On May 1, the 2021 Amador County Fair Wine Competition took place in Plymouth. More than 350 wines were submitted by more than 40 wineries, representing the growing regions of Calaveras County, Amador County, Shenandoah Valley, Fiddletown, El Dorado County, Fair Play and the all-encompassing Sierra Foothill AVA (American Viticultural Area).
The judging panels included wine writers, winemakers, educators, sommeliers and distributors who gathered for a day of tasting and evaluating a broad selection of wines grown in the Sierra Foothill appellation. More than 40 distinct varieties of grapes plus a number of red and white blends were represented, which speaks to the diversity of the region and the adventurous spirit of the winemakers and growers. All wines are tasted blind, so judges are unaware of the wine’s specifics or brand. Only the type of wine (grape variety or blend) and vintage are disclosed prior to judging.
Nearly 30% of the wines considered were awarded with a gold or double gold medal. (Double gold medals are awarded when all three judges on a single panel unanimously assign the wine a gold medal.) For a quick overview, here are some of the top winners in the competition:
- Sierra Foothills Winery of the Year: Helwig Vineyards & Winery, Amador County
- Best of Show & Best White Wine: Helwig Vineyards & Winery Shenandoah Valley 2020 Albarino
- Best Red Wine: Lewis Grace Sierra Foothills 2018 Tempranillo
- Best Blush/Rose Wine: Helwig Vineyards & Winery Amador County 2020 Grenache Rose
- Best Dessert/Other Wine: Drytown Cellars Amador County NV Port
- Best Amador Zinfandel: Amador Cellars Amador County 2017 Zinfandel
- Best Amador Rhone Wine: Shenandoah Winery Amador County 2017 Carignane
- Best Italian Variety Wine: Amador Cellars Amador County 2019 Fiano
- Best Amador Bordeaux-Style Wine: Matthew Gibson Sierra Foothill 2016 Red Bordeaux Blend
For a complete list of awards, wineries and wines, please check out the Amador County Fair website.
Wine enthusiasts can sample a selection of these locally grown and produced wines at the upcoming Amador County Fair, taking place from July 29–Aug. 1.