Clarksburg, Old Sugar Mill, and WAFFLES!

Yesterday, Shane and I had the distinct pleasure of travelling a short 10 minutes from The Pocket Area of Sacramento to the famous wine region of Clarksburg, CA. When people hear of this region, they tend to think of it as a Utopia of small wineries nestled away in Narnia, but I can assure you, it is only 15 minutes away from Sacramento's Downtown Grid.

I'd like to say we got all the way to Clarksburg, but we didn't. Our first stop at The Old Sugar Mill kept us (happily enough) all afternoon! There are several fine wineries and tasting rooms there, as well as a lovely grass field to picnic on and the space next door (a very rustic, large brick warehouse, strung with bare bulbs) serves as an event space that takes one back to the old days of refining Sugar Beets and country weddings.

We enjoyed the company at Carvalho Family Winery, browsed though the latest wine-associated merchandise (loved the t-shirt, "Love the Wine you're with"), and turned the pages of a wedding album offered as a portfolio for the local photographer.

Shannon helped us at Heringer Estates, where we got a great history lesson, and a wonderful tasting of the latest they had to offer. They offer 24 (or so) different wines, some already sold out! I really enjoyed the 2012 Chardonnay (Steel aged) and the 2012 Barbera, but the 2009 Petite Sirah and 2009 Petite Verdot really got my attention. I highly recommend a taste ($5 for 6 tastes and credits toward a purchase) with Shannon, as she really knows what she is talking about without being pretentious.

On to 3 Wine company where we met Kelly, a very friendly, community-oriented woman, who gave us the break-down on the Old Sugar Mill Wineries and 3 Wine Company's offerings. The 2011 Albarino was the most refreshing thing I had tasted all day and the 2011 Zinfandel (Old Vine) delivered all that I expect from an Old Vine Zin: Blackberries on the front, and a great peppery finish (wishing I brought a wedge of Parmesan with me)! I really enjoyed our conversation about sustainable practices and buying local. The wineries at Old Sugar Mill do most of their business from that location with a few bottles in the grocery stores (like Nugget). It really is important to their business that folks from the surrounding areas go to the winery to purchase. Some wineries sell at our local Farmer's Markets too, but you can't taste there....and that really is part of the shopping experience that shouldn't be left out.

Then Kelly pointed out a man across the way entering Clarksburg Wine Company and said, "Oh! That's the Waffle Guy-you should talk to him!"

And that is how we met Michael Donoho of "The Waffle Experience", coming soon to Natomas. We hit it off so well, I expect we will be covering their fine concept on camera soon. Michael has quite the resume and divulged to us that he just moved out to our region from Florida because Sacramento "understands the Farm-to-Fork movement". That's an understatement! Michael and his Associate told us of how they plan to do their waffles, and I must say I have never heard of it before: more of a bread and not a batter at all, using a special kind of sugar that is better for our nutrition (yes, we need sugar too!). I don't want to give away too much about this awesome new concept, so I will let their developing website tease you into submission. HINT: They were looking for local wines to feature at the restaurant! We ran out of time before we could get in a taste at Clarksburg Wine Company, but I must say, I found their brochure on their Wine Society to be very informative and tempting.

Please visit the Old Sugar Mill next time you find yourself near Sacramento. They are just a hop, skip, and jump away from downtown. Events coming up at the Old Sugar Mill:

At Carvalho At 3 Wine Company At Heringer Estates At Clarksburg Wine Co.


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