Science and Art of Winemaking

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For Dover Shores residents Linda Grace and Chad Kearns, chemistry is all in the family.

The dynamic duo owns and operates the long-established MediRX Pharmacy in Corona del Mar, as well as Community Infusion Services which provides personalized in-home pharmaceutical care. Chad, who grew up working in his father’s pharmacy, became a pharmacist himself and Linda is a registered nurse with over 20 years of experience in the health care industry.

Giracci Vineyards and Farms.

They are also the proud owners of the Giracci Vineyards and Farms in scenic Silverado Canyon, an exquisite hillside property that includes a winery, special events venue and equestrian training and boarding facility.

I met Linda and Chad while attending a friend’s birthday celebration at the winery last year, and it didn’t take long for me to find we had friends in common, who as it turns out, also had a hand in how they came to start a winery.

Enter Donna and Michael Cipolla, long-time friends and fellow wine enthusiasts of Linda and Chad’s, who one night over dinner nearly 10 years ago, convinced them to join in making some hobby wine. Since Chad had grown up surrounded by the wine business in Central California, and Linda’s grandparents owned vineyards in Italy and had passed down their appreciation of the nuances of wine to her early on, destiny seemed to take a hand.

“The first year, we literally made the wine in Donna and Michael’s front yard,” says Linda. “By the second year, we had borrowed some equipment from our friend Ron Tamez at Hamilton Oaks Vineyards and were making it in the back of our pharmacy warehouse in Costa Mesa.”

Today, Linda says, “we always joke with Donna and Michael that the first year, they taught us about winemaking, and the second year, we taught them.”

Because winemaking has its own brand of chemistry, with their science backgrounds, Chad and Linda took to it naturally. The wine turned out so good, they decided to enter it in to the OC Fair hobby wine competition, and to their delight, won a couple awards.

After an extensive search for just the right property, Linda and Chad purchased the farm almost six years ago, and with a whole lot of TLC, finally opened the property to the public. The “hobby” became much more, and in 2009, they won awards for each of their wines at both the San Francisco and Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition.

Their equestrian center has also thrived, becoming one of the premier facilities in Orange County for top-level riders and trainers.

Because wine was an integral part of both their upbringings, Linda and Chad feel it is important to pass on the wine heritage to their four children, and often take them on trips abroad to visit vineyards in Europe and North America.

While they love being at home in Newport, Linda says she’s never more content than when she’s out on the farm with her dogs and horses.

“I love the relaxing and natural ambiance of the farm. It feels like I’m sitting in Napa or Tuscany, watching the horses run, miles away from the stress of everyday life,” she says.

The best part is it’s only about 25 minutes from Newport.

Giracci Vineyards and Farms is open Saturdays and Sundays for tastings from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekdays by appointment for parties of 10 or more. For more information, log on to www.giracci.com or call 714-602-1109.

Follow Lynn on Facebook at LynnSelich-Columnist or email her at [email protected]

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