SLO County wineries, breweries take home honors in state fair competitions

A California State Fair judge smells and tastes competitors’ wines.
A California State Fair judge smells and tastes competitors’ wines. Photo courtesy of California State Fair

San Luis Obispo County wineries and breweries made a strong showing in the 2016 California State Fair commercial wine and craft brew competitions, with several best-in-show honors.

In the wine competition, 55 judges had three days to evaluate 2,854 wines from more than 750 wineries. J. Lohr won Best of Show: White for its 2015 Gesture viognier, while Robert Hall Winery took Best of Show: Pink for its 2015 Rosé de Robles.

Paso’s Michael Gill Cellars won Best of Microwinery: Red for its 2015 Counoise. Best Petite Sirah went to Edna Valley’s Wolff Vineyards for its 2014 vintage.

J. Lohr’s Gesture also took Best of South, Central Coast: White while Le Vigne Winery’s 2013 di Domenico cabernet sauvignon won Best of South, Central Coast: Red.

Dozens of other San Luis Obispo County wineries took home medals and regional best-of-class honors in the competition, which gave 115 double golds and 230 golds, as well as silvers and bronzes to wineries throughout the state.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., based in Buellton — with a taproom and brewery in Arroyo Grande — was named Best Brewery, winning an artist-made golden mash paddle. The brewery won three other firsts: European Amber Lager for its Danish Red Lager, which also took second in the Best of Show; Dark Lager for Lighter Than I Look; and American Pale Ale for Fig Mountain Mosaic.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. took two firsts — one in the Strong Ale category for Sucuba, and one in the Barrel Aged category for Double Oak Double Double Barrel Ale.

Libertine Brewing Co. took second in Specialty IPAs for its WIPA and thirds in Brett Beer and Mixed Fermentation Beer for its Saison and Authentic SLO Wild Ale. In all, judges tasted 1,204 beers from brewers across the state.

The full list of winners can be seen at the CA State Fair’s website.

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