By Douglas W. Motley
Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery, owned and operated by Crestline residents Richard and Elizabeth Krumwiede, was recently awarded top honors in three separate winemaking competitions, including Sunset Magazine’s prestigious Best of the Best, Best of Show Red Wine, Best of Class and Double Gold awards for their 2017 Grenache.
“Every wine we entered, not including cider, won awards,” Richard Krumwiede recently told The Alpine Mountaineer.
The Grenache, with grapes sourced from Windmill Vineyard in Ballard Canyon near Santa Barbara, was awarded 97 points and beat out over 2,700 entrants from around the world. Winners of this contest, which was held June 5 in Santa Rosa, will be featured in the magazine’s November Food and Wine edition.
“We are blown away, simply stunned,” said Krumwiede. “We always knew we were doing something special up here at Sycamore Ranch, but this win is truly a game changer and is sure to significantly ‘up’ our profile as a premier craft winery.”
In 2007, the couple set out on a journey to make wine and hard cider. “Our aspirations,” Krumwiede said, “were modest: gather with close friends, enjoy good food and make great wine. It was a simple formula and one that we strive for today.”
The couple discovered the ranch in 1999, located in an area known more for its antique cherry and apple orchards. A leap of faith led them to plant Zinfandel and Syrah vineyards.
While all of the Krumwiedes’ wines are produced and aged at Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery, which is located within a three-and-a-half-acre estate at the end of Dart Canyon Road in the outskirts of Crestline, grapes used in the process are sourced from vineyards throughout California, including districts located in or near Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Cucamonga, Santa Ynez Valley, Quail Ranch and the Central Coast region.
Sunset International Wine Competition coordinator Debra Del Fioentino described the top award-winning wine as “elegant; super balanced; fresh cherries; strawberries; nosey acidity; chewy tannins; blood orange rind, a red Twizzler in a glass.”
Sycamore Ranch also collected 12 more awards at the 80th annual Los Angeles County International Wine Competition, held May 22 and 23 at the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona. The Best of Class Gold Medal was received for their 2017 Primitivo, from the Geneseo District of Paso Robles.
Other Gold Medals were awarded for their 2017 Petit Verdot; 2017 Syrah; 2017 Zinfandel; 2017 Red Rhone Blend, SGM; 2017 Grenache; 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon; 2017 Mourvedre: 2017 Red Blend; 2017 Merlot; 2017 Petit Syrah; and 2016 Red Blend.
At the annual Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition, hosted by the Orange County Wine Society in early June, Gold and Silver Medal winners included Sycamore Ranch’s 2017 Primitivo; 2018 Viognier; 2017 SGM; 2017 Syrah; 2017 Grenache; 2017 Mourvedre Blend; and what Krumwiede called “our one-of-a-kind Cucamonga Beauty, an Old Vine Zinfandel, sourced from a now razed heritage vineyard in Cucamonga.”
In addition to producing about 700 cases of craft wine varietals each year, Krumwiede said the ranch is now producing about 400 cases of its popular hard cider. Asked how he learned the art of making wine, he said it was from reading books and enrolling in the U.C. Davis winemaking certificate program, where he took classes both online and at the college’s campus near Sacramento.
When asked what he attributes his success to, Krumwiede replied, “Hard work, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.”
In addition to marketing his wines and cider online at www.sycamoreranch.com, Krumwiede said they are also available at a few select locations on the mountain, including Goodwin’s Market in Crestline, The Grapevine in Lake Arrowhead Village, Stone Creek Bistro in Blue Jay and The Grill at the Antlers in Twin Peaks and Lake Arrowhead.
Tastings are available at the ranch between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, by reserving in advance at (909) 338-1725. Tastings are $20 per person. However, the tasting fee is waived with the purchase of two or more bottles.