South Valley Wine Scene
Cinnabar Winery Expands South
Driving down a rural road in south Gilroy , I am reminded of Santa Clara Valley ’ s rich history in viticulture and winemaking . As I pull into the lush property that will become a new winery called “ Cinnabar South ” and drive past vineyards just beginning to bud , I remember helping the irascible Tom Kruse harvest his Chardonnay grapes here on a cool fall morning . Today , however , I have the pleasure of coming to talk with Ron Mosley about how he and his wife Lynne are transforming this bucolic property into an extension of Cinnabar Winery in Saratoga , where Ron managed the tasting room and vineyards . Ron and Lynne are excited about bringing their popular and high-quality wines to South County . by Cindy Adams , Sommelier / Wine Educator at Calerrain Winery in Gilroy Photos by Mike Sanchez and Cinnabar Winery
While this will be a new location , Ron is not new to South County , having lived in Gilroy for over 12 years and worked with growers managing their vineyards ( including Clos la Chance and Verde Vineyards ) since the early 90 ’ s . He brings a lifetime of experience managing vineyards and producing great wines to this new venture .
After receiving degrees in viticulture and enology from UC Davis in 1982 , it didn ’ t take long for Ron to find a job that would not only utilize his education and talents , but would change his life . In 1983 , Tom Mudd , a scientist with a deep
Ron ’ s baseline for making great wine , and the standard for Cinnabar Winery , has always been to start from the ground up … literally . You can ’ t make great wine from mediocre fruit , so Ron takes great care in the planting and maintenance of the vineyards and is meticulous in his winemaking practices . “ Quality ” is Ron ’ s byword in all that he does and it shows in the beautiful vineyards , which produce fruit that generates award winning wines .
During his time as vineyard manager , Ron not only had full control of the “ home vineyard ” in Saratoga , but was also responsible for the fruit coming from vineyards in other California viticultural areas ( AVAs ) where Cinnabar purchased fruit . Between these areas and seeing so many ( continued ...) interest in viticulture and winemaking , asked Ron to clear 40 acres of property and plant 32 acres of vines in the Santa Cruz Mountains , just outside Saratoga . Ron soon realized that folks living in this area were doing so off the grid while growing some then-illegal “ crops ” of their own , so he hired them to help clear the land , prepare it and plant vineyards . Once the vineyards were established , he built a home where he would eventually raise his family and a winemaking facility , including a wine cave for aging and storing . This property has since been sold to the venerable Domain Eden .
MAIN : Cinnabar South ' s 11 acres of Merlot , Cabernet , Zinfandel , and Chardonnay vines grow at the base of Gilroy ' s east hills . TOP : Wine barrels air dry amongst the vines as part of a lengthy quality control process in preparation for Cinnabar South ' s late Summer / early Fall harvest season . ABOVE : Winemaker Alejandro Aldana expressed his excitement that future wines from Cinnabar South will bear " Santa Clara " AVA as their origin . LEFT : Ron and Tom Mudd clear 40 acres of vines to make way for the new Cinnabar Saratoga vineyard , 1983 .
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