Skinner Vineyards Estate Wine Program Announced

Skinner Vineyards Estate Wine Program Announced;
New 12,000 Square Foot Winery in Fair Play To Open

Skinner Vineyards announced its Estate Wine program for Syrah, Viognier, Grenache and Petite Syrah grown at the Stoney Creek Vineyard, part of Skinner’s 67 acre property in the Fair Play AVA of El Dorado County, Sierra Foothills. The new 12,000 square foot solar-powered greentech winery will soon be complete. Now, the temporary Certificate of Occupancy just granted for the crushpad and fermentation area of the winery allows Skinner Vineyards to produce wines on site beginning with this 2010 harvest season.

“We are thrilled to bring our harvest to our own winery this year,” said Mike Skinner, Owner/President. “The late ripening conditions this year actually helped us, as we were fighting against the clock to get the crucial parts of the new winery built and inspected. As it happens, the timing worked out perfectly for us.”

Skinner Vineyards' winemaker Chris Pittenger (left) and manager Ryan Skinner(right) in Skinner's new Fair Play, CA, greentech winery during the 2010 crush.

Mike and Carey Skinner bought the 67 acres of this Stoney Creek Vineyard in 2007. The Syrah and Viognier vines had already been there for ten years, and Grenache, Grenache Blanc and Petit Syrah were planted shortly after the purchase. These vines, planted between 2600 and 2740 feet elevation, produce grapes with intense flavor. The Skinner’s decided to name the vineyard Stoney Creek after the creek that runs at the bottom of property on Fair Play Road.

Skinner Vineyards also encompasses a 25-acre property in Rescue, CA, the White Oak Flat Vineyard near Green Valley Road. Grapes from this El Dorado land will also be vinified at the Stoney Creek Winery.

“In our Estate wine program, you can taste our rosés and whites in 2011,” said Chris Pittenger, winemaker. “Our Estate reds will be aged in oak before they are released in 2012 and 2013. We expect some fantastic releases from the 2010 fruit.” Approximately 1500 cases of Estate wines will dominate the 2000 total case production of Skinner Vineyards.

Skinner has been a name in the history of winemaking in El Dorado County since 1861 when James Skinner planted his vineyard off Green Valley Road near the town of Rescue in the Sierra Foothills and began to produce native wines and brandy. With a strategic location on the Pony Express Trail, he built a stone wine cellar capable of storing 15,000 gallons of wine. Prohibition intervened, the winery closed, but the new generation of Skinners restarted the venture in 2006.

After the winery is completed in the next few weeks, attention will turn to finishing the new Skinner tasting room in Fair Play which will open in January 2011 and features a panoramic view of the Sierra and the Sierra Foothills. At elevation 2700 feet, visitors to the tasting room can experience Skinner wines while enjoying a view of Pyramid Peak in the distance.

Skinner wines are available online at and to wine club members. The wines are featured at fine dining restaurants including Plumpjack’s in Squaw Valley; and L Wine Lounge and Restaurant, Ella’s, and the Firehouse restaurants, Sacramento; and Bocconato Trattoria in Fair Play. You can also taste the wines at Rhone Ranger events.

More About Skinner Vineyards:
Skinner Vineyards was founded in 2006 by Mike and Carey Skinner. Two vineyards in California’s Sierra Foothills– White Oak Flat in Rescue and Stoney Creek in Fair Play – and a new winery and tasting room at 2700 elevation in the Fair Play AVA comprise the venture. Keeping in the tradition of the El Dorado County winery that was opened by James Skinner in 1861, the winery is committed to producing exceptional wines that reflect the unique spirit of the Sierra Foothills, using the same Rhône varietals that were grown by the Skinner family 150 years ago. The great-great-great-grandfather of current owner Mike Skinner, James Skinner, was one of the forefathers of the California wine industry; his vineyard and winery, started in 1861, was one of the first and largest in California. The old J. Skinner Winery closed during during Prohibition, but Mike and wife Carey opened it again a hundred years later and added the Stoney Creek property to the venture shortly thereafter. The new 12,000 square foot winery is solar-powered and built with many greentech and environmental features.

Disclosure: As part of my portfolio of writing and marketing communications skills, I also do press release writing for a few wineries and a few suppliers to the wine industry for pay. This blogpost originated as a press release for this client.

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