Calaveras County terroir with a twist: California’s Gold Country yields hyper-local craft spirits
How does a former Tesla employee who has moved to California’s Gold Country make use of what he learned in high-tech to partner with local farmers? Hint: It’s all about the terroir. We know about the importance of soil, climate, and sunlight in giving wine its distinctive character. But now Gold Country terroir is showing up with a twist—in spirits such as gin, vodka, and whisky.
Nate and his wife, Bonnie, live in the small town of Arnold where they distill California wines, then infuse the resulting spirits with locally sourced botanicals such as juniper, gooseberries, elderflower and other native flora from the Sierra Nevada foothills.
Nate and Bonnie love living here. The elevation here is 4,000 feet, the population is under 2,500, and the Internet is fast. Big Trees State Park—with its giant sequoias—is right up the road.
Ten miles down Highway 4 is Murphys, a classic Gold Country town that’s full of history. Murphys offers an array of local dining options and there’s no shortage of activities, including snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding in winter; fishing and hiking in the summer; and wine-tasting all year round.
Funding for Journeys of Discovery provided by Nashville's Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.