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.”
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 UC Davis courses in viticulture and enology, learned ways he could improve the quality of the grapes he grew. Eventually, he was encouraged to start his own winery.
He started slowly, fermenting only 3 gallons each of Zinfandel and Syrah from the 2001 harvest. In 2003, his first vintage was ready for sale and sold out quickly to family and friends. He produced 750 cases from the 2002 harvest which again sold out quickly in 2004. From that slow beginning, production has grown to the current 5000 cases annually.
It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day in Gold Country yesterday. It was too nice to be inside wine tasting so we sat outside on the patio at Wilderotter Vineyard to enjoy the weather and the view while we sipped on wine paired with a variety of bites on our complimentary cheese plate. I took advantage of an unplanned opportunity to interview Jay and Maggie Wilderotter for the Blog. Story coming soon. … #winery #vineyard #winetasting #winelover #wineblogger #wilderottervineyard #amadorwines #amadorwinecountry #amadorvintners #shenandoahvalley #plymouthca #visitamador #goldcountry #visitgoldcountry #getupandgo #getupgetout #fallweatheristhebest #comingtotheblog #GoldCountryCowgirl @wilderotter_vineyard
The Tasting Room
Wilderotter Vineyard is one of the places my friend, Kelly, took me before I moved here three years ago. I’ve been many times over the past three years and always feel so appreciated. Everyone there has fun and someone always remembers me. That’s probably the main reason I go back so often and became a wine club member a few months ago. It’s very much like the way I feel when I go to Sentivo Vineyards in El Dorado County.“... people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou Click To Tweet
Enjoying an afternoon at Wilderotter Vineyards for the unveiling of their new patio and the opening of their third bar. #wine #winery #winetime #winetasting #shenandoahvalley #plymouth #plymouthca #vineyard #vineyards #amadorwine #amadorwinecountry #amadorvintners #amadorcounty #visitamador #visitamadorcounty #goldcountry #visitgoldcountry #GoldCountryCowgirl @wilderotter_vineyard @amadorwine
Maggie Wilderotter personally trains all the staff at Wilderotter Vineyard. She told me, “The winery is an extension of our home and I want everyone to feel welcome.” She added, “Pretty much anyone can put a decent tasting wine in a bottle, but wine tasting is an experience.”“The winery is an extension of our home and I want everyone to feel welcome.” ~Maggie Wilderotter @WilderotterVine Click To Tweet
That’s not to say, however, that Wilderotter Vineyard wines are just “decent tasting.” According to Mike Dunne of the Sacramento Bee, Wilderotter Vinyeard & Winery has “a lineup of the most consistent European-styled wines in the Sierra foothills.” He goes on to say this means they produce “wines that are leaner, sharper and zippier than the prevailing model for California.”
The 80-acre Wilderotter Vineyard includes Zinfandel, Syrah, Tempranillo, Barbera, Viognier, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Sauvignon Blanc. They also procure premium fruit to produce limited releases of Russian River Chardonnay, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Amador Primitivo.
A couple of my favorite Wilderotter wines are the dry, sparkling, Sonoma County Blanc de Noirs, made from 100% Pinot Noir (because I love my bubbly), and the Grenache. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with an Amador County Zinfandel or Barbera!
Locals night at Hotel Sutter with good friends. I brought a lovely bottle of Wilderotter 2014 Grenache from my recent club release. Even though I split a 16 oz. rib eye, I still brought half home. It was even better at breakfast! #wilderottervineyard #grenache #localsnight #freecorkage #brusselsprouts #suttercreek #hotelsutter #ribeyesteak #girlsnightout #dinnerwithfriends #winewithdinner #wineblogger #amadorwines #amadorvintners #visitsuttercreek #visitamador #visitamadorcounty #visitcalifornia #goldcountry #visitgoldcountry @hotelsutter @wilderotter_vineyard @visitsuttercreek @amadorwine
Most Wilderotter wine is sold directly to customers through the tasting room. They have very close to 1600 wine club members and these members alone account for more than 50% of their sales in any given month. A small portion of their production is available through wine shops and restaurants.
Wilderotter Vineyard Tasting Room
19890 Shenandoah School Rd.
Plymouth, CA, 95669
10:30 am to 5 pm daily
$5 waived with the purchase of a bottle of wine – includes an artisan cheese plate
$10 for private tasting for four or more by appointment
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Do you enjoy wine tasting? Have you visited Wilderotter Vineyard? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
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Until next time…