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Scott Harvey Wines

 


 

Monica Bennion
 
March 14, 2018 | Monica Bennion

Amador County Wine...California's Second Gold Rush - Part 2

Wine_ArrowsIn our first installment of "Amador County Wine...California's Second Gold Rush", we took a stroll through the history of some of California's oldest vineyards, planted during the Gold Rush in the 1850's.  When mining became less profitable and surface gold was depleted, many miners abandoned their claims and went on to find greener pastures.  With this exodus from gold country, most vineyards were also abandoned and left unattended, some dying away and others going dormant.

It wasn't until the 1960's and 1970's when Amador County saw it's second "gold rush", this time in the form of the wine industry as a whole.  In addition to the vineyards, wineries began popping up throughout the Shenandoah Valley.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
While not quite the tourist destination at that time, heck, even Napa Valley was still budding, winemakers in Amador County began producing world-class wines to sell commercially and to individuals.  Some of the first wineries in Amador County include Montevina (est. 1973) and Story Winery (est. 1973), both of which Scott worked at before and after his winemaking education.  Read more about Scott's History.  While wineries, such as Cooper, Dillian and Spinetta, didn't open until after the 1980's, these families have been growing grapes in Amador County for decades, thus firmly earning a place in the Amador County wine history books.

Amador County is home to the third oldest winery in the state!  The D’Agostini Winery was started in 1856 by Adam Uhlinger.  In 1911, the winery and its 125 acres of vineyards were purchased by Enrico D’Agostini, for whom the winery was named for.  In 1984, Armagan Champagne Cellars purchased the business and the Amador County vineyard and wine cellar were sold to the Sobon family in 1989.  The original wine cellar still exists today, and is now the Shenandoah Valley Museum.

Shenandoah_Museum

WHERE WE ARE TODAY 
Today, there are more than 40 active wineries that make up the Amador Vintners Association with faciliites throughout the Shenandoah and Fiddletown AVAs, along with a handful of others outside of those AVAs.  Many of these wineries are family owned and operated, and have been for generations. They always welcome you in with a smile and the desire to show off their home grown and hand crafted wines.  Visit the Amador Vintners Association website.

Amador_Wine_Map
 

Scattered throughout Amador County, you'll find a number of private tasting rooms featuring award-winning gold country wines.  Up and down Main Street of historic Downtown Sutter Creek, you'll find more than seven tasting rooms nestled among unique shops, fine and casual dining and top-notch lodging facilites.  Visit the Sutter Creek Business Association's website and Wine on 49.

WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER
While Amador County is known for its tasty, award winning and historical Zinfandels, the rising and shining star in Amador’s vineyards is Barbera.  An Italian variety that hails from the Piedmont region of Italy, this grape variety is unknown to many in California and most of the United States; unless of course you’re a Scott Harvey fan, then you've already established your love affair with Barbera.  Amador County Barbera has become so popular, it even has it's own event!  Learn more here about the Barbera Festival.

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Amador’s volcanic soil, made up primarily of sandy clay loam as a result of decomposed granite, is ideal for growing Zinfandel and Barbera, as well as Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah, among other lesser-known red varietals.  While Amador County is not known for its white wines, you’d be surprised to know that it is home to some award winning Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

Just recently, the Sierra Foothills region made headlines when Wine Enthusiast contributing editor, Jim Gordon, wrote about his experience in "The New & Improved Sierra Foothills".  Mr. Gordon highlights some of the rustic charm mixed with relaxed luxury as well as some of the old vine gems scattered throughout Amador County and the Sierra Foothills; including a Cellar Selection rating on our Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel.

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RETHINKING CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY
Let's revisit our word association game.  This time when we say "California Wine Country", maybe you'll think of Amador County.  When we say "Award Winning California Wines", you can easily name a handful of Gold Medal winners from the Sierra Foothills.  When we say "Barbera", you think "YUM!".  As for "Old Vine Zinfandels", you, as a Scott Harvey fan, know first hand that these are must-haves for your collection!

When you're getting ready to plan a trip to “California’s Wine Country”, think Amador County.  In addition to the fantastic wines and wineries, you will also enjoy the rustic charm of historical towns such as Sutter Creek, Jackson and Plymouth.  Take in all that Amador County has to offer, including fine dining, shopping, gold mine excursions, art events and much more!

