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California’s strangest vineyard is in the tiny Yuba County town of Oregon House, 70 miles northeast of Sacramento, at an elevation of 2,250 feet in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. It is called Renaissance.

The view from Slope 19, the vineyard’s highest point, is so vast and varied that it feels as if you were looking down on all of California. The mountains of the coastal range sprawl to the west, guarding the Pacific. To the east, the Sierra tower, and the sparkling blue of Lake Tahoe peeks out in the distance.

But that’s not what makes Renaissance so singular. No: Look downhill from Slope 19. There, below the vineyard, sits a faux Roman amphitheater. Baroque bronze statues surrounding decorative fountains. Lavish gardens. Date palm trees. Replicas of Michelangelo’s “David,” herds of water buffalo, camels in a pen.

Is this a vineyard? Or the wreckage of a neoclassical theme park?

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