Borjon Winery thinks outside the bottle

By: Gwen Bodhan, Folsom Lake Entertainer
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Borjón Winery offers customers a fun and enchanting atmosphere. Iscander and Eliana Borjón opened Amador County’s Borjón Winery in May 2009. In 2012, their Los Portales Red Wine Blend received a Double Gold Medal and Best of Class Sierra Foothills Appellations in the California State Fair Wine Competition, as well as a Gold Medal in the International Tasters Guild Competition, where their 2009 Barbera Reposado also won a Double Gold. “The State Fair seems to be the one competition that gets a lot of recognition, so we make sure we’re always in that,” said Gil Herrera, director of sales and marketing for Borjón Winery. “In the last couple years, we’ve been very fortunate. The year before, our Barbera won a Double Gold. That kind of set the wheels in motion to slowly make Barbera our flagship. We’re really well known for that. It’s the varietal carried most by the retailers that carry our wine.” Borjón’s winemaker is the well-known Joe Shebl — a staple of the local wine scene, crafting vino for Renwood Winery, Helwig Winery, Driven Cellars, Fiddletown Cellars, and several others. Herrera claims Borjón’s success is built on a foundation of Shebl’s drink now/fruit forward style of winemaking, grapes from renowned Barbera producer Dick Cooper and Isy Borjón’s willingness to provide Shebl with whatever tools he needs in the cellar. “Isy’s willing to ante-up for it and make sure we’re doing things the way Joe sees fit because ultimately, Joe’s who he believes in when it comes to making the wine the way Isy wants it represented,” Herrera said. But wine is not the only feather in Borjón’s cap. The Borjóns love to party. If there’s an event with the Amador Vintners Association, visitors can always count on homecooked food from Isy’s mom and live music by either a mariachi band or a Santana tribute group. Each Saturday night, the winery hosts Muzica y Vino from 6:30 to 9 p.m. featuring all genres of music, food from various caterers and award-winning Borjón wines. “We want to be the last thing people taste before they leave,” Herrera said. “That’s the idea behind it — to leave that lasting impression.” A popular artist at Borjón is Sacramento-based jazz singer Tessa Evans. The rising star has appeared at the Muzica y Vino events several times and never fails to impress the crowd. “I like the fact that it comes from the heart,” said patron Tiger Shelton. “She’s an amazing talent and we’re lucky to be able to hear somebody like this at this level. We come here and spend $5 to $10. Anywhere else, you’re spending $25 to $30 to watch this girl sing.” Shelton claims the music pairs well with Borjón’s wines. “Wine is all about bringing a good taste with the ambiance, the people, the flavor, the jazz, the music - here at Borjón, they seem to bring it all together at one place,” he noted. Evans, who writes original songs as well covers other artists, was proud to sing for the crowd. “My message as a singer on other songs, when you’re doing covers like I am tonight, it’s just to communicate the covers in your own way,” she said. “I’m looking forward to making music that people can get dressed to on their way out, ride around in the car - that kind of stuff.” Borjón Winery is located at 11270 Shenandoah Road in Plymouth. It’s open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (209) 245-3087 or visit