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Sunset International Wine Competition Announces Winners



2022 Sunset International Wine Competition Awards Best of the Best and Best Red Wine to Wapato Point Cellars’ 2018 Cabernet Franc

Santa Rosa, Calif., — June 14, 2022—Boasting a record number of entries, the 2022 Sunset International Wine Competition awarded Best of the Best and Best Red Wine to a Cabernet Franc from Wapato Point Cellars (Manson, Wash.). Judges raved: “Beautiful oak”; “Blackberry”; “Righteous herbal”; “Focused.” This is the first time a Washington State wine has taken top prize at this prestigious competition.

“It was unexpected but well deserved,” says Debra Del Fiorentino, founder and president of Wine Competitions Management & Productions. “We had some really great wines in the final sweepstakes rounds, and Wapato Point Cellars swoops in and takes it all. Results like this are why competitions are so valuable.”

To win Best of Show Red Wine, the Wapato Point Cab Franc had to best a field of 16 other reds in the Sweepstakes Round, including such heavy hitters as a Mi Sueño Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Ehret Family Winery Merlot, Sean Minor Wines Pinot Noir and Concannon Vineyard Petit Verdot, among others.

Nine outstanding wines competed for Best of Show White Wine honors, including a Husch Vineyards Gewürztraminer, a Harney Lane Albariño and a Sauvignon Blanc from Francis Ford Coppola’s Diamond Collection. Ultimately, though, the prize went to Dry Creek Cellars 2021 Dry Chenin Blanc, which judges described as “Lemony”; “Golden delicious apples”; “Orange blossoms.”

In the final sweepstakes round for Best Of Show, the Wapato Point marched to victory over the Best White, Best Sparkling (2018 Domaine Carneros Brut), Best Rosé (Del Rio 2021 Rosé of Grenache) and Best Dessert (2019 Baldacci Family Vineyards Late Harvest Gewürtztraminer) contenders. See below for more details.

Revived in 2017 after a decade-long hiatus, the Sunset International Wine Competition is designed to attract all wineries interested in reaching the Western wine drinker and is juried by the best judges in the industry, who understand and appreciate the Western palate and lifestyle. Judges include winemakers, sommeliers, retail buyers, wine educators, and journalists.

“Wine is central to the Sunset lifestyle, a passion of our audience, and a core part of the stories we tell,” says Hugh Garvey, editor-in-chief at Sunset Publishing. “Every year, we look forward to sharing the results of the annual wine competition with our readers. This year saw a record number of entries, which is a testament to the talents and output of an industry we look to for inspiration and deliciousness. We’re grateful for the efforts of all who entered and raise a glass to the winners.”

Winning producers will be featured in the October release of a Wine Special nonprint, digital edition with supporting microsite. Promotions for the Wine Award Special Issue will be placed in sunset.com, Sunset eNewsletters and Sunset social sites. The edition will be promoted and available for 12 months or until the 2022 Wine Competition Awards winners are announced.

The complete list of Gold and above medal winners can be found here: Sunset International 2022 Result by Brand.


Best of the Best and Best of Show Red: Wapato Point Cellars 2018 Cabernet Franc (99 pts.)

Judges: “Beautiful oak”; “Blackberry”; “Righteous herbal”; “Focused.”

Best of Show White: Dry Creek Vineyards 2021 Dry Chenin Blanc (96)

Judges: “Lemony”; “Golden delicious apples”; “Orange blossoms.”

Best of Show Sparkling: Domaine Carneros 2018 Estate Brut Cuvee (99)

Judges: “Bright, lively”; “Very well-balanced”; “Tropical fruit.”

Best of Show Rosé: Del Rio Vineyards 2021 Grenache Rosé (97)

Judges: “Deep salmon color”; “Bing cherry’; “Juicy and balanced.”

Best of Show Dessert Wine: Baldacci Family Vineyards 2019 Late Harvest Gewürtztraminer (96)

Judges: “Citric”; “Honey”; “Rich”; “Demands attention”; “Flowers that blossom in the grass.”


Best of Class Spanish White: Harney Lane 2021 Albariño (96)

Judges: “Finely structured”; “Nice length”; “Crisp citrus”; “Nice mouthfeel.”

Best of Class Pinot Gris/Grigio: Foris 2021 Pinot Gris (95)

Judges: “Good structure”; “Good acid”; “Citrus, peach, pear”; “Ripe melon, Honeydew.”

Best of Class Sauvignon Blanc: Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection 2021 Sauvignon Blanc (98)

Judges: “True to varietal”; “Classic Sauvignon blanc”; “Notes of citrus”; “Great with fish tacos.”

Best of Class White Blends: Stefano di Blasi IGT Sicilia Zibibbo 2020 Catarratto (96)

Judges: “Mint aromatics”; “Honeysuckle”; “Fruit and structure.”

Best of Class Riesling: Black Girl Magic Wines 2021 Riesling (96)

Judges: “Tangerine”; “Honeysuckle blossom.”

Best of Class Gewürztraminer: Husch 2021 Gewürztraminer (95)

Judges: “Apple blossom”; “Honeysuckle”; “Really nice balance”; “Long finish.”

Best of Class Viognier: Vina Robles 2021 Viognier (99)

Judges: “Bright sunny wine”; “Great nose”; “Fresh fruit basket”; “Makes you wish you were on a yacht.”

Best of Class Chardonnay: Picchetti Winery 2020 Leslie’s Estate Chardonnay (98)

Judges: “Notes of melon, cantaloupe”; “Floral”; “Reminds me of summertime”; “Zesty”; “A very nice wine.”

