Amador County is well-known for its gold rush history, but it’s also home to over 40 wineries. Its wine industry began in the 1850s, with a large portion of grapevines in the region dating back to that time.
Situated about 45 miles southeast of Sacramento, this area once well-known as a gold rush region has now become California’s Mecca of winemaking. As home to almost 30 distinct varietals, this region is best known for producing some of the best Zinfandels, Iberian, Sangiovese and Barbera varietals.
In Amador County, you’ll find high-quality wines, particularly reds, alongside jaw-dropping views, and plenty of historic mining towns to explore. So, if you’re looking for some fantastic wineries to relax in with friends and family, here are the 10 best wineries in Amador County you should visit.
Why is Amador County Perfect for Wine?
Any region that grows wine grapes is unique to other areas. The main reason for this is referred to as terroir. The term terroir refers to the environment in which fruit grows. Essentially that means, soil, climate and any other external factors contributing to the taste of the grapes or fruits used in the wine production.
Amador County has a mosaic of various soil types. For the most part, the soils are typically rocky and well-drained. The vines are mostly grown on low vigour rootstalks, which in turn provides a much more natural quality of grapes.
A combination of canopy management, careful pruning and crop thinning keeps the yields small. The average summer day temperature ranges around 30 degrees, creating the basis for balanced yet complex grapes. For the most part, vineyards are farmed by a large diversity of people and are mostly handpicked. All these factors combined, create incredibly unique tasting wines.
Amador’s Old Vines
Another factor that makes Amador wine so robust and exclusively flavorful is the area’s old vines. On average, about 600 acres of the total 2,700 are 60 years or older. Some vineyards even date back to the 19th century.
It’s no secret that older vines produce richer, more flavorful fruits. This is mostly attributed to the increased concentration of flavor in the older grapes. The more concentrated the grapes are, the more intense and earthier the wines will be. Older vines achieve ripeness quicker, making the grapes reading for harvesting a lot sooner.
Since these vines are deeply rooted in the ground, they can draw in water and nutrients from deeper in the ground. This is the primary secret for the exquisitely tasting Zinfandels found across the region.
Top 10 Wineries in Amador County
Best Amador County Wineries Map:
Helwig Vineyards & Winery: Various Tasting Experiences
- Address: 11555 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://www.helwigwinery.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-5200
Helwig Vineyards & Winery is one of the most popular wineries in Amador County, boasting breathtaking scenery and decadent wines. They own 60 acres of grapes over various vineyards throughout California and produce a wide range of wines, including Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Viognier, and many more.
The winery offers a few different tasting options at their majestic tasting room: wine and food pairings, private tastings, and Davancy tastings. The latter costs $30 per person ($20 for club members) and includes a variety of limited production wines accompanied with sumptuous artisan cheeses.
Helwig Winery also serves a variety of delicious food, including burgers, wraps, salads, and sides. They use fresh vegetables from their estate garden too!
The winery’s stunning grounds and buildings are available to rent for private events such as weddings, birthday parties, and bridal showers. If you’re looking for a stellar venue for your gathering, Helwig Winery will be happy to accommodate you.
Editor’s Note: If you’re craving a rich and full-bodied wine, the Petite Sirah ‘15 is to die for. It has notes of black cherry, plum, cocoa powder, and blackberry jam.
Karmere Vineyards & Winery: French-style Chateau Tasting Room
- Address: 11970 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: http://www.karmere.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-5000
Situated in the grand Shenandoah Valley in Amador County is Karmere Vineyards & Winery, surrounded by rolling hills and carefully tended gardens. The winery’s gorgeous French-style chateau tasting room provides an enchanting atmosphere to enjoy wine in, but you can also sit outside and soak up the stunning scenery.
They offer complimentary wine tastings of their current releases, as well as future releases from their barrel. Karmere Vineyards & Winery is the perfect place for catching up with friends and family over a glass or bottle of sumptuous wine.
Editor’s Note: All of the winery’s wines are phenomenal, but the Hayley Zinfandel 2017 particularly stands out.
