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San Diego County Medals Awarded by Lum Eisenman Wine Competition

By June 27, 2019 No Comments

San Diego County Medals Awarded by Lum Eisenman Wine Competition

Sponsored by Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA)

Ramona, Calif., June 21, 2018

San Diego County winemakers picked up medals for outstanding wine at the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA) Awards Dinner for the tenth San Diego County Lum Eisenman Wine Competition on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 held at the Ramona Mainstage.

Four panels of four judges tasted a record number of 128 red, white, and rosé wines—increased from 77 entries three years ago—made from grapes grown in San Diego County. Wineries located in Escondido, Fallbrook, Julian, La Mesa, Lakeside, and Ramona Valley participated. Judges awarded four double gold and 25 gold medals.

The keynote speaker was Maurice DiMarino, Sommelier; Wine Director of the Cohn Restaurant Group; San Diego Restaurant Associate Board Member; and Wine Educator. He encouraged various vineyard/winery associations within the county to form an alliance to better represent San Diego County’s wine-making interests with the various government agencies that control the wine-grape industry. He also recommended increased production.

Don Bartick, Chair of the San Diego County Lum Eisenman Wine Competition, said, “We are pleased to see the increased interest in this competition which shows the growth of the San Diego County Wineries and their contribution to the local economies. I’d also like to express my appreciation to the Ramona Mainstage for providing a great venue for our wineries to receive recognition.”

Best of Show, Commercial

  • Double Gold: Principe de Tricase Winery, Estate Aglianico Barrel Select 2015, Winemaker Alfredo Gallone (Ramona)

Best of Show, Amateur

  • Gold: Panacea, Red Blend Reserve, Winemaker Josh Mann (Amateur) 2017

Double Gold

  • Fallbrook Winery, Estate Montepulciano 2017, Winemaker Euan Parker (Fallbrook)
  • Trevi Hills Vineyards, Estate Primotivo 2017, Winemaker Renato Sais (Lakeside)
  • Vineyard Grant James, Syrah 2017, Winemaker Susanne Sapier (Ramona)


  • Barrel 1 Winery, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve 2014, Winemaker Robert Garland (Ramona)
  • Hungry Hawk Vineyard & Winery, Estate Rose of Tempranillo 2017, Winemaker Mike Embly (Escondido)
  • Farquar Family winery, Super Tuscan 2017, Winemaker Scott Farquar (Amateur) (Ramona)
  • Mahogany Mountain Vineyard and Winery, Michael’s Cuvee Red Wine 2015, Winemakers Kim, Michael & Geoffrey Hargett (Ramona)
  • Milagro Winery, Estate Chardonnay 2017, Winemaker Hugo D’Acosta (Ramona)
  • Milagro Winery, Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Winemaker Hugo D’Acosta (Ramona)
  • ZXQ Vineyards, High Speed Wobble 2016, Winemaker Andrew Klotz (Escondido)
  • ZXQ Vineyards, WFO 2016, Winemaker Andrew Klotz (Escondido)
  • La Finquita Winery & Vineyard, Muscat Canelli 2018, Winemakers Charlie & Jess Koehler (Ramona)
  • Hatfield Creek Vineyards & Winery, Syrah 2016, Winemaker Elaine Lyttleton (Ramona)
  • Highland Hills Winery, Ruby’s Barbera, 2014, Winemaker Richard McClellan (Ramona)
  • San Pasqual Winery, Chardonnay 2016, Winemaker Linda McWilliams (La Mesa)
  • Old Julian Vineyards, Estate Petite Sirah 2016, Winemaker John York (Ramona)
  • Ramona Ranch Winery, Petite Sirah 2014, Winemaker Micole Moore (Ramona)
  • Ramona Ranch Winery, Estate Tannat 2014, Winemaker Micole Moore (Ramona)
  • Three Hills Winery, Estate PicPoul Blanc, Winemakers Tobias & Carrie Panek 2018
  • Crystal Hill Vineyard, Estate Syrah 2017, Winemaker Scott Warner (Ramona)
  • Crystal Hill Vineyard, Estate Merlot 2017, Winemaker Scott Warner (Ramona)
  • Fallbrook Winery, Estate Cabernet Franc 2016, Winemaker Euan Parker (Fallbrook)
  • Fallbrook Winery, Estate Montepulciano 2017, Winemaker Euan Parker (Fallbrook)
  • Vineyard Grant James, Estate Port 2016, Winemaker Susanne Sapier (Ramona)
  • Vineyard Grant James, Merlot 2016, Winemaker Susanne Sapier (Ramona)
  • Vineyard Grant James, Estate Sangiovese 2016, Winemaker Susanne Sapier (Ramona)
  • Vineyard Grant James, Estate Rose 2018, Winemaker Susanne Sapier (Ramona)

