MURPHYS - Part of the history of wine country in the Sierra Foothills can be traced back to 1948.
It was 1948 in that John Kautz, a young crop farmer from Lodi, brought the same idea of growing wine grapes to the Calaveras County town of Murphys.
By 1988, he and his wife, Gail, along with their children had developed their own wine – thanks in part to award-winning winemaker Steve Miller – while still maintaining grape sales to top wineries around the world.
From that, Ironstone Winery was born. The Kautz family not only became dedicated to crafting quality wines but wanted to show support for the cultural arts.
So in 1989, they brought in dynamite, pick axes and shovels, and employed a crew of miners to carve through the limestone and Calaveras Schist Rock on the family ranch. Ironstone was fashioned as wine-aging caverns.
From there, Ironstone would grow into California’s largest winery entertainment complex.
The 2013 Ironstone summer concert series will bring in:
• Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Saturday, July 20.
• Melissa Etheridge Live, Friday, Aug. 2.
• Big & Rich – Party Like Cowboy Tour with special guest Cowboy Troy and Whiskey Dawn, Saturday, Aug. 10.
Each year, Ironstone Vineyards celebrates a harvest with current releases of their wines. This year includes the 2008 Reserve Cabernet Franc, 2008 Reserve Meritage, 2008 Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel, 2010 Limited Release Elevation Red, 2011 Limited Release Elevation White, 2006 Kramer Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2010 Reserve Syrah.
There’s also the Ironstone Wines: 2009 Syrah, 2010 Petite Sirah, 2011 Limited Release Tempranillo, 2011 Merlot, 2011 Pinot Grigio, 2011 Red Obsession, 2011 Obsession Symphony, 2011 “Old Vine” Zinfadel, and 2010 Cabernet Franc.
From the Christine Andrew selection come the 2009 Old Vine Zinfadel, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, and the 2009 Petite Sirah.
These wines and other award-winning wines can be found in the rustic yet elegant Ironstone Tasting Room and Gourmet Delicatessen, featuring a monumental 42-foot stone fireplace and historic oak bar, with the Heritage Museum and Jewelry Shoppe nearby.
Ironstone, in addition, is available for weddings, art shows, and banquets and corporate events.
— By VINCE REMBULAT
209 staff reporter