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Distant Cellars

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Region and AVA

Fiddletown American Viticultural Area (AVA):

The Fiddletown AVA is composed of approximately 11,500 acres, but inside that there are roughly only 1,000 acres of useable space for vineyards.  Fiddletown is different from the surrounding areas as it has a higher elevation between 1,500 to 2,500 feet with moderately well drained and slightly acidic soils of sandy loams and decomposed granite. The temperatures also range from lower heat than the neighboring Shenandoah valley during the day and cooler temperatures at night which results in optimal conditions for balanced fruit maturity and acid development.  The Fiddletown AVA was approved on September 14, 1983.

California Shenandoah Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA):

The California Shenandoah Valley AVA consists of just over 10,000 acres and when founded had 1,200 acres already planted in vineyards.  The AVA extends just outside of Amador county to encompass a small acreage in El Dorado County as well.  The low elevation, hot days and warm nights allow the grapes to produce a slightly different flavor than their neighbors in Amador and El Dorado.  Additionally, the soils are described as well-drained and moderately deep soils formed of material from granitic rock. This land is gently sloping to very steep with the surface soil primarily consisting of various loams and subsoil primarily consisting of heavy loam or clay loam.

Amador County:

Amador County was a pioneer in the American wine industry dating back to the 1850’s when the thirsty immigrant miners wanted their wine.  At the height of the rush when the region was known as the Mother Lode, there were over 100 wineries in operation and most had their own vineyards.  Prohibition and the decline of the mining industry lead to a decrease in wineries, but lucky for us some of the vineyards were able to survive and are still producing today. Though Zinfandel is the primary varietal grown, there has been a large increase in Italian varieties like Barbera and Sangiovese, and southern Rhone Varietals like Grenache, Mouvedre, and Syrah.  Historically, Amador wines were known for their higher alcohol content and full stewed fruit flavors, but as time has progressed we are seeing a lot more restrained wines being produced with amazing results to showcase the true nuance of our very special region. Currently, there are over 40 wineries that are members of the Amador County Vintner’s Association; we would love to be a part of your Amador experience!

Portions of this page were refenced from the following sites and are great resources for you if you would like to learn more about any wine region in the United States: