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Vino Metate Winery to introduce two Spanish varietals to Mother Lode region

Time:2019-08-21 01:48wine - Red wine life health Click:

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Vino Metate Winery to introduce two Spanish varietals to Mother Lode region

Michael Stange, owner of Vino Metate Winery in Angels Camp, walks through his vineyards. Stange will introduce two Spanish varietals that are unique to his winery in the United States.

Enterprise photo by Davis Harper

It took five years of exploring Spanish vineyards, 10 years of waiting and three years of growing, but in the coming weeks, Michael Stange, co-owner of the Angels Camp-based Vino Metate Winery, will be pouring the first vintages of two new white varietals in the country.

Nestled between Carmen Peak to the west and Bear Mountain to the east in Bar XX off Highway 4, Metate Hill Vineyards is home to Spanish grapes exclusively, three of which were the first to be seeded in the United States.

“I didn’t necessarily come here to grow Spanish grapes, but when I landed here, it made obvious sense,” Stange says in the tasting room, a rustic hole in the wall in historic downtown Angels Camp.

In 2001, Stange and his wife, Sierra, followed the 38th parallel across the Atlantic Ocean to reach the southern tip of Spain on a search for the supreme wine varietals for the Angels Camp region. They visited over 40 wine regions around the country, taking soil samples and interviewing winery owners to hone in on the most productive grapes for their vineyard. Those turned out to be two native Spanish whites, Godello and Treixadura.

“The thought process of that is the latitude here – the 38th parallel runs right through Angels Camp, so if you were to spin the globe you go through the lower portion of Spain, below Italy, into Sicily and Greece,” Stange says. “As you go up in elevation (toward Arnold) you’ll get cooler temperatures that mimic higher latitude temperatures closer to northern Spain and France.”

Vino Metate Winery to introduce two Spanish varietals to Mother Lode region

Michael Stange, owner of Vino Metate Winery in Angels Camp, walks through his vineyards. Stange will introduce two Spanish varietals that are unique to his winery in the United States.

Enterprise photo by Davis Harper

Southern Spain and Angels Camp share trade wind patterns and are positioned at the same angle to the sun, which make for consistent growing patterns for wine, according to Stange.

In the red-wine-dominated Calaveras wine country, the idea was to promote something different with the two whites, according to Stange.

“People say you can’t grow a lot of white wines here,” Stange says. “So I thought that’s an opportunity to find the right white wine varietals that would work in this area.”

The couple also brought a clone of a red grape, Mencia, back from Spain, but it’s not producing enough fruit for a harvest yet.

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