Both gold and grapes arrived in Amador County at almost exactly the same time. Fortune-seekers flocked here during the 1850s, attracted by the discovery of the famous “Mother Lode”. Many of these prospectors chose to plant vineyards instead, first to satisfy the thirst of thousands of miners and later to make a living after the mines began to run dry. By the 1890s, the foothill region had over 100 wineries (more than any other region in California).
By 1920 most of the gold mines had closed and Prohibition laws compelled wineries to shut their doors. This region was revived in 1970, when a young winemaker named Cary Gott and his father-in-law, Walter Field, established Montevina Winery. As the first new post-Prohibition winery in the Sierra Foothills, Montevina helped to return both Amador County and Zinfandel to the attention of fine wine aficionados everywhere and to remake the Sierra Nevada foothills as one of the best wine regions around.
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