In El Dorado County, there are Christmas tree farms, pear and apple orchards and wine grapes. It’s a unique region in the state where just about anything you want to grow, can be grown.
El Dorado County is rapidly becoming well known around the world for it’s wine. Every grape growing region in the world produces different wines due to their weather and soil and El Dorado County has it's own claim to fame as to why. Elevation!
What makes the county so special is that the wineries are all at elevations between 1,200 to 3,200 feet. It's a unique growing area to anywhere else in the world.
Paul Bush’s family has owned Madrona Winery in Camino, just outside of Placerville, since 1973. He knows the advantages to harvesting grapes here.
"What we do [to] get out of this super diverse elevation is that we have so many microclimates in the area," Bush said. "The lower gets more sunshine and the higher gets a nice cool breeze out of the mountains and it chills everything down so from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. we get ripening"
Several of the 75-family owned El Dorado County wineries are at about the 3,000 foot level, which is as high as you can go due to snow and frost issues. From these rolling, sun-splashed hills comes primarily Zinfandel, Cabernet Savignon and Syrah.
Fall happens to be harvest time up this way. A busy time for a county known as the next Napa or what Napa was like 25 years ago.
"What we do have in El Dorado County is exceptional premium wines that showcase mountain-grown, high-elevation wines," Bush said. "You also have the ability because we're small, family run operations that you get to meet the people actually involved in making it."
Walk into any El Dorado County winery and you're likely to share a glass with the owner or winemaker themself. An added bonus you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
If you’re looking for a bargain, many wines in the county are around $20 or less, including some Rose or Pinot Gris. There are also Cabernet Franc and Gamay’s for $30 or less. Madrona does have two wines listed on their website for $12, the Lake Tahoe Red (2012) and the El Tinto Lot 36.
In order to help rebuild the Napa region, Many El Dorado County wineries are part of #CaWineStrong where the wineries are donating $1 of every bottle sale through the month of October. www.CaWineStrong.com