An enormous redwood wine tank stands at the heart of Oak Ridge Winery. At one point it held 50,000 gallons of zinfandel, but these days the barrel echoes with laughter and clinking wine glasses. Inside, at a red-brick bar top, winemaker Rudy Maggio and his partners Don and Rocky Reynolds introduce customers to the flavors in their hand-crafted wines.
To craft their specialties, the trio carefully tends aisles of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc grapes. However, they take particular pride in their 120-year-old zinfandel vines, which have gnarled, weatherworn features and no patience for kids these days. The wines of these grapes—including Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel and OZV—consistently take medals at international wine competitions.
Casual visitors to Harmony Wynelands Winery might be forgiven for thinking the vineyard’s name derives from its perfectly balanced wine selection, but a surprise waits in the blue and white barn amid the rows of grape vines. There presides owner Bob Hartzell’s prize possession: the 2/11 Robert Morton organ that was originally installed in the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The winery satisfies music lovers with regularly scheduled concerts, enophiles with on-demand tasting experiences, and both at the same time with finger-licking wineglass players. The musical theme is also reflected in the vineyard’s Orchestra wine club, which fans can join at a Soloist or Maestro level to receive wine shipments and special offers.
Bill and Stephanie Prioste stumbled upon winemaking?literally. After finding grapes growing at the rear of their half-acre plot, their property manager suggested they try to turn them into wine. Nearing retirement, it became more than just a hobby, and their initial venture grew into what today is Windmill Ridge Winery. There, they oversee the production of an impressive selection of wines, from silky and acidic Petit Syrah to light and crisp Chardonnay.
The cooks at Sips Bistro and Wine Shop use locally acquired and organic ingredients where possible in their classic menu of small plates, varietals, and espresso drinks. The intimate bistro setting—rendered warm by colorful murals of pastoral settings and elegant wood wine racks—hosts guests as they try refined eats such as a chicken, brie, and caramelized onion quesadilla, or a brined and herb-crusted bone-in pork chop. During wine flights, vino sippers may choose their own drinks from a temperature-controlled wine bar or the frigid palms of a grape-eating sprite. The company also occasionally hosts events such as champagne Sundays and special tastings.
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.
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.