Arroyo Grande’s Mike Sinor prefers to fly under the radar of the Central Coast wine industry, according to friends and colleagues. However, his long list of accolades and endeavors continues to keep him in the spotlight.
Among his accomplishments during his 30-year career is the production of a wine spectator 96-point Pinot Noir, helping launch nonprofit World of Pinot Noir, named SLO County Winemaker of the Year and co-founder Ancient Peaks Winery as well as his own label, Sinor-LaVallee.
Kathleen Naughton, Executive Director of SLO Coast Wine Collectivealso credited Sinor with being “one of the few winemakers who started the petition for the [SLO Coast] AVA over five years ago and helped raise funds for the research that was needed.”
The New American Wine Zone, which was finalized in March, stretches about 60 miles from Nipomo to San Simeon and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains. Its 408,585 total acres include the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande sub-AVAs.
The coveted Federal AVA designation establishes the SLO Coast as an official wine region, confers labeling rights and helps promote the unique characteristics of its cool-climate terroir.
“[Sinor] is extremely modest,” Naughton said, “but very proud that it finally came to fruition.”
Winemaker Aaron Jacksonwho spearheaded the AVA process, said Sinor “has a tremendous history of winemaking here locally, and has brought a wonderfully forward-thinking and pragmatic spirit to our efforts.”
Jackson also credited AVA defenders Brian Talley with Talley VineyardsMaria Bennetti from Stolo VineyardsJune McIvor from Tolosaand Steve Viera of Derby Wine Estates.
Sinor said he was privileged to be part of the founding group. “It will help our region continue to grow and prosper,” he explained.
Brette Ann Womack, certified sommelier and sales and marketing consultant at Sinor-LaVallee’s tasting room in Avila Beach, said Sinor was her mentor.
“My first full-time job after college was at Domaine Alfred, where Mike was the winemaker,” she said. “He put Edna Valley on the map with the 2004 Califa Pinot Noir, which received 96 points in wine spectator. This cellar was sold and became Chamisal vineyardsand I worked there for six years.
“I have admired him as a winemaker ever since, but as I have come to know him over the years I have been inspired by his commitment to the community which we are fortunate to be part of. part.”
Sinor-LaVallee’s Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Albariño come exclusively from Avila Valley’s Bassi Vineyard, which Sinor purchased in 2013.
“We make 500 to 1,000 cases a year, depending on the vintage of Sinor-LaVallée wines,” he said.
However, he has a lot to share.
“New for us is the sale of grapes to young local winemakers—sea scar, Dunites, Raj Parr, Delmore Wines, External winesto name a few,” he said. “It’s really exciting to see this new generation of winemakers using our fruit.”
It also partners with food vendors in its tasting room for unique experiences.
Client Johnny Kenny, who resides in Avila’s See Canyon, regularly visits Sinor-LaVallee.
“They have a great patio…and the staff is really friendly,” he said. “Mike is a legend and one of the friendliest people you will meet in the wine world.
“Brette the manager is also amazing. She always has a big smile on her face and she knows the local wine scene very well.”
However, he added, the biggest draw is the wine and food.
“Pizza night on the first Sunday of the month is a great event,” he said. “They have Earth & Oven wood-fired pizza cooking. Arrive early; they sell out fast.”
He’s also a lover of Shuck Shack, the winery’s newest venture, offering patrons the chance to shuck their own oysters – with included instructions and shucking equipment – on the patio every day until supplies last. stocks.
Kenny likes to pair fresh shellfish with sparkling pinot noir from the winery.
Sinor said the motivation for establishing Shuck Shack was clear and simple: He and his wife, winery co-owner Cheri LaVallee Sinor, “have long loved oysters,” and having a vineyard with an ocean view got his creative juice. flow.
Neal Maloney, owner of Morro Bay Oyster Societysaid, “When Mike came to me with his idea, I was so excited because I’ve been such a big fan of his Central Coast wines for so long.”
Morro Bay Oyster Company’s Pacific Gold oysters are raised on a 134-acre farm in the high intertidal zone, Maloney said. They grow slowly over a period of a year, he added, because they are exposed to the air for 20% of the day.
“It helps them develop a nice tightness and strong muscles, for better shelf life. The oyster also reserves its glycogen, which gives it a smoother flavor,” Maloney said.
Notes of fresh sea salt and green melon rind “pair beautifully with the brine and strong acidity of Mike’s Coastal Chardonnay,” he added.
Sinor and Womack are in complete agreement.
“Life really doesn’t get any better than this,” Womack said. “My favorite thing about all of this is that you see people who have never had a crush before. You show them the way and they walk away with a new party trick and a deeper appreciation for this special place that they are. ‘we call home. Δ
Flavor Writer Cherish Whyte thinks the Shuck Shack is a hidden gem. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.