Let's Talk Wine with Eric Garnier
February 2013

And the Winners Are?

Following the footsteps of last years successful event, the 2nd annual Ventura County Wine Trail Food and Wine Challenge was held lastThursday at the Embassy Suites in Oxnard. The turnout of about 400 was terrific, with people coming from all over the county.
Twelve local wineries paired up with as many eateries to try to create the perfect food and wine pairing. In addition, a portion of the proceeds went to benefit the Ventura County FOOD Share.

This years winners were split into two groups. First, a panel of judges from both the food and wine industry, tasted the pairings. The wine was served blind, so as not to bias any opinions. A secondary award award was given called the "People Choice" award, handed out at the end of the evening.

As I kept going around the room asking people their opinion, I found that the fans were taking the event very seriously. They did not make quick decisions. They all had a handful of favorites and were trying to narrow down their decisions. I thought that all the contestants did an outstanding job and that everyone was a winner. The wines were exceptional, which in itself speaks for the quality of wines being produced locally. I myself, also struggled with trying to make a decision. After the first go around, I had it down to five different groups. Another observation that I saw was the passion, fun, and commitment from both the wineries, winemakers and the chefs that I was able to communicate with.

The winners were announced as the event was winding down. The awards were as follows:

People's Choice Award
Cantara Winery and Twenty 88 Wine Bistro
2009 Intrepid, a blend of Syrah,Cabernet and Cabernet Franc paired with crispy short ribs with peppers, onions and a dark cherry blend

Judges Award
Bella Victorian Vineyard and Bella Victorian Bistro
2008 Bella Elena Syrah paired with wild boar stew over pancetta, root vegetables and mushroom

My deepest congratulations to all the participants and winners. By the way, the two winners were on my final list of five that I mentioned above.

See you next year.

Questions or comments? Reach me at : Wineoeric@gmail.com

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