Sierra Wine Experience services the counties of Amador, El Dorado, Calaveras, Placer and Nevada. These counties are home to over 150 wineries. There are also sub-areas within some of the counties. For instance, the two areas in El Dorado County with the greatest concentration of wineries are the Apple Hill/Camino area near Highway 50, and the Fair Play region to the south.
The following is a brief description of these areas:
Amador County has over 40 wineries and, by far, the largest concentration of wineries in Amador County is in the Shenandoah Valley. There are over 30 wineries in this area, which is known mostly for production of bold Zinfandel wines. However, other varietal wines are also abundant including Italian-style wines such as Sangiovese and Barbara. Some of the oldest vineyards in California still exist in Amador County and the history of gold mining and winemaking are intertwined in the County. Other wineries and tasting rooms exist in the areas near Shenandoah Valley, including both rustic hidden gems and larger, modern tasting rooms.
El Dorado County
Together with Amador County, El Dorado County was the center of the Sierra wine region as early as the mid-1800s. In fact, James Marshall, the man who discovered gold at Coloma, also played a key role in the early development of wines in the County. El Dorado is home to over 50 wineries in various areas including Apple Hill/Camino; Fair Play; Pleasant Valley; and others near Shingle Springs and Coloma. Wines vary as widely as the locations with wonderful Rhone-style wines in Pleasant Valley, Bordeaux-style wines in Apple Hill and other locations, zinfandels, chardonnays, barberas, ports, and more.
Calaveras County has over 20 wineries, mostly centered in, or around, Murphys and Vallecito. Many of the wineries operate tasting rooms in Murphys so you can enjoy shopping and wine tasting in one walkable, small-town area, or you can venture to many of the wineries for unique wine tasting experiences. Tasting rooms range from large modern facilities, to barns and basements, and the variety of wines produced are as diverse as the wineries. Numerous caves also exist in the limestone areas near Murphys, so you can easily combine a cave tour and wine tour in one day (we recommend the cave tour first for obvious reasons).
Placer County has about 20 wineries in the Auburn, Lincoln and Loomis areas, mostly along the Placer County Wine Trail. These small, family-owned wineries offer a diverse selection of wines, including one winery specializing in Spanish-style wines and a large wine cave for tasting. Because the wineries in this area are typically small, there is a good chance that the winemaker will be there to serve you and answer your questions.
Home to about 15 wineries, Nevada County offers beautiful "treks" to rural wineries, and also many tasting rooms located in Nevada City and Grass Valley. Both of these small towns offer relaxed wine tasting and shopping in one convenient area, and also have numerous fine restaurants if the weather is not cooperative for a picnic. Whether you choose the small town tasting rooms or heading out to the wineries themselves, Nevada County offers a variety of hand-crafted wine styles from small, family–owned wineries.