Located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California, Amador County is renowned for producing California's finest Zinfandels, some of them crafted from 19th-century vines. This sustainably farmed old vine vineyard is planted on hillsides with soils of sandy clay loam derived from decomposed granite. Amador's warm days and cool evening breezes from the Sierras promote full ripening of the grapes and a balanced acidity, leading to robust, intensely flavored wines.
Zinfandel has always been the quintessential California wine. Taking on the characteristics of the regions where it's grown, the flavor of a California Zin is like the flavor of California itself. It's free love in a bottle, with a vibe all its own - at times mellow, others bold or even spicy. But it's always, dare we say, groovy. View all Zinfandelic Wines
About Other California
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few. Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.