Amador Wine Country

Best Amador County wineries, restaurants, and hotels.

An Instagram follower DM’d me requesting wine-tasting tips for Plymouth and Amador County. I cover the region for Fodor’s California, albeit just the highlights because the book surveys the whole state. Below are the social-media suggestions, slightly reworked.

Plymouth Wineries

Three favorites in Plymouth are Andis Wines (polished winemaking style), Terre Rouge and Easton Wines (Terre Rouge for Rhônes, Easton for Zinfandel), and Turley Wine Cellars (lush Zins from Amador and elsewhere, plus Petite Sirah and Cabernet).

Barbera is one of several strong suits at Andis Wines in Plymouth.

A few more to seek out include Amador Cellars (friendly folks, superb wines), Bella Grace Vineyards (vineyard-view sipping outside a cave or in downtown Sutter Creek), Casino Mine Ranch (architecture, Rhône-style blends and Tempranillo), C. G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery (hillside setting; especially love the Grenache), and Jeff Runquist Wines (Barbera, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot star among wines from more than two dozen grape types), Yorba Wines (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Barbera, Tempranillo, and a few others from grower Ann Kraemer’s much-lauded Shake Ridge Ranch Vineyards).

Scott Harvey has been making Amador County wines since the 1970s.

Also consider Scott Harvey Wine (Barbera, Syrah, Zinfandel, and several more), Sobon Estate (good for area history), and Vino Noceto (for arguably the county’s best Sangiovese). On Fridays and weekends, cleanse your palate just east of the Highway 49 rotary in Plymouth with a microbrewed beer (we’re partial to the Amador IPA) at Amador Brewing Company.

Doggie Diner head at Vino Noceto.

Plymouth Dining and Lodging

Taste Restaurant and Wine Bar is the town’s fine-dining gem; head to Fig Barn for coffee, breakfast, lunch, and cheese and charcuterie boards.  The same people who run Taste own the nearby Rest Hotel. For a splurge, book a palatial room at the Grand Reserve Inn, on the grounds of Teneral Cellars Vineyard.

The six-room Imperial Hotel anchors Amador’s City’s short main drag.

Fiddletown and Amador City

I always like driving through the historic part of Fiddletown, a step back in time, and cute Amador City (just a few blocks long), between Plymouth and Sutter Creek, is definitely worth a peek. New owners remodeled Amador City’s 1879 Imperial Hotel in 2023. The hotel’s restaurant is quite good, and there’s a microbrewery with elevated pub grub up the street. 

When enough was enough, the owner of Monteverde Store closed the door, never to return.

Sutter Creek

Scott Harvey and Bella Grace have tasting rooms on Sutter Creek’s Main Street. Just off Main on Randolph Street, I can never resist pressing my nose (and smartphone) up against the window of the Monteverde Store Museum. The storefront museum feels frozen in time because it is. “Its final owner walked out more than four decades ago and never returned,” I wrote for Fodor’s a while back, and now it’s been more than half a century. “These days, you can peruse what he left behind.”

Knight Foundry is the country’s sole remaining water-powered foundry and machine shop.

Off Main at the end of Eureka Street is Knight Foundry, restored from the 1870s. It’s open for self-guided tours every second Saturday of the month, and sometimes foundry workers are around on Wednesdays, but there are outdoor exhibits you can see anytime. The open-air Miner’s Bend Historic Gold Mining Park at the southern end of Main Street displays large mining equipment.

Foundry volunteer Frank Cunha demonstrates how 19th-century water-powered equipment worked.

Visit Amador County and Amador County Wineries have more tips and advice.  

Daniel Mangin is the author of Fodor’s Napa and Sonoma and contributes to Fodor’s California, including the Sacramento and the Gold Country chapter. Lead photo is the tasting room at Casino Mine Ranch. This story first appeared in 2022 and was updated in late 2023.

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