More than twenty years ago, David Girard looked out at this stunning landscape rising 1400' from the South Fork American River Valley and saw not only beauty, but also great potential. In the heart of Gold Country -- indeed, one mile from where California gold was first discovered in 1848 -- he envisioned an estate vineyard producing grapes of great distinction.
By the late nineties, David was up and running, selling his entire Merlot harvest from 14 acres to Robert Mondavi on a ten-year contract. But, like the intrepid forebears of the region, a passion for discovery and a hearty appetite for risk soon got the best of him. "My life is more a product of curiosity than it is any great vision," David once revealed. So after just a few years of grapes sales, new acreage was planted, and David Girard Vineyards was born.
At the time, El Dorado County was known for producing a dizzying array of winegrapes, but David and celebrated Vineyardist Ron Mansfield, with whom David worked from the start, had a more focused idea for the new plantings. A trip together to the Rhone Valley convinced both men that the granite soil, topography, and cooling influence of the nearby American River beckoned those same grape varieties that had such a storied history in Southeast France. Over the next few years an additional 22 acres of red Rhones were planted in a traditional, head-trained fashion, and as a finishing touch, half of the original Merlot vines were grafted-over to exciting white grapes from the Rhone and Provence.
Today, David Girard Vineyards thrives by serving meticulously crafted wines in a gorgeous, historical setting on 85 total acres. The winery is renowned in the region and beyond for providing a serene, pleasurable destination for both our dedicated followers as well as first-time guests. With a glass of award-winning wine, we are indeed a "destination for people to spend some time, relax, and take it easy."