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February 2018 Contra Costa Wine Group Newsletter


     Our 40th Annual Professional Wine Judging and Potluck Dinner on Saturday, January 20th was extremely successful.  We had 101 wine entries in 13 different categories for our 10 professional wine judges to evaluate.  Those judges did a wonderful job as the day went by very smoothly.  I’d like to thank them for their judging expertise and efforts.

     Once again, we had a great crew of volunteers assist throughout the day.  Without them, I’m sure that our day wouldn’t have been as successful.  Thank you all for your time and efforts.  Sharon Orton handled the Judge’s Gift Baskets extremely well again this year.  She had 3 Old World wines, 2 reds and 1 white and 3 New World Wines, 2 reds and 1 white for each of the judges.  A very nice selection.  Well done Sharon!

     I counted empty chairs at the Potluck Dinner and came to the conclusion that there were right around 118 people in attendance.  The appetizers, entrees and salads brought by everyone were wonderful.  No one went away hungry.  I’d like to especially thank Ben Weikert and Michelle Heywood for controlling that end of the festivities.  It was very well done in that there were almost exactly 40% Appetizers, 40% Entrees and 20% Salads. 

  This years’ winners are as follows:


VIOGNIER             3rd Place     Bonneau Dickson          2015 Powers Viognier-CoCoCo

                               2nd Place    Eloise & John Pound      2016 CoCoCo Viognier

                               1st Place    David Hicks                      2016 Middletown AVA Viognier


CHARDONNAY      HM             Bonneau Dickson            2014 Mendocino Chardonnay

                               3rd Place    Rogan-Nunns Cellars      2016 Dry Creek Vly Chardonnay

                               2nd Place    Bonneau Dickson           2016 Yolo Co. Chardonnay

                               1st Place     M&S Orton & B. Pruett  2017 Livermore Chardonnay


OTHER WHITES/  3RD Place    Tom Anders                   2016 SB/Chard/Riesling-Napa AVA                               

BLENDS                2ND Place    Bill Rose                          2017 Pinot Gris – CoCoCo

                               1st Place     Paul Merrill                     2017 Pinot Gris – Lodi


ROSE’                    3rd Place     Steve & Susan Abbanat 2017 Rhone Blend-Sierra Foothills   

                               1st Place (Tie) Dan Boykin                  2017 PV Rose – Dry Creek Vly

                               1st Place (Tie) M&S Orton                  2017 Grenache Rose – Placer Co.





MERLOT               3RD Place     Rich Andrews                  2014 Merlot – CoCoCo

                              2nd Place     Jim & Bette Felton          2016 Merlot – CoCoCo

                              1st Place      Alan Kramer                     2016 Merlot – San Benito Co.


MERITAGE           HM               David Milam                     2016 Meritage-CoCoCo

                              3rd Place     Rich Andrews                   2015 Meritage-CoCoCo

                              2nd Place    Greg Bequette                  NV Meritage-California

                              1st Place     Alan Kramer                     2016 San Benito Co.


ZINFANDEL/      3RD Place (Tie) Paul & Janet Goetz     2015 Primitivo-CoCoCo

PRIMITIVO          3rd Place (Tie) Eloise & John Pound  2016 Primitivo/Syrah-CoCoCo

                             3rd Place (Tie) Eloise & John Pound   2014 Primitivo-CoCoCo

                             2nd Place     Dan Boykin                       2016 Zinfandel-Dry Creek Vly

                             1st Place     Bob Becker                        2016 Zinfandel-CoCoCo


CABERNET          HM              Steve & Nate Herz            2015 CS – Solano Co.

SAUVIGNON        2ND Place(Tie) Greg Bequette              2016 CS – Napa Co.

                             2nd Place(Tie) Al & Michele Turner      2016 CS – Alexander Valley

                             1st Place     Greg Lafayette                   2015 Maverick CS – Dry Creek Vly


OTHER RED        HM               Lee Wines                         2015 Pinot Noir-Russian River AVA

VARIETALS         3rd Place      Rich Eber                          2016 Petit Verdot – Lodi

                            2nd Place      David Hicks                      2012 Malbec-Clear Lake AVA

                            1st Place      Greg Bequette                 2015 Cabernet Franc-El Dorado Co.


OTHER RED       HM                Dan Boykin                       NV Dani’s Blend – Sonoma Co.

BLENDS             3RD Place     Dan Boykin                        NV Angel’s Blend – Sonoma Co.

                           2nd Place      Ron Peck                           2015 Gre/Syr/PS/Mourvedre-CA

                           1st Place       Rich Eber        2016 Gre/Syr/PS/PV/Mourvedre-Nevada Co.


SYRAH               2nd Place(Tie) Bonneau Dickson           2016 Tumbas – Amador Co.

