textMcConnell Estates Winery


For five generations, our family has been farming the land where McConnell Estates Winery is located. The soils and climate of Elk Grove have been ideal for growing high quality wine grapes for over 100 years. Most people don’t realize that at one time there were a handful of wineries in the area with one located on what is now Elk Grove Boulevard.

In 1993, after several generations of raising livestock and row crops, we decided to bring back this grape growing tradition by planting vines on a small section of our property. Our land is blessed with predominantly San Joaquin clay loam soils with patches of adobe that stress the vines just enough so that the varietal characteristics of each grape variety is evident not only on the vine, but in the glass.

The first vineyard started with Zinfandel, on original rootstock, from cuttings from a friend’s vineyard. Many of these original plantings are still producing but are slowly being replanted to stronger vines on a more disease-resistant rootstock.

From the start, all of our vineyards were planted on a bilateral cordon trellis system so that we could efficiently machine harvest in the wee hours of the morning when each grape type reached its optimum ripeness and flavor. Today, our brother Howard manages over 300 acres planted to grapes with a vineyard addition being planted in 2012.

Our Windmill Field is where you can find our Cabernet Sauvignon. At the Corner Field, our Zinfandel thrives in a patch of tough adobe soil. Adjacent to the winery building you can see Barbera and Petite Syrah growing in what we call the Oak Tree field. On other sections of the property we have Merlot, Tempranillo and Syrah. Our newest addition will be a little-known varietal called Tannat which ads color and body when blended with other red varietals and can make a very interesting wine all on its own.

Over the past 20 years we can attest to the fact that great wine always starts in the vineyard. So in 2001, we decided to create wines of our own created solely from our estate vineyards. These are crafted by our brother Mike who hand selects grapes from specific areas of the vineyards.

We thought it would be helpful to know a little bit about each grape variety we grow, so here’s some basic information about each vine type and the flavors you could expect to taste from a finished wine.

Merlot vineyard at bud break

Merlot vineyard