Welcome autumn on the Wine Trail | TheUnion.com

Welcome autumn on the Wine Trail

Brenda Correia from Southern California enjoys the Wine Trail at Pilot Peak in 2016. Photo by Valerie Costa

Sierra Vintners will be holding their final of three wine trails for 2017 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, the day after the Autumnal Equinox, at four 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 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.

“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 all have fantastic wines for you to taste and enjoy paired with delicious bites and live music.

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 court, and to take home one of their affordable varietals; bottles range from $16-22. Enjoy fantastic Sierra views, their picnic area, and gift shop while sipping some truly great wines. There is a great story behind the name Bent Metal; make sure to ask owner Scott Brown about it while you’re there.


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 last year. Specializing in Bordeaux varietals, Gray Pine produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and a classic Bordeaux-style Red Blend, as well as a very small amount of Sauvignon Blanc. Since they only produce about 350 cases a year, make sure to pick some up while you are there.



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. You do not want to miss this gorgeous location, the shaded, tiered patios with gorgeous views is an experience to cherish. While you’re there, make sure to taste ZaMORE (as in “Gimme some more”) – their refillable blend that is sold in a “PEAKer PROWLER” – think beer growler except in a flip top wine bottle. This wine is one of the heartiest reds that they offer and is always a crowd pleaser.

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. These sustainable practices continue into their state-of-the-art passive solar facility, which is built into the hillside and was engineered to keep the wines at a constant temperature year-round.

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.

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