The informative and fun Behind the Cellar Door presented by the Amador Vintners March 26-28 has made a few changes so everyone is safe. Strict COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed at all Amador Vintners member wineries, including capacity restrictions to ensure adequate physical distancing for personnel and guest safety.
For Behind the Cellar Door 2021, all experiences will be by reservation only and guests will choose their weekend adventure when purchasing a ticket. All reservations will be made through a centralized reservation system as part of the ticketing process. Visitors will choose up to four stops per day and reservations will all take place at the same times each day at all 43 member wineries.
The three days of tasting awarding-winning Amador vintages, yummy food pairings, viewing the wine making process and chatting with the winemakers is an amazing experience for all wine enthusiasts.
At each stop guests will enjoy a flight of four to six wines that include at least one barrel sample and thoughtful food pairings to accompany the wine flight, all delivered by knowledgeable staff who will discuss the winemaking process.
To help accommodate more guests under capacity restrictions a third day to experience the Behind the Cellar Door weekend has been added — Friday, March 26. This added day can work for those wanting to avoid the crowds over the weekend or those who want to take it all in with three days of fantastic food and wine.
Tickets are now on sale at BCDAmador.com or follow Amador Vintners on social media (@AmadorWine on all platforms) for more information and to purchase tickets. There will be no day-of ticket sales. All tickets sales end on Sunday, March 21, or earlier if sold out.
Guests will want to review the winery offerings and have a good idea of their first, second and third choices before they start the ticketing process. Click the “View Experiences” button to see real-time availability. Each of the winery’s offerings can be found at behindthecellardooramador.com/winery-offerings. Tickets include a commemorative glass.
The #SipSafely guidelines will be followed at all times during the Behind the Cellar Door weekend.
- Group size will be limited to six people.
- Reservations/parties may not be combined either before the event or at winery locations the day of the event.
- All tickets for each group must be purchased together in one transaction. For example, a group of four (two couples), will need to designate one person to purchase all four tickets in one transaction.
- Each winery will have capacity restrictions; therefore, reservations will fill up quickly so book early, especially for larger groups of four to six people.
- Winery offerings will be listed on BCDAmador.com as they become available.
Deaver Winery — Deaver will offer four of its signature wines and a barrel tasting for participants. Each wine will be served with a complementary food pairing bite.
Vino Noceto — The tasting flight will include one barrel sample paired with charcuterie plates from Small Town Food & Wine highlighting meats and cheeses from the regions of Italy where Vino Noceto’s chosen wines are from.
Jeff Runquist Wines — Discover the interplay between taste, texture and aromas and how they play a role in the art behind food and wine pairings. The knowledgeable staff will guide each table through a food and wine pairing with five awarding-winning wines. Each guest will be provided with an individual charcuterie plate that consists of the five flavors found in food (sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami).
TKC Vineyards — Enjoy cabernet sauvignon, mourvédre, zinfandel, red wine blend and a barrel tasting of syrah. TKC will be serving Karina’s Salmon Chowder with sourdough bread and roasted vegetables with fresh herbs.
Cooper Vineyards — Behind the Cellar Door at Cooper Vineyards is all about Dick Cooper’s barbera. Taste the flagship 2018 Barbera, tease the taste buds with futures barbera barrel tasting and conclude with the beautifully elegant 2017 Barbera Riserva. Winemaker Michael Roser’s masterful touch is evident in each sip of Cooper’s perfectly balanced and highly finessed barbera. Enjoy the wines with lite bites from Motherlode Market and Deli as part of the BCD experience at Cooper Vineyards.
Helwig Winery — A personal wine host will guide guests through a selection of unreleased, award-winning wines thoughtfully paired with small bites designed by the Helwig kitchen. Take in the views of the snowcapped Sierra from the deck while enjoying the acoustical Spanish guitar stylings of Jessie Hendricks. The tasting will include: Best of Show Winner 2019 Roussanne, Gold Winner 2016 Maestro de Bodega, Best Iberian 2016 Tempranillo – Frenchmen’s Creek and a surprise fourth wine, not to disappoint.
Terre Rouge & Easton Wines — Terre Rouge and Easton practices sustainability and works organically in its Fiddletown vineyards. Gather around a barrel for a lively tasting of the organic Fiddletown wines: viognier and two zinfandels from the Rice-McDonald Vineyard and the DTR Ranch Syrah from bottle and barrel. Learn about élevage and why Terre Rouge & Easton Wines bottle ages its wines. Enjoy Jane’s Curry Chicken and Rice Salad and a logo glass to keep as a gift.
La Mesa Vineyards — Experience Amador’s newest tasting room, a modern glass design at the vineyard estate with stunning views. Learn about its innovative approach to small batch artisan winemaking using Flextanks, the latest winemaking technology. Taste five wines — primitivo (with/without oak), barbera, barbera blanc and the first gamay in Amador — showcasing the advantages of this technology. Watch the winemaker videos explain techniques while sampling. The wines will be paired with a selection of hors d’oeuvres and recipes.
