Editor’s Note: This guide to exploring some of the best wineries in Amador County is part of our ongoing travel itinerary series. Learn about top wineries, restaurants, hotels and activities around the world that are worth visiting and what makes them special.
Now that we’ve introduced you to Amador County, it’s time to start planning a Winetraveler adventure through the region’s 3,700 acres of vines and more than 40 wineries. The AVA includes two sub-appellations — the Shenandoah Valley of California to the North and Fiddletown to the East.
Once nearly exclusively dedicated to Zinfandel, today Amador County produces a wide array of grapes suited for the warmer climate, especially those of Italian and southern French origin, including: Barbera, Aglianico, Teroldego, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Graziano, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Petit Sirah. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Marsanne can also be found, but in smaller amounts.
Although Amador County is a laid-back region, not all wineries are open for walk-in tastings. Since the pandemic, most wineries pivoted to a seated wine tasting form and, as a result, have instituted a reservation requirement for wine tasting. Call ahead to find out if reservations are required.
The suggestions in this list of Amador County wineries will take readers through the region and offer a cross-section of the wine styles and varieties produced throughout this off-the-beaten-path destination. There is also a plethora of outdoor activities and historical sites in the region that are worth visiting.
- Terra d’ Oro
- Amador Cellars
- Turley Wine Cellars
- Vino Noceto Winery
- Convergence Vineyards
- Jeff Runquist Wines
- Shenandoah Vineyards
- Holgate Hill
- Little John Lane & End of Nowhere
Best Wineries in Amador County
Terra d’ Oro
20680 Shenandoah School Rd, Plymouth
What Guests Like About It: Reasonable prices, aromatic whites, and elegant reds
With 800 acres of sustainably farmed vines—including several historic, old-vine vineyards in Amador County—Terra d’ Oro produces Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Barbera, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and more. The winery is a significant part of the County’s long history, established more than 150 years ago. They produce 25 to 28 wines each year and of that, only eight go to market. The remainder are only available in the tasting room.
Open seven days a week from 10:30 to 4:15, Terra d’ Oro only requires reservations for groups of six or more, otherwise, you can walk in anytime. They offer four flights: the White Wine wine Flight for $15, the Amador Red Flight for $15, the Patio Flight of red and white wines for $15, and the Library Flight for $20. Fees are waived with purchase.
11903 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669
What Guests Like About It: Friendly tasting room staff, the winemaker’s gentle processing of the grapes
A family-run winery, Amador Cellars showcases Mediterranean wines, Tuscan architecture and a friendly tasting room staff. The winery produces estate-grown Zinfandel and Italian, Spanish and Rhone Valley varietals that express varietal character and the land on which the grapes are grown. The wines are unfined and unfiltered and Amador Cellars is one of the only wineries in California to still use a wooden basket press; enabling a gentle press for the most subtle flavors with a full, round mouthfeel.
The tasting room is open Thursday through Tuesday (closed Wednesday) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Taste a flight of six wines for $5.00 per person, fee waived with purchase. Reservations are highly recommended.
12138 Steiner Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669
What Guests Like About It: The flavors of the Italian wine varietals produced
Tom Dillian is a fourth-generation Amador County farmer. His great grandfather, Alessio Dal Porto, first purchased this land in 1917. Tom, his twin brother Bill, and older brother, Jerry, replanted the original vineyard with Zinfandel grapes in 1972, and in 2003 Dillian Wines opened its doors. Most of the vineyards are dry land farmed, using little to no irrigation, and head-trained vines to limit yield and maximize the flavor and quality of the fruit.
The award-winning, small, family-run winery specializes in Zinfandel, Barbera, and Primitivo. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tasting fee is $10.00 per person, waived with purchase. Reservations recommended. Last reservation time is 3:00 p.m.
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Turley Wine Cellars
10851 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth
What Guests Like About It: The lovely outdoor patio with vineyard views while wine tasting
Turley Wine Cellars makes 50 wines from over 50 vineyards, the vast majority of which are single vineyard designated Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs. By focusing on old vine vineyards Turley aims to create and preserve California’s unique winemaking culture. The vineyards are either certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers or are in the certification process. Like several of the aforementioned wineries, Turley uses only natural yeasts in the fermentations.
The Amador tasting room offers seated in-depth flight tasting either inside or at the outdoor lounge seating areas with vineyard views. It is open by appointment Thursday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and charges $25 per person for tasting. One tasting fee waived per two bottle purchase.
Vino Noceto Winery
11011 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669
What Guests Like About It: The extensive offering of several different Sangiovese wines
Vino Noceto is where Italian inspiration collides with California sunshine to produce world-class Sangiovese, in fact, eight different Sangiovese wines! The family-owned winery also produces an old vine Zinfandel, a slightly sparkling Moscato, Barbera, a Tuscan red blend, and Pinot Grigio among others. Vino Noceto is one of only three Sierra Foothill wineries to be recognized by California’s Waste Reductions Awards Program (WRAP), and was the first winery in the Sierra Foothills to be Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The winery was also among the first solar-powered wineries in the Sierra Foothills—in fact, 100% of the power to the winery and tasting room is solar-generated.
