What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Barbera Fest 16 crowd scene Picmonkey2Tasters have room to stroll at Terra d'Oro

TASTE News Service, June 15, 2016 — With an enhanced venue at Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards and a new format providing wine tastings by region at this year’s event, the sixth annual Barbera Festival on Saturday, June 11, continued to delight the palates of festival goers.

At Saturday’s event, Barberas were presented by nearly 80 wineries from all over California.

Stephen Willey with gold payment PicmonkeyStephen Willey, proprietor of the National Hotel in Jamestown, weighs gold dust in the saloon

TASTE News Service, June 9, 2016 – In a small town in Northern California, hotel guests have an opportunity to participate in a history-rich Mother Lode tradition that no place else can claim. They can pay for their stay in gold dust at the National Hotel in Jamestown.

Chris Leamy and Darrell Corti PicmonkeyTerra d'Oro winemaker Chris Leamy (left) and Darrell Corti discuss Barbera at retrospective tasting

TASTE News Service, June 1, 2016 – Barbera fans have an opportunity on June 11 to congregate and enjoy many tastes of this classic food-friendly wine. At the Barbera Festival, held at Terra d'Oro/Montevina Vineyard in Plymouth, Amador County, more than 80 wineries will pour glass after glass of a wine that boasts a compelling story in the history of California wines.

"The story begins at Montevina in 1974," said Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers, a Sacramento-based wine merchant. Corti is internationally known as a wine and food expert. "Both in 1943 and 1960, viticulturists from U.C. Davis had recommended barbera as a compatible grape for California. In the Sierra Foothills, Cary Gott, owner of Montevina in Amador County, planted Barbera in 1972."

Saturday, 21 May 2016 15:13

Wineries of the Sierra Foothills

Wineries of the Sierra Foothills cover shot Picmonkey

By Barbara Keck

Photography by Johan Martin

 

2016 Range of Light Media Group

Tahoe City, CA

ISBN: 978-0-9966209-0-1

Soft Cover, 174 pages, $19.95

The Sierra Foothills is one of the world’s most interesting wine regions. Barbara Keck’s book gives it the respect it deserves and strikes a warm note without being gushy.

Greenhorn Creek ribbon cutting at 20 Picmonkey(L-R) Patty Sheehan; Sarah Cunningham, office administrator, Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce; Don Boos; Mike Kristoff; Allan Ramorini

 

Angels Camp, CA  May 18, 2016 – Greenhorn Creek Resort, the premiere golf and dining experience in California's Gold Country, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a little help from its creators including, six-time LPGA major champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Patty Sheehan, who served as a consultant for the original golf course design and architect Don Boos, the creator of Greenhorn Creek GC.

Thursday, 12 May 2016 16:16

Amador Rains Don’t Dampen Four Fires

Crowd Am4Fires 2016It wasn't raining all the timeBy Jen Sleppy

May 12, 2016 - Saturday’s Amador Four Fires was well organized. The only glitch was the rain, but as I've seen happen at other festivals, the rain became a positive . . . it created camaraderie and quick friendships as people crammed in together under the tents.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 13:41

Amador County's Five Springtime Finds

wildflowers at Volcano3 PicmonkeyWildflowers at Volcano

TASTE News Service, April 26, 2016 — The small towns of the Sierra Nevada foothills are inviting all year round, but springtime reveals a bounty of natural and culinary spectacles to Amador County. This low-key county tends to stay out of the limelight, but lately it has been catching the eye of discerning travelers for its spectacular spring colors and an array of fine wines and foods. Below are just five of the many reasons to visit Amador County now.

Friday, 01 January 2016 12:04

49er Icon Signs 1869 Bottles

Joe Montana signs 1869 bottles PicmonkeyJoe Montana signs a bottle of 1869By Dan Clarke

Nearly 30 years ago Randy Cross called San Francisco 49er fans a “white wine sipping crowd.” The comment from the all-pro guard came after a loss in which he felt the team’s fans exhibited a less than enthusiastic attitude. It was a derisive comment, but maybe not inaccurate.

