Wine Competition Coordinator
Showcasing the Best of the Best from all over the State!
Wine Judges are selected from respected winemakers, wine merchants, writers, promoters, and educators. The California State Fair will be highlighting and celebrating the winners in press releases as well as showcasing them in all of our social media platforms. In person events have been limited due to COVID.
The California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition has been an integral part of California’s wine industry for decades. Goals include guiding the state’s consumers, offering benchmarks for California’s wineries and vineyards, and encouraging and stimulating the continuing growth and
improvement in the state’s wine industry at every level.
One of the competition’s most important points is its emphasis on place. Wines are categorized by where the grapes are grown, not the site of the winery. The competition places a special emphasis on single vineyard wines.
It is the only competition to partition California into 11 wine regions and to
recognize the best wines of each. It is also the only competition to designate
best varietals and styles in California.
In addition, the California State Fair selects and recognizes:
The State Fair Commercial Wine Competition holds a unique and important place in California’s wine industry and its culture. Its significance comes from size, its esteemed panels of judges, reach and impact across the state and the country, and the demonstration by its judges through decades of a top standard of professionalism, excellence, and fairness. It is here that the industry, educators, journalists, and wine lovers in California and around the world can find a true assessment of the high quality of California wine.
This guide is produced in advance and is subject to any action that may cause revision or curtailment of classes, divisions, sections, awards, premiums or regulations as listed.
Mailing list and Notification: Although we try to keep mailing lists current, we cannot be held responsible for any winery that is not notified or contacted. Our deadline for accepting entries is May 19, 2023. Exceptions may be granted at the sole discretion of the California State Fair and will require a late fee.
1. Online Entry at www.enofileonline.com
2. Log in to your account or select “Register” to set up a new account. If you
cannot remember your login, contact enofile.
3. Register your wines.
4. We would like you to send a current wine label for each entry, or download (preferred method) online.
5. Ship or deliver your entry with a copy of your online receipt or with payment and entry form. See Delivery and Shipping Requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Laura Laskowski:
California State Fair
Commercial Wine Competition
P. O. Box 15649, Sacramento, California
Our goal is to make registration easier and faster for everyone, and we encourage all entrants to use the online option. Entry and details at CalExpoStateFair.com/competitions, scroll down and click on the Commercial Wine icon on the competitions page.
1. Any grape or fruit product grown in California and processed in a bonded wine premises is eligible for entry. Types of products include: wine, brandy, port, sherry, low alcohol wine, de-alcoholized wine or vermouth. Products made in other states are eligible if 75 percent or more of the product is from grapes or fruit grown in California.
2. An official entry shall consist of one of the following:
a. Six 750 ml bottles
b. Six 1L bottles, carafes or boxes
c. Six 1.5L bottles
d. Nine 375 ml or ≤ 500 ml bottles or cans
e. Three 3L boxes
f. One 5L box
g. For categories 195, 295, 695 (micro wineries), 701-705, and 901-941, please send three 750 ml bottles or four 375 ml bottles.
3. If the wine has not been produced by the entering winery, the entrant must have performed at least one of the following processes, or have contracted for it to be done at a bonded facility:
a. Grown the grapes
b. Crushed the grapes
e. Cellar treatment
f. Cellar aging
This is to allow the inclusion of negociant wines, or wines bottled to the account of the grape grower.
1. The wine entered must be part of a single lot of at least 300 gallons of identically finished wine (approximately 125 9L cases). The only exceptions are the micowinery classes 195, 295, and 695 see pages 19 and 20).
2. A minimum quantity of 240 gallons (approximately 100 9L cases) must be available for sale to the public either at the winery or through normal licensed wholesale/retail distribution channels through the closing day of the California State Fair, July 30, 2023. The only exceptions are the
microwinery classes 195, 295, and 695 (see pages 19 and 20).
3. All entering wineries must reserve and hold until July 1, 2023, a minimum of 10 cases of each Double Gold and Gold medal winning wines for the use at the 2023 Wine Garden.
4. The winery must sell the wine to this designated party at a normal wholesale price. The only exceptions are the microwinery classes 195, 295, 695 (see pages 19 and 20), and 701, 702, 703, 704, and 705.
The first-day wines will be accepted in the cellar is Monday, April 24, 2023. Entries close on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.
Early Bird Registration (March 1 – April 28, 2023) entry fee is $75.00 per wine and must accompany every entry.
Entry fee after April 28, 2023 will be $85 per wine and must accompany every entry.
Entry fees are not refundable.
Pay online or make check payable to: California State Fair.
A penalty of $25.00 will be assessed if a check is refused by the bank.
1. There is no limit on the number of regions, categories, or classes a winery may enter.
2. No entrant will be permitted to enter more than three wines of the same vari1etal in a single class within a single region (i.e., a maximum of three merlots, three Chardonnays, etc. per region) unless the wine is vineyard designated or a different vintage or bears a different fanciful name. There is no limit on an entrant on the number of single vineyard wines within a class or region.
3. No wine may be entered more than once by an entrant even if it is marketed under different labels.
We would like a wine label for each entry. You may download (preferred method) a bottle label at www.enofileonline.com or a photocopy is acceptable.
The online entry form must be complete in every detail, including retail price per bottle, exact percentage of residual sugar (Only express RS in percentage), alcohol, release date (month and year), gallons produced, vintage date, the region, class code, vineyard designation (if any), estate bottled (only if specified on the label) and the county location of the winery.
The California State Fair is not responsible for errors on entry forms or misinformation supplied by winery personnel or their designated representatives. Although we take every precaution to locate mistakes, we cannot be responsible for correcting errors. An incomplete entry form may be disqualified and the entry fee forfeited at the sole discretion of the California State Fair.
The State Fair may withhold awards for entries that are ineligible or have been disqualified and may recover awards that have been made for ineligible or disqualified entries that are disclosed during post-audits of Fair records. Wine may be disqualified for any errors on the entry form, including being tasted in the wrong region, varietal category, minimum amounts available for sale, etc.
