HEATHER MURAN – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SAN LUIS OBISPO WINE COUNTRY ASSOCIATION - HARVEST ON THE COAST NOVEMBER 6-8(TICKETS NOW ON SALE)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH
Details to be announced soon!
GRAND TASTING AND WINE AUCTION
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7th, 2015
VIP Early Entry: 11AM
GENERAL ADMISSION 12PM
GO COASTAL PASSPORT
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8th
Free tasting in SLO Wine Country included with Saturday Grand Tasting ticket
A weekend on the coast with our winemakers! That's what you will experience at our Harvest on the Coast Weekend, November 6-8th, 2015. Your 2-for-1 Grand Tasting ticket for Saturday gets you into the main event and wine auction. PLUS: enjoy free tasting at SLO Wine Country tasting rooms all day Sunday.
The outdoor Grand Tasting and Wine Auction will be hosted on Saturday, November 7th featuring wine tasting, artisan foods, and live music. All food and wine is included in your ticket! The auction features a broad selection of rare wines, culinary treats and SLO Wine Country destination experiences, with a full line-up of silent auction items. We have VIP table seating available for groups of 8, so you can get a front row seat at the auction. You'll also receive complimentary food and wine service throughout the live auction (limited seating available).
With your 2-for-1 grand tasting ticket, you have all day Sunday to "Go Coastal" and visit tasting rooms throughout SLO Wine Country for free! There will be an array of events taking place all day SUnday with live music, food and wine specials at every location. It's the perfect time to stock up your cellar for the holidays! Event details will be listed in October 2015.
The wineries of SLO Wine Country boast an average distance of just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in prevailing marine conditions that are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California.
Collectively, these growing conditions forge a unifying wine quality that is native to SLO Wine Country: The reliable cooling effect of the nearby Pacific Ocean ensures a long growing season, enabling the grapes to achieve physiological ripeness and natural balance. Cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir excel in the heart of SLO Wine Country, and even the warmest areas benefit from considerable marine influence. The ocean proximity also exerts a moderating effect on the climate, minimizing temperature swings so that growing conditions are rarely hot or cold. The result is an extraordinarily steady growing season that fosters balanced ripening and consistent quality from vintage to vintage. The imprint of the ocean is also evident in SLO Wine Country's uncommonly complex soils, which are frequently riddled with ancient sea fossils. Soil variation enables the winegrower to mix and match varietals to specific soil profiles, or to add more "colors" to the palette of a single varietal, heightening overall quality and complexity.
JOHN MACCREADY - OWNER & WINEMAKER, SIERRA VISTA WINERY
In 1972, John and Barbara MacCready bought their property on the Eastern Highlands of the Sierra Foothills of California and pioneered the rebirth of mountain viticulture in the re-emerging premium wine region of El Dorado County. At that time all the Sierra Foothills were classified as Zinfandel country so when we planted Cabernet Sauvignon we were bucking tradition as we have ever since. Luckily we planted the cab on a site which produces great Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winery farms twenty-eight acres of mountain vineyards on challenging slopes from 2800 to 2900 feet elevation. Mountain vineyards are low yielding with intense flavors, outstanding character and provide thrilling tractor driving. Extensive studies John MacCready made in the eighties showed the climate at Sierra Vista to be very similar to that of the Northern Rhone Valley of France. This was the deciding factor in determining which grape varieties to plant in our vineyards. Rhone wines have developed into the perfect grape for the area and develop in time to emulate the better wines of Cote Rotie and Hermitage in the Northern Rhone.
The first crush was in 1977, with grapes purchased from local Vineyards. Only 1,200 cases of wine were made that year. Annual production has grown gradually to the current 5000 cases. Several different wines have been produced since the first crush: these include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and a Rhone Blend called Lynelle Reserve.
In 1979, Sierra Vista planted Syrah, whose lineage traces to Chapoutier's vineyards in the Northern Rhone appellation of Cote Rotie. Syrah wine was first produced in 1982 and is very competitive in taste and quality to wines from Cote Rotie and Hermitage. In 1990, John MacCready made a study comparing the northern Rhone Valley to El Dorado County. He found that much of the El Dorado appellation is very similar to the northern Rhone Valley in climate, rainfall and soil type. Because of this, Sierra Vista's emphasis in the future has been the development of Rhone varieties. As discussed above in addition to Syrah we have introduced Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Viognier and Roussanne. From these grapes we make varietals and Rhone style blends.
