While on our last wine trail through Napa, Sonoma and Lodi, we took a slight detour to visit a winery in Clarksburg, California. Why Clarksburg? Well, if you reach out to us on Twitter and ask us to visit, you just never know! We may show up at your doorstep! And such was the case for Clarksburg Wine Co.
Sugar turns into wine
Yeah, yeah, we know that you know that sugar (from grapes, plus yeast) turns into wine, but that’s not exactly what we’re talking about. We’re talking about an old sugar mill. Originally built in the 1930’s, located in the heart of the Clarksburg AVA, stands a large facility that used to be a beet sugar refinery. Purchased by the Clarksburg Wine Co., it now is called home to 11 boutique winery tasting rooms displaying their fermented juice to those that saunter inside. Clarksburg Wine Co. leases the space to these wineries providing a unique wine tasting experience to the consumer – kind of a one-stop shop for wine tasting.
It also houses a custom crush business where vintners can contract with Clarksburg Wine Co. to be their production facility, sharing the cost of high-dollar state-of-the-art winemaking equipment. Much more economical for the small winery than owning your own equipment, tanks, barrels, etc.
They also have plenty of space outside the back of the buildings to serve as a venue for weddings, company parties and the like. The grounds are very nicely maintained with a romantic winery feel suitable for many occasions.
Here, let us help you out with a quick tour of the winery and grounds. See for yourself what awaits you!
Although there are 11 wineries total in this tasting room heaven, our focus was on the owner company, Clarksburg Wine Co., and the wines that they produce. We were invited to visit by Jeremy Maron, their Marketing & Social Media Manager, over a year before our visit. Basically, he contacted us via Twitter and said “Hey! The next time you are in the area stop on by.” Well, what do you know?! We found ourselves once more in California only about an hour away so felt like we just had to go meet this Jeremy person that had reached out to us. And we are glad that we did. Jeremy is a cool guy, loves the wine industry, loves to talk about wine and get his customers talking about what aromas and flavors that they pick up. For us, of course, being the special folks that we are, :-), he poured just about every wine they produce. Them are the perks! So, to save you the long, drawn-out rambling, we will share with you only two of their wines and hopefully teach you a little something in the process.
Jeremy poured a side-by-side tasting of two different Cab Francs. First, a 2013 Cab Franc that was made in the traditional fashion of aging in an oak barrel for months. Second, a 2014 Cab Franc that was made in the Loire Style (LS). Jeremy explains that this is when primary fermentation occurs in a stainless steel tank and then malolactic fermentation happens in the barrel, as usual. According to Jeremy, this is where the two production styles diverge. In LS, after the malolactic fermentation has finished, the wine is then moved back into steel tanks for the aging process, unlike the more common aging technique for reds which occurs for months in an oak barrel. We can tell you from first-hand experience, the difference is in the glass.
2013 Cab Franc – This wine has aromas of green bell pepper and perhaps jalapeno pepper as well. The pepper flavors also come through in the mouth, as well as an additional flavor of cracked black pepper. Medium tannins finish off this delightful Cab Franc.
2014 Cab Franc (LS) – As expected, by limiting the exposure to oak, this wine expresses more of its natural grape characteristics from the vineyard with a more abundant fruit nose and mouth. This is a softer Cab Franc than the 2013 and just as delightful.
If you find yourself in the Sacramento area and want to taste some wine without driving all the way to Napa, stop in at The Old Sugar Mill. If you are one for lesser crowds, a weekday might be your best bet, but just know that not all the wineries may be open for tastings. However, if crowds don’t bother you and you want to hit up all 11 tasting rooms, stop by on the weekend, bring a picnic lunch, sit back and listen to the musicians jammin’ and stay awhile. Cheers!
The Winer’s Experience
|AMBIANCE||GROUNDS & SCENERY||TASTING ROOM|
|Fun, singles or group atmosphere, a “come and spend the afternoon” feel; a destination that starts a journey…a journey of wine.||Extremely spacious inside and out. Room for picnics, events, simply sitting on the lawn. Picturesque vineyards frame the front for your visual pleasure.||Lots of space to mill about, shop and taste wine. You can either taste at the bar or at one of the stand-up tables or wine barrels.|
|WINE TASTING EXPERIENCE||CUSTOMER SERVICE||TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE|
|Fun and informative. Jeremy (who has the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD – just ask him!) was excited to show off the wines and not only his winery but the other wineries in the Old Sugar Mill.||Well, it was Jeremy (who has the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD) so how do you think it was!? GREAT!||Once again, Jeremy! He knows a little bit about the whole operation and was eager to share the information. He also shared his knowledge on wine in general which is always fun to watch someone’s eyes light up.|
Vineyard & Winery Information
|Clarksburg Wine Company||35265 Willow Ave, Clarksburg, CA 95612|
|Daily 11 – 5|
|MUSIC||WINE CLUB||TASTING FEE|
|Check events calendar on website; many times on weekends has local artists jamming at will||Yes||$10/5 tastes|
|Yes – 1st Saturday of the month, tickets available online||No, but you can surely bring your own and have a nice little picnic out back.|