“Behind the Cellar Door” March 26- 27 in one of California’s prized wine regions
Plymouth, Calif. – The Amador Vintners Association announces its signature passport event, Behind the Cellar Door, will return March 26 – 27, 2022.
For over 25 years, Behind the Cellar Door has brought together leading Amador wineries and wine lovers of all stripes for an experiential weekend of wine-focused activities at over 40 participating wineries. With a winegrowing history that dates to the gold rush, Amador remains a leading innovator among California wine regions combining its ideal terroir in the Sierra Foothills, old vines – including the first recorded Zinfandel plantings, which date to 1869 – with adventurous farming and winemaking practices to appeal to modern consumers. Amador wine country has been repeatedly recognized by leading national critics and Behind the Cellar Door offers a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the trailblazing winemakers behind the region.
Tickets & Pricing
Available online at www.amadorwine.com/BCD for the rain or shine event.
Tickets start at $65 for one-day passports or $95 for two-day passports to visit over 40 participating wineries on Saturday, March 26th or Sunday, March 27th.
Guests can meet the winemakers and the generations of families behind our award-winning wines at Behind the Cellar Door and learn how they continue to carry on the pioneering spirit of our gold rush adventure-seek forefathers.
Terre Rouge and Easton Wines – 100 Point Wine from an original Rhône Ranger
An Amador County icon and proud 100-point scoring estate, Terre Rouge and Easton have been producing world-class wines in Amador for over 30 years. Co-founded by husband-and-wife team Bill Easton and Jane O’Riordan, the estate is famous for “captivating” wines that allow “a sense of terroir to shine through,” according to Wine Enthusiast. Terre Rouge has repeatedly crafted 100-point scoring wines with the 2016 and 2018 Ascent Syrah. Inspired by the wines of the Rhône Valley and Amador’s similarities to the granitic terroir, Easton was a founding member of California’s Rhône Rangers, and received the Rangers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
This year, the Terre Rouge – Easton team invites Behind the Cellar Door passholders to experience Amador wines in a new way: blind. During an extensive seated tasting seminar, Terre Rouge – Easton will share six wines without any indication of their variety, vintage, or source vineyard, allowing guests to truly experience the terroir complexities of Amador County wine. Then, guests will learn how to analyze wines based on their aromas and tastes alone, with prizes awarded to the most accurate tasters. In addition, participants will be served a Parisian-style lunch made by O’Riordan.
Story Winery – Dry Farm Wines from 1894
Since its founding in 1973, Story Winery has put the spotlight on Amador County terroir with a collaborative spirit. Equally rooted in local tradition and global influence, the team at Story winery strives to make terroir-driven wines in their elevated vineyards to best showcase their unique slice of Sierra Foothills terroir.
On the ground, Story’s commitment to preservation and innovation means dry-farming their vineyards – some of which date back to 1894 – without any irrigation. Amador Wine Country is known for having the highest % of dry-farmed vineyards. This ancient method of cultivation has been practiced for centuries across many of Europe’s most prestigious wine regions, and is both effective and environmentally friendly today. Without irrigation, vine roots are forced to spider deep into the earth in search of water and nutrients which creates stronger, more resilient vines while naturally controlling yields. The result is fewer grapes, but berries with higher concentrations of the aromatic and flavor compounds that make fine wines endlessly complex.
Story Winery also utilizes traditional, alternative aging methods for many of its wines – a unique feature Behind the Cellar Door participants will be able to experience with Story winemakers. Embracing the ancient Georgian technique of aging wines in clay amphora, or Qvevri, the Story transmits their granite- and iron-dominant soils with shimmering clarity. Unlike oak barrels, Qvevri do not impart signature flavors to the wines, but rather allow the grapes to speak clearly in the glass. This technique dates back over 8,000 years to the birth of winemaking in the Republic of Georgia. During Behind the Cellar Door, Story guests will experience and compare wines ages in traditional Georgian Qvevri and oak barrels, while enjoying a selection of traditional Georgian food.
Di Arie Winery – PhD Winemaker that created two popular food brands
Since 2000, Di Arie has been producing world-class wines from their 209-acre estate in the heart of Fiddletown. A career in flavor development – including for well-known products like Cap’n Crunch cereal and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing – prepared winemaker Chaim Gur-Arieh, PhD, and his co-proprietor and wife Elisheva Gur-Arieh for their second calling in Amador wine country. Here, they have developed over 30 acres of vines which are perfectly attuned to the local temperature and weather patterns that exist across the estate.
