We like to do the Calaveras Murphys Wine Trail on two separate days. On the first day we drive from Murphys to Vallecito and begin with Twisted Oak Winery. On the second day we stay in downtown Murphys and take a day to stroll, shop, taste, and have lunch. You can also begin your visit to the wineries as you drive up from the San Francisco Bay Area on Highway 4.
Top Wineries on the Calaveras/Murphy Wine Trail
- Twisted Oak Winery – Zany tasting room but seriously good wine
- Irish Vineyards – Small family-run winery
- Chatom Vineyards – Nice picnic, beautifully-balanced wine
- Indian Rock Vineyards – best picnic spot, 21 varieties of wine
- Murphys Downtown Tasting Rooms – 18 to visit
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
This is a handy book for researching the wineries of the Sierra Foothills: Pour Me Another: An Opinionated Guide to Gold Country Wines 2011
Winery Descriptions, Driving Directions, Tasting Room Hours
This is certainly one of the zanier wineries in all of California wine country. Owner Jeff Stai has made sure that wine tasting is all fun and not an uppity, snobby experience you might get in the Napa Valley. Even though the wine experience is about fun, the wines are seriously good. Great care is taken to make the best wines. Spanish and Rhone varietals are the mainstream at Twisted Oak. Twisted Oak is located on Red Hill Road, which runs into Highway 4. Take the unpaved path up to the winery.
Tasting room open Sunday-Friday 11:30-5:30, Saturday 10:30-5:30
(209) 736-9080, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Go to website
This winery is a little hidden, so watch carefully for Parrots Ferry Road coming into Highway 4 on the right. Turn right and then a quick left to the winery. They don’t make any Irish wines here, the family’s last name is Irish, but there is definitely an Irish theme to this winery. Once in a while they will produce a green colored wine for St. Patricks Day. It is actually a white wine with a tinge of green dye added. Irish Vineyards has a good selection of white and red wines and at reasonable prices.
Tasting room 11 to 4 pm, except Wed.& Thurs.
(209) 736-1239, e-mail: email@example.com, Go to website
After leaving Irish Vineyards, head up Highway 4 a short distance and look for the Chatom Winery on the right. All estate wines are made here. The wines are reasonably priced and very delicious. The red wines are bold and fruit forward, so if this is your style you will very much enjoy the wines at Chatom. Among the whites we really like the Chardonnay and the Sauvignon Blanc. There is a nice picnic area, and on hot days Chatom usually runs a misting system around the picnic tables.
Tasting room open daily, 11 to 5 pm
(800) 435-8852, e-mail: Website only, Go to website
Indian Rock Vineyards
Indian Rock does things a little differently than the other 23 wineries in and around the town of Murphys. They prefer to be off the radar, building their clientele on word-of-mouth and on the reputation of their wine. They don’t sell their wine retail; most of it goes to their wine club members and the rest is sold to visitors out of their tasting room. Indian Rock also has a scenic picnic area adjacent to a small pond swimming with jumping trout. Turn right at Pennsylvania Gulch Road and drive about a mile to the winery.
Tasting room is open Friday through Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 and by appointment
(209) 728 8514, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Go to website
Murphys Tasting Rooms
We have visited most of the tasting rooms in Murphys, but we have to narrow it down to a few “must see” tasting rooms. We suggest Tanner, Hatcher, Lavender Ridge, Newsome-Harlow, Frog’s Tooth, and Val Du Vino. If you missed Twisted Oak’s Winery in Vallecito, then hit the tasting room in downtown Murphys. Take and easy stroll along Main Street and you will come across all of these tasting rooms. Val Du Vino is at the very end of downtown on French Gulch Road and is the only working winery in downtown Murphys.