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John and Barbara MacCready - Sierra Vista Winery - Wine Pioneers

Sierra Vista - John and Barbara MacCreadyJohn MacCready

A native Californian and a graduate of the University of New Mexico, John was also  graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. In 1972 while he was pursuing his engineering career, he decided to start a vineyard in El Dorado County and grow wine grapes as an investment. John and his wife, Barbara, also felt that El Dorado was an ideal place to raise their two daughters. Sierra Vista Vineyards turned into Sierra Vista Winery and Vineyards in 1977. While waiting for Sierra Vista Winery to grow big enough to support the family, John commuted to Sacramento where he was a professor at California State University, Sacramento. Now at Sierra Vista full time he wears many hats. Among them are winemaker, vineyard  manager, tractor driver, delivery boy and fork lift operator and most important Marketer and saleman.

At Sierra Vista John has been a pioneer in the establishment of the Rhone vineyards In El Dorado County with the planting of Syrah in 1979 followed later by Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Viognier. His two trips to the Rhone valley has, together with his experience, have given him valuable insight into the value of Rhone style wines.

 "in 1982 when we wanted to expand the bank suggested that we get a consultant if we wanted a loan so I had as a consultant Dimitri Tchelistcheff - whose father, Andre, was the guru of the California wine industry.  Dimitri is great in his own right. And I learned a lot from the French consultant and author Emile Peynaud, his book that is.  Many people here consider our style as more French than American because I consider wine as a food and something that should accompany food.  It is generally has less alcohol than many California producers".

Since being in the wine industry John has been the president and vice president of the El Dorado Winery association and has been inducted into the Knights of the Vine. Is a past and founding president of the Rhone Rangers, an organization dedicated to educating the public about Rhone style wines.

John MacCready comments "Winemaking satisfies my inclination toward creativity and art while my engineering training enables adoption of the latest technology, if needed, to our operation." John also states that "our research has shown that Sierra Vista's Vineyards have similar growing conditions to the Rhone valley from Cote Rotie to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. With vineyards well suited to Rhone varietals, our goal is to create outstanding wines from our El Dorado appellation and establish Sierra Vista as a premium producer of Syrah, and Viognier in the tradition of those from the northern Rhone."

Sierra Vista - John and Barbara MacCreadyBarbara MacCready

Barbara was graduated from the University of Missouri at Columbia with a masters in statistics. After a programming career in the space industry, Barbara joined John's vineyard team and pruned, planted, trained vines and even moved irrigation lines.

In 1974 when the first vines were planted, Barbara was the vineyard foreman and manager. When the winery began production in 1977 her duties expanded to include tasting room sales, marketing and even crush crew as needed. She gladly relinquished vineyard and crushing duties when John became full time at the winery.

Barbara comments,  All our wines are estate grown except the Sauvignon Blanc.  Growing our own fruit allows us the luxury to limit yields allowing ripe grapes at lower sugar levels.  Our vineyards are farmed sustainably using only organic material on our vines. 

"We continue to strive to be more environmentally friendly."

To read more about John and Barbara's farming practices Click Here