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Shingle Springs winery offers tastings

Folsom Lake Entertainer
By: Eileen Wilson, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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Warm spring-like weather has some thinking picnics and Pinot Grigio – and Cielo Estate is just the place for an afternoon of wine and fun. The Shingle Springs winery, owned by Bill Manson and Carrie Nave-Manson, encompasses 41 vine-filled acres; a foothills paradise, located just minutes from Highway 50 and Green Valley Road. According to Manson, people visit the estate for both the wine and the atmosphere. “We had people playing Frisbee on the lawn into the afternoon on Friday,” he said. The property was developed by “a real visionary” in the 90s, according to Manson. Originally 110 acres, the two purchased the property – a piece of land that they grew to love, as they passed on their way home each day - just a half mile away. “We had been driving past the property for eight years, and we just fell in love with it. When the previous owner decided to sell, we jumped,” he said. “We recognized the strength of the property, and we knew what the property could do for the local wine region, and for the community, too.” With vineyards already in existence, the estate features 22 acres of vines, with 22 different varietals, mostly focusing on Italy and the Rhone Valley. “Our problem is that we haven’t met too many grapes that we didn’t like,” Manson said. According to Manson, recent warm weather is making the vines want to grow, and the couple is looking forward to a late spring release of five new estate wines. Until then, Cielo offers plenty of nectar of the Gods, in both reds and whites, with the Cabernet Franc, a Yolo 2009, a top seller. “The Cabernet Franc is a real favorite – also the Cabernet Savignon Reserve,” said Suzie Bertram, who mans the tasting room. “And everybody loves the Champagne,” she added. It’s easy to see why the Cabernet Franc is a fan favorite. With hints of violets, blueberries and candied fruit, the wine finishes with a small spurt of delicious flavor. The Pinot Grigio, a Sierra Foothills 2010, is delicious, and perfect for a warm spring picnic, as well. Tangerine and citrus notes create a subtle flavor that refreshes beautifully. The estate is gearing up for warm weather in a big way. “We already have 15 weddings booked for the season,” Manson said. “And Friday night concerts will start around Memorial Day. We have a beautiful outdoor setting with gazebo for weddings, and we use our Victorian home on the property for private dinners and as a wedding staging area.” Manson and Nave-Manson have created an art gallery in their tasting room, which features three artists – a painter, a photographer and a glassworks artist, and they plan to install a brew pub in the spring, as well, with master artisan brewer, Andrew Van Zant. According to Manson, a typical spring weekend will bring two kinds of people out – the wine lovers, and the folks who are looking for a picturesque day trip. “People are coming here to sit at the picnic tables, to have their lunch, it’s a destination for people,” he said. Cielo will offer cold cuts and sandwiches for purchase, as well as sodas, water and snacks this spring. “We are a very kid-friendly winery, and a pet-friendly winery,” Manson said. “Families can play on the lawns, and roam the vineyards if they would like.” Contact the winery for information on upcoming events like Easter weekend brunch, El Dorado Winery Association’s Passport Weekend, and the Fork and Cork event, which will pair wines with grilled foods and sauces. * * * KNOW AND GO What: Cielo Estate Winery When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily Where: 3040 Ponderosa Road, Shingle Springs More Information: (530) 672-8575 or cieloestate.com