Entrants may request reconsideration of a disqualification and should inform Fair management immediately, in writing, giving their name, address, complete description of the entry and the reason for requesting reconsideration. Requests will not be considered later than ninety (90) days after the entrant received notice of the disqualification. Reconsideration of a disqualification may be granted at the sole discretion of the State Fair.
Wineries or their representative may pick up any wines not receiving an award on Sunday, June 18, 2023. Wineries must notify the Wine Competition Coordinator in writing no later than Friday, May 26, 2023, of their intention to do so. (An email is an acceptable request.)
The California State Fair reserves the right to revoke an award or disqualify an entrant from this and future competitions for any misleading advertising or information connected to the State Fair Wine Competition or for violating any of the following rules:
1. No representation will be made that is misleading or deceptive to the trade or the consuming public.
2. No misleading advertising or labeling will be allowed with any connection to any State Fair Wine Competition award.
3. No representation will be made that states, implies, or permits the inference that wine is identical to an award winner unless this is the case.
4. If a wine is a counterpart of an award-winning wine, any reference or allusion to awards will clearly avoid creating any impression that the wine so labeled and advertised is an award winner or a counterpart thereof.
5. No entrant or representative may disparage awards of other wines to the trade or public.
The entry requirements, as printed herein, will be strictly enforced. Any entries found not to comply with the entry requirements will be rejected. Any entry form found to contain untrue information may result in the winery being disqualified from all awards and may also bar the winery from entering the State Fair Commercial Wine Competition in future years.
By submitting your wines online through www.enofileonline.com, an entrant certifies and promises that the information is accurate and that the entries meet all of the eligibility provisions, requirements, and limitations. It also certifies that the entrant agrees to abide by all rules and regulations of the State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.
The State Fair may, at its option, require that any wine receiving an award be certified by the Chief Judge who shall satisfy himself or herself that all entry requirements have been met, including the minimum amounts available for sale to the public.
The State Fair will check and verify the accuracy and validity of each entry. This information will be verified by authorized state representatives through selective on-site inspections on a random basis, or if there is any cause for concern by the state, by the Chief Judge, or by a California State Fair Wine Advisory Task Force member.
The State Fair may, at its option, require that any wine winning Best of Show, or other high awards be tested at a qualified lab to certify that it meets within a reasonable range the information stated on the entry form, or that it is identical to the wine that is for sale to the public.
Wines must arrive between Monday, April 24 and Friday, May 19, 2023.
Receiving times are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
No deliveries will be accepted on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
The State Fair may refuse any entries that arrive after May 19, 2023.
The entering winery is responsible for all shipping costs of their wines. The State Fair will not accept wine on a C.O.D. basis.
Please mark multiple box shipments with box numbers and total boxes shipped (For example: Box 1 of 4, Box 2 of 4, etc.). Make sure that the wines on the entry form are the same wines you are shipping.
Address all wines & checks sent via courier (FedEx, UPS, etc.) to:
California State Fair
Attn: Commercial Wine Competition
Ethan and Hurley, Gate 12
Expo Center #6
1600 Exposition Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815
Send via US Mail and Address to:
California State Fair
Wine Competition Coordinator
P.O. Box 15649
Sacramento, CA 95852
Only the Wine Competition Coordinator, Chief Judge or their designated appointee are authorized to receive entries. No other State Fairground location or State Fair representative is authorized to receive wine entries.
The California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition recruits expert judges from the fields of wine education, winemaking, wine writing, wine marketing and wine service.
Historically, the California State Fair has applied a qualifying test to help assure the astuteness of its judges’ palates. Toward that end, the Advanced Tasting Seminar created and offered by the University of California, UC Davis Extension Service is available annually for persons who want to refine their palates and join the competition circuit. Persons who complete and pass the one-day
examination may be added to the pool of potential judges for the California State Fair.
The California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition has a long history of embracing and celebrating the full spectrum of wines and recognizing commonly overlooked regions.
All wines will be entered based on the source of the grapes (Viticultural area, County or State) used in making the wine, not the location of the winery or negociant. In order for the wine to qualify in any region, the label must designate the appellation of the grapes in accordance with TTB regulations.
However, in regions that cross viticultural areas, the wine will be entered in the geographical site of the physical winery, unless specified by the entering winery.
The broadest appellation allowed will be California. This is meant to exclude an appellation entitled American.
Classes 100 through 695 will be judged in whichever of the 11 regions, A through K that applies.
Classes 701 to 941 will only be judged under Region K.
Please use the following regional identification for each entry.
