Apple Hill Hidden Gems: Part 1
“Let’s go to Apple Hill.”
Rich and I have known each other since our Napa High days back in the late 70s and early 80s. Our birthdays are five days apart, my own falling on September 1st and his on September 6th. We’re both Napa Valley natives, who are both living in San Francisco. I’ve often walked into his Laurel Heights neighborhood from our Inner Richmond address.
We’ve both settled down with our respective spouses, both Chinese as it turns out, another parallel and a common source of humor and cultural exchange. Rich and I are both of European decent, German and Italian respectively, as the early Napa Valley immigrants were usually Catholic and loved their wine.
Over the past eleven years we’ve often celebrated our birthdays together. Usually, it’s been meeting for dinner and buying each other’s meals…which amounted to dividing the check. But still it was fun and we got to catch up.
But this time…Rich threw out a great suggestion, “Let’s go to Apple Hill.”
Apple Hill? Where’s that?
The Apple Hill refers to El Dorado County’s Apple Hillsm Growers Association. It’s been around for over 50 years. This association’s membership includes a lot of apple growers, of course, some pear growers, many small specialty bakeries, roadside gift shops (apple-themed of course), craft breweries, and a few excellent wineries.
On pure instinct and good luck we ended up at Wofford Acres Vineyard…because it was as far away from the beaten path as the map showed. What a treasure!
Wofford Acres Vineyards
Ann, our host and wine server, had her tasting table set up overlooking a valley of mixed Oak and Ponderosa Pine. To the West were the hills capturing the valley like a well framed photo.
Ann is one of the owners and is a real character. Entertaining and informative, she was a charismatic part of our visit there and we recommend chatting her up if you get the chance.
Ann served us two hard apple ciders, a Nebiolo/Petite Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, Iowa Hills Red Wine, and their popular LaMancha. Yum!
We tasted their South Forks Hard Apple Cider that was more like an Apple Wine, clean, dry and light. Very interesting and delicious. We really connected with their wines!
We ended up taking home three bottles from Wofford Acres Vineyards:
- 2017 LaMancha
- 2016 Syrah
- Mixed Vintage Iowa Hills Red Wine
Go! Just go and you’ll enjoy the drive, the wine, the people, and the land. It’s a full, sensorial experience. Just don’t get too tipsy as it is a long and winding road back to the main road…and there are families that live and traverse this road…with their children travelling this road, too.
Wofford Acres Vineyards
1900 Hidden Valley Lane
Open year round
Call for hours at (888) 928-9643 or (530) 626-6858