Carol Shelton Wines
Santa Rosa, CA

The setting for Carol Shelton Wines may not be what wine tasters envision when planning a visit to wine country. Yet soon after arriving in the homey, unpretentious tasting room, Zin lovers realize they have found a dream come true. After tasting through a half dozen luscious award-winning Zinfandels, including a magical Late Harvest, and a few more red wines, the industrial locale becomes immaterial.

When Carol Shelton launched her winery in 2000, she was one of America's top award-winning winemakers. She has continued this winning streak with her own wines. This year Carol won more than two dozen Gold Medals, including multiple Double Golds and Best of Class awards. In 2008 Carol was also named "Winemaker of the Year" at two separate competitions. The list of awards for her wines and personal achievements continues to grow.

Carol and Mitch Mackenzie, her husband and business partner, have sought out exceptional vineyards throughout California. "Finding a great Zin vineyard means I can now share an agricultural treasure with others, and this is one reason my wines are vineyard designated," Carol says. "I want to give credit to the growers who grew these amazing grapes."

Carol Shelton Wines sources Zinfandel grapes from most of the great California growing regions, including Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile (the mountainous sub-appellation of Dry Creek Valley), Russian River Valley, Mendocino and the Cucamonga Valley in Southern California. Many of her vineyard sources are organically grown, and most are old vines with very low yields.

"Having Zin vineyards from diverse growing regions allows us the opportunity to offer Zin lovers a selection of Zins with a wide range of flavors," Carol says. "Each wine has its unique flavors and style."

The winery's marketing line is "Carol Shelton Wines--Mastering the Zen of Zin." Not only has Carol mastered Zin, she has taken it to new heights and for this, Zinfandel lovers are grateful.

What to buy:
'05 Wild Thing Zin, Mendocino Wild raspberry fruit, smoky oak, very creamy $28
'05 Monga Zin, Cucamonga Juicy red fruit, Asian spices, touch of brown sugar, caramel-chocolate oak $21
'05 Rocky Reserve Zin, Rockpile Rich blackberry-plum fruit, elegantly polished tannins $33
'05 Karma Zin, Russian River Valley Old vine, layers of fruit, spices, very complex $33

Tasting Room Open Daily by Appointment Only

Getting There:
From Hwy 101 N take the Bicentennial Way exit. Go over freeway and turn right, then immediately left onto Piner Rd. Head west on Piner Rd. and turn right at the traffic light at Coffey Lane. Go about one block and look for the sign on your right saying "Pine Creek Business Park"--go to the far back right-hand corner of this development.

Captions: 1. Winemaker Carol Shelton has created an impressive portfolio of Zinfandels as well as other small production wines. 2. Harvest time in Carol's rockpile vineyard at 1500 ft. elevation