Calaveras County wineries were among the medalists at the first ever Foothill Wine Festival Competition held in Folsom on May 15.

The competition was open only to wines from the Sierra Nevada Foothills, including Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer and Tuolumne counties.

Among the judges were media, sommeliers and wine buyers from around California and Nevada.

Of the 397 wines judged, 23 received double gold, 44 took gold, 189 earned silver and 64 secured bronze.

“Such a broad selection of double gold winning wines from Barbera to Mourvedre clearly demonstrates that the Foothills is so much more than Zinfandel,” Competition Coordinator Coleen Schwietert said. “Congratulations to all the wineries who entered and shared their amazing wines with us and the team of judges from all over California and beyond.”

Ironstone Vineyards earned double gold for its 2017 Ironstone Reserve Meritage, and Twisted Oak Winery won double gold for its 2016 River of Skulls.

Aloria Vineyards won gold for both a 2019 Estate Sparkling Syrah and a 2020 Barbera Rose, and Ironstone Vineyards received gold for both its 2014 Kramer Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and its 2017 Ironstone Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aloria Vineyards earned two silvers for a 2017 Syrah and a 2017 Shirazzy Estate Sparkling Syrah, and Twisted Oak Winery took home three silvers for its 2016 Tempranillo, 2016 The Spaniard and 2016 Pig Stai.

The event was sponsored by the Greater Folsom Partnership, a collaboration of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce, the Folsom Tourism Bureau and the Folsom Economic Development Corporation.

Mike Owen, the president and CEO of Crystal Basin Cellars, developed and organized the competition alongside Greater Folsom Partnership CEO Joe Gagliardi.

“It was amazing to put together all of these wines from these great producers with all of the challenges we faced in getting this first-year effort off the ground,” Owen said. “We are very thankful for the support and proud of the excellent wines our judges reviewed during the competition.”

On Nov. 20, the Greater Folsom Partnership will hold a Foothill Wine Festival public event to celebrate the wines of the region at the Palladio event center in Folsom.

“It will be great to see these wines introduced to customers during the Foothill Wine Festival,” Owens said.

For a full list of winners, visit



Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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