News from the grapevine, so to speak: The fifth annual Lum Eisenman International Wine Competition will be in November.
“Our judges are more available in November,” explained Carolyn Harris, one of the organizers of the event, which had previously taken place in midsummer. The judges are more in demand in the summer, when there are more wine competitions, said Harris, board member and general counsel for the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA). “And it will give our wines six more months to mature.”
The call for entries for the competition will take place in October.
Harris is excited about another story. Two winemakers from Ramona, Teri Kerns and Micole Moore, won “Best of Show Red” honors at the Winemaker International Amateur Wine Competition, held April 8-10 in Manchester, Vermont.
The competition is run by WineMaker Magazine, which calls it “the world’s largest wine competition devoted to amateur wines," according to the website, www.winemakermag.com . WineMaker, published bi-monthly, was launched in 1998 and has over 100,000 readers.
A total of 4,235 wines were entered, from all 50 states in the United States, eight Canadian province and five other countries including Spain, Norway and Israel.
“Over the course of three days, experienced judging panels worked through 772 flights,” stated a post-competition press release, “examining each wine using the UC-Davis 20-point wine scale evaluating appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste and overall impression. The wines were entered in 50 different categories and included an astonishing array of varietals and wine styles.”
Kerns and Moore won “Best of Show ” for the red wine category for their 2009 Ramona Ranch Zinfandel.
Harris called that showing impressive.
“Any best of show, for a single wine, that’s fabulous,” she said.
When I contacted him, Moore was proud but modest in accepting congratulations for the Best of Show. He pointed out that Ramona Ranch also earned a bronze medal at the same competition for their 2008 Sangiovese.
He was just as eager to mention other medals earned over the past year, like the two silvers and one bronze at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Winemakers Competition, staged every year by the Los Angeles Cellarmasters Home Wine Club. The silver medals went to the 2009 Zin and a 2008 Brunello. The bronze was earned for their 2009 Cab.
Then there were the bronzes won at last year’s Orange County Fair for their 2008 Brunello and Muscat of Alexandria. Last but not least, were three medals won at the 2010 Lum Eisenman Competition: silver for their 2007 Brunello, bronze for the 2008 Brunello and another bronze for their 2008 Cab.
Moore and Kerns are longtime members of the San Diego Amateur Winemakers Society. Ramona residents since 2004, they became interested in winemaking after attending an RVVA meeting in 2005.
They hosted the next meeting in 2006, when the awarding of the AVA designation was announced.
Ramona Ranch has what Moore called a small “test unit” vineyard “to see what grows the best,” he said. They eventually plan to have up to five acres of grapes on their ten-acre property.
In the meantime, they’ve been doing obviously good things with grapes from other Ramona vineyards, like Paccielo and Chinook.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable buying grapes from anywhere else,” said Moore.
Right now, Ramona Ranch is a private label shared with family and friends. But Kerns and Moore are in the process of getting bonding to become a working commercial winery.
With their record of achievement so far, I’d say their prospects are good.