The Calaveras Wine Alliance in partnership with the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Grand Tasting Wine event on Wednesday, May 17th to kick off the Calaveras County Fair and debut the newly improved wine pavilion located at the County Fairgrounds. The new event will highlight the winners of Calaveras County’s Best in Show, Double Gold and Gold Medal wines by offering tastings and delectable catered bites and appetizers provided by Lunch Lady Catering.

Every year, a team of 15-20 esteemed wine experts from the Bay Area and beyond come to Calaveras County Fairgrounds in April to judge in a blind tasting of professional and amature wines submitted by Calaveras County and the neighboring counties. In recent years, Calaveras and the Sierra foothills wine community has garnered a strong reputation drawing interest from esteemed wine professionals, buyers and writers. “I judged in Calaveras 8-9 years ago and have not been able to make it back since, but the quality of hand crafted wines coming out of Calaveras and the Sierra Foothills lately is very exciting and I made a point months ago to make sure I could attend as a judge this year” says Dan Berger, Chairman of the Dan Berger International Wine Competition in Riverside. Over 250 wines are submitted for judging each year from professional and amature winemakers and a team of volunteers help bag and tape the bottles for the blind tasting of the wines submitted. Ballots are then tallied and awards and medals are disseminated. The Best in Show, Double Gold and Gold Medal winners will be notified and invited to attend the Grand Tasting event. “Not only is the judging and awards important to visitors discovering Calaveras wines for the first time so they can see and learn about the quality of wines Calaveras is producing, but it is important to support our county fair and the economic impact it brings to our local economy and wine community” stated Shelby French, Executive Director of The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance.

This year the Floraculture exhibit was moved to a new location allowing the Winegrape Alliance to take over the entire wine pavilion. Debuting in the wine pavilion this year will be the wine alliances’ newly updated exhibit space that will feature an interactive self guided experience showcasing sustainable practices in winemaking and grape growing. In addition, the wine alliance will be offering a series of workshops, demonstrations and featured guests throughout the four days of the fair. These events will be held in the Wine Pavilion at various times and will include; a “Guess The Varietal” blind tasting contest, “Wine Tasting 101” discussion, “How to Pair Wine with BBQ” demonstration, a “Best Fair Food and Wine Pairing Contest”, lectures on growing grapes sustainably, soil and microclimate impacts on wine and special guests will include wildlife experts and their predatory birds, vineyard goats and live bugs used for sustainable practices. “We have an amazing opportunity to utilize our member resources and wine and grape growing professionals to create a year round exhibit space at the fairgrounds that we hope will be used in the future to host viticulture or wine students and inspire our local youth who are interested in agriculture. We won’t be able to get all our plans materialized this year but I am confident we can have something very significant to offer in 2018 that will showcase the quality of our region, our strong dedication to sustainable and organic practices and the progressive and innovative spirit that exist within our wine community.” French says. “I am very grateful for the partnership and support of the Calaveras Chamber of Commerce and the new Grand Tasting will help support our efforts to improve the pavilion and realize our goals.”

Tickets to the Grand Tasting Wine Event on Wednesday, May 17th are $40 per person and must be purchased in advance at or thru the Calaveras County Chamber of Commerce website at The event will be held at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds Wine Pavilion from 6pm-8pm.