• Willow Creek (Humboldt)
• Benmore Valley
• Big Valley District
• Clear Lake
• Guenoc Valley
• High Valley
• Kelsey Bench
• Red Hills
• Upper Lake Valley
• Anderson Valley
• Cole Ranch
• Dos Rios
• Eagle Peak
• McDowell Valley
• Mendocino Ridge
• Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak (Mendocino)
• Potter Valley
• Redwood Valley
• Yorkville Highlands
• Petaluma Gap
• Sonoma Coast (Marin)
• Clarksburg (Solano)
• Green Valley (Solano)
• Suisun Valley
• Wild Horse Valley (Solano)
• Trinity Lakes
• Willow Creek (Trinity)
• Alexander Valley
• Bennett Valley
• Chalk Hill
• Dry Creek Valley
• Fort Ross-Seaview
• Fountaingrove District
• Green Valley of Russian River Valley
• Knights Valley
• Los Carneros (Sonoma)
• Moon Mountain District
• Northern Sonoma
• Petaluma Gap
• Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak (Sonoma)
• Russian River Valley
• Sonoma Coast (Sonoma)
• Sonoma Mountain
• Sonoma Valley
• West Sonoma Coast
• Atlas Peak
• Chiles Valley
• Diamond Mountain District
• Howell Mountain
• Los Carneros (Napa)
• Mt. Veeder
• Napa Valley
• Oak Knoll District
• Spring Mountain District
• St Helena
• Stags Leap District
• Wild Horse Valley (Napa)
San Francisco Bay
• Livermore Valley
• San Francisco Bay
• Santa Clara Valley
Contra Costa County
• San Francisco Bay
San Francisco County
• San Francisco Bay
San Mateo County
• Santa Cruz Mountains
• San Francisco Bay
Santa Clara County
• San Francisco Bay
• San Ysidro District
• Santa Clara Valley
• Santa Cruz Mountains
Santa Cruz County
• Ben Lomond Mountain
• Santa Cruz Mountains
• Arroyo Seco
• Carmel Valley
• Chalone (Monterey)
• Gabilan Mountains
• Hames Valley
• San Antonio Valley
• San Bernabe
• San Lucas
• Santa Lucia Highlands
• Gabilan Mountains
San Benito County
• Chalone (San Benito)
• Cienega Valley
• Gabilan Mountains
• Lime Kiln Valley
• Mt. Harlan
• Pacheco Pass
• San Benito
• San Francisco Bay
• Santa Clara Valley
San Luis Obispo County
• Adelaida District
• Arroyo Grande Valley
• Creston District
• Edna Valley
• El Pomar District
• Paso Robles
• Paso Robles Estrella District
• Paso Robles Geneseo District
• Paso Robles Highlands District
• Paso Robles Willow Creek District
• San Juan Creek
• San Luis Obispo Coast
• San Miguel District
• Santa Margarita Ranch
• Santa Maria Valley (San Luis Obispo)
• Templeton Gap District
• York Mountain
Santa Barbara County
• Ballard Canyon
• Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
• Los Olivos District
• Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara)
• Santa Rita Hills
• Santa Ynez Valley
Los Angeles County
• Antelope Valley of the California
High Desert (Los Angeles)
• Leona Valley
• Malibu Coast
• Malibu – Newton Canyon
• Saddle Rock-Malibu
• Sierra Pelona Valley
• Temecula Valley
• Cucamonga Valley (Riverside)
San Bernardino County
• Cucamonga Valley (San Bernardino)
San Diego County
• Ramona Valley
• San Pasqual Valley
• Malibu Coast
• California Shenandoah Valley (Amador)
El Dorado County
• California Shenandoah Valley (El Dorado)
• El Dorado
• Fair Play
• North Yuba
• Alta Mesa
• Borden Ranch
• Clarksburg (Sacramento)
• Cosumnes River (Sacramento)
• Jahant (Sacramento)
• Lodi (Sacramento)
San Joaquin County
• Borden Ranch
• Clements Hills
• Cosumnes River (San Joaquin)
• Jahant (San Joaquin)
• Lodi (San Joaquin)
• Mokelumne River
• River Junction (San Joaquin)
• Tracy Hills
Excluding California (State) Appellation
• Madera (Fresno)
• Squaw Valley- Miramonte
• Antelope Valley of the
California High Desert (Kern)
• Tehachapi – Cummings Valley
• Madera (Madera)
• Inwood Valley
• Manton Valley
• Seiad Valley
• Diablo Grande
• Paulsell Valley
• River Junction (Stanislaus)
• Salado Creek
• Tracy Hills
• Manton Valley
• Capay Valley
• Clarksburg (Yolo)
• Dunnigan Hills
• Merritt Island
All classes that are appropriate will be judged in Region K. Classes 701 to 941
will only be judged in Region K. All other approved counties and viticultural
areas not listed above will also be judged in Region K.
For entries customarily made in a wide range of sweetness styles – Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Moscato – Winemakers should enter their wines in the classes which most accurately represent the r.s levels as stated in the class description.
The State Fair also asks winemakers to use their discretion in choosing the fairest and most appropriate class regarding the level of sweetness of Table Wine varietals and blends.
Sparkling wine categories include specific residual sugar levels.
The California State Fair understands that there are many small or microwineries in California producing incredible wines that are unable to reach the larger marketplace because of the small amount of wine they make.
These Micro-Winery classes are meant to include them in the competition.
To qualify as a micro-winery, a winery cannot exceed the following production maximums:
1. 2,526 9L cases (approximately 6,000 gallons) of total wine production in one season, and
2. 1,052 9L cases (approximately 2,500 gallons) of the entered wine.
– 195 Micro Winery White Wines
– 295 Micro Winery Red Wines
– 695 Micro Winery All Other Wines
Wines entered in these classes will be eligible for Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, and for Best Micro Winery Red, White and Other.
Micro Winery entries must follow all the rules of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition except for the following:
3. Wineries need only send (3) 750 ml bottles or (4) 375 ml bottles of the
4. Micro Wineries need not meet the Minimum Production Requirement.
5. No minimum amount of wine needs to be reserved for sale to the public.
6. Micro Wineries need not reserve 10 cases of Gold medal winning wine to be purchased by the State Fair’s representative to pour during the California State Fair.
Any winery qualifying as a Micro Winery is free to enter any larger classifications it feels appropriate, but will then be subject to all of the minimum production and sales requirements.
The following requirements apply to classes 170, 172, 174, 260, 262, 264, 266, 305, 355 and 676:
1. Wines entered into any of these categories must have the grape varieties or an acceptable alternative term stated on the label (such as Meritage, Claret, Bordeaux style, Rhone, Italian, etc.).
2. Wines without grape varieties or acceptable alternative listed on the label will be considered generic blends.
3. Listing of the grape varieties on the entry form but not on the label is not acceptable.
4. For classes 170, 172, 260, 262 and 264, entries must be made from at least two of the wines in each category (see specific classes for lists of varietals).
For classes 180, 280, 310, 360 and 680, generic wines can be made from one or more grape varieties that do not need to be stated on the label. This also includes proprietary named wines.
1. Class names reflect wine names as they appear on the label. A wine labeled as a generic may not be entered as a varietal and vice versa.
2. Classes 701 to 941 will all be judged in Region K, California State Appellation, and wines in these classes will be eligible for Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, but will not be eligible for Best of Class of Appellation, Best of Region, Best of California or Best of Show awards. These wines are not
required to meet minimum production or minimum availability requirements. Only three 750 ml bottles or four 375 ml bottles are required for entry.
