When wine is produced, it takes on the characteristics of the soil it’s grown in, the culture it’s surrounded by, and the people who skillfully craft it. Which is why wine tasting is one of the best ways to get to know a new region or even your own local area. Sip California’s wine tasting cards offer pairs a chance to get to know regions such as Lodi, the Sacramento Valley, and the Sierra Foothills by sipping their way through more than three-dozen wineries. Their cards also motivate holders to get out, explore, and try something new. In addition to complimentary tastings at each winery, visitors can also take advantage of tours, discounts on purchases, and unlimited gulps of fresh air.
The Scribner family has been a fixture of the Sacramento River Delta since 1893, when George Washington Scribner settled along the river bend that would eventually bear his name. Five generations since the fertile soil first beckoned the patriarch, the family is still putting the original barn to good use—now as a tasting room where the Scribners' award-winning wines get the attention and ambiance they deserve. The family’s alluring adult beverages reach their palate-pleasing potential thanks to the expertise of 50-year winemaker William Ghiglieri, who helps the Scribners maintain their century-old legacy. Visitors can rent out the vineyard for private events, lending a convivial elegance to such get-togethers as corporate parties, bridal showers, or pet goldfish funerals.
Cuisine Type: Winery
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Wines and a rustic event venue
Alcohol: Wine only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
The Carvalho family's history in the winemaking industry began in the vineyards of Portugal more than 100 years ago, right after drinking wine for pleasure was invented. Although the family has since immigrated to the rolling fields of Clarksburg Wine Country, the new generation of Carvalhos still hand-crafts small batches of wine with the same dedication as their ancestors. They source their grapes from local vineyards in the surrounding area to concoct a variety of California wines, including their crisp sauvignon blanc, creamy chardonnay, smooth pinot noir, and five-barrel tawny port, which can all be sipped in their quaintly appointed tasting room. In addition to tastings, the room hosts regular events including tastings, art openings, and live music.
The family further proves that they know how to entertain in their charming Old Sugar Mill event space, which hosts weddings and special occasions of all kinds beneath it's cathedral ceilings. Owner John Carvalho renovated the space, but preserved its Old World?style brick walls and rustic doors.
Revolution Wine's skilled staffers give each batch of their hand-crafted red, white, and port wines a full body and lush feel. And while heavy machinery and wooden barrels help do the hard work of converting these wine grapes into libations, it's the winemakers who pour a little bit of love into each batch. In the winery's kitchen, a dedicated team of chefs churns out a menu of seasonal bistro food made from local and fresh ingredients. Small artisan plates of French cheese, mixed nuts, and savory bruschetta offer a lighter dining path, while larger entrees of housemade pasta and pork belly sandwiches with cheddar jalapeno biscuits present heartier fare. Revolutions Wines also offers a wine club that gifts members with limited-edition wines and grants access to the first sniff when each new barrel is opened.
The fact that The Porch Restaurant and Bar uses cast-iron skillets and mason-jar drinking glasses doesn't mean that it's limited to Southern traditions. Sure, shrimp po'boys and buttermilk-fried chicken might share plate space with a stuffed sweet potato overflowing with sweet corn, but the restaurant sources most of its ingredients—including cage-free organic eggs and rice—from local California producers. What results is a gourmet mix that ranges from Tuscaloosa-style fried-green tomatoes to grilled brie with a balsamic-honey reduction.
The restaurant itself also refuses to conform to expectations. Occupying a building that once housed a Cajun restaurant, the eatery, according to Sacramento Magazine's Kira O'Donnell, has made a "stunning transformation of the former space." The airy dining room's wood floors and floral arrangements give way to views of an open kitchen. And, keeping true to its name and guiding theme, a porch surrounded by white columns gives diners an open-air space where they can savor their Southern dishes and banjo-duel over the last piece of cornbread.
Downtown & Vine all but transports its guests to lush, rolling vineyards, stocking the fruits of a dozen wineries from across five regions surrounding Sacramento. The house sommelier, Gregg Lamer, curates the selection of more than 100 bottles that are served by the glass. Gregg regularly changes up the menu, but always highlights wines from local growers that use sustainable farming practices. The list includes Sonoma vintner, Iron Horse Vineyards—whose wines have been served at White House events hosted by the past five presidents; Shadow Ranch in Fairplay who exclusively uses solar power and organic farming methods; and Dillian, an Amador County farm in the Shenandoah Valley that's been handed down through four generations of Dillians.
To give palates something to do between sips, Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Kate Chomko has built a small, charming menu of farmhouse small plates and artisan grilled cheeses. The latter takes traditional comfort food and drags it into adulthood with inventive flavor combinations such as prosciutto and fig jam. Desserts get a similar upgrade with salted caramel cookies or the Basque cake served with crème fraiche and blood orange syrup. Diners tuck into the gustatory proceedings at intimate tables flanked by cushy chairs support tasting pairs, while the private Vintner's Room features an eye-catching glass table enclosing a riddling rack.