Feds propose new West Sonoma Coast wine territory

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Feds propose West Sonoma Coast wine appellation

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau proposed a new designated wine appellation for Sonoma County on the western portion near the coast. The proposal was issued Thursday in the Federal Register.

The West Sonoma Coast appellation would cover 141,846 acres and be located within the massive existing Sonoma Coast appellation as well as the Fort Ross–Seaview viticultural area. The area would be the 19th wine appellation in Sonoma County.

The federal agency acted based on a petition filed by the West Sonoma Coast Vintners organization. The group represents 47 vineyards covering about 1,028 planted acres — mostly pinot noir and chardonnay.

The vintners contend their area is much cooler than other portions of the existing Sonoma Coast appellation with its marine layer. They also argue the area is in a mountain region with steeper slopes, which makes the terroir or climate more distinctive than other parts of the existing appellation.

The areas covered would include such places as Annapolis, Occidental and Freestone. Comments on the proposal must be received by Jan. 7.

SRJC offers new wine class on causes of spoilage

Santa Rosa Junior College is offering a new wine class for spring 2019 on the causes that make wine go bad.

The class is Wine 123: Causation and Detection of Wine Faults. It is a six-week introductory wine sensory course designed to teach basic analytical wine-tasting techniques and expose students to the causes and effects that result in flaws and faults in wine.

Journalist Deborah Parker Wong will teach the course. It will be held on Thursdays from March 28 through May 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Lark Hall Room 2060.

To register go to SRJC website at

Fetzer Vineyards receives environmental award

Fetzer Vineyards of Hopland on Wednesday received the state’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.

The company was chosen for expanding on its longstanding commitment to sustainability along with its innovative waste management program. Fetzer Vineyards began tracking and reporting its waste in 1990 and became the world’s first winery to achieve a True Zero Waste certification in 2014, with a diversion rate of over 98 percent of its the waste from landfills and incineration.

This was the third time the winery has been recognized with the award.

“We are very pleased to receive this recognition as it underscores the importance of a focus on waste reduction as critical to our efforts to pursue climate-smart practices in our business,” Cindy DeVries, chief operating officer for Fetzer Vineyards, said in a statement.

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to clarify the boundaries of the proposed West Sonoma Coast area.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

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