Sierra Vista Vineyards is located on the crown of a curving ridge at 2800 feet elevation. The vineyards cover four different terroirs or microclimates.
1. There is a western facing slope, just off our ridge top, with a 10% - 15% slope. The soil is basic loam with some sand and clay with a volcanic ash origin. It looks very much like the soil at Chateau Rayas in Chateauneuf-du Pape. This hillside at 2800ft (881 meters) and is our warmest slope where we have Grenache, Cinsault and Zinfandel planted.
2. The top of the ridge has a slightly south slope and is also at 881+/- meters. The soil is the same as that of the first terroir and the trees are similar to those at Hermitage and Cornas. We planted Cabernet Sauvignon here in 1974 and Syrah in 1979. The 1991 Syrah, for the first time, is showing some of the characteristics which make Hermitage a truly great wine. One wine writer compared our 1987 to a good Cote Rotie.
3. This microclimate-terroir is just off the ridge top with a slight north east slope of 10% to 15% grade where the soil is the same as that of 1. Here we have grafted Cabernet Sauvignon to Viognier.
4. This area has a north slope of about 5% to 15% grade. When we have snow it lasts here longer than any other part of the vineyard. The vineyard is terraced volcanic loam on a bed of granite. This is where we have our Chardonnay.
In the late '90s Sierra Vista was the first winery in the El Dorado AVA to install photo-voltaic solar panels at the winery. A 14.4kw system was installed on the roof of the winery and reduced energy consumption from the grid by around 94% the first month it was fully operational. We are proud to have done this before it became really politically correct.
Many years ago when we saw that erosion was taking place in the vineyard we started practicing sustainable agriculture by implementing methods to stop the erosion. Since then we have developed methods in other areas of farming to allow us to be considered a sustainable agricultural operation.
About John MacCready:
What are John's qualification as a winemaker? He says "in 1982 when we wanted to expand the bank suggested that we get a consultant if we wanted a loan so I had as a consultant Dimitri Tchelistcheff - whose father, Andre, was the guru of the California wine industry. Dimitri is great in his own right. And I learned a lot from the French consultant and author Emile Peynaud, his book that is. Many people here consider our style as more French than American because I consider wine as a food and something that should accompany food. It is generally has less alcohol than many California producers".
A native Californian and a graduate of the University of New Mexico, John was also graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. In 1972 while he was pursuing his engineering career, he decided to start a vineyard in El Dorado County and grow wine grapes as an investment. John and his wife, Barbara, also felt that El Dorado was an ideal place to raise their two daughters. Sierra Vista Vineyards turned into Sierra Vista Winery and Vineyards in 1977. While waiting for Sierra Vista Winery to grow big enough to support the family, John commuted to Sacramento where he was a professor at California State University, Sacramento. Now at Sierra Vista full time he wears many hats. Among them are winemaker, vineyard manager, tractor driver, delivery boy and fork lift operator and most important Marketer and saleman.
At Sierra Vista John has been a pioneer in the establishment of the Rhone vineyards In El Dorado County with the planting of Syrah in 1979 followed later by Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Viognier. His two trips to the Rhone valley has, together with his experience, have given him valuable insight into the value of Rhone style wines.
Since being in the wine industry John has been the president and vice president of the El Dorado Winery association and has been inducted into the Knights of the Vine. Is a past and founding president of the Rhone Rangers, an organization dedicated to educating the public about Rhone style wines.
John MacCready comments "Winemaking satisfies my inclination toward creativity and art while my engineering training enables adoption of the latest technology, if needed, to our operation." John also states that "our research has shown that Sierra Vista's Vineyards have similar growing conditions to the Rhone valley from Cote Rotie to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. With vineyards well suited to Rhone varietals, our goal is to create outstanding wines from our El Dorado appellation and establish Sierra Vista as a premium producer of Syrah, and Viognier in the tradition of those from the northern Rhone."