AWG Correspondent

Yvonne Kochanowski

Lava Cap Photos

Lava Cap Review

Regions: Sierra Foothills AVA, El Dorado County, El Dorado AVA, California

Reviewed: November 30, 2012 by Yvonne Kochanowski
Published: December 17, 2012

Come for the wine and stay for the view – and that’s not a tagline! Nestled in a peaceful valley with views that extend to the far horizon, Lava Cap offers a great opportunity to escape the everyday with fine wines and a comfortable setting. This is the perfect place to plan a day – and a picnic!

The Place:  Lava Cap is about ten minutes off Hwy. 50, set at the end of narrow two lane roads and a couple of turns from the main Apple Hill drag. At an elevation of 2700 feet, it gets some winter snow, something to enjoy from the cozy tasting room, and cooling winter breezes, which feel wonderful from seating areas on the deck or at the vineyard-level picnic tables.

The Experience:  Tasting room staff is knowledgeable and friendly, making great suggestions about the wines themselves and how to get the most out of your tasting enjoyment. The room is cozy but offers enough space for quite a few tasting groups. Outdoor seating is handy and invites you to linger for longer than a flight of wines. An extensive tasting list is offered for a $5 fee, which is waived with the purchase of any wines.

The Wines:  Lava Cap is known for its Chardonnay, Zinfandels, and Petite Sirah. However, the Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and bright, is a favorite of ours, a terrific match for fish or for sipping. It is impossible to pick a single favorite red, because the varietals each exhibit the characteristics you expect from the grape while highlighting the skill of the winemaker. The wines win numerous awards on a regular basis and are offered for sale in many local retail sites, as well as on fine wine lists in the region. This winery has one of the largest overall productions in number of cases in the area.

The People:  This family owned and operated winery has been popular in the region for over 30 years. The view is a huge draw, and it has ample picnic tables for guests to enjoy their wines right next to the vines from which they were created. With the vineyard management and winemaking in the hands of two brothers, production is well coordinated and high quality at all stages. It is not unusual to run into part of the family during your visit, since the very busy winery is right next door to the tasting room.

Insider's Tip:  It makes sense here to start marking a tasting list with your favorites, because making choices can be hard. While case pricing is generously discounted, discounts also apply to mixed cases. Ask about the daily specials of sale wines, usually posted on a board at the tasting room door. Check their website to learn about regularly scheduled events offered on the weekends.

Address & Contact Information: 2221 Fruitridge Rd. Placerville, California 95667. Telephone: 530-621-0175, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 11:00-5:00.

Overall Rating:  

Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance

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