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Temecula Valley vineyard earns best of show distinction

After 12 years of growing grapes and making wine in the Temecula Valley, Ray and Loretta Falkner have hit pay dirt — the Best of Show Wine winner at this year’s Winemaker Challenge International Competition in San Diego.The top award was for the Falkner 2008 Syrah-Rock Creek Vineyard wine ( $34.95.), available at the winery.The wine has strong notes of plum and cocoa with a long, lingering finish. It was the top finisher in a field of 816 entries from over 12 countries.

This winery also received a Silver medal for their 2008 Super Tuscan Amante ($39.95), a Gold for their 2010 Rosato-Rose’ style wine ($14.95)

and a Silver for the 2008 Meritage-Bordeaux Blend ($39.95).

“All our grapes are from our Temecula Valley,” Steve declared. ’08 was an elegant year. We use little oak in our wines. We rely on balance of flavor and a well-defined acid structure that makes you want another sip. We use low yields to keep quality control.”

Wine lovers will get their opportunity to taste Falkner and over 150 other family-owned wineries at the Del Mar Fairgrounds March 11 from 3 to 6 p.m., when the Family Winemakers of California present TASTING 2012. Great, well-known wineries will be back with their new releases, as well as new, exciting young winemakers with their creations. This is the singular place and time to do just that.

I love this event for the chance to chat it up with the winemakers and the owners who are there pouring the wines. The vast confines of the main exhibit hall at the fairgrounds allow plenty of elbowroom.

Wines and their wineries to look for include: Zinfandel with Ancient Peaks, Frank Family, JC Cellars, Opolo, Saxon Brown, Siduri and Zenaida; Viognier with Cass, Falkner, Niner, Monte De Oro and Tablas Creek. For other varietals look for and try Beaulieu, Fort Ross, Sojourn, Cinnabar, Orfila and Wiens.

Tickets are: $55 each; $65 at the door. They are available at More information at (415) 707-0646.

For Falkner information:

Harvesting More Wine News

Gen 7 Wines revealed that there is a winery in every state in the U.S. and a vineyard in every state except Alaska…“too cold there.”

California wine sales rose 3.3 percent in 2011 to 212.3 million cases according to Wine Spectator. It’s the highest since 2007. And the nice thing is the average price is bouncing back.

The Italian hilltop village of Montalcino is a stop on the DIVINO TUSCANY TOUR May 13 to May 17. Photo by Frank Mangio

DIVINO TUSCANY is a state of the art four-day wine event and tour at some of the leading wineries in Tuscany, Italy, May 13 to May 17. The hosts have chosen former European Bureau Chief of Wine Spectator James Suckling to personally select all wines and wineries including one owned by music personality STING. Visit medieval villages, acclaimed wineries, enjoy lunches and dinners by top Italian chefs. Stops include Florence, Chianti Classico Tuscany, Montalcino and Bolgheri. Call for more information at (800) 367-5348, or visit

TASTE OF WINE has recently partnered with 18 more worldwide web sites to add to its 13 sites featuring the column and videos of producer Frank Mangio on wine. We are really excited about our entry into China with the major site:

Wine Bytes

The World of Wine Barrel Tasting Event in Temecula Wine Country is March 3 and March 4 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating wineries. Visitors will taste wine and food at 30+ wineries. The tour is self-guided through the Temecula Valley. Cost is $99 for the two days. Tickets at, or call (800) 801-9463.

Taste 7 Malbecs at Bacchus Wine Market, downtown San Diego, March 3 from 2 to 8:30 p.m. This is Argentina’s signature grape, originally from France. Cost is $15. Phone (619) 236-0005.

Sbicca Del Mar presents the Red World Tour of Barbera, Corvina, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and more, March 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. All are from Northern Italy, in a classroom format. Nine wines are tasted. $49. Call (858) 442-2749.

Twisted Vine Bistro and Wine Bar off Highway 56 in San Diego has the Michael David Winery March 10, 4 to 6 p.m. with five signature wines and Light Bites paired by Chef Mia. Cost is $35. Check it out at (858) 780-2501.

RELM Bistro and Wine Bar in Carlsbad offers Domestic Hidden Gems with over 40 wines available for tasting, Sat. March 10 from noon to 3 p.m. Wine reps will answer questions about the wines. Appetizers included in the $20. RSVP at (760) 434-9463. RELM is adding a location soon in San Elijo Hills!