More than 250 wineries have sprung up in the 10 counties that can be considered part of the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The wines being produced are incredible: intense, unique, sometimes even experimental in terms of blends and varietals. Learn more about this great and growing California wine region!
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
MENTORS are hard to find, but John MacCready is a great one
In my many discussions with winemakers as I prepared
material for my soon-to-be-published book on Wineries of the Sierra Foothills,
the name John MacCready kept coming up.John not only spent hours with me at the onset of my research in 2007,
but he has been a mentor to many wineries here in the foothills.
who holds a PhD in electrical engineering, started “fooling around” with
homemade wine while in graduate school at the University of Missouri. He continued home-winemaking while
living and working for NCR in Ohio. While
on visits to his sister in Pleasant Valley, he took some wine seminars, and his
passion for winemaking grew. Soon
he was looking at land parcels in El Dorado County.
In late 1972, he and Barbara
packed their two little girls, their dog, and a 15 gallon drum of fermenting
wine in their Chevy and drove from Dayton, OH, to Placerville CA. John found a job teaching in
Sacramento and in his free time he worked hard with Barbara to establish the
vineyard. By 1974, they’d
planted their first vines – cabernet sauvignon – on its own roots, pioneering
the rebirth of mountain viticulture in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.
In 1977, Sierra Vista had its
first crush, using grapes purchased from nearby vineyards. The winery produced 1200 cases
of wine in that first vintage. Production is now 5000 cases, and most are
estate-grown Rhone wines.
Wines offered include Sauvignon
Blanc/Fume Blanc (vinified Loire style with no oak influence), Chardonnay,
Roussanne, Viognier, Syrah, Grenache, Grenache Rose, “Lynelle” – a
Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend with a touch of Cinsault, Merlot, Mourvedre,
Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier Doux – a dessert wine. A newly introduced “Tiger Lily” label
honors the Tiger Lily Winery which was opened in 1850 and lasted until
Prohibition days, located on Sierra Vista’s land.
(You can read more about this winery and
meet the family at a special meal that photographer Johan Martin photographed
for my forthcoming book...sign up to get updates/alert on publication date ...