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Viticulture Briefs: winemaker Helen Turley inducted into California Hall of Fame

Vintner Turley inducted into Hall of Fame

Sonoma County vintner Helen Turley is part of the latest class of inductees into the California Hall of Fame. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced the ?10 new inductees on Nov. 13.

A graduate of Cornell University, Turley gained recognition working with well-known local producers such as Peter Michael, Bryant and Colgin. She was one of the few female winemakers in the region at the time.

With her husband, John Wetlaufer, the couple founded Marcassin Vineyard along the Sonoma Coast in the early 1990s and developed the planting of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes in the area, which are now recognized as the flagship varietals for the wine region.

Their Marcassin label has gained plaudits from wine critics through the years with Robert Parker once writing: “In the autumn years of my career I have come to think this (Marcassin) may be the greatest chardonnay in the world.”

Fetzers expand their wine business

Third-generation vintners Ben and Jake Fetzer have expanded their business with the launch of Rural Wine Co., a new wine brand that focuses on sub-appellations in Mendocino County.

The two, the children of Bobby and Sheila Fetzer, operate the Masút winery in Redwood Valley. The Masút brand was founded 10 years ago and they have worked to make it into a nationally distributed, premium label that focuses on estate-grown pinot noir from their vineyard.

“With Rural, we want to highlight the lesser-known appellations in Mendocino County. Mendocino is a large region with wide diversity in its sub-appellations,” said Jake Fetzer said in a statement.

The first release from Rural will be a 2018 pinot noir. It will sell for $25 a bottle, with the fruit coming from the Eagle Peak appellation in Mendocino County, which is just north of Redwood Valley. A chardonnay will be introduced in the first half of 2020 and then followed by a cabernet sauvignon.

CellarPass to aid Kincade fire relief

CellarPass, the online platform that allows tourists to book and pay for winery tasting room visits, will donate $1 for every reservation booked through the end of the year to animal relief efforts in the aftermath of the Kincade fire.

The San Francisco company will make the donations to Pets Lifeline, which provides shelter, adoption and other services for dogs and cats in need throughout the Sonoma Valley.

“CellarPass is a locally owned business, and our hearts were broken when we saw how large of a scale the Kincade wildfire had become in just a few days,” Sarah Elliman, CellarPass co-founder, said in a statement. “When we read the news that many families were being turned away because the local community shelters were no longer accepting pets, we wanted to ensure people knew about local shelters that are here to help.”

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to ?bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com.

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