Just past the one-time mining outpost of Silverado, you will find Jim Kerins, who knows how to strike gold in the world of home winemaking.
Kerins, an Orange County Wine Society member for nearly a decade, moved from Costa Mesa to the rugged canyon five years ago, in part, to pursue his passion of producing clean, natural and – of course – delicious wine. Making vino runs in his blood; his great-grandfather was Portuguese and he also had tried his
hand at oenology.
His home sits on 2/3 of an acre and abuts Silverado Creek. Kerins has converted his garage into a wine laboratory of sorts where part is devoted to the process and another section is home to his nine-barrel cellar.
The barrels are American, Hungarian and French and hold different varietals including Tempranillo, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Primitivo. Kerins opines that American barrels are the best because they tend to have caramel and vanilla notes and lend a creamy finish to his wine.
To visit Kerins is not just about the journey but to also partake in his creation. The proof can be found among the 800 bottles he corked last year – there are only 40 that remain.
Winemaking “is the universal language of beauty, goodness and truth,” he says. “It’s about sharing it with the next generation and your family and friends.”
Kerins has been rewarded for his efforts. His 2021 Tempranillo won Best of Show at this year’s OC Fair Home Wine Competition and he has racked up six Double Gold medals the past two years.
His wine rack houses only 60 bottles – only two are not his. His cellar isn’t about the collection but more so about his passion for winemaking and ensuring that he shares that joy with others.
Kerins also planted 48 Tempranillo and Syrah vines on his property and expects his first harvest next season.
“The most rewarding part is to taste the wine daily and see how it evolves over time,” Kerins says. “I understand what wine style I like – one that gives involuntary salivation. I believe the best wine in the world can be made in six months as the sulfate-free Tempranillo Best of Show proves.”
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