Calaveras County – 41 Wineries, 3 traffic Lights

With his short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” Mark Twain brought attention to this small region in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. A century and a half later, Calaveras County is celebrating its notoriety as one of California’s premium wine growing wine regions, now home to 41 wineries.Visiting the sleepy little town of Murphy’s will conjure up images of an earlier time when fortune seekers filled the saloons and boarding houses during the height of the gold rush. A handful of immigrants brought grape vine cuttings along with their gold pans and sluice boxes, soon realizing that they could make more money selling wine to the miners than with the back breaking work of prospecting.

In 1870 there were over 100 wineries operating in Calaveras County. Eventually, the mines played out and prohibition put an end to this once thriving industry leaving the majority of the old vineyards unattended for the next 50 years. The current renaissance began in the 70’s, as new vineyards were planted and the old vineyards were brought back into production. “Old Vine” zinfandel is some of the most intense and complex wine found on planet Earth and Calaveras County is home to a handful of vineyards over 100 years old!

A visit will reward you with great wines, friendly tasting rooms and a touch of history at no additional charge. You might even catch one of Dan’l Webster’s relatives and see how far he can jump!