People in Northern California laugh at our claims of having a wine country in Southern California. Even though we have a good number of active wineries here, they snub their noses at the quality of our wines. And to be honest, they used to be correct. Used to be. Our vintners here have been working on not only the quality of product but on the perception that we are a sub-prime wine growing / producing region.
Our sincerest congratulations goes out to Jim & Maggie Carter for the preponderance of awards issued to them and mostly for kicking some Northern California butt at their own competition. Here's the article:
Vindicated at last: Temecula winery takes top honors at California State Fair
10:00 PM PDT on Friday, July 11, 2008
A Temecula-area winery took home top honors from the California State Fair this week, winning a trophy as the statewide competition's premier winery and capturing almost 40 medals.
South Coast Winery won the 2008 Golden State Winery of the Year honor at the fair's Commercial Wine Competition, fair officials announced Friday. It is the first time a Southern California winery has won the award.
The winery beat out 647 others for the trophy. The competition took place last month in Sacramento.
The Golden State Winery honor recognizes the winery that wins a significant number of the highest-level awards.
South Coast's wines won seven gold medals, 13 silver medals, four bronze medals, 12 Best of Class honors and one Best of Region award. Twenty-three of the 36 wines South Coast entered won a medal.
"There's only a handful of wineries that enter that many and do that well," said Mike Bradley, chief bureau of exhibits for the fair.
About 2,900 wines were entered in the competition, which fair officials say is the oldest in North America. The first competition took place in 1855.
South Coast Winery owner Jim Carter said the win was unexpected but proves the winery's commitment to quality.
"We're on the right track," he said. "We're producing wines that Southern California can be proud of.
"It shows the grapes we have here in Temecula are equal to the grapes in other areas of our state."
Opened four years ago, South Coast is one of the region's larger wineries, manufacturing about 60,000 cases of wine a year. South Coast also has a resort and day spa.
Ray Falkner, president of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, said the award is a "great boon for our entire region.
"This really ... gets a lot of wine writers and distributors and aficionados to pay attention to our region," he said.
With about 30 wineries, Wine Country is small compared with its counterparts in better-known regions in Central and Northern California.
The region's wines have suffered from a poor reputation in the past, but Temecula winemakers have banded together to improve quality. They have entered competitions and invited wine critics to Temecula to taste their product.
Reach Jeff Horseman at 951-375-3727 or jhorseman@PE.com