This year marks the 35th Annual El Dorado County Fair Open Wine Competition. Held in El Dorado County wine country and open to all commercial wineries, the competition takes place on Friday, March 22 at the El Dorado County Fair & Event Center. We celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship of

winemaking, providing a platform for wineries to shine.

 “We are excited to bring together wineries from across the country to compete and celebrate the diversity

and quality of wines being produced,” said Kathy Dunkak, CEO of the Fair Association. “This event is not only a chance for wineries to showcase their talents, but also an opportunity to gain local recognition

during the fair (and compete for our Back Room Gold award).”

 Over thirty prestigious experts from around the country come together to judge these wines each year.

Each panel consists of one judge from each industry: Education (winemaker, enologist, professor), Media newspaper, blog, radio), and Wine Sales (Restaurant, Retail, Hospitality). Winners are recognized across

various categories, plus unique to our competition the coveted “Back Room Gold” award.

During the competition, the backroom volunteers choose wines for the Back Room blind tasting based on how they (the public) would choose wine in the store: a varietal they enjoy, the AVA it comes from, a winery they have heard of, it was recommended, and, for some, the label.

Following Sweepstakes, a special crew sets up three blind judging panels—one White, one Zinfandel and one Red; we separate out the Zins, as we get so many in our competition. The wines are then judged by the Back Room staff and awarded points.

A Back Room Gold Trophy is awarded to each category. Wineries that have won this are very proud of this award. It is much coveted as it is basically a People’s Choice Award.

Wineries interested in participating in the competition are encouraged to take advantage of the Early Bird Entry deadline by getting their entry forms and payment into the Fair Office by Monday, February 19 at 4:00 pm. (Yes, the office is open for the holiday.) The final entry deadline is March 11, and all wines must be submitted by that date.

For more information, please call the Fair Office at (530) 621-5860 or email More information and entry forms may be found on the website at

<p>The post El Dorado County Fair gears up for 35th annual wine competition first appeared on Folsom Times.</p>