For more than two decades, Amador wine country’s wineries have opened their cellar doors and tasting rooms to bring the harvest close to wine aficionados. Big Crush 2013 once again rolls out with 38 wineries presenting a breadth of hospitality on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Two days of bountiful cuisine from all over the world and music from acoustic to rock and roll will be wafting from every oak tree and crush pad in the Amador County.
Most exciting are the harvest activities — personal vineyard tours, blending seminars, grape stomps and all manner of ways to get into the midst of the most anticipated season of the year.
Here are just a some examples of winery activities.
Amador Cellars, 11093 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, come watch winemaking in action and taste the 2013 harvest in process. Observe small bin fermentation and talk with winemakers Larry and Michael Long. There will be Amador Cellars’ famous corn chowder and harvest appetizers and a live performance by the New Originals both days from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Amador Foothill Winery, 12500 Steiner Road, Plymouth, discover what’s new at this hilltop winery during its 34th harvest. Enjoy the views while sipping delicious wines. Chat with winemaker Katie Quinn about the 2013 vintage. Enjoy truffled potato chips and gorgonzola dip from Beth Sogaard Catering. Taste the newly released 2009 Aglianico.
Sierra Ridge Vineyard and Winery, at two locations, 14110 Ridge Road, and 54 Main St., Sutter Creek, Saturday and Sunday at the new tasting room at Ridge Road on Sunday only. Enjoy new releases at our beautiful new bar. Serving French onion and gazpacho soup, along with “drunken brownies.”
Sobon Estate, 14430 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, come to Sobon Estate to celebrate harvest. Get messy in the grape stomp; enjoy barrel samples and play wine trivia to win some great discounts. Pair current wines with savory sausages and specialty sauces. Make sure to save room for the zin port chocolate sauce with biscottis.
Stonehouse Vineyards and Winery, 10861 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, join Stonehouse for chilled whites on the patio and estate grown cabernets paired with the famous Stonehouse chili and barbecue chicken from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Story, 10525 Bell Road, Plymouth, decided to pull out all the stops for its 40th crush and host its own Michael Jackson concert with the band Foreverland. Come enjoy the music while sampling the latest releases paired with delicious appetizers. For the serious oenophiles, wander down to the winery and learn about Story’s winemaking techniques and taste the freshly fermenting 2013 vintage.
Tanis Vineyard, pouring at Amador Vintage Market, 9393 Main St.t, Plymouth and Tanis Vineyards, 13120 Willow Creek Road, Plymouth, get ready for a feast from Tanis. Enjoy its delicious 2012 Sauvignon Blanc with Basque tuna on potato coins; 2009 TNT Silver Cap with proscuitto-wrapped mini chicken skewer and the wonderful 2009 Barbera with duck confit on bacon cheddar crackers.
Terra D’Oro, 20680 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth, Terra d’ Oro winery celebrates its Amador and Italian root. It is dishing out some crazy-good food with fabulous wines, barrel samples off the truck, “Guess the Juice” and some Grape Stompin’. Bring your best purple hair for Winemaker Chris and win a prize.
Terre Rouge and Easton Wines, 10801 Dickson Road, Plymouth, taste a showcase of eight different 90-point-plus wines from Terre Rouge and Easton. Blues barbecue lunch on the patio by chef and owner JaneO’Riordan. Live blues and rock by the Bad Catz on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
TKC Vineyards, 11001 Valley Drive, Plymouth, get your crush on at TKC Vineyards, a small family operation that caters to your pallet for premium red wines. They will be serving sausages and an assortment of Italian appetizers.
Turley Wine Cellars, 10851 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, come for barrel samples, Big Crush weekend specials and great food.
Vino Noceto, 11011 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, enter from Dickson Road Rock to classic tunes from Three Chords and a Beer while enjoying a refreshing Moscato or margarita slushie. Munch on delicious soft tacos and light tapas. Sample the harvest fresh from the tank, taste the Noceto line-up and put your crush skills to the test for a prize.
Wilderotter Vineyards, 19890 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth, is serving grilled tri-tip and chicken sliders, assorted sausages, Sam’s orzo pasta salad and Davis Ranch tomato caprese salad. At the tasting bar, Wilderotter will be pouring a full complement of wines — new 2012 whites and 2010 reds, and offering wines by the glass or bottle to share.
Wine Tree Farm Winery is pouring at The Kitchen Store, 14127 Highway 49 in Amador City and Wine Tree Winery tasting room, 14467 Highway 49, Amador City, is serving Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre and one Rhône-style blend along with a selection of finger foods that will pair appropriately with the above wines. Hal Gamble, a local Amador City balladeer/guitarist, and a foothill wine country favorite, will be entertaining from noon till 3 p.m.
Avio Vineyards and Winery, 14520 Ridge Road, Sutter Creek, is having its signature “Barbed Wire” spaghetti and meatballs, a bleu cheese and cranberry field green salad and cheesecake. Owner, Stefano Watson, will be presenting a hands-on demonstration: “From Vine to Bottle – How Grapes Become Wine” at noon and 2 p.m. both days. Live music.
Bellagrace Vineyards, 22715 Upton Road, Plymouth, home of one of Amador County’s best zinfandels, offers two unique venues at 73 Main St., Sutter Creek, a Victorian cottage tasting room hosts the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe for wine and cheese pairings at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday; noon on Sunday. Enjoy panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley while tasting wines paired with tri-tip sliders at the wine cave on Upton Road.
