June 5, 2013
Go ahead and judge: State Fair wine competition underway

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Purple teeth reign inside Building 5 at Cal Expo today, where the 2013 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition is underway.

Seventy two judges will consider more than 2,600 wine entries, with each judge considering about 80 wines today and Thursday. A panel will also convene Friday to award the sweepstakes winners from 11 California wine regions.

This year's competition features a number of new touches. Former Bee food and wine editor Mike Dunne and former Bee columnist Rick Kushman are serving as co-chief judges. Of the 72 judges, about half are new.

I'm serving on Panel 18, which kicked off this morning by tasting 27 red blends and then considered 21 sauvignon blancs. Only three golds have been awarded thus far on Panel 18, which includes Dave Crippen of Renwood winery.

And now, flights are being set for an afternoon of chardonnay consideration. Starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, we'll be back to dump buckets and wine stained scoring sheets. Stay tuned for more. --Chris Macias

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