Expanded Four Panels of Four Judges Each

Ron Nowak, Judge Coordinator and Chief Judge, recruited an expanded group of judges for this year’s competition of 128 entries. They included representatives from the American Wine Society, sommeliers, wine education, and winemakers. Based on their background, the judges were evenly distributed in four panels for judging.

American Wine Society (AWS)

  • Jay Bileti – Regional VP, Arizona; On the Board of Directors as Member Services Director   
  • Brad Bruce – Program Director; Wine Writer 
  • Stephen Chappell – chapter President; vineyard consultant


  • Molly Brooks, Advanced Sommelier
  • Tracey “TK” Clemons – Substance Abuse Prevention Analyst
  • Maurice DiMarino – Wine Director, Cohn Restaurant Group, SD Restaurant Association Board Member; Educator
  • Lisa Redwine –Sommelier; Account Exec., Regal Wine Co.; Advanced Sommelier; SOMMCON program director; wine writer; Wine Educator
  • Tami Wong – Wine Director; Austrian Wine sales

Wine Educators

  • Lindsay Pomeroy –Master of Wine, a qualification given by The Institution of Masters of Wine, considered one of the highest standards of wine education


  • Joe Cullen – Winemaker, Owner, Cactus Star Vineyard; Double Gold medal winner
  • Stephen Kahle – Winemaker/Owner Woof ‘n Rose Winery – winner of dozens of medals
  •  Josh McCourt – Winemaker/Owner, Le Court Winery; former award-winning winemaker of Fallbrook Winery
  • Mike Menghini – Winemaker/Owner, Menghini Winery; winery consultant; medal winner
  • Darius Miller – Winemaker/Owner Koi Zen Cellars (urban winery ); Wine Educator
  • Keith Rolle – Winemaker/Owner, Gianni Buonomo Vintners; Double Gold medal winner; American Wine Society judge
  • John York – Winemaker/Owner, Hellanback Vineyards; consultant 

About the San Diego County Lum Eisenman Wine Competition

The San Diego County Lum Eisenman Wine Competition, chaired the last three years by Don Bartick, was created and is sponsored by the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association to give individual winemakers constructive feedback on their techniques and results in order to improve winemaking throughout San Diego County. Don is a retired mechanical engineer. He and his wife Arline became interested in growing wine grapes and making wine in 2005. They planted four varietals of grapes and built a small winery within their home property as a hobby. In 2010 they converted their home into a small B&B that provides guests with a winegrower experience on a small scale. Today they are considered amateur winemakers.

Lum Eisenman, was born and raised in Riverside, Calif.  A physicist by profession, he migrated to Del Mar in 1971 with his wife. From youth he was an amateur winemaker, and became a mentor for San Diego vineyard owners, and the founder of the San Diego Amateur Winemaking Society—and he is always a teacher. He has written dozens of articles and The Home Winemakers Manual is considered an authority by many throughout the United States.

About Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA)

The Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA) was founded in 2001 “to promote, protect and enhance the Ramona Valley AVA, our wines, vintners, and community.”  The RVVA helped to drive the creation of the Ramona Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 2006 and was the sponsoring organization for the effort to create the Boutique Winery Ordinance in 2010.

Current President: Bill Schweitzer.

For more information see:

Media contact: Joyce Strand 408-210-2422