Seven Wines Earn Gold from Government Leaders in Wine Competition

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Foundation Gala Raised Funds for Student Scholarships

SACRAMENTO – In a friendly and entertaining wine competition featuring 30 red and white wines from 23 California wineries, legislators and elected officials awarded gold medals to seven wines. The competition was held during the annual California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Foundation Gala, which raises funds for scholarships to children of California winegrape grower workers.

Winning Wines

Chardonnay: 2015 Chardonnay, Rusack Vineyards, Santa Catalina Island (wine nominated by Sen. Ben Allen)

Viognier: 2015 Viognier, Bloomfield Vineyards, Contra Costa (wine nominated by Assemblyman Jim Frazier)

Other White Wines: 2015 Vermentino, Ponte Winery, Temecula (wine nominated by Sen. Jeff Stone)

Cabernet Sauvignon: 2014 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Paso Robles (wine nominated by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham)

Pinot Noir: 2012 Seven Twenty Eight Pinot Noir, Fiddlehead Cellars, Lompoc (wine nominated by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson)

Zinfandel: 2014 Mountain Zinfandel, Opolo Vineyards, Paso Robles (wine nominated by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin)

Other Red Wines: 2014 Freakshow Red, Michael David Winery, Lodi (wine nominated by Assemblyman Jim Cooper)

More than 100 growers, vintners and government leaders attended the March 15 event at The Sutter Club in Sacramento. Legislators and elected officials who attended* were Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey; Sens. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado), Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Connie Leyva (D-Chino), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont); Assembly members Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), Adam Gray (D-Merced), Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Marc Levine (D-Greenbrae), Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), Randy Voepel (R-Santee) and Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg). *Not all served as judges.

“Coming from a farm family, I am proud to work with the California Association of Winegrape Growers because I know farmers give back to their communities,” said Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine. “Efforts of the CAWG Foundation to provide scholarships to children of farmworkers and efforts of FFA to train kids are just a couple of the many ways that growers give back. The gala is also very helpful for the legislature to understand the issues facing farmers and agriculture communities.”

Said Jeff Bitter, CAWG Foundation trustee, “There are many high-achieving sons and daughters of winegrape grower workers who need financial assistance to pursue their academic dreams. Because of this wonderful event, we are able to provide substantial scholarships to several deserving students. We appreciate all of the participating winegrape growers, wineries and legislators for supporting our efforts.”

About the CAWG Foundation: The foundation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that awards scholarships to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California winegrape grower. The foundation awards at least seven scholarships each year and has awarded $373,000 since its inception in 1998. For more information, visit www.cawgfoundation.org.

About CAWG: CAWG provides industry leadership to advocate for public policies, research and education programs, and sustainable farming practices to enhance the business of growing California winegrapes. The organization represents the growers of more than 50 percent of the gross grape tonnage crushed for wine and concentrate in California. For more information, visit www.cawg.org.