Local winemakers seize vineyard’s final harvest RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> For nearly 60 years, the Johnston Clark Vineyard helped fuel this city’s winemaking heritage, but the 4-acre site on the southwest corner of Etiwanda and Victoria avenues is about to be bulldozed to make way for a new housing development. On Friday, local winemaker George Walker and his crew seized the vineyard’s remaining harvest of zinfandel grapes, picking the sweet fruit from their vines throughout the day and loading them into 18-gallon blue buckets. The grapes were transferred into six 1,000-pound square vats and later hauled to Big Bear Lake, where Walker and his counterpart, local contractor, entrepreneur and wine connoisseur David Stone will convert the grapes into a special edition wine at Stone’s Stone Summit Winery and Vineyards. “We’re going to take three tons of grapes, which will make about 400 to 500 gallons of wine,” Walker said Friday. The grapes will be crushed today at Stone’s winery. “We’ll be crushing and destemming them and getting them ready to pitch the yeast,” Walker said. He said he expects to have the wine ready for bottling by spring and ready to pour by next summer. The vineyard dates back nearly 60 years, when George Johnston bought the ranch and planted the vineyard for his son, Clark, to manage. A general store used to occupy the corner of the property closest the street, but was destroyed in a fire in 1966, Walker said. Over the years, the property deteriorated and the vineyard ultimately abandoned it, Walker said. Stone, who also owns the Wine Room at Wolf Creek Resort in Big Bear Lake, said he and Walker’s love of wine, the winemaking process and the Cucamonga Valley’s rich winemaking heritage was the motivator behind their efforts. “It’s […]
Big Bear, the Southern California mountain destination known for its lake and ski resorts, now offers a new adult attraction: Stone Summit Vineyard. At 6,750 feet above sea level, the winery claims to have the highest altitude commercial vineyard and winery in the northern hemisphere. Planted in May 2012, the vines won’t be mature enough to produce wine for a few years, so Stone Summit has begun sourcing grapes from the Napa Valley and Central Coast regions. The winery’s first release, a Moscato, can be sampled at its new tasting room, The Wine Room at Wolf Creek Resort, 41421 Big Bear Blvd. Stone Summit plans to follow the Moscato with releases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot. For more information, visit www.wolfcreek-resort.com It’s tougher to grow grapes at high elevations, due to soil conditions and lower temperatures, resulting in lower yields of fruit with much more concentrated flavors. Until recently, the highest altitude vineyard in the United States was Colorado’s Terror Creek Vineyard in the West Elks AVA, located at 6,417 feet above sea level on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. However, according to The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd edition, there are still higher Northern Hemisphere vineyards in the Himalayas reported at 7,500 feet in Bhutan and at 9,000 feet in Nepal. The highest vineyards in the world, are located in Salta, Argentina. Reaching as high as 10,000 feet above sea level, they belong to Bodega Colomé of the Hess Family, which also owns a winery in Napa Valley.
Wine lovers know about Napa. They know Sonoma, Santa Ynez, Paso Robles, even Temecula. David Stone Jr., 49, hopes one day they’ll add Big Bear Lake to the list. No kidding. Stone has planted what he says is the highest-altitude commercial vineyard in the northern hemisphere, surpassing the Terror Creek Winery in Colorado, east of Grand Junction, which sits at 6,417 feet. The Stone Summit Winery in Big Bear Lake is at 6,750 feet. Behind the cottages of Wolf Creek Resort on Big Bear Boulevard, not far from the Snow Summit ski resort, Stone last year planted two acres of vineyards with about a half-dozen varietals ranging from Riesling to cabernet sauvignon. Last fall, “we actually had some grapes,” Stone said. “Not enough to harvest, but enough to show the viability of the vines. We won’t use this year’s growth, either. We’ll probably start with year four.” He hopes to have a mountain-grown Riesling and chardonnay ready by 2016, or before. But he’s not waiting until then to activate his winery. “In the interim, we have a vintner’s license,” he said. With grapes from other regions, the winery has produced a moscato and a chardonnay. He plans to uncork the first bottle of moscato July 4 in the resort’s wine room. The chardonnay should be ready by Labor Day, he said. Even if Stone plants the entire 15 acres of land he has available, he doesn’t expect to ever be a big producer. “We’re never going to be Sutter Home,” he said. “It’s a project of passion, absolutely.” The passion comes from Stone’s own love of wine, his lifelong connection with Big Bear Lake — four generations of his family have owned property there, he said — and a desire to amplify the […]
