Gold Country, California

Madroña Vineyards

Come with us to the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains home to the historic California Gold Rush. Today, you’ll discover liquid gold in the wineries of El Dorado, Amador, and Calaveras Counties. This massive wine region has so much to discover! Start with our Platinum List. 

For More Info

Visit the Platinum List honorees' websites and these other helpful resources:

Winemakers to Watch

Tyler Grace Grace Patriot

Tyler earned his stripes at a few top-tier wineries in the Napa Valley before becoming winemaker for his family’s winery. Two of his efforts won Best of Class and Double Gold at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Eric Hays Chateau Davell

Eric handcrafts his wines in very small lots. It’s hard to say which is his greater achievement: the stellar variety of French varietals and blends, or the intricate artwork he masterfully creates for each label. To appreciate both his wines and artwork, a visit to the tasting room is necessary. In fact, all of the original artwork used for the wine labels is on display there.

Sam Patterson Shadow Ranch Vineyard

Fruit-driven Zinfandel that reflects its vineyard of origin and other wines such as Petite Sirah and Grenache that demonstrate the diversity of the region are Sam’s focus.

Chris Pittenger Skinner Vineyards & Winery

Inspired by the vineyards at elevations of 2,500 to 3,000 feet and their granite, volcanic soils, Chris crafts beautifully balanced wines. Many score 90-plus points.

Chuck Hovey Hovey Wine

This veteran winemaker keeps hitting homeruns. His current portfolio includes a superb Tempranillo, a varietal he helped introduce to the mainstream market. His single varietal Cinsault is also a current standout.

Fabulous Spots for Foodies

Placerville Public House Placerville

This new beer-focused eatery features 14 craft beers on tap. Favorites on the menu include caprese skewers, Korean beef sliders, garlic shrimp street tacos, and portobello penne pasta.

Smith Flat House Placerville

Housed in an original stagecoach mile house, Smith Flat House is dedicated to supporting the growers, vintners, food artisans, and vendors of El Dorado County with an everchanging menu of dishes featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients and local wines.

The Independent Restaurant and Bar Placerville

Located in the Emerald Street Building downtown, this innovative eatery presents American Fusion cuisine to honor the various styles of regional cooking including Cajun, Southwestern, and more. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and there’s an outdoor patio with a fireplace that is fun to sit by in the evening.

Cascada Placerville

The recently remodeled Round Tent Building is home to Cascada Restaurant & Cantina, serving an eclectic mix of Mexican favorites and California cuisine with a Latin flair. The wine list features many local wines along with great specialty drinks.

Stanley’s Steakhouse Jackson

Inside the National Hotel, Stanley’s showcases steaks from the finest USDA prime beef and so much more including succulent seafood and pasta dishes. Many local wines and handcraft whiskeys are offered.

Taste Restaurant Plymouth

Besides showcasing locally sourced fresh and seasonal ingredients, Chef Mark Berkner goes to great lengths to find rare or hard-to-find foods to weave into his highly acclaimed menu. Taste is widely considered Amador County’s premier dining experience.

Camps Restaurant Angels Camp

The 18-hole Greenhorn Creek Golf Course is home to Camps Restaurant and an elevated dining experience. Camps proudly serves regional wines, hand-cut meats and steaks, and burgers from local, ranch-raised corn-fed cattle. Fresh fish, hand-tossed salads, and homemade desserts round out the menu.

Exceptional Hospitality

North Canyon Inn & Bed & Breakfast El Dorado County

Guests at this charming retreat set on two forest acres are made to feel like they’re visiting their favorite aunt and uncle.

Miraflores El Dorado County

Don’t be fooled by the stunning architecture and cathedral ceilings. The staff is warm and gracious and the stone patio in back begs to be enjoyed.

Saluti Cellars El Dorado County

Tucked in a quiet canyon on beautifully landscaped grounds, this hospitable winery makes us want to stay all day—and even all night—at its elegant bed and breakfast.

