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Professional Wine Judging

What people are saying.... Calaveras Winegramp Alliance

41st Annual Sierra Foothills Wine Show - WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

[May 2, 2022 - Murphys, CA] Winners have been announced for this year's Sierra Foothills Wine Competition! 20 Calaveras County Wineries entered the "41st Annual Sierra Foothills Wine Show" that took place on Friday, April 29th at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. This year, 18 esteemed judges thoughtfully evaluated 241 wines in the day-long event. Professional wine reviewers, judges, and writers from across California included: Dan Berger, Jim Twiford, Mark Chandler, Martin Maxwell, Mike Dunne, Mike Kerrigan, Paul Wagner, Sue Reiner Lyon, Jim Gordan, Rick Kushman, Brad Alderson, John Mensinger, Steve Fox, Bob Adams, Mike Kelly, Brian Miller, Tana Cole, and Pat Dodd.

Tom Bender, competition manager, oversaw the teams of esteemed judges and a group of Calaveras Winegrape Alliance volunteers as each wine was thoughtfully evaluated. The annual wine show is hosted by Laurie Giannini, CEO and Fair Manager at the 39th District Agricultural Association, Calaveras County Fair. The Calaveras County best-in-show, double-gold and gold-medal winning wines will be on display at the Calaveras County Fair Wine Pavilion May 19th through 22nd. Fair goers will enjoy wine by the glass and bottle sales as well as Calaveras Wine Country Exhibits. In addition to the wine bar, the wine pavilion features an exhibit space that includes an interactive, self-guided experience showcasing sustainable practices in viticulture and winemaking during the annual fair. Past exhibits include Cover Crops in the Vineyards, Exploration of Diverse Soil Samplings from Calaveras Wine Country, Predatory Birds and Bug Use in Grape Growing, and Benefits of Vineyard Hedge Rows in Grape Growing. The Calaveras County Fairgrounds Wine Pavilion sponsored by the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance is located at 101 Frogtown Road in Angels Camp, CA.


And, now for the results! Drum Roll please........

A total of 18 Double Gold Awards, 34 Gold Awards, 100 Silver Awards, and 52 Bronze Awards were presented. A big round of applause goes out to our Calaveras Winegrape Alliance members who took home TOP HONORS! Find the complete results HERE.

Some of the highlights include:


Black Sheep Winery 2019 Touriga - Best of Show "Red"

Black Sheep Winery 2019 Touriga - "Double Gold"

Black Sheep Winery 2018 "Fortissmo" - Best of Show "Dessert"

Black Sheep Winery 2018 Cinsault - "Double Gold"

Black Sheep Winery 2019 Cinsault - "Double Gold"

Brice Station Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Franc - "Double Gold"

Hatcher Winery 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon - "Double Gold"

Hovey Winery 2019 Chardonnay - Best of Calaveras "White"

Mineral Wines 2018 Tempranillo - Best of Calaveras "Red"

Mineral Wines 2018 Tempranillo - "Double Gold"

School Street Wines 2018 Super Tuscan - "Double Gold"

Val du Vino Winery 2018 Syrah - "Double Gold"

Val du Vino Winery 2018 Zinfandel - "Double Gold"


Get out to enjoy the award-winning Calaveras wines this spring using our handy Tasting Room Directory HERE.


About the Sierra Foothills Wine Show


Tom Bender has served as the Sierra Foothills Wine Show organizer for 41 years and is a contributor on food and wine to several foothill and valley news publications. Tom is also a judge at the California State Fair Wine Competition. A team of 8 volunteers assist Tom and the judges with refreshment of dump buckets, waters and bread baskets all while keeping a low profile and quiet atmosphere so the judges have their full concentration on the wines.


Bender shares with us how we got involved in this wine competition, “As manager of a nearby restaurant that featured a number of foothill wineries on our list, I was asked to expand the competition from the meager three participants in 1981. Looking back on my first year organizing the event, the 2nd annual wine competition judging took place in May of 1982, and surprisingly on the Friday of Fair weekend. The competition featured one winery from Calaveras County and that was Stevenot Winery, along with another dozen or so wineries from Amador and El Dorado counties. About 70 wines were entered and 19 of them were Zinfandels. The next most popular category was White Zinfandel with 10 entrees. Popular grapes at the time included Chenin Blanc and Ruby Cabernet which have disappeared from the current competition. The “Best of Show” winner that year was the 1979 Montevina Special Selection Zinfandel. I truly appreciate the Calaveras County Fairgrounds and Calaveras Winegrape Alliance for allowing me to be part of the event. It’s nice to see how far the Sierra Foothills Wine Region has come and I look forward to seeing many more terrific winery accomplishments in the future.”

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