Whimsical, creative, and ever enthusiastic about her work, Carol Shelton has been lauded with countless medals and honors through the course of her 33-year career. In fact, she is said to be one of the most awarded winemakers in the country. Looking back, Carol is quick to give credit to many mentors: her mother, who helped her develop a keen sense of smell with a game identifying household herbs and spices; Ann Noble, the creator of the Aroma Wheel, under whom she studied at UC Davis; and legendary industry giants André Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi.
Carol was among the first women to graduate from UC Davis with a degree in enology, and after a couple of decades as winemaker for Windsor Vineyards, she and her husband Mitch Mackenzie started their own winery in 2000. Through Carol Shelton Wines, Carol could focus on whatever she chose— and she chose Zinfandel. Eager to capture all the nuances that terroir gives to this intriguing variety, Carol searched through the great California growing regions including Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Mendocino, and Cucamonga.
Private tastings and tours, organic/sustainable farming practices, winemaker and owner on site, wine club discounts, wine club events
“Having Zinfandel vineyards from diverse growing regions lets us offer a selection of Zins with a wide range of flavors,” Carol says. “Each wine has its own unique flavor and style.” Each wine also has its own unique name, reflecting Carol’s knack for words. Wild Thing Zin is produced using wild yeasts from organically grown grapes. Monga Zin speaks to the “humongous” flavor of her Zin hailing from the Cucamonga appellation. And Rocky Reserve pays homage to the rocky terroir of the Rockpile appellation, located adjacent to Dry Creek Valley.
Because Carol prefers to concentrate on quality, she keeps production to about 5,000 cases per year. Recently, she added a few non-Zinfandel varietals to answer the pleas of members of her wine club, Carol’s Bunch.
To know Carol Shelton is to like her. And to know Carol Shelton Wines is to like her even more.