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'Behind the Cellar Door' 2014 coming soon

BellaGrace wine cave
BellaGrace wine cave
Susan Raines

Amador County wine lovers have already marked their calendars. In fact, they typically have it marked every year on the first weekend of March. In 2014, the participating 37 Amador Vintners Association wineries will be pouring their featured wines along with offering food pairing, educational seminars, music and an abundance of good personality and charm.

Visitors in the thousands are expected to be traveling the Behind the Cellar Door route on March 1 and 2 in order to sample new releases, confirm their favorites and share their love for fine wine with family and friends. The annual event is frequented by new local fans as well as those who travel across multiple states to spend the weekend in Amador County. Wineries on the route include the areas of Shenandoah Valley, Fiddletown, Sutter Creek,Willow Creek and Ione.

First time BCD visitors can be overwhelmed by the number of wineries available to visit as well as the amount of wine at hand. Veteran BCDers know to take it slow and steady, hitting the spots they've noted as offering particular wines they want to taste, live music in a style they love, or their favorite landscapes and beautiful scenes. For returning BCDers it's a good idea to make sure to visit one, two or maybe half a dozen wineries that may have been overlooked in prior years. Every one of AVA wineries has something unique and delightful to offer. Some will hit high score thumbs on your personal scale of what is viewed as good while others may only ring a small bell. The only way to know for sure is to stop in and check them out.

A new event is being offered this year on the Friday, Feb. 28 before the official BCD starts. "The Winemaker Reception" will run from 7 to 9:00 p.m. at Terra d'Oro in their spacious barrel cellar. The reception is a fundraiser for the American River College Culinary Arts program and Amador Vintners Association. Guests will have an opportunity to visit star Amador winemakers and sample foods paired to "match the region's varieties like Barberas, Zinfandels, Viognier and more."

For more information, ticket prices, times and routes, please see the official Amador Vintners Association website here. Presale tickets are available with a $5.00 savings and designated driver tickets are also offered. For a complete list of articles featuring Amador County wineries, please check out the "Steiner 'Wine & Spoon' first thumbs up in 2014" article.