With the closing of the century-old Drakes Bay Oyster Co. on July 31, the three dozen people who worked – and lived – at what was the last oyster cannery in the State of California, are not only out of a job, but soon may be homeless.

The situation has Drakes manager Loretta Murphy very upset. It also has Fish Restaurant owner and longtime Drakes customer Bill Foss concerned, and so Foss has joined with the Stag Dining supper club group, Fine & Rare seafood and wine shop of San Francisco, and the Carneros Wine Alliance to host a “Shuck for Shelter” fundraiser for the Drakes team this Sunday, Aug. 24 at his Sausalito eatery.

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Something monumental is happening Sunday over at Fish. in Sausalito. It involves oysters, barbecued oysters, broiled oysters, oyster gumbo, oyster po’boy sliders and wine. To go with the oysters. Basically everything is included. Thought you might be interested.
AW-SHUCKS Support your local shuckers! As of July 31, Drakes Bay Oyster Company was forced to close by order of the NPS and Department of the Interior. Currently Drakes is only able to continue to harvest the oysters in Drakes Estero for the wholesale market, but as that comes to an end, all of the oystermen and women (many whom have worked and lived in the county for 30 years or more) will lose their jobs and homes. Here is an opportunity to support these valued members of the community: Shuck for Shelter, Support the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.. Sunday, Aug. 24, 2-5pm, at Fish Restaurant located at 350 Harbor Dr., Sausalito. The cost is $75 per person.
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On July 31, Drakes Bay Oyster Company was forced to close by the National Parks Services and Department of the Interior. The last oyster cannery in California, Drakes is now only able to continue harvesting oysters for sale in the wholesale market. The shuckers and packers, some that had been with the company for 30 years, lost their jobs when the shucking and packing builkding was lifted from the ground and put onto a trailer for removal.
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Shuck for Shelter happens Sunday, August 24th, 2-5 PM, at FISH Restaurant in Sausalito, benefiting Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the last oyster cannery in California, was recently forced to close by NPS and Department of the Interior with workers (many of whom have worked on the farm for a good 30 years) and their families will lose jobs and homes. Stag Dining, Fine & Rare and the Carneros Wine Alliance are hosting this benefit oyster event in a cocktail-style party for the workers of Drakes. Carneros Wine Alliance will be pouring wines from a number of wineries, including Domaine Carneros and Clos du Val, while Stag and Fine & Rare will serve the likes of broiled oyster dynamite with shrimp, togarashi spices, ginger and Japanese herbs, and oyster po' boy sliders with jalapeno slaw.
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I’m in Carneros today, visiting one of Jackson Family Wines’ newest estates, Carneros Hills, on the site the former Buena Vista vineyard and production facility on Ramal Road, on the Sonoma County side of that sprawling appellation, just over the Napa line.

Well do I remember the acclaim and hope that greeted Carneros’s emergence as an appellation on the wine scene. Los Carneros (the proper name) wasn’t declared an American Viticultural Area until relatively late, 1987,* by which time its neighbors—Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, even little Suisun Valley and Solano County Green Valley—already were AVAs. Why it took Carneros so long, I don’t know; perhaps it was because it crossed county lines, which was something the TTB hadn’t encountered before. It’s not as if Carneros was a new place to grow grapes: the Carneros Quality Alliance says wine grapes were first planted there in the late 1830s, and by the 1870s, the first winery had been built...
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... 'The vines came out strong in the spring, and we had no frost that would require our growers to use their water for frost protection,' said Axel Schug, managing partner at Schug winery in Carneros. 'The vines and fruit look very healthy, maybe a little on the early side.'

Alison Crowe, winemaker at Garnet Vineyards, which sources grapes from Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Napa and Sonoma Carneros AVAs, said, 'The crop size overall is looking to be healthy but certainly not as big as 2012 or 2013. Knock on a lot of wood, it’s been an almost textbook growing season. The North Coast suffered hardly any frost events and this Spring and Summer have been warm and mild.'

Doug Shafer, at Shafer Vineyards, said the crop looks normal and quality is looking good, even if not the size of the last two years. 'We had two very heavy crop years in 2012 and 2013, so there is no way that 2014 would ever be a “heavy” year,' he added.

An average-sized harvest may help some winemakers, after reports last autumn that some producers were struggling to make space for two consecutive bumper crops.

Crowe said the true effects of the drought may not be seen until next year. 'Our North Coast vineyards seem to have enough water to get them through harvest, but we need a nice wet winter to keep all the vines, farmers and winemakers happy,' she said.

Right now, because of the early harvest, 'the only thing winemakers are freaking out about is going straight from bottling the 2013s into harvest 2014,' said Chris Kajani, winemaker for Saintsbury in Carneros.

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... Asparagus is delicious, but it’s also laden with a sulfur-containing amino acid that can conspire with the vegetable’s grassy flavor to make wine taste vegetal, metallic and downright awful. It’s known in the wine world as one of the untouchables — a pairing best not attempted. Despite the taboo, I’ve seen asparagus on enough wine country tables to know that although the pairing may be difficult, it’s certainly not impossible. It can even be enjoyable!


Domaine Carneros 2012 La Terre Promise Carneros Chardonnay ($44): With aromas of green apples and soft vanilla, this wine is nicely rounded, with a fine balance between fruit and subtle oak. This wine would pair best with asparagus dishes that involve some richer elements.

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Carneros Wine Alliance
The Carneros Wine Alliance is a non-profit association of wineries and grape-growers in the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA).  Carneros is the only appellation located at the crossroads of two major wine regions, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  Influenced by the maritime breezes and fog from its southern border with the San Pablo Bay, Carneros produces the region’s finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. The Carneros Wine Alliance is committed to promoting the distinction, diversity and above all, quality, of the grapes and wines from Carneros.