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Time for a Reboot

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

It is time for a Foothills Wino reboot and redesign! Step One: updated logo with the colors of the Sierra Foothills! And for anyone new, here’s our story…

The new Foothills Wino logo is an updated version of the original one bur with the colors of Gold Country added to make it look like the vineyards in the Sierra Foothills

In 2016, empty nesting Abby and I pulled up our Bay Area roots to move to Wine Country. A combination of our love for the mountains and our budget landed us in the Sierra Foothills, more specifically in the Fair Play AVA of El Dorado County. The plan was to plant vines and make the world’s best wine. While the vines were growing, I decided I would study the wines of the world, first becoming a Certified Sommelier and then working my way up through the WSET. I also started working at local wineries and learning as much as I could about the local scene. I quickly became amazed by the world-class quality of many Sierra Foothills wines (I was also amazed at how bad many others are). I became frustrated by how difficult it is to navigate and understand this huge and complex region. In addition, I was constantly being asked for winery recommendations by friends. So, I decide to create to help make the region more understandable and make the great wineries easier to find. The initial version of the website was a huge undertaking. In addition to maps and descriptions of the Foothills’ sub-regions, we had a panel of Sommeliers that blind tasted wines and anonymously visited wineries. It was a big success, and the website was even written up in the San Francisco Chronicle. Then, the pandemic hit. Passing around bottles for blind tastings and making winery visits became impossible. The entire operation became too expensive to run, especially since we were adamantly against accepting any sponsorship or free wine from the local wineries to maintain our objectivity. In the meantime, the Sierra Foothills continued to grow. There are dozens of new and exciting wineries that didn’t even exist when the website was last updated. Despite the neglect, the website stayed up and visitors to the site continued to rise. It clearly serves an important purpose and is in desperate need for relaunch.

Here’s how the updated website will look…

We will continue to have our breakdown of the regions of the Sierra Foothills and organize it into understandable and visitable sub-regions. The focus will remain on Amador and El Dorado counties because that’s where you will find the highest concentration of high-quality wineries. Our star-based system will be replaced by a ratings system. Each winery will be rated on (i) quality of wines, (ii) tasting room facilities, and (iii) hospitality, with a brief explanation for each rating. These ratings will be broken down by region. We will also be providing visitation information (like hours, reservation requirements, and pets) along with additional information (like environmental sustainability practices, ethical farming and production practices, and diversity ownership/hiring/openness practices). These are becoming increasingly important to today’s visitors and make up some of the most-asked questions I receive. We will be providing feature articles about local wineries with interesting stories. To help new visitors, we will also be providing recommended itineraries and food and lodging information. We will have a page devoted to music and special events going on at local wineries each weekend. We will continue to be 100% objective, and we will accept no sponsorship or advertising from any local winery. In order to make this workable, we will start to accept free samples and free tasting visits, but we will not accept any free gifts beyond what we use to make our ratings (and we will not hold it against any winery that simply can’t afford to give anything away).


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