Amador Vintners: Fine wine & scenic vineyards

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 45 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.

“Some of the oldest grape vines on earth are the Zin vines planted in the Sierra foothills during the era of the Gold Rush, 150-plus years ago,” writes Smithsonian magazine, pointing to Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel wine from Scott Harvey Wines as an example.

Wines of the World
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.

The county has accomplished winemaking pioneers. Scott Harvey grew up in the area, and he has been producing world-class Amador County wines for more than 40 years. Scott played a prominent role in bringing the county to the forefront of California viticulture. Winegrower Dick Cooper is responsible for growing much of the award-winning barbera wine in the foothills.

From old world charm to modern day facilities such as Andis Wines, Amador offers a memorable, enjoyable and educational wine tasting experience along scenic roads less traveled. Visit for more information.

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