THIRTY-TWO wineries are welcoming visitors for Passport 2014 weekends on April 5-6 and 12-13. The El Dorado Winery Association annual event features a celebration of wine, food and music. For tickets visit or call 916-622-0008. Democrat file photo by Shelly Thorene


Passport is a ticket to wine

El Dorado wine country’s Passport weekends in April provide the oenophile and the wine novice an opportunity to meet the winemakers, taste award-winning wines and enjoy music, art and other wine associated activities at the members of the El Dorado Winery Association members.

The association’s Passport 2014 weekends are April 5-6 and 12-13, and this year, the region-wide tour and celebration of wine, food and music adds eight new wineries to the foothill sojourn.

“We’re seeing such excitement around the two weekends this year,” said El Dorado Winery Association executive director Russ Reyes. “Some of it certainly comes from all the great reviews we’ve been getting from critics and the wine and travel media but we’re also hearing it’s a hot ticket because so many people just love Passport and they love experiencing spring in our foothills.”

The region’s Passport is one of the best wine events in the Sierra Foothills according to participants. The fantastic wines top are the major draw but the bands, special tastings, food pairings and Passport-only pricing on many wines add to the popularity. This year there are 32 wineries participating in Passport, more than ever before.

The “Tales from the Cellar” literary theme for his year has drawn lots of enthusiasm from fans and winery owners, too.

Each winery is taking on the persona of a popular book, which means visitors can toast with Don Corleon from “The Godfather” or Frodo Baggins from “The Lord of the Rings,” they can sip a glass “Under the Tuscan Sun” or find out exactly what wine pairs with “Green Eggs and Ham.”

This year each weekend opens with a dazzling farm-to-table winemaker dinner on Friday evenings April 4 and April 11 at the innovative Manzanita Kitchen and Events, 4232 Fowler Lane in Diamond Springs.

The dinners will feature multi-course meals from the bounty of farms and ranches in the El Dorado and Northern California region, paired with entirely different sets of wines each night. Menus can be seen at and the cost for the five course dinner is $65.

“Passport is such a fun way to meet our winemakers and the families that own our wineries, and to learn about what’s here,” Reyes said. “The dinner is a foodie extravaganza, the wineries create a welcoming atmosphere, and our wines keep making new fans for our wineries and this celebrated region.”

Full weekend passes are $60 and a Sunday only pass is $40. Designated drivers pay $25 for all the food, fun and music, plus special non-alcoholic beverages. More information and tickets are available at or at 916-662-0008.

El Dorado Winery Association members offer visitors a wide diversity of award-winning wines, friendly tasting room personnel and spectacular views of hillside vineyards, snow-capped mountains and oak-studded foothills.

The wineries are renowned for making vibrant and distinct wines reflecting the terroir and the dramatic elevations of the Sierra Nevada.

For more information visit

El Dorado Wine Association

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