3. The Chief Judge reserves the right to combine classes when the number of entries warrants, or to divide classes if the range of sweetness or other factors warrants.
110: Sauvignon Blanc
115: Semillon (includes Chevrier)
120: Pinot Blanc
125: Viognier, Dry 0 – .90% rs
126: Viognier, Medium Dry .91 – 2% rs
127: Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio
130: Chenin Blanc, Dry
140: Gewurztraminer, Dry 0 – .90% rs
141: Gewurztraminer, Medium Dry .91 – 2.% rs
150: Riesling, Dry 0-.90% rs
151: Riesling, Medium Dry .91 – 2.0% rs
155: Muscat, Dry 0 – .90% rs
156: Muscat, Medium Dry .91 – 2.% rs
160: All other white varietals not otherwise listed, Dry 0 – .90% rs
161: All other white varietals not otherwise listed, Medium – Dry .91 – 2.0% rs
170: Bordeaux White Varietal Blends (including Meritage): Must include two or more of the following varietals: Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Vert, Semillon, Ugni Blanc (may include up to 10% other varietals for blending purpose)
172: Rhone White Varietal Blends: Must include two or more of the following varietals: Aligote, Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanc, arsanne,
Picordan, Picpoul Blanc, Rolle, Roussanne, Ugni Blanc, Viognier (may include up to 10% of total volume other varietals for blending purpose)
174: Other Dry White Varietal Blends
180: Dry White (varieties need not be stated on the label)
205 Nouveau, all types
210 Pinot Noir
222 Cabernet Franc
224 Cabernet Sauvignon
240 Petite Sirah
250 Other Red Varietals (not listed above and not blends)
260 Bordeaux Red Varietal Blends (including Meritage): Must include two or more of the following varietals: Bequignol, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Prolongeau (may include up to 10% of total volume other varietals for blending purpose)
262 Rhone Red Varietal Blends: Must include two or more of the following varietals: Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache Noir, Mourvedre, Muscardin, Petite Sirah, Picpoul Noir, Syrah, Terret Noir, Vaccarese (may include up to 10% of total volume other varietals for blending purpose)
264 Italian Red Varietal Blends: Must include two or more Italian varietals OR at least 50% of one of the Italian varietals: Aglianico, Barbera, Carignan, Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino, Lagrien, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Primitivo, Refosco, Sangiovese, Teroldego, Zinfandel or other Italian varietals.
266 Other Red Varietal Blends
300 Varietal Rosé, or Blush
305 Varietal Rosé or Blush Blends
310 Generic Rosé or Blush (Varietal Rose and Blush Blends need not be stated on the label)
330 White Zinfandel
400 Charmat Fermented Sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, etc.)
400a Natural, no dosage
400b Brut, up to 1.5% rs
400c Extra Dry, 1.51 to 3% rs
400d Sweet, 3.1% and above rs
Rosé, Pink, & Sparkling Red
400e Natural, no dosage
400f Brut, up to 1.5% rs
400g Extra Dry, 1.51 to 3% rs
400h Sweet, 3.1% and above rs
400i Charmat Fermented Rose Pink and Sparkling Red – extra dry 1.51 – 3% rs with fruit flavor
400j Charmat Fermented Sparkling Wine – sweet 3.1 and above rs with fruit flavor
450 Bottle Fermented Sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, etc.)
450a Natural, no dosage
450b Brut, up to 1.5% rs
450c Extra Dry, 1.51 to 3% rs
450d Sweet, 3.1% and above rs Rosé, Pink, and Sparkling Red
450e Natural, no dosage
450f Brut, up to 1.5% rs
450g Extra Dry, 1.51 to 3% rs
450h Sweet, 3.1% and above rs
500 Traditional (requiring Portuguese varieties and brandy addition to arrest fermentation)
500a Vintage dated
500b Non-Vintage dated
510a Sherry, dry
510b Sherry, medium
510c Sherry, sweet
520a Varietal fortified dessert wine (specific grape or grapes named)
520b Flavored fortified dessert wine
520c Other Misc. fortified dessert wine
530 Natural Non-fortified dessert and sweet red wines (includes Late Harvest)
610 Chenin Blanc, Sweet
615 Viognier, Medium Sweet 2.1-4% rs
616 Viognier, Sweet/Late-Harvest ≥4.1% rs
620 Riesling, Medium Sweet 2.1-4% rs
630 Riesling, Sweet/Late-Harvest ≥4.1% rs
640 Gewurztraminer, Medium Sweet 2.1 – 4% rs
650 Gewurztraminer, Sweet/Late-Harvest ≥4.1% rs
660 Muscat, Medium Sweet 2.1-4% rs
661 Muscat, Sweet/Late-Harvest ≥4.1% rs
670 Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc or Blends (including Late Harvest)
672 All other white varietals not otherwise listed, Medium Sweet 2.1 – 4% rs
674 All other white varietals not otherwise listed, Sweet/Late-Harvest ≥4.1% rs
676 Other Medium Sweet White Varietal Blends
678 Other Sweet White Varietal Blends
679 Medium Sweet White
680 Sweet White Other Classes (701 to 941)
These wines will all be judged in Region K, California State Appellation, and will be eligible for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, but will not be eligible for Best of Class, Best of Region, Best of California or Best of Show awards. Only three 750 ml bottles or four 375 ml bottles are required for entry.
701 Straight (Unrectified)
702 Blended (Rectified)
703 Grappa, Marc and/or Immature Brandy
704 Alambic Brandy (may be rectified)
705 Fruit Brandies or Eau de Vie
902 Rosé or Blush
911 Rosé or Blush
924 Berry Wines
925 Fortified Fruit Wines
926 Grape Wine with Fruit Flavor, including Sangria
927 Honey Wines (Meads)
940 Vermouth (Sweet, Dry, White, Red)
941 Other flavored Wines
(See guide under Guidelines For Categories: Micro Wineries for qualifications)
195 Micro Winery White Wines
295 Micro Winery Red Wines
695 Micro Winery All Other Wines
Awards will be given to winners within each varietal or style. The Double Gold award is reserved for wines receiving a unanimous vote for Gold by a panel of judges.
