Unwind on the Wine Trail | TheUnion.com

Unwind on the Wine Trail

Sierra Vintners will be holding their second of three wine trails for 2016 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, at seven locations ranging from Penn Valley to Nevada City. Spend the day touring each location and enjoy wonderful wine tastings, delicious food, and enchanting entertainment.

This is the second year that the group is holding three separate trails, as opposed to having one big event as they had for several years, to give wine lovers the opportunity to slow down and experience all of the wineries instead of racing around the county to see as many as possible.

"We have almost 25 wineries in Sierra Vintners, and there's no way you can make them all in one day, or even two days," said Mario Lucchesi. "This way each winery has the opportunity to have the visitors come to each one and enjoy."

Each winery on the trail has its own personality in both taste and décor, and several won awards in this year's California State Fair (CSF) commercial wine competition.

Avanguardia is a self-proclaimed "ultra-boutique" winery that prides itself on its old-world European balanced varietals. They won a double gold and Best of Class of Region for their 2013 Corvina as well as silver for their Dolcetto Barbera and bronze for the Montepulciano.

Bent Metal Winery has a young, fun vibe, with slogans such as "Get Bent (and wine about it)" and "Wineatude." Their wine club is even called Metal Heads! The owners invite you to stay a while and enjoy a game of Bocce Ball on their new court, and to take home one of their affordable varietals; bottles range from $16-22.

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Coufos Cellars embodies the art of wine, and embraces the small ranch feel of the original dairy farm that the winery was built upon. Located in Rough and Ready, this winery is both elegant and accessible with stone walls that terrace the property and serve as natural barriers for the two steers that pasture below. They specialize in finely crafted Rhone-style wines, and grow nine grape varietals in their beautiful vineyard.

Gray Pine Winery is a quaint, limited production winery with a two-acre vineyard. Their winemaking focus is food-friendly wines, and the California State Fair judges agreed, awarding Gray Pine medals on all four 2013 wines that they entered this year. Their Cabernet Sauvignon received a bronze medal, the Petit Verdot and Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon received silver medals, and their Bordeaux Style Red Blend received 95 points and a gold medal.

Pilot Peak prides themselves on their great wine and great hospitality. The four friends who started the winery together enjoy offering a unique complementary progressive wine tasting, which takes a tour through the whole operation and includes appetizers.

Smith Vineyard has an old west feel that blends perfectly with the gold rush history of Grass Valley. Housed in a restored barn that dates back to the early 1900s, four generations of the Smith family produce hand crafted, small-lot estate wines from the grapes they grow organically on their 10 acre vineyard. They won bronze for their 2012 Merlot at the CSF this year.

Szabo Vineyards has its roots in old family traditions, which lie in the town of Eger, Hungary, where there have been vineyards since Roman times. Alex Szabo not only makes the wine from the grapes he grows, he can also be found pouring wine to his patrons in the Szabo tasting room in downtown Nevada City. Using the best quality grapes grown through great attention to detail and sustainable practices, Szabo has been awarded the Conservationist of the Year by the National Conservation Resource Service of Nevada County.

Come out and enjoy the many wonderful wines that Nevada County has to offer. From full-bodied reds to light fruity whites, there will surely be many varietals that you fall in love with on the trail.

The cost to attend each wine trail is $35 per person or $30 for wine club members. Designated driver tickets (highly recommended) are only $15 and include food, water, and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.sierravintners.com or at any participating winery on the day of the tour. The next wine tour will take place on Sept. 24 and will cover the wineries in Nevada City and along scenic Hwy 174.

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