Sierra Vintners’ three wine trails for as little as $18 each: May 16, July 18 and Sept. 26

THE FOOTHILLS HAVE SOME ENJOYABLE wine trail experiences on “roads less traveled”: “Grape Days of Summer” in Placer County; “Passport” in El Dorado County; and “Big Crush” in Amador County, among others.

Now Sierra Vintners, which includes wineries in Placer and Nevada Counties, has come up with an innovative plan: three regional wine trail experiences in 2015—in May, July and September. This allows visitors to linger and enjoy wine, food and music at a smaller cluster of wineries in a single day rather than feel rushed to enjoy all 19 of them at once.

In addition, the price is the most affordable we’ve seen: just $55 (wine club members) or $65 for all three tours—in essence, three days of wine and food tasting spread throughout the year for as little as $18 per experience. Or you can pay $25 (wine club members) or $30 to attend one of them. The price for a designated driver is $10 for each date. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit See Wine Trail dates below.

Each wine trail includes wineries that are relatively near one another, reducing the driving time. The wineries will offer food pairings to go with their wines and music. Some will offer other activities: for example, Bent Metal Winery is building a bocce ball court. The hours will be 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The wineries on the May 16 wine trail are in picturesque settings, where you can see wildflowers, coveys of quail and other wildlife along the way. Bent Metal offers views of the Sierra, Pilot Peak has flower-filled terraces and commanding views of the surrounding hillsides, including Pilot Peak.

Three Wine Trail Tours

•May 16 Penn Valley, near Grass Valley, north of Nevada City, and Rough and Ready
Avanguardia Wines, Bent Metal Winery, Coufos Cellars, Gray Pine Winery, Pilot Peak Vineyard & Winery and Szabo Vineyards.

•July 18 Near Grass Valley and Nevada City, or in Oregon House
Double Oak Vineyards & Winery, Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery, Nevada City Winery, Smith Vineyard, Solune Winegrowers and Grant Eddie Winery (Oregon House)

•September 26 South Nevada County or North Auburn
Bear River Winery, Fawnridge Winery, Lone Buffalo Vineyards & Winery, Mt. Vernon Winery, Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Knolls Vineyards & Winery, Viña Castellano Winery.

(Photo: Dan Senkbeil)

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