Borjón Winery, 11270 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, will have live music both days. Mariachi Mi Tierra on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and The Rhythm Vandals Tributeto Santana on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Mother Nora Borjón will have authentic Mexican food on both days.
Driven Cellars, 12595 Steiner Road, Plymouth, is having smokin’ chili and award-winning wines. Saturday, groove to tunes from Over the Edge. Painted Studio from Folsom will hold a painting class 1 to 3 p.m. RSVP 916-817-8823. Tasty treats from About a Bit on Sunday.
Drytown Cellars, 16030 Highway 49, Drytown, get your groove on Saturday ‘cuz the Groove Orphans are back, with their big sound of toe-tapping rhythm and blues. On Sunday, the Southern Wind Band plays its distinctly Americana music. All weekend, fill up on barbecued tri-tip and roast chicken, with harvest fare and gourmet cheeses.
Feist Wines, 14173 Old Highway 49, Amador City offers limited production, small lot wines in a century old tasting room. Join Feist for farm to table tapas. Taste gold medal barbera paired with grilled local beef and artisan cheeses. Enjoy live music with winemaker, Tony Feist and Friends, Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Helwig Vineyards and Winery, 11555 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, with award-winning wines, unparalleled hospitality and views spanning 200 miles, Helwig Winery provides the quintessential wine country experience. Enjoy a barrel tasting, along with other current releases, while sampling its famous wine-infused barbecued oysters and other small bites from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ilgioiello Winery and Morse Wines, 22355 Lawrence Road, Fiddletown, celebrates living Italian without leaving Amador. Start your adventure at the top, experiencing the beauty, unique terroir, style and quality of the estate vineyards and winemaking. Four newly released Italian varietals paired with Tuscan cuisine and crush tastings.
Jeff Runquist Wines, 10776 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, is having spicy tomato soup, gougères and brownies from Andrés Bakery paired with Jeff Runquist award-winning wines. Sign up in advance for a tour of the winery with owner, Jeff Runquist at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. both days. Punch down, smell the must, learn about winemaking.
Bray Vineyards, 10590 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, Eric will be serving his famous chili three-ways, with corn bread. Steve Waranietz will play his music through out Saturday and Sunday for your entertainment.
Nine Gables Vineyard, 10778 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth, will be serving chili and cornbread hasty hots, brownies and chocolate-dipped biscotti. Internationally known multi-media artist Tamara Fondelli art show on Saturday.
Nuadair Vineyards, 13825 Willow Creek Road, Ione, wines will be paired with a saucy pulled pork slider and cornbread filled with a gooey cheese dill sauce. Dip cream puffs and fresh fruit in the chocolate fountain.
Renwood Winery, 12225 Steiner Road, Plymouth, will have classic rock, barbecue, and Renwood Zinfandel.
Sera Fina Cellars, 17000 Latrobe Road, Plymouth, taste new releases while enjoying pizza and music on the patio.
Shenandoah Vineyards, 12300 Steiner Road, Plymouth, start the day at Shenandoah Vineyards. Winemaker Paul Sobon will be giving vineyard tours at 10 a.m. Saturday, 209-245-4455 for reservations. Relax to the original acoustic music of Ken Teel Saturday and Sunday. Have some fun with the bean bag toss to win discounts as you enjoy barrel samples. Savor gourmet cheeses and Andrés Bakery bread. Save room for the pumpkin pie bites with Orange Muscat whipped cream!
C.G. di Arie Vineyard and Winery, 19919 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth, is having the “Art of Blending” — Chaim will lead interactive tastings and discuss the process of developing a new blend, demonstrating how a blend made up of different varietals can act with synergy to create a wine with a unique personality. Middle Eastern appetizers offered daily along with Midtown Jazz, noon to 4 p.m. both days.
Charles Spinetta Winery, 12557 Steiner Road, Plymouth, is having a seminar and tasting on “How to make Premium Italian Vinegar” at 2 p.m. Sunday. Savor the rich, unique flavor of ripe wine grapes from the vineyards paired with the wines they’re destined to become. Explore the extensive wildlife art gallery.
Convergence Vineyards, 14650 Highway 124, Plymouth, it is North to Alaska. Join Convergence as it pays tribute to its favorite vacation spot, Alaska. On the menu today: a delicious Alaskan smoked salmon chowder with crunchy sourdough croutons; for dessert, creamy, chocolaty, Denali moose tracks ice cream.
Cooper Vineyards, 21365 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth, from vine to barrel, discover the great varietals at Cooper Vineyards. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., experience the differences and similarities between Barbera, Primitivo and Sangiovese with Cooper staff members and home winemakers Jim and Teri Schnepp. Enjoy Roussanne potatoes, pork loin with Zinfandel, grilled veggies and focaccia.
Deaver Vineyards, 12455 Steiner Road, Plymouth, start at Deaver and receive a free gift when you pick up your glass. For your listening pleasure, Deaver’s are featuring Brad Wilson Saturday noon to 4 p.m. and Unkl Bean Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Baked potato bar and “Guess the Grape” contest.
Dillian Wines, 12138 Steiner Road, Plymouth, back by popular demand, handmade ravioli from Vinciguerra Ravioli Company in Jackson.
Tickets are $40 for Saturday and Sunday, Sunday only $30 and designated driver $10. Tickets will be available at the event for $5 more each.
For tickets and more information visit AmadorWine.com.