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Scott Harvey Wines - Amador County

Veteran Winemaker Scott Harvey Strikes Gold in Sierra Foothill Vineyards.

Scott Harvey Wines became a reality in 2003, when founder Scott Harvey learned that Folie A Deux Winery in Napa Valley would soon be sold to the Trinchero Family of Sutter Home Winery fame. Along with noted winemaker Richard Peterson, Harvey was then a partner in the Folie A Deux venture, in addition to serving as both president and winemaker for the much respected winery that was begun in 1996.

'When I realized that the sale was going to take place, I immediately saw it as an opportunity to do something that some of my friends and supporters had been urging me to do for a number of years,' recalled Harvey in a recent interview. Harvey then approached the other owners of Folie A Deux and gained permission to begin producing a small amount of grapes from the Sierra Foothills, the region in which he was born and had formerly worked. His intention was to make a number of small lot wines from particular grape sources that he knew to be among the best in that part of Northern California. He wanted to produce the wines prior to the actual sale of Folie A Deux.

'I was fortunate to have some great growers that were willing to give me long term contracts on some exceptional grapes,' he added. 'Since I had cut my teeth in the wine business in the foothills, I knew where the finest grapes were grown and made use of the personal contacts I had developed throughout my career. It was great of the other Folie A Deux owners to allow me to get a jump start on making wines as Scott Harvey Wines.' The new winery made its initial release of almost 2000 cases in 2004 (even before the company officially existed) and has grown steadily to be able to produce about 8,000 cases this year. Harvey has set a soft goal of 10,000 cases for the future but is in no particular hurry to reach that plateau. 'I am certainly more interested in maintaining my quality than I am in growing the business,' he related. 'In the wine business, who knows what will happen down the roadñ'

Scott Harvey Wines' label features a formidable griffin that Scott found one day while visiting an old typesetting business. 'I was going through some old fonts from the 1880's and came across this wonderful griffin that had vines in his hands and tail. The griffin also traced its roots back to the Saxons who conquered England and was part of the crest of the Scottish Harvey Clan that were my ancestors. I thought it would make a remarkable logo for our wines so I bought it on the spot.'

Scott Harvey's wines have garnered a great deal of critical acclaim since their inception some five short years ago. The wines can be found in thirty states and on many upscale wine lists around the country.

Scott Harvey Wines is a California corporation that has some thirty owners, with Harvey and his wife, Jana, owning half of the entity.

Since its inception, Scott Harvey Wines has remained mostly a family operation. Jana Harvey, a long time wine industry veteran with an imposing resume of her own, handles all the sales and marketing as she did for several outstanding Napa Valley wineries including Cuvaison. The couple's nephew, Bill Crowe, has worked with Harvey for years and is now a production mainstay who gets involved in practically every aspect of the winery. Another nephew, Michael Harants is a noted graphic artist whose first work was for the winery. Today, Harants does all of the company's labels and has a say regarding some of the marketing and sales materials.

Recently, the winery has opened a marvelous new tasting room in historic Sutter Creek, California, often referred to as the 'Jewel of the Mother Lode' for the California gold rush. Harvey's daughter, Paulette Harvey Williams welcomes all visitors to the must see tasting room that is neatly located at 21 Eureka Street.

In many ways, Scott Harvey Wines could fit the definition of a near perfect winery. It continues to produce a number of wines that are palate friendly and food satisfying. Its ownership has stuck to their guns and produced wines that they enjoy making as opposed to attempting to duplicate some of the more 'modern style' wineries that get great attention in the wine industry's journals.

  1. Scott Harvey
    2005 Zinfandel
    Scott Harvey
    Old Vine Reserve
    Sierra Foothills


    id: 188
  2. Scott Harvey
    2007 Riesling
    Scott Harvey
    Old Vine
    Mendocino County


    Special Selection
    id: 190
  3. Scott Harvey
    2005 Syrah
    Scott Harvey
    Mountain Selection
    Sierra Foothills


    Double Gold Medal
    id: 189

Scott Harvey is truly a classic winemaker.

Few California winemakers have taken the course that Scott Harvey chose for his career. The early German apprenticeship and the years at Folie A Deux with Dick Peterson have indeed stamped his wines. Scott Harvey is truly a throwback to classic winemaking since he literally learned his trade from the ground up.

To better understand the evolution of this month's Gold Series selections from Scott Harvey Wines, it is necessary to trace the career of the namesake founder/winemaker for the past three decades. Scott Harvey's career and accomplishments rank high on the scale with other modern wine industry pioneers and ground breakers who orchestrated a number of different entities during their long careers.
The road for the now 54-year old wine entrepreneur began as a high school exchange student to the Rhineland Pfalz wine region of Germany where he was exposed to a number of top German wineries.

