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Flavors of the Foothills: Off the Rack

Tasting rooms and wineries offer plenty to ‘pour’ over
By: Gloria Young, Foothills Magazine
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Take the flavors of Placer County, put them in a glass, swirl them around and inhale the fragrance. Chances are, you’ll be savoring the fruits of the local winemaking industry. By the glass or by the bottle, there are plenty of spots to try local vintages. Mt. Vernon, Viña Castellano, Dono dal Cielo and Green Family wineries have combined bottled resources at The Wine Rack, off Interstate 80 in the Bowman area. The tasting room opened in January and business has been steadily increasing each month, Teena Wilkins with Viña Castellano said recently. “We each offer four wines and rotate month to month to change out the wines we are doing,” Wilkins explained. Some favorites have already garnered a following. “My tempranillo is a popular one,” Wilkins said. “Dono Dal Cielo’s is Zinfandel and Mt. Vernon’s is Girly Man — a petit Sirah and Syrah blend.” With the recent passage of the Placer County wine ordinance, Viña Castellano and Dono dal Cielo are going to have Saturday and Sunday tastings at the winery year round, without appointment, beginning in October. Mt. Vernon already operates a tasting room Thursdays through Sundays. “We’re looking at this shop to increase the knowledge that we actually have a wine trail here locally,” Wilkins said. She expects the number of wineries open on weekends to grow and plans to offer a wine-trail map at The Wine Rack. In Old Town Auburn, visitors to Carpe Vino can try selections from wineries throughout Northern California, including many small production sites. “Anytime we’re open, Tuesday through Saturday, we allow people to come in and try five different wines in one-ounce pours for $5 before 5 p.m.,” co-owner Drew Moffat said. The wines are always available in three-ounce pours. “We try to support the local wineries as much as we possibly can,” Moffat said. “There are always six or seven from area wineries to taste.” Carpe Vino, which also offers dinner Wednesday through Saturday, specializes in unique selections. “We offer a good range of different wines and things you’re not going to find at the (local grocery and wine store chains),” Moffat said. Moffat and his father, Gary, closely follow wine trends and are the go-to sources for who’s who in the local wine-producing industry. “We’ve been here for seven years and we’ve grown up with a lot of the local wineries,” Drew Moffat said. ---------- Taste this! Where to drink in the foothills Tasting Rooms The Wine Rack — 13464 Lincoln Way, Auburn, (530) 885-7225 Taste of Auburn — 897 Lincoln Way, Downtown Auburn, (530) 823-7999 Carpe Vino — 1568 Lincoln Way, Old Town Auburn, (530) 823-0320 Wineries Dono dal Cielo, 5960 Wise Road, Newcastle, (916) 408-2233. Open noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Mt. Vernon Winery, 10850 Mt. Vernon Road, Auburn, (530) 823-1111. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday Viña Castellano, 4590 Bell Road, Auburn, (530) 889-2855. Open noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Tasting available by appointment Fawnridge Winery, 5560 Fawnridge Road, Auburn, (530) 887-9522 Green Family Winery, 3420 Pine Ridge Lane, Auburn, (530) 888-8866 Baumbach Wines, 291 Auburn Folsom Road, Auburn, (530) 305-0048 Ophir Wines, 7870 Santini Lane, Newcastle, (916) 531-3055 Pescatore Vineyard and Winery, 7055 Ridge Road, Newcastle, (916) 663-1422 Rancho Roble Vineyards, 340 Fleming Road, Lincoln, (916) 645-2075 Secret Ravine Vineyard and Winery 4390 Gold Trail Way, Loomis, (916) 652-6015 Lone Buffalo Vineyards, 2682 Burgard Lane, Auburn, (916) 663-4486