Back To Previous Page

Temecula Valley Wine Country Reveals Winners of People’s Choice Blind Tasting & Awards

Thursday, November 1, 2018 4:00 PM

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA), today announced the winners of the third annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting. This unique annual event invites consumers to taste through what Temecula Valley winemakers believe to be their best whites, rosés and reds blind – that is, without knowing the identity of each wine they are tasting – and rate them to determine the year’s fan favorites. This year’s event took place on Sunday, October 28, 2018, at Fazeli Cellars, and featured a walk-around blind tasting and an awards rec­­­­eption offering pours of the 2017 People’s Choice winning wines, gourmet bites prepared by Fazeli Chef Anthony Bartolotta and the musical stylings of Michael LeClerc.

Doffo Winery’s 2016 Zinfandel was named 1st Place People’s Choice Red, followed by Fazeli Cellars 2015 Shiraz in 2nd Place, and Wiens Family Cellars 2016 “Refugio” Cabernet Sauvignon in 3rd Place. The 1st Place wine in the White or Rosé category went to South Coast Winery for their 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Avensole Winery’s 2016 Melody Twins, a blend of 60%% Gewurztraminer, 22% Sauvignon Blanc, 18% Muscat Canelli, and Maurice Car’rie’s 2017 Sauvignon Blanc in 3rd Place. This is the third year in a row that Doffo has taken a top spot in the competition, claiming 2nd place in 2016, and 1st place in 2017, all for their Zinfandel.

“We are honored and humbled to win the Peoples Choice award with our 2016 Zinfandel,” Said Damian Doffo, CEO and Winemaker, Doffo Winery. “We are constantly striving to produce premiere wines in our valley and put forth a tremendous amount of effort and care into both the farming of our Zinfandel vineyards and the production process of this wine. Thank you to all the guests that enjoyed the fruits of our craft.”

“I am honored and humbled by this award, and appreciate that our wine was selected by everyone in attendance as having a quality that they could recognize and enjoy,” said Jon McPherson, Master Winemaker, South Coast Winery.

Over 200 guests tasted 50 wines (23 whites and rosés and 27 reds) without knowing any of the wines’ identities, and rated them on a scale of 1-5 during a walk-around wine tasting. Final scores were tallied to determine the top 3 “People’s Choice” wines in each category. Wines could be any variety or a blend, at any price point, as long as they were from the Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Entries ranged from just $14 per bottle to well over $100, and represented a veritable A-Z of grape varieties, from Arneis to Zinfandel and everything in between.

Event sponsors included Gosch Ford, 34° Crisps, American AgCredit and Visit Temecula Valley.

The top ten scoring wines in the white and rosé category in alphabetical order were as follows:

  • Avensole Winery 2017 Melody Twins, $24.95
  • Baily Winery 2016 Montage, $30
  • Danza del Sol 2017 Vermentino $28
  • Falkner Winery 2017 Chardonnay $34.95
  • Hart Winery 2017 Arneis, $28
  • Maurice Car’rie 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, $13.99
  • South Coast Winery 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, $16
  • Thornton Rosé, $28
  • Wiens 2017 Vermentino, $30
  • Wilson Creek Viognier, $26.99

The top ten scoring red wines in alphabetical order were as follows:

  • Avensole Winery 2014 Solea, $46.95
  • Baily Winery 2015 M&M, $30
  • Doffo Winery 2016 Zinfandel $72
  • Fazeli Cellars 2015 Shiraz, $42
  • Masia de la Vinya 2016 Orchestra, $36
  • Maurice Car’rie 2014 GPS, $24
  • Monte de Oro 2014 Simplexity, 43
  • South Coast Winery 2015 Wild Horse Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, $40
  • Thornton Winery 2016 Malbec, $42
  • Wiens Family Cellars 2016 Refugio, $46
  • Wilson Creek 2016 Family Reserve GSM, $49.99

Most wines can be purchased directly online through each winery’s website. The entire list of wines entered into the competition can be accessed HERE.


Temecula Valley is the largest and most commercially successful winegrowing region in the South Coast AVA, the viticultural zone spanning more than 2 million acres from Riverside County to the San Diego border. The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association has long served as a steward of the Southern California wine community. Comprising 36 wineries and more than 60 winegrowers, the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association is a nonprofit regional organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the quality wines and wine grapes grown in the Temecula Valley and South Coast Appellations. Established in 1984, the Temecula AVA consists of 33,000 acres, of which approximately 2,500 acres are currently planted to commercial vineyards. Known as Southern California's wine country, the Temecula Valley is located in Riverside County just one hour from San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs and 90 minutes from Los Angeles.