The Andersonia Vineyards
At 3,200 ft elevation, Biama Vineyards is one of the highest elevation vineyards in the Sierra Foothills, with grape harvest occurring in late October. Snow often blankets the vineyard during the winter months. The soils of the steep vineyard hillsides were formed from volcanic parent material, resulting in a high natural soil fertility.
These estate grown grapes are home to Andersonia wine and include Zinfandel, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Nebbiolo. In the spring of 2024, the first harvest of Syrah grapes will be expected. Rich Biama takes care to maintain the grapes according to organic practices overseen by winemaker, Brandy Anderson. There is no mechanization of the vineyard – all vine pruning and grape harvesting is done by hand to ensure the highest quality of fruit and wine.
Located in the historic Sierra Foothills mining town of Fiddletown, this 9 acre site shares ¼ mile of river frontage with the South Fork Cosumnes River. The 2,100 ft elevation property is southwest facing and has a 5% slope. The geologic history of this river valley has resulted in deep deposits of river sediments, known as alluvial soil. These alluvial soils are regarded by soil scientists as having the highest natural fertility because sediment deposits from geologic flood events. The soil has a 15 feet depth of volcanic river sediments over a layer of decomposed granite. This deep, fertile soil will allow for this Andersonia vineyard to be eventually ‘dry farmed’, a practice of not using any irrigation.
In the Fiddletown region, most of the alluvial soils along the South Fork Cosumnes River were lost in the late 1800s when miners used powerful pumps to take water out of the Cosumnes River and blast the riverbank soil with high pressure water to mine for gold deposits – a practice known as hydraulic mining. For some reason, this parcel of land was spared and left untouched by the miners. Once planted, this will be the only vineyard in the area planted on this nearly extinct regional alluvial soil type. In 2025, this property is scheduled to be planted with Grenache 362, Syrah, and Mourvedre according to organic farming practices.