Appetizers
May 7, 2008
Next Stop, Zamora

It's springtime, and the Dunnigan Hills in northern Yolo County are alive with the sound of...earth-moving equipment, concrete mixers, power saws and the like. Or if not now, Friday, when Sacramentans John and Lane Giguiere break ground for a $2.5-million winery capable of producing 150,000 gallons of wine a year when it is completely built out.

They expect to have the first phase of the facility finished in time for this fall's crush. They've had big plans before and succeeded. The Giguieres, with John's brother, Karl Giguiere, founded R.H. Phillips Winery in 1983, starting with 10 acres in the Dunnigan Hills and building it into one of the nation's larger wineries before they sold it in 2000, when it was producing 800,000 cases annually. By then, their first small vineyard had grown to cover 1,800 acres.

Their new venture is Matchbook Winery, to rise on a 320-acre parcel at the junction of Yolo County roads 92B and 15B three miles west of Zamora. The couple already tends 73 acres of wine grapes on the property.

Matchbook Wines is a winemaking operation the Giguieres created two years ago under the umbrella of their Crew Wine Company, headquartered in Sacramento. They have four brands - Matchbook, Mossback, Sawbuck and Chasing Venus; wines for the first three are made in leased facilities and will be consolidated at the Zamora site, while the wines of Chasing Venus are made in New Zealand.

The Giguieres won't have a tasting room at the new winery until they finish the next phase of construction, to follow in a year or two, says Lane Giguiere.

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