31 Countries and 26 States compete in America’s largest international wine competition
SAN FRANCISCO, July 3, 2014— A truly international competition wrapped up on June 22nd with the San Francisco International Wine Competition where another record number of wines were evaluated at San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko, judged by some of the best palates in the country. Fifty-eight judges from the arenas of retail, restaurants, winemaking, media, and consulting from Tokyo to Calistoga judged 4,570 wines from 31 countries and 26 states. Best of Show awards went to 12 different countries from Argentina to the Czech Republic to Portugal, in keeping with this year’s World Cup fever and proving the true international nature of this event. America’s love affair with Cabernet Sauvignon was evidenced with 500 entries this year, while Pinot Noir showed a significant increase – up 22% with 419 submissions. The Winery Portfolio of the Year went to Trinchero Family Estates in St. Helena, California. The Tasting Panel Magazine Winery of the Year went to Maryhill Winery of Goldendale, Washington and the André Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year award went to Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, Italy.
The Competition implemented a new 100 point score system for all Gold and Double Gold medals and with the help of Tim McDonald, the new Director of Judging and wine industry veteran communicator, 17 new judges were added to a team of 58 who included such noted wine talents as Heidi Barrett winemaker; Wine Enthusiast critic Virginie Boone; Court of Master Sommeliers’ Fred Dame, MS, and leading wine blogger Joe Roberts.
The medal count for 2014 included 200 Double Gold awards, a distinction given when a wine unanimously wins gold medals by all the judges evaluating it, 488 Gold medals, 1,601 Silver medals and 1,438 Bronze medals. A complete listing of winners can be found at www.sfwinecomp.com.
Maryhill Winery’s entrepreneurial approach and commitment to quality earned them the Tasting Panel Winery of the Year accolade this year. Maryhill, Washington State’s 10th largest winery, has been instrumental in bringing global awareness to the Columbia River region. Maryhill sources more than 30 varietals of grapes from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in the state, producing nearly 40 different wines. Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, Italy, earned the André Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year award. For years, Merli, along with her expert team (with consulting enologist Luca D’Attoma), have been on the cutting edge of Italian winemaking, remaining at the forefront of many developments in Maremma and Italy including working with low yields, densely planted vineyards and using small barrels for the flagship Merlot, Messorio.
“Best in Show” awards went to Champagne Collet of France and their 2004 Brut (Best in Show Sparkling), Niner Wine Estates of Paso Robles for their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Best in Show Red), Petr Vacenovsky of Czech Republic for the 2013 Pozdní Sběr Riesling, (Best in Show White), and Fattoria La Vialla’s 2010 Vin Santo (Best in Show Dessert Wine).
Other varietal and blend-specific “Best” awards were presented to 40 wineries including Roaring Meg of New Zealand, Trione Vineyards & Winery of Russian River Valley, Lleiroso of Spain, Luma Chequen of the Chile, South Coast Winery of Temecula, Inkblot of Lodi, Jed of Argentina, Sileni Estates of New Zealand, Borgogno Barolo of Piedmont, Italy, Becker Vineyards of Texas, Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estates of Canada, and Ryozeki Shuzo of Japan, for their Saké, among many other notable winners.
The 2014 Label Competition was held on June 24th. Of the 130 entrants, 10 merited a Double Gold award for excellence in label design, more than any previous year. The 2014 Label Design judges included Joel Blum of SF International Wine Competition, Thomas Gronbukt of the Academy of Art University, Patti Mangan from Imagine That Design Studio, and Robert Riccetti of Riccetti Design.
Competition director Anthony Dias Blue, renowned food and wine authority and publisher, leads and organizes one of the most important and comprehensive wine competitions in the world. Of this year’s competition he stated, “It’s thrilling to see the international aspect of this competition grow and thrive every year, to have 31 countries participate is unprecedented, showing the great excitement around the enjoyment of wine globally. Naturally we are excited about the quality and caliber of the U.S. entries every year and we see the bar of quality across the boards continue to rise.” Tim McNally, host of The Wine Show WIST in New Orleans, a 12-year veteran judge states of the competition, “The quality of the wine entered at SFIWC is of the highest standards, with a beautiful setting at the Nikko and an amazing staff. I love coming here every year!”
Tim McDonald, Director of Judging, said “I am very proud to work with such a terrific pool of wine judges that cover every aspect of the wine industry and represent over 2 billion in wine sales collectively. Sommeliers, journalists, buyers, producers, importers and wholesalers make SF International Wine Competition the most prestigious wine competition held in America every year, as is evident in the results from our 34th year.”
The 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition sponsors included The Tasting Panel Magazine, Kent Hanson Photography, Elements Design Group, Geoffrey Nelson Photography and the Hotel Nikko.
For a complete list of winners and judges, visit the San Francisco International Wine Competition’s website: www.sfwinecomp.com.