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Spotlight: Gold Country Wineries

Zinfandel and the Gold Country

Zinfandel and the Gold Country Zinfandel is the signature variety of the Sierra Foothills Gold Country, and it has been produced here since the mid-1860s, not long after wine production was ignited by the 1848 Gold Rush. After the mines began to run dry, many gold miners turned to grape-growing as an alternate profession.

Located in the western foothills of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range, many local vineyards are planted on hillsides above 1,000 feet in elevation, in volcanic, decomposed granite soils. These conditions, combined with the region's warm climate and high incidence of old vines, produce intensely flavored grapes, which local vintners turn into rich, robust red wines.

Sierra foothill vintners makes excellent syrah, barbera, and sangiovese, but the region's trademark wine remains the spicy, fruity, robust Zinfandel, a perfect complement to hearty foods such as grilled lamb, spicy sausages, and tomato-based pastas.


Spotlight: Gold Country Wineries

Gold Country / Sierra Foothills Regions

Gold Country / Sierra Foothills Regions Winemaking came to the Sierra Foothills region with the Gold Rush, as the miners, predominantly European, planted grapevines upon their arrival. Once the gold began to dwindle, many turned to grape-growing. A far more prominent wine region than Napa and Sonoma at the time, the Sierra Foothills, by the 1870s, boasted over 100 wineries. Regrettably, Prohibition extinguished this frontier wine community, which did not revive until the 1970s, when a new generation of vintners flocked to the foothills.

The heart of the Sierra Foothills Gold Country wine growing region is comprised of four counties. From north to south, they are Nevada, El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras. Together, they are home to over 50 wineries.

Amador, with its volcanic soils, warm climate, and old vines, is famous for its spicy, hearty, fruity red Zinfandels. (The Amador Vintner's Association web site provides extensive information on Amador wines, wineries, and special events.) By comparison, El Dorado boasts higher elevations and a cooler climate, supporting a wider array of varieties. The smaller appellations of Calaveras and Nevada County also produce high-quality wines.


Spotlight: Gold Country Lodging

Lodging in El Dorado County

Lodging in El Dorado County The rich history of the Gold Country infuses the atmosphere of El Dorado County's many B&B's, inns, and hotels. The walls of the Lavendar Hill B&B, one of many historic Gold Country hotels, are covered with Gold Rush style wallpapers and photos, and many rooms open onto original porches and verandas.

Located in and nearby the historic mining towns of Jamestown and Sonora, B&B's like the Deer Creek Inn and the Barretta Gardens Inn offer visitors a chance to experience the hospitality of a bygone era while enjoying every luxury modern amenities provide. Turn of the century antiques and furniture grace the guestrooms while air conditioning, spa services, and excellent service make every visit as convenient and comfortable as possible.

El Dorado's charming B&B's offer a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Your innkeepers will ease you into the relaxing rhythm of Gold Country life with gourmet breakfasts, sweeping grounds, and homey, period rooms.