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Carol Shelton Wines

Dry Creek Valley AVA

Carol's experience, creativity and passion come through in each of her wines

An iconic, passionate, and fascinating winemaker, Carol Shelton is one of the most awarded winemakers in the country with countless Gold Medals and prestigious honors to her name. Carol has earned the title of ‘Winemaker of the Year’ five times, she has been named one of eight ‘Pioneer Women Winemakers of Sonoma County,’ and one of her Zinfandels was included in the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2014. Needless to say, Carol Shelton is a leader in the California wine industry and it is a pleasure to introduce her and her namesake winery to our Pinot Noir Wine Club members.

Looking back, Carol can pinpoint the beginning of her path into the wine industry and it was at a very young age. When she was just six years old, her mom developed an “identify the scent” game using herbs and spices out of their kitchen cabinet. It quickly became apparent that Carol not only possessed a great sense of smell, but she was remarkably adept at figuring out the new smells as the game evolved. This was a skill and interest that would later direct her into a winemaking career.

Years later, while studying at UC Davis in the 1970’s, Carol took a tour of Sebastian Winery and when she walked into the barrel room, she was overcome by the power and complexity of the aromas of red wine and oak in the air. It was in that moment that she decided to be a winemaker. She earned her degree in Enology, worked her first harvest in 1978, and has worked every harvest since then.

Early in her career, Carol had the great fortune to work with legendary winemakers André Tchelistcheff at Buena Vista and Peter Lehmann at Saltram in Australia. She also spent nineteen years working for Rodney Strong as Windsor Vineyards’ winemaker, and it was here that she fell in love with the Zinfandel grape. She enjoyed exploring the varietal’s potential in different growing regions, and was especially drawn to Zins that allowed the terroir to shine through.

In 2000, Carol started her own winery, Carol Shelton Wines. She seeks out exceptional vineyards throughout California, many of which are organically grown, dry farmed, and many decades old. Her focus is on Zinfandel, but she also produces limited amounts of other wines. Carol’s experience, creativity and passion come through in each of her wines and we are happy to share one of her latest achievements with our members. Enjoy!

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Carol Shelton - Owner & Winemaker

Picture of Carol Shelton - Owner & Winemaker

Carol Shelton is widely cited as one of the most awarded winemakers in the United States. Her countless medals and honors for her wines, and experience working with some of the industry's best has made her a big name in California winemaking circles. Early in her career, Carol experienced some of the resistance that many pioneering women winemakers were encountering, but despite this all too common prejudice of the time, Carol worked with legendary winemakers and became an exceptional winemaker in her own right. Her Carol Shelton wines are meticulously handcrafted with a combination of experience, creativity and passion.