Working together to raise awareness of Placer County as a premier wine-producing region and to enhance public recognition of the Placer County Wine Trail and the hand-crafted, award-winning wines of Placer County.
In 1848 wine grapes were first introduced in Placer County, the same year James Marshall discovered gold. The Frenchman, Claude Chana, who discovered gold in Auburn Ravine, planted the first grape vines. Along with the miners, the Gold Rush of 1848 brought European winemakers who established larger vineyards and started producing increasing quantities and varieties of wine. In the 1860s winemaking became a thriving industry and many miners became winemakers, giving Placer County more vineyards and wineries than Sonoma and Napa combined. Then, in 1920 Prohibition made alcohol illegal and most vineyards were converted to pear, apple and citrus orchards. In the 1970s local winemakers began to establish new vineyards and returned the land to its winemaking roots.
Family-run, boutique wineries
With 18 wineries and counting, Placer County re-embraces its heritage as a viable California wine-producing region. Placer County wineries, classified with the "Sierra Foothills" appellation, offer a refreshing change from the more commercialized and less personal wine tasting experiences of larger wine regions. Most Placer wineries are family-owned and operated, have small vineyards and the winemakers themselves are part of the charm, making Placer County a newly sought-after destination for a more personalized and unique wine-tasting experience.
Placer County's Mediterranean-like warm days and cool nights comprise an ideal climate for producing superior wine grapes similar to those of France's Rhone Valley. The result is wine that is dense with ripe fruit and plentiful in structure. You'll find everything from traditional Rhone-varietals like Syrah, Petite Sirah and Viognier to the Spanish Tempranillo, the Italian Barbera and those California favorites like Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.