By Lisa Rowlands

Established as an AVA in 1983, Fiddletown’s winemaking history dates back to the Gold Rush of 1848. Many of those who flocked west in search of gold, settled in this area bringing winemaking traditions from Europe. The industry took off immediately, and by the turn of the twentieth century the wider Amador County area was home to some one-hundred plus wineries. Of course like all American regions, production was halted by Prohibition, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that the vines were rediscovered and the practice of winemaking was revitalised. Today, the appellation covers an area of four-thousand-five-hundred hectares, of which just four-hundred hectares are planted to vine, and a notable proportion of Fiddletown’s Zinfandel varietals come from vines that are almost a century old.

The climate here is characterised by warm, dry days of intense sunshine and much cooler evenings, a pattern accentuated by the persistent breeze from the Sierra Nevada mountains. This significant diurnal temperature variation produces grapes of superb balance and complexity. Hilly terrain, well exposed south and west facing slopes, high elevation and soils that are low in fertility, lead to small yields of intensely flavoured fruit and subsequently, elegant and concentrated wines.