An Awesome Place Where Wine Grows: Sierra Foothills, California, American Viticultural Area


Sierra Foothills, California, American Viticultural Area

Guess what?  There's this incredible wine growing American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the Sierra Foothills, California.  And it's big…enormous.  And its elevation is high.  It’s the California AVA that looks down on all the others… in more ways than one.

Even though it became a legal AVA in 1987, wine grapes have been growing in this region since the nineteenth century, during the California Gold Rush (1848–1855).  Hey, the miners needed wine too. Now, 160+ years later, there are over 100 wineries in the region.

4 Reasons This AVA Is One We Need to Take Notice of

1) Zinfandel Snuck in Early

Old Vine Zinfandel

The oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in this region was the Grandpere Vineyard (now the Scott Harvey Wines Vineyard) in 1869.  That's over 145 years old!  And some vines are still producing.  Talk about "Old Vine Zin."  This vineyard dwarfs today's definition of "Old Vine."

2) Geography and Climate

 Mariposa Foothills
Mariposa, California Foothills

The AVA takes up eight California counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne and Yuba, which totals 2,600,000 acres. YES, that's 2.6 MILLION acres, but only 5,700 acres are planted.  The point here is the terroir (fancy term for the natural environment where a particular wine is produced) is all over the place.

This AVA is considered a Mediterranean Climate. Most of the vineyards are located between 1,500 to 3,000 feet elevation that creates a four-season climate.  Something that's hard to find in California.

The soils are shallow, that places moderate stress on the vines, producing low to moderate yields and high quality. The soil fertility ranges from "relatively" fertile (Fair Play AVA) to grim, rugged, and mountainous (El Dorado AVA).

In the North Yuba AVA (located in the Sierra Foothills AVA) the average annual rainfall is 51 inches.

3) Grapes This AVA is Known for

Multiple Clusters of Zinfandel Grapes, Hanging from the Vine
Multiple Clusters of Zinfandel Grapes, Hanging from the Vine

4) There are Many Large to Family Boutique Wineries You Need to Visit in This AVA!

Here is a list of the wineries>> in this unique AVA from the  California Winery Advisor

 Amador County Vineyard, California
Amador County Vineyard, California

Randall Farrar
Randall Farrar



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