For the past five years, Jim and Sally Arnold of Triassic Vineyards have brought home medals for every wine they have submitted to the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest annual contest for North American wines.
This year, the Arnolds were awarded one double gold medal for their 2015 Zinfandel, a gold medal for their 2015 Syrah, three silver medals for their 2015 Big Bang and 2016 and 2017 Viogniers, and two bronze awards.
On Feb. 16, the Arnolds were among the 300 gold medal wineries from around the country featured at the Public Tasting held at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion.
"It was a packed house with tremendous wines, gourmet food and fun-loving patrons," wrote Bob Fraser, the competition's executive director, on the event website.
More than 3,500 people attended the Public Tasting to sample the 1,500 wines that won gold medals during the 2019 competition. The Arnolds poured three of the wines during the event, paired with custom-made, chocolate truffles.
"It really attracted people because people really enjoyed the experience of eating the truffles and drinking our wine," Jim Arnold said.
Other than showcasing Triassic wines, Jim said his primary purpose for participating in the competition was to serve as an ambassador of sorts to inform the outside what is going on at the local vineyards concerning the wine industry and the potential for growing in Tehachapi.
"When we were talking, we weren't just talking about how good our wines are, but how good the other wines are, too," Jim said.
Jim said he and Sally received a great deal of positive feedback from the wine tasters.
"In fact, one person said it was the best Syrah in the whole place, and another person said it was the best 2016 Viognier he had ever tasted," Jim said.
As far as the Arnolds are concerned, anything that Triassic Vineyards benefits, so does Tehachapi benefit.
"People are becoming aware of what can be done here with growing wine grapes," Jim said.
The Arnolds also compete in the Los Angeles International Wine Competition each year, but prefer the blind taste aspect of the San Francisco Chronicle competition.
Said Jim, "That way, the judges don't know where the wines are coming from."
According to Patricia Doody, president of the Tehachapi Tourism Commission, the wines produced in Tehachapi, and in particular at Triassic, were exceptionally good in 2015.
"The awards that were won should help us gain recognition in the wine world and help us get our AVA (American Viticultural Association) designation," Doody said.
Doody said she has known the Arnolds since they took over the vineyard in 2013.
"Tehachapi wines continue to win awards every year, and it's becoming a real wine destination," Doody said. "We are hoping it will become the next Paso."
Triassic Vineyards, located at 24627 Cummings Valley Road, is open to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., and by appointment for special engagements and events.
Every Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., Triassic Vineyards features its Wine and Dine catered dinner featuring live music. Reservations are required.
For more information, call 822-5341 or visit triassicvineyards.com.