After a lengthy search -- which included a canceled deal to buy the defunct Ruby Hill winery and 105 acres of unplanted vineyard land in Livermore Valley from Wente Vineyards -- Grahm recently purchased a building in downtown Santa Cruz.
Oddly enough, his new site is next door to a building he leases to house one of his current winemaking facilities, which are each too small to handle all of the wide range of wines that Bonny Doon produces. The new building, a "fixer-upper," was formerly a granola manufacturing plant. "What could be more quintessentially Santa Cruz?" observed Grahm.
Although the design is still in the "pre-pre-pre-schematic phase," said Grahm, he made the uncharacteristic promise that it will be a "rational and functional facility" ready in time for the crush in 2000. The new winery should enable the wayfaring vintner to consolidate his three California winemaking operations, which are currently spread through Livermore Valley and Santa Cruz, under one roof.
This still leaves Bonny Doon and its sister label Ca' del Solo without a vineyard that would help guarantee their grape supply. Grahm grows only 20 percent of his grapes, and sources for his beloved marginally popular varieties are few and far between, given the pressure for growers to plant market-driven varieties such as Chardonnay and Merlot.
His latest adoption of an arcane Mediterranean variety is Club Montonico -- a tasty concoction of 69 percent Montonico and 31 percent Orange Muscat, infused with orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon and clove. The versatile wine can be paired with lightly sweet fruit-based desserts or used in place of vermouth in gin martinis.
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