Best California Wine Event of the Summer: The Barbera Festival

Ever since the Wine Institute put me on their wine writers list, I get invitations to all kinds of events from all over the state.  My favorite is the Barbera Festival, held each June in Amador County.  I'm looking forward with anticipation to this year's festival.  If it's not already sold out... you should go!  Tickets are sold at for $50 general admission and BRAVO FOR THIS! $30 for Designated Drivers.

This year, the fifth one, the festival moves to the historic Terra D'oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards in Plymouth.   Saturday June 13 is the date.

The organizers call Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyard  "the original home of barbera in Amador County."   It is located at 20680 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth.
All proceeds from The Barbera Festival benefit the Amador Community Foundation.

“Terra d’Oro is one of the fabled vineyards in Amador County’s distinctive barbera tradition,” said co-organizer Brian Mueller of the new venue.  “With its beautiful meadow spotted with ancient oaks tucked among Terra d’Oro’s hillside vineyards, everyone will have a little more elbow room. We look forward to continuing a barbera tasting tradition like no other in California.”

Miller, who coordinates the participating wineries for the Festival and is the proprietor of Amador 360 in Plymouth, reports that, “as in previous years, we will host nearly 80 wineries from all over California, including the Sierra Foothills, Paso Robles,Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake County, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ventura County, Lodi and the Bay Area.”

"All of us here at Terra d’Oro are VERY excited to host the 2015 Barbera Festival!” said Jeff Meyers, Terra d’Oro Vice President and General Manager. “We are long-time supporters and producers of this very important Italian variety and feel privileged to be the host of this prestigious event and can’t wait to get started on it!"

Barbera-friendly cuisine for the Festival is provided by top area restaurants and caterers, including the prestigious Zagat-rated Restaurant Taste, local favorite Incahoot’s BBQ, premier Andrae's Bakery, the "fiery" tastes of Wood, Fire & Smoke, and more.

Barbera originated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. In California, over 7,000 acres of barbera are planted. Louis Martini, produced the first varietal barbera in Napa in 1954. Today, nearly 200 California wineries produce barbera wines.

Sacramento’s internationally distinguished wine expert, Darrell Corti, explains, “The history of barbera in Amador County begins at Monteviña in 1971. This variety was one of the first ‘new’ varieties to the County commercially planted by Cary Gott at his new winery called Monteviña. The first vintage in modern times, if not the first ever, was in 1974. There is no reason why Amador County growers, several generations from now, could not look with pleasure on their ‘old vine’ barbera vineyards much as they now do with their old vine zinfandel vineyards.”

Barbera is known for its generous acid structure and low tannin levels producing a smooth wine that pairs well with food.  Barbera styles range from bright flavors of tart cherry, raspberry, and spice, to riper styles evoking flavors black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, and vanilla.

Tickets include admittance, wine tasting and commemorative wine glass. Food, provided by top restaurants and caterers, is sold separately.  Beer and white wines are also available for purchase. Free parking is provided.

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