Murphys, CA…Black Sheep Winery arrived in Murphys with the 1984 harvest. From that first harvest we produced our 1984 Amador Zinfandel. The wine was styled in a big, bold way like nobody else could do. That’s what makes us Black Sheep; we’re different from the rest of the flock. We feature small batches of limited release wines handcrafted from high quality grapes grown in Calaveras and Amador Counties. We produce about 2,500 cases of wine per year, specializing in Zinfandels and Rhone varietals.
We just finished our 31st harvest, and Black Sheep is still rocking the free world! It all began in late October 1984 and most of the grapes were already picked. We got a call from an Amador County grower with unsold Zinfandel grapes, asking if we wanted them. From that moment we were off and running. The owner of Chispa Cellars generously offered to let us make our wine at his winery. Chispa was the first winery to be licensed and bonded in Calaveras County since Prohibition had ended. That winery was housed in the old Snyder barn at the end of Murphys’ Main Street. We used a small gasoline powered Zambelli crusher and an antique wooden wine press. This press is now on display at the winery. This was our humble beginning: using homeless grapes and borrowed equipment thanks to the kindness of friends. That is how 30 years of Zinfandel domination began!
Our owner and winemaker, Steve Millier has had a very distinguished career of almost 40 years. He began his journey at the David Bruce Winery in 1975, and has continued to make award-winning wines here in Calaveras County. Zinfandel is what started it all and we will always make fantastic Zinfandels. But, over the years we have been on the forefront of introducing Rhone varietals to the Foothills. We now produce a wide variety of red wines including Cinsault, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a Port-style dessert wine.
In the spring of 2007 we moved the tasting room up Main Street to our current location in the historic yellow farmhouse. We welcome guests Friday through Tuesday from 11am to 5pm. Stop by and meet our daughter Kathy Millier who is happy to pour you samples of our fantastic new releases. If you can’t visit in person just yet, please stop by our online store.