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Skipstone Ranch visit

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Skipstone wines were a great discovery last year at The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. In Atlanta Skipstone wines are distributed by Prime Wines and can be purchase by request at specialty wine stores like: The Wine Cellars, Niko's Wine Corner, Perrine's Wine, All Y' alls Wines, J's Beverage Depot, Ansley Wine Merchants, Halls of Fine Wines, Sherlock's Wine, Mac's Beer and Wine, HopCity Craft Beer and Wine, and Green's.

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This past March 17 was a great experience to visit the beautiful grounds of Skipstone Ranch, the vineyard is located high on the Mayacama Mountainsides above Alexander Valley in Geyserville, CA. The vineyard was established in early 2000 by proprietors husband and wife: Fahri Diner and Jill Layman.

Brook Drummond, Director of National Sales, Marketing and Public Relations welcomed us on a pleasantly cold morning under a light spring shower. Brook walked us through the grounds that includes 42 viticultural blocks within 30 acres of beautiful hillside vineyards, It looks like an amphitheater of vines all around you. Skipstone estate property of 200 acres has received Organic certification from the reputable California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) organization, including their 7 acre olive groves and 1.5 acres of culinary gardens and orchards. While walking the vineyards at Skipstone we observed a herd of Baby Doll sheep also known as Southdown sheep, Skipstone rent them from Canvas Ranch in Sonoma County; they are shorter and can’t reach the vines when they begin to bud, they control grass and weeds, while also fertilizing the vines.

"Our philosophy at Skipstone is an uncompromising commitment to Quality, Sustainability, and Community. We believe first and foremost in taking extraordinary care in crafting our estate offerings. Our mission is to responsibly steward the land for future generations and employ sustainable and organic farming practices throughout the estate. We believe that the most natural approach to farming is the most effective, the most responsible, produces the best results and benefits social sustainability in the process", Brook said.

Renowned winemakers Philippe Melka, vineyard Manager Ulises Valdez, and organic farming consultant Amigo Bob Cantisano work together following Skipstone philosophy: "Superior quality wines made under environmental and social sustainability guidelines", to create the best environment to produce unique wines that express a wonderful terroir. Skipstone has plans to build a winery in their property, sacrificing some amazing vines for progress, for now Mr. Melka use the services of Vineyard 29, where he is winemaker, to process Skipstone beautiful fruit.

After walking the beautiful grounds at Skipstone Ranch, Brook surprised us with a beautiful and very tasty four course lunch prepared by their chef Amy Schaefers and paired with three vintages of Skipstone Oliver's Blend and the 2009 Makena's Vineyard Viognier. This is material for another article coming very soon.

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