El Dorado County boasts not just one but three distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). These fancy terms essentially act like zip codes for wine grapes, indicating where they’re grown and influencing the final product in your glass.

Each AVA has characteristics that make it unique.

El Dorado AVA: The Elder Statesman of Mountain-Grown Wines

This is the granddaddy of them all, established in 1983. It’s the largest and most well-established of the three, with higher-elevation wineries. Their mountain-grown grapes play a crucial role in shaping the character of El Dorado AVA wines.

Cooler nights lead to grapes with thicker skins, resulting in bolder flavors and a pleasing acidity. This AVA is particularly renowned for its Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons, which are known for their depth and complexity.


Fair Play AVA: A Hidden Gem with Volcanic Flair

Tucked within the El Dorado AVA like a precious jewel lies the Fair Play AVA. This much smaller region boasts unique geology. Volcanic soils dominate the landscape, adding a fascinating layer of minerality to the wines produced here.

Wines from Fair Play tend to be more intense and complex, appealing to those who enjoy a wine with a bit more personality.

Sierra Foothills AVA: A Blanket of Diversity

The Sierra Foothills AVA is the big picture AVA, encompassing a vast region across several California counties, including a portion of El Dorado County. Due to its sheer size and varied topography, the Sierra Foothills AVA offers the most diverse range of wines.

While many in the appellation are found in warmer valleys, El Dorado’s mountain-grown wines don’t reflect the standard flavor profile of their lower-elevation cousins. (That’s why the El Dorado AVA is essential – it better represents who we are!)

While our appellations tell part of the story, you’ll discover the full tale when you visit our wineries. With over 100 varietals at 30+ wineries, our region’s story is as enjoyable as our award-winning wines!