Carol Shelton has been Mastering the Zen of Zin since 1978. Focusing mostly on her favorite varietal, Carol is a guru of single-vineyard Zinfandel
Carol’s road to becoming a winemaker had a very early and unusual start. When she was six, her mom developed an “identify the scent” game using herbs and spices out of their kitchen cabinet. It quickly became apparent that Carol not only possessed a great sense of smell, but she was remarkably adept at figuring out the new smells as the game evolved. As Carol recalls, “it was probably the beginning of my path into the wine industry.”
Carol started at UC Davis in 1974 as an undeclared major with a penchant for language and an aptitude for science. While on a tour of Sebastiani Winery, Carol walked into the barrel room and was moved by the scent of red wine and oak in the air. She was struck by the power and complexity of aromas and decided, at that moment, to be a winemaker. She declared her major as Fermentation Science under the tutelage of Ann Noble, the author of the Aroma Wheel, and threw herself into her enology studies at UC Davis. One of Carol’s research projects on yeast strains proved that different yeast produced different flavor characteristics in the wine. This early experience with yeast is reflected today in the delicious, full-flavored wine Carol produces. Armed with her Bachelor’s degree in Enology from Davis, she has never looked back, working her first harvest in 1978 and every harvest since then.
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