                           2nd Place(Tie) Bonneau Dickson           2016 Powers – CoCoCo

                            1st Place        Art & Kathy White            2016 Chateau Trixie-CoCoCo


PETITE SIRAH   HM                 Bonneau Dickson             2015 Tumbas – Amador Co.

                           HM                 Dan Howsepian                2016 PS – El Dorado Co.

                          3rd Place        Dave & Lori Arango         2016 PS – CoCoCo

                          1st Place(Tie) Bonneau Dickson            2016 Tumbas PS - Amador Co.

                          1st Place(Tie) Al & Michele Turner        2015 PS-Amer. Oak - El Dorado Co.






DESSERT         3RD Place      John Descalzo                   NV Primitivo Port – CoCoCo

                         2nd Place      Al & Michele Turner          2016 CS Port – Alexander Valley





     Congratulations to all of the winners above.  You can all be proud of your achievements.  Members of this club make wonderful wines!

The next meeting will be the last chance for the CCWG membership to prepare their entries for the WineMaker Magazine International Amateur Judging.  We’re seeking a “Grand Slam!” (Thanks John Kirtley).  We won in 2015, 2016 and 2017 so this would be four in a row!  There will be designated boxes under the name tag table at the entrance for your submissions.  Mike Orton of the Valley Vintner has again graciously offered to gather and ship those entries to WineMaker in time for their judging.  The wines must arrive in Manchester Center, VT no later than March 16, 2018.  To take advantage of this opportunity, you’ll need two checks made out.  One to “WineMaker” for $25.00 for each of your single bottle entries and the other to “Valley Vintner LLC” for $5.00 for each of your entries.  The Entry Form, available on WineMaker’s website, should indicate two things: 1) The Contra Costa Wine Group as your Winemaking Club and 2) the Valley Vintner as your Winemaking Retailer.  Be sure to follow the labeling guidelines shown on the entry form.  Let’s give it the old college try and submit lots of our great wines and pull off the Grand Slam.  CCWG member, Dan Boykin, previously mentioned that the judges at the WineMaker International Amateur seemed to like the higher acid wines.  More acidic, not tannic!  Put that piece of information to use in your entry selections.  Thank you all.

     Our next meeting will be held on Friday night, February 23rd.   We would like all of the First Place winners in the White/Rose’ and Dessert wine categories to do a couple of things.  First, insure that their two bottles of First Place wine are well chilled for the meeting.  Next, each of you need to prepare a single page document telling the members how the wine was made.  We’d like you to bring between 25 and 40 copies of that to be handed out to those attending the next meeting.  I am attaching a sample format that each of you winners may or may not utilize.  It’s up to you, but we’re looking for things like where, how much, additives, oak, etc.  This information is essential so that the membership can continue to improve their wines.  If any of you First Place winners find themselves unable to attend the meeting, please get your two bottles of wine and the handouts to someone in the group that will be attending the meeting. 

     The next meeting will be held at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 1924 Trinity Ave. in Walnut Creek, again on Friday night, February 23rd.  Ribbons and Medals, coordinated by Donna Guedon, for all of the White/Rose and Dessert winners will be handed out that night.  The Judge’s notes, very important pieces of information, will also be available to everyone that entered a wine into the competition.  The doors will open at 6:00 p.m.  Please come early if you can.  We’ll have to set-up ourselves and completely sweep the decks at the end of the evening.  Nothing can remain when we’re done!  That means, take your bottles, utensils, etc. with you when you leave.

     As this is a “No Host” event, those attending need to bring along an hors d’oeuvres plate.  We’ll need 12-24 “servings” per membership.  I’ll have small plates and plastic forks available for everyone.  As there will still be a “Social Hour” (approximately 7:00 p.m.) before we start the “Formal” (7:30 – 7:45 p.m.) part of the meeting, please bring along a bottle of your best, or an eclectic selection you believe the members might enjoy with you to the meeting.  Again, the meeting will be held on Friday night, February 23rd at the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek.  This is typically a well-attended meeting and rightfully so.  These are the best White/Rose’ and Dessert wines that the members of the esteemed Contra Costa Wine Group have made.

DIRECTIONS:  From Northern 680, take the North Main St. exit.  EXIT 47 toward Walnut Creek.  Take the North Main St. SOUTH ramp.  Merge onto N. Main St. and go about 0.4 mi.  Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto N. CALIFORNIA BLVD. and go about 0.6 mi.  Turn RIGHT onto TRINITY AVE. for 0.2 mi. and the parking lot will be on your left.

From Southern Highway 680, take the OLYMPIC BLVD. exit.  EXIT 45B and turn right onto Olympic Blvd.  After about 0.4 mi. turn left onto S. CALIFORNIA BLVD.  After about 0.2 mi. turn left onto TRINITY AVE. for 0.2 mi. and the parking lot will be on the left.

I hope to see lots of you at the next meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Al Turner, Secretary, Contra Costa Wine Group  (925) 837-9384

The 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 & 2017 WineMaker Magazine Int’l Club of the Year