IGGPRA Presidents Page
Dr. Lowell Zelinski
Let me start by saying I’m very excited to be the president of the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area. My wife and I have lived in the Paso area since 2004 and have been deeply involved in the Paso grape industry. Though we don’t own a vineyard (we do have a couple of vines in my yard) our livelihood is tied very closely to the grape industry in Paso Robles.
We own a small vineyard management and consulting service called Precision AG Consulting. We own a winery (First Crush Cellars) and are the founders of numerous seminars and trade shows that dealt with viticulture and enology (VINE and most prominently WiVi which is now the largest wine industry event on the central coast).
Dear Growers, Associates and Friends of IGGPRA
Where in the heck is the rain we were all promised? I feel that as I “hunker down” in front of the TV at night most weather forecasters are making it up as they go, fabricating models that will soon deliver the kind of moisture that were all preparing for. And yet, ZIP. Wait till mid March. We can but dream.
Pruning has begun in our vineyard in earnest and coupled with the warm weather green tissue won’t be far behind, once again an early invitation to some of the ills that plagued us in 2015. We certainly hope that the March lamb will sweet talk old Leo to be kinder and gentler in 2016.
Our February Social, Annual Meeting and Director elections, held on Saturday February 27 was a great success. Held at the Estrella Warbirds Museum it was our first attempt at a new format designed to encourage interaction amongst members and guests and nothing facilitates interaction as well as pasta and Italian wine. Becky Zelinski arranged the affair which was a great success. She will be around for the next Social and its bound to present some surprises, so don’t miss it.
Since last we talked your IGGPRA has been busy spreading the word about the association’s value to its membership through our November seminar, Pioneer Day participation, Sustainable Ag Expo and setting plans for activities in early 2016. We have already planned another Farm & Vineyard Trading Day for late January, a pruning seminar in mid January and participation in WiVi in March. We look forward to building activities that bring value to the Association particularly now while the vineyard is sleeping.
We ended the year with our annual Christmas/Holiday Social at the Mission San Miguel featuring catering by Cahoots and a spectacular prime rib with all the fixings, music by Highway 41 and a special raffle of items donated by our valued Associates. It was a small but happy group of revelers.
For many of us the 2015 vintage is now in the tank. I mean “in the tank” literally and figuratively. The consensus of many vineyard owners is that yields are off by 30% or more over 2014 and while one of the many causes can be laid at the feet of unusual early weather patterns, one cannot diminish the impact of the pervasive drought on the Central Coast and elsewhere in California. The understanding of the phenomena that created this yield problem, explained in detail at IGGPRA’s September 30 Seminar, is important in helping us guide activities in preparation for the 2016 vintage. In the face of these weather related causes one may feel helpless. But, before we dismiss any actions designed to mitigate the impact of 2015 on future vintages, don’t be too quick to surrender. Stay tuned.
Our September Seminar was a huge success and we thank our presenters, attendees and Vinya Robles Winery for providing their auditorium. Over 100 people attended for the largest turnout in recent memory. Certainly the subject matter was an important draw as 4 attendees signed up for 2016 membership in IGGPRA. We welcome them to our community of growers, wineries and associates and promise to continue the same level of involving and timely seminars throughout 2016.
Dear fellow growers, associates and friends of IGGPRA
Once again we are heading for the home stretch. Harvest will be upon us shortly. In fact, several of you have already begun. Early indications bear out the challenging nature of the 2015 vintage with some estimates as much as 30% below 2014 on many varietals. Not much left to do now except plan for the forecasted “El Nino” and hope that the reality is at least half of expected. In the meantime give your winemaker a hug. They seem to be able to pull off miracles and I’m sure they will do it again in 2015.