Iron Hub Winery: An Authentic Wine Country Experience

IRON HUB WINERY ILLUSTRATES WHY we love Sierra Foothills wineries: The Amador County winery is family owned; it is home to a veteran winemaker, who graduated from UC Davis’ school of viticulture and enology; it is set on a hillside vineyard with a sleek tasting room and stunning views; and best of all, it is the maker of delicious award- winning wines, including regional favorites, such as barbera and zinfandel. It also makes chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and red blends, such as “Resolute.”

The 33-acre winery and vineyard is off Steiner Road in the Shenandoah Valley, home to some of Amador’s best wineries. It shares a fence with the original Grandpere Vineyard, the state’s oldest Zinfandel vineyard is over 150 years old. “It’s a wonderful wine neighborhood,” says Beth Jones, who owns Iron Hub with her husband, Tom, and their three children, Spencer, Melissa and Allie.

The winery is a family labor of love: Tom is the winemaker, and Beth and Spencer work there with Tom. Melissa and Allie live in the Bay Area, but they help out with the website and social media.

The Jones bought the winery in 2014, fulfilling a lifelong dream. They previously were co-owners of the Lava Cap Winery in Placerville, where Tom was the winemaker for over 30 years. As Sacramento Bee wine columnist Mike Dunne put it: “Tom hasn’t retired; he just moved south.”

Beth fondly recalls the beginning at Lava Cap in the ‘80s when they commuted between Placerville and Davis in an old Volkswagen bus as Tom finished his degree. “We felt we had to push the bus up the hill,” she joked.

The Jones became familiar with Amador wine country when Tom began buying barbera grapes from legendary grape grower Dick Cooper, the “the Johnny Appleseed of California barberas” (see SierraCulture.com for more on Cooper). Iron Hub now pours wine at popular food-and-wine destinations in the region, including Taste restaurant in Plymouth.

“People in the Shenandoah Valley were enthusiastic and supportive” when the Jones bought the Amador winery, says Beth. The name Iron Hub comes from a hand-forged iron hoop that came from a freight wagon in the Gold Rush era. Tom found the relic on a hiking trip. “To us, it represents the wonderful seasons of winemaking — from the hurriedness of crush, to the excitement of bottling, to the beauty of the vineyards in summer,” says Beth.

Sippin’ on Steiner
The nine Steiner Road wineries in Amador County, including Iron Hub, are hosting “Sippin’ On Steiner” on August 11, featuring wine pairings, art and music.

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