Nevada County was part of the great California gold rush, yet is now part of the Sierra Foothills AVA where a new gold rush of vineyards and wine has replaced the old hard rock miners. Those mines rich in gold were in granite, now underlying the lean soils of the regions vines.
Established in 1987 on the western up slopes of the Sierra Nevada the Sierra Foothills AVA , stretches from Yuba County in the north to Mariposa County in the south, placing Nevada County in the northern region of this vast AVA.
Wine grapes were first planted here during the California Gold Rush, but like so many California regions rich in wine history, prohibition took it's toll and the area declined. Winemaking re-emerged and flourished only within the past thirty years and is rapidly reshaping itself here.
Like much of Northern California, the area has a classic Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and rainy winters. But Nevada County is at elevations that often have snow in winter months in higher areas around Grass Valley and Nevada City.
Nevada County's four distinct seasons, and its range of elevations and landscapes, makes it a fertile home for more than forty varieties of wine grapes, ranging from Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon to Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Sangiovese and Tempranillo. Grape growers and winemakers here have learned to use that variety that nature gives them, and to combine it with premiere winemaking techniques and styles to create surprising wines of depth and complexity.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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