Nevada City Winery
The Oldest Operating Winery in Nevada County
A History of the Region
The first vineyards adorned the slopes of California’s foothills in the 1800s, planted by new settlers to supply the influx of thirsty gold miners. By the 1860s the region’s wine industry was booming. It was home to 450,000 vines and producing over 20,000 gallons of wine annually. In 1880, Nevada City Winery made its first appearance and reportedly produced over 8,000 gallons of wine that year alone. However, when the Gold Rush ended and Prohibition began, the commercial wine industry was put to rest – and it was for one hundred years.
Sierra Foothills Viticulture
The Sierra Foothills Appellation is one of the largest American Viticultural Areas in California, consisting of 2.6 million acres. The warm, high-altitude terroir is perfect for the cultivation and production of big, ripe, red wines that range from the traditional Zinfandel to Italian varietals and far beyond.
The rocky soils have low fertility, producing high-quality grapes. The vines are forced to dig their roots deep into the ground for water and nutrients, often resulting in small yields with intense, concentrated flavors. These make ideal circumstances for desirable grapes and exceptional wines.
About Nevada City Winery
Our founder grew up in small-town Nevada City and later traveled and studied in Europe, where he ended up completely enamored by the production and consumption of wine. When he returned to the Sierra Foothills, his vision took root. He was convinced Nevada County offered the soils and climate to, “make wines that challenge the world’s best.”
Nevada City Winery made the first modern vintage in 1980 with grapes from the only producing vineyard at that time. Our doors opened that same year with the motto “if you grow them, we’ll crush them” encouraging anyone interested to plant grapes. The winery’s early support of cultivating local vineyards revitalized the wine industry in Nevada County which continues to grow each year. The Sierra Foothills appellation was officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1987.
Nevada City Winery celebrated its fortieth vintage in 2020, having made over 600 different wines since opening. We lie just two blocks from where the original Nevada City Winery began, still nestled between the same brick buildings and Victorian houses laid down by hopeful gold miners in the 1800s. As we harvest each summer and crush each vintage, we strive to bring back the golden history of our foothills and showcase the best of what our region has to offer.