HOME WINEMAKER (& Family Member) WINS BEST IN SHOW! / by Keith Saarloos

Jerry and his bride Claire have been coming into the tasting room since the day it opened. They have been some of our greatest supporters as we continue to find our feet in this wine thing... They always have a kind word and soft heart.  One day Jerry asked if he could pick some grapes and make some wine from our El Camino Real vineyard. We responded with OF COURSE!! Gate codes and secret handshakes were exchanged. Every now and then Jerry and Claire would come in and chat about the SavieB and where it was at, he would go and check it, and we would exchange a bit of info. Then like a Pro he would make his call, pick his grapes, and slide a couple bucks under the door like a solid surfer would.  

 Jerry and Claire Bleed a passion that is contagious and we are lucky to know them. 

This year he entered his wine and hit a homerun out of the park so far, I don't think it has even landed yet. 

Follow your passion kids. 
Things like this happen.

Please read the story written by   Laurie Jervis (another superstar) countrywriter@gmail.com. Her blog is www.centralcoastwinepress.com.

Home winemaker wins ‘Best of Show’


Jerry Shoemaker, a classmate of mine while we both studied viticulture and winemaking at Hancock College, shared with friends his big win at the June 15 judging of the Santa Barbara County Fair Homemade Wine Competition at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

Shoemaker, a resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, won “Best of Show” for his 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.

“I was on a cloud,” he told me via email.

But that’s not all: Shoemaker also scored two gold medals — one for the same sauvignon blanc, and the second for his 2011 Cabernet Franc/Syrah blend.

“There were 52 wines entered and only five gold medals awarded,” he recalled. “I knew one of them was mine, as I was the secretary (with no influence on the judging), at the table where it won a gold. I was thrilled with that.”

He continued: “The Gold Medals are then judged for ‘Best of Show.’ (I wondered): ‘What would be the chances of my cabernet/syrah blend winning ‘Best of Show?’

“They announced the ‘Best of Show’ for the red wines, and it wasn’t mine, but I was very happy with my gold medal.”

Meanwhile, Shoemaker’s 2012 sauvignon blanc had also just been awarded a gold, and he heard the announcer call his name for “Best of Show, White Wines.”

“I was not expecting this, and I was floored,” he said. “I had tears in my eyes and I had to sit down. I never dreamed I could win “Best of Show” — not now, but maybe some day. Later, it would hit me in the middle of the day: ‘I just won “Best of Show!”

The grapes for Shoemaker’s high-scoring sauvignon blanc are from El Camino Real Vineyard, owned by Saarloos & Sons and located on the corner of Highway 154 and Zaca Station Road.

Shoemaker and his wife, Claire, who is an operating room nurse at Solvang’s Cottage Hospital, moved from Los Angeles County in 1999, and built themselves a home from straw bales in 2003-04. (I’ve seen the house, and it’s really intriguing, inside and out).

In the vineyard surrounding their home, the two have 500 grapevines — all from propagated cuttings (versus the traditional method of planting with rootstocks), Shoemaker explained. “We have tempranillo, sangiovese, syrah, cabernet sauvignon (in its fifth leaf, or year), cabernet franc, petite sirah (fourth leaf) and sauvignon blanc (third leaf).”

He and Claire are no strangers to medals from the Santa Barbara County Fair’s Homemade Wine Competition: The count, including the 2013 competion, is five gold, seven bronze and four honorable mention, Shoemaker said.

Before moving to the Santa Ynez Valley, Shoemaker served in the National Guard flying helicopters for 35 years before retiring as a major, he said, and worked as an ocean lifeguard for Los Angeles County for 38 years.

Freelance writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at wine

countrywriter@gmail.com. Her blog is www.centralcoastwinepress.com.