Cedarville Vineyard

Cedarville Vineyard Green Manure


Cedarville Vineyard wines are hand crafted by Jonathan Lachs and Susan Marks from grapes grown in the granitic soils of our organically farmed estate vineyard at 2500 feet elevation in the Sierra Foothills of California. Everything we do in our energy efficient winery building is designed to reflect the unique character of our hillside vineyard, beginning with hand sorting grape clusters before crushing through to aging our wines in our underground caves. We are a true estate vineyard and winery.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Fair Play, California.


  • Producing hand crafted wine.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
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  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Average Bottle Price

$ 29


The incredible combination of quality vineyard potential, Gold Rush-era history, a thriving community of small wineries, and abundant natural beauty convinced us to settle here in Fair Play.

We have been frequent visitors to the Sierra Foothills since our college days. Based upon the success of other Foothill wineries and the attractiveness of the Fair Play area, we decided to take a closer look to find a property to develop into our vineyard. In 1995, we found the perfectly situated 20 acre property at 2,500 ft. elevation, located 1/2 mile up a dirt road from Fair Play Road, which would become Cedarville Vineyard. With our 15 acres of vineyard coming into maturity, in 2000 we built our winery here on the estate. The panoramic views from the top of our vineyard spread from Mount St. Helena to the west to Pyramid Peak in the Crystal Range of the Sierra Nevada to the east. We have Organically farmed our estate vineyard since 2010.

The Team

Jonathan and Susan:

We both graduated from UC Davis with degrees in Enology, and actually met there at a wine tasting. Before and after graduation, we worked as winemakers in Napa Valley and the Central Coast, aspiring to someday start our own vineyard and winery. After over a decade working outside the wine industry to save money and plan ahead, in 1995 we found the property we named Cedarville Vineyard in the Gold Rush era town of Fair Play. Located within the Fair Play, El Dorado, and Sierra Foothills AVAs, Fair Play is known for its decomposed granite soils. We live here on the property at over 2500 ft. elevation surrounded by our 15 acres of organically farmed vines. We have no employees, choosing to be hands-on winemakers, and all our wines are Estate Bottled with the exception of our Petite Sirah which comes from one of the oldest (if not the oldest) vineyard in Fair Play.

Practices & Techniques

Our energy efficient winery is built partially underground, with our barrels storage caves completely underground, allowing us to cool our winery without air conditioners, and keep energy bills very low. Everything we do in the winery is designed to reflect the wonderful character of our unique vineyard. We make our wines ourselves, so the building and winemaking processes are scaled to be hands-on. All of our grapes are hand picked and delivered immediately to the winery, where we thoroughly sort the grapes before destemming and crushing. The grapes are crushed, leaving a high proportion of whole berries, directly into small lot fermenters. After pressing, the wines are transferred to small oak barrels where they mature in our underground caves.

Our caves are constructed of pre-cast concrete arches placed on concrete footings dug into the excavated hillside, and covered with six to eight feet of earth. We selected caves to store our barrels to maximize the key elements necessary for successful barrel aging: low temperature and high humidity.


Wine & Spirits Magazine, "100 Best Buys of the Year", December 2014

2012 Viognier:

Perhaps it’s no surprise that viognier seems to be suited to the Sierra Foothills—as with Condrieu, the Foothills have a lot of granite. That’s particularly true in Fair Play, where Jonathan Lachs and Susan Marks established their estate in 1995 on the region’s sandy, decomposed granite hills. In 2012 their vineyard gave a viognier with delicious purity of fruit: all apricots, earth tones and mineral water. It’s as fresh as it is fleshy, equally suited to rich seafood or veal. Catch it now while it’s still carrying its full youthful generosity. 92 Points.

2011 Grenache:

This grenache grows in the sandy, decomposed granite soils of Jonathan and Susan Lachs’ organically farmed Fair Play estate. Fresh and lithe, it shows off the prettier side of the grape: a beam of light red fruit tones layered with hints of complexity, from anise to rose and a bit of meatiness. The fine tannins would match a simple roast chicken. 91 Points

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We welcome visitors for tours, tasting, and sales by appointment.


P.O. Box 419
Fair Play, California 95684
United States

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