Gold medals went to only three San Diego County wines in the Temecula Wine Society Wine Competition 2009, and they were from Ramona wineries.
The three golds went to two Ramona wineries: Eagles Nest Winery and Schwaesdall Winery.
Dennis and Julie Grimes’ Eagles Nest Winery earned two gold medals, and John and Shirley Schwaesdall’s Schwaesdall Winery received one gold medal.
Schwaesdall Winery also won a silver medal.
Earning gold were Eagles Nest’s 2007 Syrah Estate Ramona Valley and its 2007 Syrah South Coast and Schwaesdall’s Cabernet Sauvignon Non Vintage South Coast. Schwaedall Winery’s silver medal was for its Merlot Non Vintage South Coast.
In addition to its Temecula awards, Eagles Nest wines have received accolades at national and international competitions. At the 2009 New York Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Eagles Nest Winery received a silver medal for its 2007 Starboard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Ruby Port dessert wine and two bronze medals: one for its 2008 Estate Picpoul Blanc Dessert Wine and one for its 2008 Reserve Viognier Dessert Wine.
An estimated 2,550 wines from 543 wineries representing 13 countries, 39 states and five Canadian provinces participated in the Finger Lakes competition.
At the 2009 National Women’s Wine Competition in Sonoma, Eagles Nest also received a bronze medal for its 2007 Starboard Cabernet Sauvignon Estates Port-styled dessert wine. The judges in that competition are among the top women in the U.S. wine industry, said Dennis Grimes.
Grimes, a system engineer and program manager for the federal government, points to another Eagles Nest Winery achievement: “We’re No. 1 on Twitter wineries globally.”
“Because of the stalled county boutique winery ordinance, we have been forced to be creative in how we build our customer base and market our award-winning wines,” said Grimes, who stays abreast of Internet trends and “social media” such as Twitter, FaceBook and blogs.
Several national and social media experts have identified Eagles Nest Winery as a “best practices model” for how wineries can integrate and use social media to develop business and customer relationships, commented Grimes. The winery this summer passed the 7,100 Twitter followers mark.
Julie Grimes, a college professor, has earned degrees in computer science and E-commerce and teaches Internet technology and design. Dennis Grimes has earned information technology/systems master degrees.
They mesh their professional expertise with their business avocation and winemaking skills.
“I’m trained to look at whole different parts and my job is to make them link and work together,” said Dennis Grimes, who credits his wife with recognizing in the early 1990s, “when the Internet was just getting going,” the value of retraining for the future.