Rhône Varietals in Amador County

According to Amador County Wine Grape Grower’s (ACWGGA) Bill Easton, you have to plant grapes where they can achieve greatness. In other words, you need the right soil and climate for the right type of grape. Amador County is a prime location in particular for the Syrah grape, a Rhone varietal, because the soil is similar to France’s Northern Rhone region, and our climate is favorable to this grape.

Amador grapes are planted on farmland consisting of either granite or volcanic soils. Sierra series decomposed granite can be found in both the Shenandoah Valley AVA as well as Fiddletown AVA. Volcanic soils, consisting of Aiken loam or Sites loam are found more commonly in the Fiddletown appellation and at higher elevations.

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As much County Fair as Wine Festival

Thirty years ago, Amador County grape grower Ken Deaver had a line that brought a smile to his face and a twinkle to his eyes no matter how often he repeated it.  Whenever someone said that Amador County was being discovered for its wine, Deaver gently corrected them, saying Amador County was being rediscovered for its wine.

“An amazing food and wine culture is developing here…”

His point was that grapes have been grown and wine has been made in Amador County since the Gold Rush, but that few people seemed to know that history.  On his Shenandoah Valley farm, Deaver himself was tending vines that dated from the 1860s.

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