puree
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
4 cups baby spinach leaves
Sour cream or nonfat plain Greek yogurt, optional
Liberally coat a large pot or Dutch oven with oil spray and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper sauté, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes or until the onion softens. Add the garlic, stir everything together and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground turkey or chicken. Use a spatula or a large spool to break up the meat as it cooks. Continue to cook about 6 to 7 minutes, until fully cooked. Add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, pumpkin puree, broth, chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, and optional cayenne pepper, and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Right before serving, add the spinach and mix throughout. Enjoy the chili with desired toppings, such as avocado, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, cilantro, and salsa.
How to Make our Chef’s Famous “Balsamic Steak”
Perfectly paired with our ’20 Viognier
For the Marinade
1lb sirloin steak
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Salad
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 heads endive lettuce, outer leaves removed, halved, and roughly chopped into 2 in. pieces
6 cups mixed spring greens
1 corn on the cob, husk removed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
For the Gremolata
1 tablespoons basil leaves
2 table spoons parsley, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Dash of salt and fresh ground pepper
In a medium sized bowl, stir together ingredients for the marinade. Place steaks in a large zip-lock bag. Pour marinade over the steaks, seal the bag, and shake to coat. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Make the gremolata: Combine the basil, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside. Preheat a cast iron grill pan at a medium-high heat or an outdoor grill. Drizzle corn on the cob with 1 tablespoon olive oil and liberally sprinkle salt and pepper. Using tongs, place on the heated grill. Cook each side until grill marks form on the corn kernels and they are somewhat softened, about 10 minutes total. When cool, slice corn kernels off the cob. Grill steak to a plate and let rest for five minutes. Slice thinly against the grain. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette. Toss together half of the vinaigrette, half of the gremolata, mixed greens, endives, tomatoes, gorgonzola, sliced corn, and red onion in a large bowl. Lay sliced steak on top of the salad. Drizzle steak and salad with gremolata and remaining vinaigrette as desired.
Why Temecula Wineries Like Wilson Creek Are Good For Creating Rose
Grenache Grapes Grown in Temecula
There are two main families of Grenache. There is the French-style Grenache and then the Tinto Grenache out of Spain. Both really like the heat, which makes them great for growing in Temecula. Currently, we have about 3-4 acres of the more traditional Grenache out of France and we just planted 5 acres of Tinto Grenache, which will provide a bit more color and richness and ultimately allow us to create a true varietal Grenache. Grenache is a very versatile grape that can be used as a great blending grape or varietal; it adds a nice essence to each wine it is blended with. It is also a very plentiful grape where we get a lot of yield and that makes it great for creating a lot of exciting wines.
One of the unique aspects of Grenache is that it can be grown in all sorts of climates, but it only truly ripens and gets mature in warmer climates. So, when you see an expression of Grenache in Temecula it is outside of the usual expectation of places where Grenache is harvested. Much of the Grenache we know is from places like Provence where it is harvested when it is younger because many of the wine-growing regions in the world are much further North and it doesn’t have the climate to reach full maturity. This has a lot to do with old world and modern day refrigeration. Old world there were only so many places where you could actually store the wine by digging into the side of a hill and then storing your barrels essentially underground to keep them under the 62-degree threshold necessary to store wine. With modern refrigeration you are now able to grow and preserve wines in varying climates, which allow them to fully mature in growing regions like Temecula.
Why Chardonnay is a Great Grape To Grow in the Temecula Valley Wine Country
Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in the world. It is adaptable from cool regions like Chablis in the northwestern region of Burgundy or even England to Mediterranean climates like Southern California and Australia. The name comes from the village of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire France, and is said to originate from the Latin word for the abundant Thistles in the region, carduus.
Wine Tasting: The Varying Tastes of Chardonnay by Climate
These two extremes in climate define the two major styles of Chardonnay you see in the tasting room. Cool climates have high acid low sugar, low alcohol, citrus fruit of green apple or pear due to the higher concentrations of malic acid. The wines are dry and often are defined by high levels of minerality. Cool region Chardonnays, including many sparkling wines, are essentially harvested underripe giving them high acid and minerality that need to be paired with food.
With warm climate Chardonnay, the malic acid is reduced; it can be either dry or slightly sweet with higher alcohol. The aromas and flavor tend towards citrus and tropical fruit, honey, butterscotch, buttery and nutty oily flavors with a viscous mouthfeel.
Warmer climate chardonnays are also sometimes oaked, a rarity with white wines. An additional process called malolactic fermentation(ML) is also common with oaked chardonnays. ML is a friendly bacteria that convert the naturally occurring grape acid Malic acid to Lactic acid, the same acid in butterfat, that in combination with vanilla from the oak barrels and you get the unique rich ‘creamy buttery quality of warm climate chardonnay
Warm climate Chardonnays are allowed to develop to full ripeness, which created the tropical fruit flavors. The challenge in the vineyard is to allow the fruit to fully ripen while retaining sufficient acid to avoid a “flabby” wine and to have enough malic acid to convert to lactic acid for that classic buttery Chardonnay. Our regenerative farming practices support a biologically active soil that delivers dense plant nutrients including trace minerals that allow the fruit to fully ripen and retain high levels of acid and minerals creating really good wines.
Wilson Creek Winery: Our Temecula Winery Chardonnays
Yes Dear, Chardonnay
100% estate-grown using regenerative farming practices. During the winemaking process, we blend old vine Chardonnay from behind Rosie Wilson’s house, which has a soft tropical fruit-driven flavor with younger blocks of chardonnay that have higher acid and minerality to get the best of both. Yes Dear is a classic California buttery (ML) style of Chardonnay with notes of tropical fruits, ripe melon and butterscotch.
Spring white is a blend of all of our estate Chardonnay, Viognier, and Muscat varietals. With a base of Chardonnay, Viognier adds structure and acid making this a refreshing palate-cleansing wine. Muscat gives roundness and a floral quality while Roussanne creates a long smooth finish. The combination of the very aromatic Muscat with the flavors of Chardonnay and bright refreshing acids and minerality of Viognier create a complex refreshing wine that pairs well with food or as a refreshing summer sipper.