The majority of Amador’s vines are head-trained, spur-pruned and either own-rooted or on low vigor rootstocks like St. George, which provide a natural check on yields. Trained vines are primarily on bi-lateral cordons with vertical trellising. Severe pruning, cluster thinning, and dropping crop when necessary keep yields small, generally four tons per acre or less. Amador boasts one of the highest percentages of organically farmed vineyards of any wine region in California and, probably as a result of dry-farming, has been little affected by phylloxera.
Amador’s production of intensely flavored red wines also reflects its high percentage of old vines: roughly 600 acres are 65 years or older, including several vineyards dating to the 19th century. These deeply rooted, head-trained vines, found in vineyards such as Deaver, Esola, Fox, Ferrero, Grandpere and Lubenko, yield tiny crops of small-berried grapes, which produce the heady zinfandels for which Amador is renowned.