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Spotlight: Gold Country Wineries

Gold Country / Sierra Foothills Regions

Gold Country / Sierra Foothills Regions Winemaking came to the Sierra Foothills region with the Gold Rush, as the miners, predominantly European, planted grapevines upon their arrival. Once the gold began to dwindle, many turned to grape-growing. A far more prominent wine region than Napa and Sonoma at the time, the Sierra Foothills, by the 1870s, boasted over 100 wineries. Regrettably, Prohibition extinguished this frontier wine community, which did not revive until the 1970s, when a new generation of vintners flocked to the foothills.

The heart of the Sierra Foothills Gold Country wine growing region is comprised of four counties. From north to south, they are Nevada, El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras. Together, they are home to over 50 wineries.

Amador, with its volcanic soils, warm climate, and old vines, is famous for its spicy, hearty, fruity red Zinfandels. (The Amador Vintner's Association web site provides extensive information on Amador wines, wineries, and special events.) By comparison, El Dorado boasts higher elevations and a cooler climate, supporting a wider array of varieties. The smaller appellations of Calaveras and Nevada County also produce high-quality wines.


Spotlight: Gold Country Wineries

Wine Tasting in Amador County

Wine Tasting in Amador County The vast majority of Sierra Foothills wines are produced in small, family owned wineries. Love of the land, passion for wine, and good-old fashioned friendliness are the markers of Amador's wine producers, and their unpretentious hospitality makes Amador the perfect place to taste wines and soak up the local flavor.

Nestled among back country roads and perched on the peaks of the Sierra Foothills, Amador's wineries are located in the heart of some of the most beautiful country in the U.S. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the warm summer sun in a winery picnic area, or take a long walk along one of Amador's many hiking trails.

But don't forget to taste the wine! The attention, love, and knowledge that Amador's winemakers devote to their wines yields exquisite results: the spicy, full-bodied Zinfandels for which Amador is best known as well as wines produced from Rhône Valley and Italian varietals.


Spotlight: Gold Country Lodging

Amador County Bed & Breakfasts

Amador County Bed and Breakfasts For the wine lover, few destinations are as ideal for a weekend getaway as Amador County, which boasts many charming bed-and-breakfast inns. Amador County is situated in the heart of the Sierra Foothills Gold Country. As you approach Amador from either south or north, enjoy the splendors of historic Highway 49, which traverses quaint country valleys and offers lovely views of the Sierra Nevadas.

Once you arrive at your B&B, you will be greeted by gracious staff, luxurious accommodations, and deluxe breakfasts. For day trips, enjoy the authentic charm of Amador towns such as Jackson, Sutter Creek, Amador City, and Volcano, many of which still feature historic, 19th-century buildings. Along with the history, enjoy Amador's lovely scenery, charming shops, fine dining, and premier wines, as well as a warm, soft bed at the end of the day.