Downtown Grass Valley is quickly becoming a wine lover’s hot spot, within a two block distance in historic downtown there are 5 different tasting rooms representing a diverse selection of locally grown wines. Here’s a quick cheat sheet if you’re heading to Nevada County and want a fun, affordable outing.
Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery
Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery is family owned and has a cozy tasting room on the corner of Mill and Neal Street (right next to the Del Oro Theater entrance). The warm and welcoming staff will make you feel right at home within minutes of stepping through the doors. Mario and Linda Clough began planting the family owned winery in 1999 and opened for business in 2002. Stop by Lucchesi to sample one of their many wines; Pinot Grigio, White Port, Syrah or Tempranillo and Petit Sirah. Owner Linda Clough believes Grass Valley “will become a destination for wine lovers. Most people love to visit 3 or 4 tasting rooms at one time and it’s great to have the tasting rooms so close.” Lucchesi is open 7 days a week from 12-5:30.
Avanguardia Wines are not your typical blends, but a “cutting edge” variety of wines that “specialized in different blends”, according to Christi, the tasting room Manager. She poured us a tasting of Selvatico, Cristallo, Due Fiori, Amatore, Premiato and Sangineto. She passionately believes that “If you’re not a wine drinker you’ll be asking yourself why” after you visit their tasting room on Mill St. Complimentary tastings are available from 12-5.
Smith Vineyard Tasting Room has transformed the former bar Bunce’s on Mill Street into a gorgeous tasting room with both indoor and outdoor seating. The organically farmed family vineyard opened for business in 1987 and has been hand crafting small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Primitivo every since. The tasting room is open 12-6 on weekdays, closed Tuesdays and open 12-7 on weekends. Live music every Saturday evening.
Sierra Star Vineyard
Sierra Starr Vineyard is located in the old El Dorado Savings building at the intersection of Main Street and Mill Street. In addition to a wide selection of wines available for complimentary tastings the tasting room also offers seasonal special food events. Recently they served up a special Easter tastings, Starr Bright Champagne with Artichoke & Red Pepper spread, 2009 Reserve Cosmic Chardonnay with PJ’s of Nevada City Mahogany double smoked ham and 2007 Phil’s Selection Zinfandel with The James Ranch roast lamb. Check their website to see if any future food events, because it’s a fabulous way to sample local food with local wines. Jack Starr, Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemaker, claims that Sierra Starr is “an outstanding wine for the price.” He recommends the Jack’s Blend. The tasting room is open 12-5 every day.
Grass Valley Wine Company
The newest tasting is the Grass Valley Wine Company, a joint venture with Bent Metal, Pilot Peak and Solune Winegrowers. The tasting room is open Thursday through Mondays noon to 6:00 and open late Winemakers Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tastings are complimentary, a flight of 6 wines is $5 and wines are sold by the glass. Have a seat at the 40 foot poured concrete bar and chat with one of the owners on Winemaker Wednesday or stop by during a Monday Madness after 4pm for a $4 glass of wine In honor of their recent openings the Outside Inn has a special Facebook promotion for the rest of April. Check in at the Outside Inn on your mobile phone next time you’re in Nevada City and get a coupon for 20% of a bottle of wine at Grass Valley Wine Company.