 

Visit Scott Harvey Wines

 

ANNUAL AMADOR COUNTY WINE EVENTS

BEHIND THE CELLAR DOOR
First Weekend in March

BHTCD

 

WILDFLOWERS & WINE
SUNDAY, APRIL 3rd 2016

LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS HERE

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AMADOR FOUR FIRES
SATURDAY, MAY 7th 2016

LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS HERE

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BARBERA FESTIVAL
SATURDAY, JUNE 11th 2016

LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS HERE

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AMADOR COUNTY FAIR WINE TASTING EVENT
FRIDAY, JULY 29th 2016

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THE BIG CRUSH HARVEST FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 1st & 2nd 2016

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SUTTER CREEK WINEFEST
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12th 2016

LEARN MORE HERE

Winefest
Time Posted: Mar 14, 2018 at 6:29 PM
Monica Bennion
 
March 10, 2018 | Monica Bennion

Amador County Wine...California's Second Gold Rush

California_Wine_MapLet’s play a little word association game.  I’ll give you a word or phrase; you tell me what first comes to mind:
 
(1)    California's Wine Country
(2)    Gold Medal Winning California Wines
(3)    Old Vine Zinfandels
(4)    Barbera
 
Now, let us give the conventional answers:
 
(1)    Napa Valley
(2)    Again…Napa Valley
(3)    Jammy fruit bombs that are high in alcohol
(4)    That’s not how you spell Barbara…and what does she have to do with wine? 

For those of us who live in California or are familiar with California wines, we know that good wines come from the upper North Coast all the way down to the Southern California border, and everywhere in between.

California is home to some of the best wines in the world, and is only surpassed in production (not necessarily quality) by Italy, France and Spain.  While Napa Valley may have solidified its claim to fame at The Judgement of Paris in 1973, there are a vast number of wine regions in California that have been producing award winning wines for decades; many still unknown or thought to be insignificant in the world of wine.

For those who enjoy Scott Harvey Wines, you already know better.  Some of the best wine in the world comes from the fifth smallest county (in terms of square miles) in California; Amador County.  Within the 600 square miles that makes up Amador County, about 4,000 acres (less than 1%) consists of wine grapes.  But the grapes grown within that 1% produce some of the best wines in California, if not the world.

Amador Wine Grape Map.png

 

The Making of California’s 2nd Gold Rush:In part one of our two part blog, we visit some of Amador's deeply rooted wine history, including our own little piece of history in the Vineyard 1869 as well as the new shining star, Barbera.


During the 1850’s, California was flooded with prospectors staking claims and digging for fortunes, mining for their pot of gold.  The biggest surge of miners passed through Northern California and the Sierra Foothills, home to vast veins of this precious metal.  While some succeeded in finding prosperity, most were fooled and left “holding the pan”.  But all of the mining, successful or not, made the “49ers” thirsty, thus resulting in the planting, cultivating and fermenting of grapes to make wine to quench their thirst and ease the hard days.

Gold_Miners
The Sierra Foothills nearly fell off the map, with regard to wine production, when gold mining ended with the 19th century and the initiation of Prohibition started in the 1920s.  The miners deserted their camps and vineyards were left to wither and die.  It wasn’t until the 1960s when new “prospectors” started the second “Gold Rush” of Amador…winemaking!


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While numerous vineyards were planted in Amador County during the 1850’s, the oldest documented vineyard is one of our very own; the Vineyard 1869.  A land deed from an 1869 U.S. Geological Survey notes a fully established vineyard on the property that is home to our historical Old Vine Zinfandel grapes (as well as some Barbera).  LEARN MORE ABOUT VINEYARD 1869 HERE.

Today, of Amador’s nearly 4,000 acres of wine grapes, over 600 acres are over 60 years old, and several date back to the 19th century.  These older vines are often non-irrigated and must rely on their roots to dig deep for water.  These stressed grapes produce bold, complex and multi-faceted wines that you won't find anywhere else.  These wines are often produced in the Old World style with low alcohol and balanced pH, making them perfect to pair with food.

