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Style Magazine

Local Winemakers

Aug 31, 2008 05:00PM ● By Super Admin

Winemaking, or vinification, starts with the selection of grapes and ends with the bottling of a perfectly finished wine, and in our region, it’s some of the best around. Recently, Style visited a few of our notable wineries and vineyards to get a taste of what’s being crushed in our own backyards.

Dono dal Cielo
Tucked away in the hills of Newcastle is one of the Sierra Foothills’ up-and-coming vineyards: Dono dal Cielo. Vineyard owner, Karen McGillvary, describes her and her husband William’s inspiration for entering the wine business as, “divine.” The couple happened upon the 30-acre property by chance, thus naming it, “gift from Heaven” (the English translation of Dono dal Cielo). And from there, the vineyard was born.

    The original vineyard is home to 6,000 Zinfandel vines, and after realizing that producing only Zinfandels limited their audience, the McGillvary’s added a second vineyard with 5,300 vines including late harvest Zinfandels, Petite Sirah and Chardonnay – an ambitious undertaking for a relatively new vineyard. But it appears that there is more than just beginners’ luck on their side; the vineyard’s 2006 Zinfandel was recently awarded the silver medal at the California State Fair.
    With the help of winemaker Derek Irwin, the vineyard produces their wines through “Custom Crush” in St. Helena and Clarksburg. According to Irwin, “There is a lot of Zinfandel made [in the foothills], but not many great Zinfandels, and that is exactly William and Karen’s intention – great Zinfandel with a signature all their own.”

    While the vineyard is still in its infancy, they have grand plans for the future, including the addition of a tasting room on the property, going organic and eventually becoming sustainable.

Ta Rosé, Zinfandel

2006 Zinfandel –
With notes of plum, strawberry, raspberry and cherry, and aromas of cinnamon and anise, what more could you ask for in a Zinfandel?

Where to find Dono dal Cielo wines:
Dono dal Cielo is available online at and at several fine restaurants including Paul Martin’s American Bistro in Roseville, La Provence in Roseville and Monkey Cat in Auburn.

Tasting Room:
The Wine Rack
13464 Lincoln Way, Auburn

For more Local Winemakers, be sure to pick up this month's copy of Style-Roseville, Granite Bay, Rocklin edition. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email Gloria Schroeder at [email protected], or call her at 916-988-9888 x116.