PLACER COUNTY
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Colfax
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Ophir Wines - Newcastle, California

Ophir Wines  ophirwines.com

 

Ophir, California—If you think that Ophir Wines taste finer because of the spectacular setting in which the grapes are grown and wines are made, then how do you explain the fact that they consistently win awards at fairs and competitions as some of the finest, most flavorful products on the market? 

 

The unique microclimate in which the grapes are nurtured includes hot days in the Sierra Nevada foothills with cool nights along the Auburn Ravine.  Add to the mix soils for which gold once sprang forth and you have a the perfect combination for producing award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah and Sirah. 

 

Throughout the year the privately owned winery which is a partnership between several educated gents, opens its doors (fields) for public tastings sponsored by the local organizing groups that promote tourism, wine and the arts. Under the shade of canvas canopies the wines are poured and guests are permitted to stroll through the vineyard atop a hill overlooking the golden, burnished landscape and lovely lake where ducks and geese gently glide.

 

While Ophir Wines in Placer County doesn't regularly offer wine tasting, the owners pull out all the stops during special events in which you'll actually get to meet most the owners and their families. Honest as the long summer day, these hard-working vintners approach the wine craft as an intellectual pursuit. It's second nature to the retired professionals who enjoyed distinguished careers before taking on the challenges of a winemaking. Beginning their partnership as neighbors sharing a common interest in wine grape growing, they teamed up in 1996 to manage their vineyards and make small quantities of wine. Fall picking and spring bottling became occasions to work together in an enjoyable atmosphere filled with friendship. The Wine Brothers, as they came to be known, were bonded in 2001 under the name Ophir Wines. The first release in 2002 received accolades as their wines have in a few short years since they began their enterprise.

By 1895 there were more wineries in this California Mother Lode than in Napa & Sonoma combined.

 

Like so many of the items and produce made and grown in Placer County, pride and quality are top priority in production at Ophir Wines. The owners invest a little more in the product with growing methods that assure better taste for consumers—the results are outstanding.

 

Many wineries in California shop around for the finest grapes to suit each winemaker's preference.  At Ophir Wines, several vineyards are utilized to craft the award-winning wines.  This is where the partnership approach is especially useful in creating the finest product at an affordable price.  Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and limited production Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah come primarily from a 20-year old vineyard on premise. Another more traditional vineyard reflecting the wine growing traditions of France’s Rhône River valley forms the base for the unique Oui Rosé and award-winning Syrah. In addition to these fields, Petite Sirah grapes from a neighbor’s vineyard go into a reserve Petite Sirah that remains in barrel an extra year. Beginning with the 2004 vintage, Ophir Wines acquired additional low yield/high quality fruit of Rhône-style varieties to produce a broader range of blends. Never resting on laurels, Ophir continues to  expand its product line and raise the bar on quality and content.

 

Ophir Wines are grown in what was once the town of Ophir. The name was derived from a biblical term meaning riches of gold.  Ophir had over 500 residents during the California Gold Rush that began in the late 1840s. When a fire destroyed most of the boom town, it was never re-built to previous proportions. Today the name is carried by local businesses and even a school, but the mailing address for this unincorporated region is Newcastle.

 

If you are lucky enough to visit during one of the special wine event weekends, be sure to take a leisurely drive up the shady roads east of Sacramento near Roseville to Ophir Wines. Roseville provides an excellent home base for a weekend of exploration. From wine tasting to food sampling, art galleries to museums, Roseville is ideally situated near smaller communities and Gold Country attractions. It's the largest city in the area, providing newer suites-style hotels with a bedroom, living room and kitchen offered at affordable prices. Starbucks, shopping malls, live theater and many gourmet restaurants have opened in Roseville to provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere next to the old-fashioned villages and towns you'll want to visit and explore. To get there by plane, fly into Sacramento and rent a car. This destination is approximately 35 minutes from the airport.

 

Getting there for a special wine tasting event: From Interstate 80 headed eastbound take the  the Highway 193/Lincoln exit just past Newcastle exit. Follow that around to the right, go under the freeway to a 4-way stoplight. At the stoplight go straight onto Ophir Road. On Ophir Road take the first left which is Lozanos. Go 1 mile on Lozanos until you come to the stop sign. At the stop sign, Lozanos takes a jog - it goes left and then right -- you need to go left and STRAIGHT, which puts you on Chili Hill Road. Go about 2 miles on Chili Hill Road until you come to the intersection with Crater Hill Road (coming in on the right). Santini Lane will be on your left. Signs and balloons mark the location. Go to the very end of Santini Lane to reach Gold Blossom Vineyard.
 

For more information contact Placer Valley Tourism, 300 Harding Blvd., Suite #109, Roseville, CA  95747. Phone: (916) 773-5400. placertourism.com