California Wine Tours, Part 1

West Coast Wine Lovers! Napa and Sonoma are not the only destinations for California wine tasting. From Sacramento through the Gold Country to Yosemite National Park, discover California’s Central Valley and Sierra Foothills.


California’s North Central Valley

Just 20 minutes south of Sacramento, you’ll find the uncrowded “Gem of the Delta,” Clarksburg Wine Country. The Clarksburg appellation is home to some of California’s premiere wine grapes, with more than 35 varietals. Visitors are welcomed with authentic, laid back charm and hospitality. The Old Sugar Mill is a gorgeous place to picnic and visit 13 wineries in one location.

Travel 20 minutes further south to taste your way through Lodi, CA for a sweet surprise of 85 + wineries. Lodi has been growing winegrapes since the mid-1800s and today is the largest appellation in California with over 190,000 acres in production. Known for hearty Zinfandels, Lodi has long been the leading producer for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Visit in late summer for the annual Lodi Grape Festival, where for 80 years the people have been celebrating the grape harvest with a four day event filled with great music, food, vendors, murals, competitive exhibits, a carnival and wine tasting.


The Sierra Foothills and California’s Historic Gold Country

The roots of old Zinfandel grapevines run deep in this northeastern region of California, with winemaking here dating back to the Gold Rush days of the 1850s. Now, more than 100 wineries produce a wide range of varietals alongside sleek restaurants offering wine country cuisine. There remains a down-home sensibility throughout the region which makes for the most relaxing, wine tasting trip.

The name “Gold Country” conjures up images of the Old West, with cowboys and Indians, stagecoaches and steam engines, 49ers and rowdy saloons! The discovery of gold here in 1848 ignited the largest gold rush in history. Reminders of that boom can be found everywhere along historic Highway 49, the Gold Chain Highway, which runs 324 miles along the Heritage Corridor and links many of the 19th Century Mother Lode towns.

Today visitors to the Gold Country have much more to see than the rustic mining towns and picturesque State Historic Parks. The Gold Country is now home to award-winning wineries, savvy restaurants, upscale boutiques, antique shops, art galleries and outdoor recreation. Visit our favorites as you drive south from Sacramento to Yosemite National Park.


Amador County Wine Tours

Courtwood Wine Tours offer door to door service from your lodging in Murphys or Angels Camp, CA (greater Calaveras County) to your personalized Sierra Foothills wine tasting tour. Enjoy drinks and a delicious picnic featuring artisanal cheeses, crackers, chocolates, fresh fruit selections and mini sandwiches on your route. Learn more about the tours and Adult Wine Camp on their website. 

Reserve a Mother Lode Adventure Charter Service exclusive “Master of Wine” tour to go beyond wine tastings. You will meet winemakers for private barrel tastings and “behind the scenes” cave tours through the beautiful, rolling Sierra foothills. Each tour includes deli sandwiches or specialty picnic basket lunches and a complimentary bottle of wine. 



The Gold Country Offers Amazing Wine Tours in California
Some of the best wine tours in California are in the gold country!


Amador County Wineries

Amador Vinter’s Association 

Prospect Cellars is located in the restored original Post Office building on Main Street in Plymounth, CA. Equal parts tasting room, eatery, local hangout, visitor center and fun; this is the perfect place to start your wine tasting tour. Stop by and hear more regional history and stories as you sip.

Uphill Vineyards, in Amador City, produces limited quantities of award-winning wines from their estate vineyard. Their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon won the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Gold Medal!

Wine Tree Farm This small, funky, off the grid winery specializes in fine Rhône varietals and blends. Make a reservation for a wine blending class to take home an incredibly unique souvenir.

Bella Grace Vineyards is named after Bella and Grace, two great family matriarchs. The family came to Amador County on the recommendation of a well-known Napa Valley winemaker whom they met at the Vintner’s Holiday event in Yosemite. We’re sure glad they did! Taste their estate grown Rhône varietals, Zinfandel and Primitivo wines at the vineyard in Plymouth or at the Tasting Room and wedding venue in downtown Sutter Creek. 

Helwig Winery is a state-of-the-art and breathtaking venue with weekend vine to wine cave tours; specializing in Zinfandels, Syrah and varietals like Tempranillo and Graciano. Dave Helwig searched for the perfect wine region to put down roots upon retirement and could not resist the charm and simplicity of the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County. 

In Sutter Creek, CA, fruit from the finest vineyards of the Sierra foothills is sourced and fermented in small lots to make superior, handcrafted wines of character and quality. Your Feist Wines tasting experience goes above and beyond with artisan cheese pairings, charcuterie, desserts and the entertainment of live music and special events.

To compliment your tasting, spend the day touring the collection of wine and cheese shops on Main Street in downtown Sutter Creek, CA. Visit our Wine On Main favorites:

              Scott Harvey Wines 

Sierra Ridge Wine & Culinary 

Bella Grace Vineyards 

Baiocchi Wines 

Miller Wine Works 

Uphill Vineyards 


On the blog: Discover the Best Restaurants in Amador County to compliment your trip.