The Pleasant Valley Wineriers are concentrated in an area to the south of Camino off of highway 50. The Pleasant Valley Wineries are made up of Auriga Cellars, Holly's Hill Vineyards, Miraflores Winery, Narrow Gate Vineyards and Sierra Vista. The Pleasant Valley Wineries make a wide variety of wines, but they really shine in the areas of the Italian and Rhone varietals. Click here for the Pleasant Valley Wineries website. For a map with a wide view or the El Dorado Wine region to help plan your tasting adventure, click here. For even more about Pleasant Valley Wineries, click here for their Facebook page.
Richard Stading at Auriga Wine Cellars
Auriga Wine Cellars is a great example of the smaller wineries in the El Dorado region that are producing exceptional wines. The tasting facility and gift shop are located in a cozy house that has been remodeled. The wines are all made from grapes grown in the region at various vineyards and the winemaker, Richard Stading, has produced exceptional Zinfandels and Rhone wines. But his first love are the Italian varietals of Barbera and Sangiovese. Auriga's Barbera and Sangiovese won Gold Medals at the California State Fair. My favorite is Richard's Super Tuscan blend which is mainly Sangiovese. All of these wines clearly represent the big fruity style of the region. Another favorite is the White Dwarf which blends Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Muscat Cannelli to produce a wonderful white for summer sipping. Located at 4520 Pleasant Valley Rd. in Placerville. Click here for details and directions. Open Mon to Sun, 11 to 5. (530-647-8078)
The View From Holly's Hill Tasting Room
Holly's Hill Vineyards derives its name from owners Holly and Tom Cooper in addition to the stunning view of the Cosumnes River Canyon below the tasting room. This is a great place to stop for a mid-day break and enjoy a bottle of Holly's wine with a picnic lunch while looking over the view of the vineyards and mountains. Holly’s Hill planted their first vineyard of Syrah in 1998 and have continued with their love of Rhone varietals with plantings of Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache, Mourvedre and Counoise. The climate and soil of the El Dorado wine region are very well suited to the Rhone grape varieties and Holly’s Hill is producing outstanding wines as a result. The vineyards and winery are located south of Placerville at 2700 feet in elevation at 3680 Leisure Lane. Open 10am to 5pm daily. Click here for the website and directions. Picnic grounds available. (530-344-0227)
Miraflores Winery is located in a beautiful new facility with an expansive tasting room. The estate wines are excellent and are well represented by the wonderful winery building surrounded by the vineyards. The winery team, headed by proprietors Victor and Cheryl Alvarez, are obviously what makes this place special. They have limited themselves to a smaller variety of grapes than
most, which allows them to concentrate their efforts. This approach has clearly paid off in their Barbera, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and dessert wines. Their Petite Sirah is an excellent example of a fine wine made from a varietal that was getting all too rare in California. The Temperanillo is one of my favorites, produced from an old Spanish grape variety that is well suited to the region. Open daily from 10 to 5. Located at 2120 Four Springs Trail in Placerville. Click here for the website. (530-647-8505)
Narrow Gate Vineyards
Narrow Gate Vineyards represents another of the new small wineries in the region that are bursting with potential for the future while producing outstanding wine entries in the present. Narrow Gate is a Demeter Certified Biodyamic Farm. The owners, Frank and Teena Hildebrand, claim that Narrow Gate, "Produces wines through faith, passion, attention to detail, and a tremendous amount of joy." Narrow Gate is currently producing estate wines from Roussanne, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Primitivo, Syrah, Viognier, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their flagship is the DUNAMIS red blend. Located at 4282 Pleasant Valley Road in Placerville. Open 10 to 5 Fri & Sat, 12
to 5 Sun. Website here. (530-644-6201
View at Sierra Vista
Sierra Vista Vineyards & Winery, started in 1972, is one of the older established wineries in the El Dorado Region. Located at a higher elevation than many other wineries, the grounds and vineyards provide a breathtaking view of the Sierra Mountains. The winery practices sustainable farming methods and produces Rhone style wines from several varieties of grapes including Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache, Viognier, and Roussanne. Sierra Vista Fume' style Sauvignon Blanc is one of the finest in the region. In addition, they produce outstanding Zinfandels along with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Sierra Vista hosts numerous events at the winery pairing their wines with foods from outstanding chefs in the area. Click here for the website and directions. Open daily 10 to 5. Picnic tables available.
Located at 4560 Cabernet Way, Placerville. (530-622-7221)