published on March 23, 2016 - 9:52 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Eighty-nine wines were awarded medals at the 2016 San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association (SJVWA) annual competition, held March 18 in Kingsburg.

A panel of 17 judges awarded gold, silver and bronze medals to wines ranging from Pinot Noirs to Sparkling Moscatos, at price points from $3 to $70.

People’s Choice awards were also presented following a public tasting immediately after the official judging.

Wines were entered from wineries and regions from throughout the Golden State, and judges reported that the overall quality of the wines dramatically improved over the last several years. 

“The consistency across all price points bodes very well for the positioning of California wines as we continue to compete against the onslaught of foreign wines fighting to take our domestic market share,” said Peter Vallis, SJVWA executive director. 

Vallis said that the competition’s head judges, Marty Spate and Glenn Grabiec, “have really developed a diverse and cohesive group of judges who look at the wines the same way that all of us do as casual consumers, asking themselves do we like the wine?”

Vallis added that the San Joaquin Valley California Wine Competition was created to give all California wineries a fair shot of having their wines judged without prejudice of location, price or “persistent snobbery.” 

Wines entered in the competition are judged doubly blind, and at the exact same temperature.

This year’s Gold Medal winner in the People’s Choice category was a 2012 vintage Cabernet/Zinfandel from My Italian Cousin. A 2014 vintage Moscato from Moravia took the people’s Choice Silver Medal and a 2013 vintage Chardonnay from Marechai Vineyard was awarded the People’s Choice Bronze Medal.

In the formal competition, Barefoot Bubbly and Barefoot Cellars took home a total of six Gold Medals while Fox Brook was awarded two top prizes. Cardella, Fresno State, Haraszthy Family Cellars, Livermore Ranch Cellars, Moody Press and Moravia also earned Gold Medals.

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