Monday, August 12, 2013

Preston Castle Wine Tasting Tour – Sat Sept 14

IONE, CA:  Taste the fine wines of Amador County and tour the historic Preston Castle.  Experience the history and feel the sensation of the past.  Attendees will sample fine wines, poured by 15 different wineries, from commemorative Preston Castle wine glasses.  A new addition this year is Turley Wine Cellars, a renowned producer of outstanding Zinfandels.

Sip a glass of wine, enjoy a variety of gourmet hors d'oeuvres, and listen to live music on the patio and in the Castle. Local favorite Manny Sosa will be playing in the Wine Cellar.

Val Starr & The Blues Rocket, a premier blues and blues rock band, will be playing on stage in the courtyard. They bring a unique style of traditional blues infused with blues songs from rock artists to create an entertaining show for dancing on the floor, dancing in your chair, drinking and listening or just listening and enjoying yourself!  Val Starr is a top class vocalist and shares the stage with top notch musicians to create the best in today's California Blues.

You can also wander the public areas of the Castle. Docents will be available to answer your questions.

This has become one of Amador County's premier wine events, and is always a sellout, so get your tickets now!

Participating Wineries:

Amador Cellars, Bella Grace, Bray, Clos du Lac, Drytown, Karmere, Nine Gables, Scott Harvey, Sera Fina, Sobon, Tanis, TKC, Turley, Vino Noceto, Wine Tree Farm.

Tickets, $40, available at Clark's Corner in Ione or online at

Preston Castle Wine Tasting and Tour
Saturday, September 14, 3 pm to 6 pm
Preston Castle, Ione - About 35 miles southeast of Sacramento, CA off HWY 104 in Ione
Tickets: $40
Sponsored by Preston Castle Foundation
                        Jerry Funderburgh and Marie Nutting, Chairpersons

About Preston Castle Foundation
The strikingly beautiful Romanesque style Preston Castle, on a hill in Ione, was actually the administration building for the Preston School of Industry, the first major attempt in California at rehabilitating, instead of just impris­­­oning, young offenders.  Opened in 1894, the Preston School of Industry became a leader in the juvenile prison reform movement by giving convicted boys a real chance at life by educating them not only in academics, but in all of the useful trades of the time.  Closed in 1960, when the Preston Youth Authority moved into a new administration building down the hill, the Preston Castle was left to deteriorate due to weather, vandalism, and general neglect.  It now serves as a vacant, but vitally important landmark for Ione, Amador County, and the Motherlode.  It is a California State Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Mission of the Preston Castle Foundation is to preserve, rehabilitate, and utilize the historic Preston Castle site.  This year we are pushing hard to obtain our own utility connections that will ultimately lead to acquiring the title to the property.  To help raise money for this important project, the Foundation sponsors several fund raising events throughout the year.  In addition to the upcoming Wine Tasting and Tour on September 14, we will hold the exciting and spooky Preston Castle Halloween Haunt the two weekends prior to Halloween, Oct. 18, 19, 25, and 26, and a holiday fair/bazaar called Old Tyme Christmas on December 14 and 15.

Also, Castle Tours are available on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays, and selected Thursdays, from 10 am to 1 pm.  Help Save The Castle and learn more about our history, events, and tours by visiting  All contributions are tax deductible. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

All Aboard, Historic Ione Train Depot Rides the Rails

Ione, CA (August, 8, 2013) – On Thursday, on or about the noon hour, August 8, 2013, the City of Ione will be moving history. After living at its current location for just over 135-years, the historic Ione Depot departs from its old home to start a new life. Preservation of the historic icon started May 2010 with the exchange of $1 between Union Pacific Railroad and the City of Ione. It continues tomorrow with the planned relocation of the depot adjacent to the historic Ione rail yard. Starting at Depot Road, the approximately 150-foot long, 30-foot wide wooden building will be moved about 2,000 feet to its new home on Mill Street, still on the right side of the tracks. Originally used as a passenger and freight depot since January, 1877, the depot will become a local railroad museum and community event center. The goal is to preserve the unique rail road history invaluable to the Mother Lode and California.

A Historic Resource Evaluation completed by San Francisco-Based Garavaglia Architecture, Inc. (30 August 2012) brings to life the historicity and value of the Amador Branch RR Depot, Ione, CA.  In the well-documented report that can be found on the City of Ione’s web page, Garavaglia concludes “the building appears to retain a relatively high degree of integrity both interior and exterior.”  The interior retains many of its original or early finishes and features including wood trims, original interior doors, built-in furniture, and wood wall finishes. All of the original six-over-six wood windows are intact with the eastern portion of the building housing rooms related to the ticketing and passenger functions of the building, and the western portion of the building function as a large open warehouse that was used for freight and storage purposes.

Support from the Jackson Rancheria, a grant from the National Trust of Historic Preservation, Lowes in Jackson, CA, and generous contributions of time, materials, and funds from many people have made this possible. With the relocation marking the beginning of a large renovation effort, continued investments in preserving the rail history of the Amador Railroad and the history of the gold country must continue if this effort is to succeed. Please consider making a contribution to help preserve the valuable piece of California and Amador Rail history.

For more information on the City of Ione’s Train Depot Preservation project, visit:

The City of Ione incorporated in 1953 and is a General Law City with 13 FT, 15 PT, and 5-7 seasonal employees.  Located in the fertile Ione Valley of Amador County, Ione is among the historic foothill communities  established during California’s 1849 Gold Rush.