Shake Ridge Vineyards
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Appellation and Terrain
As diverse as the wine grape varieties planted, so are the conditions in which they are grown. Amador's vineyards range from an elevation of 250 feet in the western foothills to 2900 feet in the east. Summer daytime temperatures range from the eighties to more than one hundred degrees, while nighttime temperatures dip into the fifties and sixties due to breezes from the Sacramento Delta and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Such a diurnal temperature shift is good for the grapes because the sunshine produces high acids and high sugar content while the temperature drop stabilizes the acid balance in the fruit.

Another factor that differentiates the grapes in Amador County is the jumble of the soils, from alluvial to decomposed granites, fertile to not-so-fertile, level to steep, and fine to coarse-textured. Amador County's diverse growing conditions have been acknowledged by the designation of one appellation of origin - Amador County, and two American Viticultural Areas (AVA's) - the Shenandoah Valley of California AVA and the Fiddletown AVA.

The Original Grandpère Vineyard
Terry Harvey

Farmers, Dreamers, Risk Takers...

In the late 1960s and 1970s, some of Amador County’s old vine Zinfandel growths began to attract a lot of attention when wineries like Sutter Home, Montevina and Carneros Creek began to wow California wine lovers with the typically perfumed, finely etched and spicy qualities of the fruit. Read More...

Premium Varieties
Amador County is well known for its Zinfandel and Barbera vineyards, some of which date to 1856. The ideal growing conditions within the county have allowed for broad diversification of the grapes grown.

The Amador County Wine Grape Growers' Association has more than 95 members growing more than 30 different varieties of grapes. Amador County vineyards are now also producing world-class Rhone, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese varieties. For a listing of wine grapes and for further information on the varieties grown in the Amador County's appellations, go to our "Grapes" page.

The Dollar that Changed a Region
The Barbera Festival

Cooper Vineyards Barbera

Dick Cooper, whose family originally arrived in the Sierra Foothills in 1919, is generally considered Amador County’s “Godfather of Barbera.” Zinfandel might be Amador’s heritage grape, but it is a grape that does well in other parts of California. Barbera, on the other hand, makes a red wine that many of today’s wine lovers believe grows better in Amador County than just about anywhere else in the world – even as well as the Piedmont region in Italy, where the grape originated. Read More...

Latest News and Announcements
Annual Wine Tasting - July 24, 2015
Amador County Fair Wine Tasting - Friday, July 24, 2015