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Local Wines Celebrated

Dave Fugino, Sarah Schrupp and winemaker Craig Senders at the Senders Wine booth.

Yolo County was well-represented at this year’s California’s Grape and Gourmet event which was held at the Sacramento Convention Center. With more than 300 wineries serving over 700 medal-winning wines as well as 80 restaurants, we simplified the night by spending our time with our local winemakers including Senders Wines, Spoto, Rominger-West, Berryessa Gap as well as Hillstone Olive Oil.

Mark West of Rominger-West.

To participate, all wineries had earned a ribbon for at least one of their wines and were broken down by region, varietals, etc.

Our first stop was with Mark West at the Rominger-West booth. Their award-winning Syrah is delicious. It wasn’t the first time we’ve had it, as we love visiting Mark at the winery. He reminded us that we haven’t made one of their Thursday happy hours with live music yet, and he’s absolutely right. It’s now on our calendar. The Rominger-West vineyards are located west of Winters and the winery is in Davis on Second Street across from Target. www.romingerwest.com

Next we visited Senders Wine where owner & winemaker Craig Senders welcomed us as well as his friends & neighbors, Dave Fugino and Dave’s wife, Sarah Schrupp. They were happily helping pour for the evening and we tried several of their wines. Craig and Karen Senders live in El Macero but their wines are made from Napa and Sonoma grapes and produced at a small custom crush facility in Napa. www.senderswines.com

Stuart Spoto of Spoto Wines.

The third local wine booth we visited was Spoto which promotes itself as Napa Valley Wines. The grapes are from Napa Valley, but the wine is produced by Stuart Spoto who went to secondary schools in Davis and UC Davis. He now lives in Sacramento and says, “We were the first bonded winery in a residential neighborhood in Sacramento County.” Yes, all of the production happens in their converted garage and home. We were so intrigued that Stuart agreed to let us visit his home in the near future to feature him more in-depth for DLM.

Stuart’s parents live in El Macero and father Henry makes his own wine with his El Macero winemaker’s group. Jon has had the pleasure of tasting Henry’s wine in his wine cellar in El Macero. The Spoto family has a knack for making great wine. The Spoto Merlot was our favorite of the night. Spoto wines are currently served at great Sacramento restaurants including Waterboy, The Kitchen, Ella, The Firehouse and more. www.shop.spotowines.com

The last stop on the local wine tour was Berryessa Gap Vineyards. They’re located at 15 Main Street in Winters, and also on the list of places we want to visit. They live and make their estate-grown wines in Winters. Their name comes from the location of their vineyard: “Our vineyards lie on the east slope and beneath a break in California’s Coastal Range known to locals as the Berryessa Gap, a prominent and beautiful landmark.” www.berryessagap.com

Laurie Schuler-Flynn and Amy DelBondio of Hillstone Olive Oil.

As we were making our way through the maze of wine and food booths, we passed more local, familiar faces, the Hillstone Olive Oil ladies — Laurie Schuler-Flynn and Amy DelBondio who make their olive oil in the rolling hills of Yolo County. www.hillstoneoliveoil.com

It was a great night filled with lots of food and wine, but both Jon and I were mostly impressed with all of the talent under one roof. We walked around meeting the owners and winemakers of many of California’s top wineries, and to us, that was a special treat.

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