Amador Wine Country

Best Amador wineries, restaurants, and hotels.

An Instagram follower DM’d me in early 2022, asking for 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.

Award-winning lineup at Jeff Runquist Wines.

Plymouth Wineries

Three favorites in Plymouth are Jeff Runquist Wines (Barbera, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot star among wines from more than two dozen grape types), Terre Rouge and Easton Wines (Terre Rouge for Rhônes, Easton for Zinfandel), and Turley Wine Cellars (those rich, lush Turley Zins from Amador and elsewhere, plus Petite Sirah and Cabernet).

Plenty of outdoor tasting spots at Terre Rouge and Easton Wines.

A few more to seek out include Amador Cellars (friendly folks, swingin’ barn), Bella Grace Vineyards (vineyard-view sipping outside a cave), C. G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery (beautiful hillside setting; especially love the Grenache).

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

Also consider Rombauer Sierra Foothills (Amador Zins along with Napa Valley wines), Scott Harvey Wine (Barbera, Syrah, Zinfandel, and several more), Sobon Estate (good for area history), and Vino Noceto (where the Doggie Diner head resides, for Sangiovese).

Stop for a beer at Amador Brewing.

Cleanse your palate just east of the Highway 49 rotary with a microbrewed beer (we’re partial to the Amador IPA) at Amador Brewing Company.

Plymouth Dining and Lodging

Taste Restaurant and Wine Bar is the town’s fine-dining gem. Across the street, Amador Vintage Market has sandwiches (perfect French dip), deli items, and local wines. 

French dip sandwich at Amador Vintage Market.

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 Wilderotter Vineyard.

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 & Sutter Creek, is worth a quick peek.

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, a time capsule if ever there is one that is never open when I’m in town. 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 Gold Country chapter.

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