More recently, Amador County has unearthed another piece of California gold by cultivating Barbera vineyards.  Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, this variety was first planted in Amador County in the 1880s, but didn't really gain traction as a known variety until the late 1990s.  Barbera vines are adaptive to a variety of soils, but thrive in decomposed granite and volcanic soils, and enjoy a little heat during the summer days with cooler evenings.  This describes Amador County perfectly.  Originally used as a "blending" wine, Barbera is now taking Amador County, California and the nation by storm.  Barbera is a versatile, food friendly wine that goes well with Italian style meals, vegetarian meals and a variety of cheeses.  READ MORE HERE ABOUT AMADOR'S SHINING STAR

Let's revist our little word association game now.  I’ll give you a word or phrase; you tell me what first comes to mind:
 
(1)    California's Wine Country
(2)    Gold Medal Winning California Wines
(3)    Old Vine Zinfandels
(4)    Barbera
 
Here are your new answers:
 
(1)    Amador County, California
(2)    Again…Amador County
(3)    Complex, balanced and multi-faceted
(4)    Sure to be your new favorite wine!

Just how many grapes does it take to make up Amador's "liquid gold"?
Download our Free Vineyard to Bottle Sheet to find out!

Time Posted: Mar 10, 2018 at 6:26 PM
Monica Bennion
 
December 17, 2017 | Monica Bennion

Stress Free Holiday Shopping Gift Guide

ORDER BY DECEMBER 13th FOR CHRISTMAS DELIVERY

Click on any item in our catalog for quick and easy shopping!

 

Or Shop Direct on our Website

Time Posted: Dec 17, 2017 at 6:32 PM
Monica Bennion
 
November 15, 2017 | Monica Bennion

We Let the Dogs Our at Tickle My Belly Day

TMB Blog Image.jpg"Tickle My Belly Day" all started when our wine club manager, Monica, had one her famous "shower" ideas.  What's a "shower" idea you ask?  A great idea you have in the shower and hope you remember it by the time you get out!  Her thought..."We have a wine called Tickle Me Pink and dogs like to have their bellies tickled...how can we combine the two...and maybe benefit the animals?"  We don't even want to know what else goes on in her head, but we love her anyway.  Being that she is a big animal lover and advocate, as well as a wine lover, the idea for
"Tickle My Belly Day" was born, and boy did it take off!

 

 

With months of planning and teamwork, on October 28, 2017, it all came together.  The event, hosted by Scott Harvey Wines, the Amador County Animal Control Shelter, Goin' Postal and The Feed Barn in Jackson, featured a special wine tasting menu, including our Tickle Me Pink Rosé, hot dogs, chips and sodas, a photo station with props and the best volunteer photographer, April, swag bags with goodies for both people and pups, and a doggie (temporary) tattoo artist from Country Clippers in Lockeford, CA.  A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Tickle Me Pink benefited the Rusty Fund at the shelter.

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Seeing that the event day was so close to Halloween, we encouraged people and their pets to come in costume for a chance to win some great prizes...and they did not disappoint!  Jazz the Pitbull (1st Place in the Pet Costume Contest) came as a Chick Magnet.  Grommet dressed as The Cat in The Hat  (2nd Place) while his sister Annie was a Sweet Witch.  As for people in costumes, we had royalty, kitty cats, angels, and even couple dressed as a mermaid and merman (their dog Walter, was a shark).  They took 1st Place inthe People Costume Contest.

Costume Winners.jpg

The main focus of the day however, were the adoptable dogs that were on site from the Amador County Animal Control Shelter.  Volunteers from the shelter brought out Roxy, Ruby and Toby to show them off with the hopes of them finding forever homes.  We are very happy to announce that both Ruby and Toby have been adopted!  In addition to the adoptable dogs, ACART (Amador County Animal Rescue Team) was onsite to pass our information on how to keep your pets safe during natural disasters along with other resources for pet safety.

Toby Roxy Ruby.jpg

At the end of the day, it was so rewarding to see the results of our hard work and planning.  Everyone who attended had a great time tasting wine, enjoying food, having their pictures taken, going home with a bag full of goodies all while supporting the animals at the Amador County Animal Control Shelter.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped put this together as well as to all of those who attended.  We look forward to doing this again in 2018.

