Small Town Wine Bar in California’s Smallest Incorporated City

When I learned that another eating and drinking establishment was opening in Amador City, I have to admit, I was a little jealous. They already had the Imperial Hotel and Jamison’s Ale House, two of my favorite places to eat in the county. They had Andrae’s Bakery, which puts out some awesome bread and pastries. Now they were going to have Small Town Wine Bar, too.     Small Town Wine Bar in Amador City Small Town Wine Bar owner, Ginger Budrick Carter, has been in the hospitality industry all her life. She started working in her parents restaurant in Sutter Creek at the age of 13 where she worked her way up through all the positions. She learned to pay close attention to every…

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ZinEX Zinfandel Experience — Zin Lover’s Paradise

The Grand Tasting is one of the five events comprising the annual Zinfandel Experience, also known as ZinEX. The event is designed to entertain, enlighten and delight. Check out my post to see if they lived up to those goals.

When I attended the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa in November, I signed up for an education session entitled Zinfandel Old and New which was put on by Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP). That’s where I learned about ZinEX, their three-day Zinfandel Experience extravaganza devoted entirely to Zinfandel.     I have definitely become a Zin girl since moving to Amador County because of the history as well as the wine. I really wanted to attend the event but tickets were a little pricey for this gal on a budget and it was in San Francisco. That’s a three hour drive and I had no desire to drive there and try to navigate the city on my own. I doubted that I could get…

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Oldest Documented Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyard in the Americas

I've been researching Zinfandel for some time now, learning what is so special about old vine Zinfandel. When I saw an opportunity to visit the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in the Americas, planted in the 1860s, I knew I had to go.

You may have read elsewhere on the blog that I’ve been working on a post about old vine Zinfandel for some time. When I saw an opportunity to visit the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in the Americas, planted in the 1860s, I knew I had to go. The 3-day OGP Zinfandel Weekend event included an optional tour of the Original Grandpère Vineyard on Saturday and Sunday. I joined the tour on Saturday which was led by Rusty Folena, winemaker at Vino Noceto.     OGP Zinfandel Weekend, Shenandoah Valley, Plymouth, CA Only four wineries are privileged to produce wine from grapes grown in the Original Grandpère Vineyard (OGP), also called Vineyard 1869. The OGP Weekend is put on by the three wineries located in the…

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Most Viewed Posts of 2017

My top ten most viewed posts of 2017 include stories about historic places, amazing food and fun and interesting things to do in Gold Country.

Last year, when I wrote a post about my most viewed posts of 2016, the blog had only been in operation for just under 10 months. During that time, I wrote 34 posts, an average of over three a month. I didn’t meet my goal of at least four posts per month but I was pleased with the quality of what I had put out. When I sat down to figure out my most viewed posts of 2017, I was a little shocked to see that during 2017 I only published 32 posts for the whole year. That’s way below my goal of four per month. Consistency is definitely my biggest short coming when it comes to blogging, but I believe in quality over quantity. I…

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Wine Bloggers Conference 2017 Recap — Part 1 #wbc17

Observations on the wine country fires and Zinfandels Old and New from the 10th annual 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, CA.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that I just returned from the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, CA. I attended my first International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento a few weeks ago and this was also my first wine bloggers conference. It was a great conference and I hope to be able to attend next year. I can tell you now that it will be in Walla Walla, Washington, but we didn’t get to find out until the final minutes of the closing remarks. The Wine Bloggers Conference and Wine Country Fires I didn’t write a recap of the Food Blogger Conference, which I should have, so I didn’t want to miss sharing the Wine Bloggers Conference with you —…

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Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery: From Small Beginnings

Jay and Maggie Wilderotter, owners of Wilderotter Vineyard, want you to feel as welcome in their tasting room as you would in their home.

Jay Wilderotter is one of the lucky ones. He found his passion a long time ago and lives it every day. He told me, “I never feel like I’m going to work.” Jay and his wife, Maggie, own Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery in the Shenandoah Valley in Plymouth, California. Jay says, “My business is threefold: vineyard, winery and hospitality [referring to the Grand Reserve Inn which I’ll tell you about in another post] and every day is different.” Wilderotter Vineyard and Winery Jay has been in the wine business for 27 years. For the first 15 of that, he was a grower and sold to other wine producers. He participated in the production of the wines made from his grapes and, with the help of…

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Mobile Bottling Truck: Indispensable for Many Small Wineries

What do you do if you are a small, family-owned winery and don't have the room or don't want to invest in a bottling line? You hire a mobile bottling truck.

What do you do if you are a small, family-owned winery and don’t have the room or don’t want to invest in a bottling line? You could hire a mobile bottling truck. During a recent visit to Jeff Runquist Wines, the mobile bottling truck happened to be there and I got to take a look inside. The process was fascinating and mind bogglingly fast! Click play on the video to see just how fast. How the Line Worked in this Mobile Bottling Truck The boxes of bottles are emptied on a table. The bottles are put in the sparger which turns the bottles upside down and injects them with nitrogen. This removes all the air from the bottle so that the wine is not exposed…

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E16 Winery — New Tasting Room in Somerset, CA

The new E16 Winery tasting room in Somerset, CA, has an inviting ambiance, friendly staff and delicious wine from both the E16 and Firefall labels.

One of the members of our wine tasting group, the Vineyard Vixens, had read some reviews of E16 Winery and suggested that it be one of our destinations for our September outing. It was a great choice but, sadly, the member who suggested it couldn’t go! I guess we’ll just have to go again. The E16 tasting room in Somerset, CA, has only been open for 7 weeks. Prior to that, they sold their wine to restaurants, including La Cave in Las Vegas where they had to pass a blind taste test to be accepted. In Amador County, you can enjoy E16 wine at Taste in Plymouth. The E16 Winery Tasting Room The E16 tasting room is located on Perry Creek Road up a little…

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Shenandoah Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic

You don't need an excuse to go wine tasting but a special event like the Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic in Shenandoah Valley adds to the fun.

7th Annual Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic You don’t need an excuse to go wine tasting but an event or special occasion can add to the fun. On Labor Day, six of the businesses on the Shenandoah School Road loop in Shenandoah Valley participated in the 7th Annual Schoolhouse Road Progressive Picnic. Labor Day Progressive Picnic Locations Wilderotter Vineyard My first stop was at Wilderotter Vineyard for gourmet hot dogs (from Evergood Foods in San Francisco), baked beans and Kettle chips. I have to tell you, I haven’t eaten anything like this since I started my keto journey in January. This was such a non-keto friendly meal but I had to at least try it. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t eaten so…

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Dobra Zemlja Celebrates 22 Years in Shenandoah Valley

The beautiful grounds with a lake; delicious, robust wines and super friendly staff make Dobra Zemlja Winery a great place to visit in Shenandoah Valley.

When I learned that Dobra Zemlja was having an event to celebrate 22 years in Shenandoah Valley, I decided it would be a good time to pop in. I had visited once before during Spring Fling and loved the grounds but I wasn’t able to photograph them. It was cold and raining that day, in stark contrast to the clear skies and 102 degree heat the day of the celebration. I also thought it would be good to taste their wines when they weren’t my fifth stop for the day, like during Spring Fling! I had a great time visiting with General Manager, Laura Irmer; Tasting Room Manager, Mary Jo Pingree and my pourer, Carol. They gave me the low down on the winery and…

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