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Sacramento is frequently thought of as the City of Trees, the Emerald City and/or the River City. However, there are plenty of wineries tucked away within an hour drive or less of the city, and getting to them is half the fun given the scenery and attractions along the way.

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Placer Region Secret Ravine Vineyard & Winery
Placer County Wine Region
4390 Gold Trail Way
Loomis, CA 95650

On the way to Lake Tahoe off Interstate 80 – a 10 minute drive from Loomis, which is considered the backyard of Roseville – you will find the Secret Ravine, owned by Vicky and Ron Morris. “Our vineyard and winery operation is a family owned and operated business with each family member contributing their talent to the business,” says Vicky. “Our grandson Chris is the winemaker, learning that skill from his grandfather and also attending numerous classes and programs at UC Davis. Others contribute their skills as engineers, accountants and consultants and there experience at tasting many wines throughout France, Italy and Germany. We grow quality grapes in the Loomis Basin; our motto is ‘Fine wines from local grapes.” Placer Region Secret Ravine Vineyard & Winery is located minutes from I-80 at the corner of Barton Road and Gold Trail Way, across the road from Indian Creek Golf Course. It is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Putah Creek Winery
Yolo County Wine Region
110 F St, Suite D Downtown
Davis, CA 95616

Putah Creek Winery has been local to Davis, California since 2006 with its tasting room strategically planted in the college town that boasts the likes of the University of California Davis. Given its victories in the San Francisco Chronicle and California State Fair Wine Competition, Putah is a contender! From its unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, Tannat, and Syrah Silver prizes last year to its Syrah and Tannat Gold prizes the year before last, Putah promises to continue to cultivate leading class celebratory colleagues.

Putah expresses its social consciousness out of gratitude to its patrons via its Give Back Tuesday program. In doing so, an organization is selected every month that will receive 15 percent of total bottle sales made on Tuesdays at the end of the month. There are also group tastings with especially tantalizing a la carte hors d’oeurves such as smoked salmon, lobster deviled eggs and syrah infused truffles.

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St. Amant Wine
Lodi San Joaquin County Wine Region
1 Winemaster Way
Lodi, CA 95240

St. Amant is a great winery, winning gold and silver medals from this year’s 2015 SF Chronicle Wine Competition and Cliff Brown’s Wine Picks Wine of the Week. It featured St. Amant’s 2012 Mohr-Fry Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel, described as a “ruby to garnet color and tastes of baking spices, dusty minerals, black pepper, and dark bittersweet chocolate.” Visit the tasting room that’s open from noon – 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

Cielo Estate
Eldorado County Wine Region
3040 Ponderosa Road
Shingle Springs, CA 95682

Cielo Estate is that extravagance we deny ourselves, but nevertheless long for. It features a gazebo,a  romantic cave, and an estate wondrous enough for weddings and the most special of events. Do drop by Cielo Estate Thursday through Sunday afternoons for tastings. Try the unusually delightful Grade Reserve and Reserve series featuring 2009 Fenaughty Vineyard from Apple Hill, El Dorado County that exhibits “smoky bacon notes with rich luscious red fruit and hints of tarragon ad balanced oak.”

Bella Grace Vineyards
Amador County Wine
Region 73 Main St.
Sutter Creek, CA 95685

Bella Grace is known for its sustainabily cared for wine grapes and olive oil trees within the Sierra Foothills, along with its tasting center in Sutter Creek. The vintners are fond of sustainable practices and take leadership in using drip irrigation out of respect for the environment. Now put on the statewide map ever since winning “Best of California”awards for its Barbera and Grenache Blanc wines, locals know BellaGrace best for the many music events held at the Sutter Creek Tasting location.

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Karen Hansen M.S. Earth Sciences, has been writing about earth and the environmental sciences for since May of 2010 in addition to having been an educator and consultant who has facilitated over 200 courses for a private university. Karen loves to learn and write about clean disruptive technology and policies and the people on the planet too. She lives and works in Sacramento, CA. You can find her work at SF Solar Energy Examiner, SF Environmental News Examiner and Environmental News Examiner