Home vineyard thrives locally in Carlsbad

On a cool overcast morning near the Carlsbad coast, some 60 neighbors and friends gathered at the Peder and Julie Norby residence, excited by the fact that they would be helping complete the Norbys’ harvest of 740 pounds of Italian Brunello grapes.
It was an early Sunday and Norby instructed the assembled on the art of cutting the precious clusters of plump, ripe red grapes, placing them in flat containers and pruning off the ones that had rotted. Once done with that phase, the grapes were to be placed into the crusher and de-stemmer and the juice stored and cold-soaked for later fermentation and barrel time. Peder estimates that he will have about 85 gallons of juice producing up to 400 bottles of “Carlsbad Brunello.” Norby joyfully shouted “We nailed it! Perfectly aligned sugar and alcohol.” Peder went on, “You can grow grapes in coastal North County very successfully but you need to know what you are doing regarding the clone (grape varietal attached to the vine), canopy management, site location ( wind and sun) and disease control. We had a great first year harvest.” Pete Anderson, a Carlsbad Italian varietal vineyard consultant provided expert advice and assisted at every phase of this labor of love.
Anticipation was high on just how Norby’s Brunello would taste, given the earth’s characteristics on his property. “One of the greatest joys and intellectual journeys will be discovering the unique tasting properties provided by our land and the Montalcino, Italy Brunello clone we have used.” And it should get better as the vines will age to a “sweet spot” of seven or more years. “We are very pleased with our progress and in about a year, we will be tasting our earth through our grapes,” Norby joyfully exclaimed. “How cool is that?”
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Sales strong for worldwide wine maker
Constellation Brands owns and markets wines from all over the world. Brands include Mondavi, Geyser Peak, Clos du Bois, Wild Horse, Hogue and many more. So when it reported a recent 24 percent increase in wine profits in a lousy economy, that caught my eye. “People drink when the economy is good and they drink more when the economy is not so good,” Mike Martin, the company’s vice president, said. “People are changing their habits to reflect tougher times. There is more wine consumption at home than in other cycles.” He pointed out that his company is selling more in the $10- to $15-per-bottle market.
Best sellers are still Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with wine gaining share over beer and hard spirits.
The Local Sip
— St. Supery wines from Napa are the featured selections at the next wine event at the Oasis Bar and Grill in San Diego from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 17. A five-course dinner is included. The cost is $65 per person. Call (858) 410-0656 for details.
— Tesoro Winery is hosting a wine pairing fundraising dinner in its tasting room in old town Temecula from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 18. The “Uncork for a Cure” event is $65 per person and includes a five-course meal and live music. For more, call (951) 308-0000.
— The latest Grape Stomp and Harvest Festival in Temecula Wine Country is at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa on Oct. 19. Contests, grape stomping, wine tasting, a barbecue, dancing and more will be featured. Call (951) 587-9463 for details.
— Meet Napa wine maker Drew Dickson from Andrew Lane wines at Bacchus Wine Market in the Gaslamp District of San Diego from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25. Four wines will be poured. The cost is $10 per person. Call (619) 236-0005 for details.
— Savory Casual Fare in Encinitas hosts weekly wine events each Thursday in October. Chef Vignau brings in Treana Winery of Paso Robles. Choice of Sip N Sample or Sip N Savor dinners. Events begin at 6:30 p.m. For details, call (760) 634-5556.