Rod Byers: Locals shine at 2018 Nevada County Fair Home Winemaking Competition |

Rod Byers: Locals shine at 2018 Nevada County Fair Home Winemaking Competition

Rod Byers
From left to right: Guy Lauterback, Todd Burts, Pat Enoch, Pete Enoch, Carissa Cook, Jackson Starr judged the Nevada County Fair Home Winemaking Competition and awarded 13 gold medals, 23 silvers and 12 bronze medals this year.
Photo by Rod Byers

List of Winners

The Awards For 2018 Nevada County Fair Wine Competition

Best of Show and Judges Choice Award:

David Blitstein — 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

Best of Division Awards:

Best White Wine: David Blitstein — 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

Best Red Wine: Dan Kruger — 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Rosé, Dessert, or Fruit Wine: Dan Carrick — 2017 Sangiovese Rosé

Best of Varietal Awards:

Best Zinfandel: Lou Rego — 2016 Zinfandel

Best Petite Sirah: Bill Betts — 2015 Petite Sirah

Best Syrah: Gary Glaze — 2015 Syrah

Best Non-Varietal Red: Peter Willcox — Grenach, Syrah, Mourvedre Blend

Bragging Rights Award: Bernie Zimmerman — 2017 Riesling

Silver Bullet Award: Debbie Rickman — 2015 Syrah

Silver Bullet Award: Larry Retallack

The Towering Pines Award: Gary Glaze — 2015 Tempranillo

Individual Medals

13 Gold Medals:

Bill Betts — 2016 Barbera, Bill Betts — 2016 Petite Sirah, David Blitstein — 2017 S. Blanc Musqué, Dan Carrick — 2017 Rosé of Sangiovese, Dan Carrick — 2017 Viognier, Dan Kruger — 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Gary Glaze — 2015 GR8: 45 percent Temp, 35 percent Syrah, 20 percent Graciano, Gary Glaze — 2015 Syrah, Gary Glaze — 2015 Tempranillo, Deborah Rickman — 2016 Chardonnay, Deborah Rickman — 2016 Syrah, Peter Wilcox — NV GSM, and Bernie Zimmerman — 2017 Riesling

23 Silver Medals:

Bill Betts — 2016 Katie’s Blend: 55 percent Barbera, 45 percent Petite Sirah, David Blitsteinv — 2016 Tempranillo, Ron Caraway — 2016 Petite Sirah, Dan Carrick — 2012 Petite Sirah, Dan Carrick — 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Jim Garrett — 2015 Petite Sirah, Jim Garrett — 2015 Primitivo, Jim Garrett — 2017 Riesling, Gary Glaze — 2014 Miners Red Blend: 40 percent Syrah, 40 percent C Fr 20 percent, Malbec, Gary Glaze — 2015 Gerbetz Red Blend: 50 percent Graciano, 30 percent Syrah, 20 percent Temp, Richard Munster — 2015 Zinfandel, Larry Retallack — 2016 Pinot Noir, Larry Retallack — 2016 Primitivo, Larry Retallack — 2016 Red Blend 38 percent Petite Sirah, 38 percent Primi, 23 percent Syrah, Larry Retallack — 2016 Syrah, Deborah Rickman — Plum Dessert Wine, Lou Rego — 2016 Zinfandel, Allen Roe — 2016 Zinfandel, Keith Schoendoerfer — 2017 Grenache Port, Alex Schugren — 2017 Riesleing, Jim Warren — Red Blend, Jim Warren — 2016 Zinfandel, and Peter Wilcox — 2015 Syrah

23 Bronze Medals:

Bill Betts — 2016 Zinfandel, Ron Caraway — 2016 Barbera, Ron Caraway — Mulberry Fruit Wine, Ron Caraway — 2016 Zinfandel, Dan Carrick — 2014 Zinfandel, Arguiles Caruncho — 2017 Tempranillo, Pat Donaghey — 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Kris Gedney — Watermelon Fruit Wine, Deborah Rickman — 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Deborah Rickman — 2015 Zinfandel, Linda Schafer — 2015 Plum Fruit Wine, and Bernie Zimmerman — 2016 Zinfandel

This year there were 52 wines entered in the County Fair.

Red wines remained the most popular category with 67 percent of the total wines entered. Zinfandel was the leading red varietal with nine entries.

Of the 35 red wines entered, there were nine different varieties represented. Red Blends, an increasingly popular category, was the next largest group with seven wines.

Other categories included three fruit wines, two rosés and 11 white wines.

Congratulations to David Blitstein for winning both the Best White Wine and Best of Show Award with his crisp, fruity and delicious 2017 Sauvignon Blanc with grapes grown in his vineyard in Chicago Park.

Dan Kruger won Best Red Wine for his 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dan Carrick won the Best Rosé, Fruit or Dessert category with his 2017 Sangiovese Rosé.

Other important award winners included Gary Glaze for Best Syrah, Bill Betts for Best Petite Sirah, and Lou Rego for Best Zinfandel.

Peter Willcox won the Best Red Blend.

Larry Retallack and Debbie Rickman won the Silver Bullet Awards, Bernie Zimmerman won the Sierra Wine Grape Growers Association Bragging Rights Award and Gary Glaze won The Towering Pines Award.

In total the judges awarded 13 gold medals, 23 silvers and 12 bronze medals.

This year’s panel of judges included Jack Starr, Pat Enoch, Carissa Cook, Riki Pollak, Todd Burtz, Pete Enoch and Guy Lauterbach.

Thanks to all the great local sponsors for donating a total of $450 in awards handed out at this year’s Sierra Wine & Grape Growers Award Ceremony.

Sponsors included the Grass Valley UPS Store, Nevada City Winery, George and Sandy Woods, Sierra Moonshine Brewery and Home Winemaking Supplies, Avanguardia Winery, Gray Pine Winery, Double Oak Vineyards & Winery, Larry and Cindy Retallack, and Sierra Wine and Grape Growers.

Rod Byers, CWE, is a Certified Wine Educator and wine writer as well as a California State Certified Wine Judge. He is the host of the local television show Wine Talk. You can reach him at and he can be reached at 530-802-7172.

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