On our recent trip with visiting family to Amador’s Wine Country we discovered another winery that is the perfect escape from the city. Helwig Winery is located right in Plymouth, CA and about a 30-45 drive from Sacramento. Our favorite time of year to visit this region is during spring when it isn’t too hot and views of rolling hillsides and flowers are everywhere.
Helwig Winery is a new, state-of-the-art winery located in the heart of picturesque Shenandoah Valley. The tasting room and other winery buildings offer unique modern architecture and a relaxed country vibe that instantly transports you to somewhere other than wherever you came from that day. Outside patios with incredible spanning vista views are available for picnicing and taking a bottle of wine to savor.
Almost every other tasting group at Helwig the day we went included babies and young children. It was nice to see families taking in wine country in a tot-friendly environment. The winery offers multiple tasting experiences including cave tours and concerts are hosted at the winery pavillion throughout the summer months. The winery asks that tots under the age of 14 not join their parents in the tasting room or on cave tours. Since the winery does host events and weddings, calling ahead to make sure the picnic area is available is advised.
Viognier, Zinfandel and Syrah are some of the most widely acclaimed wines from Helwig and we took home a bottle of library Syrah to have with grilled hamburgers and spinach strawberry salad that evening.
Helwig Winery is located at 11555 Shenandoah Rd., Plymouth , CA and is open seven days a week from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. Advance reservations are required for Cave Tours and Tasting groups of 6 or more. Parking is a large paved lot and restrooms are available along with covered picnic areas.
The year we moved to El Dorado Hills we started taking weekend drives out to Amador Wine Country to get away and slow down. That same year we watched a modern new winery taking shape on a hillside along Shenandoah Rd. in Plymouth right in the middle of the Amador County winemaking region. We promised ourselves we would visit as soon as they opened the winery for visitors. That was five years ago. It might have taken us longer than we wanted it to only we did make it for a visit last weekend.
Our parents came to visit from Sun Valley, Idaho so we decided since they were escaping from the snow and winter days we needed to take them to Andis Winery to get a dose of springtime. The winery is easy to get to and when we arrived we were the only visitors there so the expansive parking lot was easy to maneauver and we found our way to the tasting room right away. The architecture of the building is modern and lends itself to the indoor outdoor lifestyle we sometimes take for granted here in California. The tasting room is so airy and open that expansive views of the vineyards surround you on all sides.
Since we brought our two tots we didn’t do focused wine tasting for long. We tasted the top white and red and then took some glasses out on the bocce court for a game and some old-fashioned wine country entertainment. There are covered chairs outside the tasting room and the bocce court is open for anyone to use during winery hours. There is also picnic tables, large grassy areas to run and other games to try.
The focus of the winery is to seek out the best vineyards in the Sierra Foothills to craft wines with balance, character, complexity and varietal correctness. The winemakers at Andis use both traditional and innovative winemaking approaches to produce wines that display the characterisitics of the region while maintaining a uniqueness that is all their own. Our favorite part of the tasting experience was the wine available on tap. Visitors can purchase a refillable bottle that can be filled on each visit from the wine on tap that day. Wine rotates throughout the year and prices vary.
Andis Winery is located at 11000 Shenandoah Rd in Plymouth and the tasting room is open 7 days a week from 11:00am – 4:30pm. Wine tasting costs $5/person and is refundable with each bottle purchase.
Groups of 10 or more people: $10/person, non-refundable. Club Andis members: free wine tasting for up to 4 adults. More information at (209) 245-6177
Last weekend I spent the whole weekend doing a photography project for the El Dorado Winery Association and got to drive around the backroads of El Dorado County capturing the fun surrounding this yearly event. There are over 50 wineries in the El Dorado AVA with over 2,000 acres of vines planted. The El Dorado AVA was established in 1983 Established in 1983 and includes those portions of El Dorado County located between 1,200 and 3,500 feet in elevation and bounded on the north by the Middle Fork of the American River, and on the south by the South Fork of the Cosumnes River. El Dorado is a sub-appellation of the 2,600,000-acre Sierra Foothills AVA — one of the largest appellations in California — which includes portions of the counties of Yuba, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolomne and Mariposa. Getting to represent this wine region that is located so close to our home was such a fun adventure!