Ironstone Vineyards Calaveras County

On the outskirts of Murphys, Ironstone is a center for hospitality with an expansive tasting room, museum, beautiful gardens, culinary center, outdoor amphitheater, and a lakeside park.

Perry Creek Winery Amador County

Guests are greeted by a friendly staff. The deli case with cheeses and snacks is a wonderful gesture in this part of wine country.

Impressive Portfolios

Vino Noceto

This may very well be the only California winery that focuses primarily on Sangiovese. The portfolio presents a variety of styles including several Chianti-inspired wines as well as Super-Tuscan varietals.

Mount Aukum Winery

The wines are handcrafted in small batches and, often, what’s here today is gone tomorrow. Yet, we’ve found that at any given time, the wines demonstrate that elevation definitely matters.

Gwinllan Estate Vineyard and Winery

We like this small family winery’s range. The eclectic portfolio always has some surprises, including the 2013 Teulu (Malbec), which earned Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

David Girard Vineyards

<p> Terroir-driven wines of distinction made in small batches with a focus on balance and complexity. That is the goal at David Girard, and that’s what we taste—vintage after vintage.</p>

Lava Cap Winery

<p> Seamless wines with a nice fruit-forward entry, pleasant texture, and smooth finish was the goal of Joe Norman who became the winemaker here in 2013. Mission accomplished.</p>

Windwalker Vineyard

This portfolio epitomizes the diversity of Gold Country. It skips across the globe, presenting elegant, food-friendly wines of many different origins.

5 Primo Places to Stay

Arnold Black Bear Inn Calaveras County

Casual mountain luxury amidst Sequoia trees and manicured gardens featuring 5 rooms, gourmet breakfast, complimentary wine & cheese, private baths, and gas fireplaces

The Historic Cary House Hotel El Dorado County

A historic hotel featuring modern amenities and a downtown location featuring 40 rooms, vintage furnishings, private bathrooms, free WiFi, and a meeting room

Rest Amador County

A chic boutique hotel on Plymouth’s Main Street includes 16 rooms, Complimentary breakfast, Nightly wine hour, Outdoor courtyard, and In-room refrigerators.

Volcano Union Inn + Pub Amador County

Built in 1880, restored in 2000 as a unique and appealing bed and breakfast featuring 4 rooms, breakfast, private bathrooms, free WiFi, and flat panel TVs

National Hotel Amador County

An authentic turn-of-the-century hotel with charming amenities featuring 34 rooms, complimentary breakfast, antique furnishings, private bathrooms, and pet friendly

Top Palate Pleasers

2012 Andis Estate Zinfandel

“There’s no place like home. Planted in 1978 without the use of rootstock, the estate vines produce limited yields of incredibly intense and flavorful grapes.”


2012 Madroña Nebbiolo

“The aromas highlight the uniqueness of Nebbiolo with sweet cranberries and dried cherry fruit layered with a glorious heart of fresh lavender. Intriguing and delightful.”

PAIRING Garlic bruschetta

2014 Renwood Tempranillo

“This Iberian beauty is texturally bold and accompanied by marble smooth tannins. With a muscular yet graceful structure, flavors of tobacco, cedar and cherry… with the backbone of the wine’s natural acidity.”

PAIRING Dark chocolate sorbet

2012 C.G Di Arie Barbera, Estate Grown

“The dark fruit aromas carry to the palate and intensify all the way to the long finish. This well-balanced wine has concentrated fruit and a firm acid structure.”

PAIRING Margherita pizza

2014 Boeger Pinot Grande

“Pinot Grande is high elevation El Dorado Pinot Noir handcrafted by Greg Boeger from his personal vineyard…. very intensely colored and flavored, robust wine.”

PAIRING Baked goat cheese stuffed figs

2014 Borjon Primitivo Reposado

“A full-bodied wine from start to finish, this wine demonstrates classic Amador County spice after a unique Primitivo fruit-forward feel.”

PAIRING Eggplant parmesan