Gold Country getaway: Sutter Creek's new wine and dining hot spots


  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Sutter Creek may retain its Gold Rush-era facade, but these days the town is filled with wine-tasting rooms, boutiques and cafes.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Eureka Street is home to Feist Wines tasting rooms, a popular pizza spot and the historic Knight Foundry.

  • The gallery will resume inseconds
  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Enjoy Miller Wine Works sips paired with cheeses at the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe.

  • Miller Wine Works has moved into the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe, so now
    you can do wine and cheese pairings as you taste. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area
    News Group)

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Enjoy Bella Grace Vineyards wines at the Sutter Creek tasting room, pictured, or at the tasting room in Amador County's Shenandoah Valley.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Enjoy Bella Grace Vineyards wines at the Sutter Creek tasting room, pictured, or at the tasting room in Amador County's Shenandoah Valley.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Charlie Havill, owner of Bella Grace Vineyards, pours a glass of wine at his tasting room in Sutter Creek.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    The interior of Bella Grace's tasting room in Sutter Creek.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Sutter Creek is a Gold Rush-era town in the Sierra foothills.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Sutter Creek is home to 11 tasting rooms, including Scott Harvey Wines.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Sutter Creek is home to 11 tasting rooms, including Scott Harvey Wines.

  • Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

    Sutter Creek may retain its Gold Rush-era facade, but these days the town is filled with wine-tasting rooms, boutiques and cafes.

  • Element is the breakfast-only restaurant at Sutter Creek's Hanford House
    Inn. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • The Hanford House Inn is a sleek B&B perched on Old Highway 49 in Sutter's
    Creek. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • Sutter Creek's new 1850 Wine Cellars offers tastings, sangria by the glass
    and flatbread bites. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • Sutter Creek's new 1850 Wine Cellars offers tastings, sangria by the glass
    and a menu that includes flatbread and other bites. (Jackie Burrell/Bay
    Area News Group)

  • Sutter Creek's new 1850 Wine Cellars offers tastings, sangria by the glass
    and flatbread bites, as well as the chance to watch an unusual method of
    wine aeration. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • The Matthew Gibson Winery tasting room is the newest member of Sutter
    Creek's Wine on 49 tasting collective, which includes 12 tasting rooms in
    this Gold Rush-era town. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • The Matthew Gibson Winery tasting room is the newest member of Sutter
    Creek's Wine on 49 tasting collective, which includes 12 tasting rooms in
    this Gold Rush-era town. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • Stanley's Steakhouse chef KC Brown, right, who took over the kitchens at
    the National Hotel in Jackson last fall, did a cooking demonstration at the
    Sutter Creek farmers market on Aug. 4, 2018. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News
    Group)

  • BLTs get the upscale treatment from Stanley's Steakhouse chef KC Brown
    during a recent cooking demonstration in Sutter Creek. (Jackie Burrell/Bay
    Area News Group)

  • Sutter Creek's new Cavana's Pub & Grub serves up deliciously hefty burgers
    and local wines. (Jackie Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

  • Thick Swingles bacon takes center stage in Cavana's Amador Po'Boys. (Jackie
    Burrell/Bay Area News Group)

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Wine-tasting rooms and cozy cafes line the lanes of Sutter Creek, the Sierra foothills town whose covered sidewalks and historic storefronts almost feel frozen in time. But there are always new treasures to find as we return each year.

On this particular weekend, we’ve set out from the Hanford House Inn, a sleek B&B perched on Old Highway 49, to explore. Two new wine tasting rooms, Matthew Gibson and 1850, have opened this year, bringing the town’s Wine on 49 tally — and our opportunities to go wine-tasting near the inn — up to 11. There’s a new restaurant here, too.

Sidewalks may roll up a bit early in this town, but the Hotel Sutter restaurant and bar are still bustling on this Friday evening, as we emerge from the laid-back Cavana’s Pub & Grub across the street just after 8:30 p.m. Two years ago, Terri and Joe Cavana expanded from a small deli on Eureka Street to this cozy gastropub. A flying pig greets you at the door, ceiling fans circle lazily overhead and baseball flickers from the flatscreens. And in the bar area, wingback chairs and colorful couches await, perfect for lounging with a pint, a cocktail — a Sutter Mule, perhaps — or a glass of local wine.

Pair your bacon-topped pub burger ($15) with a Yorba barbera, say, or a Le Mulet Rouge sauvignon blanc — both wineries have tasting rooms just steps away. And don’t miss Cavana’s Amador Po’Boy ($15), which nestles thick, smoky Swingle Meat Co’s bacon in a soft roll alongside peppers, mushrooms, melty cheese and a spicy sriracho mayo. The sandwich is big enough to share, and the bacon — the bacon! — is a local treasure, produced by an old-school butcher shop in nearby Jackson that bills itself as “the carnivore’s toy shop.”

Sutter Creek’s new Cavana’s Pub & Grub serves up burgers and local wines. (Bay Area News Group) 

We’re still full the next morning, but the B of our B&B includes almond waffles with lavender-peach compote and candied, peppery bacon and — aw, who could say no? Besides, a brisk waddle, er, walk lies just ahead. And we hear music.

The Amador Farmers Market brings artisans, farmers and flower growers to town every Saturday morning, wooing passersby with the sounds of a live band and the aromas wafting from an alfresco kitchen. On this particular day, Stanley’s Steakhouse chef KC Brown, who took over the kitchens at the National Hotel in Jackson last fall, is dishing up upscale riffs on the BLT theme, canapes topped with crispy pork belly and tomatoes.

Just down the street, the main drag brims with adorable shops — be sure to check out Heart & Soul, a home decor store that also offers Annie Sloan chalk paint and art workshops. And new and updated tasting rooms have joined an already stellar lineup that includes Bella Grace, Feist, Uphill, Scott Harvey and more.

Charlie Havill, owner of Bella Grace Vineyards, pours a glass of wine at his tasting room in Sutter Creek. Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

Miller Wine Works has moved into the Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe, which means all those lovely sips of Ruddy Bloom rosé, grenache blanc and zinfandel are accompanied by some incredible cheese pairings. Happy crowds fill the new 1850 tasting room, drawn by not just $5 tastings, but the prospect of sangria, flatbread noshes and a staffer, who rolls your glass of red on its side to aerate the wine — without spilling a drop. And up on the corner, you can taste primitivos, nebbiolo and syrah at the new Matthew Gibson Winery, which moved into the white cottage previously occupied by Sutter Creek Wine Tasting.

And then, perhaps a nap.


If You Go

Hanford House Inn: Rooms at this sleek bed and breakfast start at $185. 61 Hanford St., Sutter Creek; hanfordhouse.com/suttercreek

Cavana’s Pub & Grub: Open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, until 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday at 36 Main St., Sutter Creek

Heart & Soul: Opens at 11 a.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. weekends at 42 Main St, Sutter; www.facebook.com/SutterCreekSOUL

Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe and Miller Wine Works: Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 33 Main St., Sutter Creek. Wine tasting is $5, wine and cheese pairings are $12; www.millerwineworks.com and www.suttercreekcheese.com.

Wine on 49: The new 1850 Wine Cellars is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday at 3 Randolph St., Sutter Creek. Matthew Gibson Winery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and occasional Fridays at 85 Main St. Find details on all the Wine on 49 tasting rooms at www.wineon49.com.


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