If history repeats itself, this is going to be another year vintners and wine enthusiasts across California tip their hats and raise their glasses to Bloomfield Vineyards.
As Becky Bloomfield, owner and vintner of Bloomfield Vineyards, prepares for this year’s harvest season, she means business. “It’s a labor of love,” she says. “I’m very passionate about our wines.” Becky owns Bloomfield Vineyards with Tom Bloomfield. The pair started the vineyards together in 1999.
Don’t let this blonde-haired, blue-eyes beauty fool you. She runs with the big boys. This local vintner competes with “wine country” and wins big.
Bloomfield Vineyard’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon earned the double gold medal in the Best of Class Greater Bay Appellations category. It was a unanimous first place selection by judges earning 98 points, the highest possible score. 2,646 wines entered the state fair competition.
“A non-Sonoma or Napa Cab taking Best of California, people are going to want to meet you,” says Chief Judge of the California State Fair Wine Competition G. M “Pooch” Pucilowski. Pucilowski has served as the Chief Judge for the California State Fair Wine Competition for 26 years. He has also been a certified wine educator for over thirty years.
Bloomfield’s awards didn’t stop there. Her 2010 viognier took home a Gold in the Best of Class Greater Bay Appellations category. The 2010 Devil’s Daughter viognier earned a silver medal, as did her 2008 cabernet sauvignon and Bloomfield’s 2010 cabernet sauvignon and her 2010 chardonnay. Bloomfield’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Devil’s Daughter and 2010 chardonnay also won Best of Class Distinctions.
The 2008 Bloomfield Cabernet Sauvignon vintage took the silver medal at the 2010 California State Fair, silver medals at the Orange County Wine Competition, and silver at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
In 2012, Bloomfield Vineyards was featured at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
When asked which bottle of wine most represents her, Bloomfield didn’t hesitate. It’s the Devil’s Daughter. The Devil being Mount Diablo and Bloomfield being the vintner of Diablo. “I have a cousin who is a priest and thinks I was, and still am, a bit of a rascal,” she says with a grin. “He always thought it was peculiar how close I was to Mount Diablo.”
The Devil’s Daughter White is a fabulous blend of viognier and chardonnay with a sparkle of Semillon. It’s a white wine even red wine enthusiasts will gush over. You could sit and sip it all night long. Experts agree. It won bronze in the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
All of these awards show that “the finest wine in California isn’t always from Napa or Sonoma,” says Bloomfield. “Some of the very best wines are from Contra Costa County.”
As you can see, the “Devil’s Daughter” has pride in her roots which are part of the history of Brentwood. Bloomfield didn’t set out to be a winemaker. Her family has been farmers in Brentwood since 1920. They’ve grown cherries, tomatoes and a variety of produce. In 1999, after having their soil tested for compatibility with grapes, they started growing vines.
Editors Note: According to Supervisor Mary Piepho, Bloomfield Vineyard’s Chardonnay took 3rd place at the annual CaLafco Conference!
The 2013 harvest marks the 10th vintage for Bloomfield Vineyards. “This is huge,” says Bloomfield. There’s no telling where this year’s harvest will take the acclaimed vintner. Bloomfield Vineyards cover 260 acres and their harvest season runs from early August through late October.
Harvest season in California is unlike any other in the world because the weather is perfect for growing grapes. “We don’t have the weather you get if you were growing vines in Bordeaux, France,” says Pucilowski. He adds that weather in Bordeaux has caused havoc on vines the past few years with wet and cold temperatures. “The temperatures in California this year have been so lovely that the harvest season started a few weeks early,” he adds.
Harvest season is all about the grapes and grapes don’t like when it gets too hot or cold. They prefer warm, dry summers and mild winters. Humidity can lead to vine disease. The characteristic of a good grape is they are plump and full, according to Pucilowski. He adds that you want the grapes to grow in one big bunch, as opposed to hanging loosely on the vines.
The harvest of the grapes is just the first step. After the grapes are collected, they will be put in barrels, steel tanks or open vats inside a barrel, and allowed to ferment. During fermentation, yeasts interact with sugars in the juice of the grape to create ethanol and carbon dioxide as a byproduct. The combination of ethanol and the juice in the wine, in conjunction with other ingredients vintners add, create wine.
Bloomfield adds that she begins tasting the grapes right away and starts tasting the wine immediately after fermentation. This is when the process of crafting the wines begins.
Wine Tasting Room
Anyone who wants to taste some of the best wine the state of California has to offer doesn’t have to travel far. Bloomfield Vineyards has a tasting room, The CoCo Wine Company, located at 633 First Street, in the heart of downtown Brentwood.
The tasting room is covered in dark, heavy wood, similar to subterranean tasting rooms found in French vineyards. There’s a warm ambiance similar to that found in Napa, with rich stonework and wine barrels covering the walls. The CoCo Wine Company even has a private room in the back available to reserve for private events. Wine enthusiasts can sample wines from all over Contra Costa County as well as beer, mixed drinks and delicious appetizers. Weekly events include live music featuring local musicians.
For more information visit: www.cocowineco.com
By Amy Schrader
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Email: [email protected]