Seven varietals come with a $10 tasting at Nascere Vineyards in Durham. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

When I would think of California wine Butte County was never one of the regions that came to mind. I’ve been convinced it needs to be added.

It was such a delight to spend a few relaxed hours sipping varietals one Sunday afternoon with my mom and two friends. We were at Nascere Vineyards in Durham.

Instead of bellying up to the inside bar, we chose one of the shade covered tables that overlooked the vineyard. This is where the grapes for the Pinot Grigio, Barbera and Sangiovese are grown. The rest of the grapes come from other parts of Butte County, as well as Sutter County and the Sierra foothills.

With a tasting sheet, wines and glasses placed before us, in many ways it was a self-tasting. The workers came by on occasion to check on us and dispel tidbits about what we were imbibing, as well as answer questions. It was so non-pretentious, so low key, so enjoyable, so what wine tasting everywhere should be like.

The seven wines came in a carrying case of sorts, with each varietal in an easy to pour glass dispenser.

Nascere Vinyards has plenty of outdoor area for tastings. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

I was most impressed with the estate grown 2015 Barbera ($28). The tasting sheet says, “The boldness and acidity of the grape creates an inviting aroma of sweet red fruit and fresh toasted bread Aged three years in French Oak. Enticing flavors of cherry and raspberries cot the palate, and polished tannins boast an elegant round finish.”

My taste buds won’t allow me to ever write industry accepted tasting notes, but I can tell you this was a fabulous wine. I’m sure I’ll regret only getting one bottle. Good thing the winery is only 15 minutes or so down the road.

The other wine that made me want more was the 2014 Merlot ($24) from the Sierra foothills. Winery description says, “This Merlot immediately captures attention with its perfumed black cherry, red plum and blackberry aromas, which are nicely complemented by hints of mineral and dried herbs.”

The other wines we tasted were the 2018 Pinot Grigio, 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Ridge Rose, 2014 Super Tuscan, and 2016 Cabernet Franc.

Vanessa and Jess Pitney bought the property in 2009, with the first vintage being in 2011 with the Barbera grown on site.

The winery’s website says, “Our grapes are grown organically and in a sustainable manner, and we only apply certified organic products when needed. Since we live on the estate, our grapes get the utmost attention. We are present to watch them year-round and assure they are in optimal health and are picked at the prime time to produce only the highest quality wines. Our grapes are also hand-picked and sorted, assuring only the best fruit goes into our wine.”

What a great find. Now I know I can taste good wine without having to travel.



  • Open Saturdays and Sundays, noon-5pm or by appointment.
  • Phone: 530.345.9904.
  • Website
  • Cost: $10 to taste; fee waived with purchase of two bottles.

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