|Horsehill Vineyards won two medals at the 70th annual Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition.|
Cal Poly Pomona's inaugural vintage of Horsehill Vineyards Zinfandel Rosé won the Gold Medal, Best of Class in the Best Rosé Limited Production category at the 70th annual Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition. The 2008 Horsehill Vineyards Zinfandel received a bronze medal.
The rosé will be sampled with other award-winners at the Wine and Cars Under the Stars gala on Saturday, June 20, from 7-11 p.m. at the historic Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum at Fairplex in Pomona. Proceeds from this event benefit Fairplex's Child Development Center, the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts and the Fairplex Education Foundation.
Horsehill Vineyards wine is made from grapes grown on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. The Collins College of Hospitality Management and the College of Agriculture partnered with master winemaker Jon McPherson at South Coast Winery in Temecula to produce and bottle the rosé for the university. Roughly two-thirds of the 2008 harvest yielded 328 cases of Horsehill Vineyards Zinfandel Rosé, which have been sold exclusively at The Collins College's Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch.
Third-generation winemaker Don Galleano used the other third to make a Zinfandel, which aged for about six months in oak barrels at Galleano Winery in Mira Loma. South Coast Winery bottled 30 cases of the Zinfandel in April, which will be available this fall at the restaurant. The Zinfandel won a bronze in the category Limited Production Zinfandel from 2007 or Later.
Horsehill Vineyards' grapes come from prize-winning Zinfandel cuttings from the historic De Ambrogio Ranch in Rancho Cucamonga. During the local wine industry's heyday in the 1940s, the Cucamonga Valley floor was covered with 40,000 acres of vineyards. Early settlers recognized in the mid-1800s that the region's sandy soil and favorable climate would promise dependable harvests. However, by the 1990s, the Inland Empire underwent a massive building boom and ranchland became far more profitable as residential and commercial real estate.
By 2001, the land devoted to vines dwindled below 800 acres. Before the De Ambrogio Ranch was sold off for development, Galleano combed the fields near the Rancho Cucamonga Civic Center and selected 400 grapevine cuttings, some of them nearly 100 years old. To preserve the valley's wine-making tradition, Galleano donated the cuttings to Cal Poly Pomona, where they have been cultivated on about three acres by faculty, staff and students in the College of Agriculture.
Proceeds from the wine sales support a culinary garden at Cal Poly Pomona and the ongoing production of Horsehill Vineyards wine. Produce from the garden is incorporated into the menu at the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch.