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Media Contact: Zina Miakinkova

2008 Golden Grape Awards

The Golden Grape Awards

Thankfully, the California Wine Club does all the work for you. Help them help you with your wine woes. On February 2, they held their first regional vineyard contest based on 10 wineries featured in the largest of their wine-of-the-month clubs, their Premier Club. The Golden Grape Awards were awarded to small vineyards across the state, handpicked as the "best of the best" boutique wineries of 2008. Four of the 11 come from yours truly, Santa Barbara County.

The California Wine Club is as refined as each bottle they select. Established in 1990 by Bruce and Pam Boring, the club has become one of the leading organizations in the wine industry. What makes this wine-of-the-month club stand out from the pack? It could be the fact that Bruce and Pam do the dirty work; that is, they personally stop in, slurp, and sieve through California's choice boutique wineries for what they believe ought to be delivered to the doorsteps of their 12,000 members. The Borings pride themselves as being "like a friend making a recommendation to another friend."

After putting 18 years behind the name, the California Wine Club launched its first vineyard competition. "The relationships we have with the wineries we feature are part of our success," said Bruce. "We felt the Golden Grape Awards would be a fun way to foster our ongoing relationship with each one and to acknowledge each winery we feature, in a way that is unique to them and their strengths."

The first annual Golden Grape Awards had 11 categories ranging from "Best Cheese and Wine Pairing" to "Best Family Enterprise" and even "Best 'Sideways' Entry" featuring Mosby Winery, which is located near Buellton. Another Santa Barbara winery to make it on the list was Sunstone Vineyards & Winery, noted as the "Best Romantic Getaway."

Sylvester Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles has taken the "best cheese and wine pairing" award as part of the first Golden Grape Awards, announced earlier this month. "All things gourmet are the passion here," according to Stephanie Varlotta of the California Wine Club, which sponsored the awards. "The tasting room always offers samples of various gourmet cheeses and chocolates."

The 2008 Golden Grape winners were as follows:

* 1. Best Sustainable Farm Experience: Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyards (Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County)
* 2. Best Cheese and Wine Pairing: Le Vigne Winery (Paso Robles wine region)
* 3. Best Romantic Getaway: Sunstone Vineyards & Winery (Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County)
* 4. Best Wine Innovator: Daniel Gehrs Wines - (Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County)
* 5. Best Family Enterprise: Century Oak Winery (Northern California, north of Lodi)
* 6. Best Napa Valley History: Ballentine Vineyards & Winery (St. Helena, Napa Valley)
* 7. Best Multi-Generation Winery: Pedroncelli Winery (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma)
* 8. Best New Entry from Temecula Valley: Thornton Winery (Temecula)
* 9. Best Mountain Winery: Madrona Winery & Vineyards (El Dorado County)
* 10. Best Monterey Pioneer: Ventana Vineyards (Monterey County)
* 11. Best "Sideways" Entry: Mosby Winery & Vineyards (Santa Barbara County)

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