Shell Creek Vineyards
Paso Robles AVA
An excellent example of grower turned vintner that has achieved consummate success
You seldom find sixth generation American wine families, particularly in California. The exception to that simplification is the Stinton Family, in earlier generations known as the Sinsheimer Family. In 1875, the early ancestors of James and Norma Stinton began ranching the rolling, oak filled hills and cultivating the valleys of San Luis Obispo County along California’s Central Coast.
It wasn’t until 1972 that the family actually began planting vineyards on their massive 5,000-plus acre Canyon Ranch that had been acquired in the late 1890’s. Thus began Shell Creek Vineyards, named for a seasonal creek that runs through the property carrying fossilized shells that are found throughout the their land.
Steve Stinton and his wife Jane took the reins from Steve’s father James and his wife Norma during the 1980’s and produced exceptional fruit for the likes of Caymus Vineyards, David Bruce Winery, Au Bon Climat, Beringer Vineyards, Benziger Family Winery and a host of additional top California wineries. Needless to say, Shell Creek Vineyards’ prized grapes were awarded numerous awards and high scores under these prestigious banners.
The Stinton Family finally began producing its own label almost a decade ago and has been met with great success. It has been primarily known for its incredible Petite Sirah from highly limited releases in the area of between 150-250 cases. Their secret ingredient is the fact that the vineyard is planted on a gentle hillside beneath limestone cliffs. The terroir is alluvium overlaying a layer of marine limestone that gives the soil and resulting vines a unique character.
Much of the winery’s success can be affixed to Jane Stinton who began as marketing director for the vineyard and is currently serving as managing partner. The couple’s son Daniel joined the family team in 2012 and oversees the vineyard, ranch and wine company.
Shell Creek Vineyards is another excellent example of grower turned vintner that has achieved consummate success in the commercial marketplace. The fact that the winery produces only small quantities of cases from its highly respected and sustainably farmed vineyards bears out another often overused adage, that being “quality over quantity.”