Russ Winton: Wine List

Where to celebrate California wines in July, September

Events in July and Septmber will fete California wines.
Events in July and Septmber will fete California wines. Los Angeles Times

If you’re a Napa Valley fan and never quite make it to the northern end of the valley, mark this date, Thursday, July 20.

The Calistoga Winegrowers will take their wines to the Presidio in San Francisco from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thirty family owned wineries – Chateau Montelena, Twomey Cellars, Summers Estate Winery, just to name a few – will pour their best. Tickets are available for $55 or $75 at the door. To purchase “Calistoga Uncorked” tickets, go to

If you’re bonkers for Barbera, circle Sept. 16 for the annual Amador Barbera Festival. This year 70 wineries will also pour other Italian varietals like Vermentino, Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Enjoy seven chefs, 30 artists, live music and all for $50. The event sells out every year. Tickets are available at More summer wine events, including concerts and festivals, are listed in the Wine Institute’s website, Celebrate California wine.

The results of the 15th annual Central Coast Wine Competition, which includes all the counties from San Francisco Bay to Santa Barbara, have been released. These sweepstakes winners all won gold and best in class awards.

The best red wine and the best in show was the 2015 Paso Robles Grenache from Broken Earth Winery. The best white wine was the 2016 Paso Robles Muscat Canelli from Eberle Winery. The best pink wine was the 2016 Kita Winery Grenache Rose from Santa Ynez Valley. Laetitia Vineyard and Winery won the best sparkling wine with their 2014 Sparkling Brut Cuvee’ from Arroyo Grande and the Glunz Family Winery took the best dessert wine with their Mission Angelica. To find a complete list of medal winners, go to

Runquist Wines, a small winery in Amador County, is proving true that “there’s gold in them thar hills”. Recently they took a best of show red wine for their 2015 Mataro in the San Francisco International Wine Competition and that’s not all. In the San Francisco Chronicle Tasting, won best of class, three double golds, and 6 golds. In the California State Fair, three best of class region, one double gold and four golds. In the Pacific Rim International, three best of class and seven golds. In Dan Berger’s International, Runquist was named winery of the year and earned four best of class and seven golds In the Calaveras County competition, they earned best zinfandel, two best of show reds, four double golds and two golds. Congratulations!

Two wines made our table this week, the crisp 2016 Brancott Sauvignon Blanc ($10) and the 2013 Chilean Santa Ema Merlot ($7.99 Costco), soft and loaded with chocolate. Yum. Cheers!