Welcome to Rucksack Cellars

Comfortable and worn, a rucksack embodies our desire to discover life away from the ordinary.  It is with this same spirit of discovery that we produce our wines, each an expression of the varied climate and soils of the Sierra Foothills appellation.  Join us as we explore this exciting world of wine.

We are located at 3030 Carson Road.  We open the first weekend in May, and close mid-December.  Our hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12-5.

We look forward to seeing you! Cheers!

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Annual Open Houses—Madroña 39, Rucksack 1

Madrona Open House 2019No, it’s not a one-sided baseball score between the Madroña Bushmen and the Rucksack Hikers. And no, it’s not a count of the tasters in the tasting room. Instead, it’s the number of Open Houses we’ll be celebrating this year on May 25th and 26th.

First and foremost, I think you need to absorb in how truly unique this celebration is. We have been hosting an Open House every year at Madroña since 1981. If you can remember that far back, Ronald Reagan was president, the US inflation rate was 10.35%, and the interest rate was 15.75%! And some of you may not even have been born yet! (And if you’re wondering, the 1981 Cabernet Sauvignon is still tasting great!)

Madroña’s Open House is the El Dorado wine region’s oldest consecutively held wine event. That means every year we’ve brought out the barrels, showed off special wines, and said ‘thank you’ to all of you who have kept us in business for all these many years.

This year, however, will be unique. With two wineries now, Madroña Vineyards and Rucksack Cellars, we wanted to host celebrations for both wineries showcasing the current and upcoming wines. Since the styles are so distinctly different, each winery will have its own Open House day.

2019 Open HouseSaturday May 25th from 11am-4:30pm, Rucksack Cellars will be celebrating its first ever Open House. Sit back and relax overlooking the vineyards while enjoying the sounds of The Wild Oak Band. The Americana folk sound of this trio paired with a warm, sunny day is just about perfect. But that’s not all.

While you’re gazing up through the pines and cedars at the blue sky, we’ll be pouring some of our favorite wines paired with our own Jerk Chicken Tacos. The new releases of the 2018 Chenin Blanc and the 2018 Barbera Rosé are spectacular, and the ’16 Cabernet Franc has quickly become a family favorite. We’ll be offering the last of the 2016 Rucksack Pinot Noir and sneak peaks at a couple of library wines. Add to this a bit of Barrel Tasting with the 2018 Rucksack Cellars Barbera, and you have a party.

It’s just meant to be a time to relax, enjoy, taste and talk.

The second day, Sunday May 26th (11:00-4:00pm) is all about Madroña’s Open House. Traditional and comfortable, we’ve been embracing the wonderful world of gourmet hamburgers, homemade French Fries, and a selection of amazing aiolis since I don’t know when. As we all relax out back behind the winery overlooking the Zinfandel vineyards (planted in 1973), The Double Shots will be energizing us with their blend of classic rock favorites.

From the wine side, of course we’ll be doing barrel tastings of the 2017 Signature Zinfandel and something special (I haven’t decided which barrel I want to bring out). We’ll have the new releases of the 2018 Grenache Rosé and the 2018 Fiore (Yellow Muscat), and I think we’ll even release to the public the last of the 2015 Petite Sirah (9 cases!). This may be your only chance to taste this incredible wine.

The rest is all about the wines our family loves paired with great food and great conversation. If that’s in your field of interest on a lazy day in May, then I think we’ll see you here!

Or better yet, come to Rucksack on Saturday and Madroña on Sunday for the whole experience. And thank you for all the years of support! Cheers

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1st Annual Open House

2019 Open HouseWe are excited to announce that Rucksack will hold our 1st Annual Open House on Saturday, May 25th from 11-4:30.  We booked a great band – the Wild Oak Band, and your ticket price includes lunch of Jerk Chicken Tacos and Green bean, Tomato and Corn salad.  We will have wine tasting and barrel tasting for the Barbera!  We hope that you will join us.  Tickets can be purchased here Open House Tickets!  Tickets are $15 for the public, and $12 for Club Members.  Tickets at the door (if available) will be $18.00.  We hope to see you at Rucksack!

