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True Vinemen

By Gretchen Giles

Celebrity winemakers and world-renowned vintners are a bit of a yawn in the North Bay, where we just generally call them "neighbors." Lesser known are the talented men who train the vines that produce the grapes that make the wine that earn winemakers and vintners such celebrity status in the first place. For the ninth year, such anonymous artistry is celebrated during the Sonoma County Pruning Contest.

Slated this year for Friday, Feb. 29, at the Santa Rosa junior College's Shone Farm, the best vine-pruners from the five major AVAs in Sonoma County compete against each other before they judge the pruning skills of those other guys—their bosses.

Initial rounds have already been held and the competing pruners are as follows:

Russian River Valley AVA

1st Rosendo Avila Emeritus Vineyards

2nd Juan Avila Pinot Vineyards

Sonoma Valley AVA

1st Jose Arellano Sebastiani Vienyards

2nd Serbendo Rojas Enrique's Vineyard Management

Dry Creek Valley AVA

1st Leonardo Gomez Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management

2nd Javier Gonzalez Valdez & Sons Vineyard Management

Alexander Valley AVA

1st Arturo Perez Vimark Vineyards

2nd Salvador Gomez Asti Vineyards-Fosters Wine Estates

Knights Valley AVA

1st Francisco Toldeo Clendenen Vineyard Management

2nd Fernado Gutierrez Vinepro Vineyard Management

The event begins sharp at 1oam on Feb. 29 and gosh-darn-it-yes, wine will be heartily available for tasting; proceeds benefit the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission's Employee Development program. Shone Farms, 6225 Eastside Road, Forestville. 707.522.5863.

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