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California State Fair Announces 2019 Commercial Wine Competition Winners

by Press Release
June 05, 2019

Sacramento, Calif.—California is known for its wines, and since 1855, consumers rely upon the California State Fair's Commercial Wine Competition to establish a benchmark of the "Best Wines of California". It is the only competition of its type to partition California into 11 wine regions and to recognize the best wines in each region, and to designate best varietals and styles.
"The Commercial Wine Competition is not only the oldest wine competition in the country, but it continues to expand its prestige year after year. Winning top honors at the State Fair is seen as a pinnacle achievement and honor for California wine makers," said Rick Pickering, California State Fair General Manager and CEO.

This year, 2,811 California wines were judged over three days. The Wine Judges are selected from respected winemakers, wine merchants, writers, promoters, and educators from across the country. For the past four years, the judging has been led by Mark Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the wine industry. This is Chandler's 20th year participating in the CA State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
"The structure of this competition encourages wineries to make better and better wines," said Mark Chandler, Lead Judge. The Best of Show wine could come from any region in California. It's a benefit for consumers, and exciting to see the quality improvements every year. "

In all, 129 double gold medals, 325 gold medals, 1,117 silver medals, and 967 bronze medals were awarded. There were also 303 Best of Class of Appellation Awards, 24 Best of California Awards, 22 Best of Region Awards, three Best Micro Winery awards, the Best Value Award, and five Best of Show Awards. The Golden State Winery of the Year Award went to Jeff Runquist Wines. This is a second win for Jeff Runquist who won this award in 2011.

The 2019 Top California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners are:
Best of Show Red: Double Gold 99
Concannon Reserve
2016 Stampmaker’s GSM
Livermore Valley

Best of Show White: Double Gold 99
Las Positas Vineyards
2018 Verdelho Estate
Livermore Valley

Best of Show Sparkling: Double Gold 99
NV Blanc de Noirs, Methode Champenoise

Best of Show Pink: Double Gold 98
Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard
2018 Syrah Rose, Estate Grown
Santa Ynez Valley

Best of Show Dessert: Double Gold 99
Lewis Grace
2018 Fashionably Late
Late Harvest White Wine
El Dorado

Best Micro Red: Double Gold 100
Rodrigue Molyneaux Estate Winery and Vineyard
2016 Sangiovese
Livermore Valley

Best Micro White: Double Gold 99
Halleck Vineyard
2018 Gewurztraminer
Calandrelli Vineyard
Russian River Valley

Best Micro Other: Double Gold
Rancho de Philo
NV Triple Cream Sherry, Mission
Cucamonga Valley

Best Value Wine: Double Gold 99
Trader Moon Wine
2017 Velvet Moon, Cabernet Sauvignon

Golden State Winery of the Year
Jeff Runquist Wines

Vineyard of the Year Award
Dick Cooper Ranch

Wine Lifetime Achievement Awards
Merry Edwards
Joel Peterson

California All Stars Awards
Kent Rosenblum
Robert Haas

A list of the 2019 CA State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners can be at
The awards for Golden State Vineyard of the Year, Wine Lifetime Achievement, and California All Stars were awarded during the Wine Judges Dinner at the Boeger Winery on May 29th.

The Best of Show Commercial Wine Competition winners will be acknowledged on Thursday, June 27, on the west steps of the Capitol. Later that evening, the winning wine makers will sample their wines at the Best of California Tasting event at Cal Expo, held prior to the California State Fair Gala benefiting The Friends of the California State Fair. You can purchase tickets to the Gala at  

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