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Friday Fishwrap: Random Jottings at Week's End
Placerville: Wine Country on the Way to Ski Country

By Charles Olken

I used to think of Placerville as a place to get gas on the way Lake Tahoe, and whether I was headed to up to skiing at Heavenly in mid-winter, as has been threatened by my kids and grandkids or for a summertime layaround on the shores of the Lake, there was not much reason to stop for long in and around Placerville, the several block long commercial district immediately adjacent to Highway 50 about halfway from the Bay to the Tahoe Basin.

That was before I discovered wine and the wine industry discovered, or indeed, rediscovered the potential to make really interesting wine in the Sierra Foothills. Now, I find Placerville irresistible, whether for a great cup of “joe” or glass of wine. But, Placerville itself, as nice as it is with its small town charm, is not what really gets me out of my car at midpoint from here to there. It is the wineries that sit just off Highway 50 just north of Placerville in the Apple Hill District. Although not afforded its own AVA as yet, but deserving of one in my mind as the home to dozens of producers including the well-known Lava Cap and Madrona wineries. Nearby are such stalwarts as Boeger and Miraflores.

Picnicking on the deck at Lava Cap is one of our favorite stops, but, frankly, we have also simply pulled off the road into the Apple Hill area and found a vista under a friendly shade tree in midsummer for our break from traffic and sitting in one place for hours.

If you find yourself heading up to the Sierras via Highway 50, now the Olken’s preferred route instead of the freeway conditions on I-80, and you want a break, think Placerville, and in particular think Apple Hill and its neighbors.

Check out these websites for more details:

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