Amador Four Fires – Navigation Know How

PLYMOUTH, CA (MPG)  |  Source: Jenny Kendrick
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Offering a total sensory immersion into four distinct wine growing regions, the second annual Amador Four Fires festival, slated for May 7, is an event like no other. As such, attendees are encouraged to devise a game plan designed to fully embrace this unique experience, which showcases Amador’s rich wine and culinary offerings.

“Strategizing with your crew is actually part of the event’s appeal as you are all discovering the four regions together,” explains festival founder Deirdre Mueller.

At first blush, attendees may feel at bit overwhelmed by all the choices, but never fear, Mueller has provided some insider tips for navigating the event with ease.

Program 101: Mueller suggests starting with an attendee’s best friend, the festival map and program. “Do a quick study of the offerings and select the cooking demonstrations and seminars you want to attend,” Mueller says. Using this as “dots” to connect, she suggests exploring each tasting region in between, pairing the region with the demonstration or seminar you want to attend.

Italy, Iberia, France or Heritage California? The four-region concept is what distinguishes the Amador Four Fires festival. “This event celebrates the distinct regions that inspire our county’s chefs, winemakers and winegrowers,” Mueller explains. “The wines are separated by region so attendees can taste them side-by-side. People love how intimate the experience is.” Participants will sample wines and perfectly paired dishes while chatting with the winemakers and chefs themselves. Some folks hop from winery to winery within a region, others pick a varietal, like Barbera in the Italian region, and make taste comparisons.

Attention Shoppers! Mueller advises attendees shop early to avoid the end-of-the day rush. Check out the local purveyors of olive oils, cooking sauces, candies and more. But don’t miss the wines available for sale as there are some great values, plus shoppers receive a free tote with the purchase of four or more of their favorite wines. The staff will be happy to set side attendees’ wine purchases for pick up at the event’s conclusion.

Get Cookin’: From grilled lamb and simmering paellas to whole pigs and seared fish, open flame cuisine is a hallmark of this event. Attend a cooking demonstration, sample the delicious results, and then query the chef. “They love sharing tips,” Mueller notes.

Sensational Seminars: The festival’s engaging seminars are a great way to gain knowledge and then put it into action in the next region. “For example, attend the “Olive Oil: Virgins and Extras” seminar before sampling the olive oils at the festival and you’ll have a deeper understanding of what you are tasting,” Mueller explains. Attendees should also stop by the Sensory Station to hone taste and smell that will assist them in picking out the subtle notes of the four distinct wine regions.

Soak up the Experience: Mueller suggests that attendees take time to relax. Take a seat in the shade; browse artwork and listen to live music provided by a winemaker who doubles as a musician. “It’s always a good idea to slow down and refresh your senses before diving back into the rich foods and wines of the festival,” Mueller notes.

The event takes place at the historic, spacious Amador County Fairgrounds. Proceeds from Amador Four Fires benefit the non-profit Amador County Fair Foundation and their “farm to future” mandate to revitalize the county’s beloved fairgrounds as a year-round event venue.

The festival takes place May 7 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are all inclusive (with souvenir glass) and cost $75 in advance (via online purchase) and $85 at the door. VIP tickets are $125 in advance and $155 at the door. Designated driver tickets are $60 in advance, $70 at the door. All tickets will be available for purchase Feb. 1 at For more information, call 209-418-5707. The Amador County Fairgrounds are located at 18621 Sherwood St., Plymouth, Calif.

The Amador Four Fires Festival was created by the founders of the Barbera Festival, which takes place June 11 at Terra d’Oro. Both festivals were designed to educate visitors and locals about the intricacies of Barbera and Sierra wines, as well as spark a passion for unique flavors from around the world. The second annual Amador Four Fires festival celebrates four distinctive wine regions with an immersive array of activities, demonstrations and seminars, designed to ignite all senses in a celebration of flavor and life. Proceeds from the Four Fires Festival go to the Amador County Fair Foundation and its Farm to Future Initiative. For more information, go to