The tasting room is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tastings are $5 per person for groups under eight. No reservations are required except for groups of eight or more, private tastings, and tours.
14650 CA-124, Plymouth, CA 95669
What Guests Like About It: Robust Amador reds served by the winemaker himself
Run by a husband and wife team, Convergence is named for the three local creeks, Amador, Rancheria and Dry Creek, which all converge on the property. The wines at Convergence include Barbera, Primitivo/Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia, Estate Zinfandel Port, and four blends. Production is small and some varieties may be sold out during parts of the year.
The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Large groups are welcome by appointment only. Tasting fee is $7.00 per person, waived with purchase.
Jeff Runquist Wines
10776 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669
What Guests Like About It: The opportunity to sample several different red table wines from a variety of appellations
Jeff Runquist Wines is a small producer of single-vineyard designated red table wines from throughout California. The winery and tasting room can be found in the heart of the Sierra Foothills, in Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley. Jeff Runquist personally travels throughout California to find the right grapes for his vineyard-designated wines. The winery produces 22 different red varietals from nine appellations including Zinfandel from estate vines planted in 1890.
The tasting room and patio are open Thursday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tasting room does not charge a tasting fee. And a complimentary plate of cheese and crackers is served with each tasting. Reservations are not required but are recommended. Limos and groups of six or more are by appointment only.
12300 Steiner Road, Plymouth
What Guests Like About It: Super reasonable wine prices, great views
Shenandoah Vineyards and its sister winery, Sobon, produce a variety of classic and reserve wines from local grapes. A three-generation family-run business, Shenandoah was one of the first four wineries in the now well-known Shenandoah appellation. Best of all, Shenandoah and Sobon not only represent the flavors of Amador County but their wines are so reasonably priced.
The view of the valley below Shenandoah’s picnic ground is stunning. The tasting room is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A tasting fee costs $5.00 per person and guests get to keep the wine glass. Walkins are welcome but reservations are highly encouraged.
14204 Main St Old, CA-49 Ste 5, Amador City, CA 95601
What Guests Like About It: The rustic charm of the tasting room in this historic hotel
A boutique winery located in Jackson, California, the husband and wife team at Holgate Hill specializes in small-lot production wines grown in the Sierra Foothills. Representative of the region’s philosophies, they are dedicated to giving people a product that they can depend on, enjoy fully, without breaking the bank.
The tasting room is located in historic Amador City inside the Amador Hotel and is open for tastings Friday through Saturday, Noon until 6 p.m.; Sunday Noon to 4:00 p.m. Tasting fee is $10 per person, waived with purchase.
Little John Lane & End of Nowhere
14204 Main St, Amador City, CA 95601
What Guests Like About It: On-site chef, signature burgers, and the winemaker’s unique approach to producing fully expressive wines
At Little John Lane and End of Nowhere, California native and an NYC certified Somm, Chris Walsh is committed to practicing organic farming and treating the land with more than a little love. All grapes are estate grown and the wines reflect his commitment to the land. Chris also runs the End of Nowhere label through which he showcases grapes grown by other small farmers in the Sierra Foothills, with a goal of approaching well-known varietals in a different way to express their full range. The wines are fermented with native yeasts, not fined, filtered or modified.
The tasting room is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A tasting flight is $5.00 for five wines. Additional times are available by appointment.
“I grew up in these hills, and I’ll do whatever it takes to preserve them for future generations, even if that means I spend a lot more time on my knees pulling weeds.”
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Tasting Rooms in Sutter Creek
Sutter Creek, a gold rush town in Amador County, draws visitors for its history, architecture, shopping, and vintage Main Street. Best of all, it’s home to ten tasting rooms for those who prefer to park the car and wine taste on foot. Wine on 49, named after Old Route 49 that runs through town, represents six of the best tasting rooms in Sutter Creek, listed below.
Le Mulet Rouge
59 Main Street, Sutter Creek
What Guests Like About It: The welcoming atmosphere, private wine tasting with the winemaker is available
Tracy Hart, winemaker and owner makes handcrafted wines from her estate vineyards in Fiddletown. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Viognier feature prominently on the Le Mulet Rouge tasting room menu. But it’s the 2016 Artisan, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec that ranks as one of the tasting room favorites.
The rustic, elegant tasting room, housed in a historic 1800s building, features plenty of space to sit, relax, and sip. Its dramatic walls are built with stones. Slats from repurposed wine barrels create a unique and decorative wall between two rooms that provide ample seating.
