The Clarksburg American Viticultural Area (AVA) covers 57,000 acres in Sacramento and Yolo Counties, with 17,000 acres of vineyards planted between levees that line the rivers and sloughs of this California Delta region.
With warm days and cool nights, the Delta’s cooling influence enables production of varieties not typically grown in California’s inland regions. The area grows 25 varieties, and plantings of Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio have increased significantly since 2006.
Production is nearly 70% white varieties, led by Chardonnay, then Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The percentage of red varieties is catching up, led by Merlot, then Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.
Wines & Vines reports that during Clarksburg Grape Day on March 5, the Clarksburg Wine Growers & Vintners Association presented plans for new promotional programs to increase consumer awareness of the appellation. The annual meeting, organized by CWGVA and U.C. Cooperative Extension’s Sacramento County farm advisor Chuck Ingels, also focused on economic issues related to cost-effective vineyard management and grower contracts.
Many of Clarksburg’s growers come from families that have farmed locally since the 1800s. But winegrape growing began more recently, in the 1960s, when the Bogle family started planting vineyards and later launched the area’s highest production and best known winery.
With about 75 members, CWGVA recently added “Vintners” to its name to reflect growth in local wineries and tasting rooms that now number about a dozen. CWGVA President Tim Waits, owner of Lake Winchester Vineyards, said, “We’ve been a large grape production area for many years, but we haven’t done much until now for local winery promotion.”
CWGVA programs being planned include:
* Sustainable certification of vineyards through a partnership with the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission to use the “Lodi Rules” certification standards and program, but with a different name for promotion and labeling.
* Partnering with the Discover the Delta Foundation that will begin construction this year on the Delta Information Center, near Rio Vista, to provide tourist info on “Delta Wine Country,” hold tasting events, and have a farm stand to sell area wines and ag products.
* New promotional materials and maps, a new “Clarksburg Wine Country” logo, and directional signs to increase tourism at local tasting rooms.