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State Fair Announces Wine Winners

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TASTE News Service, June 7, 2019 - Since 1855, consumers have relied 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, 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," said Rick Pickering, California State Fair General Manager and CEO.

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 CA State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

"The structure of this competition encourages wineries to make better and better wines," said Chandler, the competition’s Lead Judge. 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:

CA State Fair red wine glasses Picmonkey

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


Structure of the judging, while comprehensive, can be a bit confusing to those who’re exploring the results for the first time. A complete list of the 2019 CA State Fair Commercial Wine Competition winners can be found at


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