In 1995, Doctors Ian and Elena Renner decided to finally plant the vineyard of their dreams, planting their first eight acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Situated on a peninsula overlooking New Melones Reservoir, the land was blessed with cool afternoon breezes coming off the water, and they felt the microclimate here would lend itself to producing world-class grapes and wines. Today their... Read more
In 1995, Doctors Ian and Elena Renner decided to finally plant the vineyard of their dreams, planting their first eight acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Situated on a peninsula overlooking New Melones Reservoir, the land was blessed with cool afternoon breezes coming off the water, and they felt the microclimate here would lend itself to producing world-class grapes and wines. Today their dream is realized with the first release of Estate-Grown wines and Olive Oil. After having been born and raised in New Zealand, Ian spent nearly 10 years working in prominent hospitals in Adelaide, South Australia. It was here that he fell in love with the famous wines of the Barossa. As his love for grapes and wine grew, Ian dreamed of growing and making World-Class wine himself. Ian came to the United States in 1983, became a Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and married the love of his life, Elena, a Psychologist who was "just as mad about wine as I was!" Their common dream of making wine began to materialize with the purchase of a portion of the old Airola Ranch, near Murphy's in California's Sierra Foothills. After 10 years of dreaming, Ian and Elena finally took their first step and began planning Canterbury Vineyard, named for its resemblance of Ian's beloved New Zealand. After subsequent plantings, Canterbury Vineyard is now comprised of 55 acres of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Zinfandel, and Viognier, our prized white grape. Only those who have planted a vineyard from "scratch" know how much time, money, and tribulation is involved in such an endeavor. Since Ian and Elena lived over 300 miles away, their Canterbury became a true labor of love. It was with the help of famed vintners John Baritelle and Anthony Bell that Canterbury became a dream fulfilled. The first wine from the vineyard was made in 1997, a Syrah that still drinks remarkably well, especially since it came from vines planted only 19 months before. Continued growth of the vineyard made us a prime source of grapes for many Sierra Foothill and Napa Valley Wineries. As sales of Syrah wine became more competitive, however, Ian and Elena had unsold grapes and decided to take the plunge and make their inaugural Syrah in 2003, which was eventually lost in the 2005 warehouse fire in Napa Valley. The 2004 vintage of Syrah, however, was bottled in June 2006 and became Renner Winery's first release, Add to that GOLD at the Calaveras County Fair, and Canterbury Vineyard was in business! In 2006, Canterbury hired Brett Keller as its first winemaker, and began to make wine on its own, with the help and support of another Calaveras County winery. After bouncing around making wine at other wineries, Ian and Elena finally decided to jump from frying pan to fire, and began construction of their own winery in 2007. Determined to make only estate grown grapes from the Canterbury Vineyard, it was decided that a winery on the vineyard would be ideal in preserving quality in its fullness, and our first estate winemaking commenced with the 2007 crush. In addition to Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier made in 2006, Zinfandel, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Merlot and Roussanne were added to the Canterbury Vineyard wine family. Since Canterbury Vineyard was planted in 1996, three other vineyards have taken root in our valley of paradise, making a total of over 100 acres, or roughly 10 percent of Calaveras County's Vineyard acreage. Our unique climate allows not only for the growth of great wines, but great fruits such as avocados, blood oranges and Meyer lemons. Olives grow here, and in 2005 we harvested our first Manzanilla olives for the production of Renner Olive Oil, with an inaugural release of 100 cases of 250 ml bottles. Read less
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