The world has changed, but one thing has not: wine happens. Where there are vines, there will be wines. And where there are wines, there will be good times.
We need wine and spirits more than ever right now, and Sunset knows that. As the leading lifestyle publication of the West, Sunset has been there from the beginning, delivering valuable wine information to the discerning connoisseur.
While many wine competitions have been canceled this year, the 2020 Sunset International Wine Competition will go on. This is the one wine competition you really want to be part of, not just this year, but every year: a Gold medal, Best of Class or Best of Show could go a long way to boosting sales of your wines during this time when people are buying more wine than ever.
The 2020 Sunset Wine Competition will be held on June 23 and 24, 2020, in Sonoma county, and will once again be judged by a panel of industry experts, including journalists, buyers and winemakers.
Debra Del Fiorentino, President of Wine Competitions Production & Management (WCP&M), who owns and operates the Sunset International Wine Competition, assures us, “All imaginable health precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of judges and backroom staff, while the wines are given the full measure of respect they deserve. We pride ourselves in running the cleanest wine competitions, in every way possible.”
Now is the time to think about which wines you want to enter.
Why Enter Sunset Wine Competition?
Simply put, this is the highest profile wine competition, offering lasting exposure via Sunset Magazine, The Voice of The West. The complete set of winners, including all Gold and Silver medalists, will be published in the September/October edition of the magazine. Winners will be notified in advance and top winners will benefit from significant Sunset media promotion through print, web, social media and PR, as well as in the Sept/Oct issue of the magazine.
Winning a major award, like Best of Show, as Sycamore Vineyards Ranch and Winery did for their 2017 Grenache at the 2019 Sunset Wine Competition, provides incomparable cred. In fact, this beautiful Grenache, sourced from the Windmill Vineyard in Ballard Canyon near Santa Barbara, was awarded 97 points and bested over 2,700 entrants from around the world.
“We are blown away, simply stunned,” said Sycamore Vineyards Ranch and Winery winemaker/grower, Richard Krumwiede, when he heard the news. “We always knew we were doing something special up here at Sycamore Ranch, but this win is truly a game changer and is sure to significantly ‘up’ our profile as a premier craft winery.” Bonded in 2015, the winery’s first commercial vintage was 2016. “We were super surprised to win the Best of Show the very first time we entered Sunset,” he says. “Since we had only 33 cases of this wine, we limited purchases to one bottle. We have increased our quantity of the Grenache going forward. It was only intended to be a blender for our GSM, but it turned out to be great fruit.” They are definitely entering again this year.
Bella Grace Winery in Plymouth, CA, won Best of Show White for their 2018 Vermentino, a show-stopping, juicy white, that melted judges hearts. Owners Michael and Charlie Havill were extremely pleased with the honor, and Michael told us, “There is nothing like bragging rights! The wine is always popular, but this win put a little more shine on it. We’ve always won awards for our estate Vermentino, which we’ve made since 2008. My husband, Charlie, takes such good care of the vineyard. We made about 500 cases in 2018 and sold out easily. We like to think of this as the white wine for red wine drinkers.” Although Bella Grace had won gold medals before at Sunset, this was their first Best of Class win, and first Best of Show win. It’s kind of habit forming.
Best of Show Sparkling for 2019 went to the 2012 Breathless Brut, a brand owned by the three sisters who run Rack & Riddle winery, along with “Baroness of Bubbles,” winemaker Penny Gadd-Caster. When asked what the win meant to them, Sharon Cohn, speaking on behalf of the Breathless team said, “As a relatively new brand, the acknowledgement from the judges is so very special. This was our first vintage wine and it is a showstopper. For me, it was the closest to aged Champagne we have produced to date. We have a Late Disgorge coming up that is even a little older, but could not be vintage dated. I look forward to its release and to entering the 2020 competition. Sunset Magazine is a pillar of the wine community and we are thrilled to receive the highest honors. Penny Gadd-Coster, winemaker extraordinaire, has been creating magic since we began, and we are honored to call her our 4th sister!”
Best of Show International Sparkling went to the Buena Vista Winery La Victoire Brut Rosé NV, a brand owned by Jean Charles Boisset. Megan Long, Communications Manager for the Boisset Collection, told us, “We are excited to enter this year’s Sunset International Wine Competition and defend our sparkling wine title! As the West’s leading lifestyle brand, Sunset has a long history of recognizing excellence in our region and we look forward to submitting our Franco-American wines once again.”
Best of Show International White went to the 2018 Duck Hunter Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Rosie McLean, Director/Co-Owner, Duck Hunter Wines Ltd, told us, “Winning Best of Show for International White Wine was a fantastic accolade to add to our list of awards. Duck Hunter wine is relatively new to the USA market, our California based importer (Stratus Wines) entered the show on our behalf and we were thrilled to achieve a score of 94/Double Gold for our 2018 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc! Sunset is such a well read premier magazine both in print & online, we are confident that the win has increased our brand recognition and sales in the West. We are definitely keen to enter this show every year.”
When Apriori Cellar co-owner Georges Sabongui, a long time Sunset magazine reader, heard the news of his brand’s 2019 win for Best Rosé with the 2018 Apriori Rosé of Pinot Noir from the Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley, he was both ecstatic and very proud. “It was great! To get such a big win in such a well-respected competition was particularly helpful to our sales. Many people who were not on my mailing list came to the website, and purchased the wine. There was also a ‘halo effect,’ in that not only did they buy the rosé, but they would typically buy a mix of other bottles, including our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Some liked our 2018 rosé so much, they also bought some of our remaining 2017 rosé.”
This year, he’s entering Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Proprietary Red, as circumstances didn’t work out for them to make a rosé in 2019.
Which raises the question: Who will win Best Rosé this year? It could be yours.
You can’t win if you don’t play, so check out the entry requirements today.
Entry Deadline and Wine Shipments Due: June 11, 2020