Birthplace of California Zinfandel

El Dorado County is considered the “cradle of the California Zinfandel.”  True story: Miners first planted wine grapes here in the 1850s during the Gold Rush. They brought vine cuttings with them, and many turned to grape growing after the gold fever subsided. A small block of original vines can still be found at Boeger Winery, which was the first post-Prohibition winery in the El Dorado AVA.

Mountain-grown grapes are a beautiful sight to see at Madrona Vineyards.

The Mountain-Grown Advantage

The vineyards in El Dorado County are situated at elevations of 2,000-3,000 feet, making them some of the highest in California! The high elevation, along with the decomposed granite soil, contributes to the bold flavors and rich tannins characteristic of El Dorado’s mountain-grown wines. (Extra fun fact: the elevation helps grapes grow thicker skins!)

Mediterranean Marvel 

California may be known for its sunshine, but we like to think ours is an extra-special kind. El Dorado boasts a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Our climate mimics some of the world’s most admired wine regions, offering ideal conditions for grape growth. Long, warm growing seasons allow the grapes to ripen fully, while cool winters minimize the threat of frost damage.

Welcoming Wineries

Our family-owned and operated wineries boast a rich history and award-winning wines, but they’re not snooty about it. We pride ourselves on offering a relaxed and welcoming experience for all levels of wine enthusiasts. It’s not unusual to have our passionate vintners pouring in the tasting room, ready to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with you.

(A Lot) More than Zinfandel

While Zinfandel is a star, there’s an impressive diversity in our wines. We grow over 100 different varietals here! You’ll find a range of interesting grapes like Barbera, Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Gewurztraminer, Semillon, and more being crafted by passionate vintners.

boeger vineyard
Constructed in 1872 and listed on the National Register of Historic places, Boeger Winery’s cellar is a cozy spot for wine tasting.

Where Wine + History Meet

A trip to El Dorado wine country isn’t just about the wine (though it certainly plays a starring role!). The region is steeped in the rich history of the California Gold Rush. It’s not just charming towns like Placerville and Coloma that offer a glimpse into the past, with historic sites, museums, and remnants of the gold mining era. Several of our wineries have historic buildings and even vines that go back in time!