Visit our Facebook Page to see all of the pictures from the event.

 

RELATED POSTS
Tips & Tricks to Keep Pets Safe Over the Holidays

Time Posted: Nov 15, 2017 at 6:34 PM
Monica Bennion
 
November 14, 2017 | Monica Bennion

Tips & Tricks to Keep Pets Safe Over the Holidays

Corgis and Barrett with Santa.jpgWith the holidays rapidly approaching, we’re gearing up for all the fun and festivities of the season.  This includes decking the halls, baking up our favorite sweet treats, wrapping up gifts and having friends and family over.  If you’re a pet parent like me, your furry kids probably have their own stockings, get new toys and treats, and may even get their picture taken with Santa Paws.  Including pets at the holidays adds to the joy and spirit season.  Emergency vet visits, not so much.  Our list of Holiday Safety Tips for Pets will help keep them safe and comfortable this holiday season.

DECORATIONS & PLANTS

 Oh Tannenbaum, the Tree of Temptation

  • Whether your tree is real or artificial, securely anchor it so that it doesn’t tip over. Falling trees may cause injury to your pet.  It will also prevent you from having to completely redecorate the tree.  If you’re anything like me, I only want to do it once. 
  • If you do have a real tree, keep the water fresh and cover the stand so that pets are not encouraged to drink the water. Bacteria from stagnant water and fertilizers may cause intestinal distress.  No fun when you have guests over. 
  • Consider replacing your glass ornaments for plastic ornaments. Glass ornaments can break, and even the smallest shard can cause an external laceration, or worse, an internal laceration, if accidentally ingested.  Ornaments should also be big enough that your pet cannot fit them in their mouth if they do happen to get ahold of one (this is really more for cats).  At our home, we drape pine needle garland over the doorways and out of the reach of our pets, which allows us to display our treasured and breakable ornaments. 

Corgis and Christmas Tree.jpg

  • Twinkly tinsel and glittery garland can be the finishing touches on your beautiful tree, but these slivers of silver and gold are also dangerous pet magnets. If your pet ingests garland or tinsel, it may lead to an obstruction in the intestinal tract, and could possibly mean surgery, which could be one thousand times more expensive than that five dollar box of tinsel. 
  • Hide or cover the cords to the tree lights and other plugged-in decorations as best as possible. If pets have easy access to these and are prone to gnawing on stuff, the result can be electrocution.  That scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is not one you want in real life.  If you have a pet that is notorious for chewing, I would recommend looking into battery operated lights and decorations.

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Pretty Plants & Glowing Accessories

  • Plants like holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are traditional decorative plants at the holidays. But these plants are highly toxic to pets when ingested.  If you simply love to display these plants, opt for high quality artificial plants.  Added perks include no watering and they are reusable.

Toxic_Christmas_Plants.jpg

  • Fragrant and decorative candles, while imparting a subtle glow and enchanting fragrance, can be dangerous if left unattended. Curious and rambunctious pets can burn themselves if they get too close or knock them over, which may lead to a fire.  When burning candles, make sure they are in appropriate containers, on a stable surface and extinguished when you leave the house or go to bed. 

FOOD & DRINK

Share Your Love, Not Your Food

It’s tempting to want to share your holiday food with your furry friend.  Those pitiful puppy dog eyes plead for just one bite of what’s on your plate.  But even if you’ve sworn off your diet for the holidays, don’t ruin theirs!  And don’t forget to remind your guests that in your zoo, “Please Don’t Feed the Animals”. 

  • Traditional holiday foods like ham, turkey and roast beef can be high in fat and salt which may cause intestinal discomfort. Bones from these foods can lead to obstructions in the airways or intestines and may lead to surgery or death.  Sweet treats like cookies, candies and chocolates are also a no-no for all pets.  Whether you’re baking the treats yourself or receive them as a gift, make sure they are out of reach of all pets and stored in secured containers.  Ingestion usually leads to gastrointestinal upset, but may also lead to death if consumed in large quantities. Toxic Holiday Foods.jpg
  • Other foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas and carrots are all “pet-safe” foods. But when you add butter, milk, salt, pepper or other ingredients, these “pet-safe” foods are now on the naughty list.  If you want to share some holiday foods with your pet, I recommend that you set aside some of these vegetables in the raw* before you add other ingredients.  *SIDENOTE:   Raw potatoes are NOT safe for dogs!  Bake or boil them first.

