El Dorado Wine Region
California’s El Dorado wine-producing region is situated at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. With a low-alpine climate—warm days and cool nights are ideal for growing grapes for wine—the area is home to about 50 wineries, producing dozens of celebrated wine varietals.
Officially known as the El Dorado American Viticultural Area (AVA), the relatively small region’s wineries offer more than 70 distinct varietals with unique flavors and styles. There are a handful of small inns, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants in the nearby town of Placerville. Many visitors opt for a guided tour of the area’s wineries from South Lake Tahoe, which is about 90 minutes away by car.
Things to Know Before You Go
The El Dorado wine region is ideal for wine lovers visiting the Lake Tahoe area.
Weather can change drastically in a single day, with cool mornings and evenings, so bring layers for warm and cool temperatures.
El Dorado County has an elevation of 1,608 feet (490 meters), so be aware that the air may be slightly thinner than you are used to.
The area has a rich history as home to the Miwok Indians and later the heart of California’s Gold Country.
How to Get There
El Dorado County is located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range between Lake Tahoe and Sacramento. Placerville, the nearest town, and the El Dorado wine region itself can be reached by Highway 50.
When to Get There
El Dorado is a year-round vacation destination with water sports, hiking, mountain biking, and annual wine festivals all summer, harvest festivals in the fall, and Christmas markets in the winter. The area has relatively mild seasons with average temperatures of 55°F (13°C) in the winter and 85°F (29°C) in the summer.
Folsom Lake State Recreation Area borders the El Dorado wine region to the east and offers access to the American River, with picnic areas, fishing, boating, hiking, and other outdoor and water activities. The recreation area is dog- and family-friendly, and there is a daily parking fee per car.