Apple Hill: Another Excuse To Go Wine Tasting

By Bethany Hill,

Fall is finally here – and for many Sacramentans, that means it’s time for that annual trip to good ol’ Apple Hill.  Just an hour’s drive heading eastbound on US-50 towards Tahoe, Midtown dwellers can easily take pleasure in this local, fall-time favorite destination. And while you’re there, why not explore some of the Sierra Region’s greatest wineries? Your palate will thank you!

Nestled in the beautiful Sierra Foothills, Apple Hill is home to more than 50 apple ranchers with 17 different apple varieties to choose from. In addition to an assortment of crate and pick-your own apples, there are also pre-made apple pies, fresh caramel apples (my personal favorite), apple sauce, apple cider, handmade frozen pie crusts, sparkling cider, and apple butter to name a few.

If you’re not much of an apple enthusiast, there are numerous other temptations that will surely capture your intrigue, such as a variety of olive oils, fresh honey, crafts, seasoned and plain nuts, pumpkins, Indian corn, pears, plums, jams, chutneys, homemade fudge, bread and other fresh baked goods.  If you’re a beer lover, there are beer tastings scattered throughout the area. Additionally, Apple Hill is a great place to find your Christmas tree, should you choose to make the trek in November or December.

For more information, check out the Apple Hill Growers website and print out maps and additional information. Apple Hill festivities begin on Labor Day and continue through Christmas.

Ok…here is the real reason to go to Apple Hill:

While you’re already in the heart of the Sierra Region’s greatest wineries, why not do a little tasting while you’re in the area? El Dorado County is one of the few wine growing areas of California that contain only mountain vineyards. The wineries are scattered around the county, but you will find that most of the El Dorado County wineries are located near the historic towns of Fairplay and Placerville (aka old Hangtown – can you guess why it’s called that?).

My favorite part of tasting in the Sierra Wine Region is the stunningly alluring fall scenery. At this time, the hillside vineyards have transformed into a vibrant array of colors; yellows, oranges, reds and browns, mixed-in with a little summer leftover green hues. Having lived in Southern California for 6 years of my life (ages 18-24) these colors remind me of what I missed so dearly being away from beautiful Northern California. There is truly nothing like it – it brings forth a peaceful feeling that you long for, and once you find it, you treasure it.

If Apple Hill has successfully been entered into your calendar, below is my personal wine tasting guide for the Sierra Wine Region: View a map.

Boeger Winery
1709 Carson Rd.
Placerville, CA 95667-5195
(530) 622-8094

Favorite wines: 2007 Boeger Sangiovese Reserve, Real Deal Red, Hangtown Red, and the 2006 Meritage Reserve. Boeger is one of El Dorado County’s most historic wineries. As one of Boeger’s wine club members (aka a “Barberian”) I am a huge Boeger fan. Having been around since the early 1800’s, Boeger grapes have persevered through many obstacles. They also provide really great recipes.

Holly’s Hill Winery
3680 Leisure Lane
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 344-0227
Favorite wines: 2008 Mourvedre, 2008 Syrah, 2008 Patriarche, 2008 Grenache Noir, and the 2009 Roussanne. A small family winery, Holly’s Hill specializes in small batches of quality wine. Their 2002 El Dorado Cabernet won a Gold Medal at both the Orange County and the El Dorado County Fairs. One thing you don’t want to miss their deck’s expansive view of the Sierra Foothills.

Narrowgate Vineyards

4282 Pleasant Valley Rd
Placerville, CA 95667-8426
(530) 644-6201
Favorite wine: 2008 Chocolate Splash (Chocolate port) made from six classic port varietals infused with 60 percent dark, bittersweet chocolate and 40 percent milk chocolate natural essence.

Miraflores Winery
2120 Four Springs Trail
Placerville, California 95667
(530) 647-8505
Favorite wines: all of their Zinfandel’s and Syrah’s.

Madroña Vineyards
2560 High Hill Rd
Placerville, CA 95667-5130
(530) 644-5948
Favorite wines: 2008 Gewürztraminer.

Lava Cap Winery
2221 Fruitridge Rd
Placerville CA 95667
(530) 621-0175
Favorite wine: I can’t remember, but this place is worth visiting.

Bethany’s non-vino Apple Hill highlights:

  • Don’t miss the Apple Hill Grower’s cookbook! Originally published in 1967, this book is filled with 48 pages of apple recipes – a great resource during the Holiday Season.
  • This weekend, Stop by Apple Ridge Farms’ Trick-or-Treat days. There will be free Halloween bags for the kids. For more information, contact Janice Dunleavy, Director of Development at or 540-982-1322.

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Posted by on Nov 4 2010. Filed under Wine and Mixology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments for “Apple Hill: Another Excuse To Go Wine Tasting”

  1. Lori VanHamersveld

    Can’t wait to get up to Apple Hill this fall. Thanks for the informative article.

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