April 25, 2015
Farm Bureau Award Winners:
Chair of RVWA’s Ordinance Committee Receives San Diego Grown 365 Award
Presented to an individual or firm that personifies the connection between locally produced farm products and the members of San Diego County community. Anyone who has enjoyed a glass of wine at a San Diego vineyard or winery can toast Carolyn Harris. Carolyn operates Chuparosa Vineyards with her husband, Andy, and was instrumental in the creation and passage of San Diego County’s Boutique Winery Ordinance (BWO), which allows boutique wineries to operate tasting rooms by right [of zoning].
Before Carolyn championed the BWO and ushered it down a long bureaucratic path into being, wineries were required to secure a major use permit to offer wine tastings. “We learned that was a minimum five-year project with about a quarter million in expenses, so that was a non-start,” she recalls. Carolyn set out to change the policy, and lead a committee of four Ramona wineries to research wine-friendly ordinances from other counties and create one for San Diego. Carolyn’s tenacity and success in pushing the BWO forward has created significant opportunity for new vineyards and wineries in the region. “Now the industry has a chance to go forth and do what is right,” she says. “I have great expectations for it. But it will be up to the farmers to do with it what they will.”
Source: "2014 Farm Bureau Award Winners." San Diego Grown Spring 2015: 10-11.
Jim Hart Takes the Toast of the Coast 2015 for Milagro Farm
February 21, 2015
The Ramona Valley Winery Association believes that the best way to lead is by example, and no one does that better than Jim Hart, winemaker for Milagro Farm Vineyards & Winery. Jim is a second generation winemaker, working side-by-side with his family at Hart Winery in Temecula, as well producing the wines for Milagro Farm in Ramona.
The San Diego County Fair sponsors a wine competition open to all California wineries (USA and Baja). The competition issued more than 400 awards, but, in the words of the competition, “One extremely awesome wine (was) selected as the ‘2015 Toast of the Coast’” — Milagro’s 2014 Estate Grown Rosé of Sangiovese. Milagro’s bench is not just one wine deep. Their 2012 Estate Grown Barbera took a Gold and was awarded Best Barbera. Six other Milagro Estate Grown entries pulled Silver medals: ’12 Aleatico, ’14 Ballena Blanc blend, ’13 Chardonnay, ’12 Raggio Rosso, ’12 Sangiovese and the ’14 Manzana de Milagro sparkling apple wine. Congratulations, Jim and Milagro. Save us some of that Rosé for inspiration!
Carolyn Harris accepts one of the three prestigious annual farming awards from Al Stehly during the San Diego Farm Bureau’s April 25th annual awards picnic.
The wonderful threat of rain thundered during Carolyn Harris’ award acceptance, which she graciously received on behalf of the work of the entire committee and the Ramona Valley Winery Association.
Joe Cullen Awarded Double Gold in International Competition for Cactus Star Vineyard
April 2, 2015
The Ramona Valley Winery Association has always been proud of the excellent wines produced from the tiniest winery in the area, and now it appears that it won’t be our secret for long. Joe Cullen entered his 2013 "Two Dogs Barking" Ramona Valley Pinot Noir in the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and came home with a Double Gold medal.
Finger Lakes hosts a large (3708 entries) wine competition each year, open to wines throughout the world. While 82% of all entries received an award of some kind, the Double Gold awards were reserved for the very top 3% of all entries.
The grapes were grown by Mike and Yvonne Castelli in the Rangeland Road area of the Ramona Valley. The 2014 vintage from that block should be in the barrel and now the newly licensed Castelli Family Vineyards has big shoes to fill with their upcoming release.
Joe and Becky Cullen are “Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch,” and have been showing San Diego County that very good things come in small packages for many years now. Congratulations to the Cullens and Castellis for setting the bar. We look forward to many great wines to come.
Mike Kopp Wins Chairman's Award Plus Three Golds for Kohill Winery at Orange County Wine Society's Commercial Wine Competition
The RVWA is proud to announce that Kohill Winery just received a Chairman’s Award, three Gold Medals, and one Bronze Medal from the 2015 Orange County Wine Society’s Commercial Wine Competition (OCWS.org). Winemaker Mike Kopp and his wife, Aurora, own the winery located at 17211 Highlander Dr. in the Ramona Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area).
Kohill Winery’s 2012 Estate Refosco received one of the Golds, along with the Chairman’s Award, which was presented to only 1% of the entries. Their 2014 Estate Rosé of Refosco took another Gold. The third Gold was won for Kohill’s 2012 Cabernet Franc, with grapes grown by Mike & Yvonne Castelli, also in the Highland Hills area of the Ramona Valley. A Bronze Medal was awarded for their 2012 Syrah (also produced with Castelli grapes).