Also, wines will be given the following numeric scores in the following ranges:
Should you be awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold, and/or Double Gold award for your entries, you may choose any of the following forms of recognition:
Following the competition, you will receive an award letter and an order form sent via email. Order form must be submitted to receive awards. Requested Awards will be mailed in August 2023.
The California State Fair will make official award seals available to purchase for any award-winning wines. These award seals may be affixed only to bottles of State Fair award-winning wines. Only official Fair award seals are authorized to designate California State Fair award-winning wines.
A Best of Show Red, White, Pink, Dessert, and Sparkling Wine will be chosen. Best of Show is the highest award given by the State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. The acclamation method will be used to determine the Best of Show wines. No matter how many wines are in a round, each judge may vote for as many or as few wines as he or she wants. The winning wine is the entry receiving the most votes.
The Golden State Winery of the Year Award is given to the winery that demonstrates consistent excellence based on the number, quality, and percentage of award-winning wines. At least ten wines must be entered by a winery to be eligible for this award, which will be based on a combination of these calculations.
Part 1: The number and rank of Double Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Best of Class of Appellation, Best of California, Best of Region and Best of Show awards won by the winery’s top 10 scoring wines.
Part 2: The percentage of entered wines by a winery that wins awards.
For the purposes of this award, a winery is defined as a single wine brand, or a label consumers recognize as a single producer. Any requests for clarification of this classification will be addressed by the Chief Judge and the Competition Coordinator.
Judges will be divided into panels, each tasting the qualified wines from one of the 11 regions. Judges will vote to choose a Best of Region Red Wine and Best of Region White Wine. Judges will not know which region they are judging.
All qualified varietals and styles will compete for the Best of California awards. These categories are subject to change each year based on the sole discretion of the Chief Judge, who will consider, among other factors, the number of wines entered in each class. A class must have a minimum of 25 entries.
The Best Value Wine Award is given to the wine that wins the highest award for the most value-priced wine in relation to other wines priced in that category. Example: A $10 Meritage winning a Double Gold and Best of California award, having been judged against all other Bordeaux Blends ranging as high as $75 and averaging over $40, would receive the Best Value Wine Award.
Brad Alderson, Winery Consultant
John Buechsenstein, Wine Education and Consultant
Mark Chandler, Owner, Chandler & Company Wine, Consultancy
Darrell Corti, Wine and Food Executive, Corti Brothers Market
Rina DiMare, Proprietor, Elevation Ten Winery, California State Fair Board Member
Patrick Dodd, Director of Marketing, Gallo
Mike Dunne, Contributing Wine Columnist, The Sacramento Bee
Scott Harvey, Scott Harvey and Associates
Jason Brandt Lewis, Consultant/Wine Writer
Richard Peterson, PhD, Wine Industry Consultant
Wes Risdon, Beverage Alcohol Merchant, Save Mart
Michaela Rodeno, Owner, Villa Ragazzi Napa Valley
Carol Shelton, Co-Owner, Carol Shelton Wines
General Rules are subject to any action that may cause revision or curtailment at any time before each competition or judging. Upon submission of online entry and signature on detailed receipt if applicable, the exhibitor acknowledges that they have read and understood these rules and all others of the competition in which they enter, Furthermore, exhibitors are responsible for viewing, reading and understanding all revisions or curtailments on the State Fair’s website before the competition. Exhibitors may request an additional copy of the most current rules by contacting the entry office: email@example.com.
All submissions and information necessary to determine that the exhibit is eligible must be submitted online, uploaded if necessary, and entry fees paid by Visa or MasterCard by the entry deadline.
It shall be the responsibility of the exhibitors to correct all deficiencies in connection with entries or exhibiting which are required of them by the rules printed in the Competition Guide.
Entries will not be judged if deficiencies have not been cleared or fees paid.
All signatures and information necessary to determine that the exhibit is eligible must be submitted online for Junior Livestock, Open Livestock, Ag Mechanics, Best of Show and Small Animals.
All Livestock, Small Animal, Best of Show and Ag Mechanics exhibitors will be required to submit a Detailed Receipt with all required signatures within one week of the entry deadline.
It shall be the responsibility of the exhibitor to correct all deficiencies in connection with entries or exhibiting which are required of them by the rules printed in the Competition Guide.
A deficiency penalty of $20 per entry must be paid for any deficiency or fees which have not been paid by July 1 for Livestock and Small Animals, this includes not returning the detailed receipt by the due date.
Entries will not be judged if the detailed receipt is not received.
This rule shall apply to all equine shows with a requirement for their fees, forms, and signatures being submitted by the entry deadline date within each equine section of any competition guide.
The State Fair management shall reserve the right to limit entries displayed and/or exhibited to facilities available and may limit the number of entries made by an exhibitor.
Entries may also be limited or not displayed based on size, content, subject material, or for any reason determined not in the best interest of the California State Fair.
Any return of entries under this rule will be done at the sole discretion of the State Fair management.
Unless specific provisions are otherwise made in the Competition Guide (printed or on the web), exhibitors must be the bona-fide owner of their entries.
The management may demand such proof of ownership as it deems necessary in each case.
Each exhibitor will be solely responsible for any consequential or other loss, injury or damage done to, or occasioned by, or arising from, any animal or article exhibited by him/her.
Exhibitor agrees to indemnify, and hold harmless, the State of California, California Exposition & State Fair and all officers, agents, and employees thereof from all claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses, or liability costs suits or actions of every name, kind and description, brought forth from or on account of, injuries to death of any person including but not limited to workers, and the public, or damage to property resulting from the performance of the exhibitor or entries.
Neither party shall request apportionment of liability by a jury.
The State Fair cannot guarantee that all exhibition requirements of an entry can be provided (i.e., electricity, a showcase, a pedestal, special lighting, special location, total space requirements, water source, computer services, or any other special requirements).
The State Fair management reserves the right to return entries and cancel any division or class in which, in its judgment, the entries are insufficient to secure adequate competition.
