New wine debuts in conjunction with Earth Day activities for the Mendocino County winery
Redwood Valley, Mendocino, April 5, 2021 — The Barra family, proprietors of BARRA of Mendocino and Girasole Vineyards wines, announce the release of their 2019 Charlie’s Blend. This wine will be made each year as a tribute to founder and patriarch Charlie Barra, who planted his first vineyards in Mendocino County in 1955 and passed away in 2019.
In conjunction with the release of Charlie’s Blend, the BARRA of Mendocino tasting room is planning a variety of Earth Day activities during the month of April. Throughout April, any visitors to the tasting room that bring in their old corks to be recycled will get a 10% discount off their wine purchase. Visitors to the tasting room will also be entered in a weekly drawing to receive a gift certificate to local restaurants that are sourcing organically grown foods from local farmers. Martha Barra will also be leading two socially distanced vineyard tours for small groups, featuring boxed lunches and wine tasting. More details.
The 2019 Charlie’s Blend is part of the Girasole Vineyards line of wines. The wine consists of 39% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah and 16% Zinfandel. The SRP is $16 and the wine is widely available throughout the U.S. and online. Girasole (pronounced ‘jeer-o-so-lay’) is the Italian word for sunflowers, which grow in abundance in the Barra vineyards.
Charlie Barra, often referred to as Mendocino County’s “godfather of grape growing” was born in 1926, in Calpella, California, to first-generation Italian immigrants. His career in farming and grape growing would span over 70 years, and he never missed a grape harvest. Barra was a leader in organic grape growing: as he liked to say, he was farming organically before the term was invented. His goal was to make good wines of good value, from organic grapes. Barra planted varieties such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the mid-1950s in Mendocino County before other growers did so. He was one of the first growers to use a vineyard’s overhead water sprinkling system to protect the newly formed buds from frost. He was a passionate advocate for Mendocino County and was a founding member and president of the California North Coast Grape Growers Association. He was instrumental in lobbying for a variety of grower causes, including the first appellation designation in the United States and for pricing regulations that said a grower and winery had to agree on prices before grapes where crushed.
“After Charlie’s passing in 2019, we thought it would be fitting to name a wine in his honor,” explains Martha Barra, Charlie’s widow who now oversees farming for the family’s 350-acre estate. “This red blend is a fitting tribute to Charlie as it represents fruit from all three of our vineyard properties and beautifully exemplifies the payoff associated with committing ourselves to organic farming methods all these years. Our recent Double Gold designation from the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle wine competition was a wonderful third-party validation of the level of quality this wine delivers to our customers,” said Barra.
The grapes are sourced entirely from the family’s organic vineyards in Mendocino County. “This wine displays a rich, deep ruby color in the glass. It opens with alluring aromas of ripe boysenberry, light caramel and roasted pine nuts,” notes winemaker Randy Meyer. “On the palate, flavors of raspberry, toasted marshmallow and hints of vanilla tempt the tastebuds. The well-integrated tannins on this medium bodied red deliver a silk-smooth mouthfeel, and the finish is long and layered,” he adds.
The Barra family’s three vineyard properties are planted to nine different varietals. Their original 175-acre parcel purchased in 1955, Redwood Valley Vineyards, was certified organic in 1989. After selling their grapes for many years, they began making their own wine in 1997 under the BARRA of Mendocino label and added the Girasole Vineyards line in 2003.
The tasting room and event center at BARRA of Mendocino is located at 7051 North State Street, Redwood Valley, CA 95470. Outdoor tastings are by appointment only, 707/ 485-0322 or by email.
Set on 50 acres of certified organics vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, the sprawling 5,000 square foot tasting room offers 40-foot ceilings, a circular tasting bar, indoor fountain and blooming gardens. Dating back to the 1970’s, this architectural phenomenon also serves as an anchor venue for Mendocino County weddings, corporate and non-profit community events.
Girasole Vineyards wines are available at retail nationally and from the website. Current releases are 2020 Rosé (SRP $15), 2019 Muscat Canelli ($15), 2019 Pinot Blanc ($15), 2019 Chardonnay ($15), 2019 Sangiovese ($15), 2019 Pinot Noir ($16), 2019 Zinfandel ($16), 2019 Charlie’s Blend ($16), 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($16)