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.