State Fair management is not responsible for finding errors in entries.
Exhibitors are responsible for any and all errors which were submitted
No exhibitor shall be entitled to an award which has been disallowed as
the result of his own error.
The State Fair management shall withhold the payment of awards for exhibits that are ineligible and may recover awards that have been paid for ineligible entries that are disclosed during post audits of State Fair records. However, exhibitors with a cause are entitled to question the validity of any disallowance. Such exhibitors should inform the State Fair management immediately, in writing, giving their name, address, complete description of the entry and the reason for requesting reconsideration. Requests will not be considered later than ninety (90) days after receiving notice of disallowance.
Substitutions may be made in still exhibits only in the same division of the original entry of the original exhibitor, and may be made only if completed by the entry delivery date.
Substitutions for livestock must be in the same division of the original entry by the original exhibitor.
Substitutions must be made at the time of check-in to avoid penalty.
Fees may apply for substitutions in excess of two per division.
The State Fair or the judge may disqualify or transfer to the correct class any entry which is not a true representative of the division or class in which it is entered.
Any non-animal (still exhibit) entry that has been exhibited at a previous California State Fair is not eligible for entry in the 2023 California State Fair.
Online submissions will receive a confirmation once entries are submitted.
The State Fair shall not be responsible for exhibits remaining on the fairgrounds after designated release times.
All Still Exhibits or display elements remaining on the fairgrounds after designated release time will be treated as abandoned property and will be disposed of on or before September 1 of the same year.
An exhibitor may not remove his or her entry from the California State Fair once it has been accepted.
Judged or Accepted: Entries must be on exhibit at the official opening of the State Fair or at any other time specified in the Competition Guide and shall not be removed from the fairgrounds prior to the release date printed in the guide, except (at the discretion of the State Fair management) in cases of positive evidence of sickness, accident and/or death, or other circumstances that are in the best interests of the State Fair.
A penalty of $25.00 per dishonored check must be paid if a check for payment of entry fees or other applicable fees is refused by the bank. Only cash, certified check or money orders are acceptable for the penalty payment.
Entry Fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.
Late Entries may be accepted at the sole discretion of the California State Fair under the following conditions:
a. Late Entries will NOT be accepted for California Crafts, Fine Art, Student Showcase, Photography, Canning & Baking, and County Fair Best of Show Master Showmanship.
b. If the department accepts late entries, the completed entry form(s) and other completed required forms, signatures and full payment for all required fees must arrive at the California State Fair Entry Office (by Certified Mail, Hand Delivery or Electronically) no later than five calendar days after the official entry deadline requirement of the competition.
For example, if the Official Entry Deadline is June 14, the last day and time a late entry may be eligible would be June 19 at 4:00 pm. If late entries arrive after 4:00 pm on that fifth day, they will NOT be considered.
Open Livestock Late Entries will be accepted until July 5, 2023, with an additional $100 per entry. Payment must be received no later than 5 pm on July 5, 2023.
All late entries must be accompanied with the entry fee as listed within the program in addition to a late fee of $20 per entry for all Junior Livestock, Open Livestock and Best of Show Horse entries and a late fee of $10 per entry for non-livestock competitions and small animals (Fur and Feathers and dogs). Acceptable forms of payment are Visa, Master Card, check or money order.
No entries will be accepted beyond the capacity of the facility.
All other entry requirements as well as any rules, regulations and schedules shall apply.
No entry is a guarantee of acceptance and it is the exhibitor’s responsibility to confirm that the State Fair has accepted any and all entries.
The California State Fair expressly reserves the right to reject any and all entry forms for any reason whatsoever.
The California State Fair assumes total design control over the presentation of the exhibits.
Entries designed for hanging and not so equipped will be hung in a manner deemed appropriate by the State Fair.
No exhibit changes will be made once the entries have been displayed.
Once an entry has been received by the State Fair, no further handling of entry by exhibitor shall be permitted.
Relocation and final placement shall be accomplished by State Fair personnel.
Entries requiring assembly/disassembly must include detailed instructions and sketches for assembly/disassembly.
Instructions should indicate lifting points, unsecured parts and any other information required for such handling. Where necessary bank pins will be utilized to attach exhibits for display.
All divisions and classes within Junior Departments are intended for Juniors exclusively. Entry into the Junior Department is regulated by age and youth organization requirements as outlined in this competition guide. In no case may a person, group or organization outside of these age requirements younger or older) be allowed to enter and compete in the Junior department.
However, Juniors may elect to enter, exhibit and compete (animal or non-animal) in the Senior Department when the rules of that department, division or class allow for such. Such entries shall be restricted to:
Anyone under the age of 18 who meets the California State Fair age requirements and is planning to exhibit in a Senior department must have their parent or legal guardian sign their detailed receipt.
If the exhibitor is required to be on the fairgrounds, the Junior must be supervised by their parent or legal guardian while at the State Fair.
Exhibit animals owned in partnership between Seniors and Juniors shall not affect Junior’s eligibility when the Senior partner is the exhibitor.
No employee of the State Fair will be permitted to enter an exhibit for competition. No person shall be an exhibitor or sign an entry form as an agent in any Division or Department in which the exhibitor is a department head, judge, or paid employee.
A complete exhibit eligible in more than one Division and/or Class shall be entered and judged only in the Division and/or Class for which it best qualifies.
The State Fair or the judge may disqualify or transfer to the correct Class (at his/her discretion) any exhibit which is not a true representative of the Division or Class in which it is entered.
It is not, however, the responsibility of the State Fair or judges to transfer an entry to the correct Division and/or Class.
The State Fair management shall reserve the right to vacate, declare ineligible for competition, and/or order the removal of any entry which is not in the best interest of the State Fair, is unsightly, unhealthy, injured, lame, unsound, endangers public safety, violates the State Fair’s Animal Welfare Policies, or has been entered in violation of these rules and regulations.
