May 2, 2014

Farm Beat: Gallo adds vineyard; Sonora awaits Roundup

E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto announced this week that it has bought the Ledgewood Creek Winery and Vineyard in Solano County.

Today, we catch up on wine news and a beloved Sonora event that leans more toward beer.

E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto announced this week that it has purchased the Ledgewood Creek Winery and Vineyard in Solano County. It will use the 230-acre vineyard but has no immediate plans to operate the winery or tasting room.

The vineyard produces premium grapes that include chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. It lies in the North Coast viticultural area, as designated by the federal government, between the premium Napa and Lodi regions.

“This vineyard is a great addition to our portfolio to support the rapid growth we have had in our premium wine business,” said Roger Nabedian, senior vice president and general manager for that segment.

It’s yet another expansion for Gallo, the world’s largest winery. It produces most of its volume in the San Joaquin Valley and has other ventures on the California coast and in Washington state, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. The company also has a few spirits brands.

Terms of the Ledgewood Creek purchase were not disclosed.

Roundup returns

Tuolumne County celebrates its cattle ranching heritage with the Mother Lode Roundup, returning for the 57th time next weekend.

I have a soft spot for the Roundup: I started my career at the Union Democrat in Sonora during the week of the event, which includes a massive parade right past the newspaper building. It also features a two-day rodeo and other activities at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds.

The parade is something to behold, with about 200 entries – bands, floats, horses and more – making their way past buildings that date as far back as the 1850s. It starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, but you’ll want to get there early because parking is tight.

My favorite memory: A certain bagpipe band used to take part every year, walking up Washington Street in kilts to the parade’s end at the Red Church. The musicians then reversed course and visited every bar on the street, playing at a volume that could very well have collapsed some of those old buildings.

The Roundup is a calmer event these days, but still worth a drive up from the San Joaquin Valley. Tuolumne County has had a rough time of late, with the Rim fire and a short ski season, so it welcomes visitors to drop a little cash.

More information on the Roundup, including rodeo times and prices, is at

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