Rancho Victoria Vineyard — Are you a wine detective? Take a blind taste challenge and test your skills with a little help from Rancho Victoria’s wine educators. Rancho Victoria will be offering delicious food and wine pairings.
Tanis Vineyards — Enjoy Tanis Mission and Pinotage varietals and hear the story behind the grapes. Taste the Late Harvest Zinfandel with triple chocolate zinfandel brownies. For extra fun don’t miss a special barrel tasting of the unique Rose’ Tannat.
Terra d’Oro Winery — Established as Montevina in 1970 and continuing as family owned pioneers in winemaking today as Terra d’Oro Winery, visitors will take an educational exploration with the heritage flight of single vineyard zinfandels. This includes a hand selected barrel sample of the winemaker’s choosing that will wow the senses. Enjoy a trio of artisan cheese flowers on your own logo mini cheeseboard with the flight.
Le Mulet Rouge Vineyard & Winery — Experience a rare opportunity to visit the Fiddletown vineyard on Red Mule Road. Enjoy Le Mulet Rouge wines with small plates of barbecue brisket and three cheese mac. Le Mulet Rouge will be featuring all estate wines.
Karmere — Enjoy a pairing of assorted cheeses, chocolates and fruit with a wine flight. A sausage minestrone soup will also be served for those who want something a little heartier. Have fun answering some of wine trivia while sampling a new vintage from the barrel.
Iron Hub Winery — Relax on the lovely patio with gorgeous Sierra views and sip Iron Hub’s premium wines. Iron Hub’s father-son winemaking team will offer a white or a red wine barrel sample. The barrel samples give visitors a peek into the future and allow comparison with the bottled wines. Iron Hub is serving salmon chowder with bacon (recipe available) and crusty ciabatta bread. The flight of four Iron Hub wines has been paired with the chowder for a delicious blend.
Dobra Zemlja Winery — Join Dobra Zemlja Winery with an educational barrel tasting experience that will give guests a peek behind the scenes of the art of wine blending, personal antipasto plates that pair perfectly with the big Amador reds (no lightweights) and the jazz guitar sounds of Ken Teel Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Holgate Hill — Stop by Holgate Hill in historical Amador City for a virtual tour from grape to bottle at the micro-winery level, then chat with the winemaker and his team. The virtual tour will be paired with a flight of five small batch wines and mole carnitas tacos.
Prospect Cellars — Prospect Cellars is excited to share its newly released 2018 vintage, including its first Sparkling Rosé. Each wine will be presented with short virtual seminars featuring the winemaker, growers and chef. Personal charcuterie boards offer the perfect pairings for the wine.
Scott Harvey Wines — Participating at Shenandoah Valley location only there will be a study of Amador Barbera and its many faces. 1. Pairing — 2017 Mountain Selection Barbera and liquid brie Mission fig coulis. 2. Pairing — 2017 Scott Harvey J & S Reserve Barbera and bagna cauda pipette Acme Bakery crostini, broccoli floweret. 3. Pairing — 2018 Scott Harvey J & S Reserve “TOY” Barbera and Panang curry vegetable melody and cilantro dust. 4. Taste — Visitors guess the varietal and year. Guess correctly and win a Capa Bunga closure created by Estate Chef Brian Overhauser.
Amador Cellars — Visit The Barn at Amador Cellars to taste its most highly rated wines of 2020, including the fiano, grenache, barbera, zinfandel and Farmhouse Red Blend. Snack on delectable Italian muffuletta and truffle chips while enjoying the views of our beautiful estate vineyard. Finish off tasting with a barrel sample of the 2019 Estate Zinfandel, poured by one of the winemakers who will also discuss the aging protocol and oak profile of the wine.
The End of Nowhere — The End of Nowhere will showcase four unique expressions of Sierra Foothills terroir, including a 2020 barrel sample and a mix of new releases and spectacular aged wines. Paired with unique fare from a guest chef the End of Nowhere tasting experience will highlight the diversity of foothills terroir with a spotlight on soil type and elevation. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how Amador’s checkerboard of soils shine through in the glass.
Di Arie Winery — Di Arie will be pouring three wines plus mystery wine and wine from the barrel — five wines total. Chaim will conduct an educational interactive tasting with the flight of wines. He will feature his new innovative “never been seen or tasted before” blend from the barrel as a surprise to festival participants only. There will al so be the Be A Sleuth contest with grand prizes for the winners.
Bella Grace Vineyards, participating at the Shenandoah Valley location only — Enjoy a selection of four white and red Bella Grace wines, perfectly paired with small bites by Chef Robert while viewing the surrounding vineyards. Learn the key elements of barrel aging with a fun stroll through the underground wine cave. During the stroll stop for a barrel tasting of barbera aging in the impressive 792 gallon French oak barrel. Then, time permitting, walk out to the vineyard for a vine pruning demo with winegrower Charlie and take home a zinfandel cutting for your garden.
