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.

John, 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.
Sierra Vista Winery
4560 Cabernet Way
Placerville, CA 95667
    530-622-7221 or 800-946-3916

(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 ... www.wineriesofthesierrafoothills.com)

No comments:

Post a Comment