Barbera Roots Run Deep in Amador County


10348543_1092032237489519_781586160008756345_nBarbera may not have the same instant name recognition as  more common red wines like cabernet, zinfandel or merlot, but its roots run deep both in Italian history and in California. Barbera was first planted in California in the 1880s. Often used in blends, barbera is now making a name for itself all on its own.

For those who are intrigued to sample and compare different styles of barbera, the Barbera Festival provides the perfect opportunity.  This year’s sixth annual Barbera Festival will be held June 11, 2016 at the picturesque and spacious Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards, in Plymouth, Calif.  It’s a fitting venue given the fact that Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards is home to the vineyard where barbera grapes were first grown in Amador.

The Barbera Festival was created to celebrate this lesser known variety. As a result, the festival has cultivated newfound barbera devotees who appreciate how well it pairs with a wide range of foods thanks to its balanced acidity.

“Barbera is quickly gaining a reputation as a delicious and versatile wine, in no small part and thanks to the winemakers of Amador County,” said Deirdre Mueller co-founder of the Barbera Festival.

In fact, the barbera variety and the Barbera Festival have helped put Amador on the wine map.

Barbera wines date back centuries in the Piedmont region of Italy. Amador vintners discovered that the grape thrived well in the warm, dry days and cool nights of the Sierra foothills region.



“Barbera is the go-to wine for any occasion,” says to Dick Cooper, of Cooper Vineyards, who has been growing barbera grapes for 35 years. ‘‘I think of Barbera as the perfect date, always ready to accompany a bowl of soup, cheese and salami, crab, pasta– green or red, and lamb or beef.”

Barbera styles range from bright flavors of tart cherry, raspberry, and spice, to riper styles evoking flavors of black cherry, blueberry, blackberry and vanilla.

At the 2016 Barbera Festival, top area restaurants and caterers will present the perfect culinary pairings, including the Zagat-rated Restaurant Taste, award-winning Beth Sogaard Catering, premier Vendage & Company, local Italian favorite Teresa’s Place, and more.  The event will feature nearly 80 wineries, all pouring barbera, from all over California – not just Amador – including other regions in the Sierra Foothills, Paso Robles, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake County, Ventura County, Lodi and the Bay Area.

Tickets go on sale March 1, 2016 at, and proceeds benefit the Amador Community Foundation, for which the event has raised over $85,000 to date. Call (209) 245-6600 for more information.

About the Barbera Festival: The Barbera Festival was founded in 2011 to celebrate the barbera variety. The event quickly garnered attention throughout the West and in 2015 moved to the beautiful grounds of Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards, the original home of barbera in Amador County. The festival, which also helped launch the immensely successful Amador Four Fires festival, features more than 80 wineries from across California, fine local cuisine, live music and regional artists. Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards is located at 20680 Shenandoah School Road in Plymouth. All proceeds benefit the non-profit Amador Community Foundation. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to