We had the opportunity to visit another great venue that excited me immediately as we pulled up the drive.  Helwig Winery sits on 44 acres in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County, California.  A truly brand new property that opened in May of 2011 after only breaking ground in 2009.  This property boasts expansive views, 3 acres of fruit planted in 10 varietals, brand new wine cave and a variety of event facility options.  I can’t say I have ever seen a spanking new wine cave.   Can I say clean, crisp, fresh and downright gorgeous?! Though it’s an odd way to describe a wine cave, this is no joke.  Even the barrels are brand new!

I have to jump right to the tasting room: the jewel of the property in terms of architecture, and well, that’s where the wine is poured, so you know the Vixens had to spend a little time in the tasting room.  I love how they describe the architecture of this space: Contemporary American Barn design. As we stood inside the drawn barn slider door,  I coined Western Sophistication and Lora had to throw in the very popular Contemporary Barn Meets Casual Elegance (wedding theme?).  On one hand you get the feeling you are standing in an old saloon of the Western Days and on the other hand you are peering out the large windows onto the Valley Oaks, open space, and standing beneath and surrounded by detailed wood features using Valley Oak and Ponderosa Pine from the property.  They went through great lengths to re-use much of the oaks that had to be removed for construction to create incredible wood tables, paneling to the rooms, and the most beautiful beams I have seen.

As far as event spaces, there are indoor and outdoor options, which is not always the case at foothill wineries.  Helwig is very flexible in how you might use the spaces and their staff is extremely helpful in guiding you through the planning and set-up process.  Immediately off of the tasting room is a small meeting space for up to 16 people, a nice spot for larger group private wine tastings, or makes a great space for the groom and groomsmen to wait before a wedding.  The space has a gorgeous reclaimed Valley Oak table and has full audio visual capabilities, a flat screen TV, and projector.  Right down the hallway from this space is the Three Sisters event space.  This space is an indoor room for up to 85 guests and is a rarely seen option in this area (Amador county wineries have very few indoor spaces). This space also doubles as the brides changing room, which is an added plus.  The room is walled in by windows and Ponderosa Pine and fully equipped for AV needs too.  Each window treatment and accent design detail, down to the room dividers, were well selected and perfectly ties this property together.  Tables, chairs, and linens are included with the property for all of their spaces.  Flatware and stemware is also included which leaves room in most budgets to add some unique elements and decorate multiple spaces to truly be able to take advantage of all this property has to offer.

Heading outside leads to decomposed and packed granite walkways between the buildings. If the area between the buildings is seen from an aerial view, it shapes a capitol ‘H’ and the shape of a wine barrel, which are examples of how much thought and planning went into the facility.  This first outdoor space is often used for larger summer parties and receptions.  The Outdoor Pavilion carries the wood beam design and adds additional stamped-metal design touches to play off of the tasting room décor.  This space has overhead fans, heaters, a custom outdoor bar, a stone fireplace, drop down screens to use as the sun sets, and again, the tables and chivari chairs along with more tabletop details are included.  This space is great for up to 175 people and offers the outdoor feel with an overhead cover just in case!  Though ceremony site options are as endless as you can dream up, Helwig has a large amphitheater that is often used for ceremonies.  This is one area that could handle a little extra touch to soften the concrete and artificial grass.  The space is made for large events and has restrooms close by and you can’t beat the bride’s entrance from the large carved wood wine cave doors.

Pull the guests indoors and underground to experience the wine cave after the ceremony and they will be stunned.  There are a number of cave walkways in the 5k square foot wine cave that lead to a large staircase and landing area that works well for small events and for larger cocktail events.  The largest portion of this space displays an incredible wine barrel slat chandelier and a side room option has a stunning reclaimed oak table that can seat 22 guests for a romantic rehearsal dinner or luncheon.  Tying this review full circle, this is the brand new wine cave that you must see and experience.

Be sure to account for the surround sound system throughout the entire property and try all of their tasty wines.  I am sipping a stainless steel fermented Sauvignon Blanc right now and appreciate their recommended wine purchase for events, but love that there is no large minimum to meet!

Thank you to the very fun and talented Vixen Vendor Beth, of True Love Photo, for taking all these great photos.

~ Vixen Catrina