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Enjoy Magazine

Harvest Party at Indian Peak Vineyard

11/01/2006 09:26AM ● By Brandi Barnett
By Teresa Wilson

Each year in the fall, Indian Peak Vineyards hosts a harvest party with as many as 50 guests from
all over California. For two consecutive Saturdays, lunch, dinner and wine flow freely while friends toil among the vines harvesting the succulent cabernet grapes.

The harvest party is the highlight of the season for the small town of Manton, located just outside
Shingletown.Months before the grapes are ripe, the town is buzzing with anticipation of the festivities soon to come. Getting on the guest list is coveted by many as the harvest party seems less like work and more like play.

Winemaker and owner of the vineyard, Fred Boots, says, “We could hire a crew to do this for us, but we enjoy visiting with our friends and family. It’s a lot of fun. It takes a couple of weekends to finish the harvest and people come from all over.”

It’s not just the wine that keeps bringing people back; Fred and Donna Boots are extremely gracious and make visiting the vineyard more like an excursion to see an old friend.

“We always welcome new friends to stop by,” said Boots. “It’s a social business and if you don’t like being social, then you shouldn’t be doing it anyway,” he smiled.

The first wine bottled was in July from the 2004 harvest and produced 375 cases.The 2005 yield was 500 cases and has grown to 800 cases anticipated for the 2006 harvest. Aged in French and American oak, the full-bodied cabernet sauvignon, while still young, is incredibly delectable to the pallet. Boots says the wine has improved dramatically over the past two years and suggests this year will be his test of success in the winemaking industry. The vineyard also produces a merlot and petite syrah, but focuses primarily on cabernet.While the vineyard is not officially open to the public, “friends” are encouraged to stop by and visit and maybe even buy a little wine.

“We have only one chance to make a first impression and we want it to be the very best,” said Boots. The most unique vintage is a product of the Manton fire that raged through the small town in
August 2005.The fire burned the perimeter of the vineyard, scorching leaves about 100 feet in. Boots was nearly finished with the harvest and managed to save the remaining grapes not shriveled by the inferno to make one last barrel of wine.With only 24 cases produced, the infamous Manton Fire wine is a favorite novelty among the locals.

Boots carries the winemaking process through from beginning to end, continually perfecting his
craft. In this wineries early stages, he says, there is much to be learned through trial and error. Boots even takes the time to design the unique wine labels himself.

Future plans include expanding the vineyard to not only include more grapes, but a rustic lodge and
rental cabins. A glimpse at the drawing plans reflect the casual, yet elegant style the Boots’ wish their prospective guests to enjoy.

Indian Peak Vineyards is located at
31559 Forward Road in Manton.
To become one the new “friends” of
Fred and Donna Boots, call
530-474-5506 to arrange a
visit to the vineyard.

November 2006