Southern Oregon wines bring home the gold in San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Region is standout among state's awards in contest
Cal Schmidt checks his wine library at Schmidt Family Vineyards, which racked up four golds, seven silvers and one bronze in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. MT file photoMT file photo

Southern Oregon wineries fared well in this year's San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Bridgeview Vineyards, outside of Cave Junction, grabbed a double gold — unanimous selection — for its 2011 Blue Moon Sweet Riesling. Pebblestone Cellars' 2012 Ellis Vineyards Viognier was also a double-gold winner. Up the freeway, Umpqua Valley's Abacela Winery picked up double golds for its 2012 Viognier and 2009 Tempranillo Reserve.

2014 S.F. Chronicle Wine Competition: Local winners

Double Gold

  • Bridgeview Vineyards, 2011 Blue Moon Sweet Riesling, $10
  • Pebblestone Cellars, 2012 Ellis Vineyards Viognier, $19


  • Cliff Creek Cellars, 2008 Sams Valley Vineyard Claret, $25
  • Del Rio Vineyards, 2012 Viognier, $20; 2012 Pinot Gris, $16
  • Kriselle Cellars, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, $21; 2011 Sangiovese, $28
  • LaBrasseur Vineyard, 2011 Ethan Cole, $28
  • Schmidt Family Vineyards, 2012 Chardonnay, $24; 2010 Cabernet Franc, $34; 2011 Pinot Noir, $34; 2010 Tempranillo, $34


  • Cliff Creek Cellars, 2008 Sams Valley Vineyard Syrah, $25
  • Dancin Vineyards, 2011 Adagio Pinot Noir, $34
  • Deer Creek Vineyards, 2011 Chardonnay, $20; 2011 Pinot Gris, $20; 2012 Pinot Noir, $50
  • Del Rio Vineyards, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, $28; 2011 Claret, $35
  • EdenVale Winery, 2006 Dolcetto, $25; 2006 Tempranillo, $45
  • Irvine Vineyards, 2011 Chardonnay, $32
  • Kriselle Cellars, 2010 Cabernet Franc, $27; 2011 Di'tani, $25
  • Ledger David Cellars, 2010 Tempranillo, $28
  • Pebblestone Cellars, 2012 Ellis Vineyards Pinot Gris, $16; 2009 Ellis Vineyards Block 3 Cabernet Franc, $24; 2009 Ellis Vineyards Melange, $25
  • Red Lily Vineyards, 2007 Estate Reserve Red Lily Tempranillo, $65; 2010 Red Lily Tempranillo, $35
  • Schmidt Family Vineyards 2012 Albarino, $24; 2010 Syrah, $34; 2010 Merlot, $34; 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $38; 2012 Riesling, $22; 2012 Pinot Gris, $22; 2010 Malbec, $34
  • South Stage Cellars, 2009 Grenache, $28
  • Troon Vineyard 2011 Estate Zinfandel, $28
  • Troon Vineyard 2010 Old Vine Meritage, $32


  • Cliff Creek Cellars, 2010 Sams Valley Vineyard Merlot, $22; 2008 Sams Valley Vineyard Cabernet Franc, $28
  • Deer Creek Vineyards, 2011 Private Reserve Pinot Noir, $35
  • Del Rio Vineyards, 2011 Pinot Noir, $28; 2011 Merlot, $28
  • EdenVale Winery, 2012 Rosť, $18
  • Irvine Vineyards, 2010 Pinot Noir, $35
  • Kriselle Cellars, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, $32; 2010 Tempranillo, $34
  • LaBrasseur Vineyard, 2011 Syrah, $24
  • Ledger David Cellars, 2011 Chardonnay, $22; 2012 Sangiovese Rose, $18; 2011 Sangiovese, $24; 2011 Cabernet Franc, $28
  • Red Lily Vineyards, 2012 Lily Girl Rosť, $16
  • Schmidt Family Vineyards, 2010 Soulea, $36
  • South Stage Cellars, 2011 Carmenere, $27; 2010 Pinot Noir, $28
  • Troon Vineyard, 2012 Dry Rose, $18; 2011 Cabernet Franc Reserve, $35.

Schmidt Family Vineyards, in the Applegate Valley, racked up four golds, seven silvers and one bronze in the competition, held Jan. 7-10 in Sonoma County, Calif.

"Southern Oregon is getting the respect it deserves based on its wines," said Scott Steingraber, owner and winemaker at Kriselle Cellars, which earned two gold, two silver and two bronze awards. "It's different than what it was just a few years ago, and people can see the quality of wines is so much better than they ever have been."

Steingraber, who opened the Kriselle Cellars tasting room on Modoc Road in mid-2012, noted a narrow swath of land produced extraordinary results.

"Out of the 14 gold medals going to Oregon wineries, six were right here in the Upper Rogue area," he said.

Cliff Creek Cellars, Del Rio Vineyards and LaBrasseur Vineyard also struck gold in the event.

The largest competition held in North America attracted 5,825 wines from about 1,500 wineries and 25 states.

Although Steingraber, a retired engineer from Washington, has been making wine for the better part of 20 years, it wasn't until Kriselle's 2009 vintage came out two years ago that he offered it to the public.

"We knew our vineyard site was pretty decent with a lot of round river rocks on the hillside," Steingraber said of Kriselle's vineyard, with concentrated Bordeaux plantings on the east end of Sams Valley. "It creates a very low yield, but produces an intense flavor in the fruit, and it shows in the wines."

Kriselle's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon earned a double-gold in the San Francisco International competition two years ago.

"We kind of came out of the gang-busters," Steingraber said. "It's terrific that the judges are giving respect to the quality it deserves."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at Edge.

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