Fight those winter blues with some great food and wine this Saturday, January 28! Sierra Starr will be hosting their third annual Crab and Wine event from 12-5 p.m. and will pair tasty bites like cracked crab with butter, crab cakes, and crab bread with some delicious award-winning wines hand-selected to accompany each bite. The cost is $7 for club members and $10 for the general public for this sip and snack event, and reservations are encouraged. Enjoy this break in the rain and take the opportunity to visit Grass Valley to partake in some great food, wine, and weather.
About Sierra Starr
Sierra Starr began 1995, when Phil and Anne Starr bought a vineyard because they thought the 15-acre Grass Valley parcel would be a good place to relocate their flower growing nursery from the Monterey Bay area. Their original plans quickly changed when Phil fell in love with the existing vineyard and wine making process, which started the Starr family on a whole new adventure. Ten years later in 2005, their son Jackson and his family joined the elder Starrs in the endeavor, making the vineyard and tasting room a family affair.
Today, Sierra Starr is an award-winning winery with a loyal following of local wine enthusiasts and a deep commitment to the community. Last year, the small vineyard won three double gold medals for their 2012 Rising Starr Cabernet Franc, 2013 Super Nova Petit Sirah, and 2014 Cosmic Reserve Chardonnay, six gold medals for their Reserve Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Inertia bordeaux blend, and others, as well as one silver medal for their Jacks Blend VII. In addition, Sierra Starr received 90 points out of 100 in Wine Enthusiast Magazine for their 2012 Rising Starr Cabernet Franc, 2015 Solstice Sauvignon Bland, and 2013 Old Clone Zinfandel; a huge honor and achievement. “We’re very excited about all of these accolades we received last year,” Anne said.
This spring, Sierra Starr will roll out something new; a Sauvignon Blanc that has been fermented three ways: in the classic oak barrel, in stainless steel, and for something completely different, in a concrete egg. Tasters will have the opportunity to see how the vessel changes the flavor and body of the same batch of wine. “We want to offer something for everyone, and we really feel that there is a special and unique energy going on within the local wine industry, with an enthusiasm among local buyers that is heightened by our local wineries getting recognized,” Jackson said.
This year, the Starrs are celebrating twenty-two years of success in Nevada County with a series of events to delight all, from the casual wine drinker to the most distinguishing aficionado. On March 4, they will be taking part in the popular Foothills Celebration in Downtown Grass Valley, a huge annual wine and food event put on by Sierra Vintners and the Grass Valley Downtown Association. On April 8, Sierra Starr will host a spring/Easter wine and food pairing event, with 3-4 stations that pair seasonal bites with the appropriate wines in their charming downtown tasting room. The Starrs also plan on hosting a series of summer events at both the tasting room and vineyard, with details to come.
In addition to being a family business, the Starrs are a philanthropic bunch, often donating wine and/or time to various nonprofit functions. They also host fundraisers for various local organizations, and most recently held a jewelry sale with the proceeds benefitting Hospice of the Foothills.
The family is also committed to being a good steward to the environment. In 2016 they started a “dry farming” practice at their vineyard. That means that they are trying to grow the grapes with little to no water. Anne says that while some of their vineyards need more water than others, they have two vineyards that they have not watered since 2014. Dry farming, at first, tends to give the farmer a smaller crop load, which was the case for the Starrs this last harvest, but the crop load is expected to increase as the vines adjust to the new regime. “What we did find was that the flavors from the vineyard in 2016 are exceptionally good!” Anne said. “Less water gives more intense flavors.”
The Starrs are a very humble and hard-working family, and have put their blood, sweat, and tears into the business to help it grow and thrive. “We work very hard and we’re very proud of what we do. The tasting room is the bowtie of the business, but there is so much that goes into it that the public does not see. We are farmers, scientists, artists, marketers, bookkeepers, and so much more. We are agriculture on one end and bow tie on the other, and we really love that,” said Jackson.
If you haven’t yet tried the wonderful wines of Sierra Starr, you are missing out. Stop by their lovely tasting room in Grass Valley at 124 Main Street any day between noon and 5 p.m. to do a tasting, find out about upcoming events, or to join their “Sirius Sipper” wine club to get special deals on wines and events. To learn more, you can also call 530-477-8282 or visit their website at www.sierrastarr.com.
(Photo submitted by Jackson Starr)