All 18 of its wines placed in the 2020 Central Coast Wine Competition

PASO ROBLES — For the third time since 2015, Cass Winery was named Winery of the Year from the Central Coast Wine Competition.

Cass Winery earned the 2020 honor after all 18 of its competition wines placed. It’s Mr Blanc, a white Rhone blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne, was the Best White Wine in the 2020 Central Coast Wine Competition.

The Winery of the Year announcement was made Friday afternoon, Oct. 17, during a virtual celebration hosted by Tom Keffury of the California Mid-State Fair and Christopher Taranto of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

Steve Cass and Ted Plemons (pictured below left and right) started Cass Winery in Paso Robles nearly 20 years ago. Cass Winery was also Winery of the Year in 2015 and 2018. Sterling Kragten (pictured below pouring wine into a glass) has been the winemaker all three times.


“It’s quite an honor,” Steve Cass said. “We are very excited about it, the whole team is. Thank you very much. We are very honored.”

Plemons said it was a team effort, but that it all starts in the vineyard. Cass Winery is the only three-time Winery of the Year winner of the CCWC.

“There are so many great wines here,” Plemons said. “We are honored to be part of this. I see the work the whole team does, especially in the vineyard. The vineyard is awesome.”

Kragten said the wines Cass entered in 2015 were his first wines at the winery.

“When we won in 2015, it was my first wines here at Cass, and so it was really surprising,” Kragten said. “I just kind of threw every wine we had in there just to see how we stacked up against the competition, and then we won.”

Kragten said winning in 2018 proved he and Cass were more than one-hit wonders, and doing it again in 2020 is a testament to the winery’s consistency.

“Winning now is extremely satisfying because of the amount of competition we have in the area,” Kragten said. “It is really showing our consistency.”

The Winery of the Year is determined by the Central Coast Wine Competition based on a winery’s overall performance of wines through the competition, explained Chief Judge Tim McDonald. 

The Central Coast Wine Competition is usually held as a lead-in to the California Mid-State Fair, but the competition was postponed until the fall since the fair was canceled. The blind-tasting competition is open to wineries in the following counties, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

The CCWC’s 2020 Best of Show and Best Red Wine was the Piedra Creek Winery 2013 San Floriano featuring Lagrein from its estate San Floriano Vineyard in the Edna Valley AVA. Piedra Creek Winery is located in San Luis Obispo.

“An interesting varietal because it won a unanimous vote at the end, which is a little unusual,” McDonald said. “Everybody had their hand up.”

Best Rose was awarded to Détente Wines 2019 Field Blend Rose, a blend of 65 percent Grenache, 20 percent Syrah and 15 percent Graciano. Détente Wines of Paso Robles produces wines with grapes from vineyards on both the east and west sides of the Paso Robles AVA. 

Best Sparking was awarded to Laetitia Vineyard and Winery’s 2017 Brut Rosé. This is the third year in a row that Laetitia’s Brut Rosé has won this category. Laetitia Vineyard and Winery is located in the Arroyo Grande Valley AVA.

Best Dessert Wine was awarded to Glunz Family Winery’s Mission Angelica. This is the fourth consecutive year that Mission Angelica has been awarded Best Dessert Wine. Glunz Family Winery is located in Paso Robles.

Only the Winery of the Year and the “Best of” winners were announced during the virtual celebration. The complete list of CCWC winners is expected to be made public on Monday, Oct. 19. Check here for the results

The virtual ceremony included the 2020 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Awards — Winegrape Grower of the Year, William and Derryal (posthumously) John, John Vineyard Applications; Winemaker of the Year, Joe Barton, Grey Wolf Cellars and Barton Family Wines; Wine Industry Person of the Year, Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, Ancient Peaks Winery. Their story can be read here.