Being a boutique winery among Grass Valley wineries has certain size advantages...1,500 case annual output isn't a lot of wine. We also have certain size disadvantages...a 1,500 case a year winery isn't going to be springing for a Publicist, PR person or "Campaign" manager. Heck, I can barely justify a gig-based "social media" manager. This limits how small wineries can get the word out about what they do. No Publicist means your wines aren't getting in front of the Taste Makers (wine writers, critics, Sommeliers), especially if you are in a little known region like Chicago Park.
Where boutique wineries do have an outlet, and perhaps an advantage, is in blind commercial competitions. All you need is a couple hundred dollars, and you're treated no different at the major competitions than a 100,000 case a year winery. I am, nonetheless, ambivalent about competitions. You can read more in depth about my thoughts here.
There are three competitions I regularly enter these days. The Orange County Wine Competition (the largest in California), the California State Fair Wine Competition (best known) and the San Francisco Chronicle Competition (most prestigious). First on the annual docket is the SF Chron. Entries actually have to be sent off in November of the previous year, with results posted around the second week of January. Because of cost, I do limit the total number of entries, in the case of the 2019 SF Chronicle Wine Competition, it was four. Here are the results:
2015 MV&W Aglianico - Silver Medal (Aglianico Category. Last year took Best-of-Class)
2014 Estate Sangiovese ~ Barrel Select - Silver Medal (Sangiovese Category)
2016 Negroamaro - Silver Medal ("Other" Italian Varietals Category)
2016 Dolcetto - Silver Medal (Dolcetto Category. Last year took Double Gold)
Ok, so Silvers all the way around. By awarding a Silver, what the judging panel is indicating is that these wines are Very Good representatives of the category they were entered in to. The Negroamaro and Sangiovese are currently in release, so come by and find out what a Very Good (and reasonably priced) Negroamaro and Sangiovese taste like. Among Grass Valley wineries we are very close to I80!