Greetings, fellow travelers and wine lovers. I’m Pam Baker, a freelance food, wine and travel writer based in Sacramento, California. I’m delighted to introduce you to a new column for Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. Each month we’ll explore wine regions, wine-tasting experiences, wine cruises, and all things wine-related.
It seems fitting that I kick off this column by telling you about one of my favorite wine regions—Clarksburg Wine Country.
Just 15 minutes from Sacramento, this undiscovered, unhurried wine region in the California Delta feels like a world away. A rich farming region that runs alongside the winding Sacramento River, the Delta is full of pear orchards, grape vines, small towns, and California history. A delta breeze travels up the river from San Francisco Bay to cool the region’s grapes at night. Chenin Blanc, Petite Sirah, Viognier and Chardonnay grapes grow well here.
Life slows down when you hit the Delta. Its family-run wineries provide inviting stops to sample the region’s varietals. Miner’s Leap, just outside Clarksburg on Highway 160, boasts a spacious outdoor setting for wine tasting and picnics. Scribner Bend, farmers since 1893 and winemakers since 2001, provides a small but lovely picnic area surrounded by roses next to its tasting room. Heringer Estates, a long-time local wine grower and maker just opened a tasting room on the family’s vineyard estate. Even Bogle Winery, a family-run company that has grown from a mom and pop operation 50 years ago to an international wine distributor, has a wine tasting room that retains its original charm. Nearby, Old Sugar Mill, a renovated sugar beet production facility, is home to fifteen tasting rooms and several year-round wine events. My favorite here is Kirchhoff Wines.
Some wineries, started by local grape growers turned winemakers, are so small they don’t even have their own tasting room. But that’s not a problem. Husick’s BBQ and Taphouse, in tiny Clarksburg, serves wines from newly minted winemakers like Twisted Rivers and Muddy Boot.
There are now twenty wineries in this region. Custom wine tours are available through DeltaHeartBeatTours.com. Nearby Westin Sacramento, overlooking the Sacramento River, is a short drive to Freeport, gateway to the Delta, on Interstate 5. VisitCaDelta.com for more info.