Just over the hill in Amador County, there is a special piece of land called Shake Ridge Ranch. Planted in the early 2000s, this relatively young vineyard produces fruit that is routinely sought after by some of California’s most talented and revered winemakers. In fact, it is one of the most highly awarded vineyards in the Sierra Foothills.
Ann Kraemer, the chief caretaker of Shake Ridge Ranch and a respected vineyard manager and consultant, along with her family owns 200 acres of undulating landscape just outside the small town of Sutter Creek. Forty-six acres of grapevines grace the property and the resulting fruit supplies some two dozen winemakers throughout California. In addition to the vineyard, the family also owns its own wine label, Yorba Wines, which highlights the beauty and pureness of fruit originating from Shake Ridge Ranch.
In years not hijacked by a global pandemic, Ann and her team host an event called Taste of the Ranch. During this event, guests can taste a plethora of wines that name Shake Ridge Ranch as their source and meet the respective winemakers who so love this fruit. This year, however, the event has taken a new form and is being presented virtually by way of a three-part online series that began this past Sunday, June 14.
This year, wine lovers are invited to visit Shake Ridge Ranch via a Zoom link that is provided upon registration for the event. For the next two Sundays, viewers can tune in at 5 p.m. PST, and they will be treated to videos and photos of the stunning landscape and lush green vineyards that cover the ranch. They’ll meet Lucy, the winery dog and de facto tour guide, who enthusiastically helps lead participants from stop to stop.
Two Yorba wines (which can be ordered prior to the event) are opened during each episode, and Ann talks about what makes each wine special and unique from a more technical perspective. Then she and her team chuck the dry wine jargon and inject some fun! Last week, we heard descriptions of wines as though they were people. The 2014 Barbera was described as “a wild child” that’s allowed to do what it wants. Kelsey, the tasting room manager, compared the Yorba 2014 Barbera to a “best friend,” someone you could go anywhere with, and who is always fun and accessible. These wines are lovable and have distinct personalities that come through clearly as the presentation continues.
In addition to the focus on the vineyard and winemaking, there is also lots of discussion around food pairing. (Recipes from the winery’s chef, Justin Lewis of Amador Uncorked, are posted to complement each episode’s tasting.) Then, just when you think the event is over, you are treated to live music to enjoy as you drink and eat, and appreciate life . . . just the way it’s supposed to be!
For more information on Yorba wines and the Taste of the Ranch event, please follow this link: https://www.yorbawines.com/
Info for the next two episodes:
Taste the Ranch – Episode 2, scheduled for Sunday, June 21, 5 p.m.—Featured wines: Yorba 2012 Shake Ridge Ranch Syrah and Yorba 2012 Shake Ridge Ranch Tempranillo (Sacramento region residents can order by noon on Thursday, June 17, to receive wines before the event.)
Recipe: Ratatouille salad
Taste the Ranch, Episode 3, Sunday, June 28, 5 p.m.—Featured wines: Yorba 2019 Shake Ridge Ranch Greco di Oro and Yorba 2013 Shake Ridge Red
Recipe: Margherita salad