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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (January 15, 2016) Grenache is widely planted around the world. It is the second most widely planted grape in France, making up 60 percent of the acreage in the Rhone Valley and 70 percent of the acreage in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Planted in approximately 500,000 acres worldwide, grenache can be found in Spain, Italy and Australia, as well as in California. But in California, acreage has declined over the last 20 years from approximately 12,000 acres to approximately 6,500 acres today. Despite this reduction in acreage, grenache production and consumption is on the rise, according to a recent seminar with the Rhone Rangers. Grenache on the Rise American wine critic and author of the forthcoming American Rhone Wine Movement, Patrick Comiskey moderated a panel of winemakers from throughout California as a tasting and discussion was underway about the rise of grenache in California. “Despite being grown here more or less continuously for over 150 years, grenache’s range of flavors, its regional expression and its level of profundity are still a long way from being realized,” Comiskey said. “It may have more potential than any other Rhone variety currently grown in the U.S., so it’s time to have a look at the state of the grape.”
Who hasn't thought, for even a brief moment, about owning a winery?  And, why not in Napa Valley where there is a 150 year old history of grape growing? At a recent media seminar/lunch in Los Angeles moderated by Patrick Comiskey, four producers who come from different backgrounds discussed what brought them to Napa. These producers are the “new guard” in Napa. From the original founders to their inheritors to the 3rd generation and then the vintners and growers, many generations have made their mark on Napa. And now this “new guard” made up of entrepreneurs and innovators are redefining Napa yet again.
(First posted on November 6, 2012 on www.tastingpanelmag.com) In September, six top Dry Creek producers — Paul Draper (Ridge), Erik Miller (Kokomo), Clay Mauritson (Mauritson and Rockpile), Doug Nalle (Nalle), Hugh Chappelle (Quivira) and Julie Pedroncelli (Pedoncelli) — participated in a panel discussion at Ridge Winery, "Debunking Zinfandel Myths," led by journalist Patrick Comiskey.
Left to right: Hugh Chappelle, Erik Miller, Paul Draper, Clay Mauritson, Patrick Comiskey, Doug Nalle and Judy Pedroncelli.
  With vines dating to pre-Prohibition, Zinfandel is the grape most uniquely associated with California viticulture and was the first variety to create a wine craze in California; it is still known as "as the wine of the people." Today there is a renewed interest in this varietal as Zinfandel is being rediscovered and re-appreciated. But do we want Old World or New World style Zin? "It's a troublesome question to address," Comiskey explained. "Dry Creek really is a place of effortless naturalness for American Zinfandel.  It is in a climate range that guarantees ripeness, and Dry Creek seems ideally suited for getting Zinfandel ripe in a balanced way."