Sandlands Vineyards is a new venture from Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua. Tegan is a Napa Valley native and director of winemaking at Turley Wine Cellars since 2013. He’s also worked in winemaking in New Zealand, the Rhone Valley and South Africa. Passalacqua is part of a wavelet of young winemakers and vineyard managers who are reviving once-classic California varieties, often using grapes grown in traditional northern California wine growing areas that nevertheless were considered outliers during the last part of the 20th century. The name Sandlands comes from the fact that Passalacqua's grapes mostly are grown in sandy regions and without irrigation -- a nod back to the roots of California winemaking in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Sandlands makes Chenin blanc, Trousseau Noir and Carignane from grapes sourced in Napa Valley, Contra Costa County and Amador County. The wines are produced in very limited quantities and generally available only through a mailing list.
Sierra Foothills AVA is in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and it includes parts of eight counties. With total acreage of 2.6 million acres, and nearly 6,000 vineyard acres, it is one of the largest appellations in California. Wine grapes were planted in the foothills during the Gold Rush in the mid-19th century and the appellation was officially recognized in 1987. There are five sub-appellations within the Sierra Foothills region, and more than 100 wineries, most small and family-owned. Zinfandel is the most successful wine grape in this region, though Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are also planted.
This light-bodied white wine grape has zest and versatility depending on its style. It is grown extensively in South Africa, where wineries produce dry wines. Traditional French Chenin Blancs are sweet. It is closest to Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.