Jeff Runquist Wines: 2020 Winery of the Year
- Address: 10776 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://www.jeffrunquistwines.com/
- Contact Number: +1 209-245-6282
Jeff Runquist Wines won the 2020 Winery of the Year award in Dan Berger’s international wine competition, and it’s not difficult to see why. They produce an assortment of high-quality wines that all have flavors of fresh fruit.
The modern tasting room and the expansive outdoor patio is open daily for tasting, but you’ll need to reserve ahead of time.
The winery has a beautiful vineyard house that’s available for overnight stays, which is ideal if you’re thinking of going to Amador County for a few days to experience all of its wonders.
It boasts a fully equipped kitchen, 4 queen beds, and 3 full-size bathrooms. There’s even a saltwater swimming pool so you can take a relaxing dip in the warmer months!
Editor’s Note: The 2019 Barbera has luscious flavors of red fruit, giving it a wonderfully smooth and creamy texture, with notes of mocha, caramel, and toasted oak. It’s definitely one to try on your visit.
Vino Noceto Winery: Delicious Sangiovese
- Address: 11011 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://www.noceto.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-6557
Well-known for their mouthwatering Sangiovese wine, Vino Noceto Winery combines Italian inspiration with California sunshine, which makes for a unique experience. Tastings are done on their stunning outdoor patio under a shaded pavilion.
They offer wine by the glass, bottle, and flight daily on a first-come-first-served basis for groups under 6. If your group is larger than 6, give the winery a call beforehand to guarantee a spot.
The winery’s stunning estate is available to hire for private events, including rehearsal dinners, cocktail parties, birthday parties, and more.
Vino Noceto Winery also offers tours, priced at $18 per person. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at their vineyard, barrel room, and how they make their wine. Be sure to book at least 48 hours in advance to secure a place!
Editor’s Note: As this winery is well-known for their scrumptious Sangiovese, it seems only fitting to sample one of their many varieties on your stay. The 2011 Sangiovese has won several awards for its excellence and has hints of chocolate with a cranberry-cherry character. Divine!
Iron Hub Winery: Exciting Live Events
- Address: 12500 Steiner Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://ironhubwines.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-6307
Another top-notch winery in Amador County is Iron Hub Winery, boasting a lively, welcoming atmosphere and friendly service. They produce an assortment of small-batch red and white wines, as well as a range of tasty deli items.
The tasting room is warm and cozy, providing a relaxing ambiance for sipping wine. There’s also a delightful outdoor patio, complete with picturesque views of the vineyards and Sierra mountain.
The winery is open Thursday through Monday for tastings outside or inside. Tastings cost $10 per person and last for 75 minutes.
If you’re looking for activities other than wine tasting, Iron Hub Winery hosts a variety of exciting events on a regular basis, such as live music and harvest festivals.
Editor’s Note: With aromas of strawberry and boysenberry, the winery’s remarkable Barbera 2018 is one to try on your visit. It’s aged in French oak and has a sweet oak vanilla finish. Perfect when shared with friends and family.
Cooper Vineyards: Charming Outdoor Patio
- Address: 21365 Shenandoah School Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://cooperwines.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-6181
Next up is Cooper Vineyards, featuring 90 acres of rolling vineyards and luxurious estate-bottle single varietal wines. The winery produces over 20 wines, all of which have a subtle fruitiness and ultra-smooth finish.
They offer tastings and flights in their inviting tasting room and charming outdoor patio. The winery’s enchanting ambiance and friendly, knowledgeable staff will make you right at home as soon as you enter the door.
Alongside wine tasting, Cooper Vineyards puts on a few live events throughout the year, especially if you join their exclusive club, so be sure to check what they have planned on your visit.
Editor’s Note: Looking for a fruity and dry wine? Try the Roundpen Rose! It has hints of raspberry, strawberry, cinnamon, and vanilla on the nose, with dry cranberry and strawberry on the palate.
Andis Wines: Fascinating Wine Tours
- Address: 11000 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://www.andiswines.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-6177
Situated in the Sierra foothills is Andis Wines, a majestic and world-class winery that crafts some of the best wines in Amador County. The state-of-the-art tasting room boasts large windows and a 26-foot long bar made from sustainably harvested Lyptus wood, giving it a rural and light ambiance.