Open Thursday through Monday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A flight of five wines costs $15, fee waived with purchase. Call ahead for groups of six or more.
Bella Grace Vineyards
73 Main Street, Sutter Creek
What Guests Like About It: The converted Gold Rush era tasting room, outdoor seating, olive oil tasting
Located in an 1860s-era house, Bella Grace Vineyards’ tasting room is popular with locals and visitors. Its expansive grassy area and patio provide a lovely space for wine tasting outside. Seating inside, as well as space heaters and an outdoor tent, provide comfortable alternatives on cooler days.
Winemaker and co-owner Michael Havill makes a wide variety of award-winning wines including a crisp, delicious Vermentino, an Amador Barbera, an Amador County Zinfandel, and an Old Vine Zinfandel, to name a few. Bella Grace also produces a line of different flavored olive oils and an tasting of five oils is also provided with wine tasting.
Open Thursday to Monday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tasting is $15 per person, waived with purchase. In addition to the Sutter Creek tasting room, Bella Grace offers tasting at its “wine cave” off Steiner Road in the Shenandoah Valley.
Scott Harvey Wines
79 Main Street, Sutter Creek
What Guests Like About It: Frequent wine events in the tasting room, robust Amador County Barbera
An icon in Amador County, Scott Harvey has been making wine for over 40 years. Influenced by winemaking in Germany, he cut his teeth on Riesling and still produces it today. Amador County is known for its Barbera, and Harvey says this is his favorite red.
The interior of the tasting room is warm, friendly, and compact. On the second floor of this historic building, a spacious sunlit room with a huge wooden dining table provides ample seating. And out the back door, there is plentiful, shaded seating where events are held during warmer spring, summer, and fall months. Open Tuesday – Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday – Monday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tasting is $15 per person.
Scott Harvey Wines also maintains another tasting room in Plymouth at its winery on Shenandoah Road.
83 Main Street, Sutter Creek
What Guests Like About It: Unique wine blends and grape varietals
Its warmly furnished tasting room, housed in a historic building, provides a cozy place to taste this winery’s unusual offerings. This unique winery attracts the more adventurous wine lover who wants to try something new and novel. The Conspiracy White is a blend of Picpoul, Muscat, and Viognier. Raven’s Reach produces a Falanghina, one of the noble grapes of Southern Italy that also does well in California. But the winery also offers classics like a Syrah, and a Grenache Noir – a blend of Grenache and Syrah.
Open Thursday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. A tasting of five one-ounce pours for $10 per person, fee waived with each bottle purchased.
51 Handford Street, Sutter Creek
What Guests Like About It: Availability of cheese boards and provision plates to accompany wine tasting
Bearing the legacy of four generations of Yorba citrus growers in Southern California, the Kraemer Family carries on the tradition at Yorba Wines. On a beautiful, secluded ranch in Amador County, Shake Ridge Vineyards is the culmination of experience, thoughtful design, and hard work. Yorba offers several distinct varietals including Zinfandel, Rhone varietals, Barbera, Tempranillo, and Petite Syrah.
The tasting room opens onto Handford Street just off the corner of Main. It spills out onto a back porch with room for three tables and then downstairs into the shaded garden. The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Taste five wines for $15.00 per person, fee waived with purchase. Reservations are accepted but not required if space permits.
82 Main Street, Sutter Creek
What Guests Like About It: Music on the weekends, extensive outdoor seating, the Sprezzatura – a blend of Syrah and Grenache
Baiocchi Wines features an extensive patio that stretches from the front of the tasting room to the sidewalk. It includes seven wrought iron tables shaded by bright red umbrellas. Some tables are large enough to seat up to eight people. The tasting room often hosts musicians on weekends where the porch of this historic house turns into a stage.
Owner and winemaker Greg Baiocchi grows his grapes in the Sierra Foothills but offers his delicious wines out of the Sutter Creek tasting room. His Sprezzatura, a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache is a favorite with guests. Baiocchi calls his G Minor a GTS (a play on the GSM acronym). Its a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Syrah.
The tasting room is open Friday and Saturday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Taste four wines of your choice for $15 per person, waived with purchase.
Sutter Creek and Amador Gold Rush History
In addition to wine tasting, Sutter Creek is full of Gold Rush history. Today, attractions, activities, and artifacts left behind by the miners abound. The Visitor’s Center on Main Street provides information on all the area attractions.
- Historical Walking Tour of Sutter Creek – Self-guided tour maps are available in the town’s Visitor Center or sign up for Gabby’s Historical Gold Rush Tour. A retired, local teacher, Gabby offers entertaining, historical tours of early California and the Gold Rush.
- Monteverde Store Museum – Opened as a country store in 1896, the museum displays apparel, dry goods, hardware and even penny candy for a glimpse into the past.
- Historic Sutter Creek Cemetery Tour – Wander through these pioneer burial grounds to view the resting place of the town’s early founders.
