June 3, 2010
Calif. State Fair Commercial Wine Competition underway

Pardon my purple looking teeth, but just got back from a morning of guest judging at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. I sat on a panel that tasted cabernet sauvignon from the 2007 vintage, with a total of 53 samples tasted before lunch. Out of those flights, I think our panel only awarded four gold medals, but gave plenty of silver medals to note solid efforts and a fair share of bronze medals, too. And yes, there were some beastly wines in the bunch as well. Thank goodness those tended to be the exception rather than the rule.

So after all this sniffing and sipping, when will the results be announced? That'll go down July 7 at Grape & Gourmet, held at the Sacramento Convention Center. Tickets are $55, which includes general admission to the State Fair. (Hint: try and show up early to get your $$$'s worth. Too many food vendors ran out early last year, which we thought was pretty lame considering the price of Grape & Gourmet. We'll see how this shakes up this time around ...)

Back at Cal Expo, judging wraps up Friday after three days of considering some 2,700 wines from over 600 California wineries. 150 volunteers are helping with everything from pouring wine, to tabulating scores and replenishing stemware.

"Everything's been going smooth," said G. M. "Pooch" Pucilowski, the competition's chief judge. "All of this is for both the consumer and the winery. We're going to come out of this with some wines that you'll want through this rigorous judging. A medal is a way of saying, 'The least you can do is try the wine.'"

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