The Wine Room at Wolf Creek Resort’s recent grand opening saw the beautifully appointed jazz cabaret filled to capacity. City of Big Bear Lake councilpersons joined representatives from San Bernardino County Supervisor James Ramos’ office and the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce to cut the red ribbon to symbolically open the room. The room, which holds just under 100, rose from a humble beginning to true grandeur in the space of only a few short months. When Wolf Creek Lodge owner Dave Stone first envisioned using the space, he planned to construct a commercial-grade laundry. However, with a mercurial tap of his magic building wand, Stone decided to instead build a first-class entertainment center. There is a giant, walk-in wine refrigerator holding hundreds of chilled wine bottles of exceptional vintage. The walls of the room have been hand painted with outdoor scenes and the centerpiece is the music area a baby grand piano anchors the spot where jazz ensembles perform. The Wine Room will have entertainment on the weekends. Besides great music, the room offers an exceptional selection of wines to enjoy as well as a signature-label brew, Stone Summit Beer, or a variety of other beers on tap or by the bottle. Comfort is the key, and the room is decorated with plush chairs and couches. It’s a perfect place to sink back into luxury while enjoying music and fine libation. One of the featured jazz ensembles is the Real Jazz Trio which features Wolf Creek Wine Room entertainment director Mike Cross on the 88, Mark Cade on standup bass and Steve Boggio pounding out the rhythm. The Wine Room is at 41421 Big Bear Boulevard in the city of Big Bear Lake. Read More.
The Wolf Creek Resort is inviting the public to check out its new wine room during its “Cool Nights and Hot Jazz” series Valentine’s Day weekend. During the wine room’s grand opening on Feb. 15 guests pay no cover charge from 5-10 p.m. and will receive a complimentary drink. The evening will feature jazz pianist Mike Cross and the artwork of Barbara Andrik. Hors d’ouevres, beer, wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase all evening. The doors will open to the public for an open house from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. The evening will feature jazz pianist Mike Cross and the artwork of Barbara Andrik. There is no cover charge and a complimentary drink will be provided. Hors d’ouevres, beer, wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase all evening. On Saturday, Feb. 16, the wine room will host a fundraiser for the Bear Valley Center for Spiritual Enrichment’s music program from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling the Center at 909- 866-7100. And on Sunday, Feb. 17, the wine room will feature a performance by Mike Cross’ Real Jazz Trio from 3-5 p.m. Proceeds will go to the Big Bear Elementary School String Program. Tickets are $9 in advance, $10 at the door, and $8 for seniors. They can be purchased by calling 909-584-9445. No one under the age of 21 will be admitted. Read more
Along with his Bear Cave Entertainment Center, a giant, temperature-controlled tent at Bear Creek Resort, and The Cave, a 380-something-seat Village Theater on Village Drive refurbished into a live event theater, developer and Big Bear aficionado Dave Stone opened the Wine Room at his Wolf Creek Resort. The Wine Room is just what you’d expect from the name: a place to enjoy fine wines. However, Stone is also offering private-stock brews, entertainment and more. “The credo of ‘What can we do for the community?’ is what we’re using to guide us,” Stone said. “We will benefit, but we want to make sure we’re providing the types of entertainment residents, second-home owners and visitors want to see. It’s their theater and we want them to enjoy the acts, events and shows we offer. “We’re working to bring businesses to the Village—spas, the theater, lodges and more—to help rejuvenate the City and the Valley.” What type of acts will be booked in the Stone venues? Talking with the event promoter, he turned the question back on Big Bear residents, second-home owners and visitors to answer. What types of acts would you like to see?” said Stone. “Right now we’re bringing Jim Curry with his tribute to John Denver up a couple times a year. Would folks like to see him more or would something like a Led Zeppelin tribute band be more appealing? That’s what we need to know as we plan our season.” Readers with suggestions for entertainment to be booked may email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information will be forwarded to Stone and pianist and entertainer Mike Cross, who Stone recently tapped as his entertainment director. In addition to live music, Stone said he and Cross are considering comedy acts, renting the spaces […]