Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Mendocino Wine Company

We just got in a case of Parducci Chardonnay, a wonderful example of its type.  Complex, clean.  Not manipulated in any way.  Oak?  Yeah, it's there.  But not unduly so.  It's really a lovely bottle of white wine at a reasonable price.  So we thought we would promote it here.  

We also thought we would report on Parducci, itself, since it's such a historic property.  Managed by the Parducci family since 1932, it's the longest continuously running winery in Mendocino County.  But now things are a little bit different.  While still run by the family, Parducci is now one of seven wineries included in The Mendocino Wine Company.  It's the only one in that group that we are familiar with.

There is much about business we don't pretend to understand.  At our station in the wine business we don't know what the arrangement is that those constituent wineries have with each other.  Are they a collective?  A cooperative?  Is The Mendocino Wine Company a business entity in itself or maybe a creation of a Wall Street insurance company?  There are players of all stripes from far and wide in the California wine industry today and while we here at V&C don't need to know their business, we are curious.

Being a small player in the wine business we understand how guys like us have to get every break we can in order to compete.  And we learn from others who share what they know.  A few years ago the rep from a well known Napa property shared with us how his company had to join other similarly sized wineries in order not to be overwhelmed by the competition.  Part of their collaboration was building one large shared winery to offset the cost of winemaking.  We also read a magazine article by Peter Seghesio who said the big players can lock the small guys out of distribution channels by their overwhelming volume of business.  As I recall, Seghesio ended up selling to one of those Wall Street Insurance companies.

At their website The Mendocino Wine Company devotes a lot of space to sustainability.  To their credit, that seems to be a cornerstone principle of the company.  They list several certifications to prove it.  All of the wines produced there are sourced from certified sustainable vineyards, some of which are certified organic.  

Water is an important issue to companies with this kind of value set.  Any by-products of wineries, even organic by-products, are not allowed to interfere with river ecosystems.  Water usage in general on the properties are limited both in the vineyards and for the use of the winemaking team.  100% of the water used on properties like these is reclaimed and then re-used.  

Cover crops and composting provide nutrients and prevent erosion in the vineyards.  Natural predators are introduced and maintained so toxic chemicals aren't needed.  Wildlife corridors and habitats are fostered.  Solar and wind power are the clean energy sources most favored.

All in all, The Mendocino Wine Company, however they are constituted, seems to be an asset to the industry. 

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