Slate Creek Hills Vineyard is planted on a steep south-facing slope at an elevation of between 1700 and 1800 feet. We grow five varietals: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Sangiovese. All of our vines are trained on wire with single cordons running west to east which allows full afternoon sun.
Cabernet Franc. These vines live at the top of our hill, near 1800 feet elevation, in steep terraced rows on thin rocky soil. About half were planted in 2008 with the remainder planted in 2009. These plants produce long vines and have copious amounts of small bunches of fruit, so we monitor them closely as the season progresses to remove seconds and thirds.
Malbec. We fell in love with Malbec when we bought a bottle from an El Dorado winery- savory experience! A trip to Mendoza, Argentina, sealed the deal. Malbec is a challenging varietal. They are less vigorous and require close attention — but stressed plants make better tasting wine! We love the dark color and the large bunches.
Tempranillo. In our many visits to Spain and Portugal, we have come to love this wine. These black grapes thrive in our hot climate, and, as the name indicates, are the first to bud out every year. The clusters hang in a row below the cordon wire which makes them everyone’s favorite to pick. This also means the fruit gets lots of sun and are the first to ripen.
Grenache. At the bottom of our vineyard, the Grenache vines get the widest variation in temperature, giving these grapes an interesting character. The last to ripen, the grapes cluster heavily and the yield is high. Gordon Binz is now selling Grenache from Slate Creek Hills grapes.
Sangiovese. Our smallest plot of grapes is planted in short rows that slope south and east. These plants are the most fun to grow because they are highly vegetative and produce huge clusters of fruit. This, plus the benefit of better soil and morning rather than afternoon sun, produces a w
We planted Slate Creek Hills vineyard in May 2009, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. Our primary goal has been to nurture the vines and raise healthy plants for long term quality rather than harvesting fruit. We had a very modest first harvest in 2011. In 2012 we harvested about 3 tons of grapes after dropping fruit from vines which still needed to mature. With the wide spacing of our vineyard, we have been able to maintain exceptional fruit quality.
A Year on Slate Creek Hill
We look forward to the longer days of spring when each plant gets carefully pruned to produce a strong cane that will provide the framework for the fruit to come. Suckering is followed by training the vines through the wires for support. During the hot summer months when the temps are still cool at night, Paul assesses the vineyard for signs of disease; he ensures the sprayer delivers just the right amount of sulfur to limit mildew. Water from our well, provided for extended time periods, hydrates the vines during the dry months.
In late July or August, as each of the varieties undergoes veraison, we net the vines to avoid loss due to birds. In September and October, the real fun begins: harvest! We monitor the grapes daily and when the BRIX and TA levels are right, we invite all our friends to participate in the big event.
Binz 2012 Grenache - Silver at Amador County Fair commercial wine judging contest. (2014)
Binz 2013 Cabernet Franc - Silver at California State Fair (2016)
Le Mulet Rouge 2014 Artisan- Silver at California State Fair (2017) (Malbec and Cabernet franc from the vineyard)
Home winemaking competitions (Amador County)
Slate Creek Hills 2015 Lords Blend- Gold (Cabernet franc and Malbec from the vineyard)
Slate Creek Hills 2012 Malbec - DOUBLE GOLD and BEST OF SHOW (2014)
Slate Creek Hills 2014 Malbec - Gold (2014)
Slate Creek Hills 2012 Lord's Blend - Silver (2013)
Slate Creek Hills 2012 Tempranillo - Bronze (2013)
These awards affirm our belief that the best wines start in the vineyard!
Want to purchase wine made from our grapes? Visit Binz Wines or Le Mulet Rouge and try their award winning wines!
Our vineyard reflects our love of family, farming and passion for wine. We are Paul and Jamie, a couple of California transplants finally living on our dream ranch. After years raising our kids and working in big cities, we are thrilled to return to our rural roots in Fiddletown, California.
We've traveled all over the world drinking wine, and when it came time to plant our vineyard we selected five of our favorite varietals from our adventures. We maintain the vineyard ourselves with a bit of help from family and many good friends!
Slate Creek Hills in Fiddletown is the perfect source of fruit for the home winemaker who wants grapes from a hand-tended, small production vineyard. We invite you to visit Slate Creek Hills to taste the fruit and examine our growing practices -- and harvesting the grapes yourself is an option!
We grow and sell the following grapes:
No minimum purchase required and we will gladly crush (no mess for you!) for a small additional fee.
For more information, submit an inquiry using the form below or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our Airbnb site to learn more about staying in our apartment!
The Apartment at Slate Creek Hills Vineyard is situated on 55 acres in Amador County with a vineyard, garden, chickens, and walking trails. Our home was originally a barn! Our AirBNB apartment is found on the top floor and includes a bedroom with a king size bed, a sitting room, a full kitchen complete with a deck with views of the hills, and a large bathroom with two sinks and a shower. The space is close to 1000 sq. ft! Access through a private door and go upstairs to an apartment complete with an outside deck. Walk the vineyard or wander through the rolling hills. Sit on the deck and see the stars in the evening and the wildlife morning.
We are only minutes from many great Amador County wineries, small Gold Rush towns, and fun restaurants. Plymouth, California is 5.5 miles, a 10 minute drive. The Shenandoah Valley and its many wineries is even closer.
We love to show off our vineyard. Call and make an appointment to see it!
19251 American Flat Road, Fiddletown, California 95629, United States