Welcome to Our Blog

Keeping you informed about our wines, events, and our growing number of Skinner fans and the kudos and compliments we receive...that's the purpose of our blog. We welcome your comments and any photos of your enjoyment of our wines – please send them along for posting: info@skinnervineyards.com

We look forward to seeing you at the tasting room on the top of our mountain in Fair Play, where you can sip on our wine and see all the way to Pyramid Peak while you take in the beauty of our part of the Sierra Foothills. Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

For History Hounds: The Original Skinner Winery

James Skinner and Family, Circa 1882
We like to indulge in historical reminiscence about the background of Skinner Vineyards, and so we were delighted to find a few notes of interest on the enotes.com website.

For history hounds, you can see parts of the Skinner Vineyard and Winery from the early 1860s at the intersection of Green Valley Road and Cameron Park Drive in Cameron Park, CA.

The original Skinner Winery may not have been located in Cameron Park, as this is a relatively new community. The location that James Skinner chose is in the Northern California Gold Country of the Sierra Nevada foothills. To get there, you’ll drive approximately 30 miles east from Sacramento.

What remained in early 2000's
Currently, when you visit the old Skinner ranch, says enotes, “you’ll see a portion of the cellar (integrated into the Cameron Park Nursery on the northeast corner of the intersection), a tiny remnant of the distillery wall (behind mobile homes in the mobile home park near the southeast corner of the intersection), and the Skinner cemetery (near the south-west corner of the intersection). The cemetery contains the graves of James and Jessie Skinner (née Bernard) and three of their sons. The cemetery is located on a small hill just southwest of the intersection behind the facade of Round Table Pizza. Only remnants of a few headstones remain due to the elements and vandalism.”

Ryan and Kevin Skinner in the original winery
Mike and Carey Skinner have plans to improve the original winery site, so stay tuned! You can learn more about the Skinner heritage on the Skinner Vineyards and Winery website. Click here!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Kudos for Our Wine: Plumpjack Tasting Review in Tahoe Weekly Newspaper

We know how good our Grenache Blanc is, and the fact that it is sold-out just verifies that. But those restaurants who had enough foresight to stock up on it are happy, and they continue to pair it with wonderful foods.

The Tahoe Weekly newspaper, which circulates in that resort region as well as Reno, recently noted our Grenache Blanc paired with the chef’s special, a Seared New Zealand Queen Snapper with Santa Barbara mussels, Berkshire pork belly, horseradish crème fraiche and herb gelee. This recipe was created by Ben “Wyatt” Dufresne, Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe at Squaw Valley. Wines Adventures column writer Barbara Keck called it "my favorite Grenache Blanc."

To see the full article, click here

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST! Just fill out the form on our website by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rhone Rangers Tasting in San Francisco: Skinner Features Its Range of Rhone Varietal Wines

Skinner Vineyards poured its Rhone single-varietal wines and its Rhone blends for many of the 2,000 consumers and members of the wine trade who attended the 14th Annual Rhone Rangers San Francisco Tasting held in late March 2011 at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion in San Francisco. This is the largest American Rhone wine event in the country, and more than 500 of the best American Rhone wines from at least 100 Rhone Rangers member wineries were celebrated by a wine consumer public that is interested to know more about Rhone wines from America.
We poured the following wines for our fans and new friends:
  • 2009 Grenache Blanc, Stoney Creek Vineyard, Fair Play
  • 2008 Seven Generations, White Blend, El Dorado
  • 2009 Grenache, El Dorado
  • 2008 Eighteen Sixty-One, Red Blend, El Dorado
  • 2007 Syrah, Stoney Creek Vineyard, Fair Play
Skinner Vineyards has been a member of The Rhone Rangers for several years.  The organization is dedicated to educating the public on Rhone varietal wine grapes grown in America and to promoting the production and enjoyment of these wines, with emphasis on integration into our daily lives.  Among the information tidbits available on the organization’s website (http://www.rhonerangers.org/) is this:
“In France's Rhone Valley, twenty-two traditional grape varieties may be grown.  Twelve of these grapes are planted in the United States, including the best-known Syrah and Viognier, the up and coming Mourvèdre, Grenache, Roussanne and Marsanne, and the truly obscure (but delicious) Counoise, Cinsaut, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. Plus Petite Sirah, whose parentage places it clearly in the Rhone.  Perhaps most exciting, most of these grapes play well with others, and most Rhone Rangers wineries produce blends as well as single-varietal wines.”

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST! Just fill out the form on our website by clicking here. We have a new format that gives you some insights on the exciting wine experience we are building at Skinner Vineyards; don't miss an issue!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ability Bash Charity Dinner for Disabled Sports is a Win-Win for All Participants

We were pleased to contribute to The Ability Bash benefit, the principal fundraiser for Disabled Sports USA Far West. This event honors wounded warriors from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is the conclusion of an Ability Camp that gives specialized instruction in adapted snow skiing and snow boarding for five-days as part of the Disabled Sports Program Center at Alpine Meadows Resort, Tahoe. As a celebration of accomplishment, the Ability Bash included an auction of fine wines, ours included, and a tasting event before dinner at The Lodge at Alpine.

We poured our 2009 Grenache and our 2007 Syrah, Stoney Creek Vineyard.

