Helwig Winery • (Sierra Foothills) Amador, CA
Like so many of my adventures, Helwig was discovered on sheer dumb luck. My wife and I were invited to a great charity event for the Triumph Cancer Foundation called Triumph Uncorked. It’s a fantastic summer event at Helwig Winery full of fun people, good music and of course great wine. When I arrived at Helwig, I was on a bus and was escorted directly to their amazing patio and then into the amphitheater all overlooking the beautiful Shenandoah Valley as the sun started to sink toward the horizon. Can you tell I enjoyed it? Yup, it was that beautiful.
I had nothing but good things to say about Helwig after the event but when someone asked me about their wines and winery, I quickly realized that I really didn’t know. So I scheduled a trip to head back up there. I went back later in the summer to take a look around and made sure to wander all around and of course try as many of their wines as they would pour for me.
You’ll first notice the rustic, High Sierras, western feel to the winery. It fits perfectly with the surrounding rolling hills. The vineyard the circles the property is almost seamless.
The Helwig tasting room has a large island tasting bar. It is a large tasting room and can accommodate quite a large group. In fact, the numbers they get on some Saturdays could literally overwhelm many of the small boutique wineries in the area. Helwig is good at what they do so expect some good traffic moving through there. Although dropping by mid-week is the best, especially if you want to have a great conversation about the wine with the person behind the counter.
Behind the tasting room is a spacious patio, both covered and uncovered, over looking the beautiful valley below. I won’t attempt to describe it because words won’t do it justice. My suggestion is simple. After your tasting, buy a bottle of their Barbera, grab your lunch and enjoy the view. You’ll thank me later.
When get to the tasting room, if you see a young guy behind the bar with a bit of a New York, hipster sensibility shooting witty comments as he pours like a mad man, you should say hello. You might have just bumped into the Tasting Room manager Jack. Helwig has some great folks working and he is no exception. He is full of information, loves to share it but has no desire to force it onto anyone. The last thing he wants is to make anyone feel uncomfortable and is very attentive to novices. Good people… good wine.
“If you want to mix reds and whites and drink through a straw… whatever blows your hair back. I want to teach and share but more importantly, we want you to be happy and enjoy yourself.” Jack – Helwig Winery
11555 Shenandoah Valley Road
Plymouth CA 95669
How to get there:
Head east from Sacramento on HWY 50 toward South Lake Tahoe. Exit Watt Avenue (to the right) South. Follow Watt Avenue just over 1 mile and turn left on Jackson Road/HWY. Follow Jackson HWY for 29 miles into the rolling foothills. Just after you enter the two of Amador, turn right onto Shenandoah Road. Shenandoah Road quickly veers off to the left and heads further up into the hills. This is Amador wine country. Helwig Winery is about 4 miles down Shenandoah Road on the left.