When former advertising executive turned cheese educator Barrie Lynn Krich says that she's passionate about artisanal cheese, it's not just an offhanded comment. Barrie Lynn, aka The Cheese Impresario, did something that many of us dream of - she made a life-changing career move to pursue her passion.
Just a few years ago, Barrie Lynn was enjoying a successful career as a product launch specialist in the advertising business and like most executives, she entertained clients frequently. Being a food and wine lover by nature and an ardent member of the slow food movement, she thought it might be nice to treat a client to an artisanal cheese tasting one evening instead of the conventional dinner meeting. That evening was a turning point for Barrie Lynn. She was so taken by the flavors of cheese, the craftsmanship involved in the production process and the dedication and passion of the cheese makers that she became obsessed with learning everything she could about artisanal cheeses.
Fort Ross Vineyard is a necklace of 28 small mountain vineyard blocks that cling to a sunny coastal mountain ridge overlooking the ocean. Less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, Fort Ross Vineyard is one of the closest, if not the closest vineyard to the ocean in all of California. The vineyard rises in elevation from 1200 to 1700 feet above sea level. Ranging in size from one-half to two acres, each small vineyard block has its own particular terroir and is planted with rootstocks, varietals, and clones or field selections best suited to reveal the terroir, varietal typicity and clonal attributes.
During the growing season the vineyard is almost always in bright sunshine during the day, yet subject to the tempering influence of the fog that often hugs the coastline far below. Temperatures rarely drop below 55 °F or rise above 85 °F, the range in which grape vines are physiologically active.
At night the ocean fog sometimes rolls up and over the vineyard only to recede back down to the ocean again with the morning sunrise, leaving the vines to do their best work in the long bright sunny days.
The yields are kept low. While most of the vineyard naturally produces less than one to three tons of fruit per acre, on the rare occasions where weather conditions and berry set encourage higher yields, fruit is dropped to ensure concentration and typicity.
Consequently, the vines have a yield and growing pattern that allows the berries to slowly and evenly ripen to complete physiological ripeness with increased varietal distinctiveness and a desirable acid balance.