The Deavers trace their Amador County roots back five generations to John James Davis, a cooper from Indiana who was one of the region’s first settlers.
In the early 1850s, Davis planted the family’s original Mission vines (brought from Mexico by the Jesuits and Franciscans), while his son, Joseph, added Zinfandel two decades later. The Deavers were strictly in the business of growing and selling grapes to home winemakers for more than 100 years, but economics eventually led them to reevaluate their practices. According to Davis’ great grandson, Ken Deaver, producing award-winning wine seemed like the best way to market unsold fruit. In the early days, they offered only Zinfandels, the first of which was bottled in 1985 by Deaver’s father, Kenneth, a man with a true passion for the land he spent his life farming. The selection has since grown to include a number of whites, reds and Ports. They’ve also added Primitivo, Sangiovese, Alicante Bouchette and Petite Sirah vines, but Deaver maintains that his favorites among the “complex, intense, scrumptious” offerings are Zinfandels. “We have [one],” he says, “for every occasion.” Although Deaver wines are only available online and in the family-staffed tasting room, the care and craftsmanship with which they’re made continues to earn industry recognition. In 2013, Deaver was named “Vineyard of the Year” at the California State Fair, and in January, its 2010 Signature Carignane won gold at the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition. “As a grape grower,” Deaver shares, “you can see [and] taste the end result of your hard work and cultural practices. We began as a small, family-operated winery and still maintain that today.”
Style’s Sip of the Day: 2010 Ten Zins
The tasting room’s neighboring B&B, Amador Harvest Inn, was brought to life by Ken’s mother, Barbara “Bobbie” Deaver. Its charming guestrooms, stunning lake views, and croquet court have delighted visitors to the Shenandoah Valley for more than two decades.
12455 Steiner Road, Plymouth
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