Highway 49--Gold Rush Country
Sobon Estate Winery & Vineyards 14430 Shenandoah Rd., (209) 245-6554. Tasting daily 9:30-5.
This winery began back in 1856—before the Civil War--as the D’Agostini Winery and stayed open during Prohibition by producing sacramental wine. It is the oldest continuously producing winery in the state. Now, using its own sustainably farmed, estate-grown grapes, Sobon makes a range of distinctive varietals, including some delicious old-vine Zinfandels as well as the colorful Vicious Red line of red wines. Stand-out Zins to sample in the woodsy, award-laden tasting room, which was formerly a bottling room, include Rocky Top (grown in decomposed granite), Cougar Hill (grown in volcanic ash), and Fiddletown (from a 101-year-old vineyard). Plenty of picnic tables are positioned around the scenic surrounding grounds, through which meanders a nice little “crick” that originates from an old mine across the street.
On site, the Shenandoah Valley Museum displays a well-marked collection of dusty old wine-making artifacts, farm tools, and household items in the cellar of the original 1856 winery house built from wood cut right on the property.
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video ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers