Avenales Ranch Winery
Lake County AVA
In 1977, the Sinton family became aware of the potential of their grapes and began selling to wineries all across California - which immediately resulted in several award-winning wines.
Since 1875, the Sinton (once Sinsheimer) family has been ranching the rolling, oak-filled hills and cultivating the valleys of San Luis Obispo county. The family’s original patriarch, Bernard Sinton, collected over 72 homesteads to put together what is now the Avenales Ranch in the Pozo Valley, which is located just 20 miles from Paso Robles. Here, the Sinton family originally focused on sustainably running cattle for a grass-fed beef program, but in 1972, decided to diversify the property by planting a vineyard and eventually found themselves entering the wine industry.
The Sinton family’s vineyard was named ‘Shell Creek Vineyards’ after the seasonal creek that runs through the property and carries small pieces of fossilized shells that are found in the hillsides on the ranch. Planted to Petite Sirah (the hallmark of the vineyard), Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and Valdiguié, Shell Creek Vineyards is nestled on a gentle hillside beneath limestone cliffs where the soil shows unique layers of alluvium and marine limestone.
In 1977, the Sinton family became aware of the potential of their grapes and began selling to wineries all across California - which immediately resulted in several award-winning wines. Over the years, numerous wineries have vineyard-designated and received Gold Medals from Shell Creek Vineyards’ Petite Sirah grapes, including Imagery Winery, Benziger Family Winery, Caymus, Broc Cellars, Meridian Winery, Castoro Vineyards, Bogle Winery, Bending Branch, Hitching Post, David Bruce Winery, Au Bon Climat, Hope Family Wines, Nelle, Fableist, Field Recordings, Ursa Vineyards, Sextant and Thacher. This SIP certified (sustainability in practice) vineyard continues to improve in quality and has become a highly desirable site for Petite Sirah.
In 2007, the Sinton family embarked on a new venture for the ranch - winemaking! Originally named ‘Shell Creek Vineyards,’ the entity started by exclusively producing small-lot Old Vine Petite Sirah with the help of winemaker Greg Stokes and they received several distinguished awards for their wines over the next few years. In 2017, winemaker Anthony Yount joined the winery, and they added an Old Vine Chenin Blanc and a Rose of Valdiguié to the portfolio. Along with these changes, the Sinton family decided to update the wine label and name to Avenales Ranch. Avenales means ‘the place where the wild oats grow.’
Today, Avenales Ranch is owned by Steve Sinton (Bernard Sinton’s great grandson), his wife Jane, and two of Steve’s sisters. Steve and Jane’s son, Daniel Sinton, oversees the daily operations of both the cattle and the vineyards/winery. Daniel marks the fifth generation of his family to live and ranch in California’s San Luis Obispo County, and his children are the sixth generation. The Avenales Ranch property has been the Sinton family’s responsibility for generations, thus they take pride in continuing to improve the quality of their Shell Creek Vineyards fruit and taking care the land and the environment. We are happy to share the Avenales Ranch 2017 Old Vine Petite Sirah with our Garagiste Wine Club members.