Plenty of wine lovers in the world do not realize that I have an amazing wine country right in my backyard. Not only is the county that South Lake Tahoe is in, El Dorado, full of wineries but so is the adjacent county of Amador.  Every year, El Dorado County showcases the beauty and bounty of their wineries with a premier event.  El Dorado Wines Passport Weekend offers a two-day rolling event. Each participating vineyard samples several wines that are paired with food. For over 30 years, they have been welcoming visitors and showcasing wineries for this unique event and this year, I was the official El Dorado Hills photographer for the event.

El Dorado Hills sits square in California’s Gold Rush Region and it’s breathtaking.  There are rolling hills filled with vineyards, massive oak trees, and views of the Tahoe mountains.  With vineyards at elevations ranging from  1,200 to 3,500 feet, the wineries of the region offer a ton of variety.  In fact, there are more than 2,000 acres of wine to explore and approximately 70 wineries.

As the official El Dorado Hills photographer for the event, I was thrilled to capture the fun, the beauty, and the wide variety of El Dorado Wines Passport Weekend.  Even better, I got to drag a few of my friends (and my dog) along with me to enjoy the event.

El Dorado Hills Passport Weekend Event Photography
El Dorado Hills Photographer
El Dorado Hills Passport Weekend Event Photography

Overview of El Dorado Wines Passport Weekend

El Dorado Wines Passport Weekend can be overwhelming.  This year over 24 unique locations participated in the event, allowing wine enthusiasts to indulge in a food and wine extravaganza (but really, it is kind of a journey from place to place) through the heart of one of Northern California’s best kept wine secrets.

If you want to join in on the fun, I’ve got some tips and tricks up my sleeve to help you make the most of your weekend:

  1. Plan Ahead: With a multitude of wineries participating in Passport Weekend, strategic planning is key to making the most of your experience. We organized our weekend into two main areas: Apple Hill and Fair Play.  For the first day, we mapped out a number of Apple Hill Wineries that were fairly close together to be efficient with our time.  On Day 1, we visited Bumgarner’s Tasting Room, Madrona, Fenton Herriott, and finally, Boeger. Our second day in Fair Play, we stopped at Bumgarner’s Vineyard, Medeiros Family Wines, Toogood, and Shadow Ranch.
  2. Hire a driver: El Dorado Hills are no joke and they ARE hills – lots of them and with lots of winding turns! Keep it safe and hire a Professional Designated Driver that is licensed to drive YOUR car.  You’ll save money in the long run!  A DD is cheaper than a DUI and there’s no need to get a hotel room that way because the professional driver will return you and your car back home each day.
  3. Stay Hydrated and Pace Yourself: The wine is definitely flowing at Passport Weekend so take note: it’s important to stay hydrated and pace yourself.
El Dorado Hills Passport Weekend Event Photography
El Dorado Hills Photographer

Missed Passport Weekend? Other Events Nearby:

Passport Weekend isn’t the only great event that El Dorado County hosts. Don’t forget, wine tasting is available in the area year round (make your own passport weekend!).  Either way, if you want to check out another standout occasions, here’s a few more that are on the horizon in both El Dorado County and nearby Amador County:

  1. Four Fires Food and Wine Festival: Amador County’s food and wine festival celebrates the intersection of the four iconic wine regions that inspire the award-winning winemaking of Amador County. These include the Rhône region in the South of France, Italy, The Iberia region of Spain and Portugal, and “Heritage California.” It takes place annually in the May at the Amador County Fair and Events Center.
  2. El Dorado Hills Brewfest: Craft beer aficionados rejoice!  The annual El Dorado Hills Brewfest takes place every September and showcases over 40 craft breweries, food, and live music.
  3. Amador City’s Dancing in the Streets: The incredibly quaint and charming Amador City has an ongoing summer event called Dancing in the Streets with a different band performing every Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the streets.  Make sure you pop into End of Nowhere (both a client and a friend) for a tasting while you are there and the Amador Whitney Museum (my photos coming soon to their website)!

Looking for an El Dorado Hills Event Photographer? Head on over to my contact form. Maybe you’re just here for the wine? I’ve got that too.