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Uncork Your Mind

Debbie Gioquindo, CSW, WLS the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess takes the intimidation out of wine. This is a monthly podcast where I will speak with people in the wine industry, authors, and bloggers to education you on wine.

Oct 1, 2022



Located 35 miles from Sacramento, California lies the El Dorado AVA. Designated in 1983 it covers the majority of El Dorado County with beautiful views of the Sierra Foothills.

There are 40 wineries that grow 76 grape varietals and the highest altitude vineyards is 3,500 feet above sea level.

We welcomed Kara Sather, Executive Director of El Dorado Winery Association, to talk to us and familiarize us with the El Dorado wine region.

Pre-prohibition the El Dorado wine region had more vineyards the Los Angeles. The region is very sprawled out and not heavily populated, and you can see the mountains in Tahoe. The American River flows through El Dorado, which is one of the top whitewater rafting destinations in the world.

This is a destination you can go wine tasting, hiking, skiing, and rafting. It’s a region you come to experience!


We got to sample 2 wines from El Dorado - 2019 Skinner Native Red, El Dorado, and 2016 Toogood Estate Zinfandel, Fair Play. They both really show what nice wines the region produces


2019 Skinner Native Red, El Dorado - As one of the country’s first wineries, Skinner dates back to 1861. Wanting to make a unique wine, the Native Red was born. The wine is a blend of Petite Bouschet, Mission, Trousseau, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Counoise, Mourvedre, Marsanne, Zinfandel, and Viognier. The wine is light in body with notes of raspberry, cranberry, and plum. It’s a fun wine that will be great for a Sunday afternoon.

2016 Toogood Estate Zinfandel, Fair Play - Located on 40 acres of rolling foothills, Toogood Estate Winery produced its first vintage in 2002. The 12 acres of vineyards are planted with Zinfandel, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah. In 2019 the Ron and Darin Mittelstaedt family purchased the winery. Their sons Bradley and Timothy work the day-to-day operation.

The 2016 Zinfandel is a wine that needs to open for a bit. It evolves nicely! It is full of baking spices and ripe dark fruit. As it opens, there are some coffee and cassis notes.

Listen to the podcast and familiarize yourself with the El Dorado wine region. It might be the next trip you plan