Best of Class Rosé Blends: Bayernmoor Cellars 2021 Rosé (98)

Judges: “Lithe structure”; “Very aromatic”; “Watermelon, cucumber.”

Best of Class Grenache: Casino Mine Ranch 2019 Grenache Noir (97)

Judges: “Round, rich, full”; “Dark plum”; “Sour cherry”; “Ageable.”

Best of Class Pinot Noir: Sean Minor 2019 Pinot Noir ‐ Sangiacomo ‐ Roberts Road Vineyard (99)

Judges: “Smokey”; “Nice red fruits”; “Earthy, classic varietal character.”

Best of Class Merlot: Ehret Family Winery 2018 Merlot (96)

Judges: “Rich, sexy, structured”; “Big, concentrated”; “Chewy”; “Dark notes of briary blackberries, plum and cherry”; “Pure luxury in every sip.”

Best of Class Cabernet Sauvignon: Mi Sueño Winery 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (99)

Judges: “Sweet pipe tobacco”; “Olive tapenade”; “A classic Cab”; “Great cellar potential.”

Best of Class Rhone Type Blend: Dorcich Family Vineyards 2020 Crveno (97)

Judges: “Dark fruit”; “Balanced sour plums”; “Bing cherry, oak, spice”; “Drinkable”; “Spicey, sublime acidity”; “Superb.”

Best of Class Italian Type Red Blends: Denier-Handal Vineyards 2019 Don Angelo (97)

Judges: “Pretty nose”; “Varietally correct”; Pleasant quaffing wine”; “Nice spicy notes”; “Cherry compote.”

Best of Class Sangiovese: Le Vigne Estate Wines 2019 Sangiovese (96)

Judges: “Clean!”; “Cherry and plum notes”; “Strawberry with subnotes of roasted pepper”; “Leather, tobacco and dried roses”; “Lingering finish.”

Best of Class Barbera: Vezer Family Vineyard 2019 Blue Victorian Barbera (98)

Judges: “Blackberry, cranberry, pepper”; “Tobacco leaf”; “Persistence”; “Elegant.”

Best of Class Zinfandel: Hendry 2019 Blocks 7 & 22 Zinfandel (98)

Judges: “Classic pepper”; “Lush, big finish”; “Underripe blackberry.”

Best of Class Malbec: Bunnell Family Cellar 2014 Malbec, Walla Walla (99)

Judges: “Spicy”; “Jalapeño and fruit notes”; Well-structured wine”; “Very versatile”; “Malbec through and through.”

Best of Class Tempranillo: Coventina Vineyards 2015 Tempranillo Reserve (97)

Judges: “Bright fruit”; “Cinnamon”; “Lingering finish.”

Best of Class Red Bordeaux Type: Ehret Family Winery 2018 Hillside Reserve Red Wine (97)

Judges: “Chalky classic character”; “Roasted coffee/mocha”; Silky molten chocolate.”

Best of Class Other Red Varietals: Quevedo Family Alegria Vineyard Douro 2018 Touriga Nacional (99) Red Varietals

Judges: “Lip-smacking cranberry”; “Nice structure”; “Fresh fruit”; “Seamless.”

Best of Class Petit Verdot: Concannon Vineyard 2018 Reserve Petit Verdot (96)

Judges: “Balanced, smooth”; “Smokey nose”; “Dark fruit.”

Best of Class Syrah/Shiraz: Eberle 2020 Steinbeck Syrah (99)

Judges: “Supple”; “Nice finish”; “Seductive oak.”

Best of Class Petite Sirah: Aimée 2017 Petite Sirah Region lll (97)

Judges: “Classic Petite Syrah”; “Oak and blueberry fruit with smooth tannins.”

Best of Class Late Harvest Red Varietals: Kelley & Young Wines 2018 Late Harvest Zinfandel (96)

Judges: “Beautiful layers”; “Lovely fruit”; “Rich.”

Best of Class Canned Wines:   Maker Wine Company Muscat Canelli (95)

Judges: “Bright and floral”; “Lively acidity.”

Best of Class Cider: Portland Cider Company Strawberry Pineapple Cider NV (94)

Judges: “Fun”; “Great fruit combo”; “Great with hot spicy BBQ.”

Best of Class Boxed Wine: E&J Gallo Winery Black Box Red Sangria NV (95)

Judges: “Stunning aromas”; “Blackberry and spices”

Best of Class Fruit Wine: Fortino Winery Pomegranate Wine NV (91)           

Judges: “Nicely balanced, flavorful”; “Great acid balance”; “Earthy.”

The complete list of Gold and above medal winners can be found here: Sunset International 2022 Result by Brand.


About Sunset

Sunset shares the best of life in the West―from travel and food to home and garden―with an audience of more than 6 million. Sunset showcases the region’s unique lifestyle and noteworthy destinations, inspiring readers to achieve the dream of living in the West. Sunset.com is the West’s essential guide to all the best things about the region: easy outdoor living and gardening, unexpected day trips and destinations, fast and fresh foods, shockingly perfect wine pairings, and innovative home decorating and design. www.sunset.com

About Wine Competitions Management & Production (WCMP)

WCMP owns and operates a variety of competitions including Sunset International Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, East Meets West, International Women’s Wine & Spirits Competition, Harvest Challenge, the Craft Distillers Spirits Competition, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, and Experience Rosé. www.winecompetitions.com

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