El Dorado AVA
El Dorado, Sierra Foothills
Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe in Northern California, the El Dorado AVA (appellation) was established in 1983. El Dorado is a sub-appellation of the massive 2,600,000-acre Sierra Foothills AVA. El Dorado which began growing grapes back in the mid 1800’s, is today known for producing 50 varietals, including excellent Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Barbera.
In this region, many of the best vineyards are planted above the 2,000ft elevation. These vineyards are cooled by the breezes from the Sierra Nevada mountain range and by their sheer elevation, instead of fog that is common to coastal regions. That means that grapes from El Dorado receive more direct sunlight and mature in cooler temperatures. The result of this unique geography means longer hang time and more uniform ripening of the fruit.
The combination of climate, diverse soil conditions and topography helps this region produce wines of outstanding depth and density. With over 70 wineries, many with tasting rooms there are plenty of great reasons to visit El Dorado County. We have featured Old Vine Zinfandel from this wine region in more than one of our wine clubs.