AWG Correspondent

Yvonne Kochanowski

Toogood Estate Winery Photos

Toogood Estate Winery Review

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

Reviewed: March 30, 2012 by Yvonne Kochanowski
Published: May 17, 2012

Hidden from view off a narrow two-lane road in the heart of Fair Play, this winery takes advantage of the rocky outcroppings and protected valleys indigenous to the area. At the time of this review, a new visitors’ center with tasting room were under construction, with upcoming wine club events planned for an intimate patio set in the woods overlooking the vineyards.

The Place:  Toogood Estate Winery is unique in the Sierra Foothills because it has wine caves, the only such structures in the area! Covering 5,000 square feet, the caves are built deep into the rolling hillside. On a hot summer day, this is a great place to relax and quite literally chill! And on a rainy winter afternoon, the hospitality of the tasting room staff will warm you right up.

The Experience:  Tasting wine in an environment where the climate is constant and the conditions are controlled produces perhaps the most consistent kind of wine experience. While the wines do change based on how long they are opened, the lack of a breeze or fluctuations in temperature allow them to mellow at a gentler rate. For those who don’t like being underground, you won’t notice! Everything is well-lit and spacious, and the tasting area itself is contemporary and inviting.

The Wines:  Don’t be put off by the short list of wines offered on Toogood’s website! The winery uses estate and purchased grapes from the Sierra Foothills and beyond, producing a wide selection of wines from over forty varieties. Best known for its reds, the extensive tasting list, offered for a modest $5 fee waived with purchase, changes all the time depending on what’s ready. The wines sampled were consistently excellent. Many wines sell out on futures or to the wine club members. Almost every offering is a small case number production, so the best place to try these wines or buy them is at the winery. Don’t miss the extensive ports list as well, available as a separate wine club!

The People:  TooGood has perhaps the most experienced and knowledgeable tasting room staff in the area. Someone is on hand who can answer just about any obscure question you have, from differences in soil type to details on the barrels to particulars on a specific variety of grape. Each group, no matter the size, receives personalized attention. There’s a lot to taste and a lot to learn, but no one rushes you along!

Insider’s Tip:  This is a popular stop because of the wine caves, and as a result, parking can become a problem. The in-cave tasting room, while roomy, can also become crowded if a larger group happens in at the same time. Check the website for food events as these prove to be popular as well.

Address & Contact Information: 7280 Fairplay Rd. Somerset, California 95684. Telephone: 530-620-1910, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 11:00-6:00.

Overall Rating:  

Red Wine White Wine Service View/Ambiance

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