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Worth a Day Trip: The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, CA

Posted by on August 22, 2016

Disclosure: As part of a pre-excursion event with the IFBC (International Food Bloggers Conference) we were taken over to the Old Sugar Mill… my in depth experience below.

One thing I love about attending conferences and partaking in their pre or post conference excursions are the in-depth experiences that come with it.

This was exactly the case with The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, CA.  We got an in-depth look at 4 of the Tasting rooms within, meeting the winemakers and tasting room mangers behind the wines, and hearing their stories.

Before, I talk about the Old Sugar Mill, we have to go back in history a bit and talk about Clarksburg:

Before Clarksburg were Grape Growers, they were actually Beet Growers, and the Old Sugar Mill was exactly that: The Sugar Mill for the Beets grown in the area.  The one thing I took away from this excursion was the SMELL that came from milling beets!  BUT, eventually, people stopped buying sugar beets, and the Clarksburg Farmers had to look elsewhere for what crops to bring into their area: This is when they turned to grape growing.

The Clarksburg appellation – located 15 minutes south of downtown Sacramento –
produces some of California’s most coveted wine grapes planted on more than 7,000
acres encompassing over 35 varietals. Here, the same cooling breezes from San
Francisco Bay that influence the Napa and Sonoma valleys to our west ensure a slow,
even growing season, placing the Clarksburg appellation among California’s premier
winegrowing regions. In fact, many of Napa and Sonoma’s most renowned winemakers
have been coming to Clarksburg to buy their wine grapes since the 1970s. ~Clarksburg Wine Company

The Clarksburg Appellation is well known for their Chenin Blanc and Petite Sirah, however, during my visit at the Old Sugar Mill, lots of interesting things were happening beyond these 2 varietals:


The Old Sugar Mill today is host to a Grape Crushing Pad where wineries throughout the area could work with the Old Sugar Mill and have utilize their crush pad space to harvest and develop their wines.

Inside the space are host to 11 Tasting Rooms with a ton of picnic grounds to truly enjoy a day of good food and wine right on premise! Lets go explore some of the tasting rooms inside the Old Sugar Mill:

Clarksburg Wine Company:

It’s been well over 3 weeks since I’ve tasted Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc, but the taste is still savored in my mouth, especially after a 110 degree day in the Sacramento Valley, that first taste of wine is everything.

And on a hot, hot day, I’m partial to White Wines, so when that Chenin Blanc touched my lips, lets just say, it’s been left there since.


(Inside the Clarksburg Wine Company Tasting Room)

Now, I was also very fortunate to try their 2013 Cabernet Franc, and with my side of Pork Loin, it was a pretty spectacular pairing.

I really enjoyed the wines from Clarksburg Wine Company, and will be back to take some home with me!

Elevation 10:


During our afternoon speed tasting session over lunch, I was hooked by Elevation 10 by talking to the owners of the Tasting Room (Dominic and Rina DiMare).  And from there, it was my first stop on my Tasting Rooms to visit:

I was instantly drawn to their Wine Gelatos inside:


I had to try one.

But, further investigation around the Tasting Room you will find fine Chocolates, other foodie type items.  And they EVEN will do Wine and Chocolate tastings for you at their tasting room.

They have a really nice Chardonnay, but what they’re known for is their Proprietor Blend, their flagship Red Wine.  Although the Combination’s change yearly, they are dedicated to having at least 2 of the varietals come from the Bordeaux wines, which they strive to make their wines after at Elevation 10.

Due Vigne:

Due Vigne is proud in making Italian Style Wines, and what they were doing with their wines captured my attention right away especially their 2014 Barbera (very popular in this region on California going South into Lodi!)


Upon entering their tasting room, your eyes were instantly drawn to their cork board that showcased the varietals of wines they produced around their name.

At the tasting bar I was offered to try more of their wines, and I was curious about their Nebbiolo, a first time introduction to me: and after 1 sip, I was hooked to know more about this varietal.  Notes of Bing Cherries really came through.

Three Wine Company:

Anyone happen to follow Matt Cline?  If so, you may know a bit of his story, and also know he makes REALLY REALLY good wine.

But, when he makes wine, he has a desire to keep things small, focused, and find some GREAT areas for producing the wine, in the first place.

So, it makes perfect since that Matt Cline found his vision with his company, Three Wine Company, with his wife Erin, where they are showcasing their wine to the public at the Old Sugar Mill.  Three represents their philosophy in winemaking – the dirt, the micro-climate and sustainable wine-growing. Under three they produced old-vine Zinfandel, Mataro, Carignane, and Petite Sirah from Contra Costa County. In addition, they make Riesling and Albariño from Monterey County and Chardonnay from the famed Carneros region in the Napa valley.


When I tasted his Old Vines Rose, it was the perfect drink to the hot, summer day we were having in the Sacramento Valley.  I’ll have to stop back to try more of his wines that he’s creating at Three in the months ahead!

The Old Sugar Mill is just 20 Minutes outside of Sacramento, and they’ve created a map for you:


It’s definitely worth a day trip to check out the 4 Tasting Rooms Above, or to Explore all 11 with a group of friends or a loved one.  Bring a Picnic Basket, and enjoy the wines!



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