A meandering drive south along the Sacramento River brings explorers blooming flowers, weathered oaks and barns, and colorful farmhouses that line the river. Twenty minutes down the west side toward Clarksburg, almost any right turn off the levee exposes acres of fields—including lots of grapes—surrounding family farms and modest wineries. Here are some fun stops along the way, open weekends and less so on weekdays.
LA AMISTAD CAFE—Arrive early, as this local joint closes at 3:30 p.m. The Mexican fare has been prepared by Juanita Lopez and family since 1972. At first glance, the classic Mexican-restaurant atmosphere doesn’t reveal its true treasures: secret sauces and house-made tortillas, and the “everyone knows everyone” vibe. 36046 Jefferson Blvd.
JULIETTA WINERY—Farm 27 on the Delta Farm & Winery Trail Guide lands you at Julietta Winery. You can’t miss the heart signs directing guests to the small, stylish tasting room. It celebrates its third year this summer, and pours up to 13 wines. Visitors are greeted with warm decor and smooth jazz inside. Outside, simple lawns and gardens, a fire pit, cornhole and patio seating welcome tasters to stay awhile. 51221 Clarksburg Road; juliettawinery.com
MINER’S LEAP WINERY—Sacramento attorney Loyal Miner followed his passion and opened Miner’s Leap in a 117-year-old barn on South River Road seven years ago. The year-old tasting room nestles against beautifully landscaped patios with paths and foliage. Look for cover bands in the new event area this summer, and ask about the colorful wall picture near the entrance—it plays Eagles music! 54250 South River Road; minersleap.com
BOGLE VINEYARD & WINERY—What began in 1968 as a small father-son project of planting grapes grew into farming more than 1,500 acres of wine grapes by the Bogle family. Established in 1978, the winery now regularly wins wine competitions, and it ships around the country. The narrow levee-road entrance belies the “real deal” winery, which offers an upstairs tasting room and downstairs barrel room surrounded by gardens and grapes. 37783 County Road 144; boglewinery.com
HUSICKS TAPHOUSE—Upon takeover of the empty general-store site several years ago, Husick’s new owner created a taphouse/restaurant. Wood beams hover over the bar, surrounded by wines on display, an old player piano, the works of local artists, plus Delta cookbooks, herbs and T-shirts. The barbecue, live music and friendly, unpretentious atmosphere quickly made this a Clarksburg favorite. 36510 Riverview Drive
DINKY DINER—Before food trucks were even a thing, Dinky Diner dished up burgers, cheesesteaks, chicken sandwiches, fries and shakes from its wood-shingled trailer on the river’s edge. Grab a picnic table and fill up as you watch the river. 36339 Riverview Drive; dinkydinerclarksburg.com
OLD SUGAR MILL—This wine-tasting stop remains a favorite, with 14 local wineries pouring at one locale—inside the old, pretty beet sugar refinery. Individual tasting rooms line the long, high-glass-ceiling brick foyer. Each has its own style and many have gift items for sale: pillows, signs, coasters, hats, candles and the like. Picnic grounds are dog friendly. Check the website for special events. 35265 Willow Ave.; oldsugarmill.com
HOLLAND MARKET—Need a fishing pole to drop in the river a block away? Holland Market epitomizes a small-town general store. Made-to-order sandwiches, wine, light bulbs, wood and lottery tickets are available, along with basic food and toiletries. 52945 Netherlands Ave.