One local vintner recently proved that East County can compete with California’s famed “wine country” – and win. At this year’s State Fair, Brentwood’s Bloomfield Vineyards took home awards for five of its wines. One of the bottles – the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – earned the double gold medal in the Best of Class Greater Bay Appellations category, meaning it was a unanimous first-place selection by the judges. The wine earned 98 points, the best possible score.
Of the 2,646 wines entered into the State Fair competition, only 72 earned the double gold award.
According to vintner Becky Bloomfield, the awards demonstrate that the East Bay is able to produce quality wine. “I could put something other than what I put on my label,” she said, “but I choose to put ‘Contra Costa County,’ because I’m proud of what we do and I want people to respect what we do.”
The 2010 Viognier, described as a red wine drinker’s white wine, took home a gold in the Best of Class Greater Bay Appellations category. Bloomfield’s 2010 Devil’s Daughter – a blend of viognier and chardonnay – earned a silver medal. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Chardonnay each won a silver. No wine scored less than 90 during the blind taste tests.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Devil’s Daughter and 2010 Chardonnay also earned the Best of Class designation.
Wine lovers recently got the chance to taste the award-winning wines during Bloomfield’s latest release party, held last weekend at Frog Hollow Farms in Brentwood, not too far from the vineyard. The wines were paired with decadent stone-fired pizzas. Bloomfield’s wines can also be tasted at the Co. Co. County Wine Company in Downtown Brentwood.
“You get that first ribbon and it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I want more of those,’” Bloomfield said. “It’s an interesting thing. You’re being judged amongst peers – people who love wine like I do.”
This isn’t the first time Bloomfield has taken home awards for its cabernet sauvignon. The 2008 vintage took the silver medal, earning 92 points, at the 2010 State Fair. It also claimed silver medals that year at the Orange County Wine Competition and the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
At the 2009 State Fair, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon earned an array of awards: a gold medal (scoring 95 points), Best in California, Best in Class and Best of Greater Bay Appellations. It also took home the silver medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the bronze at the Orange County Wine Competition.
“Bloomfield has always done well,” said Kem Pence, coordinator of the State Fair’s wine and cheese competition. “They’re making great wines.”
Other award-winning wines from past years include the 2009 Viognier, 2009 Pinot Grigio, 2009 Devil’s Daughter, 2009 Chardonnay, 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Pinot Noir and the 2006 Syrah.
Strangely enough, Becky Bloomfield never set out to become a winemaker. As a farmer, she needed a way to show wineries that her grapes were top quality. The family has been farming in Brentwood since 1920, and started growing vines in 1999. It wasn’t long before Bloomfield Vineyards was established. The grapes are grown in Brentwood and bottled in Livermore.
This is Bloomfield’s seventh vintage, and it’s a tradition she hopes to continue, helping to bring more notoriety to wineries all over the East Bay.
“You don’t have to be a big guy to win the big titles,” she said. “You don’t have to be an expensive wine to be good.”