Dutton brothers to be honored by Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Joe and Steve Dutton will be honored at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Dinner on Oct. 1 for the 2017 sustainable farming award.

The two operate their family’s Graton ranch, which produces wine grapes and certified organic apples. The brothers farm more than 400 separate grape blocks on their estate, which results in different harvest picks for their premium grapes. The fair board noted that many vintners use Dutton Ranch vineyard designation on their labels because of the farm’s reputation for quality grapes.

They house 94 employees on the ranch — many through the federal government’s H2A program for foreign workers — and have 15 houses for foremen and their families.

“Sustainability is doing the best we can for our own business, our employees and the environment, while keeping the bottom line always in mind,” Steve Dutton said in a statement. “Involving our kids and transitioning our business to the next generation is what we believe sustainability is all about.”

The brothers started early in their childhood by helping their father, Warren, with needed work around the farm. Steve started working full time on the ranch in 1987 after two years at UC Davis. Joe joined after he graduated high school.


Mendocino County wine event raises more than $700,000

The 33rd annual Winesong event raised more than $700,000 for the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation on Sept. 8-9, fueled by an auction for wine lots and trips. Many local vintners participated in the event.

The items that generated the most bidding activity included a 10-day trip to South Africa at $21,000, while excursions to Italy and Amsterdam each garnered $18,000. A 20-bottle collection of Chateau Gruaud Larose Grand Cru sold for $16,000 and a rare wine lot featuring companion vineyards from Chateau Pichon Longueville was bought for $17,000.

“This year’s Winesong had a different layout than in the past, and one of the main purposes was to encourage general admission ticket holders to register for bidder paddles and join the fun,” said Jamie Peters, the event director for Winesong, in a statement. “And I’m happy to say that it worked. We had more new bidders than ever and are encouraged ourselves to continue to make it easy and convenient for all guests to participate in the auctions as well as the beautiful tasting.”


Wine Institute study profiles typical winery visitor

The Wine Institute, the main trade group for California vintners, recently released the results of an online survey of 2,000 visitors to wine regions within the Golden State.

Overall, the typical visitor is 44 years old and likely female, as women accounted for 54 percent of the respondents. Baby boomers accounted for 40 percent, Gen Xers 22 percent and millennials 36 percent of the visitors.

The majority of visitors are married (68 percent) and split evenly between residing in an urban (46 percent) or suburban (44 percent) area. They also are well-educated and have higher incomes compared to the national average leisure traveler, according to the survey.


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