The 2016 Amador Wine Tour held Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25, was blessed with excellent weather and a large turnout. We had 18 cars signed up. Unfortunately, 2 canceled at the last minute which left us with 16 cars which equaled 31 club members. Everyone, except 1 (more about that later), woke up early to a beautiful day and appeared on time at our meeting place at the Sierra Summit parking lot so we were able to leave on schedule at 7:45 a.m. Steve and Anne Marie Polimeni did not appear because Steve woke up feeling ill. Steve sent me a text message which, of course, I did not read so I did not know why they did not appear.
The drive to our first stop went very smoothly, and we arrived at Carson Pass ahead of schedule where we met Bob and Linda Sanfilippo having linked up with James Russell on the way.
However, between Carson Pass and Cooper Vineyards things got exciting. There was road construction on Highway 88 which at one point reduced travel to one lane. The lead group of cars of 8 or so was cut off from the balance of the group at one of the flag stops. Unfortunately, the lead car of the second group did not know we were taking the Mormon Emigrant Trail exit on Highway 88.
Fortunately, the cutoff group was highly motivated to find Cooper Vineyards on their own and all except one showed up in time for the Cooper winetasting. Cooper treated us very well and in addition to their fine wine (especially Barbara) provided light snacks. Dick Cooper, the patriarch of the Cooper Family and the founder of the vineyard, stopped by to say hello. You can see his picture posted on the website.
From Cooper we traveled the short distance to Karmere Vineyards for lunch. The box lunches were delivered to those who purchased in advance and others brought their own lunch. Following lunch there was ample time to enjoy the Karmere wines, including barrel tasting.
From Karmere we went to Amador Cellars which is a first-time stop for the club. This is a small family-run winery showcasing Mediterranean wines and Tuscan architecture. It produces estate grown zinfandel, sauvignon blanc, and Rhone valley varietals. They grow their own sauvignon blanc which is unusual in that area. Linda Long, one of the owner/proprietors set up a tasting area for the club outside of their tasting room which is inside of their barrel aging warehouse. There were several vats of grapes fermenting in the tasting area fortunately we were not call on to help punch them down (hard work) before tasting.
Following Amador Cellars we went to a favorite from last year’s tour, Vino Noceto. They have a new area outside, covered area for groups that was just completed. They were able to set up a private tasting for the club. One of the owners came by to pick up some wine visited with our group and provided us with some history of the vineyard, including a story of how he and his wife traveled to Tuscany and brought home Sangiovese cuttings that are foundation of current Sangiovese production. We also received another surprise when Steve and Anne Marie Polimeni joined us, Steve having made a quick recovery.
After Noceto, the fourth and final winery, people moved on to the Shenandoah Inn where they enjoyed the pool and prepared for the evening soiree. At 6 o’clock we all assembled at the picnic area at the Shenandoah. Everyone brought a bottle of wine, the club had arranged for Amador Vintage Market to deliver party platters which quickly consumed. The evening was topped off with gourmet pizza from the Pokerville Market complemented by the outstanding wines from Amador County.
On Sunday all but four of the group who had to leave early showed up at Marlene and Glen’s Dead Fly Diner for breakfast which has become the Sunday tradition.
Following breakfast everyone went their own way and visited the Amador Flower Farms, other wineries or Pokerville Market to buy wine (10% case discount) before traveling home.
The weekend was enjoyed by all, the weather was great, the people were great, and the wine spectacular. Thanks to Ron, Sharon, Pat, JoAnn and Joyce for all the help in arranging the tour. We look forward to doing it again next year and have already scouted out one new winery to visit. If anyone has any suggestions of a winery they would like to visit, please provide it to DeArmond, Pat, or Ron together with any other suggestions to improve the event.