Fruit of the vine

Announcing Butte County Wine Week; Tender Loving Coffee roasts for the Ridge

I had an opportunity this past weekend to attend the Arc of Butte County’s 19th annual Wine, Beer & Food Tasting benefit, and it was, as anticipated, a ton of fun. Over a dozen local wineries and breweries took part in the festivities, providing an opportunity to taste a lot of the region’s bounty all in one place.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as the CN&R last week quietly announced this summer’s inaugural Butte County Wine Week, and it gave me a chance to hobnob with local winemakers and drum up some excitement. Several of them informed me they already were percolating on special events to coincide with the week—actually 10 days, June 7-16. Think Chico Beer Week, but with wine—check for updates, including how to participate.

The event also featured live music, an auction, and art by some of Arc’s clients, and I bought a rad little multidimensional painting by an artist named Renee. I spoke to Alan Carrier, longtime Arc art teacher, who works with adults with developmental disabilities, about the pieces on display and he beamed when I said I was going to buy one. “That’ll make Renee really happy,” he told me.

Something new that I noticed in visiting with the various winery owners and staff on Sunday is that two distinct geographical areas have banded together to market themselves. In south county, Bangor Ranch Vineyard & Winery, Cobble Ridge Artisan Distillery, Hickman Family Vineyards and Spencer-Shirey Wines have joined forces to represent the Bangor Wine & Spirits Region. (Look ’em up on Facebook.) And just south of Chico, Almendra Winery & Distillery, Dog Creek Cellars, Gale Vineyards and Nascere Vineyards are marketing themselves as the Durham Wine District. Very cool!

Speaking of Nascere, if the name sounds almost familiar, it is. Earlier this month, winemakers Jess and Vanessa Pitney announced that they were changing the name of their Nesseré Vineyards to Nascere after learning that another winery, in Calistoga, had already claimed the former. Check out Nascere—Italian for “to be born”—and its gorgeous new cornhole setup at 3471 Durham-Dayton Highway, Sat.-Sun., noon-5 p.m.

Some tasting highlights from Sunday: the Atomix red blend from Butte Valley’s Straw House Cellars, the Drama blend by Oroville’s Live Vine Vineyard & Winery, the PM Frenzy blend from Spencer-Shirey and Almendra’s Luna blend. Apparently I was feeling the blends that day!

Cool Beans Chico roaster Tender Loving Coffee released its RISE blend over the weekend (March 23) to benefit Camp Fire survivors. “We know that many impacted by the tragedy fear that support will dry up just as they are ready to receive it,” TLC co-founder Heath Dewey said in a press release. “Our goal is to raise funds that can benefit Butte County in the long-term.”

Purchase 12-ounce bags of RISE for $14 at TLC’s cafe (365 E. Sixth St.). In addition, TLC raised $7,150 through private donations and an art auction organized by the phoenix530 collective and handed out checks to residents of Concow and Magalia. Nice job!