Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival

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Event Date: June 17, 2017 : 12:00 PM-5:00 PM

Home Winemakers Festival celebrates ingenuity, love of wine

Written by Terre Logsdon
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Winemaker Scott Simkover, owner of Smiling Dog Ranch, took home gold/first place for his Backyard Zin and dry-farmed Merlot, as well as Best in Show for best red wine of the day. He credits vineyard manager Larry Rogers for growing good winegrapes. We must be doing something right,? Simkover said. Photo by Terre Logsdon.

LAKEPORT The eighth-annual Lake County Home Winemakers Festival was held for the first time in Lakeport's Library Park on Saturday and, from all accounts, was an unparalleled success.

More than 40 home winemaking enthusiasts and brewers from around Northern California joined with many of Lake County's leading wineries including Shannon Ridge, Tulip Hill Winery, Robledo Family Winery, Villa La Brenta, McDermaid Family Vineyards, Cougar's Leap, Duisenberre Cellars and more on Saturday.

The event is the largest fundraiser for the nonprofit Clear Lake Performing Arts, the county's major group for supporting fine music.

?It's been an excellent day, and the venue is great,? said Ed Bublitz, CLPA membership chair and himself a home winemaker taking part in Saturday's competition.

While the organizers and volunteers loved the hospitality of Kelseyville and the Kelseyville Business Association for the past seven years, this particular weekend in June when the event is held ? the fourth Saturday in June ? tends to be near or in the triple-digits, and not conducive to tasting wines, particularly red varietals.

Award-winner Jean Ownbey of Wild Diamond Vineyards took home gold for Mourvedre, silver for Sangiovese and bronze for Barbera. Photo by Terre Logsdon.

So this year's event was moved to shady and grassy Library Park in Lakeport, on the shoreline of Clear Lake, where cool breezes helped to mitigate the mid-90s temperatures that were recorded locally this year.

It's close to perfect this year,? said CLPA President Paul Brewer, who was busy taking money for the nearly 700 tickets they sold for the event.

Brewer explained that this major fundraising event allowed them to offer scholarships to youth for the Lake County Symphony, which has 64 performers.

Besides traditional Rhone and Italian varietals, there were unique offerings such as wine made from fruits ? pear, guava, and blueberry ? to more exotic wines ? a pineapple/habanero and milk wine.

There were also many fine selections of ales, heffeweisen, India pale ales, and meads. Lake County News Foodie Freak columnist, chef and author Ross Christensen offered unique versions of mead in chocolate and lavender.

A professional judging took place beforehand, with the Beer Judge Certification Program of the American Home Brewers Association judging the beers and wines judged in seven different classifications and more than two dozen varietals and blends by a panel of professionals.

Event goers also enjoyed the musical stylings of the David Neft Duo, who were ensconced in the gazebo with the wine and beermakers all around.

The arts and crafts groups and individuals, as well as food vendors also were a big hit on Saturday. But the big hit of the day ? heard over and over by the winemakers ? was the change of venue that allowed them to continue pouring red wine throughout the afternoon.

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David Lucindo (right) of Laujor Vineyard has plans to open a tasting room in Lake County within a year. He's shown along with Steve McDermaid of McDermaid Family Vineyards at the Home Winemakers Festival on Saturday, June 26, 2010. Photo by Terre Logsdon.

The new venue for the Home Winemakers Festival at Library Park in Lakeport with shade and grass was a hit with all event goers, winemakers and brew masters. Photo by Terre Logsdon.