Stunning Sierra Foothills

Friends, have you ever thought about rolling hills dotted with vineyards, warm days and cool evenings, crisp alpine air and bold and beautiful wines? If so, then you may be thinking of the stunning Sierra Foothills…

The region is known for its high elevations, beautiful vistas, and historic Gold Rush towns, but has some fantastic wines that we can’t wait to share! The region specializes in interesting varietals and responsible farming (organic, biodynamic), but most important, crafting stunning wines that are fruit forward with an acid/tannin balance that create a beautifully structured wine just asking to be enjoyed with friends and food.

And as always…answers to this week’s trivia!

The Sierra Foothills AVA is made up of over 2.6 million acres. How many acres of vines are planted? 5,700

What is the most common red grape planted in the Sierra Foothills? Zinfandel
It accounts for a third of all vines planted!

Which is both an AVA and a county within the Sierra Foothills? El Dorado

How many sub-AVAs make up the Sierra Foothills AVA? 5
California Shenandoah Valley, El Dorado, Fair Play, Fiddletown, North Yuba 

How many Counties make up the Sierra Foothills AVA? 8
(N to S) Yuba, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa

Which AVA is in both Amador County and El Dorado County? California Shenandoah Valley

Following Phylloxera and Prohibition, when did winemaking in the Sierra Foothills begin to grow? 1960s – 1970s
The Sierra Foothills didn’t recover from the 2 P’s untils the 1960s and 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the region had defined AVAs recognized. 

Which county has over half of the planted acres in the Sierra Foothills? Amador County
There are approximately 3,700 acres of vines planted. The rest are largely from El Dorado County. 

Counties and AVAs have the same designation when it comes to labeling wine. False
Though Counties can be labeled on bottles to indicate the place of origin, they are not the same thing as an AVA – a specific place designated by the Federal government (TTB). 

The Sierra Foothills AVA includes elevations between 800 ft and 6,000 ft. True
The Sierra Foothills spans so much land and has incredibly varied elevations. This is, in part, why there are so many variations in the wine we taste from the region. Though the region includes areas up to 6,000 ft, the highest vineyards are around 3,000 ft. 

What is the main soil type mostly found in the Sierra Foothills? Volcanic
Though all these soils are found in the Sierra Foothills, volcanic soils are the most common.

What is the term used to describe the warm days and cool evenings that allow grapes to ripen longer and more evenly? Diurnal Shifts

The Shenandoah Valley AVA is located in which states? Virginia and West Virginia
The Shenandoah Valley AVA is located in Virginia and West Virginia. It was established in 1982, and amended in 1987. 

Where are some of the oldest vines in California located? California Shenandoah Valley
These Zinfandel vines are located in the Original Grandpere Vineyards that are 150 years old!

What group of people originally planted vines in the Sierra Foothills? Failed Gold Rushers
As more and more people were unsuccessful at striking rich on gold, they had to try their hand at new ways to survive. Many turned to farming as a means to take care of themselves and their families. 

Who planted the Original Grandpere Vineyard? Mahala Teter Upton
Mahala (and her son) planted the 10 acres of zinfandel vines in 1869. The vineyard still survives today, and about 80% of the vines are still producing fruit! The vineyard yields between 1 and 1.5 tons/acre. 

Stressed vines create weaker, less concentrated grapes. False
Stressed vines create grapes with concentrated flavors that tend to be nuanced and complex. 

Where does Barbera originate from? Italy

What color grape is Barbera? Blue
The hue of Barbera is much closer to a beautiful deep blue when harvested. 

All the wines we tasted on Sunday are family owned and made by female winemakers. False
Shenandoah Vineyards is family owned, but their winemaker is not a woman. 

Who is the current  vineyard owner and manager of the Original Grandpere Vineyard? Terri Harvey

What We Drank
Omega Road Winery 2019 Barbera, Sierra Foothills
Bella Grace 2017 Barbera, Amador County
Shenandoah Valley 2017 Rezerve Barbera, California Shenandoah Valley

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