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Rucksack Club Release 3/19

Dear Rucksack Club Members,

With the start of the 2019 vintage, the weather has given us rain, snow, sleet and wind. In fact, we’ve had nary a sunny day. So is there any wonder as to why Rucksack, with its outdoor tasting area, would be closed until the sunnier days of May? I don’t think so!

But as we started to think about which wines we planned to showcase in our March Rucksack Wine Club, the potential drought and dryness of California is only a blink away. So one, embrace the wetness of 2019 and the promises it brings. And don’t forget the pinnacle of the recent drought years, which was 2015!

Continue reading

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Great Review from CalWineJaunt.com

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Thank you CalWineJaunt for including us in your 3 Wineries to Add to Your List Blog!  Here is the part about Rucksack… The Camino wine region may not be the most popular destination in wine magazines, but it’s definitely worth … Continue reading

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Delicious New Barbera Pairing

Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

We are getting ready for our wines that will be featured in the California Wine Club.  Researching, finding, tweaking and editing recipes that will pair with wines is a rough part of our job!

This is the most recent pairing our 2016 Barbera.  Give it a try – it’s delicious!

Barbera – Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

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A Great Summer Pairing

Fritters5-Ingredient Zucchini Fritters

Rucksack Cellars Barbera Rose!

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 sliced scallions
  • vegetable oil or olive oil for frying
  • sour cream for serving (optional)
Heat oil over medium-high heat. In mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Cook in pan for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked throughout.
Let cool, serve and enjoy with the Barbera Rose!
Recipe From Today.com
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Progressing in Provence

The Progressing in Provence, held June 24th, was a fabulous event with guests learning about Roses, Grenache and wine pairings. We had several requests for the recipes we prepared, so we are linking them here.

Paired with the Barbera Rose – Barbera Rose – Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Paired with the Grenache Rose (from Madrona) –  Fun Things – Cheese Pairings

And just because it was delicious AND did not work with the wines! – Fun Things – Watermelon Soup

We hope that you will join us next year!

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Progressing in Provence

A Rose Celebration!

2015 Barbera RoseOne of our favorite summertime treats is this style of wine; dry with acidity, beautiful light fruit notes, and a color that just reminds us to settle back and enjoy summer.  We like it so much that we have created 3 different Rosés in the past year!  The Rucksack Barbera Rosé, the Madroña Grenache Rosé, and the Rucksack Sweet Rosé.  All three showcase bright, refreshing aspects, but the difference is texture and fruit characters.

To showcase our Rosés, we are hosting a Rosé Walk-about!  Check in at Rucksack Cellars, and stroll to the beautiful walnut trees where you will find Mexican Street Corn paired with our Rucksack Cellars’ Barbera Rosé.  Then stroll again to the cottage and enjoy our Grenache Rosé paired with a watermelon soup and beautiful French cheeses.  Tour the vineyards and we’ll all finish up at Rucksack Cellars where you will not only taste our new Rucksack Sweet Rosé (a multi-varietal blend), but you’ll pick up your boxed “evening lunch” and a glass of wine to savor while overlooking the vineyards.  It’s the best way to celebrate the warm evenings of summer in the Sierras!  (All guests will receive a 20% discount off of any Rosé purchase!)

Limited to 48 people total, 16 people per session.  Tickets are $30/person.

To purchase tickets – click here!  To see our write-up about last year’s event, click here!

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Rucksack Quilt

quilt-trail-at-rucksack-678x1024Rucksack Cellars finally got their quilt hung on the building and officially joined the Quilt Trail of El Dorado County.  Thank you to Kathleen Callaghan Mendenhall for writing this great article on it!

Mt Democrat Article – November 21, 2017

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July…well August Club Shipment

SignDear Rucksack Cellars’ Wine Club Members,

Our long-awaited second release of wines from Rucksack Cellars is now available. The July (well now August) Shipment has almost squeaked into July on wines that are predominantly sold out. In other words, we’ve held back some wines just for our Club Members.

You can pick up your wines at Rucksack Cellars, Friday through Sunday from 12-5pm. If you happen to be in the area on one of the days we’re closed, we also have your shipment available at Madroña during tasting room hours. (The cost of this shipment of three bottles is $57.60 plus tax, and you have until September 30th to pick up your wine. But you’ll want it before then!) Continue reading

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