Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wine Tasting in Amador

I've been going to Amador County for winetasting for about 25 years, since the mid-1980s. The first time I visited, we visited Montevina (now Terra d'Oro); d'Agostini (now Sobon Estate); and perhaps Shenandoah Vineyards (still Shenandoah). The other of the "original" wineries I believe was Santino Vineyards (now Renwood / Santino).....

The d'Agostini Winery was the first in the Sierra foothills (1856, Adam Uhlinger; purchased by d'Agostini in 1911; purchased by the Sobons in 1989). Montevina and Story Wineries were founded in 1973. Shenandoah Vineyards was founded by the Sobon family in 1977. Other early wineries include Santino (1979); Amador Foothill (1980); and Karly (1980). According to my 1993 Wine Atlas of California and the Pacific Northwest, there were 12 wineries in the California Shenandoah Valley AVA as of 1993.)

Today, in 2012, there are about three dozen wineries in Amador County. That's a lot of wineries to visit!

Amador was and probably always will be zinfandel territory. Hearty, strong, fruity, peppery zinfandels. Yum :) But in recent years there is a surge in the number of wineries producing amazing sangiovese, barbera, and primitivo. And many wineries exploring rhone and portuguese varietals!

I probably go up to Amador maybe once a year, but perhaps I should try every six months. It's a great place for great wine, the winemakers are always friendly, no tasting charges, and great alternatives to the Cabernet Sauvignon / Chardonnay emphasis in Napa Valley.

Well, Friday, January 13, 2012, I took the two hour drive up to Amador, and visited some old favorites and some newer venues: Vino Noceto; Helwig; Cooper; Amador Foothill; Renwood; Driven; Bray; and Convergence. (Probably twice as many wineries as I should visit in a day, but I really do enjoy the adventures of winetasting!) This was my first visit to Helwig, Driven, and Bray. Fun times on a beautiful, sunny, warm January day here in California!

Doggie Diner head at Vino Noceto.

June, 2009 in Amador


  1. Chuck we are sorry you missed our new winery - Andis Wines, we are right across from Vino Noceto. Let's us know next time you are coming up!

  2. Thanks, Andis. I'll stop by the next time I'm up in Amador!