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Gwinllan Estate Vineyard and Winery

Aug 26, 2014 03:38PM ● By Morgan Cásarez
Having grown grapes among the harsh Siberian winds of Southern England, husband and wife team Gordon and Chris Pack knew a good thing when they saw it in El Dorado County nearly 10 years ago. Originally from the UK, they found the retirement project they’d been searching for in a piece of Fair Play wine country. “There seemed a relaxing feel around the property, a little piece of heaven,” Gordon explains. “[It] was perfect.” The next seven years would see them build their dream vineyard (wine cave and all) from the ground up with help from their son and Winemaker, Jonathan. By 2009, it was finally time to harvest the fruits of their labor, but four more years would pass before the winery was officially open for business. Gwinllan, which is Welsh for vineyard, welcomed its first guests in April 2013 with a selection of five wines; current offerings include Chardonnay, Riesling, Zinfandel and a Rhone-style blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Unlike the vast majority of wineries in the area, the Packs sort their grapes by hand to ensure that only the best fruit fills each bottle and rely on help from their trio of border collies (plus area hawks) for pest control, thus eliminating the need for harmful chemicals. “We farm our grapes for high quality and flavor,” Gordon explains. “When determining when to harvest…the decision is made on grape flavors, not sugar content.” For the Packs, each harvest begins and ends with a Champagne toast among the vines and marks the gathering of four family generations, including sons Gareth and Duncan. It’s a proud tradition that reaffirms Gordon’s philosophy that “a great glass of wine can create a timeless memory.”

Style’s Sip of the Day: 2012 Muscat Cannelli

Fun Fact:

The family’s 87-year-old matriarch travels to Gwinllan from the UK each year to work in the vineyard and winery during harvest season.

Gwinllan Estate Vineyard and Winery

7060 Fairplay Road, Somerset

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