Tasting Notes: Sierra Starr celebrates 20th harvest, Nevada City Winery turns 35, winery dogs

CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR WINE WINNERS
Gold-medal winners in the 2015 California State Fair Wine Competition included Avanguardia (Premiato), Double Oak Vineyards & Winery (Chardonnay), Le Casque (Sergent Dessert Wine), Mt. Vernon Winery (Cabernet Franc), Naggiar Vineyards (Sangiovese) and Nevada City Winery (Barbera).

Medal winners also included Avanguardia (silver, two bronze), Ciotti Cellars (silver, bronze), Le Casque (four silver, one bronze), Nevada City Winery (four silver, one bronze), Popie Wines (four bronze), Secret Ravine (silver, two bronze) and Smith Vineyard (bronze).

NEVADA CITY WINERY TURNS 35
More than a few businesses have started in a garage—high-tech icons Apple and HP come to mind. In the foothills, Nevada City Winery also began that way. Founded in 1980 in a small garage near town, the winery moved to its present location in 1982, the historic Miners Foundry Garage on Spring Street in downtown Nevada City.

Winemaker Mark Foster joined the winery in time for the ’92 crush. He is one of the most experienced and talented winemakers in the region, the latest example being the six medals that Nevada City Winery won at the California State Fair.

SIERRA STARR’S 20TH CELEBRATION
Sierra Starr Vineyard & Winery celebrates their 20th annual crush on August 8 at its winery at 11179 Gibson Dr., Grass Valley. They will pour vintage wines, offer food and wine, as well as tours of their state-of-the-art winery building. For more information, visit SierraStarr.com.

In addition, Sierra Star has created elegant new wine labels with a gold star, with collaboration from local artist Jerianne Van Dijk and graphic designer Kim Rogers. Jackson Starr, the assistant winemaker and vineyard manager, also was a judge at the California State Fair wine competition. Sierra Starr’s wines are now being offered at Raley’s in Rocklin and Roseville, along with multiple other locations.

WINERY DOGS
Dogs are a winemaker’s best friend, providing companionship in the vineyard and at the winery. Many of them greet guests and they are as much a part of the experience as tasting wine. “You can’t make good wine without a dog,” jokes one winery owner.

Some example of our region’s winery dogs include Olive at Sierra Starr Vineyard & Winery. Olive is a 2 1/2-year-old “dog pound lab,” says owner Anne Starr.

A chocolate lab Ruger is owner- winemaker Gary Smith’s “cellar hand” at Smith Vineyard, and a cat named Diego roams the vineyard. Pilot Peak Winery has a new addition: Marsy, a Golden Retriever named after the white wine grape Marsanne.

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