You know about both of these wines, but here is a refresher on the Syrah: the Skinner family’s Stoney Creek Vineyard is situated on a ridgetop that ranges from 2,610 to 2,740 feet in elevation. It offers aromas of blackberry and cherry pie, interlaced with hints of pepper, dried flowers, cinnamon, chocolate caramels, roasted coffee, and vanilla bean… medium-plus in body with a long, polished, and velvety finish. Click here to buy the wine!

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST! Just fill out the form on our website by clicking here. We have a new format that gives you some insights on the exciting wine experience we are building at Skinner Vineyards; don't miss an issue!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Junior League Launch Event: Skinner adds to the Fun!

The excitement is building for the biggest charity event of the social season in San Francisco, the Junior League Fashion Show. Skinner Vineyards has made a contribution to the organization to assist in this event; proceeds from the Fashion Show event are used to support and strengthen families in need.

Generating enthusiasm is important to any .
successful function, and the Junior League does a great job at that.
These photos are from the “Launch Party” which was held in late March at One Leidesdorff.

This venue in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district is a beautiful and historical monument to the success of California’s pioneering Gold Rush era trader, landowner and steamboat entrepreneur, William Alexander Leidesdorff, who was also called “the first black millionaire”. (We thought you’d enjoy this historical tidbit… since Skinner Vineyards dates back to that era too! )

(Overview photo credit: Moana Lani Jeffrey)

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST! Just fill out the form on our website by clicking here. We have a new format that gives you some insights on the exciting wine experience we are building at Skinner Vineyards; don't miss an issue!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skinner Wines at The Kitchen Restaurant, Sacramento, on the March 2011 Menu

Those fortunate enough to snare a reservation for the fantastic Kitchen Restaurant in Sacramento had an even better reason to dine there in March... the 2009 Skinner Grenache Blanc was a selected wine to pair with the Chef Noah Zonca's salad creation.

Noted Chief Wine Steward Doug Nitchman, "I do a tasting every week, and when winemaker Chris brought in the wine, I fell in love with it. When that happens, I always hope that the chef will develop a recipe that will pair ... but as in every good restaurant, the food leads. So when I heard about the salad with artichoke and wine, I thought: "Yes! Perfect for the Skinner Grenache Blanc."

"It seems I discovered this wine at about the same time everyone else did, and now it's sold out. So we feel lucky to have it," Doug said. He poured the wine and talked about it with the diners. (see right)

The multi-course dinner is a true performance, with all dishes prepared and assembled in the spotless open-kitchen format of this 55-seat restaurant. The salad dish on the menu was listed thus: A Warm Salad of Sanger lamb Sausage, Good Egg, Artichoke, Blood Orange, Frisee, and Brioche.

This creation was not as simple as it sounds. The lamb sausage is housemade at The Kitchen from lamb that is grown free range; The Kitchen has the opportunity to obtain 4 orders from the grower each year. The sausage contains spices of parsley, fennel, salt, pepper and others, and some port wine. The "good egg" element of the dish is an organic egg yolk that is quickly put into a tempura batter and fried. The artichoke is from an organic farmer in Moss Beach, and it is rolled in polenta before it is crisped. The blood orange juice is reduced to a concentrate, and becomes a decorative strip at the sides of the plate. Lastly, the salad's top is accented with decorative tendrils from English pea shoots sourced from an organic grower. A team of kitchen staff works to assemble each dish, in front of enthralled diners (see left).

Tasting notes on the menu say about the 2009 Skinner Grenache Blanc, Stoney Creek Vineyard, Fair Play, and its paired salad: "We've picked a unique and memorable wine for your second course pairing this month. Since the (salad) dish has rich, bright, and crisp elements, we feel this wine has just the right versatility, body and character to make for a great pairing."

Each month The Kitchen prepares one set menu with a suggested wine pairing flight. Skinner felt honored to be selected for this terrific March food-wine pairing! We peeked in The Kitchen's wine cooler, and were delighted to see that Skinner wines are in fine company with other great wines.

The Kitchen Restaurant is located at 2225 Hurley Way in Sacramento, CA. For more information, take a look at www.thekitchenrestaurant.com which has a video of the dining experience. Warning: reservations fill up a few weeks in advance! It is worth the wait!

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST! Just fill out the form on our website by clicking here. We have a new format that gives you some insights on the exciting wine experience we are building at Skinner Vineyards; don't miss an issue!

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the News: Skinner Vineyards featured in Sacramento Bee

A feature article in the Sacramento Bee on February 16 captured the passion with which we view the Skinner Vineyards and Winery mission to make great wines.  You can see the article by clicking here. The lead paragraph is “A recently released Grenache from the high- altitude vineyards of Fair Play might just be the finest regional wine that I've ever tasted.” 

There is a lot about our Grenache in our forthcoming newsletter, and that’s intentional.  “Our Grenache stands on its own as a Grenache, which is one of the wines grown in the 1860’s by James Skinner,” noted Mike Skinner recently. “I think it is great in its own right…a great grape, a great wine.”  Grenache is also our winemaker's favorite Rhone grape to work with and it shows.  Chris Pittenger draws from his experience at Biale, Torbreck, Williams-Selyem, and Marcassin when crafting wines from this delicate and delicious varietal.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER MAILING LIST!  Just fill out the form on our website by clicking here. We have a new format that gives you some insights on the exciting wine experience we are building at Skinner Vineyards; don't miss an issue!