In the event, an entry or an exhibitor is disqualified for any rule or policy violation (including but not limited to practices or procedures that are unethical, those in violation of the State Fair’s Residue Avoidance Program, DNA Testing Program and those not adhering to the State Fair’s schedule for the program), any or all of the following actions may take place:
Exhibitors, their immediate family, leaders, advisors and agents thereof, not cooperating with security personnel or any other State Fair officials in all matters of policy, including but not limited to parking, stall/pen/ space assignments and appearance, judging and/or animal care will have their entries cancelled and will be ordered to remove their exhibit from the grounds immediately and forfeit all awards, premium monies, and sale proceeds. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in being banned from the State Fair.
Exhibitors causing public disturbances, those who are uncooperative and/or unsportsmanlike, those not following good animal welfare practices as determined by management, or those found in violation of rules or in practices unethical or inimical with the State Fair program and/or policies/ procedures shall be penalized by forfeiture of premiums awarded, any and all awards, payments of fines and/or damages to State Property, privileges, and/or disqualification at this or subsequent State Fairs as may be deemed appropriate by the State Fair Management and/or the Board of Directors.
Further, if the exhibitor and/or exhibitor’s adult supervisor, parent or family member’s actions are deemed to be illegal, inhumane or unethical to livestock; the proper authorities will be notified for further investigation by those agencies for possible prosecution and/or civil penalties.
Any exhibitor found in violation of any rule may be placed on probation for one year or longer if State Fair management deems appropriate.
The judge(s) shall award first, second or third place, etc., according to merit and if without merit the judge shall make no award under any circumstances. This rule applies whether there are one or more entries in the class.
No person shall act as a judge in any Division in which he/she or a member of his/her immediate family is an exhibitor, is in charge of an exhibit or division, in charge of a group of exhibitors, or is a member of a group of exhibitors.
Judges should avoid unnecessary fraternization with exhibitors. No person shall be allowed, under any circumstances, to interfere with the judge, or judges, during their adjudications, or with the State Fair’s staff, or to offer any criticism of any exhibit of another.
Violators of this rule shall be excluded immediately from the judging area and competition and be subject to such additional penalties, including cancellations of awards, as the State Fair management shall consider appropriate.
No exhibitor shall receive more than two cash awards in any one class. For this rule only, a husband, wife, and unmarried children (including foster children) under 18 years of age shall be considered as being one exhibitor, except that brothers and/or sisters shall be considered as being separate exhibitors in Junior Department classes.
This rule shall have no bearing on consideration in the placing of entries by judges. Ribbons shall be presented in the order of placing by the judges.
The management shall, however, pay third money to the fourth winner, etc., when the third winner is prohibited from receiving third cash award under the provisions of this rule. (Any entry or exhibit in which one or more members of the family described above has a financial interest shall be included in the limitation of not more than two cash awards per class.)
Management reserves the right to combine or to divide classes in a manner it deems necessary in order to assure adequate competition. In the event of a show change, as a result of this rule, or where classes are established after the close of entries, premiums and awards will be distributed, divided or eliminated in a manner as deemed necessary by State Fair Management.
The judge’s decision is final.
The judge’s decision cannot be protested.
A Chief Judge will be assigned by the State Fair, for still exhibits only, to mediate in the event there is a conflict during the judging process. All decisions of the Chief Judge shall be final and may not be protested.
For still exhibits and horse only – Any protest must be submitted in writing and given to the State Fair’s staff member responsible for the Competitive Program in question within 24 hours of the time of the cause of the protest.
Protests must be based on a violation of rules, and you must reference the rule in your protest. The judge’s decisions on awards cannot be protested.
No protest shall be considered by the management unless accompanied by a deposit of $300.00 (Cash, money order or certified check).
The deposit shall be forfeited if the protest is not upheld.
Protests shall be adjudicated by State Fair management.
State Fair management will consult with a member of the California State Fair Board of Directors who shall be designated by the Chairman of the Board.
The decision of State Fair Management shall be final and unappealable.
See special livestock rules for protests in the Livestock Program.
Under no circumstances will any entry which has been previously judged be “rejudged” due to the disqualification or removal or another entry.
Special Awards contributed by businesses or individuals are offered in some California State Fair Competitive Programs. These Special Awards are the obligation of the contributor/donor. The California State Fair is not responsible for redemption of these awards.
It is the responsibility of the exhibitor to investigate and adhere to State and Federal tax laws/regulations regarding premiums paid, and awards received.
As an out-of-state payee who earns $1500 or more, Cal Expo must withhold 7.5% for State taxes.
You may request an exemption or a reduction of this withholding by filling out and submitting the Nonresident Withholding Waiver Request, California Form 588.
Awards, ribbons, tags or cards have no value as payment. Premiums are paid only from the records of the judges’ sheets.
Premium checks will be issued as soon as auditing, drug testing, if applicable, and processing can be completed. If checks are not received by November 15, please phone or write the State Fair.
Checks must be cashed within six months of the date of issue.
Exhibitors have until December 31 of the same year, to claim checks returned to the State Fair. Checks will not be reissued after this date.
Organization affiliation requirements: If a Junior (youth) exhibitor has been a member of a junior organization for 60 days immediately prior to the opening date of the State Fair (May 15, 2023), and their project or entry was produced or conducted at any time during the year of 2023 under the supervision of the organization, the Junior must enter the divisions or classes designated for that organization.
If, however, the project or entry was not produced or conducted under the supervision of the organization, the Junior must enter as an Independent Junior for that project or entry.
Example: If a 4-H member wishes to enter a Market Lamb competition and the Youth Canning & Baking competition, in a situation where they are only enrolled in a 4-H Sheep project, the entry is as follows: Enter 4-H for the Market Lamb competition and Independent Junior for the Canning & Baking competition (even though the exhibitor is a 4-H member, the baked goods project was not produced or conducted under the supervision of the organization).
Non-designated “Junior” shows or divisions: If a show or division offered is not specified as 4-H or FFA, Junior exhibitors who are enrolled in a 4-H or FFA project relating to that show or division must still enter as members of their respective organizations and follow all applicable rules and regulations of the department.