Careful With the Cocktails

  • With the holiday spirit in the air, it’s likely that there will probably be some holiday spirit in your glass as well. Just like human foods, human beverages are not safe for pets.  Wine, beer and spirits, if consumed, can lead to weakness and respiratory failure.  If you want to give your pet a little something special to drink on New Year’s Eve, add a splash of low-sodium chicken broth to your pups’ water or a treat your kitty to a tablespoon of tuna water. 

WRAPPING PAPER, RIBBONS & BAGS

Neatly Wrapped & Tied With a Bow – Unless You Have a Cat

If your pets are like mine, they have this sixth sense about when you’re getting ready to wrap gifts.  Before I even pull out the paper, tape and scissors, they are hovering around the table stacked with gifts, ready for the fun to begin.  While it can be amusing and entertaining, even if slightly annoying, to watch your pets play with paper and ribbon, these items can easily and accidentally be ingested, which may lead to airway or intestinal obstructions.

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  • I have found that it’s best for me to secure the cats in the office or bedroom while I’m wrapping gifts. The protesting is usually loud, but I know it will be safer for them and faster for me in the long run.  The dogs seem to be fine with a firm command to lie down, but even then they get curious and try to offer assistance.  That’s when they get a treat in their crate and take a nap. 
  • If you plan to keep your gifts under the tree, you may want to avoid ribbons and bows altogether, since curious pets will surely find them, but you won’t. 
  • If you’re using bags or cellophane wrap, make sure that your pets cannot get their head in the bags or wrap. If left unsupervised, getting their head caught in a handle or bag may lead to strangulation or suffocation.

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VISITORS & LOUD NOISES

“Welcome to My House – Oh, I’m Sorry, That’s How I Say Hello”

The holiday season is the time of year when friends and family gather for dinners, parties and get-togethers.  If you’re planning on hosting parties or having friends and family stay with you, it’s best to get your pets prepared; and a sit down conversation isn’t going to work. 

  • If your pets are people friendly and love it when you have visitors, there are a few things you can do to help keep your pets and guests in good spirits. First, as you are anticipating guests, put your dog or cat in a safe place so that when you open the door, they are not tempted to run out.  By securing them away for a few minutes, this also allows your guests to get a little more comfortable without being “greeted” by the dog.  After your guests are settled, introduce your dog or cat.  If someone complains about the fur, just remind them…the pets live there, they don’t, and then offer up the lint roller.

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  • For pets that are a little more shy or don’t like visitors (like two of my five cats), it’s in their best interest to keep them behind closed doors in a room they are comfortable with. Just make sure they have food and water.  For cats, do not forget the litter box.  For dogs, they will either need to be taken out at some point during the party or have a way to get out to go potty.  I would highly recommend that you segregate the dogs from the cats.  Even if they normally get along, they may be anxious which can lead to fights.  Also, it’s really no fun finding out the dog helped you clean the cat box.

Cranking Up the Volume

  • In all of the excitement of the holiday season, sometimes the noise level can be taken to another level. If your party or gathering includes music, shenanigans, noisemakers or fireworks, the loud noises and quick movements may cause your pet to get nervous or scared.  If left alone or unsupervised, they may become destructive or run away.  If your dog is crate trained, you know that this is their “safe space” and a great place to let them rest during the party.  If your pup usually has free roam of the house, a small bedroom furthest away from the noise is the best place.  Just make sure to look for items they may destroy if anxious or nervous and remove them.

Corgis and Crates.jpg

  • You may also want to talk to your vet about medicines that can relieve anxiety and stress. They can offer both pharmaceutical and holistic options.  Be sure to give your pet a lot of extra attention after the noise has subsided and your guests have gone home. 

By keeping your pets safe over the holiday season and following our Holiday Pet Safety Tips, not only will you avoid a costly emergency vet visit (which usually means someone’s giving up a gift or two), you, your guests and your pets will all enjoy the fun and festivities and ring in the New Year with a smile.

Time Posted: Nov 14, 2017 at 6:35 PM