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So. Cal Ambassador

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Posted: Monday, June 23, 2008 12:00 am

There is a winery in Camarillo, half-way between Santa Barbara and L.A., flying a banner for Lodi. Mike Brown, son of Bill and Ruth Brown of Acampo, opened a tasting room last year for his winery named Cantara Cellars.

And it’s almost all based on Lodi fruit, including Chardonnay from a vineyard located in Acampo on Kennefick Road, south of Acampo Road, that Mike’s grandfather purchased back in 1924. Syrah and Sauvignon blanc grapes come from Vino con Brio. And Ted Leventini chips in Barbera from his vineyard on Peltier Road.

The big winner, however, is Mike’s 2006 Petite Sirah ($35), which just won a special four-star gold medal at the 2008 Orange County Fair wine competition. It was one of twenty-two wines to receive the award out of a total of 3,287 entries.

Gregg Lewis (who is getting ready to open his own micro-winery where Cottage Bakery was on School Street) grew the award-winning Petite Sirah for Mike along the bank of the Mokelumne River off highway 88 in Clements near Collier Road. A little Zin from the Graffigna Ranch at Acampo and Bruella Roads grown by Jonathan Wetmore spiced up the blend.

Thank you, Bill and Ruth, for the heads-up!