Amador County Wine


Amador County, in the Sierra Foothills district of California, is named for mid-1840s ranch-owner Jose Maria Amador, who set up some of the first encampments and towns there during the gold rush. It’s the gold rush settlers who are responsible for establishing what eventually became a thriving wine community. Before they arrived, the only wine grapes grown in the region were the Mission grapes, originally planted by Franciscan friars for religious ceremonial purposes. Zinfandel vines came to the west by way of Massachusetts (and we now know for certain, via Italy) by the 1840s. They were originally intended only for table grapes, but it was discovered that they made excellent wines, were well-suited to the climate and took a minimum amount of effort and equipment to grow. Gold-miners liked to drink, so Zinfandel was planted in abundance to keep supplies flowing. 
The Phylloxera louse crisis ruined many of the early California plantings, but Amador County’s isolation Read more »

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Popular wines made in Amador County under $20

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Varietals Produced in Amador County View all

  • Barbera

    History of the grape: Barbera is a native to the Piedmont, where it has been growing for centuries, and is now the fo...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Sangiovese

    Prounounced “San-joh-vay-say,” this Italian wine varietal is Tuscany’s #1 red wine grape. It’s the pistol of Central ...

Subregions of Amador County

Popular Wineries in Amador County View all

  • Wine Tree Farm

    Wine Tree farm is located on 100+ acres in Amador County, on one of the historic farms, known as ...

  • Karly Wines

    Like fine cooking, wine can be no better than the ingredients. Wine grape growing in Amador Count...

  • Fiddletown Cellars

    "Welcome to our first release! This ultra ripe, rich and jammy wine is truly what we believe Zinf...

  • Dobra Zemlja

    At Dobra, the 2009 grape harvest frenzy has begun, and for most of September, vineyards and winer...

  • Andis Wines (Plymouth, CA)

    Andis Wines is an attempt at something new in the Sierra Foothills, to be among the finest and...

  • Drytown Cellars

    Drytown Cellars is not an “unfortunate” name for a winery! —It’s toponymous! Drytown was never “d...

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Amador County on Snooth

  • In Italy last year, we started tasting every day at about 10 a.m.  Sometimes we started at 9:30, but never later than 10. One visit in the morning, two most afternoons.  Running joke in the group was, "Dolcetto, it's what's for breakfast."  In fact, the Piemontese did used to drink it after working in the fields first thing in the morning. I thi... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • Randyfisher, nice to see you.  Funny thing is that some of the vineyards ... my phone from last week in Amador County.  Nice start, though.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic In the Vineyard

  • I suppose it depends what time one wakes up. With an early start to the day and a nice healthy breakfast, I have no issue tasting in the morning. Might agree with Spurrier in that case, as mental awakeness and attention figure to be highest in the morning, as there hasn't been anything prior to absorb much bandwith. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • I remember when I met Steven Spurrier, back in the early-mid-80s, he insisted that the best time to taste wines in terms of body clock and sensory sharpness was around 10 in the morning... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • We had a vaguely Chinese dinner of noodles, lamb and spinach, so we went for a ... ... the weekend purchases in Amador County Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Nice report!   When I was last up that way, I enjoyed Wilderotter very much, so if you get back up there, give them a try.   And yes, not much to do in Amador City.  When up that way,  I enjoy staying in Sutter Creek. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • Very interesting assessment, RF.  I didn't think any wineries would open before 11 AM, but I was wrong.  Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • Terra d'Oro wines are the more expensive, but their wines are generally ... lower costs of producing in Amador County, and the TdO and Montevina wines can be very well priced.  Because they are both well priced, it can be a little hard to differentiate, but here's an article about the brand differentiation.  Not all the Montevina wines are Cal... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • Very excellent essay, Fox.  Thank you, very much.Can you explain the diferentiation in the Terra d'Oro/Montevina labels?  At first I was going to guess that theTerra d'Oro label was used for wines made from "Italian" grapes, and Montevina was used on wines made from "California grapes that everybody else uses,"  but it is not that simple.  It ap... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

  • Misery loves company.  But it was fitting to go from Dino to the pan-Ital wines of Amador County.  (I've got a theory about how "Italian Americans" came to be viewed as folks you want to socialize with instead of suspicious foreigners with individual regional identities, and Dino fits into it.)OT, the Turley room was still showing on the map as ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Amador County 101

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  • Amador is one of my favorite appelations. The Zinfandels are big, jammy and full bodied and the Shenandoah valley is home to some of the oldest Zin vines in CA! In particular, Karmere, Dobra Zemja, Renwood, Karly, Amador Vineyards, C.G. De Arie and Montevnia stand out! Sutter Creek is a great place to visit, as is Amador City! It's the Gold coun...

    Comment by 366897Da Wine Dog 366897 Da Wine Dog

  • Can someone point me to their top 3 favorite Zinfandels in this region? Thanks.

    Comment by 234118eraserhead 234118 eraserhead

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