More about Carol Shelton
Carol Shelton has been Mastering the Zen of Zin for over 34 years - focusing mostly on her favorite varietal, Carol is a guru of single vineyard Zinfandel. California is the only place in the world to grow Zin for over a century, making it the benchmark varietal of American wine culture. A long-time resident of Sonoma County, Carol has been a fan of Zinfandel since the ‘70s. Carol was one of the first dozen women to graduate from UC Davis’s Viticulture and Enology program back in 1978. In her early career she worked for the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff at Buena Vista, Peter Lehmann at Saltram in Australia, and did research for Ann Noble, creator of the Aroma Wheel. She spent 17 years making wine that sold exclusively to a wine club before starting her eponymous label, Carol Shelton Wines in 2000. Since then Carol has won Winemaker of the Year seven times, has countless gold medals for her wines and was named one of eight Pioneer Women Winemakers of Sonoma County in 2005. She continues to win awards and accolades - her 2011 Wild Thing Zinfandel was included in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2013. Carol & Mitch Mackenzie, her husband and business partner, have sought out exceptional vineyards throughout California including Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Mendocino, and the Cucamonga Valley of Southern California. Many of her vineyard sources are organically grown and decades old. She develops close partnerships with each grower to ensure her wines maintain and express the unique terroir of the vineyard. Based out of a warehouse in Santa Rosa, Carol meticulously hand-crafts Zinfandel with a combination of experience, creativity, and passion. While the setting for Carol Shelton Wines may not be what wine connoisseurs envision when they think of a winery and tasting room, there is no denying that the unpretentiousness of the location is part of Carol’s MO. Each of Carol’s wines receives its own whimsical and memorable name, echoing both her playfulness and love of words. Her Wild Thing label denotes that the wine is produced using the wild yeasts found on organically grown grapes, while Karma Zin represents the happy results of the giving relationship between grower and winemaker. The appellation Cucamonga is merged with the humongous flavor descriptor for the Monga Zin, and Rocky Reserve is Carol’s nickname for the wonderful Reserve Zin she makes from the Rockpile appellation. Carol Shelton Wines now produces over 22,000 cases annually, with domestic distribution in 36 states and internationally distributed to Canada and Japan. Wild Thing Old Vine Zinfandel has become a rising star, recognized for its striking package, certified organically grown grapes, wild fermented wine and reasonable price point. Carol’s passion for creating authentic California Zinfandel has blossomed into a career as a winemaker with a cult-like following of Zin lovers.