Farm Press Blog

Re-inventing a Central Coast wine grape vineyard

  • Vineyard manager Andy Mitchell has helped the Hahn Family Wines wine grape operation in Monterey County re-invent itself over the last 15 years with varieties which are a better fit for the area’s unique soils and climate.

I  have travelled hundreds of miles in late July zigzagging across farm regions in several California Central Coast counties as Western Farm Press editor.

It has been a spectacular, visual ride witnessing California’s food cornucopia ‘under construction’ in farm fields.

Interviews with numerous growers have unveiled what those in agriculture already understand – a love and respect for the land, the thrill of getting one’s hands dirty in the soil, raising a crop from a seed or small plant to harvest, and accomplishing this amazing feat in a sustainable manner.

The message from wine grape growers I’ve visited is the same – a good clean crop with good fruit quality.

Andy Mitchell, director of viticulture with Hahn Family Wines, shared two hours out of his busy day with this journalist at the Soledad operation in the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County.

Mitchell said grape quality is good, despite some pressure from powdery mildew and mealybugs. Treatments have managed the challenges. Yields are right on target.

The Hahn Family grows about 1,100 acres of wine grapes. The varieties include Pinot Noir (50-plus percent), Chardonnay, Grenache, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Malbec, and Syrah. About 40 clones are produced.

“Clones are to a winemaker as a palate is to a painter,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell has helped re-invent the Hahn wine grape operation over the last 15 years with varieties with a better fit for the area’s soils and climate. Look for the full story with Mitchell, and his cultural practices in grape production, coming up on the Western Farm Press website and in Western Farm Press magazine.

Travelling across Monterey County, vegetable fields on the Salinas Valley floor were busy places. Broccoli was under sprinkler irrigation with the always amazing sound of water thrust into the air and landing on the plants and soil. Music to the ears.

Cheers from the Central Coast. My dusty car needs a car wash…or two.

Discuss this Blog Entry 0

Post new comment
or to use your Western Farm Press ID
What's Farm Press Blog?

The Farm Press Daily Blog

Connect With Us

Blog Archive
Continuing Education Courses
New Course
California is becoming the first state in the nation to invoke regulations to reduce Volatile...
New Course
Ant control is an important element of harvesting a high quality almond crop. It starts with...
This accredited CE course focuses on choosing the correct variety alfalfa based on a number of...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×