MENDOCINO Co., 8/3/23 — Summer is flying by, and in the world of wine, harvest is right around the corner. Wineries throughout Mendocino County are reporting veraison, the process in which green wine grapes start to change color, signifying the beginning of the ripening process. Red wine grapes, like pinot noir and cabernet, will shift from green to purple and white wine grapes, like chardonnay and riesling, will turn translucent. Harvest could start between 30 and 70 days depending on the wine varietal.
Speaking of wine, if you’re looking for a delicious, locally crafted rosé to sip this summer, be sure to check out my ten favorite rosés to drink right now.
Philo’s Phillips Hill Winery to cease operations
Toby Hill and Natacha Durandet announced in July that their winery, Phillips Hill, will sell its final bottles and welcome its final guests at the end of October. Hill purchased a property in the Mendocino Ridge in 1997 and produced his first pinot noir from Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche in 2002. Inspired by Burgundian winemaking styles, Hill’s wines are produced with native yeast and as little intervention as possible. Durandet oversees the tasting room component, serving Hill’s creations in the winery’s historic appel dryer barn to thirsty guests.
In an email, Hill wrote “after twenty seasons of discovery, exploration, passion, and hard work, it is time for us to continue our evolution and embrace new undiscovered territory.” Hill shared that he will pursue his passion for the visual arts, transforming the winery into an artist studio. He was an artist before becoming a winemaker. Durandet, a sommelier, plans to continue to work in the wine industry.
Phillips Hills’ remaining wines are still available for purchase online and at its tasting room by appointment through October 30, 2023. 5101 Hwy 128, Philo, (707) 895-2209, phillipshill.com.
Wentworth Vineyards acquires Abel Vineyard in Anderson Valley
Wentworth Vineyards, an Elk-based producer of pinot noir and chardonnay, announced this week that it purchased Abel Vineyard in Anderson Valley. Abel is located in the northwest end of the valley (the Deep End as locals call it) and was planted in 1997. In addition to the pinot noir, Wentworth plans to plant chardonnay and aligoté grapes, the latter a Burgundian white varietal rarely grown in America. The purchase includes a historic barn, which Wentworth plans to transform into a working winery. wentworthvineyard.com
Boonville Barn Collective featured on PBS
Boonville Barn Collective, the Anderson Valley-based grower “farm-to-jar” spices and chile peppers, including its signature Piment d’Ville (a California version of the Basque Piment d’Espelette), will be featured on the PBS show America’s Heartland on August 7. It’s the longest running television show showcasing American agriculture. You can watch a preview of the episode here.
New Indian food pop-up in Willits
A new ghost kitchen in Willits is receiving rave reviews from foodies: Sapna’s Kitchen. The menu features a selection of vegetarian offerings, including appetizers (samosas, pakora, potato vada), entrees (paneer tikka masala, chana masala, palak paneer, malai kofta and dal fry), sides (naan, rice, raita, salad, chutney) and gulab jamun and lassis. The prices are reasonable (appetizers start at $5 and entrees $10) and the portions are hearty according to members of Mendocino County Foodies on Facebook. Orders are placed online or via text message and are paid for and picked up at the Old West Inn (1221 S. Main St., Willits) at the agreed-upon time. Learn more here.
Fort Bragg’s Cafè 1 launches new cocktail program
Cafè 1 is known for hearty organic breakfasts, including a large menu of plant-based options. Now, the cafe hopes diners will want to enjoy their omelet with a Bloody Mary. This week, the diner launched its new cocktail menu, featuring a full bar and three signature cocktails: a Bloody Mary with organic vodka, a Bloody Maria (tequila instead of vodka) and the Café 1 Margarita. The cafe is also promoting an array of boozy coffees made with Maker’s Mark, Jameson, Bailey’s and Kahúla. 753 N Main St., Fort Bragg, (707) 964-3309.
Senior WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program returns to Fort Bragg Farmers Market
Low-income seniors can now receive $50 in vouchers to spend at the Fort Bragg Farmers Market on honey, vegetables and fruit. To receive a booklet of vouchers, stop by the market manager’s tent during market hours. The market operates May-October 3-5:30 p.m. and Nov-Apr 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Laurel & Franklin St. in downtown Fort Bragg. Qualifications and requirements to receive the vouchers are available here.
Fort Bragg Food Bank needs donations of peanut butter and instant coffee
This week’s donation priority at the Fort Bragg Food Bank is peanut butter. Peanut butter is an important source of protein and is provided in each grab and go bag the food bank distributes to Fort Bragg residents who need a little help making ends meet. Instant coffee is also needed to help perk up folk’s days. Donations can be made at donation barrels at Harvest Market or Purity Market or at the food bank 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon-Fri, 910 N. Franklin St., Fort Bragg, (707) 964-9404, fortbraggfoodbank.org.
Tickets on sale now for Arts in the Gardens in Fort Bragg, August 5-6
The 30th annual Arts in the Gardens takes place this weekend at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The two-day event is the primary fundraiser for the iconic gardens by the sea. Over 50 artists will peddle their wares, and guests can enjoy music, food and drinks while wandering the gardens. In addition to the garden’s own Rhody’s Garden Café, food vendors include A Sweet Affair Patisserie, Big Earl’s BBQ, Cowlicks Ice Cream, Fairall’s Farm, Hard Head Bread and Taqueria Ramirez. Beer will be provided by North Coast Brewing Co., and wine by BARRA, Bee Hunter, Graziano, Handley, Husch, Foursight, Frey, Murder Ridge, Seawolf, Terra Sávia, Witching Stick and more. Tickets on sale here.
August register round-up in Ukiah to support local public broadcasting
Shoppers at Ukiah Natural Foods can round up their purchases to support KZYX & Z, Mendocino County’s public radio station. 721 S. State St., Ukiah, (707) 462-4778, ukiahcoop.com.
Small but equally important updates
McCarty’s Bar in Redwood Valley is now open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They’ll be serving mimosas and Bloody Mary’s in addition to the usual liquid fare.
Princess Seafood Restaurant is no longer open on Mondays due to staffing. Its new hours are Thursday 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ukiah’s Oco Time has a new beverage menu, with an expanded selection of sake and sake-based cocktails. The Japanese restaurant also has extended its evening hours. It’s now open until 8:30 Tuesday-Saturday.
Also in Ukiah, Schat’s downtown and Friedman’s locations are closed for maintenance August 3-6. They will reopen on Monday, August 7.
Note: Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture, weather and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control.