Can you believe it... many wine lovers think that the Sierra Foothills Wineries can only grow a few warm varietal wine grapes.
And... that the region produces lesser quality grapes and that the winemakers are inexperienced in winemaking.
Well they’re wrong!
According to Barbara M. Sederquist, author of the guidebook for the Sierra Foothills called ‘Sierra Wines’... the Foothills encompass 4,200 square miles and 2.6 million acres and stretching some 170 miles long... including the following nine counties...
There’s over 200 wineries in this region. But since we can’t show them all... we’ll showcase a few from each of the nine counties.
If you want a good resource to carry with you when you’re exploring the area... we recommend Barbara’s book - Sierra Wines. She dives into lots more wineries in the region.
...there are little-known premium wineries to be discovered along with many Gold Rush museums, old ruins, and historic sites... picturesque Western towns.
Plus it’s a great place to go hiking, biking, camping and enjoying water - as well as snow - sports.
Many of the wineries are small and are located on scenic country roads.
The sleepy, nineteenth century small towns that remain today are
loaded with Old West artifacts, antiques, and whimsical architecture. Like...
gingerbread-bedecked Victorian hotels and cowboy saloons to false-front
general stores and miners’ cabins turned into quaint cottages.
Columbia - in Tuolumne County - a meticulously preserved mining town, is now a state historic park.
Gold Rush-era buildings line the streets
and they still serve as hotels, saloons, and even a theater.
You see... the Sierra Nevada Foothills offers a greater selection of grape and wine varieties... more than any other region in California.
You see since its new start, when it almost died out in the early 1900s... the Sierra Foothills American Viticultural Area... established itself in 1987, is now one of the largest wine regions in the United States.
Elevations range from 500 feet above sea level to 3500 feet. And there are at least 50 grape varietals grown in this region.
"I love the agricultural aspects of winemaking and the joy of working with great vineyards.
When admiring a great wine, I know that it is great because of the vineyard and it is my job to be a good shepherd of the fruit.
My decision to relocate to the Sierra Foothills was based on the high quality of the fruit from this area, and the laid-back nature of the wine industry here.
The focus is on making a product that is delicious, affordable, and reflective of the terroir."
"After 35 years of making wine I still feel the excitement when the harvest starts every year.
It is very hard and sometimes stressful work, but there is magic in every harvest when you take beautiful grapes and turn them into the complex aromas and flavors that evolve through fermentation and aging.
The flavors created in the Sierra Foothills Wineries region can be very bold and jammy or, in other cases, very refined and subtle.
It makes a great palate for a winemaker to paint with."
"I enjoy the constant variety of this craft. Every day, every harvest, every bottling run, and even every barrel are slightly - or hugely - different. There’s no time for complacency.
The Sierra Foothills Wineries region are exceptional because our soils and climate conditions are unlike those found in the rest of the state - plus, we have no ocean influence.
This makes our region completely unique. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are great neighbors.
They help us make great grapes and the snowboarding is great too!"
"I enjoy the look of enjoyment in the eyes of our tasting room guests.
After spending many years in high tech, it is very rewarding to receive face-to-face feedback on the product I produced with my own two hands.
Our vineyard elevations here in Nevada County range from 1,600 to 2,700 feet, providing fruit with a wonderful balance of sugars, acids, and tannins that let us to produce wines equal to any of the other wine producing areas in California."
Like what we said earlier... what you don’t know... can cause you to miss out!
Late summer and early fall are ideal times for a visit, as harvest is getting under way. So what do you say... ready to check out Sierra Foothills wineries?
But whatever time of the year you visit... you won’t be disappointed.
Okay ready? Let’s go!