The competition was conducted double blind, meaning that neither the judges nor the stewards know the identity of the wines as they are being evaluated. The Orange County Wine Society works in conjunction with the Orange County Fair and Event Center, where they received 2,427 entries, with 1,689 wines winning awards. Kohill’s four winning wines, along with all entries, will be showcased and tasted by consumers at the OCWS wine pavilion during the Orange County Fair, which is running July 17 through August 16.
Congratulations to Mike and Aurora Kopp of Kohill Winery, and to Mike and Yvonne Castelli!
Congratulations to Victor and Beth Edwards of Edwards Vineyard & Cellars, and to Mike and Aurora Kopp of Kohill Winery, for being selected as two of the four wineries in San Diego Magazine's 2015 Best of SD August issue! Here's what they had to say...
EDWARDS VINEYARDS AND CELLARS RED VARIETALS ARE THE SPECIALTY AT THIS UNIQUE OUTDOOR TASTING ROOM ALONG HIGHWAY 78. | PHOTO BY LUIS GARCIA
OUTDOOR TASTING ROOM
Edwards Vineyards and Cellars
On scenic Highway 78 en route to Julian sits a friendly open-air tasting room shaded by colorful umbrellas where guests can taste impressive 100 percent estate-grown red wines. Winemaker Victor Edwards shows his finesse with his 2009 Syrah, and his flagship wine, a dense and rich Petite Sirah, is a Ramona Valley standout. The pastoral setting offers great views of Witch Creek Mountain, Cuyamaca Peak, and roaming camels at the dairy across the way.
26502 Highway 78, Ramona
Ramona has 29 boutique wineries and counting with some impressive wines coming out of the area, thanks to warm days, cool nights, and a little elevation. Winemaker Mike Kopp is making a beautifully balanced Viognier, a fruit-forward Merlot with a soft finish, and an interesting rosé from an unusual varietal—Italian Refosco grapes— and this summer sipper calls for a picnic and wine tasting at the dog-friendly Kohill Winery.
17211 Highlander Drive, Ramona
Excepts from an article published in The Ramona Sentinel by Maureen Robertson
Marilyn and Steve Kahle’s Woof’n Rose Winery took top honors with entries from their Ramona Valley AVA-grown wines in this year's Toast of the Coast Wine Competition. Twenty-four judges sipped 695 entries from throughout the United States and Mexico at Del Mar Fairgrounds. Many of the top wines in the two-day competition will be served during the 5th Annual Toast of the Coast Wine Festival on Saturday, June 11, at the fairgrounds.
In addition to having their wines selected the Best of Ramona Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area), the Kahles learned that their 2012 Estate Merlot received Double Gold status. Judges also chose their Merlot as the Best Merlot for their third double gold.
Double Gold medals are reserved for the finest wines deemed worthy by a four-judge panel consisting of one writer, one winemaker, one professional sommelier and one wine marketer, said the award announcement from The Toast of the Coast. The competition also awarded gold and silver medals.
“We were incredibly pleased with the outcome of the awards,” said Marilyn Kahle. “I’m proud of my husband for his winemaking skills.”
“The grapes have been very good to us,” said Steve.
“We are pleased that we made our wines from our grapes. I’m proud of the fact that all of the wines that won are all [from] our estate,” Marilyn said.
Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch and Poppaea Vineyard and Winery also accepted awards, both featuring Ramona Valley AVA-grown grapes. The alphabetical list of the medals received by RVWA members that entered wines into the competition:
Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch
• Silver, 2013 Estate Meritage
• Silver, 2012 Estate Tempranillo
Poppaea Vineyard and Winery
• Silver, 2014 Estate Barbera
Woof’n Rose Winery
• Double Gold, 2012 Estate Merlot Reserve,
• Double Gold, Best of Ramona Valley AVA
• Double Gold, Best Merlot
• Gold, Best Petit Verdot, 2012 Petit Verdot
• Silver, 2012 Cabernet Franc
• Silver, 2012 Grenache Noir
• Silver, 2012 Eglantine
• Silver, 2011 Reserve Cabernet Franc
“[These awards are] proving that we can grow quality wine grapes in the Ramona Valley AVA,” said Victor Edwards, president of the Ramona Valley Winery Association. “Congratulations to the winners. Our association prides itself on growing estate grown wines, and this validates that Ramona Valley AVA is capable of growing high-quality wines.”
Top Awards Go To Woof'n Rose Winery
With bottles of Toast of the Coast award-winning wines showcased, Woof’n Rose Winery co-owner Marilyn Kahle serves visitors to the Kahles’ tasting patio Saturday afternoon. Maureen Robertson