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Wine, Food, Farms, and Finds

Good food and wine sustain us best when produced with care and shared with friends.

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octobre, 2019

California harvest worker

Primed for Success

Winegrapes are an extremely high-value crop in California. Alas, each vintage’s outcome is not entirely up to the farmers. Nature always has the last word. But California grape growers set themselves up for success by farming sustainably, with practices that build soil health, create habitat for beneficial insects, and keep their vines as resilient as possible.

California’s winegrape harvest is the culmination of a year-long cycle that resumes almost as soon as the previous harvest ends. In the fall, growers sow a cover crop to help minimize erosion, replenish nutrients, and smother weeds. In spring, when the growing season begins, they monitor soil moisture intently; sophisticated underground probes determine when vines need water to guarantee that growers don’t waste a drop. Many modern viticultural practices, such as deficit irrigation (keeping vines a little thirsty), aren’t just better for the environment. They yield higher-quality, more consistent fruit, too.

The Pour

Which Wine?

“Red meat with red wine” is almost always a sensible strategy. While it’s a rule to break on occasion (steak tartare loves bubbles), it won’t often lead you astray. A grilled bone-in cut of beef has that primal, charred aroma that calls for a red wine with sturdy tannins. The hefty Porterhouse—king of steaks—commands respect. Only a muscular red wine can stand its ground in such company. With this recipe, all signs point to a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of California’s top regions. (Napa Valley, Sonoma and Paso Robles come to mind.) A recent vintage with rich, youthful fruit or a mature bottle softened by age? That’s up to you, but you are in for a regal meal either way.

Wine Institute is an association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state. Wine Institute works to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities. For information please contact

Certified sustainable producer Jordan Winery, owner of the Wine Country Table website and magazine, consents to Wine Institute’s use of its trademark for this book. Find food, wine, entertaining and travel tips at