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Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard

Baby Rattlesnake VineyardLocated in El Dorado’s Fairplay AVA, the vineyard rests at an elevation of 2350 feet – taking winemaking to the next level.

Winegrowing made resurgence in the late 1960’s taking the region from obscurity to a formidable presence in the world of wine. Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard has lead the way in El Dorado County, having produced a number of 90 point and above wines for local wineries over the years. With a passion to embrace the “Wild West spirit” of the land, President Robert Jones strives to produce a collection of FIREFALL wines that reflect the adventurous and pioneering history of El Dorado.

Twenty years ago, 3rd generation winegrower, Robert Jones, took a path less traveled along El Dorado County road E16 to build a vineyard that would set the stage for Firefall wines. Under the wing of E16 Winery, Firefall thrives at Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard – a small gem hidden in the Sierra Foothills of California’s family Gold Country.

Taking winemaking to the next level, Firefall’s grapes come to fruition above the fog line at 2350 feet elevation in El Dorado’s Fair Play AVA. Fairplay is unique due to its high elevation and complex topography. El Dorado is cooled by elevation rather than by the fog that is common to the coastal regions. The grapes receive more direct sunlight, this ripening fully without retaining excess herbaceous characters or acidity that is out of balance with the fruit flavors.

Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard earned its unusual name after Robert Jones’ three-year-old son picked up a juvenile Northern Pacific rattler in the company of his parents. Before they could intervene, he had already returned it to earth without harm to either party.

Developed in 1991, the vineyard is known for being the fruit source of several El Dorado County wines garnering 90-point ratings. It currently boasts 16 acres of Rhone varieties that are augmented with tiny blocks of barbera and tempranillo. The property is located in the Fair Play AVA, five miles south of Somerset and above the middle fork of the Cosumnes River where the growing season is marked by warm, dry conditions. Prompted by elevations reaching 2400 feet, the cool overnight temperatures help form favorable grape acidity that provides artistic counterpoint to the layered fruit in the finished wines.

Vines are planted in well-drained granitic sandy-loam soils (Holland Series) where their struggle for survival creates the desirable conditions for growing outstanding wine grapes.  The mountain vineyard offers a favorable package of crystal-clear skies above the fog line, clones and rootstock chosen for the site, and year-round hand cultivation that helps create an age-worthy collection of well-balanced wines, principally Rhone Valley varieties syrah, viognier and grenache blanc, and the Italian variety barbera.


  • Soil - Granitic and Alluvial Soil with Holland Based Sandy Loam
  • Elevation - 2350
  • Exposure - Varies by Varietal
  • Clones - 877 & Syrah Noir
  • Rootstock / Spacing - 10114, 1103 Paulsen, 110R, and 5C | 10x6
  • Acrage - 15.2 Acres
  • Years Planted - 1991 and 1997


 Find Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard wine HERE at E16 Winery