Two things stand out as icons of the Amador County wine business: Barbera Wines and Scott Harvey.

The two important elements drive the wine business of Amador County as it continues to be known as ever-more important players in the California wine industry.

While Scott has been making wines for nearly 50 years, the Barbera grape is looking to become the most important grape in the region.

Growing and Producing Barbera Grapes

The Barbera grape is growing in prominence in the region, passing the longtime leader, Zinfandel. As Scott Harvey and many vineyard managers have recognized, the terrain and climate in parts of Amador County match the terroir of northern Italy’s Piedmont Region, where the best attributes of Barbera can be achieved.

Recognizing that he can achieve great results from these grapes, Scott Harvey has convinced farmers to begin growing more. “Barbera has the potential to be Amador’s best variety. It lends itself to the terroir better than Zinfandel or Syrah,” Harvey says. “Our grandkids will survive off Barbera sales, not Zinfandel sales,” he confidently predicted a decade or so.

Grading the Wines’ Flavor

One customer-friendly development by Scott Harvey has been to place a scale on each bottle that helps describe the taste of the wine, whether the wine is heavier or lighter in flavor. On one end of the scale is “Elegant” and the other is “Overly Jammy.” With each wine, his winery’s emblematic griffin is positioned somewhere along the bar between the two extremes, closer to one or the other, showing customers what they will experience during their wine tastings.

When the griffin is close to “Overly Jammy” the wine is big, bold, complex, relatively high in alcohol. By standing out for their heft, these are the kinds of wines that tend to win high honors at competitions and to get high scores from prominent critics.

If the griffin is close to “Elegant” the wine is lighter, sleeker, more readily approachable, relatively low in alcohol. When these wines stand out in a crowd it is because they are supple, elegant, ready to drink today, best suited for having with dinner.

Innovative tools like this scale are extremely helpful for wine buyers and make the job of purchasing wines a lot less speculative.

Scott Harvey, Wine Maker Extraordinaire

If there should ever be a Hall of Fame of Amador County Winemakers, Scott Harvey will surely be at the top of the list. His length of time and contributions to this developing winemaking region have been superior. Finetuning each wine, expanding new varietals, and being at the forefront of just about every step helps area’s vintners understand and promote intelligent and daring grape growing and winemaking.

Visiting Scott Harvey Wines

Scott Harvey has taken the job of winemaking to the next level. For many years, he has drawn on his German winemaking education to fine tune wines to reach the maximum levels of balance and vigor, much like his European masters.

Scott’s longevity, prominence and inventiveness in the Amador County wine trade, colleagues and consumers alike listen to him. For many years, he has been talking up Barbera as the one black grape and red wine that ultimately will be the most highly regarded in Amador County.

Each vintage, Harvey customarily makes three Barberas under the Scott Harvey Wines label – a fresh and buoyant wine named “Mountain Selection:” a more structured and concentrated version labeled “J&S Reserve;” and his luxury-line “Cattedrale,” made from what he considers the vintage’s top five barrels of Barbera.

Join Scott Harvey Wines for a wine tasting to experience these and other unique and outstanding wines.

You can reserve your place at one of three wine tasting destinations. These are:

Shenandoah Winery and Tasting Room

Plymouth CA


Sutter Creek Tasting Room

Sutter Creek CA


Old Sugar Mill

Clarksburg CA


Make your future reservations online or by phone for an outstanding wine tasting by visiting the Scott Harvey Wines website.

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