San Luis Obispo County is again receiving the attention of Wine Enthusiast, with Justin Vineyards & Winery and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. both in the running this year for the magazine's Wine Star Awards.
Nominated in the American Winery of the Year category, Justin is praised by the magazine for being a "true tourist magnet" that has "fostered the tremendous growth of viticulture in Paso Robles." Wine Enthusiast also applauds the winery for "combining Old World techniques with New World technology."
Founded in 1981, Justin was sold to Roll International Corp., owner of FIJI Water, in 2010. Its property on Chimney Rock Road includes a restaurant and inn.
Also nominated for American Winery of the Year are Abacela of Roseburg, Ore.; Becker Vineyards of Stonewall, Texas; Gramercy Cellars of Walla Walla, Wash.; and Schramsberg Vineyards of Calistoga.
Last year's winner was Jordan Winery of Sonoma.
Firestone Walker is up for one of Wine Enthusiast's newer awards: Brewery of the Year. The magazine notes that the brewery is "renowned for its line of pale ales, but equally lauded for its limited-release, barrel-aged beers."
Its competitors for the award are Dogfish Head Brewery of Milton, Del.; Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Ore.; Founders Brewing Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma.
Last year's Brewery of the Year winner was Samuel Adams.
The annual Wine Star Awards honor individuals and companies that have made "outstanding achievements" in the wine and beverage industry, the magazine says. There are 14 Wine Star Awards categories in all, including Winemaker of the Year, European Winery of the Year and Spirit Brand of the Year.
This year's winners will be announced in a special Wine Enthusiast issue near the end of the year. An awards ceremony will be held in New York City on Jan. 25.