BRENTWOOD -- Bloomfield Vineyards has spent the past 10 years putting Contra Costa County on the fine wine map, bottling grapes grown on its own acreage and adding awards and ribbons along the way.
Now Becky Bloomfield is ready to shine the light on her 2013 vintages and is holding a 10th anniversary/release party Sunday to debut her 2013 chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Devil's Daughter White and barrel-taste the Cabernet.
The Bloomfield family has taken advantage of Contra Costa County's rich agricultural heritage since the 1940s, growing row crops, stone fruit and walnuts. When markets fluctuated, it decided to diversify its crops, so it sent soil samples to be tested and found that its land was conducive to growing grapes.
"We found out we had very rich soil in the area where our vineyards are and that the climate was right for growing grapes," Becky Bloomfield said. "The grapes like it hot, and then they like to go to sleep in the winter; they like it cool and foggy."
The rest is wine history, with a first vineyard planted in 1996, followed by two others, adding up to 210 acres. In the early years, Bloomfield Vineyards sold its grapes to other wineries, but in 2004 it began to produce its own label.
"We started making wine as a marketing idea to present our products to other wineries that were looking for grapes so we could show them the quality we could grow," Bloomfield said. "It kind of took off from there."
As soon as the first vintage was bottled, Bloomfield began entering major competitions that were nationally and internationally acclaimed.
Bloomfield describes the events as "up against the big guys," and her wines held their own.
In 2009, her cabernet sauvignon won double gold at the California State Fair, where 2,646 wines were entered. At the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Bloomfield Vineyard's 2010 Devil's Daughter Red won Double Gold; the 2012 Devil's Daughter White won Gold; the 2012 chardonnay won Silver; and the 2012 Viognier took Bronze.
Over the past 10 years, the awards and the wines themselves have been instrumental in changing perceptions on what areas produce fine fines, and that only wines from Napa, Sonoma, Livermore or the Central Valley can earn the highest taste-testing marks.
"I think this past decade is an awesome way to showcase not just Bloomfield but Contra Costa County as a whole as a grape-growing region that can produce quality and that we've won a lot of awards for our wines and that the grapes are grown here," she said.
The vineyard follows practices of sustainability but interprets this in simple terms as being a good person, farming with good practices, taking care of the land and being good to workers in paying them a fair wage and providing good working conditions. In this way, the land does what it needs to do and the grapes are the result.
"The result is just me getting the grapes and letting them produce the best wine that they can," Bloomfield said. "It's interesting; every year is fun because the grapes take something from the soil differently and every vintage of chardonnay tastes differently."
In 2008, Bloomfield determined she needed a place to showcase not only Bloomfield Vineyard wines but all of the local wines, so, with friend Dafne Swisher, she opened Brentwood's Contra Costa County Wine Co., also known as CoCo's, where she sells the majority of her wines.
This community support leads back to one of the reasons for hosting the 10-year celebration party, where, along with wine tasting, guests will be treated to made-on-the-spot paella, a mobile brick-fired oven producing pies made with fresh, local ingredients, and live music.
The party will allow Bloomfield to reflect on and celebrate 10 straight years without missing a vintage and the community that has always been there.
"It's not a Cinderella story, but it kind of is. It's really nice to be able to showcase what you do and share it with other people," Bloomfield said. "It was happenstance we decided to get into this crazy business of making wine, but it's turned out great."
What: Bloomfield Vineyards 10th anniversary/release party
When: 4-7 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets: $45, sold at Contra Costa County Wine Co., 633 First St., Brentwood. 925-634-9463.