The Ranch Report
Step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and join us for an off-the-beaten-path experience at Shadow Ranch. In the heart of Fair Play wine country, we’re a family-owned winery about an hour away from Sacramento in El Dorado County. Navigate our rustic Gold Rush era-style buildings, take in the picturesque surroundings atop the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and savor every sip of wine from our Shadow Ranch and Sheriff Collections.
Come On By!
We’re excited to introduce new tasting options to the Shadow Ranch tasting room. From your everyday selections to a seated experience, there’s something for everyone. Open Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m, you can visit us in the heart of Somerset, California. Simply navigate our four unique wine tasting options and wrangle in the best option for you!
Looking for a more laid-back wine tasting? Join us at our tasting bar and sip on a selection of wines from our high elevation sites. These wines are designed to capture the essence and unique terroir of the Sierra Nevada foothills and represent the best that El Dorado has to offer!
High Elevation Estate Tasting
If you’re looking for a more elevated experience, look no further! Enjoy a private wine tasting on the outdoor patio paired with delicious charcuterie and breathtaking vineyard and mountain views. Taste your way through a selection of wines from the Shadow Ranch Collection, and get a sneak peek into limited-release wines (based on availability).
Large Group Tasting
Planning an event for a larger herd? Round up your friends and family and head over to Shadow Ranch for a large group wine tasting. Groups of 7 or more can enjoy a private seated tasting.
Reserved Winemaker Tour & Barrel Tasting
For the most personalized experience, lasso in your reservation for the Reserved Winemaker Tour and Barrel Tasting. Stroll through our Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard and wine cellar and delight in an exclusive barrel tasting and walking tour with our winemaker and owner, Sam Patterson. As you tour the grounds, he will guide you through his grape growing and winemaking process. After your tour, enjoy a seated wine tasting in our private tasting room.
Select Your Wine Tasting Adventure
While reservations are not required, they help us build a more personalized wine tasting experience for you! So, whether you choose the Shadow Select tasting at the bar, the outdoor High Elevation Estate wine tasting, round up the crew for a Large Group experience, or try a personalized Winemaker Tour and Barrel Tasting, we will do our best to make sure you enjoy every sip of the best wines that El Dorado has to offer. Reserve your spot today and we'll see you around the ranch!
When it comes to the vineyards, spring is a beautiful time of year. Poppies and tulips are blooming between the rows, the vines are waking up, and the buds are bursting to break. Just as spring is the season of new growth, it is also the season to get to work. Spring into Sam’s world and see what he’s up to in the vineyards!
Pruning & Suckering
Precise pruning is one of the most fundamental vineyard tasks and is essential for the upcoming harvest as it helps to regulate growth, productivity, and the quality of the fruit. But pruning goes beyond the current harvest—excessive productivity may seem like a great thing, but it can cut down on the lifespan of the grapevine and quality of the fruit. Pruning is a balancing act between grape production and ensuring that the new growth will replace older, lignified wood.
As the days warm up and the shoots begin to grow rapidly, it’s important to revisit the vines for suckering. Like all living things, grapes need plenty of light and oxygen. Suckering removes the shoots that do not produce fruit and helps determine the shape of the vine, preparing it for summer maintenance. The goal is to avoid overly packed foliage and to cut down on canopy management in the coming months.
Planting & Replanting
After the snow melts in the early spring, the soil temperatures in the vineyards finally begin to warm up. This is the time to plant new vines, allowing them to acclimate and get their roots settled before the growing season. Prior to planting, these vines are typically dormant, just beginning to wake up in the sun and begin bud break after they are planted. In addition to expanding vineyard acreage, new vines may be used to replace older vines that aren’t producing or have died. More fruit production = more wine for you to uncork!
Along with all the excitement in the vineyard, there are exciting things happening in the winery, too! Our 2nd Quarter Wine Club release is available for pickup now and we have two exciting wines to share with you. First, our 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that is quintessentially spring. White peach and grapefruit notes jump out of the glass while the fresh, juicy, and vibrant qualities make it the perfect pairing for our gorgonzola and walnut stuffed endive appetizer. Secondly, you’ll be enjoying the 2016 Grenache with ripe cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and subtle hints of white pepper. The soft tannin and lush acid make it a match for some chorizo, Manchego, and Spanish olive skewers!
Want to try these pairings yourself? Join us for our 2nd Quarter Food Pairing on May 26th from noon - 4! If you’re not a club member now, don’t miss out on our 3rd Quarter release—check out our 5 O’clock Shadow club options here. Cheers to the spring season!
A quaint county in the Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County brings together some of the best aspects of California: gorgeous landscapes, endless outdoor activities, a rich history, and of course, fantastic wine. Nestled between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County has grown from a historic mining town to a widely undiscovered rustic destination bursting with adventure.
Beyond gold mining and wine tasting, you may not know that El Dorado County is one of the greatest places to explore in California. No matter your preferred mode of outdoor transportation, there’s something for everyone in the foothills. With over 100 miles of horse trails, you can journey through Gold Country on horseback or opt for taking in the sights via a mountain bike ride or rafting expedition. Experience the wonders of spring with a hike through the wildflowers and waterfalls from the recent snow melt. Slow things down with a leisurely afternoon in historic downtown Placerville or take a trip to the local breweries and cideries. Like we said—there is no shortage of activities!
El Dorado County has a long history of agriculture due to its fertile and rural landscape. Throughout the area, you can find countless farms growing cherries, apples, wine grapes, and more. And with these farms comes, you guessed it, farmers markets! From spring through fall, you can visit our local markets and grab your fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and eggs from four different locations.
If you’re less of a DIY kind of chef, worry not. There are plenty of foodie spots from diners to fine dining in the greater El Dorado County. Check out some local favorites from!
What better place to play than in Fair Play itself? Tucked away in the foothills, Fair Play is a small designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) and is home to over 20 family-owned boutique wineries that focus on the land. Known for its robust, high-elevation wine, Fair Play is widely recognized for growing and producing Zinfandel but is planted with varietals ranging from Barbera to Chardonnay to Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and so much more.
Built in 1888, Shadow Ranch Vineyard is located in the heart of the Fair Play AVA and is built on the original rustic buildings with a Gold Rush era feel. Owner and winemaker Sam Patterson focuses on small batch, single-vineyard wines that highlight the high-elevation sites he farms throughout El Dorado County. Currently, approximately 350 acres within the Fair Play region are planted to grapevines, and this award-winning wine scene is gaining popularity and acclaim.
El Dorado Passport
To celebrate this diverse winegrowing region and the wineries within it, El Dorado Wines is hosting two back-to-back Passport Weekends. The wineries of El Dorado will bring out limited bottlings, obscure varietals, live music, food, and unique tasting experiences to share with Passport holders, and is one of the best ways to experience the qualities of the area. Join us at Shadow Ranch for mouthwatering barbecue paired with some of our favorite wines, including the fan favorite “Sheriff” Red Wine Blend. Or, elevate your tasting experience to a VIP offering and enjoy an exclusive taste at our vintage library bar. Two limited edition Shadow Ranch wines will be poured and available to take home!