By Michele Smith
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After the craziness of the entire runway shows, I always love to take a little getaway to relax and replenish. While many of my model friends prefer a beach getaway, my preference is to visit sleepy Amador wine country. I try to avoid wine whenever I have assignments, because if you have too much before the day of a shoot, there is the likely possibility of dark circles and puffy eyes. The reasons why I adore this area are countless, but the following are some of my favorites.

Amador county wineries remind me of a pre-commercialized Napa Valley. While most wineries in Napa charge for tastings, the majority of the wineries in this region do not, which is great if I am on a budget. I also shop however and purchase wine to ship back home. The region is located approximately 45 minutes from Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  This up and coming region offers 45 wineries to visit. Realistically, one cannot visit all at once and I usually only go to two or three, with a picnic lunch at one. While there are a few wineries that offer food options, I like to go to the local market and pick up cheese, crackers and other snacks for lunch.

The area is mostly Zinfandel wines and other red varietals, so one stop I love is Terra De Oro winery. The wine list is extensive as is the shopping – a great location if you want to find fun wine-related items from comical magnets to fun shirts (great shopping if you want to buy very unique stocking stuffers). I recommend the Home Zinfandel if you are just tasting a few. Last, if you have the opportunity to tour the library room, I highly recommend this for the information and to taste wines not on the regular list. For those who are into more into the whites and lighter reds, I recommend Story Winery. Not only do they serve a couple select sparkling wines, the view is stunning.amador wine country

I thoroughly love the canyon view from their picnic area. Last, but not least, since I have a sweet tooth I love Port Wine and always have to make a stop at the Deaver winery.  The location is ideal. The property views are amazing and come complete with a modern farmhouse tasting room on large acreage with a beautiful pond. The Deaver visitors can readily enjoy their Barbara Port with White Chocolate Cinnamon Almonds, which are a delectable pairing and my favorite to say the least.

While visitors, can stay onsite at the bed and breakfast at Deaver; I prefer to stay in the tiny town of Plymouth at a boutique hotel called Rest Hotel – a cute place to stay that offers in-room massages. The best part is that you can walk to the restaurant Taste the hotel owner owns.  The menu at Taste offers seasonal, healthy and flavorful meals. My favorite dish of this season on the large plate menu is the Creekstone Farms Filet Mignon, which comes complete with pumpkin risotto cake, foraged mushroom and toped with sherry cream sauce. Enjoy and happy travels!