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First-time visitors and returning guests alike receive first-class treatment from hosts who enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for anything and everything about wine. This is the only tasting room in the area offering critically acclaimed pinot noir and chardonnay from the North Coast as well as wines made from locally grown grapes.
Grandfather Alipio Paculba planted grapes near Lodi, California in 1940 on a small farm that later spread to 25 vineyard acres. Fruit was mostly sold to wineries, but a young Jones helped separate wine from skins in a basket press as the family made small lots for personal enjoyment. Disseminated among the tasks were lessons about attention to detail and the honor of labor — values forming the cornerstones of his philosophy on life.
“I still have that old basket press,” said Jones, “and recall the family harvest parties where we roasted a pig on a spit.”
He worked on the farm through high school and college. Achieving success in the late 1980s tech industry, Jones purchased vineyard property in El Dorado County near road E16 to recreate his grandfather’s tradition. He later added more vines and sold grapes to local wineries.
“I took wine classes at the UC Davis Extension program,” he said, “and ventured to the Russian River Valley in the early 1990s with wine professionals to study cool-climate pinot noir and chardonnay from small producers.”
Jones met winemaker Daniel Moore, an early champion of the region who shared his passion for both varietals. Working with likeminded growers, they established the E16 wine program highlighting sustainable vineyards and Moore’s winemaking wisdom.
With E16 firmly established among wine critics, the pair focused on making Rhone varietal wines for Jones’ Firefall label from his El Dorado County estate. The name was inspired by a view from the property’s Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard where the sun appears to fall like fire while setting behind the hills to the west.
The vineyards of Fair Play and the Russian River Valley are separated by 150 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation, but they are bonded by a commitment to honoring land and tradition with wines expressing a sense of place, longstanding partnerships with growers, and distinction in the bottle.
Located in Somerset, E16 Winery is built into a hillside vineyard along a wooded creek with a charming footbridge and shaded terrace. We offer unique visitor experiences with the relaxed charm of El Dorado County in a tasting room and a subterranean cavern. The wines of two distinct brands are served at both venues.
E16 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay (all rated 90 pts or more) are sourced from the Russian River Valley and Bennett Valley in Sonoma County, Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, and the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County.
Firefall Syrah and Grenache Blanc are sourced from grapes grown on our mountain vineyard in the Fair Play AVA. The property is located five miles south of Somerset and above the middle fork of the Cosumnes River where the growing season is marked by warm, dry conditions.