All 4-H exhibitors must be 9 years old by December 31, 2022, and not be older than 19 years old as of December 31, 2022. Exhibitors must also meet age and membership requirements of their organizations when entering as a member of an organization. Exhibitors must also meet the ownership and all other requirements of the competition to be eligible for entry.
California Grange: California Grange youth shall be considered Independent Juniors for Livestock, Dairy, Small Animal and Still Exhibits.
Independent Junior and Grange exhibitors may enter California State Fair classes and divisions in indoor (Still Exhibit) competitions if they are 5 years old as of January 1, 2023.
Independent exhibitors are eligible to compete/exhibit through December 31 of the year in which they turn 18 years of age.
Grange exhibitors are eligible to compete/exhibit through December 31 of the year in which they turn 19 years of age. Exhibitors must meet the ownership and all other requirements of the competition to be eligible for entry.
Independent Still Exhibit Exhibitors: Persons, who are “not” 4-H, FFA or Grange members may enter the Junior competitions provided they meet age requirements for youth exhibitors in the competition they are entering. These Juniors are considered Independent Juniors and must enter Independent Junior classes or divisions when the classes or divisions are designated as such in the Indoor (Still Exhibits) Competitions. Exhibitors who enter Independent of an organization must not be older than 18 years old as of January 1, 2023.
The first year of eligibility will be determined by the FFA advisor; however, the exhibitor must have graduated from the 8th grade as of July 1, 2023. FFA requirements allow exhibitors to enter FFA classes through the year following the year in which they graduate from high school.
Persons who are “not“ 4-H or FFA members may enter the Junior Livestock Show provided they meet age requirements for animal exhibitors at the State Fair.
These Independent and Grange exhibitors shall enter 4-H or FFA classes
a. Independent and Grange Junior exhibitors who are 13 years of age or under (as of show day) shall compete in the appropriate 4-H divisions only.
b. Independent and Grange Junior exhibitors who are 14 years of age (as of show day) or are incoming freshmen in high school shall be placed by State Fair Management in either 4-H or FFA divisions.
c. Independent and Grange Junior exhibitors are eligible to enter 4-H or FFA Showmanship. Independent Juniors are not eligible for County or Chapter Groups or Outstanding Exhibitor.
d. Independent Exhibitors are not eligible to compete for Outstanding
Juniors who are members of 4-H, FFA or Grange must be in good standing with their organization and projects entered as such must have been conducted under the supervision of the organization and must be owned by the exhibitor (unless otherwise stated).
Any questions as to the eligibility of an entry shall be determined by the exhibitor’s advisor (for 4-H, FFA or Grange), instructor (for Student Showcase) or parent or guardian (for Independent Juniors). Notwithstanding the foregoing, the State Fair shall make the final determination of eligibility in all cases.
The levels of membership for 4-H are aged based. Each level is defined as
a. Primary Level: Must be 5 years old as of December 31, 2022. Primary membership ends when members qualify as junior members. Exhibitors who are under nine years of age on or before December 31, 2022, are not eligible to compete in animal competitions at the California State Fair.
b. Junior, Intermediate & Senior: Must be 9 years old by December 31, 2022. Exhibitors are eligible to compete/exhibit through December 31 of the year in which they turn 19 years of age.
c. Home Schooled Children: Age criteria, as listed in 1 and 2, only will apply to home-schooled children. A grade level will not be a consideration. (Exhibitors who are under 9 years of age as of December 31, 2022, are not eligible to compete in animal competitions at the California State Fair.)
(This rule applies to Animal Exhibitors)
Independent Junior and Grange animal exhibitors must be 9 years old as of January 1, 2023, and are eligible to compete through December 31 of the year in which they turn 19 years of age. Independent Juniors and Grange exhibitors shall enter 4-H or FFA animal classes.
Under no circumstances may an exhibitor show the same species or project in more than one Division of the Junior Department.
All Junior exhibitors, required to be on the State Fairgrounds, must be accompanied and supervised by an adult while on the State Fairgrounds. Instructors, advisors, leaders and other adults in charge of Junior exhibitors shall be responsible for their conduct at all times.
All FFA exhibitors entered as such must be supervised by their agricultural instructor.
Any deviation from this rule must be taken up with the State Agriculture Education unit representative in charge.
The CATA Curricular Activities Code shall govern the conduct and eligibility of FFA exhibitors and their projects.
Uniform requirements for Independent youth shall be the same as required for 4-H and FFA members excluding insignia.
The official show uniform for animal exhibitors at the California State Fair will be white pants, trousers or dress and a white blouse or shirt.
No exhibit owned by a chapter or club, or conducted, as a joint project by two or more individuals is eligible in the Junior Department unless the division/class specifically states.
The California Exposition & State Fair (Cal Expo) hereby finds that these guidelines are intended to set forth in writing Cal Expo’s long-standing policy governing the conduct of Cal Expo employees and exhibitors, as well as members of the public, under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the California Constitution, on Cal Expo’s grounds.
These guidelines are not intended to enlarge upon nor create any rights guaranteed by existing law nor waive any defense or rights available to Cal Expo, nor do they represent any admission that the facilities of Cal Expo are open as a public forum.
It is the policy of Cal Expo to allow within the parameters set forth herein, reasonable access to its grounds and designated free speech expression zones for demonstrations for free speech activity as allowed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I to the California Constitution.
For further information regarding Free Speech Activities at the California Exposition & State Fair please write to:
Chief of Police, California Exposition & State Fair
P.O. Box 15649, Sacramento, CA 95852
Should contractors, associations, clubs or individuals desire to arrange for beverages and food service, all such arrangements must be coordinated through Oak View Group, the State’s Master Food & Beverage Contractor.
Contractor shall be responsible for expenses related to these services if any. Alcoholic beverage service areas/facilities will only be allowed in designated locations. Only persons 21 years or older will be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. Further, no alcoholic beverages may be brought onto the grounds.
These products may only be acquired at OVG permitted locations on the grounds. Individuals that endanger themselves or others will be reported to authorities.
The following definitions apply to this guide: