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A toast to Mid-State Fair’s wine winners

Today, California Mid-State Fair officials are inviting visitors to toast three individuals: Brian Talley, Mike Sinor and John Crossland for their contributions to both the wine industry and their local communities at a ceremony from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Mission Square.

Attendees can also sample the fruits of these men’s labors at a free tasting during the event.

“All the wines are somehow influenced by those award winners,” said Christopher Taranto, marketing director for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

Jennifer Porter, the trade group’s executive director, worked with her board of directors and those of the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association, the Central Coast Vineyard Team and the Independent Grape Growers of the Paso Robles Area — as well as past award winners — to select this year’s honorees.

The winners were selected, she said, based on their leadership, vision and advancements in viticultural or winemaking practices.

Talley, named Wine Industry Person of the Year, is part of the third generation to work his family’s farming operation based in Arroyo Grande Valley. President of both Talley Farms and Talley Vineyards, he was a founder of the annual World of Pinot Noir event.

With his wife, Johnine Talley, he also established the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers to provide grants to organizations that assist agricultural workers in San Luis Obispo County.

Sinor, honored as Winemaker of the Year, is director of winemaking for Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita and chairman for the San Luis Obispo Vintners.

He also owns Sinor-LaVallee Wines with his wife, Cheri Sinor, and serves as consulting winemaker for Center of Effort Winery in Arroyo Grande.

Formerly with Domaine Alfred in Edna Valley, Sinor was a founding board member of World of Pinot Noir.

Crossland, Winegrape Grower of the Year, established Templeton’s Vineyard Professional Services Inc. in 1997. Today, the company manages more than 2,000 acres.

As a member of the Central Coast Vineyard Team, he contributed to the code of sustainable practices for growing wine grapes to promote better environmental and social options.

Formerly chairman of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, he now serves on the Paso Robles alliance’s board of directors.

For the duration of the fair, the Mission Square Wine Bar will sell glasses of wine to benefit the Paso Robles Wine Country Foundation, the trade group’s charitable side.

Wines poured include many of the winners of the Central Coast Wine Competition and Hearst Ranch Winery. Each day, the fair has also selected a different wine varietal, featured in the bar’s Flight of the Day.

Raven J. Railey’s Wine Notes column is special to The Tribune. Have a suggestion for Wine Notes? Email rrailey@thetribunenews.com.

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