December 18 – For the fourth year in a row, the David Stevens Memorial Trophy for Winery of the Year at Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition was won by Jeff Runquist Wines with perhaps its best showing ever.
Runquist, longtime owner and winemaker for his own Sierra Foothills and mid-eastern California winery, is a consistent wine competition gold-medal winner and in this year’s 39th annual judging, he entered 27 wines in the DBIWC. He earned 26 medals, including four triple-gold and nine silver medals.
His 2019 Dolcetto ($28) was a best-of-class winner. A year ago, in 2019, Runquist earned 10 awards of gold or above from 35 entries.
And for the second consecutive year the Small Winery of the Year trophy was won by Reustle Prayer Rock Winery of Umpqua Valley, Oregon. Winemaker Stephen Reustle entered 11 wines in this year’s DBIWC and eared medals for every one of them, seven of them gold or above.
This pandemic year, DBIWC entry numbers were down, with 568 wines entered, but the 15 professional wine judges awarded 152 gold and triple-gold medals and every judge said quality this year was better than ever.
The trophy for Value Winery of the Year was won by E&J Gallo’s superb Barefoot line of wines.
The Terroir Trophy for best use of local grapes was won by Hazlitt 1852 Winery of Hector, N.Y. in the famed Finger Lakes district.
The five best wines in the competition:
- Sparkling: NV Barefoot Brut, California
- White: 2019 Hazlitt 1852 Riesling, Homestead Reserve (dry)
- Rosé: 2019 Trentadue Vineyards Rosato di Sangiovese, Alexander Valley
- Red: 2017 Pope Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Pope Valley
Dessert: 2019 Navarro Vineyards Riesling, Cluster Select Late Harvest, Anderson Valley
The four Riesling trophies, sponsored by the International Riesling Foundation, were:
- Dry Riesling: 2019 Hazlitt 1852 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York (Hazlitt’s 2018 Riesling won this trophy last year)
- Medium Dry Riesling: 2019 Black Star Farms Riesling, “Arcturos,” Michigan
- Medium Sweet Riesling: 2019 Fox Run Vineyards Riesling, “Reserve,” Finger Lakes, New York
- Sweet Riesling: 2019 Navarro Cluster Select Late Harvest Riesling, Anderson Valley. The 2018 Navarro Cluster Select Riesling won this trophy year ago.
The Terroir Award for best use of local grapes went to Hazlitt 1852 of Hector, N.Y.
For the second year in a row, the Value Winery of the Year trophy was awarded to E&J Gallo’s Barefoot wines.