Temecula Winery First to Win Statewide Award

| Source: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

TEMECULA, Calif., July 16, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- For the first time in more than 150 years, a Temecula winery was judged the best in the state at the California State Fair.

South Coast Winery, which opened its doors just five years ago, won the fair's Golden Bear Winery trophy, which goes to the winery that wins the most medals and awards at the prestigious wine competition.

South Coast beat out more than 640 other wineries to capture the trophy, which in the past has gone to such well-known wineries as Kendall-Jackson and Geyser Peak.

The Temecula winery won seven gold medals, 13 silver medals, four bronze medals, 12 Best of Class honors and one Best of Region award. Twenty-three of the 36 wines South Coast entered won a medal.

"We have been working very hard to make the best wines we can make," said Jim Carter, South Coast owner. "This is probably the greatest recognition that can come to growers and winemakers in the Temecula Valley area and Riverside County."

Over the past decade, Temecula wineries and growers have taken dramatic steps to improve the quality of their grapes and wine.

"This is not an isolated event," said Ray Falkner, president of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Associations, which represents more than 65 growers and vintners. "This year Temecula Valley wineries have won a disproportionate number of awards and medals even though we are considered a small winemaking region."

Wines from Temecula so far this year received 35 Double Gold and Best of Class awards in about 10 competitions. Double Gold requires unanimous approval from a panel of four judges and Best of Class reflects superiority, typically in a price category.

More importantly, Temecula wines in 2008 are receiving recognition in double-blind wine competitions with participants from all over the United States and the world. Neither the judges nor the presenters know the identity of the wine they taste. Temecula's medal count is even more impressive given the quality of the wines entered and the caliber of judges, many who come from all over the country.

The Temecula Valley is the premiere winemaking region in Southern California. Over the last decade, the number of wineries in Temecula's Wine Country has doubled and more new wineries are in the planning stages. More importantly, the area's reputation for making fine wine is on the rise as local wines continue to win major awards at wine competitions that include well-known domestic and international brands.

For more information, call the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association at 801-800-WINE or visit www.temeculawines.org

Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association
Tomi Arbogast, Executive Director
(951) 699-3626