Showing posts from April, 2015

Cooper Vineyards Barbera: The dollar that changed a region

Part 2 of my telling of Amador County’s heritage, in collaboration with the organizers of the upcoming Amador Four Fires (please see Part 1 – The Original Grandpère Vineyard: Powerful Women, Grapes and Wines)
DickCooper, whose family originally arrived in the Sierra Foothills in 1919, is generally considered Amador County’s “Godfather of Barbera.”Zinfandel might be Amador’s heritage grape, but it is a grape that does well in other parts of California.Barbera, on the other hand, makes a red wine that many of today’s wine lovers believe grows better in Amador County than just about anywhere else in the world – even as well as the Piedmont region in Italy, where the grape originated.
That makes Mr. Cooper’s story an important one indeed; and we’re fortunate that, although he recently has had to slow down his storied career just a little bit, he now has more time to tell his tale.
According to Mr. Cooper, “In the late 1970s we had an abundance of pasture land, 35 acres of prunes, and walnuts…

The Original Grandpère Vineyard: Powerful Women, Grapes and Wines

This is Part 1 of my telling of Amador County’s heritage done for the organizers of the upcoming Amador Four Fires; a culinary and wine celebration taking place in Plymouth’s Amador County Fairgounds on May 2, 2015.Amador County’s heritage is all about the fascinating history of its vineyards and wines, woven with stories of the colorful, hard-scrabble people who made it happen. A few of the brighter threads:

Farmers, dreamers, risk takers...
Scrawled on a chalkboard in the recently opened Prospect Cellars on Plymouth’s Main St., you can see an homage to the families, farmers, vets, county fairs, traditions, sunsets, rain, FFA, 4H pigs, dance partners, dreamers, risk takers, and all the other things that make Amador Amador.
And so naturally, in the small-town setting of Amador County, things that happened over 150 years ago are as fresh in people’s minds as last week’s events.Prospect Cellars proprietor Jamie Colburn-Lubenko, the former Executive Director of Amador Vintners Association, …