Tours Travel

Carol Shelton, the Queen of Zin!

Tucked away in a modest warehouse outside of Santa Rosa, Carol Shelton Wines is known for her four gorgeous Zinfandels: Rocky reserve, Karma Zin, Wild Thing Y Monga zin – More Black magic, a late harvest Zin. Each wine has its own distinct personality from the rest, receiving whimsical names that echo Carol’s love of words and wine.

Before studying oenology at UC Davis, Carol majored in poetry. Needless to say, her favorite wine quote is “Wine is Poetry in Bottles” by Robert Lewis Stevenson. Carol fell in love with wine at the first smell, literally. After experiencing the aroma of wine aging in oak barrels while touring the Sebastiani winery with her parents, it was so tempting that it attracted Carol to her life’s work as a winemaker.

As a woman during the 1970s in a male-dominated industry, Carol’s path was not always easy.

“As a short, blonde, busty woman, I had to prove myself over and over again to make money-making decisions,” she says. “I am not a super aggressive or competitive person and a lot of CEOs want to push your buttons and see how far you go. I have managed to overcome that, with the help of my husband.”

Carol attributes much of her success to her mentors over the years. He had the pleasure of working with Lisa Van der Water in the first independent wine testing laboratory (of its kind in the country) called The Wine Lab, which inspired Carol to get into microbiology and work extensively with strains of yeast.

While working for the Robert Mondavi winery in 1978, she worked with Zelma Long in her last year there as Chief Winemaker. Carol was inspired by Zelma’s constant thirst for knowledge. “She inspired me to keep an open mind,” says Carol. “Unlike Zelma, many people have a formula that they follow and that they learned from their boss before them. You have to adapt, be flexible and try the newest technology that is emerging.”

Under the direction of one of California’s most influential winemakers, Andre Tchelistcheff, Carol learned to have great expectations for detail. “I was so obsessed with details,” says Carol. “And I was so nonchalant at the time, but I realized he was right. That’s what distinguishes a really good wine from a good thing. People just think that wine is made by itself. That’s silly! ! “

Over the years, Carol has developed her own style. “I strive for a delicious quality,” he says. “I love seeing people’s faces when they ‘get it’ and savor the difference between the quality of my wine compared to what they are used to.”

Carol Shelton Wines produces 5,000 cases a year, with distribution throughout the United States and internationally. Looking to the future, Carol has added a few other non-Zin varieties (a seductive white Rhone blend called Coquille Blanc, dry Rendezvous Rosé, a Pinot Noir, and some Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignons) and is slowly increasing. the production. to meet the demands of your wines.

However, Carol maintains her role as “Queen of Zin”. She says what she likes best about Zin is that he doesn’t have a modern European standard to meet. “California sets the standard,” he says. “It is direct and fruitful.”

Greetings for that!