A blend enthusiast, Gur-Arieh will lead a series of seminars on the archeology of wine blends during Behind the Cellar Door. During each, participants will learn how each element of a blend affects the whole and how winemakers build a blend to highlight certain aromatic and flavor elements in a wine. Across the flight, which will include a completed award-winning blend, everyone will gain a deeper understanding of modern blending techniques and how winemakers transmit their terroirs to the glass. In addition, Di Arie will feature select deals on its award-winning blended wines and live music throughout Behind the Cellar Door.
The End of Nowhere – To great wines, naturally.
Located in the heart of Amador City, The End of Nowhere is Amador County’s one and only natural winery. Here, winemaker and Certified Sommelier Chris Walsh crafts unique twists on classic Amador grape varieties like Zinfandel and Barbera without the use of commercial yeasts or any winemaking chemicals, excluding minimal sulfur at bottling.
“I grew up in Amador, and I think our terroir is really fantastic,” says Walsh. “With good farming and careful winemaking, you really don’t need to add chemicals or new oak to make great wine here.”
That philosophy led Walsh to found The End Of Nowhere on a simple belief: Great California terroir doesn’t need chemical additives, new oak, or a big price tag to be delicious. Today, every bottle produced by The End of Nowhere is made from organic or sustainably farmed grapes fermented with wild yeasts and aged in neutral oak barrels to showcase each vineyard site. After fermentation and aging, the wines are bottled without fining or filtration, which maintains maximum color and aromatic complexity in the wines. Every step of the winemaking process at the End of Nowhere is done with the intent to shine a light on the crumbly, volcanic soils that make Amador a haven for exquisite wines. During Behind the Cellar Door, Walsh will guide participants through a tasting of four low-intervention wines to teach guests how various winemaking practices influence the final product in the glass.
Amador Cellars – Brother & Sister Wine-Making Team
Amador Cellars has been a staple of the Shenandoah Valley for nearly twenty years and continues to collect accolades with the Best of Class Medal for their Barbera from the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The family-owned and operated winery embodies the exploratory spirit of the region especially with regard to the unique varieties in cultivation, which the family will showcase during Behind the Cellar Door.
Together with guests, winemakers Michael and Ashley Long will introduce visitors to two unique Italian grape varieties, Teroldego and Nero D’Avola. Indigenous to the mountainous Trentino and Sicily regions of Italy, respectively, these two grapes a similar terroir footprint in the volcanic and highly mineral soils of Amador County. Though Rarely cultivated in the foothills region these wines offer a distinctive lens on Amador terroir, showing how grape variety and soil type can interact to create outstanding wines. Their distinctive wines will be served alongside Italian small bites and with live music in the background, Amador Cellars offerings will highlight the diversity of Amador County plantings.
About Behind the Cellar Door Event
For over 25 years, Behind the Cellar Door’s is Amador’s most exclusive event allowing participants to “Experience the Art of Winemaking” through the six sub-zones of Amador Wine country – Fiddletown, Shenandoah, Amador City, Drytown, West End and Sutter Creek – based on their unique interests. To do so, the Vintners’ Association has partnered with CellarPass, which allows participants to easily map their journeys across the region. Guests may select up to four winery experiences per day for a seamless guest experience. Wineries will provide tasting flights, barrel samples, small bites, winemaker presentations, and winery tours. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.amadorwine.com/BCD for the rain or shine event. Tickets start at $65 for one-day passports or $95 for two-day passports to visit over 40 participating wineries on Saturday, March 26th or Sunday, March 27th.
About the Amador Vintners Association
The Amador Vintners Association is a membership-based organization representing over 45 extraordinary vintners who craft wines within the Amador County AVA. The mission of the Amador Vintners Association is to showcase the region’s award-winning wines and promote the region’s rich winemaking heritage. The region’s high-elevation vineyards and range of unique grape varieties from Italy, France’s Rhône Valley, the Iberian peninsula, and Zinfandel make it a destination wine-growing appellation. Amador Vintners Association is dedicated to educating consumers and media on the world-class wines of this pioneering region and regularly hosts events and tastings to highlight Amador County’s stunning terroirs. Learn more at amadorwine.com or by following us on Instagram at @amadorwine