Photo © Michelle Lipowski
Madrona Vineyards is a small, family winery dedicated to promoting agriculture in El Dorado County. Started in 1973, Dick and Leslie Bush pioneered high-elevation grape growing in California at the 3,000-foot elevation. Now with around 70-acres of vineyards, the next generation of Bushes, Paul and Maggie, make 100% Estate Grown with over 25 different varieties.
Madrona's tasting room, located at the winery, invites visitors to taste the terroir of the region while often speaking directly to the owners or winemaker. With an interest in educating the public about both wine and agriculture, Madrona has opportunities for the public to learn about blending wine, food/wine pairings, all local ingredient dinners, growing their own vegetables and spices (for kids), as well as many others to help capture the full flavor of an authentic wine experience.
The Bushes have long believed in the truly unique aspects of El Dorado County and its unique environment.
Hours Open: Open daily 11am to 5pm (tasting room); Special educational events, date specific, throughout the year. Please call for dates.
Seasons Open: All
Madrona has always considered the environment in its decisions for the future. With 212 acres of land in the Apple Hill area and Pleasant Valley, only 70 acres are in cultivation. The remainder has been left in forest and range land, understanding that we are only a portion of the inhabitants of the regions. Wildlife corridors were left through vineyards (Pleasant Valley) to allow the significant deer population to flow naturally through the area.
The Bushes use an integrated pest management system (IPM) to reduce the amount of spraying in the vineyards, and have promoted barn owls with barn owl boxes and raptors with perches throughout the vineyards for gopher control.
The winery itself uses the net-metering system with its 36KW solar system, producing enough energy for all of its buildings. All natural waste products (stems, seeds, skins) from the wine making procedure are used in the field for erosion control and nutrients. The use of neutron probes and soil moisture monitoring systems allow for water conservation and grape quality enhancement. And the Bushes are working on a system to use the waste water from the wine production for irrigation needs in the vineyards.
All cover crops are native in the vineyards, and turning the soil is seldom used, saving diesel fuel, tractor time and reducing insect pressures from dust.
Lastly, Madrona's tasting room is a recycling collection point for corks from consumers in the region. Collected corks are sent back to the cork company for recycling into cork flooring or cardboard.