The Wine Trails are back! | TheUnion.com

The Wine Trails are back!

Sierra Vintners will be holding their first of three wine trails for 2017 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, at six locations along the Hwy 49 and Hwy 174 corridors. Spend a beautiful spring day touring each location and enjoy wonderful wine tastings, delicious food, games with prizes, and enchanting entertainment.

This is the third 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. The summer and fall wine tours will take place on July 15 and Sept. 23.

"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 they all enjoy having the public come to enjoy their wine and hospitality.

Double Oak Vineyards & Winery has been growing wine grapes since 1982 on their mountain vineyard, with a focus on creating full-bodied yet well balanced and complex fine wines. They hand-harvest their grapes in the early day and barrel age each batch for 23 months followed by six months of bottle aging.  In true Nevada City fashion, Double Oak is dedicated to sustainable and nature-friendly practices from the vineyard to the winery. "We believe it's all about balance and harmony with nature. The song of the birds and the flight of the dragonfly inspire us as we grow our grapes and make our wine," their website proclaims.

Katoa Cellars owner/winemaker Riki Pollock is a native Māori from New Zealand. Katoa means "for everyone," and that is Pollock's mission; to make wines for all palates. "The sharing of food, wine, stories, and traditions is ingrained in the Māori culture, and we want to firmly root these values in the foothills," Pollock said.
The winery also does what they call the "Yin Yang Project;" an experimental approach to wine production that serves as a learning tool for Katoa visitors. Katoa Cellars is making at least two wines each year that will highlight the effect different techniques and approaches can have on wine production. This year's Yin Yang Project wine is California Chardonnay, and you can try it on the wine trail.

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Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery specializes in traditionally crafted wines produced in small lots to capture their varietal character and regional qualities. Grapes in their steeply terraced terrain, aptly named the "View Forever Vineyard" for its stunning vista, produce some of the finest wines found in the Sierra Foothills. The vineyard's southwest exposure maximizes the suns’ rays, perfectly ripening the grapes with concentrated flavors, color and texture.

The care that the Lucchesi family puts into every step of the wine process, from vine to bottle, is evident in the long list of awards that they have amassed around the state and nation, including a Gold Medal, Best of Class, and Best of Region at the California State Fair Wine Competition for their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, Lucchesi Vineyards and Winery was voted Best of Nevada County 2016 by the readers of the Union.

Nevada City Winery is proud of their role in revitalizing the wine industry in Nevada County. The Winery was begu     n by Allan Haley, a Nevada County native with a European wine education and a dream of bringing winemaking back to our region. In 1880 there were over 300 acres of grapes in the County. In 1980 when Nevada City Winery opened there was only one small vineyard, recently planted. Twenty years later there are again well over 300 acres of grapes and the wine industry is flourishing once more.

Not only the first to bring winemaking back to western Nevada County, Nevada City Winery has been recognized with numerous awards, including Best Zinfandel, Best Cabernet Franc, Best Syrah and Best Cabernet Sauvignon for the Sierra Foothill Region, awarded by the California State Fair.

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. Last year, their 2013 Primativo in the California State Fair's Best of California wine competition.

Solune combines the French words for sun (soleil) and moon (lune) to convey the premium grape growing advantage they enjoy in their beautiful wooded location; an unusually large temperature difference between the warm days and cool nights. They specialize in small-lot production of intense and well structured wines thriving under these ideal ripening conditions.
Surrounded and shaded by imposing pine and cedar trees, the winery is a charming old style red barn and is a perfect starting building for winemaking. For example, a field blend (i.e., harvested and fermented together) of Muscats and Gewurztraminer produces a remarkably aromatic wine they call Fleur de Lune, to evoke an equally remarkable and fragrant flower called moonflower. Conjuring the romance and whimsy of France, Solune creates blends that tantalize.

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 the wine trail is $35 per person or $30 for wine club members, or take advantage of the package deal to get the discounted rate for buying all three tours together! If you order by May 19, you can get access to all three wine trails for $80 ($70 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.

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