Skinner Vineyards – Where the past is the driving force for the future.
On a recent visit to El Dorado Wine Country in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California, it became apparent that the new “treasure” of this historic “gold country” is wine. The choices of tasting experiences are abundant and diverse – the area has more than 2,000 acres planted, producing 50 grape varieties for more than 70 wineries. With so much to cover, this post will be the first in a series, each looking at the area from a slightly different perspective or focusing on a specific winery.
The “gold rush country” of California is rich with history and so it makes sense that many of the wineries in the region have deep historic roots. Such is the case with Skinner Vineyards and Winery,
After a series of serendipitous events led to the discovery of family ties, dating back to winemaking in the Sierra Foothills in 1861, Mike and Carey Skinner began to acquire property near where they learned the original Skinner Winery site had been. In 2006, compelled and inspired by the story of Mike’s great-great-great grandfather, James Skinner, Mike and Carey began to build their “state of the art” winery in Somerset, near the area’s hub city of Placerville, and reclaim their family legacy. The winery was built with respect for the environment and the land that connected the generations to one another, and the family plans on taking their sustainable farming practices to 100% organic by 2016.
In addition to Rhone varietals, the Skinners have planted some of the heirloom varietals known in James’ time, but long forgotten, in hopes of bringing their past into the present to carry forward into the future. Their wines are testament to the fact that the region is perfectly suited for growing Rhone varietals. With their vineyards at different elevations, winemaker, Chris Pittenger, has myriad choices of the same varietal to craft the wines, creating nuances in the palate that make them exciting to pair with different foods.
Shortly after my return from El Dorado, I attended an LA Wine Writers luncheon at the West Restaurant – Hotel Angeleno, which featured Skinner Vineyards wines, wonderfully paired with dishes created by executive chef, Laura Scollan.
Learn more about Skinner Vineyards and their wine region of El Dorado by following their Facebook page.
I’LL DRINK TO THAT!