More than 200 California family-owned wineries descended upon the Del Mar Fairgrounds this past Sunday to share the fruits of their labor with members of the trade and later the general public. This is the second year for the Sacramento based organization‘s event and it was clear the move to a larger venue was a smart choice. Clearly with over 200 wineries pouring multiple wines, it was impossible to taste everything, but we did what we felt was a balanced representation of what was offered.
It was a treat to see Ray & Loretta Falkner from Temecula’s Falkner Winery as well as Ira Gourvitz from Fallbrook Winery. When we visited Essential Wine Company in Camarillo a few weeks back, Casey was very eager to tell us about Valdez Family Winery in Geyserville. We met Ulises Valdez and his wife and tasted some of their superior Zins. I’m looking forward to a visit to the winery later this year. was also a great find. They produce four Napa Valley blends, Blend 23, 24, 25 and 26, with the “B” representing the brix the grapes presented when harvested. All wines rated higher than 90 points in Wine Advocate and/or Wine Spectator and were excellent on the palate and nose. Their tasting room is on Hiway 29 in Napa inside Selinus Vintners.
We stopped by the Tablas Creek booth and Tommy Oldres said “Hey, I recognize you from twitter!” Who says social media doesn’t work? Having just visited the Hitching Post in Buellton, it was a pleasure to meet owner Gray Hartley, who poured a few Pinot Noirs including the delightful Highliner as well as a Syrah and a blend. Laura had the opportunity to visit briefly with a few women winemakers and winery owners, including Donnis Topel from Topel Winery, Mary Yates from Yates Family Vineyard and Deborah Schatzlein from Bink. She no doubt will spend time with them down the road for a feature on Women on Wine.
We enjoyed the day immensely and are already looking forward to next year’s event with eager anticipation. Long live family wineries.