The Apple Hill-Camino Wineries are located in an are beginning just north-east of Placerville and extending east to the small mountain town of Camino along highway 50. This wine area shares the beautiful landscape with numerous orchards of apples and other fruits, hence the name Apple Hill. It is very family friendly because the area has numerous farm stands, gift shops, picnic areas, and other family oriented fun in addition to great wine tasting. Click here for the El Dorado Winery Association website for details on the wineries. Click here for their map of the area. You may also wish to visit the website for the Apple Hill Growers Association to learn about events in the area. At harvest time in the fall, the area can get very busy with visitors. Click here for the Apple Hill website.
Boeger Winery celebrated forty years of winemaking in 2012, which makes it one of the older wineries in the region. Boeger wines exhibit consistent balance and finesse along with outstanding varietal characteristics. Their style has been successfully cultivated over many vintages and this style is also reflected in the tasting room and beautiful surroundings the winery offers. Boeger grows a stunning 29 varietals in the vineyards and produces mostly estate wines. Their wines are consistent award winners and there is a long list to choose from. The award winning Barberas are an excellent example of Boeger's wines. The Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and even the modestly priced Hangtown Red are all really good. Simply put, if you like wines, there is always something for you at Boeger. They host numerous events in the beautiful garden setting. Located at 1709 Carson Rd. Placerville. Website Open daily 10 to 5. (530-622-8094)
Grace Patriot Wines began in 2004 and this newer addition to the Carson Road wineries has wasted no time in garnering recognition and awards for their outstanding wines. Founders, Steve and Bea Grace, trace their family's ancestry back to American Revolutionary war hero, Lewis Grace. Built next to the historic Irving Ranch home and barn, which dates to 1885, the winery reflects the pride, passion, and independence of the Grace family. Son and winemaker, Tyler Grace, brings his education and considerable wine making experience in Australia and California home resulting in the stand-out wines of Grace Patriot. On my last visit I tasted excellent examples of Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Viognier and a blockbuster Australian style Aboriginal Blend of Cab and Syrah. Located at 2701 Carson Road. Open 11 to 5 Thur thru Sun. Available picnic area. Click here for the website. (530-642-0854)
Lava Cap Winery celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. When the Jones family purchased the property for the vineyards and winery back in 1981, the El Dorado wine region was still in its early days. The family opened Lava Cap Winery in 1986 and it has become one of the premier wineries in the El Dorado region. The family continues to manage the vineyards that now include almost 100 acres . The dedication and skill of the family produces excellent wines with the highest ratings going to their Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon. and single vineyard Zinfandels. The winery and beautifully appointed tasting room with deli items is located at 2221 Fruitridge Road in Placerville. Open 11am to 5pm daily. Click here for the website and directions. (530-621-0175)
Madrona Vineyards was founded in 1973 by Dick and Leslie Bush and became one of the early pioneers of wines made in the El Dorado style. The Bush family continues to own and operate the winery and vineyards which now include three separate vineyard sites in the region. Their wines are estate grown and include their well know Melange which is blended from the Rhone varietals of Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. Their Quintet is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, again, all estate grown. Their Nebbiolo, Select Harvest Riesling, and New World Port, made from Portuguese varietals, exemplify Madrona's continuing willingness to successfully push the frontiers of the regions wines. Located at 2560 High Hill Rd. in Camino. Open daily 11 to5. Website. (530-644-5948)
Wofford Acres Vineyards is truly a small family operation and is a joy to visit because the family makes it that way. It is a little off the beaten path, but it is worth it to make the trip up the winding road and enjoy the hospitality and beautiful view. This is a great place to take a breather and enjoy a picnic with a bottle of wine. Oh yes, they also make about 1200 cases a year of really good wine! Winemaker, Paul, has over 30 years of wine making experience and has a long list of awards to prove it. One standout is the estate LaMancha red made from an unusual blend of Nebbiolo and Petite Sirah. Wofford is also making excellent port wines from Portuguese grape varieties. For something utterly unique, try the sparkling hard cider. Located at 1900 Hidden Valley Lane in Camino. Click here for the website and directions. Open Thur to Sun 11 to 5. (530-626-6858)