He next attended Cal State Sacramento before starting in the wine business at Amador County's Montevina Winery. In 1975, he returned to Germany, where he apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt. Completing school, he returned to Montevina, where he broadened his experience in all aspects of the business. Three years later, he was named winemaker for another Amador entity, Story Winery.

Next in line was a stop at the new Santino Winery where Scott served as both general manager and winemaker. In 1992, Renwood Winery acquired Santino and Scott Harvey's talents and became one of the Sierra Foothills' most celebrated wineries. During this period, Scott Harvey and a handful of others were given credit for establishing Amador County as one of the top growing and producing regions in California, a status the region continues to enjoy. In 1990, Dan Berger, the well respected wine writer for the Los Angeles Times, named Scott Harvey one of the 'Ten Best Winemakers in America.'

Through it all, Scott Harvey still considers himself something of an anomaly. He puts it thusly, 'I am really an old world winemaker in the new wine world. I have always believed in the theory of making wines for food, but there is a growing trend that says that wines will be consumed without food. This isn't necessarily all bad, but it makes me return to what I know to be true. Wine doesn't taste bad without food but definitely tastes better with the correct food to accompany it. I also feel that the buying public doesn't really trust their wine merchant to the same degree that they trust their wine newspapers and periodicals, which makes for a somewhat cloudy situation.'

Harvey has also been a frequent judge at the California State Fair where he as literally judged hundreds of wines at a time. He knows that the wines that often get the best ratings are wines that have high alcohol or high acidity and somehow managed to catch the judges' attention.

About The Region

Unknown to but a few wine historians, the grapes of Amador County can boast being older than either Napa or Sonoma, with the first winery dating back to 1856. By 1880, more than 3,000 acres were under vine, a situation that lasted until the advent of prohibition.

In the early 1970's the area was rediscovered and wineries began to sprout up all over the area. Many prestigious Napa wineries used Old Vine Zinfandel grapes to enhance their reputations.

Rich Moroccan Vegetarian Stew


Serves Six

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Teaspoon Coriander, ground
1 Teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
5 Cups chicken or Vegetable Broth
4 Carrots, peeled, 1/2 inch slices
2 1/2 Cups Zucchini, 1/2 inch slices
2 1/2Cups Eggplant, peeled, diced
2 Cups Cauliflower Florets
1 Cup Onions 1/2 diced (approx. 5 ounces)
2 Cans Stewed Tomatoes
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 Cup Dried Currants
1 cup Toasted Almonds, chopped
1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt


Pour olive oil into a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Scrape the mixture into slow cooker (at least 5 quart). Add broth, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, onion, stewed tomatoes (with juices) garbanzo beans, currants, almonds and salt. Stir to combine. Cover slow-cooker and cook on high until vegetables are tender to bit and flavors are blended, 8-9 hours. Ladle about 3 cups of the vegetable mix into a blender. Holding lid down with towel and taking care to avoid steam, whirl until smooth. Return puree to slow cooker and stir to blend. Ladle stew into tureen or individual bowls. Serve with couscous and a dollop of plain yogurt.

Scott's Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Cranberry Sauce


Serves Six

1 Leg of Lamb
6 Rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
5 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Teaspoons Marjoram
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Bunch Spinach, blanched
4 Ounces Goat Cheese
1/2 Bottle White Wine
1 Pound Baby Carrots
5 Shallots, whole
1 Pound Small Red Potatoes
12 Ounces Cranberry Sauce


The most important thing to remember about cooking a lamb is to not over-cook it. Lamb has such wonderful flavor on its own, and is so naturally tender, that it is bound to turn out well, as long as it is still a little pink inside. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. De-bone leg of lamb. Make a rub of olive oil, rosemary, garlic, marjoram, salt & pepper and rub it all over the leg of lamb inside & out. Stuff lamb with a 50/50 mixture of spinach and goat cheese. Roll and tie lamb leg up and place in a roasting pan surrounded by carrots, potatoes, & shallots. Pour half of a bottle of white wine in the roasting pan, cover and put it in the oven at 350 degrees; cook until internal temperature ranges from 120 to 145 degrees (medium rare). After the juices have roasted out of the lamb, drain liquid into sauce pan. Over medium-high heat, add the cranberry sauce to the juices and reduce to a thick sauce. When you cut the lamb make sure you are careful to keep the slice whole so you can see the outer ring of lamb with the inner green and white stuffing. Serve steamed or grilled vegetables on the side and smother the whole plate with the cranberry reduction sauce. Enjoy! -Scott Harvey.