February 3rd – Santa Rosa, Calif. – For the fifth time in the last six years, Jeff Runquist Wines of Plymouth, Calif., has won the trophy as Winery of the Year at Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition.
Runquist, who makes many different varietal wines, also won a triple-gold medal and best-of-show red wine at the 40th annual judging for his 2019 Lagrein ($30) from fruit off a remote vineyard east of Paso Robles. (www.jeffrunquistwines.com)
The Small Winery of the Year trophy was awarded to Carol Shelton wines of Windsor in Sonoma County (www.carolshelton,com). Shelton’s impressive 2017 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley ($40) was one of her major medals, earning a triple gold medal and best of class award.
Runquist won 25 medals from 28 entries, 21 of them silver or above. Shelton won 15 medals, (13 silvers or golds) from 20 submissions.
The best white wine of the show as well as the International Riesling Foundation trophy for best dry Riesling was a stunning 2020 Silvan Dry Riesling ($20) from Fox Run Vineyards in New York’s Finger Lakes. (foxrunvineyards.com)
Best sparkling wine was 2017 King Estate, Willamette Valley Brut Cuvée ($40) from Oregon. And best dessert wine as well as trophy for best Sweet Riesling went to 2019 Navarro Riesling Late Harvest Cluster Select ($39/half bottle). (kingestate.com)
The IRF trophy for best Medium Dry Riesling also went to Fox Run for its 2019 Semi-Dry Riesling and the IRF trophy for Medium Sweet Riesling went to 2019 Ferrante Winery for its 2019 Riesling from Grand River Valley in Ohio. (https://www.ferrantewinery.com/)
The trophy for best cidery went to Two K Farms Cidery and Winery (http://www.twokfarms.com) of Suttons Bay, Michigan.
Value Winery of the Year trophy went to E&J Gallo’s Barefoot, which won seven top awards all under $10 per bottle.
The trophy for best use of terroir went to Colter’s Creek Winery of Juliaetta, Idaho. Using fruit from the Lewis & Clark Valley, Colter’s Creek earned two triple gold medals (both best of class) and eight silvers among its 12 submissions. (colterscreek.com)
Eighteen wine professionals including some of the nation’s top winemakers, wine writers, and sommeliers acted as judges.
Runquist gets grapes from numerous regions of the state and says he relies heavily on the dedication of his grower partners to choose picking dates that give him the best chance to make great wines.
“The first case off the bottling line goes to our growers,” said Runquist, who adds that even if he loves a particular grower’s fruit, he’s willing to drop it if it means working with people who don’t understand his philosophy.
Wine columnist Dan Berger has staged this competition since 1982, when it was called the Riverside International. The competition is coordinated by Debra del Fiorentino using an expert crew of back-room professionals. Salient quotes from the judges accompany all gold medals.
DBIWC uses a state-of-the-art online database that is infinitely sortable and is accessible to wineries and consumers. To see results, go on the site at https://www.dbiwc.com.
The DBIWC also offers free bottle stickers, free table tents, free shelf talkers, free links to winery websites, and free medal certificates along with ribboned medallions, which will be mailed to winners.