Tucked at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, along the historic American River, El Dorado Wine Country dates back to mining days, when James Marshall first planted a vineyard on a hill behind his cabin. Today, the cities of Placerville, Mount Aukum, Fair Play and Camino are home to more than 30 vineyards and wineries. Though all types of wines are produced here, standouts include Barbera, Syrah and Cabernet Franc varietals.
Though all of the wineries have their charm, we were taken by Lava Cap Winery (perfect for a vineyard picnic), Crystal Basin Cellars and David Girard Vineyards (located just a few miles from Coloma). In January, the region hosts its Bring out the Barrel weekend, and Passport weekends are offered March and April.
Tip: Sacramento Wine Tours offers limo and coach tours of El Dorado wine country. Don’t miss a stop at historic Coloma, which is home to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park.
Address: 2221 Fruitridge Rd, Placerville, CA
Tickets: Tastings average $5-$10
Hours: 11-5 Friday-Sunday; some open weekdays.
Phone: (800) 306-3956
El Dorado Wine Country Map
El Dorado Wine Country Video