El Dorado Wineries
American Viticultural Area
This print by artist Kerne Erickson depicts the El Dorado AVA in El Dorado County of the Sierra Foothills AVA. El Dorado became an AVA in 1983. The city of Placerville is located in this region. Its vines are planted between 1200 and 3500 feet. Because of the vineyards being planted at these elevations the El Dorado AVA is cooled rather than by the fog that is common to the coastal regions. In conjunction with the climate, there are three basic soil types determining the characteristics of the region: fine-grained volcanic rock, decomposed granite and fine-grained shale. Varying in elevation and topography, each soil offers good drainage and the nutrients needed to encourage vines producing rich, deeply flavored grapes. These micro climates provide ideal locations for growing a wide variety of grapes identified with the world's finest wine regions, including Bordeaux, the Rhône, Germany, Italy and Spain. El Dorado grows approximately 50 different varieties of grapes, ranging from Gewürztraminer, which does best in the higher and cooler portions of the county, to Zinfandel and Barbera, which ripen perfectly in warmer climates.