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Harvest 2016 People

October, 2016 Issue

Bring Your Best

The Amazing Race. Survivor. The Bachelor. Master Chef. Chopped. Competition-based reality programming offers viewers a chance to live vicariously, experiencing victories and defeats of favorite contestants while also armchair coaching and critiquing performances along with friends and relatives. But why should sports, romance and food have all the fun?
Best Bottle, which is filming now, pits two teams of winemakers against each other to see who can top the table. Each season will focus on different winegrowing regions, with the first to showcase teams hailing from California and Oregon. Led by the always entertaining Jean-Charles Boisset, Team California includes North Bay winemakers Fabiano Ramacci (Mora Estate) and Jason Court (Evidence Wines), as well as Paula Herrell (P. Harrell Wines, based in the greater Bay Area). Team Oregon is led by Don Lange.
As the season unfolds, contestants will be eliminated, one-by-one, until a showdown in the last episode, during which a panel of celebrity judges will taste each final winemaker’s best bottle of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In a twist, the viewing audience will be able to purchase the finalist wines in advance, judge for themselves and vote for a separate Viewers’ Choice award.
Creators and executive producers Scott Krauger and Robert Richards are in negotiations for network broadcast and already secured a partnership with Sony Entertainment for streaming and video on demand. They anticipate full episodes to air starting in April 2017 with a finale in June. In the meantime, you can follow Best Bottle on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) or sign up for the newsletter at

Milestone: Gowan Orchards celebrates 140 years

“Off the beaten path” has been used to explain Philo’s Gowan Orchards before. But when the orchard started 140 years ago, before the freeway, the location wasn’t as remote as it is now. The humongous variety of heirloom apples in Anderson Valley gave the family freedom to experiment and perfect the apple cider recipe it still produces today. Now in its fifth generation of family farmers, the Gowans distill 14 decades of experience into a crisp, sweet and refreshing beverage that’s stood the test of time and is now returning to the spotlight.
For Sharon Gowan, cidermaker at Gowan Orchards and great-great-granddaughter in-law of founder James Gowan (who established Gowan’s Apple Tree on the grounds of the family orchard in 1950), the opportunity to continue the family legacy is a great honor. “Our mission to provide people with beautiful, fresh apples and apple products hasn’t changed since James brought his pickup truck full of apples to San Francisco to sell for the first time in the 1950s. This year, we’ve launched our first estate grown hard cider brand, and we’re finding new channels to distribute our products,” she says.
And the family continues to cultivate its orchard by hand. Donald Gowan, Sharon’s husband, continuously supervises the orchard while filling administrative duties as operations manager and vice president of wholesale apples. Josephine “Jo” Gowan, at 91 years, spends three days per week carting apples to farmers markets in Ukiah.
For 140 years, Gowan Orchards has been a family business. And business is good.

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