Tiny new winery takes a gold at wine competition
2010 Aleksander red Bordeaux blend wins a gold
Goran Bjekovic owns a tiny new winery just east of Paso Robles. He only became a wine lover 14 years ago, when he moved his family from Slovenia to Italy, and then to California where his love for wine turned into a passion, and where his stepson Sasha Vujacic played professional basketball. Now Goran has a gold medal for his wine to match Sasha’s L.A. Lakers gold Championship ring.
Goran’s Aleksander red wine blend earned a gold medal at the Dallas Morning News/TexSom wine competition, one of only five producers from the Paso Robles appellation to win a gold medal in this year’s competition. The winners were announced at the end of March.
“I’m very proud that Aleksander pleased the judges,” said Bjekovic, “the award confirms that we’re on the right track with our winemaking.” The 2010 S&G Estate Aleksander was the first wine released by Bjekovic. He’s just finished bottling the 2011 vintage. He only made 900 cases of the award-winning wine.
“The 2010 vintage was a difficult one in Paso,” he said, “with plenty of rain and cool temperatures. We didn’t really have a recipe, we just made the wine in the style we liked to drink, which is mostly Bordeaux reds.” Bjekovic and winery consultant Len Napolitano put the final blend together while sitting on the back patio of Bjekovic’s Paso Robles estate, overlooking his vineyard acreage. “I think the view inspired us,” Bjekovic said.
Bjekovic and his family also reside in Palos Verdes near Los Angeles. They moved to southern California when Sasha began playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004. They found their Paso property on the Internet and purchased it in 2009, naming it S&G Estate for Sasha and Goran. Their 30-acre property includes 11.5 acres of grape vines and 650 olive trees. Bjekovic harvests the olives and turns them into oil in his own mill next to the winery. “There’s nothing better than fresh bread with our olive oil and wine,” he says, “except maybe a great cigar…”
The winery entered the 2014 Dallas Wine Competition without any expectations. The event was established in 1985, and has grown from 580 entries that first year to 2729 entries in 2014. In 2011 the competition partnered with TexSom the organization that produces the annual TexSom conference and Best Sommelier of Texas Competition. Judges include winemakers, wine buyers and wine writers from across the country.
Bjekovic isn’t letting his first gold medal go to his head. He and Napolitano are monitoring the 2013 Aleksander as it ages in French and Serbian oak barrels, and they’re developing a sales and marketing plan for the winery. “We never plan to be big,” he says, “and now we have a golden baseline for quality that we have to maintain.”
Source: PR Newswire