Winegrape growers have been a part of the Apple Hill Growers Association since the 1960s and the first commercial winery, Boeger Winery, started in 1972. Today, there are nine tasting rooms, each providing a unique taste of the Sierra Foothills.
It turns out that what’s good for apples is also good for grapes! The El Dorado County American Viticultural Area (AVA) is characterized by changing elevations, rich volcanic soil, warm days and cool nights. Apple Hill’s dynamic terroir is ideal for many varieties of grapes.
One of the newest tasting rooms has some of the oldest roots. The Delfino Family, perhaps best known for their mouth-watering bake shop, has been growing grapes alongside apples and berries on their farm for decades. Now instead of selling them to other winemakers, they opened Edio Vineyards last year during the pandemic.
Edio and Joan Delfino started their Camino farm in 1964. Edio was one of the founders of the Apple Hill Growers Association. Today Edio and Joan’s son Chris and his four children, Christine, Peter, Benjamin and Derek run Delfino Farms. Three of the four Delfino siblings went to Cal Poly and studied agriculture and viticulture and got their feet wet working in wineries in San Luis Obispo County. The youngest has been learning the best ways to manage the farm from his father.
The third generation brings innovations to the farm and the addition of the tasting room, dedicated to the family patriarch, provides a showcase for their traditional hard ciders and new vintage wines. The family sees Edio Vineyards as a continuation of the family’s agricultural heritage
“We are overjoyed to start this new journey as a family,” said Christine Delfino Noonan, co-owner and general manager. “We want the legacy of our grandparents and parents to live on through our commitment to this farm, while changing and adapting so it can continue to grow.”
Today, their new modern tasting room is open and has quickly become a popular destination. The huge deck overlooks the apple orchard and grape vines, with the mountains in the distance. It’s a gorgeous place to sit back, relax and enjoy the view – and the wine. The tasting room is currently pouring Albariño, Robyn’s Rhone White Blend, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Pinot Noir and a Rhone blend as well as their classic Henrietta Stitch Hard Cider. Guests are already impressed.
“It was a tricky time for a winery to open, for sure, but well worth the trip up 50,” said Carmen Raggio, a wine lover from Sacramento. “Their gorgeous patio has one of the best views in the area. I was surprised by their wines – nuanced, well balanced and sophisticated. I especially loved the Grenache and Albariño. Our server was well versed in the wines and able to tell us much about them. It was a near perfect experience with great wines in a beautiful setting.”
Coming soon, we’ll shine the spotlight on another one of Apple Hill’s newer wineries, Starfield Vineyards. In the meantime, anytime is a good time to visit and sample some of the best wines in El Dorado County. For a list of wineries and cideries, visit our website.
Don’t forget to check out our Apple Hill events calendar for unique experiences throughout the year. For more information and a map of the area, please visit http://applehill.com/ and follow @applehillofficial on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-the-minute information.