Sierra Foothills Wine Trip Part Two – Brice Station Vintners

Brice Station
Brice Station Winery
Brice Station Vintners is a very small winery and the last one as you go up highway 4. At 3300 feet it is one of the highest wineries in California. Back in the days of stagecoaches it was a popular stop on the way to Calaveras Big Trees park. You make a left turn off the highway and go up a steep paved road, you may need chains in the winter if it has been snowing.

Along with wine tasting you can also taste olive oil from Copperopolis at the bottom of the hill and they have a pottery kiln and shop. As you wander around the winery you will see old printing presses and a blacksmith shop where they hold classes once a month. You will also see an assortment of animals, sheep, geese, horses, llamas and the winery dogs.

Because the tasting room is small we broke into two groups and one group went to the pottery shop while Nancy and I and others went to the tasting room. They had some bread and cheese out and the olive oils with freshly baked bread. We started out with a couple of white wines, a Pinot Grigio and a Viognier. These were not estate wines, the wines were from Lockeford which is close to Stockton on the valley floor.

I wasn’t too interested in the whites since we were really looking for foothill wines, not valley wines so I went straight to the reds. These were Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. All were nice wines made in a lighter style than the hot weather San Joaquin Valley wines. Light bodied, pleasant fruit and nicely restrained oak. They also have a Merlot Rose and a port style wine.

One interesting wine is their High Country Red. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The percentage of each is different each year. They have a party where anybody may come. They taste each varietal separately and then they make three blends and the group decides which blend to bottle.

The other group that had been in the pottery shop now joined us in the tasting room making it a little crowded. It was our turn to go to the pottery shop but we weren’t done tasting yet so we didn’t want to give up our spot at the tasting bar. Eventually we did finish the series of wines and made some room for the others by going to the pottery shop.

Pottery Shop
Pottery Shop
They have many pots?, potterys?, items made from clay in the shop. They will do custom pottery items for you, too. Now it was time to head for the bus and go to our last stop for more wine and lunch. Of course, most needed to hit the restroom on the way to the bus. It was about the size of a small bedroom, well decorated along with a lounge chair, I guess in case you felt like taking a short nap while you were there.

Their location as the highest winery makes it a great place to start your tasting trip. Then you can make your way down the hill tasting and end up in Murphys for lunch or dinner. Then spend the night in Murphys and hit some of the wineries in town the next day.

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