When I moved to Nevada County as a single, recent college grad, I loved the outdoor recreation potential in the area but wasn’t planning to stay in the sleepy retiree hamlet for more than two years before moving on.
That was 15 years ago.
I’ve watched as Grass Valley’s downtown transformed itself into a thriving shopping district worthy of tourist and locals alike, seen wineries expand from only a few tasting rooms in Nevada City to more than 10 and experienced the rise of the arts community. I know Nevada County has always had creative roots with musicians, artists, writers and poets being attracted to the foothills from the ’70s on. But it wasn’t until the past decade or so that I have seen the arts, wineries and cultural groups come together as a cohesive force that has made our community an even more desirable place to visit and live.
The effort is starting to pay off. National publications, such as Outside and Sunset magazines, have taken notice of the quality of life in the foothills. Bay Area newspapers publish events, travel and lifestyle features. And now, the wine industry is beginning to receive similar recognition in the Bay Area with some winemakers in Napa and Sonoma. Earlier this month, Rod Byers, The Union’s wine columnist, profiled Derek Irwin, a Napa Valley wine consultant who believes in the potential of our wine region so much that he’s planted his own grapes here. In April, the Bay Area Wine Society hosted a taste-off of Auburn, Grass Valley and Nevada City wines.
“As the results show … members and guests were quite pleased with the quality and value of the vino,” according to a Bay Area Wine Society Blog post (http://blog.bayareawinesociety.org) summarizing their tasting. “These wines deserve wider exposure. At least our members and their guests now know that there is more to the Sierra foothills than El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties.”
Members gave gold stars to three wines from Lucchesi Vineyards and Winery, Avanguardia, Bent Metal, Nevada City, Sierra Starr, Smith and Solune wineries also received golds for some of their varietals.
It’s great to see other regions take notice of what we already know — this is a great community.
I am proud to call this my adopted hometown and be part of the effort to showcase the amazing things available each week in our slice of paradise.
Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.