The Sierra Nevada foothills have been tilled since the time of the gold rush, but its thin soil allows only the heartiest grapevines to thrive. But when they grow, the grapes there produce powerful wines full of intense flavors. The staff at Auriga Wine Cellars specialize in reds, which range from the peppery, black cherry notes of their Barbera to a double-gold-award-winning shiraz-and-syrah blend aged for one year in French and American oak. They complement these robust offerings with their small-batch sparkling wine and their sangiovese, which tastes of slightly spicy raspberries and strawberries with a hint of basil, thyme, and sage. They sell their vintages by the bottle, but the shop’s wine club delivers bottles to aficionados three times a year, letting them try out new vintages or spend more frustrating evenings trying to squeeze a model ship inside them.
Perry Creek Winery's consistent 90+ point ratings in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast are due in no small part to the efforts of vintners Garrett Buckland, Stefan Tscheppe, and Scott Johnson. Drawing on cultivating experience in Napa, Austria, and the Sierra Foothills, the winemakers have carefully engineered 40 acres of ideal soil that brims with hand-pruned grape vines. The trio’s many varietals embody their distinct heritage, with different wine lineages such as the Altitude 2401 Reserve Series, the strong wines of the Cobra selection, and the estate wines that harness the diversity of the land’s grapes. An online store features the winery's choicest merchandise, from current varietals to futures and wearable hats and shirts made entirely of old corks.