Fans of many teams might be more likely to be beer drinkers or maybe shot-and-a-beer drinkers. However, 49er fans live close to the nation’s most significant wine regions and have a reputation for relative sophistication. It’s likely that they do drink more white wine than other football fans, though data on such matters is sketchy.

High Noon posterTASTE News Service, October 29, 2015 - From these classic movies --High Noon, The Great Race, Back to the Future III and Big Valley, to television series that brought the big outdoors into American living rooms such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Lassie, a small area in Northern California has played a big role: creating lifelike settings and story lines to recreate early America. For Tuolumne County, set against the backdrop of Yosemite National Park in Northern California, the job was easy.

As early as 1919, filmmakers recognized the area as a valuable and convenient source for location filming. Gold rush era buildings with wood plank sidewalks and slamming screen doors, Main Street with a Wells Fargo Express office, white picket fences and grand hotels stood ready for their close-up. The area is still rich in natural features and vintage architectural styles, big sky landscape, rushing rivers and lakes, and one key ingredient – abundant California light. Producers and directors discovered that almost any type of scenery in the United States and beyond could be replicated on film in Tuolumne County.

Columbia Candy Kirtchen PicmonkeyIt's still hand-made at Columbia Candy KirtchenTASTE News Service, August 26, 2015 – Inside Columbia State Park in the heart of Northern California's Yosemite Gold Country business is conducted almost exactly the way it was in the gold rush era.

The Columbia Candy Kitchen has been the home of handmade confections in Columbia, California since the late 1800's, when a Danish confectioner settled in this gold rush town. A fellow miner, C. Rex Nelson, became the confectioner in the 1930's. After four generations, the Nelson family still produces the finest candies from original recipes, cooked in bright copper kettles, using original molds and cooled on marble tables that are more than 100 years old.

Candy canes are still made the old-fashioned way at Nelson's Candy Kitchen in Columbia. Visitors can watch through windows of the exhibition kitchen every Saturday and Sunday at noon and 1 p.m. from the end of November through the weekend before Christmas.

USA Today included Nelson's Columbia Candy Kitchen in their “top 10 sweet shops across America article”, calling the business “the type of place I go way out of my way to visit.”

Now there are three locations; the original kitchen in Columbia State Park, an additional location in Sonora, both in Tuolumne County, and another one in nearby Murphys, which is in neighboring Calaveras County. The flagship store produces 85% of all of their confections sold.

About the Area

Stage Coach in Coldumbia CA PicmonkeyThere's an occasional traffic jam in downtown ColumbiaTuolumne (rhymes with “follow me”) County, home to Yosemite Gold Country, located 133 miles east of San Francisco, is a pristine, scenic expanse reaching into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  

Gold was discovered in Tuolumne County in 1848, the same year as the find at Sutter's Mill in El Dorado County. These events helped to set off the gold rush of 1849.

The main highways leading to the picturesque drive from the San Francisco and East Bay Area are Highways 108 and 120 from the west and Highway 49 from the north. The State Highway 120 entrance to Yosemite National Park is considered the “front door” of the park for the San Francisco Greater Bay Area.

The Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and other surrounding areas provide natural vistas and settings for hiking, water skiing, horseback riding, rafting, camping, snowmobiling, boating, snow skiing, fishing and other outdoor activities. Seven restored historic hotels, four golf courses, numerous and varied dining establishments, historic saloons, five wineries and hard cider distillery, train rides, casino, seven museums, two state historic parks, five live theaters and many bed-and-breakfast inns are among the many other attributes that make the county a year round vacation destination.

Editor’s Note: If you’re thinking of visiting this part of the old west, consider first visiting Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. In the Gold Country section you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Sierra Foothill Wineries and Craft Beer purveyors.

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