- Sutter Creek Theatre – Still operational as a year-round entertainment venue, the theater originally featured silent films.
- Miner’s Bend Park – History and gold panning buffs will delight in this outdoor memorial. On display, visitors will find 16 different mining machines from Amador County gold mines.
- Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre – Located on the historic Kennedy Mine property in nearby Jackson, California, the venue now hosts weekend theatrical productions.
- The Gold Mine Trail – 17 acres of walking trails around preserved Amador County gold mines.
- Roaring Camp Mining Company – An operating gold mine on the Mokulmne River, this was once a Roaring Camp for Forty Niners. Used today for family recreation, visitors can pan for gold.
- Sutter Creek Gold Mine Trail – This ten-mile trail once produced over half the Mother Lode gold.
Amador Winery Tours
Amador County Full-Day Private Wine Tasting Tour
Embark on a delightful journey through the picturesque wineries of Amador County without worrying about who’s driving. BK Wine Tasting Tours provides private driving service from Sacramento, allowing you to indulge in a wine tasting adventure at the vineyards of your choice. They’ll scoop you up from any location in Sacramento or within a 25-mile (40-kilometer) radius, ensuring you can simply relax and savor the experience.
This tour gives you the freedom to craft your own itinerary, selecting only the wineries that entice you the most. You and your companions, up to 4-8 passengers, can comfortably journey in chic SUVs or opulent vans as you explore the exquisite flavors and scenery of this wine special region.
Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Amador’s wine country with a half-day, private tour offered, also offered by BK. Travel in style and comfort aboard a Chevy Suburban as you personalize your wine tasting adventure. Enjoy the convenience of pickup and drop-off at your residence or hotel, and the freedom to visit as many wineries as your heart desires. With around 4 hours to explore, indulge in delightful wine tastings without fretting about driving. Note that wine tasting and toll fees are not included, but with the driving taken care of, you can savor each sip to your heart’s content.
Where to Eat in Amador County
This award-winning bistro-style restaurant in Sutter Creek is named for the historic 1849 Gold Rush trail known as Highway 49. At Bistro 49, Executive Chef KC Brown creates the finest, most appetizing dishes from locally sourced ingredients. He calls his restaurant “a culinary playground in the foothills of California Gold Country.”
Hotel Sutter Restaurant
Located in the historic Hotel Sutter, the Sutter Restaurant offers shareable bites, classic entrees, and an ambiance that draws customers in. During warmer months both the restaurant and adjoining lobby bar open up to the wooden sidewalk just outside where guests can enjoy good food, good drinks,
Sina’s Backroads Cafe
This casual restaurant is a perfect place for breakfast in Sutter Creek. Sina’s Backroads Cafe offers classic breakfast dishes, freshly baked goods, and best of all, two types of homemade quiche.
Gold Dust Pizza
Locals like to say that Gold Dust Pizza makes the best pizza you will ever eat. This casual restaurant offers indoor seating, delightful outdoor seating overlooking the creek, an extensive list of local wines, and craft brews. Carnivores will want to try the Meat Monster. And yes, the pizza really is that good!
One wouldn’t expect to find a Zagat-rated restaurant in the tiny town of Plymouth, but Taste Restaurant is exactly that gourmet restaurant in a most unlikely place. Taste is so popular that it not only draws visitors in Amador County, but guests drive an hour away from Sacramento to dine here. Open for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended.
Amador Brewing Company
On the edge of Plymouth and at the entrance to Shenandoah and Schoolhouse Roads, Amador Brewing Company hosts a food truck every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you’re looking to fuel up before heading into the Shenandoah Valley, Amador Brewing makes a good stop for lunch.
Top Hotels in Amador County
Hotel Sutter, in the town of Sutter Creek, is an authentic California gold country establishment. Located on the Main Street, the hotel provides a restaurant, bar, and parking. The hotel is within easy walking distance to all downtown Sutter Creek wine tasting rooms.
The boutique hotel Rest is located in the town of Plymouth at 9372 Main Street. It offers 16 rooms, parking, and easy access to wineries of the Shenandoah Valley of Amador. Evening wine tasting, continental breakfast, and freshly baked cookies are just a few of the extra touches offered here.
Shenandoah Inn in Plymouth offers spacious accommodations in Amador Wine Country. Comfortable amenities include a swimming pool, a deluxe complimentary breakfast, and ample free parking.
Located in the heart of Amador wine country, Grand Reserve Inn is a luxury bed and breakfast boutique hotel situated on 40 acres of vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley. It offers free parking and breakfast.
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Amador is great, but don’t forget the fabulous wines and tasting rooms in the Fair Play AVA right next to Amador in El Dorado County. There are over 20 tasting rooms and the Rhone varietals and Bordeaux’s are stellar. Check out http://www.fairplaywine.com