Friday, June 17, 2011

Daytripping: Amador Wine Country

View from Andis Winery in Amador County

 Last Saturday Tim and I took a day trip up to Amador County in the beautiful Gold Country where wine growers have gained huge traction over the past five years. My friend Leanne invited us to celebrate her birthday at the first annual Barbara Festival which took place at Cooper Ranch. The tickets sold out in about three days....we were lucky to be on the waiting list and got tickets by the skin of teeth! Northern California is serious about its wines! 

Cooper Ranch has been growing grapes for five generations and has a stunning property. They generously hosted the sold out event on a perfectly beautiful day.

 Barbara is a grape that originated in the Piemonte Region of Northern Italy, and by lucky happenstance, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada have made a perfect home for growing Barbara, as well as Zinfandel grapes. Most, if not all, of the Amador wineries produce Barbara wines, as well as Sangiovese and Zinfandel wines.

This festival,was organized in partnership with the organizers of a "sister" festival held in Nizza Monferatto, Italy. At the event in Italy, three California winemakers were invited to present five California Winery barbera wines. At this festival, five Italian wineries presented their barbera wines, most of which are not distributed in California. It was a treat to taste the differences that environment can have on a grape.
Delicious Desserts offered by Clark's Corner Cafe
 The wine was not the only ingredient teasing our taste buds. Food purveyors  provided delicious dishes such as Duck Risotto, Pork Tenderloin with a spring corn and white bean hash, and blueberry and Fontina cheese lasagna. Some of the participants included Taste Restaurant (recipient of Wine Spectator Award of Excellence), Tuli Bistro, and Bocconato Trattoria

We tasted, we ate, we listened to the music, but what I love the most was just being here taking in the views of the rolling vineyards with the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the background.

 After we had thoroughly enjoyed the festival, we decided to take in a few of the wineries in the region Andis Winery. My friend Ruthie was the manager of the tasting room and I had been hearing rave reviews from many of my friends about a winery that not only was producing great wines, but had taken a very contemporary approach in the construction of their wine tasting facility. Andis Winery hired the talented architectural team of Sage Architects to design something memorable and different.

 Husband and Wife team Paul Almond and Pam Whitehead conceived of a modern contrast to the rustic  surroundings. One of my favorite elements was the use of wine barrel staves in the design as a screen along one side of the building. The weathered grey color and the texture of the screen adds a softness to the sophisticated exterior. 

For more photos you can hop on over to Sage Architecture's website HERE and read more about their thoughts on the design.  

 Andis was one of the participants at the Barbera Festival as well. After we tasted a few of their wines, we declared Andis as one of the top of our list. We came away with a delicious Sauvignon Blanc, perfect for summer and a red blend known as Painted Fields.

We relaxed in the shade and soaked up the beauty for awhile....

 before heading off to Leanne's gracious parents' home to take in a round of Bocce Ball and good conversation before heading back down the hill.....

 A day well spent....

For those of you who missed the festival, perhaps this will tempt you! 

This October 1st and 2nd, Amador Vintners are hosting:


36 participating wineries, world class wine, fabulous food, live music and entertainment, 
Harvest in action.

Check it out HERE 
along with many other Amador Wine events coming up this summer.

What are you doing this weekend?


The enchanted home said...

Seeing these pictures took me right back to my favorite place...Napa Valley! I loved it so much...could so see retiring there. The beautiful clear humid free skies, fabulous endless vistas of one vineyard after another, whats not to love? This looked like such a fun time.....thanks for sharing and allowing me to escape for a few minutes!

mary said...

Hi Katie, I think that you have me hooked on Northern California--what a beautiful day!!

under spanish moss said...

Sounds like a lovely day. Hoping to be able to check our a winery one day!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oooooh. My kinda day! Fo sho!! Looks utterly lovely!

Luciane at said...


This post is great. Love reading it!

This is my first time here and I really like your blog. Please, drop by if you have a minute!

Have a blessed week!


Luciane at

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Katie, your wonderful ode to summer (from last year) is featured here. Love that vignette with the all the straw hats!

I would love to visit wine country! I've seen so many wonderful pictures..., this seems to have been a perfect day!

Jennings and Gates said...

Those are tremendous photographs!

CJ/Rick said...

Beautiful photos/post. Sounds like a great time.

Karena said...

Katie what a wonderful getaway. I love to tour wineries. These were really special and the event looks so fun!

Art by Karena

I have a New very fashionable Giveaway on my site!

Fabiana said...

What a gorgeous part of California... I must make my way up there. This is dreamy!

~ciao from Newport Beach~

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures. I'd hoped to go but was sold out by the time I knew I was free to attend. Barbera, Barbara, its all good wine.

Vaught Wright and Bond Insurance (VWB) said...

Nice job on your coverage of a small piece of the Shenandoah Valley. This is a year later, but I only viewed it today. I am surprised that so many visitors find the Andis structure visually pleasing. To me, it is an incredible monstrous eyesore with absolutely no thought given to blending into the local environment. Whereas most of the wineries look (and taste) as though they made wine first, and then decided to add a tasting room, Andis (also Helwig across the road, but they are much less exposed) seems as though they took the opposite approach. I have to disclose that I would prefer tasting in a converted barn than in an architecturally designed building any day.

katiedid said...

Hello Vaught Wright...
The beauty of the internet is that one gets to read about all of the differing opinions across the globe. I appreciate hearing opinions that differ from my own. I never know when I might be swayed by a good argument.

In this case, you have presented your own opinion, which is great. You have no interest in forward thinking architectural design. Good enough. The Eiffel Tower had its many detractors in its day as well. I am thankful, however, that the excellent wine makers at Andis do appreciate not only the art of wine making, but also the art of design. I am thankful that they support architects that have a decided point of view that is thoughtful and creative. At Andis, the architects have taken a view that wine is an art and a science. I think they have combined the best of both views in this modern take of how wine is actually made in the industry today. The romance of wine making can be brought into the 21st century, just as the romance of man's technological achievements can be viewed as romantic when we look at the Eiffel Tower. Not all art is appreciated by everyone, and that is the inherent beauty of it all!