Calaveras wineries bring home the gold in huge S.F. competition

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is currently the largest wine competition in North America. All bonded wineries in the United States, Canada and Mexico are eligible to enter. This year’s event required 52 professional wine judges to evaluate the 5,500 wines submitted by nearly 1,000 wineries. Congratulations to the Calaveras wineries who took home three Best of Class awards, three Double Gold, 12 Gold, 32 Silver and nine Bronze.

Black Sheep Winery won Best of Class for the 2019 Amador County Zinfandel, a Double Gold for the 2019 Calaveras County Zinfandel and two Golds, the 2020 and 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ironstone Vineyards/Obsession Wines scored a Double Gold for the 2022 Symphony and two Golds for the 2021 Petite Sirah and the 2022 Pinot Noir.

Milliaire Winery had two Best of Class awards, the 2020 Touriga Nacional and the 2020 Rous Zinfandel, and two Golds, the 2020 Malbec and the 2021 Dogtown Merlot. A job well-done award should go to Steve Milliaire, the winemaker at these three wineries.

Jazz Cellars took two Golds, the 2021 Malbec and the 2021 Mourvèdre.

Vina Moda scored a Double Gold for the 2021 Tannat and four Golds, the 2021 Phoenix, the 2020 Barbera, the 2021 Malbec and the 2021 Petite Sirah.

Eight Silver Medals went to Black Sheep, four to Ironstone, 12 to Milliaire, five to Val du Vino Winery and three to Vina Moda.

2024 SFCWC Sweepstake medal winners

Here are the best wines in the 2024 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. If you want to find out more about the event and how to get tickets to the grand wine tasting on March 17 go to

The Sparkling Sweepstakes Winner is the Chandon Blanc de Blanc, $27.

The White Sweepstakes Winners are the Las Positas Vineyards 2023 Verdelho Livermore Valley, $42 and the Annadel Estate Winery 2022 Chardonnay Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast, $58

The Rose Sweepstakes Winner is The Four Graces 2022 Rose Wine Willamette Valley, Oregon, $22.99.

The Red Sweepstakes Winner is Cooper Vineyards 2021 Barbera Amador County, $33.

The Specialty Sweepstakes Winners are Cinquain Cellars Touriga & Tinto Cao Dessert Wine, Nagengast Estate Vineyard Paso Robles, $100, and Arrington Vineyards 2022 Sweet Gewürztraminer Honeysuckle American, Tennessee, $25.

The Packaging Sweepstakes Winner is Blair Estate 2020 Muscat Ottonel, Arroyo Seco, $75.

Cool wine events to consider

The Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries Grand Tasting will be held at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga on March 24. Forty-five wineries will be pouring, food will be available and tickets are $68. Information can be found at

The fifth annual Cabernet Franc Wine Stroll and Gourmet Dinner will be held on April 13 at the Golf Club at Copper Valley. The Wine Stroll is from noon-3 p.m. and the dinner 6-9 p.m. For tickets and more details go to Eventbrite or call 209-783-9518.

What’s on our table

This 2021 Napa Valley Red Blend is a steal at $10.99. It is 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petite Verdot. It has black cherry flavors, smooth tannins and a velvety finish. I scored it a strong 4 out of 5. The Red Blend is Costco’s Signature brand and a multiple purchase would be wise. Cheers!

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