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Bottling up excitement

Placer County wineries have a lot going on these days
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
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You may have heard through the grapevine that Placer County wineries have a lot to be excited about these days. State Fair medals A handful of local wineries have picked up some new bling. The region’s wineries received nearly two dozen awards from the California State Fair Wine Competition. Commercial Winery awards include a silver for Duarte Family Vineyards, three silvers and a bronze for Mt. Vernon Winery and one silver with a Best of Class Sierra Foothills Appellation designation for Lone Buffalo Vineyards. In the Micro Winery competition, Baumbach Wines brought home one gold and two silvers; Viña Castellano received one gold, three silvers and two bronzes; and Casque Wines snagged a double gold, one gold and two silvers. Casque Wines also received Best Microwinery-Red and Best Microwinery-White nods for their 2007 Sierra Foothills Cabernet Franc and 2009 Amador County Vermentino, respectively. “We were very happy for several reasons,” said Kevin Stevenson, Casque Wines co-owner and winemaker. “The double gold and the gold were exciting, and all four wines that we entered medaled. To win double gold and gold, and to win best in show for both, is a huge thing.” This is Casque’s second year entering and winning medals for wines in the State Fair competition. “It confirms to us we’re on the right track for winemaking,” Stevenson said. “It shows wines we’re making are not a fluke. It opens doors for us. Plus, they’re just fun to hang on the wall.” Grape Days of Summer The seven wineries that make up the Placer County Wine Trail are prepping for the upcoming Grape Days of Summer, a weekend showcasing wine, food and more. “It’s a total wine experience weekend,” said Jocelyn Maddux of the Placer County Vintners Association. Participating wineries include Baumbach, Le Casque, Dono dal Cielo, Fawnridge, Lone Buffalo, Mt. Vernon and Viña Castellano. Events take place Aug. 6-8, and start with a Winemaker Dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. on Aug. 6 at the Rocklin Park Hotel, 5450 China Garden Road. Restaurants on board so far include Latitudes, Café Zorro, Hawks, Paul Martin’s American Bistro, The Chef’s Table, and Rubino’s Ristorante. Everything created for the five-course sit-down dinner supplemented by pass-around appetizers will complement Placer County wines. The festivities continue with a weekend wine tour Aug. 7-8. Winery tour activities include everything from vertical tastings, sensory tasting, food and wine pairings, live music and more. “It’s to introduce new people to the great wines that we have in Placer County,” Maddux said. “It’s something more than they can get on any given weekend.” Anyone interested in Placer County wineries can expect to enjoy this event. “This is stepping up the whole experience, showing what we can do,” Maddux said. ___________ Grape Days of Summer What: Aug. 6 winemaker dinner Cost: $95, plus tax and gratuity What: Aug. 7-8 weekend winery tour Cost: $25 advance, $30 at the door; $10 for designated driver Info: www.placerwine.com/tours/htm