Fair Play Wine Festival

fair play harvest wine festival

Tucked inside El Dorado County, just to the south, on the border of Amador County, you’ll find a sub-appellation called Fair Play. Fair Play boasts beautiful scenery and picturesque rolling hills with elevations ranging between 2,000 and 3,000 feet, making it the California AVA (American Viticultural Area), or wine growing region, with the second highest average elevation. This altitude sets this wine appellation apart and gives it the benefit of a noticeable diurnal shift, which is described as the difference between the average daily temperature and the average nighttime temperature. Otherwise stated, the growing days in Fair Play can be hot—which allows grapes to ripen, and develop sugars and flavors—but they are tempered by significantly cooler nights, which allow the grapes to rest, recover and retain acidity. The most esteemed wine regions around the world are blessed with the gift of a diurnal shift, which can occur at elevation, or by way of cooling coastal breezes. Fair Play, which was established as an AVA in 2001 but still flies under the radar for many wine lovers outside the area, counts itself as one of these top wine regions.

This weekend, wine enthusiasts are invited to sample the quality and diversity of wines of this region as they celebrate the season with the Fair Play Harvest Festival. On Nov. 6 and 7, Fair Play wineries will offer ticket holders an opportunity to taste wine and enjoy food pairings, live music, games and more. Tickets are $40 per day and allow visitors to enjoy experiences at any and all of the 20 participating wineries.

fair play wine tasting room

“People who want an authentic wine and food experience surrounded by beautiful vineyards won’t want to miss this fun weekend,” says Daniela Devitt, owner of Sentivo Vineyards and president of the Fair Play Winery Association.

Examples of specific winery offerings include:

  • Bumgarner—Street tacos and empanadas. Create-your-own harvest pumpkin with succulents, psychic/fortune teller.
  • E16—Smoked-turkey sliders with apple-cilantro slaw. Corn hole games, create-your-own fall wine cork wreath.
  • Element 79—Harvest bites. Varietal identification, corn hole toss raffle.
  • Sentivo—Wine pairing with doughnuts. line dancing.
  • Toogood—Tri tip sliders. Barrel tasting in the cave.

For a complete list of participating wineries and to purchase tickets, please visit Fair Play Wine.

“The Fair Play Wine Region was spared from the Caldor fires and we are all so grateful,” says Cindy Miller, owner of MV Winery. “All of the wineries are taking donations to help our neighbors rebuild in Grizzly Flats throughout November.”

fair play wine vineyard