Il Gioiello & Morse Wines — Il Gioiello Winery celebrates an all-Italian wine lineup including sangiovese, barbera, vermentino, montepulciano, aglianico and the super Tuscans, with wood fired gourmet pizzas throughout the weekend. The 2000-plus foot elevation and rocky soils express the best of Italian varietals while being a few minutes above the valley. Friday evening will celebrate Saint Joseph’s Day, Italy’s Father’s Day with evening bonfires and Italian specialties.
Drytown Cellars — Taste a four vintage vertical selection of syrah — futures in the barrel from 2019 and 2020 vintages, along with bottled 2017 and 2018 syrah, all from the estate vineyard. Talk about the wines with the winemaking team and practice wine evaluation skills using a helpful tasting framework that guests can take with them. Enjoy a selection of specially-selected paired cheeses, beef tri-tip and spring accompaniments that will enhance the experience.
Distant Cellars — Distant Cellars may be a bit off the beaten path, but it is worth the five-minute drive off Shenandoah Road. Distant Cellars will offer a flight of five to six wines. This includes award-winning white, red blends, zinfandels, syrah, petite sirah and barbera. These delicious wines will be paired with a scrumptious Cajun boil, cornbread, salad and sweet treat — a taste of New Orleans in Fiddletown. Distant Cellars offers deck seating, a tree garden and a welcoming staff.
Feist Wines — Enjoy a flight of six wines and a barrel sample of the 2020 Barbera paired with seven artisan cheeses and dessert by Ingrid Fraser. Combine wine and live music as the University of California, Davis’, 20-point scale is used to evaluate how music influences the perception of acidity, sweetness, fruitiness, astringency and complexity in wine.
Convergence Vineyards — Convergence will offer a skip-vertical wine experience. Taste two varietals over a five-year time horizon. Compare primitivo and syrah aged in the bottle for three years verses one year, next to a barrel sample with only six months in oak. Learn what to look for as colors change over time. Uncover the mysteries of the evolution of wine’s chemistry through aging. The wine will be paired with smoked Alaskan halibut and bacon chowder.
Wilderotter Vineyards — Wilderotter’s knowledgeable tasting room staff will take visitors through a six varietal wine sampler, selected from the extensive portfolio, perfectly paired with Cowgirl Creamery artisan cheeses, charcuterie and gourmet chocolates.
Rombauer Vineyards — Relax on the spacious and open patio while tasting through a flight of classic varietals and a hand-selected barrel sample from the winemaking team. The wines will be thoughtfully paired with delicious bites from Taste, which guests can enjoy while virtually learning about pruning and getting the vines prepared for the next harvest.
Borjón Winery — Come to Borjon Winery to sample its classic wines: sangiovese, barbera, zinfandel, primitivo and enjoy a barrel sample of Barbera Selección. Sample food from Nora’s Kitchen perfectly paired with the specially selected wine flight.
Dillian Wines — Dillian Wines will serve a tasting menu of six reds and one white wine, along with a Behind the Cellar Door special barrel tasting. Warm up with a cup of minestrone soup and crackers from Vinceguerra Ravioli Company.
Bray Vineyards — Make the day at Bray and taste the estate bottled and award-winning petite sirah, barbera, verdelho and albarino. The wines will be complemented with Tuscan soup, specialty cheeses and estate olive oil. Plus barrel tastings and some fun facts about wine and the magic that is the Sierra foothills.
Di Stasio Vineyards — Di Stasio Vineyards will serve a house-made penne pasta with a choice of sauce accompanied by an arugula salad with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. There will be barrel tasting of a yet-to-be released vintage with a tasting discussion.
Paul J Wines — Paul J. Wines will offer a full selection of handcrafted wines along with two types of smoky meat or veggie chili as well as bite-size corn bread appetizers. Sip safely in the spacious and relaxing outdoor tasting area while enjoying the beautiful views of Shenandoah Valley. The winery will also feature the 2019 Barbera and 2019 Petite Sirah for barrel tasting.
Andis Wines — Enjoy a pairing of vegetarian bites with a custom flight of estate-grown Andis Wines as winemaker Mark Fowler leads a discussion on sustainability practices in the wine industry. Learn how to pair hearty vegetarian dishes with favorite wines.
Avio Vineyards & Winery — Voted Amador’s Best Tasting Room, enjoy live music by Tamara and nosh on five delicacies expertly paired with the award-winning wines by the handsome and very French Chef Christophe. Memorable foods such as salmon rillettes, savory polpettes and not to miss Sarment du médoc, a chocolate covered grape vine (sort of) paired with the release of the new Vin Santo. While enjoying the ambiance, learn how to prune a grape vine. All purchases will receive free smoking chips made from the retired wine barrels.
Sera Fina Cellars — TBA
Good to know
Designated driver ticket holders will receive no alcohol of any kind (no exceptions) nor a commemorative wine glass. DDs may enjoy food offerings, educational components and entertainment, as applicable.
Each ticket is valid for up to four stops per day. In order to maximize the experience and get to four stops, Amador Vintners suggests planning the days following one of two possible time tracks: 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. or 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
In the event of significant weather issues or government mandated closures to due a rise in COVID-19 infections, an alternative date for the event will be announced and all reservations moved to the alternative date.