El Dorado wine country isn’t easy to find unless you know where you are going and that’s part of what keeps this region quieter than other wine growing areas of California. Wineries are mostly family-owned and have a warm welcoming approach to selling wine directly to the consumer instead of through the sales pipelines of larger wine operations. Expect small crowds and sometimes to be the only visitors are more hidden wineries in the area.
The wines here have intense flavors and deep colors due to the mountain vineyards on steep hillsides with warm summer days and cool night air. It’s an environment that gives wines luscious fruit, an alluring balance, gentle tannins, and body and depth that is different than wines from other regions. My favorite wines from El Dorado Wineries are the full-bodied Chardonnays and deep intense reds like Cabernet and Zinfandel.
One of the characteristics that we like about El Dorado wineries is that there are many wineries thet are child-friendly and encourage picnicking, hiking and spending time with the entire family. Since we live so close to the wineries they make a fun weekend destination that we don’t have to leave the kids behind to experience. Visitor guides are available on the El Dorado Winery Association website along with a list of the wineries in the El Dorado AVA.
This winter we had so much fun during our Instagram Takeover of the El Dorado Winery Association and you might have seen some of our photography featured on their social media sites. So this weekend we are headed back up to El Dorado Wine Country for Passport Weekend.
El Dorado Passport 2016 is more than just wine-tasting. In the 25th year, it has become widely known as a weekend dedicated to exploration, hands-on education, and celebrating one of the most beautiful areas in the Northern-California region.
It’s your passport to a weekend full of adventure. It’s your ticket to freely roam through the Sierra Foothills. It’s a time dedicated to engaging with all things local: landmarks, attractions, hot spots, amazing food, and most of all, locally-produced wine from award winning wineries.
Purchase your tickets, pick a starting winery, and off you go on a self-guided adventure through El Dorado Wine Country.
Tickets are available online until tonight. Tickets can also be purchased during the weekend at Skinner and Madrona Vineyards.
The wineries are open 11:00 am-5:00 pm this weekend, April 16-17 see you there!
Are you going to El Dorado Wine Country this weekend? Tell us your itinerary we would love to hear more!
Want to see more of our last trip to El Dorado Wine Country? See our recap post of our adventures from our winter weekend away.
If you missed our Instagram Takeover of the El Dorado Winery Association this weekend we wanted to share it with you. Here is a recap of our weekend in pictures. Later this week we are going to share our itenerary with you so you can plan your own weekend in wine country without leaving the tots at home. (more…)
My Mom was raised in Napa and I grew up spending much of my childhood in the Napa Valley with my extended family. After college I packed up my car and moved there to work in the wine industry. After working in marketing and PR for some of the most prestigious ultra-premium wineries in Napa and Sonoma for almost 10 years, I fell in love and moved to the Sacramento area. My Husband works for the California State Senate and we had to be close to the California State Capitol for his job.
Shorty after my move my Husband introduced me to the wine regions around Sacramento and suddenly it seemed more like home. We moved to El Dorado Hills five years ago and now are even closer to the El Dorado wine region. We can reach wineries in less than 10 minutes and we take advantage of this by exploring the country roads through wine country as often as possible.
Being able to teach my tots about all kinds of agriculture in the foothills has provided me a way to connect with my passion and teach my kids about farming. The El Dorado wine region has so many destinations just waiting to be discovered so follow us as we show you around!
If you have been following our travels this fall you know our household has been spending lots of time in Apple Hill in Northern California. Apple Hill is located between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe just north of Highway 50. The region is full of apple growers, over 50 of them to be exact. Besides apples the region also beckons visitors with seasonal tree farms, juicy summer berries and all types of local produce. What most people don’t realize is that this part of El Dorado County also offers some unique and award-winning wineries. The wineries of Apple Hill are often overlooked and we aren’t sure why. (more…)