What is in this article?:
- Farmerâ€™s Fury wine tells story of American agriculture
- Fact-filled label
- More than a sideline
- Winery ambition
- Farmer’s Fury 2009 Paso Robles, Calif., Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent Central Coast Cab. However, what’s under the cork is only a small part of this wine story.
- It is a wine with an attitude on the label and a San Joaquin Valley farming heritage dating back more than a century.
THE MEYER CLAN, from left: George Henry Meyer, Charles Meyer, Beverly Meyer, George Meyer with a bottle of Farmer’s Fury wine, and Charlie Meyer.
More than a sideline
This all sounds like an interesting sideline for a cotton-growing family, but it’s more than that. Like any farmers looking to diversify and spread risks, the Meyer family believes wine could contribute to the farm’s income. Farmer’s Fury is a coastal Cab, 75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles and 25 percent Ruby Cabernet from a Lemoore, Calif., vineyard owned by Roger Hewett, owner of Blair Air Service.
The Cabernet is from Summer Hill vineyards, crushed and fermented at The Crush, a winery specializing in custom crushing.
Charlie is no novice to the wine grape business. He got an inside look at the business interning at Justin Winery in Paso Robles while attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
George’s first wine convinced brother Charlie he was on to something.
“I knew something about wine and wine grapes, having worked at Justin. I thought it was a great idea when George wanted to take this to the next level and get into commercial winemaking,” said Charlie.
Mother Beverly Meyer and dad Charles are also big supporters of the family’s wine venture. “She is the heel-dragger sometimes,” laughs Charles.
“I have to hold tight to hold the boys in once in a while. Things have been tight economically in farming the past few years. Nevertheless, since the boys came back to the farm, they have been doing a great job,” says Beverly Meyer.
Farmer hoarders were around long before not throwing anything away became a reality television series. However, farmers either have to build more barns, sell stuff or haul it to the dump.
That’s how George started his winemaking career. He and his brother were cleaning out a farm shop and came across a home winemaking kit.
George bought frozen wine musk online and made 15 gallons in the family’s kitchen. “It wasn’t too difficult, and it came out pretty good,” George said. Charlie and the rest of the family agreed. That is when they started the process to become a bonded winery owner.
George decided to return to school to learn more about winemaking. He received an associate degree from College of the Sequoias in Visalia before he joined the Marines. When he was discharged he used his GI bill to enroll in the enology program at California State University, Fresno.
George admits, however, he has never been a good student: “I cannot stand sitting in class. The major at Fresno State is heavy in chemistry. I was the worst chemistry student in high school, and it had been 10 years since I took chemistry. I had to have a tutor to pass chemistry at Fresno State,” George said.