Amador County: Fine wines on “roads less traveled”

AMADOR COUNTY’S MICROCLIMATES are as diverse as any in California, ranging from oak-studded hillsides at 900 feet to Sierra peaks that top 9,000 feet. Besides offering a year round playground — for cycling, fishing, skiing and other activities — the county’s terroir, climate and soils are ideal for growing premium wine grapes.

The majority of Amador’s 3,700 vine acres and 44 wineries are in the northern part of the county in the Shenandoah Valley, near the small town of Plymouth. In the Shenandoah Valley, the combination of weather, terrain and soil is ideal for growing premium wine grapes.

Besides the Shenandoah Valley, the sub-appellations of Fiddletown and Shake Ridge are considered prime grape growing regions.

Winemaking has been a passion in Amador County dating back to the Gold Rush era. The county is home to the oldest documented zinfandel vineyard in California.

Amador County once was identified almost exclusively with zinfandel. During the past 20 years, Amador winemakers have begun producing a diverse array of varieties, especially those of Italian and southern French origin.

The region’s wineries also produce superb examples of barbera, sangiovese, sauvignon blanc, and syrah; exceptional bottlings of pinot grigio, verdelho, viognier, roussanne, marsanne, grenache, mourvedre, petite sirah, aglianico and tempranillo; rosés made from a wide variety of grapes; exceptional dessert wines made from muscat grapes; and port-style wines made from zinfandel and traditional Portuguese varieties.

Big Crush, October 7-8

Wine lovers can savor the award-winning wines of Amador County at the vintners’ annual harvest celebration, Big Crush Harvest Festival.

About 44 member wineries of the Amador Vintners invite wine enthusiasts to visit for two days during the heart of the wine grape harvest season. Amador aficionados and wine enthusiasts alike can partake in exceptional wine, food, music and other harvest festivities amid the scenic beauty of Amador wine country.

Tickets for the “Big Crush,” are good for both days of the event and all activities at 44 wineries. Sunday only tickets will also be available for purchase. For more information and tickets, visit

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