In 2022, Northern California experienced record-breaking extreme heat, with temperatures exceeding 115° in some areas, threatening and destroying significant areas of wine grapes. With climate change, high heat and drought will occur with increasing frequency and intensity. This salon will explore ways to plan for and reduce these climate impacts, from rootstock, compost & biochar, row orientation, and trellising at replant, to shade cloth and canopy management, to irrigation and misting.
Matt Brain, Winemaker at Alpha Omega, will moderate a conversation with Tod Mostero, Director of Viticulture & Winemaking at Dominus Estate, sharing recent approaches to replanting for dry farming, and their use of misting; Steve McIntyre, Founder & Owner of Monterey Pacific, will share their work on regenerative farming, including the benefits they’ve seen over seven years since applying compost & biochar; and Beth Forrestel PhD, Asst. Professor of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis, will share her research and perspective on vineyard management in the face of extreme heat events.
This Salon will discuss tough questions: Are there temperature tipping points where misting is our only tool, and what are the water use ramifications? How do we use a conservation lens to achieve varying winemaker goals? How do we shift away from creating weak vines that require excess irrigation, to minimal water use that strengthens the relationship of vine to place?
Director of Viticulture and Winemaking, the French connection runs strong through Mostero, who studied in Bordeaux and trained at Château Haut-Brion, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix. He worked with Baron Philippe de Rothschild in the Languedoc and at Almaviva in Chile before returning to his native California to join Dominus Estate in 2007.
“Christian Moueix has been my guide throughout my career and has been my greatest example of a perfect winemaker. He is clear, precise and is profoundly attached to the vineyard. He has guided me from the beginning.”
Winemaker Matt Brain, possessing a master’s degree in biosciences and a background in process engineering, brings naturalist philosophies and highly technical abilities to winemaking at Alpha Omega where he began as Associate Winemaker. After leaving a successful career in the Toronto area to pursue his dream of winemaking in California, the Ontario, Canada native joined Phase 2 Cellars, a custom winemaking operation in San Luis Obispo, for the 2006 harvest. Matt was quickly promoted to supervise cellar operations for the facility’s premium label, Tolosa, while receiving mentorship from some of the most renowned and respected professionals in California.
Matt earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in biosciences at Sam Houston State University, where he was a decathlete. He also earned a winemaking degree from UC Davis and held winemaker titles at prominent California wineries and winemaker/lecturer positions with Enology and Viticulture programs at both Cal Poly and Fresno State universities. He partnered with The Vineyard Team, which promotes sustainable winegrowing, as a Sustainability Auditor and continues to educate as a Podcast Host for the organization. Matt’s passion for the environment benefits Alpha Omega, where the land and winery are both Napa Green certified and the Vineyard Management team practices sustainable farming.
In 1982 Steve McIntyre received his master’s degree in enology from California State University, Fresno. In 1982 he and his wife Kimberly moved to Carmel Valley, California to develop Galante Vineyards and Winery. In late 1983 Steve took a position with Smith & Hook Winery in Soledad, Calif. as an Assistant Winemaker, later returning to his agrarian roots to become viticulturist in 1985.
In 1992 Steve and Kimberly founded Monterey Pacific, Inc., a viticulture management and development company, which rapidly grew from 432 acres to become the 5th largest vineyard management company in the U.S. at over 17,000 acres.
In 2002, along with partners Mike Filice and Eric Laumann, Steve cofounded the Monterey Wine Company in King City, California. This12,000 ton state of the art custom wine processing facility developed a reputation for first class customer service and technological prowess. Among its many notable accomplishments MWC was the first commercial winery in the US to introduce Flash détente to the wine industry.
Steve and Kim founded McIntyre Vineyards on 1998 and produce small lot, handmade wines from their Estate Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. They have a Tasting Studio in The Crossroads Shopping Center in Carmel and are developing a Hospitality Center at their Estate Vineyard on River Road near Gonzales.
Steve received the Wine Grape Grower of the Year from the California Association of Wine Grape Growers in 2013.
Steve is an appointed member and past chairman of the CDFA Pierces Disease Board, Chairman of its Product Development and Research Screening Committee(s); a member of the California Association of Wine Grape Growers, a graduate of Class 21 of the California Ag Leadership Program, previously a board member of the Big Sur Land Trust and currently serving as a board member of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency. Steve and Kim have 3 children and reside in Salinas, California.
Elisabeth Forrestel studies the phylogenetic and functional basis of drought and heat responses in grapes, and ways to mitigate climate change impacts in viticulture. Her work includes incorporating monitoring technology in vineyards and using remote sensing data to help paint a fuller picture of the environmental factors that most significantly affect plant growth, berry chemistry and, ultimately, wine quality.