Gold Country: California Gold Country hugs the western slope of the Sierra Nevada and is home to hundreds of wineries. Many offer free tastings, intimate access to the winemaking process and personal welcomes from the winemakers.
– El Dorado County: Wineries in this county are characterized by steep, rugged terrain and known for vibrant reds, particularly barbera and Rhone-style varietals and blends. More than a dozen dog-friendly wineries are members of the Apple Hill Growers Association, whose 54 family-owned farms, ranches, wineries and breweries are located between Placerville and Pollock Pines.
– Placer County: Winemaking here dates back to the Gold Rush, when French ‘49er Claude Chana made his fortune growing fruit, including wine grapes. Most of the county’s 20 wineries and tasting rooms are situated north of Interstate 80 near Auburn and Loomis.
– Nevada County specializes in hand-crafted, mountain-grown wines and rich Gold Country history. The historic towns of Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee offer tasting rooms for sampling wines from the county’s 13 producers and make great base camps for getaways with your dog.
– Amador County, best known for its robust zinfandels, is home to more than 40 tasting rooms in the Shenandoah Valley, Fiddletown, Sutter Creek, Willow Creek and Ione areas. The 143-year-old Original Grandpere Vineyard is the oldest documented zinfandel vineyard in California.
– Calaveras County, friendly and uncrowded, offers more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms that welcome guests in their own unique ways. The picturesque town of Murphys has more than a dozen tasting rooms on its main street, many of them dog-friendly and all within strolling distance of each other.