June 7, 2012
California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition underway

Just got back from Cal Expo, where the second day of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition is currently underway. Judges from around North America have descended on Building 5 at Cal Expo to sample through a veritable ocean of wine. According to chief judge G.M. "Pooch" Pucilowski, this year's competition includes nearly 2,900 wines - up 250 entries from 2011.

I served as a guest judge on a panel of tempranillo and merlot, comparing my scores with a panel that included Andy Podshadley of Novato's Trek Wine and Steven Elphick of Toronto, a photographer who's judged wine since 1988. Judging continues through Friday, with results expected by Tuesday. Stay tuned for more on the final results, as well as a database of winners to be posted next week on

You can taste the big winners for yourself on Aug. 18 at California's Grape & Gourmet. This food and wine fiesta will be held at Cal Expo's Buildings A & B, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information: click here or call (916) 263-3636.

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