Rod Byers: Nevada City Uncorked — Gateway to the wines from the north country |

Rod Byers: Nevada City Uncorked — Gateway to the wines from the north country

Rod Byers
Gray Pine, Sierra Star, Montoliva, Avanguardia, Nevada City Winery, Szabo, Clavey, and Double Oak Vineyards & Winery will all be pouring their favorite wines as well as featured new releases at Nevada City Uncorked on Aug. 25.
Photo by Rod Byers

Nevada City Uncorked, coming on Aug. 25, is a sip and stroll wine and food event offering a doorway into the wines and foods our region has to offer, all under the umbrella of Nevada City’s picturesque Victorian charm.

Uncorked showcases the wines of our north Sierra Foothill region, the best, least-discovered wine region in California. During Uncorked, 16 wineries representing five north Sierra counties will be pouring their signature wines. From Albarino to Zinfandel, Uncorked offers a gateway to the wines of the north country.

Uncorked is not just about wine. Sixteen restaurants, caterers, and specialty shops as diverse as sushi, a salumeria, a cheesemaker, and a chocolatier will offer an array of tasty bites and flavors. Consider creamy honeydew melon soup, pulled pork sliders, and charcuterie as some of the delectable food choices.

The different venues are a collection of quaint, historic and quirky spots around town offering an opportunity to see Nevada City from different perspectives, and sometimes through doors you might seldom enter.

This year’s venues include the charming Two Room Inn, the historic Nevada Theatre, two new galleries, wine tasting rooms, restaurants, shops and hidden hideaways. Each venue offers wine tasting and food sampling.

Strutting their stuff

Uncorked is a great wine showcase. Some of Nevada County’s best wineries including Sierra Starr, Montoliva, Gray Pine, Nevada City Winery, Avanguardia, Szabo, Clavey, and Double Oak Vineyards & Winery will be pouring their favorite wines as well as their featured newest releases.

Lone Buffalo and Fawnridge join the party from north Placer County. Renaissance Vineyards, known for their extensive library of vintage reds, will represent the unique viticultural appellation of North Yuba in Yuba County.

Bangor, located in Butte County, 26 miles as the crow flies, to the north-west of Nevada City, is an emerging wine region. Spencer-Shirey, Bangor Ranch and Hickman Family Winery, all with vineyards in the foothills around Bangor are growing and producing reds like Tempranillo, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel.

A historical vineyard

New Clairvaux Vineyard located in Vina, just north of Chico, will represent the north valley. It is simply too good a story not to mention at least briefly.

Vineyards in Vina date back to 1846 but were never part of the Mission system. By the 1850s wines from Vina were being shipped to distant markets, catching the attention of Leland Stanford. In 1881 he started buying huge tracts of land in Vina.

By the end of the decade Stanford’s Vina Ranch boasted the largest wine growing operation and largest wine cellar in the world, encompassing 4000 vineyard acres.

The estate was purchased in 1955 by Trappist-Cistercian monks becoming the Abbey of New Clairvaux. California wine historian Charles Sullivan called it, “the most wondrous surviving nineteenth-century winery facility in the world”.

Today the monks tend the vines in the “St. James” and “Poor Souls” vineyard blocks. Fifth generation winemaker Aimée Sunseri of the Nichelini/Boeger winemaking clan produces award winning wines from a wide range of varietals.

Wine & dine

Nevada City Uncorked offers a smorgasbord of foods. Consider grape leaf-wrapped chicken brochettes and cheese and olive empanidillas (Conscious Catering), or creamy honeydew melon soup and tea sandwiches (Reiki’s Event Center).

There’s Mediterranean tabouli salad and sundried tomato pasta salad (Briar Patch), assorted sushi rolls (Nourish), teriyaki meatballs with fresh organic beef (California Organics), assorted cheeses (Wheyward Girl), and salumi appetizers (The Ham Stand).

Don’t miss award-winning pizza (Lefty’s), grilled tri-tip sandwichitos with chimichurri sauce (Diegos), pulled pork sliders and movie-style popcorn (Sierra Cinema Café), assorted hors d’oeuvres (Purveyor’s Pantry) and don’t forget the raspberry truffles (Nevada City Chocolate Shoppe).

That’s not even all of them. Other participants include Kane’s Restaurant, Heartwood Café, Blue Cow Deli and Friar Tucks who offered one of last year’s show stoppers, ahi poke. Can’t wait to see what Tucks does this year.

Wine talk

This year Uncorked is stretching other boundaries as well, offering a Winemaker Symposium panel discussion in the Nevada City Winery barrel room the day before Uncorked.

On Friday, Aug. 24, from 4-5 p.m. three of our best local winemakers, Mark Henry from Montoliva, Jackson Starr from Sierra Starr and Mark Foster from Nevada City Winery will offer their uniquely candid views about the future of winemaking in our region. Request your free symposium tickets by checking the boxes when you purchase tickets to Nevada City Uncorked online.

Following the symposium, there will be a Winemaker Reception, including live music, in the Nevada City Winery tasting room from 5-7 p.m. offering an opportunity to meet a few Uncorked winemakers in a casual setting. The reception is free and open to the public.

Nevada City Uncorked is sponsored by the Nevada City chamber of Commerce. Click for more Uncorked information or to purchase tickets.

Nevada City Uncorked offers a rare opportunity to savor the beauty, the bounty, and the vinicultural wisdom of our region. I’m in the catbird’s seat because I get to moderate the panel discussion in the barrel room. What could be more fun than that?

Rod Byers, CWE, is a Certified Wine Educator and wine writer as well as a California State Certified Wine Judge. He is the host of the local television show Wine Talk. You can find information about him at and he can be reached at 530-802-7172.

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