The Carson Road Wineries is an association of nine small, family owned wineries that are dedicated to producing small lots of excellent wines. The wineries are located along the lower part of Carson Road right outside of Placerville, with several located in a convenient tasting plaza providing easy access for even a short day of tasting! Click here for the Carson Road Wineries website for events and details. Click here for the El Dorado Winery Association website map to get an overall perspective for planning your trip.
Beemer's Winery is a member of the Carson Road Wineries group of boutique wineries grouped along Carson Road. They produce a number of good wines. They are also known for their Great Dane that often occupies a special place in the tasting room. Very friendly. I particularly enjoy their Cabernet Sauvignon and their Tempranillo is also very good. I will have more information on this winery coming soon. Hours are Fri. through Sun. 11 to 5. (530-647-8466) Located in the Camino Wine Plaza at 3500 Carson Road in Camino.
Bumgarner Winery is one of the region's ultra-boutique wineries producing limited quantities of high quality wines. Husband and wife, Brian and Jennifer Bumgarner, have combined their skills in wine making and business management to create a small production winery with limited and exclusive distribution. Many of the high quality grapes that go into their wines are grown at the remote Duarte-Georgetown Vineyards in El Dorado County. You can check the website to find the few stores and locations where you can purchase their wines or join the wine club to receive them on a regular basis. Brian has been successfully concentrating on Cabernet Sauvignons to rival the best of Napa. I also particularly like their Mourvedre and Petite Verdot. Located at 3550 Carson Road in Camino. (530-303-3418) Open 7 days. Click here for website.
Chateau Davell tasting room is easy to spot from Carson Road because the beautiful covered deck area is usually populated with wine tasters overlooking the road as they relax and sip some wine and have a snack. Chateau Davell is very much a boutique winery and produces a number of organic wines using natural processes. Merlot and Pinot Noir are among the favorites and I enjoy their Chardonnay. They have a really nice gift and goodie shop in the tasting room that is stocked with an
outstanding selection of gift items representing the area and lots of delicious things to eat. This is really a great place to take a break from a day of wine tasting, kick back with some wonderful snack items and enjoy some wine. Located at 3550 Carson Road in Camino. (530-644-2016) Click here for FB page.
Crystal Basin Cellars is a winery born the old fashioned way by a bunch of friends making wine for fun under their house. They loved it so much that they went commercial and got a real winery in 2000 and are now producing limited quantities of high quality wines using locally grown grapes. The joyful atmosphere at CBC is evident everywhere as founder Mike Owen says, "OK, we have been known to throw a party or two." They make a wide range of fine wines from Rhone and Bordeaux varieties and some great blends. One of my favorites is the Renegade Red blend of “Stuff Left Over” and they won a Gold Medal at the Orange County Fair for their 2010 Petite Sirah. Located at 3550 Carson Rd. in Camino. Open 7 days 11 to 5. Website (530-647-1767)
diVittorio Winery is a boutique winery operated by Al and Sally diVittorio and their family since going to commercial production in 2011. The wines are made exclusively from grapes and fruit grown in El Dorado County and they are even making their own brandy to fortify their port style wines. Their wines are aged in a cave for a minimum of two years before bottling and include fruit wines as well as red and port style wines. They plan to offer their brandy as California Calvados soon. Their Merlot is one of my favorites and is very well rounded with a good nose. Their Syrah is simply outstanding and has everything a good Syrah should have. I highly recommend it. Located in the Camino Wine Plaza at 3500 Carson Road in Camino. (530-621-2166) Open Thurs. thru Mon. 11 to 5. Website here.
Fenton Herriott Vineyards is a more recent addition to the El Dorado region and is truly a family operation run by winemaker Guy Herriot that began making wine in 2003. Their wines are produced from their own vineyards as well as carefully selected grapes grown in the region. They offer a good selection of wines including a few unusual ones for the region like Gewurztraminer, White Port, and Ruby Syrah Port. Their Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera are both solid offerings, but my favorite by far is the Sangiovese with the 2009 being particularly good. Fenton Herriot has a beautiful outdoor gazebo and event area overlooking their vineyards that can accommodate up to 75 guests for weddings. They host numerous events that are listed on the website. Located at 120 Jacquier Ct. Placerville. Open daily 11 to 5. Click here for website and directions. (530-642-2021)
Findleton Estate and Vineyard is truly a family operation founded by Tom and Pamela Findleton. Tom was a long time home winemaker that made a decision to pursue his true passion full time by starting the winery. Pamela is an artist that is well known in the region and does the artwork for the wine labels, each being a different design. Then there is a long list of Findleton family members participating in virtually every aspect of the business from wine making to marketing with six grandchildren ready to join as well. They make about twenty different wines which is amazing for such a small operation. Some of my favorites are their Barbera, Pinot Noir, and an outstanding Mourvedre. Pamela's paintings are displayed at the tasting room and gift shop. Located at 3500 Carson Rd. in Camino. Open 7 days 11 to 5. (530) 644-4018 Website
Illuminare Winery is the creation of Aaron and Cherie Hill and is another prime example of a very small winery that is turning out really outstanding wines. The wine tasting room and gift shop sports a long wine bar and nicely arranged gifts. Founded in 2000 with the idea of making small lots of really good wine, I think they have accomplished their objective. The wines are limited production so they do sell out and they include Chardonnay, red blends, Mourvedre, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Malbec, Pinotage, Barbera, and Tempranillo. The Pinotage is made from a grape variety grown mainly in South Africa. Illuminare's take on this little known wine is simply wonderful. My other favorite is their Tempranillo which is also outstanding. Located at 3500 Carson Road in Camino. (530) 647-1884 Open Friday thru Sunday, 11 to 5.
Click here for the website.
Jodar Vineyards & Winery began the work on their remote vineyards in 1985 with their first crush in 1990. Fans made the trip to the winery in the early days before Jodar opened their cozy tasting room in Camino in 1997. In 2005, they moved the tasting room to its beautiful new location on Carson Road, but I have to admit that I kind of miss the homeyness of the old one. Their estate Cabernet Sauvignon was the wine that first drew me to Jodar. Big, jammy, full of depth with the ability to age well, it has always been a great representative of the region. Their Chardonnay was also one of the first offerings and they have now added Sangiovese, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, and Merlot to the line-up. The newer Apollo's Lyre Bordeaux blend is winning awards. Located at 3405 Carson Ct. in Camino. Open daily 11 to 5. Website (530-644-3474)