Every third Sunday of each month, the winery hosts tours of their vineyard, fermentation room, and barrel room. You’ll be treated to as much wine as you can drink along the way at multiple tasting stations while learning about the winery’s history and winemaking process.
If you need a great venue for your private event, Andis Wines has you covered. Their recently built Private Event Venue seats up to 50 guests, with up to 125 outside using the lawn and patio.
Editor’s Note: The winery’s 2018 Petite Sirah has won a couple of awards for its quality, so be sure to check it out if you enjoy a robustly flavored wine with blackberry and spicy aromas.
Scott Harvey Wines: Luxurious Accommodation
- Address: 79 Main St, Sutter Creek, CA 95685, United States
- Website: https://www.scottharveywines.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-267-0122
Scott Harvey Wines owns a few tasting rooms in California, including two in the enchanting Shenandoah Valley and gorgeous Sutter Creek in Amador County. Both are well worth a visit when you’re in the region.
The Sutter Creek tasting room is open daily and offers traditional tastings as well as private balcony tastings, the latter of which is a truly unique experience. Make sure you reserve in advance to secure a spot!
The Vineyard Guest House located in Shenandoah Valley offers luxurious accommodation, offering scenic views of Amador County for the ultimate relaxing retreat. It sleeps up to 6 guests, so if you and your friends/family are thinking of staying a few nights in Amador County, it’s the ideal place to rest.
Editor’s Note: The winery’s 2018 Mountain Selection Zinfandel was awarded 93 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine for its excellence. It oozes rich blackberry and flavors with hints of cedar, vanilla, and sage.
Borjon Winery: Tranquil Setting
- Address: 11270 Shenandoah Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://www.borjonwinery.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-3087
Borjon Winery is a vibrant and welcoming estate that produces an array of high-quality wines for you to enjoy. They offer various tasting flights so you can sample a range of wines based on your preferences.
The Reposado flight costs $5, the Selección flight costs $10, and the Colección flight costs $15. However, if you purchase a bottle of wine from one of these flights, the tasting fee is waived.
The winery is surrounded by tranquil scenery and well-presented grounds to ensure your stay is a peaceful one! There is comfortable seating both inside and outside, so you can sit back and relax with a delicious glass or bottle of wine/
In addition to wine tasting, Borjon Winery hosts live events on a regular basis, including music, festivals, and more. There’s always something exciting happening, so make sure you see what the winery has in store for you on your trip.
Borjon Winery’s estate is available to rent out for private events like weddings, dinner parties, birthday parties, etc. The picturesque setting and buildings will ensure your special occasion is talked about for many years to come.
Editor’s Note: The 2018 Sangiovese Reposado is made using classic winemaking techniques to ensure it retains its Italian roots. Just a sip of this wine and you’ll be transported to Italy!
Terra d’Oro Winery: Cozy Outdoor Seating
- Address: 20680 Shenandoah School Rd, Plymouth, CA 95669, United States
- Website: https://www.terradorowinery.com/
- Contact Number: (+1) 209-245-6942
Last but not least is Terra d’Oro Winery, located in the Sierra foothills in Amador County. They’re well-known for their fragrant white wines and exquisite red wines.
The winery owns 800 acres of vineyards over two regions, 500 of which are in Amador County. They’re committed to sustainable farming methods to ensure the current and future health of the environment and vineyards.
One of the highlights of this winery is their modern outdoor patio surrounded by trees and foliage, which provides the ideal ambiance for wine tastings. It’s filled with cozy seating, including plush couches and armchairs, so it’ll feel like your home away from home.
Editor’s Note: Fancy a bold wine with a tantalizingly long finish? The 2018 Zinfandel is the perfect option. It has aromas of clove, cinnamon, anise, and juicy dark fruits, with subtle hints of pastry, dried oregano, thyme, and fresh dough.
Amador County is rich with mining and wine history, making it a truly fascinating place to visit. It also produces some of the best red wines you’ll ever taste.
All of the wineries above offer a tantalizing and mesmerizing experience for casual and expert wine drinkers, so be sure to check as many out as you can during your stay in Amador County.