Amador County is starting to feel the busy buzz of the upcoming "Behind the Cellar Door" as they prepare for thousands of visitors to the foothills. Wine lovers will soon arrive eager to taste from the seemingly endless choices offered by 36 participating wineries. The Amador Vintners Association approaches the event as serious business with a great deal of celebration of the outstanding product that the foothill vintners have created from a broad range of grape varieties including the ever popular Zinfandel. Zin is "one of California's signature grape varieties and is also Amador County's specialty, representing over two-thirds of the county's 3,330 acres of bearing vines."
Among the feverishly preparing wineries double checking their kitchen stock for food pairing and organizing wine tasting areas to accommodate larger crowds is Bray Vineyards. Fifteen extra sets of helping hands have signed on as volunteers to help serve, educate, and even entertain the crowds along with 13 employees, one accordion player, and a plentitude of soon-to-be tired feet. Eric Burns prepares to fire up his famous three-ways chili at Bray with 40 pounds of onions, 50 pounds of ground beef, and 40 pounds of ground turkey as well as a heaping basket of portabella mushrooms intended for the vegetarian chili.
According to the master chili chef Burns, few people realize he has a vegetarian chili but three ways means traditional beanless beef in red sauce, white chili with turkey, also beanless, and red sauce vegetarian with mushroom, corn, zucchini and peppers. The chef is adamant about deliciously fulfilling his three-way chili history and encourages visitors to sample all three and discover the joys of pairing his savory fixings with the eight Bray wines available for tasting as well as two ports.
Bray Vineyards is in the heart of California's Shenandoah Valley and is a fine example of the kind of vineyard and winery that has grown out of love for the land, family dedication, and hard work. Oliver and Robin Bray established the vineyard on 50 acres of land in 1996 and began supplying Zinfandel and Sangiovese grapes to local wineries. In 2004 they brought in their own winemaker, John Hoddy, and by April of that year opened their doors to the public for the first time. "Behind the Cellar Door" visitors can look forward to discovering Bray ambrosia and charm on the route at 10590 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth.
- Behind the Cellar Door wine tasting event
- March 2-3, 2013 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Tickets available from Amador Vintners Association