facebook tracking pixel California State Fair Announces 2019 Commercial Wine Competition Winners | TheUnion.com

California State Fair Announces 2019 Commercial Wine Competition Winners

Submitted to The Union
California State Fair got a head start on this year's wine competition by announcing the newest honorees in the commercial wine division.
Photo courtesy Unsplash

California is known for its wines, and since 1855, consumers rely upon the California State Fair’s Commercial Wine Competition to establish a benchmark of the “Best Wines of California.” It is the only competition of its type to partition California into 11 wine regions and to recognize the best wines in each region, and to designate best varietals and styles.

“The Commercial Wine Competition is not only the oldest wine competition in the country,” said Rick Pickering, California State Fair General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. “But it continues to expand its prestige year after year. Winning top honors at the State Fair is seen as a pinnacle achievement and honor for California wine makers.”

This year, 2,811 California wines were judged over three days. The wine judges are selected from respected winemakers, wine merchants, writers, promoters, and educators from across the country. For the past four years, the judging has been led by Mark Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the wine industry. This is Chandler’s 20th year participating in the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

“The structure of this competition encourages wineries to make better and better wines,” said Lead JudgeMark Chandler. “The Best of Show wine could come from any region in California. It’s a benefit for consumers, and exciting to see the quality improvements every year.“

In all, 129 double gold medals, 325 gold medals, 1,117 silver medals, and 967 bronze medals were awarded. There were also 303 Best of Class of Appellation Awards, 24 Best of California Awards, 22 Best of Region Awards, three Best Micro Winery awards, the Best Value Award, and five Best of Show Awards. The Golden State Winery of the Year Award went to Jeff Runquist Wines. This is a second win for Jeff Runquist who won this award in 2011.

The 2019 Top California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners are:

Best of Show Red: Double Gold 99

Concannon Reserve

2016 Stampmaker’s GSM

Livermore Valley

Best of Show White: Double Gold 99

Las Positas Vineyards

2018 Verdelho Estate

Livermore Valley

Best of Show Sparkling: Double Gold 99


NV Blanc de Noirs, Methode Champenoise


Best of Show Pink: Double Gold 98

Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard

2018 Syrah Rose, Estate Grown

Santa Ynez Valley

Best of Show Dessert: Double Gold 99

Lewis Grace

2018 Fashionably Late

Late Harvest White Wine

El Dorado

Best Micro Red: Double Gold 100

Rodrigue Molyneaux Estate Winery and Vineyard

2016 Sangiovese

Livermore Valley

Best Micro White: Double Gold 99

Halleck Vineyard

2018 Gewurztraminer

Calandrelli Vineyard

Russian River Valley

Best Micro Other: Double Gold 99

Rancho de Philo

NV Triple Cream Sherry, Mission

Cucamonga Valley

Best Value Wine: Double Gold 99

Trader Moon Wine

2017 Velvet Moon, Cabernet Sauvignon


Golden State Winery of the Year

Jeff Runquist Wines

Vineyard of the Year Award

Dick Cooper Ranch

Wine Lifetime Achievement Awards

Merry Edwards

Joel Peterson

California All Stars Awards

Kent Rosenblum

Robert Haas

A list of the 2019 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners can be at CAStateFair.org.

The awards for Golden State Vineyard of the Year, Wine Lifetime Achievement, and California All Stars were awarded during the Wine Judges Dinner at the Boeger Winery on May 29.

The Best of Show Commercial Wine Competition winners will be acknowledged on Thursday, June 27, on the west steps of the Capitol. Later that evening, the winning wine makers will sample their wines at the Best of California Tasting event at Cal Expo, held prior to the California State Fair Gala benefiting The Friends of the California State Fair. You can purchase tickets to the Gala at CAStateFair.org/GALA.

The award-winning wines will be featured before hundreds of thousands of guests at the 2019 California State Fair, July 12-28.

Farm to Table

See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.