The Fiddletown AVA is in Amador County and sits adjacent to the Shenandoah Valley, but at a higher elevation. If the soils were any less fertile, they simply would not be able to sustain vineyards, but this feature produces extracted Zinfandel with dark pigments, strong tannins, and high alcohol.

Fiddletown has perhaps the most inhospitable terrain for grape growing in the state. Soils are high in iron and made of decomposed granite. Farming without irrigation is very difficult here, but when it is successful, the resulting grapes have impressive flavor concentration.

There are a few Fiddletown wineries, but many of the grapes grown in the region are sold to non-resident wine producers. Renwood Winery is located in the nearby Shenandoah Valley and purchases Zinfandel from Fiddletown Wine Country. Rombauer also buys grapes from the region.

Fiddletown’s climate is a little cooler than its neighbors, but Fiddletown Zinfandel has higher alcohol and jammier fruit flavors than examples from El Dorado County, which are typically a little lighter and more acidic.

The history of Fiddletown Wineries is closely tied to the Gold Rush. After the gold dried up, cattle, agriculture, and tourism became the biggest industries in the region. There are currently about 325 acres of vineyards in the area. (Wine/Appellations)