Food & Drink

Wine Line: Ficklin Vineyards strikes gold

An early crusher at Ficklin Vineyards. It is still in use today at the vineyard.
An early crusher at Ficklin Vineyards. It is still in use today at the vineyard. Brigette Bowers

Ficklin Vineyards, America’s oldest port winery in the United States has just added three more gold medals to their long list. Ficklin entered the 2019 California Wine Grape Growers (CAWG) Competition and the Sunset International Wine Competition.

The winery received one of the only nine gold medals presented at the CAWG Competition for their flagship Old Vine Tinta Port. In the Sunset International Competition, gold medals went to their Rose Port and their Aged 10 Year Tawny Port, which also took the prestigious Best of Class Award. Results will be announced in an upcoming issue of Sunset Magazine. Cheers to Ficklin Vineyards!

Out and About

Wine Line is printed the second and fourth Wednesdays. This gives me an extra week off a few times a year to do research. Yes, wine tasting is “research” so here’s a quick summary of what we’ve been up to.

Jamestown now has three tasting rooms, Hurst Ranch, Inner Sanctum and Gianelli. We went on a Thursday, all were open with zero or low fees waived with purchase, excellent restaurants for lunch and a shady mini park for a snooze. We went on a whim, the Navigator had serious cabin fever and a taste of Jamestown was the perfect fix.

Sutter Creek had eight tasting rooms the last time I wrote about the “Wines on 49.” The easy wine walk on Main Street now has 11, many good restaurants and no crowds on weekdays. We tasted at Bella Grace, Scott Harvey, Yorba and Baiocchi and wished we had booked a stay at one of the B & Bs. The tasting rooms are open Thursday through Monday.

Plymouth is a small town that leads to Shenandoah Valley with 35 wineries. No, we didn’t stop for lunch at Taste this time, our favorite restaurant, but headed straight to Wilderotter Vineyard on Shenandoah School Road. Open daily, the $7.50 tasting fee is waived with bottle purchase and included is an artisan cheese plate. The wines are well balanced and food friendly, more like old world wines. The tasting is relaxed, informative and sitting on the patio is an option. Plymouth residents put us on to this winery and I’m glad they did.

Lodi was our base camp for three nights, a lovely four-bedroom VRBO two blocks from the wine walk, plus 70 wineries within a 10 mile radius, for eight thirsty wine geeks. My extensive research proves that Lodi Wine Country rocks.

Three Roses made our table this week. They are CRU Winery Jose’s Rose, Bella Grace Vineyards Bella Rose and Paul J. Wines Rose, all from the 2018 vintage. Cheers!

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