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Tiered Winery Ordinance Appeal Moves Forward, and Milagro Opens Tasting Room

A court date for the appeal could be issued in January. Milagro wins Lum Eisenman gold medal and holds its grand opening.

The opposition to the continues. An appeal brief has been filed with the Superior Court in the case of San Diego Citizenry Group vs. County of San Diego, as a challenge to the court’s ruling upholding the ordinance.

The county had until Dec. 14 to file an opposing brief, according to James O’Day, Senior Deputy Counsel for San Diego County. The citizenry group then has 20 days to file a reply brief.

Once all briefs are in, possibly by mid-January, O’ Day said the appellate court will then set a date for oral arguments.

Patch contacted Coast Law Group, which represents the citizenry group, for a statement but received no reply by publication time.

Milagro Opens Tasting Room

November was a great month for . On Nov. 13, the winery’s 2010 Estate Sauvignon Blanc won a gold medal at the Lum Eisenman Ramona Valley Wine Competition. Then on Nov. 19 came the grand opening of the winery’s tasting room.

“It was fabulous,” winemaker Jim Hart said. "We had close to 70 people the first day."

The crowd was a diverse one, he said, including members of Milagro’s wine club, members of the Ramona Valley wine community plus “a lot of people from the general public. We were really pleased.”

The winery is at 18750-C Littlepage Road. Tasting hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday.

Eisenman wine contest

This was the 5th annual Ramona Valley Wine Competition. It was held under the auspices of the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA). Its purpose, in the official words of the RVVA, is threefold: “(1) to honor and thank Lum Eisenman for all that he has done to encourage the production of quality wine grapes in San Diego County, and particularly the Ramona Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA); (2) to focus on the potential of the Ramona Valley AVA for the production of quality wines; and (3) to provide constructive feedback to all winemakers who are making quality wines from Ramona Valley sourced grapes.”

Judging took place Nov. 9. Judges were Lum Eisenman; Mike Menghini, co-owner of Menghini Winery in Julian; Gus Vizgirda, winemaker for Maurice Car’rie and La Cereza wineries in Temecula; Ron Nowak, founder of the Society of Wine Educators; Justin Mund, winemaker at Orfila Vineyards and Winery in the San Pasqual Valley; and Jeff Slankard, wine director for Barons Marketplace.

Results were announced at an awards banquet Nov. 13 at the Ramona Sizzler. Five gold, six silver and 29 bronze medals were awarded. However, unlike many wine competitions, this one is more a community-centered event rather than a marketing tool.

“We don’t usually send out a press release or anything like that,” said , competition committee director. “We’re not really into promoting it so much as using it to give winemakers feedback.”

“Each entry received a full sheet of hand-written comments from each of the six judges,” said Harris, “This feedback is unique in the world of wine competitions.”

“We use a modified U.C. Davis 20-point scale as judging criteria,” she said. While other contests use the Davis scale, the Eisenman use of extended comments goes beyond what any other competition does, Harris said.

“We all had a great time celebrating another hard year of work in the Ramona Valley. With the feedback we received, each winemaker will apply what they’ve learned to the vintages we’re developing.” 

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