Charlie Barra and the truck he bought in the 1960's

The Wine Spectator Chats with Charlie Barra

The Wine Spectator’s Associate Editor Tim Fish ( @timfishwine) sat down with Charlie Barra up in Mendocino County recently and seems to have come away as impressed with the man, his work, and his legacy as we’ve been here at Candid as we’ve come to know him.

Tim writes “We get so caught up in chasing the hottest new thing that we forget sometimes to recognize the modest heroes, those unsung and unfussy souls who have quietly gone about the business of making good wines year after year. Charlie Barra is one of those people. At age 86, Barra is the dean of Mendocino County wine and one of the last of a breed…” History with a Heartbeat | Blogs | Wine Spectator.

The Barra’s Reservoir, Winter 2012. Photo Credit: Damien Casten

Indeed, Charlie has been a pillar of the wine community in Northern California for almost as long as there has been a wine community in Northern California. Tim focuses on Charlie’s contributions to the industry, specifically the use of finely sprayed water for frost protection on the buds in early spring. As with all of Charlie’s insights, there are multiple layers to the story and Tim could have also explored the concurrent decision to build a system of reservoirs so that he would not have to purchase water either to protect the vines in the spring, or to water the vines later in the season.

When my friend Melissa Graham of Purple Asparagus to talk with Charlie about the history of Mendocino, we asked specifically about his development of frost protections systems for vineyards and here is what he said:


The entire collection of raw videos that we shot with Charlie is included below, along with a few nice shots of the vineyard during harvest. I found the conversation fascinating and educational, and hope you will too.

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