Humboldt’s Other Crop – Wine

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Born and raised in La Canada and Pasadena, John Cabot may have seemed an unlikely candidate to settle in the upper reaches of the redwood-filled part of California. But, John seemed destined to till the earth as a farmer, leaving behind his expected role in the family business.

Ironically, the Cabot family business also has its roots in the earth – the family has owned and operated Cabot & Sons Mortuary in Pasadena for over 100 years. With no regrets for the path he took, John does delight in the idea that his family’s lives seem to have been played out in the recent HBO series, “Six Feet Under.” In fact, he can cite more than a few coincidences, comparing the similarities of the fictitious cast with that of his own family. While John’s brother went into the business, as did some of his cousins, John, the self-described “black sheep” of the family, moved to Arcata, in Humboldt County. Here, he attended College of the Redwoods to study chemistry, microbiology and plant sciences. He became an avid gardener, turning every bit of lawn into vegetable production. Along the way, he also discovered he had a penchant for brewing beer – which would come to serve him well at a later date.

After graduating, he accepted roles with a few local organic vegetable producers, and eventually became the sole proprietor of Orleans Organics, growing 28 types of vegetables for sale at four famers markets per week in Humboldt, as well as numerous accounts at grocery stores and restaurants as far south as San Francisco. In 1998, a friend and local vintner helped him plant the first 3 acres of vines, in the Old Mill vineyard. John chose Cabernet, Merlot, and Zinfandel, based on some local success of these varieties. After tasting several Syrahs from different growing regions, John was convinced about the grape’s adaptability, and planted 1-2 acre blocks of Syrah about every year for the following 8 yrs. He ended up planting five, 2-6 acre vineyards, all on different soils. John and wife Kimberly now own two of those vineyards (Kimberly’s and Aria’s) and manage and contract fruit from the other three.

Join us as we talk with grower and winemaker John Cabot of Cabot Vineyards, about his love for Syrah, and the unique Humboldt County growing conditions. We may even hear something about Humboldt’s “other” crop, and why the Cabot vines might (coincidentally) send their roots “six feet under.”

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Show #284
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4 Responses to “Humboldt’s Other Crop – Wine”


  1. 1 Brian Crabtree Apr 9th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Enjoyed the program. The comment about not being able to sell Cabernet that reaches only 25 brix was interesting. Says a great deal about the American palate and the American market.

  2. 2 eric top wine cooler May 16th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    with the Northern California region being so lush, i would assume the soil should be able to handle many types of wine grapes. good to see some putting the earth up there to good use.

  3. 3 cong ty du lich Dec 20th, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Enjoyed the program. The comment about not being able to sell Cabernet that reaches only 25 brix was interesting. Says a great deal about the American palate and the American market

  4. 4 rinnoboy Dec 20th, 2011 at 12:07 am

    with the Northern California region being so lush, i would assume the soil should be able to handle many types of wine grapes. good to see some putting the earth up there to good use

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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

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