Home Industry News Releases 2024 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge Now Accepting Submissions 

2024 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge Now Accepting Submissions 


January 29th – On April 2-3, 2024, a collection of esteemed wine professionals will gather in Santa Rosa, Calif., to evaluate entries in the 2024 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge. Competition managers are now accepting entries for the 12th annual NCWC, considered among the most prestigious wine challenges in the United States. 

This regional competition rates wines exclusively produced and bottled in Northern California’s premier winegrowing region to determine which wines are considered the Best of the Best. Eligible wines must be made from fruit sourced in the North Coast AVAs of Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Marin and parts of Solano counties. This includes any bottled wine labeled with these AVAs as their main source of grapes and whose winery is in California. 

The competition focuses only on the high quality wines made on the North Coast that includes the six local counties,” says Daryl Groom, chief judge of NCWC. “We do not allow entries outside of these premium appellations nor allow international entries. Our judges know the quality will be high. Every past competition, judges have awarded more than 20% of the wines Gold Medal or above — some years up to 30%.” 

NCWC only promotes the highest awarded-wines (golds and above), keeping your win exceptional and exclusive. Golds are converted into a point score above 90 and all 90+ point wines will get a marketable positive comment from the judging panel. Winning gold medals can help boost sales and brand awareness for producers of all sizes, but small wineries can truly benefit from a gold medal in this contest. 

The best wines draw the best professional wine judges, who annually vie for a coveted spot to judge NCWC. Many are seasoned retailers, distributors, restaurateurs and influential wine writers, who promote the wines they enjoy and can help give your wine increased exposure. 

“Our professional judges are the most experienced and influential in the area and are made up of retail and restaurant buyers, prominent winemakers, sommeliers, media personalities and wine writers,” says Groom. “So aside from winning medals, wineries that enter get their wines exposed to the North Coast wine industry ‘movers and shakers.’” 

Public announcement of awards is made in print by The Press Democrat newspaper, the North Bay Area’s primary source for news and information. Additional ongoing promotion is made in other print publications, online, by virtual newsletters, and through social media outlets. 

“One of the core efforts of our company is to bring the community together, to engage our audiences in ways that educate, inform and celebrate,” says Eric Johnson, CEO and publisher for Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Press Democrat newspaper. “Through the North Coast Wine Challenge, we are able to celebrate the amazing products of our region. [It] supports our local economy and recognizes the role the community plays in its production — from the vineyard workers to the winemakers.” 

Gold medal winners are invited to pour and have their wines enjoyed at the North Coast Wine & Food Festival, annually organized and hosted by The Press Democrat. This is a fun-filled day enjoyed by wine enthusiasts from near and far, who look forward to tasting the Best of the Best wines Northern California has to offer. 

“The North Bay Food and Wine Festival is a fantastic way for our winning regional winemakers to introduce their wines to thousands of wine enthusiasts from all over Northern California,” continues Johnson. “Included in their ticket price, guests will have access to the best wines produced in our region along with food samples from some incredible area chefs. Being relatively new to the area — and a first-time attendee at last-years event — I’ve really never seen anything like it. It’s definitely one of the things that makes living in Sonoma County incredibly special.” 

Enter the 2024 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge before midnight, March 11 for an Early Bird discount. Final entry deadline is March 22. 

Visit https://www.pdncwc.com/ for more information.



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