Our favorite time of year in Amador Wine Country.
WRITTEN BY JACK GORMAN
Photos courtesy of Amador Vintners Association
Winter provides a bit of a lull for those of us in the wine industry. Vines fall into a dormant state, conserving energy and resources for the long winter days. Cellar workers quietly monitor the precious nectar of the gods they put into barrels after last year’s harvest. The air is still and quiet, and many winemakers and grape growers, like their vines, use the time to recharge in preparation for the upcoming growing season.
Amador County grapevines taking a winter break
As the sun slowly begins to warm the vines spanning across the rolling Sierra Foothills, grasses grow up under the vines, creating a blanket of green across sprawling acres of vineyards. This is the first sign for winemakers and vineyard managers to return to their posts. Vineyards are pruned to make way for new growth while winemakers test, taste, and torment over their latest vintage waiting to be bottled.
Amador grapevines show signs of spring
Another favorite sign of spring in Amador: poppies!
For many of us who are lucky enough to live in wine country, this transition time between winter and spring is our favorite time of the year. Crisp, foggy mornings turn into warm afternoons, and the smaller crowds and shorter to-do lists provide an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labor and remember just why it was that we got into the wine business in the first place.
A Weekend in the Cellar
Whether a casual fan or experienced oenophile, this also is a great time to visit Amador Wine Country. The beauty of the fertile foothills combined with the quiet activity of the wineries provide the perfect setting to experience the art of winemaking firsthand. And Amador Vintners’ Behind the Cellar Door weekend provides the keys to unlock our cellar doors. Behind the Cellar Door is more than just another food and wine event. It’s also your chance to feel what we feel, do what we do, and experience it all with the Amador hospitality we are so proud to share.
The weekend begins with an exclusive Winemaker Reception on Fri., March 2, 2018. Many of our region’s most notable winemakers search their cellars and pick out some of their favorite older vintages to share with you. Tomorrow’s Michelin-starred chefs from the culinary program at American River College prepare perfect pairings to accompany the winemakers’ choices. Live music flows through the rafters in the barrel room of your host, the historic Terra D’Oro Winery (home of Montevina), as you make new friends and enjoy this casually elegant evening Amador style.
The historic barrel room at Terra D’Ora Winery, location of our Winemaker Reception
On Sat., March 3 and Sun., March 4, your tickets get you access to more than 40 of Amador’s best wineries. Each stop entitles you to a carefully selected flight of wine to taste and a thoughtful food pairing along with the opportunity to participate in myriad fun and educational seminars and demonstrations. Taste next year’s vintage straight from the barrel, help the vineyard manager prune his vines, or learn about the balance of art and science in creating the perfect blend. Everything, even a commemorative wine glass, is included with your ticket.
Taste the 2017 vintage right out of the barrel!
New for this year, guests are invited to spend the VIP weekend with us and take their experience to a new level. VIP ticket holders have the opportunity to delve even deeper into the minds of a few of Amador’s most acclaimed winemakers at our new VIP Tasting Salons. These smaller, more intimate experiences focus on two topic areas: the art and science of wine blending and what makes a particular wine the winemaker’s favorite.
Held at the original historic one-room schoolhouse for the farming families of Amador’s Shenandoah Valley, each tasting salon will provide an intimate one-on-one experience with your winemaker hosts. Two salons, Winemaker Favorites, will each feature a panel of three of Amador County’s most notable winemakers. Each will bring two examples of what the winemaker has determined to be a favorite wine vintage — and you get to try them with the winemakers! They will discuss the weather conditions, farming practices, vineyard soil types, and winemaking techniques used that resulted in what they have deemed their favorites.
The other two salons will explore the minds of local winemakers who are considered among their peers to be master blenders. With one focusing on zinfandel-based blends and the other syrah, each host will guide you through his or her process for tasting individual varietals and explain why some things work together and some things don’t. You’ll taste examples of their incredible creations and have the opportunity to mix up something of your own.
Winemakers share the art and science of blending great wine
Amador visitors blend wines of their own
Renowned winemakers share some insights
VIP ticket holders enjoy access to our Winemaker Reception, general admission to all 40-plus wineries on both Saturday and Sunday (including special VIP-only offerings from many of the wineries), and the opportunity to choose one of the exclusive tasting salons to attend.
Come and experience a day or the weekend behind our cellar doors. Enjoy world-class wines, delicious food preparations, and engaging activities all in a spectacular Sierra Foothills setting and delivered with renowned Amador hospitality.
For details and purchase your tickets to Behind the Cellar Door, visit https://amadorwine.com/event/behind-cellar-door-2018/
Want to take it all in and stay one night or all weekend? Stay with one of our lodging partners: https://amadorwine.com/visit-us/lodging/
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NOTE: This is a sponsored post.
Jack Gorman is the executive director of Amador Vintners, an association of more than 40 wine growers in Amador County. A recovering lobbyist, Jack now spends his days in a small vineyard in Amador County with his husband and three cats, attempting to share Amador Wine Country with the world (while keeping a little corner all to himself).