Getaway to the Sierra Foothills Wine Country


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

Looking out on the Shenandoah Valley from the Andis Winery
Looking out on the Shenandoah Valley from the Andis Winery
Looking out on the Shenandoah Valley from Andis Winery

Sierra Foothills Wine Country

Do you travel to the California wine country? Most likely you have been to Napa Valley and Sonoma.  A getaway to the Sierra Foothills Wine Country is a vastly different experience.  It is much more fun and rewarding. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley wine country. Things have changed there recently, mostly in the cost and some snobbery. Not so in the Sierra Foothills. It is what the Napa Valley was like 25 years ago. We spent three days this last adventure in Amador and El Dorado Counties. We can’t wait to get back.

Sutter Creek

We made our home base in the old gold mining town of Sutter Creek, lodging at the Hanford House Inn. Owners Athena and Robert Gordon have made the Hanford House Inn into a warm, welcoming spot.  The place is cozy and very comfortable. The restaurant at Hanford House Inn is called Element and is currently serving fantastic breakfast dishes. The plan is to have the restaurant open for dinner later in the year.

French Toast at Element Restaurant
French Toast at Element Restaurant

Down the street, the best choice for dinner is the restaurant at the Hotel Sutter. The food is good with nightly specials, a full bar and wine list that includes local wineries. Two new spots are also preparing for dinner openings, Buffalo Chips and Cavana. Buffalo Chips has some fantastic sandwiches.  A good place for coffee and sandwiches is Sina’s Backroads Cafe.


The grilled ham & cheese at Buffalo Chips
The grilled ham & cheese at Buffalo Chips


There are a plethora of quality wine tasting rooms in Sutter Creek, including Sera Fina, Bella Grace, Scott Harvey, Baiocchi, and Yorba. If you can only make it to one tasting room, Yorba is it. Vintner Ann Kramer farms her Shake Ridge Vineyards and has winemaker Ken Bernards produce high-quality wines at reasonable prices that rival wines from any California wine region.

Amador County Wine Trails

Sierra Foothills wine country

The Amador wine country is 15 minutes from Sutter Creek. What we enjoy about this wine region is that most of the wineries are small and family-owned. Tasting rooms are quaint and friendly. Wine tasting fees are either free or no more than $10 per person. We have divided up the wineries into two distinct wine routes. Follow one of these trails and discover the spectacular Shenandoah Valley wine country in Amador.

Fair Play Wineries in El Dorado

From Sutter Creek, the small town of Fair Play and the wineries of Fair Play are approximately a 25-mile drive through the beautiful backroads of both Amador and El Dorado Counties. Two wineries not to be missed in Fair Play are Cedarville Vineyard and Skinner Vineyards. Both make fantastic wines. The Cedarville Viognier and Petite Sirah are delicious. The owners Susan Marks and Jonathan Lachs will make you feel very much at home.

Cedarville Vineyards tasting room
Cozy Cedarville tasting room is located in the wine cellars

For complete information on all the regions of the Sierra Foothills – The Wineries of the Sierra Foothills. Here you will find all the information you need to plan a spectacular wine country getaway.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.