“Wineries of the Sierra Foothills” Reveals Risk Tolerance and Grit as Key Ingredients

Reviewed by Samantha Stone

I didn’t return to the Sierra Foothills after my first wine tasting adventure there. Not because the wine wasn’t wonderful. Not because the proprietors weren’t warm and welcoming. It was because I felt lost in a region where many of the destinations are far off the beaten track.

With Barbara Keck’s meticulous guide to 21 Sierra Foothills wineries tucked under my arm, I’ll strike out again soon, this time with a sharper sense of the geography and a better appreciation of the business people behind the bar.

A longtime wine writer, Keck has pulled together history, business, and an appreciation of the winemaker’s craft in her book, Wineries of the Sierra Foothills: Risk-Takers & Rule Breakers. She’s gotten into the heads of the wine entrepreneurs, delivering brief but revealing profiles that include the business side of their personalities.

Risk-taking has played a role in their success, as has passion and (sometimes) luck. What can’t be overstated, but has occasionally been underestimated at the outset, is the demanding nature of the work and the devotion of time a winery requires.

The featured vintners have offered favorite recipes, and for the reluctant mountain adventurer there’s a winery directory, color-coded to a county-by-county map. The book is available here.

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