For the past two Sundays, we have been making the short drive to the Amador County town of Plymouth. We are still in disbelief that just beyond the quaint downtown, out into the hills, are some of the most delightfully laid back wineries we’ve been to in a long time. One after another, these gorgeous estates, surrounded by acres of beautiful grapes, dot the side of the road. At each stop, we tasted the fruits of the winemakers and were pleasantly surprised by the quality, variety, and affordability of the bottles being offered. Tastings were inexpensive or free at most of our stops and all of the ambassadors were friendly, attentive, and informative about the work of their vintners.
Many of the wineries offered food, but we opted to pick up some delicious sandwiches and snacks from the Amador Vintage Market
(right in downtown Plymouth) and head out to one of the estates. Eating our lunch overlooking the vines at Cooper Vineyard was a delight - they had no problem with our outside food and many other visitors had set up picnics and spreads on their own tables. We tasted a little bit of wine and bought a bottle to enjoy with our lunch.
We found that the majority of the wineries in the Shenandoah Valley were growing similar cultivars which grew well in the region, but each brought their own unique style to the wine they crafted. The most popular grape varieties we found were Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Mourvèdre, and Barbera.
There are so many wineries in the area that it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. We tried to limit ourselves to just a few stop-offs per weekend, but it's so easy to get caught spotting another place to pop into along the way. We can’t wait to keep exploring the area and enjoying the amazing wines! If you know of another good place for us to try, please let us know
Full disclosure: this is really not the place you want to be drinking and driving, the road to get to many of the wineries is narrow and winding, so get a designated driver or consider spitting out your tasting. Yes, spitting sounds crazy, but it's not uncommon and no one wants drunks on the road.
Great Place for a Picnic & Great Wine: Cooper Vineyards
Hidden Gem & Very Romantic: Story Vineyards
Super Luxurious: Renwood Winery
Great Zinfandel: Scott Harvey Wines
(be sure to try their 1869 Zinfandel)
Great Sauvignon Blanc: Amador Cellars