Norton Safeweb

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wine News from the Sierra Foothills

   The foothills region of the Sierra Mountains east of Sacramento may not be the world's most famous wine region, but it puts out some pretty nice red wines, and a few whites. The two counties of Amador and El Dorado are known mostly for Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Barbera.

   California is having its share of wildfires this year. There's one burning near Plymouth in Amador County. It's already destroyed several homes. There is now worry of smoke taint in the wine grapes. In 2008 there were numerous fires in Mendocino County just north of Sonoma County. The skies were actually full of smoke for the month of June that year. At the time no one thought much about wine-related problems from the smoke, but later found smokey flavors in many wines from this region. It doesn't seem like the smoke will hang around as long in the foothills fire, but growers are concerned. We'll probably know in a few months. Article


   One of the wineries in Amador County that helped put the region on the wine map, Amador Foothill Winery, is changing owners. After 35 years Katie and Ben are calling it quits. You may have never heard of their wines as they make only a few thousand cases a year. I first learned of Amador Foothill Winery in the 1980s as Katie had previously worked at Gundlach-Bundschu Winery in Sonoma. Every two of three years we try to make a road trip to the Amador/El Dorado area and always stop at Amador Foothill where Ben could be found in the tasting room. The good news is that they've sold to another local wine family, the owners of Lava Cap Winery. Article from the Sacramento Bee.