Welcome to Shippey Vineyards. Our family vineyards are tucked away in the western hills above the Dry Creek Valley and they produce wines like no others. We make big wines in small lots and our story is the 21st Century equivalent of an old tale about farmers making wine in the hills.
In the 1800s, farming families in Dry Creek Valley used bottom land for wheat, orchards and livestock and they planted their grapes on the hillsides. They planted field blends of fruit forward heritage varietals like Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, in part because they were hardy grapes which benefited from the hillside growing environment and in part because that was what was available to them.
They may not have known how smart (or lucky) they were in the varietals they’d selected to plant, or in taking advantage of the hillside sun exposure and limited groundwater to create grapes with intense concentrated flavors and delicious aromas. But as a result today Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes are synonymous with Dry Creek Valley and are grown in few other places in the world
We have been growing grapes on our property since we purchased it in 1968 (there was an an old vine field blend vineyard being tended then) and commercially since the 1980's. By then most of the old-vine vineyards had been torn out or replanted, often with other varietals. We decided to go the other way and have planted our vineyards with these most Californian of grapes, the most Dry Creek Valley of grapes, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, partly because historically they’re the right grapes for our vineyard and partly because they make great wines.
Today we’ve updated our farming techniques – we use tractors, not mules, and we back up our taste buds with scientific analysis. But the core idea remains the same; to plant the best vines in the best spots because we truly believe that great wines come from great grapes.