What: Fair Play Wine Festival
Who: Wineries of Fair Play
Where: Southern El Dorado County
When: Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $25 advance purchase, $30 day of the event, $15 for designated driver
Elevate the wine tasting experience and visit El Dorado County’s southern region during the Fair Play Wine Festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. to 5p.m. each day.
Visitors will enjoy the beautifully crafted wines produced in this very unique wine-producing region of the United States.
The Fair Play American Viticultural Area designation or appellation was granted in 2001 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireams due to a series of factors specific to the Fair Play area.
The key components of the area are: the elevation of 2,000 to 3,000 feet; the granitic sandy loam soils; and the climate with a substantial amount of rain, no fog and short growing season.
The distinct terroir and spectacular vistas attracted early residents to the area. Then gold brought more settlers, followed by agriculturalists. The vegetables and other crops started to transition to vineyards.
Records indicate that a commercial vineyard and winery were established in 1887 by Horace Bigelow but a long trip to market was not helpful in promoting the area as a bigtime agricultural area.
The 1960s saw a rekindled interest in Fair Play and that interest has captured a growing market for the incredible wine that the terroir (climate and soils) produces. Gold medals for wine can now be found at the Fair Play Winery Association members.
To showcase the wine, the Flair Play vintners decided to have a celebration. Their first Fair Play Wine Festival was in 1984. The forward thinking winemakers presented an open house format with the chance to meet and talk to winery owners and winemakers and offer samples of wine to the visitors. Now a common practice, but back in 1984 this was a new marketing approach.
The success of the festival format and the quality of the product make a visit to the Fair Play Wine Festival and the wineries with an altitude a special event.
Each winery presents a fun, informative and entertaining time while guests enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Events at participating wineries
Busby Cellars, 6375 Grizzly Flat Road in Somerset, TBA.
Chateau Routon Winery, 2800 Omo Ranch Road in Fair Play, has a fun-filled time planned, where visitors can relax and enjoy the beautiful view from the grand deck. Chateau Routon will be serving delectable desserts throughout the day, including strawberry delight, decadent chocolate cake, wonderful truffles and, of course, its famous port sundaes — made with Chateau Routon port. Relax on the deck while listening to the pleasant sounds of Rachel Cargil. Enter the tasting room to find beautiful jewelry, paintings and photographs and special festival prices on the award-winning wines and ports.
Colibri Ridge Winery and Vineyard, 6100 Gray Rock Road in Fair Play, will be serving a delectable pork tenderloin with a mango salsa that will be paired with its award-winning wines. Jonny Mojo will be returning again this year to play a variety of his original tunes, some blues and some classic rock. Come and enjoy the views, food, wines and Mojo’s music. Special discounts will be offered all weekend long.
DK Cellars, 7380 Vineyard View Drive in Fair Play, will be featuring gourmet foods by Gold Vine Grill that Chef Greg has paired specifically with dk wines. Relax in the back yard picnic area with a bottle of wine and listen to music by Ollie’s Lament, inspired by rock, jazz, blues, and a little good-old, down-home, foot-stomping groove. Dave, the winemaker will be available to answer any questions and tell you about the new releases. Special wine discounts will be available that weekend.
Fitzpatrick Winery and Lodge, 7740 Fair Play Road in Fair Play, has a new Zinfandel that is stellar and Zin lovers will not want to miss this near perfect Fitzpatrick Zinfandel vintage. It’s a hard act to follow but tasting the other new releases is believing, uncork the magic of Fitzpatrick’s new wines, take in the stunning hilltop views. Enjoy the dynamic folk duo Anderson/Gram and nourish thyself with the wine tasters menu and other delicacies.
Gwinllan Estate, 7060 Fair Play in Somerset, invites everyone to enjoy all of the estate wines and panoramic views of El Dorado County. Relax and take in the scenery from the patio outside the wine cave. Enjoy flat bread pizzas and salad. Mixed case and half case specials will be available for event attendees.
Iverson Vineyards and Winery, 8061 Perry Creek Road in Fair Play, is serving “D’s” famous chili and fixin’s, along with its premium award-winning wines. Don’t miss out on the wine specials and the popular Proprietor’s Blend, three white wines, eight red wines and two Tawny ports to choose from. Iverson also has sparkling, pomegranate raspberry and almond.
Mastroserio Winery, 7351 Fairplay Road in Somerset, TBA.
Mellowood Vineyards, 2979 Mellowood Drive in Fair Play, Sunday only, join vintner, Linda Neal, and friends, for a party, country style. Flat Busted will be playing country and rock favorites, with its engaging and entertaining style from noon to 4 p.m. John Young, of Katie’s Country Kitchen will be grilling and slicing mouthwatering tri-tip from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Katie’s home-style sides to pair with the wonderful wine tasting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mount Aukum Winery, 6781 Tower Road in Somerset, offers an adventure to the top for an assortment of authentic French hors d’oeuvre prepared by Chef Christian Masse, owner of local restaurant Allez. Show off fancy footwork with rock and roll band The Nobs, or come relax on the patio with panoramic sweeping views of the countryside, enjoy barrel tasting, award-winning wines, and case specials.
Perry Creek Winery, 7400 Perry Creek Road in Fair Play, TBA.
Saluti Cellars, 7505 Grizzly Flat Road in Fair Play, TBA.
Sierra Oaks Estates, 8171 Mt. Aukum Road in Mt. Aukum, will be serving Chef Janet’s cowboy chili with all the toppings. Pair that with any of Jim’s award-winning wines such as Zinzabar, Reserve Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and many more, and top that off with the multi-gold medal winning Late Harvest Petite Sirah. Jim and Toshi are retiring this year and for the Fair Play Festival all wines will be on sale while they last.
Single Leaf Vineyards and Winery, 7480 Fair Play Road in Somerset, presents its ever-popular build-your-own fiesta bar with tomatillo pulled pork soft tacos and all of the other sassy trimmings to enhance the wine tasting experience. The big discount wine for the 2013 Fair Play Festival is the 2009 (gold medal winner last year) Cabernet Sauvignon. There are special discounts for all Fair Play attendees. Single Leaf is celebrating its 20th year of “Livin’ on the Edge” here in Fair Play so rock and roll tunes will rule. All air guitar players are welcome.
Toogood Estate Wine Caves, 7280 Fair Play Road in Fair Play, invites visitors to change altitude and attitude — come escape to the Toogood Estate Wine Caves where its is always 5 p.m. somewhere. There will be case wine specials. Kick up your feet in front the caves waterfalls and enjoy a gourmet cheese burger in wine paradise.
Tickets to be a part of this traditional first weekend in June celebration are $25 for advance purchase, $30 on the day of the event and $15 for designated drivers.
For more information or to purchase tickets visit fairplaywine.com.
Fair Play Wine Festival sponsors are: Magnum Level Sponsor Parker Development Company; Varietal Level sponsors KVIE, Wells Fargo Bank, The Mountain Democrat, Minuteman Press Placerville and Russell Reyes Photography; Zinfandel Level sponsors Short Bus Limo, Folsom Lake Entertainer and Keller D’Agostini; Barbera Level sponsors are Cary House Hotel, D’Agostini Delights, Five9, Lucinda’s Country Inn, MORE, The Pub at Fair Play, West Coast Bottles, California Welcome Center, El Dorado Hills; and Chardonnay Level sponsors are ALI Label Systems, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cozmic Café, Christie Johnson — Edward Jones, Foothill Fence, Wine and Dine Gold Country and Ray Nutting.