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Style Magazine

Stories from the Cellar

Aug 25, 2014 04:50PM ● By Morgan Cásarez

When it comes to wine tasting, there’s no place Wayne Pearce would rather spend an afternoon than our very own Sierra foothills.

His love of the region and its family-owned wineries runs so deep that he spent years developing Sierra Wine Experience, an affordable and fully customizable tour and tasting service. With more than 150 wineries throughout Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, and Placer County, there are enough options to overwhelm even skilled sippers, but Pearce ensures that every group makes only the stops best suited to their palates and preferences. And for those who already have a winery bucket list in mind? The seasoned guide is just as comfortable letting guests determine the day’s itinerary, but does limit groups to just under a dozen so as not to overwhelm the area’s characteristically intimate tasting rooms. In the case of Style’s recent Sierra Wine Experience, we were on the hunt for wineries with special stories to share and, thanks to Pearce, we more than found them in the standout spots detailed ahead.


Gwinllan’s rustic wine cave provided the perfect backdrop for an elegant picnic lunch, courtesy of Sierra Wine Experience. As we enjoyed the company of the Packs and their adorable winery dog, Abby, our guide was busy artfully arranging a feast fit for a king atop white linen tablecloths and hand-painted plates. We emptied our glasses just in time to find a selection of baguettes and crackers waiting to be topped with all the fine cheeses, sliced meats, olives, fresh fruit and jam our hearts could possibly desire. And for dessert? Chocolate chip cookies and raspberries. As if our day of wine tasting wasn’t decadent enough already, the family-style spread before us truly took our breath away.
NOTE: Sierra Wine Experience offers various picnic options for less than $20/person; or pack your own lunch and let the company provide table settings.


Not all good wines have to be expensive or snooty. Wines are being made to fit the personalities of any and all people, making it more fun.”—Isy Borjón, Borjón Winery

People are open to less mainstream concepts in wine, looking for new wines, varietals, regions, etc. The usual suspects of Cabernet and Chardonnay are being traded for fun varietals like Grenache, Mourvedre, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, and under-the-radar regions like El Dorado and Fair Play are being sought out by people that want [a] different wine country experience from the more popular regions.”—Mike and Carey Skinner, Skinner Vineyards and Winery

Seeing so many people trying different and obscure varietals.”—Andy Friedlander, Andis Wines
“I feel that more wine consumers are trying and ordering ‘uncommon’ varieties of wine.”—Hunter McGillivray, Dono dal Cielo, an Estate Vineyard

Bold Flavors
“Fruit-forward, full-bodied reds.”—Ken Deaver, Deaver Vineyards
Green Winemaking

“Sustainability in the vineyard and winery.”—Gordon, Chris and Jonathan Pack, Gwinllan Estate Winery

I would consider the rosé style of wines as becoming ever more popular, but especially dry rosé wines. These types of wines are common to Northern France and are gaining in popularity.”—Richard Stading, Auriga Wine Cellars

Quality Over Quantity
I believe the trend is to control all facets, from growing through processing and bottling to ensure the quality of wine is the best a customer can expect. This is our mission statement and we know it works because we taste all our wines and pour them with great confidence.”—Austin Lindemann, River Rock Ranch Winery



Boeger Winery
1709 Carson Road, Placerville

Cantiga Wineworks
5980 Meyers Lane, Fair Play

Crystal Basin Cellars
3550 Carson Road, Camino

David Girard Vineyard
741 Cold Springs Road, Placerville

Gold Hill Vineyard & Brewery
5660 Vineyard Lane, Placerville

Helwig Winery
11555 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth

Miraflores Winery
2120 Four Springs Trail, Placerville

Renwood Winery
12225 Steiner Road, Plymouth

Terra d’Oro
20680 Shenandoah School Road Plymouth

Wilson Vineyards
50400 Gaffney Road, Clarksburg

Wofford Acres
1900 Hidden Valley Lane, Camino


Bear River Winery
2751 Combie Road, Meadow Vista

Cante Ao Vinho
5250 Front Street, Rocklin

Davis Dean Cellars
448 Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 203, Lincoln

Lone Buffalo Vineyards
7505 Wise Road, Auburn

PaZa Vineyard and Winery
3357 Ayres Holmes Road, Auburn

Rancho Roble Vineyards
340 Fleming Road, Lincoln,

Secret Ravine Vineyard and Winery
4390 Gold Trail Way, Loomis