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by Fred McMillin
The Cosumnes...From Grizzlies to Grapes
1845—Grizzly bears were the principal inhabitants of the land near the South Fork of the Cosumnes River in a remote portion of El Dorado County.
1854—The Volcano Weekly Ledger reports that Mr. Tibbits has settled beside the Cosumnes River planting vines on his 20-acre ranch. "The grapes bid fair to produce well...a wonder off here in this hilly out-of-the-way section."
1990—Perry Creek Vineyards plants their first vineyards along the top of a ridge above the middle fork of the Cosumnes River in south El Dorado County.
1998—Perry Creek Director of Operations Jack Zasowski reports that "we continue to push forward with our Rhone varieties."
That "push forward" included planting in 1992 the best white varietal of the Rhone, Viognier (vee-oh-nyay...rhymes with "hay"). The vines just yielded 400 fine cases of vintage 1997. Just like Mr. Tibbits' vines, Perry Creek is also a "wonder out here in this hilly out-of-the-way section."
1997 Viognier, El Dorado County Perry Creek Vineyards
El Dorado County holds an important place in Gold Country wine history. The Mother Lode's first vineyard was planted there by one Mr. Stevens in 1849. Ten years later it had the most vines of any Sierra Foothills county. Data for 1890 show El Dorado produced more wine than Somoma and Napa counties combined. Credit: Prof. T. Pinney, Prof. J. Baxevanis, and particularly E. Costa's book, Old Vines.
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