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Winery visits are a pleasure we’ve been missing for a while now. But if you’ve been lucky enough to plod through the vineyards of your favorite producer, you know there’s rarely a  category of human so lovely or engaging as those growing the vines for the wines!

But that charm doesn’t lie solely with the winery humans anymore.

As winemakers increasingly look to produce more naturally and holistically, there’s a new talent pool in the mix. For High Valley winemaker Clay Shannon, that means a crew of wine professionals of the fluffiest order. Called the “Ovis Cycle,” Shannon Ridge High Valley Wines implement a sustainable winemaking strategy that relies on a substantial herd of sheep!

Responsible for the majority of cover crop management, fertilization, canopy pruning, and even wildfire prevention across the Shannon Family line of wines, the sheep crew cut down on the need for chemical treatments as well as mechanized fossil-fuel consumption. Rock on, ya crazy lambs!

 While the positive environmental impact of Ovis Cycle sustainable farming is pretty obvious, we often get questions about how these practices translate in the glass. In the very stellar case of Shannon Ridge High Valley, we can offer you proof of super affordable wines that show Lake County, CA, as a place devoting careful attention to their precious and particular soil health. Turns out it’s pretty dang tasty. There’s no better time than to give one of their bottles a try than on Earth Day!

High Valley Sauvignon Blanc

While California Sauv Blanc can default toward grassy and occasionally cringey acidic notes, this example is more gracious with ripe pear and subtle honeydew melon. The bottle also has a hidden charm normally relegated to pricier bottles — sip the first glass frosty-crisp for ultimate crunchy green apple and lime, then let the bottle warm a bit for a second glass showing more florals, pear, and melon.

High Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

So Lake County! This is a prime but value-driven example of how high altitude can imbue Cabernet fruit character with complex flavors, without getting too bloated by jammy alcohol. The nose is classic plum, ripe currant, and bitter chocolate, with some cherry bark, cedar, and vanilla riding into the palate. Tannins are smooth but quite supple, contributing to a pretty stocky finish.

High Valley Zinfandel

Zin means so many different things to so many different people, but if there isn’t a clear presence of fruit and at least a little zing of spice, what’s the point? Luckily High Valley Zinfandel meets those criteria with ease and elegance: plum, wild berry, and a little fig is rounded out by a dusting of cinnamon and star anise. Bring on grilling season!

Enjoy these wines anytime, from any of our Top Ten Locations

— especially if you’d like to join us in celebrating Earth Day, every day.

-Aimee Hutchinson | Wine Lead Top Ten Liquors Roseville

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