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Meandering Angler: Winemakers like to go fishing, too

There are some interesting connections between anglers and winemakers here in Sonoma Valley.

I’m most familiar with Steve MacRostie, a renowned winemaker and Sonoma Valley resident. I’ve fished with Steve in Montana and can testify to his dedication to the sport. He makes regular pilgrimages to trout streams all over the west in pursuit of his favorite pastime, when he’s not making wine.

But he’s not the only fly-fishing winemaker in these parts.

Just this month Chris and Courtney Sorensen opened the Caddis Wines tasting room at 109 E. Napa St. next to Maya Restaurant. Chris has 20 years experience in the wine industry and almost an equal number of years fly-fishing. Courtney is from Sonoma Valley. In fact the grapes for the Caddis Zinfandel come from a small vineyard on her mother’s property just off Lovall Valley Road.

Chris chose the name Caddis after one of his favorite flies for catching trout.

The tasting room will be featuring original paintings by local artist Caroline Hipkiss. Naturally, the art will have a fly-fishing theme.

Ned Hill’s La Prenda Vineyards Management business here in Sonoma Valley has just been certified by the California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI) under the Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program.

Fish Friendly Farming certified is one of the approved programs for Sonoma County Winegrowers Sustainable Certification.

Ned is the son of well-known farmer Steve Hill, and started working in the vineyards alongside his dad when he was nine. He was driving tractors by age 12 and as a teenager continued working with his dad at the famous Durell Ranch. Ned earned the “Outstanding Young Farmer” award from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in 2005.

Ned and his wife Erika began the La Prenda Vineyards Management Company in 2008. Their company now farms more than 30 estate properties including prestigious names like Parmelee-Hill, Schug, Nicholson Ranch, Hanna, Roche, Bennett Valley Cellars, Patz & Hall, Desnudos, Pickberry, Alta Ridge and Wildcat Mountain­­, totaling about 500 acres that are fish-friendly.

Michael Coats, whose Sonoma PR office represents the Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA), reported this week that the ocean salmon season off the Sonoma Coast will start April 11. He also announced the GSSA dinner in Santa Rosa has been moved from April 4 to May 15.

If you are looking to take advantage of the good weather, the best fly-fishing right now is on the Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson. The Fly Shop in Redding offers excellent guiding on that part of the Sac. Call (800) 669-3474.

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