Posts tagged Mira Costa College Wine Technology Certificate
Hail to the Winemaker!
My Husband, John, Enjoying a Glass of Provence Rose

My Husband, John, Enjoying a Glass of Provence Rose

This year is our 10th year or 10th Anniversary of our backyard Syrah vineyard at our home, Domaine de Manion. I remember the day vividly, April 1, 2006, when our entire Vineyard Production & Management Class (Mira Costa College) of 20 people enthusiastically helped us plant nearly 300 bare root grapevines. Initially a landscape solution I dreamed up, as our family and friends can attest it has turned into so much more.

Vineyards are a lot of work, filled with commitments and year-long timetables, not just a romantic lifestyle. John and I took many classes, workshops, and seminars to educate ourselves on our vineyard and winemaking adventure. Some grape growing years were better then others. Some vintages better than others. Although grapevines are like weeds, they can be a magnet for disease, pests, and are sensitive to weather surprises. 

As we became more confident with our vineyard and winemaking we started entering amateur wine competitions, beginning with San Diego and Orange County Fairs, and recently the California State Fair in Sacramento. We have bought different grape varietals from Baja and Sonoma County to experiment and blend with our Syrah. 

Through all of the years and accolades, John has emerged as a talented winemaker. I add my two cents, labor, and tasting notes, but it is John who puts his signature on all of our wines. Wine- making is a balance of science and art. It is true, a winemaker has a distinct style which comes through in their wines. John creates bold wines, smooth, chewy, sometimes spicy, and with a long finish.

We recently received the unexpected Home Wine Judging Results from the 2016 California State Fair, and more fair results should trickle in by early summer. Entering the "Dry Red Division" we received Double Gold, Best of Class for our Merlot, Silver for our Syrah, and Gold for our Merrah (a magical combination of Merlot and Syrah.)

The best part of making our wine is sharing it with family and friends. We are grateful for all who eagerly help us harvest and bottle each year. Hail to my husband, John, the Winemaker!






Trifecta at the Fair

 Wine Competition Awards, San Diego County Fair 2010 This past year we have been so busy with our home remodel, I haven't written much about our backyard vineyard, now in its fifth year. With one's own vineyard, life does go on. The grapes need to be tended to, the grapevines do grow, the grapevines flower and tiny grape clusters begin to emerge. The vineyard has its own timetable throughout the year.

We did however, have time to enter three of our wines (and two wine labels) in the "Home-Made Wine Competition" at the San Diego County Fair 2010. This year it was held at the posh "Turf Club" at the Del Mar Race Track within the San Diego County Fair Grounds.

There were approximately 100 participants who entered around 300 wines to be judged in various divisions. It is always a great occasion as we see many wine-making friends, teachers, fellow students from our wine and vineyard classes, and really the who's who of San Diego County amateur and professional wine makers.

Domaine de Manion Bronze, Silver, and Gold Winners

My husband, John, and I entered three of our home-made wines, our syrah (our first vintage from our backyard vineyard), a merlot (a wine we made from grapes we purchased from Dry Creek, Sonoma), and a "merrah" (a wine blend we made up of our own syrah and the merlot). We also entered our two new wine labels in the "wine label" contest. The wine labels were created by our friend and graphic artist Robin Dujanovic.

I was a little anxious, especially with our syrah wine, with all of the years of diligent effort that passed to create this bottle of wine. It now comes down to this pinnacle moment. Not to worry, unbelievably we got a silver for our own syrah. It didn't stop there, we had an incredible afternoon with a clean sweep of awards, and much more. It was a "trifecta" of bronze, silver, gold at the fair.

Merlot....Bronze Syrah.....Silver Merrah...Gold (Best of Class), and coveted Best of Division (includes all Red Blend Wines)

Chicken & Wine Glass Label, 1st Place Whimsical Label Garage Label, 2nd Place, Best Story In a Picture Label

Our friends, Steve and Amy joined us for the afternoon, and to cheer us on as the competition unfolded. We wish to thank all of our family and friends for helping us throughout the year, and their enthusiasm in our backyard vineyard and wine making efforts. Salut!

Please comment on your local summer fair? Please share if you enter your hobby at your local fair.