The Amador Winemakers Association (AWA) was founded in 2002 by Peggy and Mike Bellamy for the purpose of promoting
interest in the art of home winemaking. The focus is on members helping members learn
about the craft and continually improving upon winemaking skills.
AWA has a board of directors elected by the membership.
The board consists of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Past President Advisor. The board serves for a two-year term. Elections are
held in May in alternating years. There is also an Equipment Manager appointed by the board. The Equipment Manager is responsible for the oversight and
maintenance of AWA wine making equipment. The board meets once a month to discuss club issues, to plan for special events, and to set the agenda for the monthly general
meetings which are usually held at Marlene & Glen's diner in Plymouth the third Thursday of the month at 7pm.
Any person or couple who expresses an interest
in the art of home wine making and has reached the age of 21 is eligible for membership. Membership covers up to two individuals. Dues are $50/year per
membership, payable upon joining (prorated for new members) and on July 1st of each year. We have approximately 150 members. Our members hail from throughout
Amador County, Mt. Aukum, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Sacramento, Davis, and even Pleasanton and San Mateo. Member wine making experience ranges from new
(never made wine before) to well over twenty years. Several members have their own vineyards, and a few members have gone on to commercial wine making ventures.
Members have made many varieties of wine over the years
including Zinfandel, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Primitivo, Tempranillo, and Sauvignon Blanc. Some make their wine in 5 or 6 gallon glass carboys, while others
use oak barrels, stainless steel or other containers. Some members have elaborate wine making facilities, while others make their wine in unconditioned garages.
Some members have all of their own equipment. For those who don't, AWA has crusher de-stemmers, presses, filters, bottlers, and corkers available for loan at no
charge. The equipment has been paid for and is maintained via member dues. Members are always on the lookout for good prices on bottles, equipment, supplies,
and grapes. In the Spring of each year, membership votes on the variety of grape that will be purchased for our "Club Project". A volunteer determines the amount
of grapes required based on membership demand (e.g., some members may want 250 pounds, others may want a half ton). The volunteer then coordinates the purchase of
grapes with a local supplier. Members pay for their share of the grapes. On harvest day the grapes are transported from the vineyard and brought to a central
location (for the past several years a member's home wine making facility) where AWA equipment is used to crush the grapes. After the crush is complete, everybody
relaxes and the BBQ is fired up. Members take home their share of must (crushed grapes) that day, and begin their wine making tasks at home. In addition to the
Club Project, many members have their own wine making projects using any number of grape varieties.