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SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, 2012  A record number of wines were judged during the San Francisco International Wine Competition held at San Francisco's Hotel Nikko, June 15th, 16th and 17th, by prestigious judges invited from across the United States.

Tasting 4,556 wines from over 1,300 wineries, 49 wine industry professionals convened for the 32nd year of the San Francisco International Wine Competition to evaluate wines from 26 states and 29 countries. The medal count included 202 Double Gold awards (a wine is elevated to Double Gold status when all judges on a particular panel agree that a wine deserves a Gold medal), 363 Gold medals, 1,358 Silver medals and 1,613 Bronze medals. The competition saw a nine percent increase in wine entries from last year. Big gains were seen in the Cabernet Sauvignon submissions, as well as in Viognier, Rosé, and Sangiovese Blend categories.

"Best in Show" awards went to:

-        Maryhill Winery 2011 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $10 for Best in Show White Wine

-         Kestrel Vintners 2008 Raptor Red Premium Bordeaux Blend, Yakima Valley, $60 for Best in Show Red Wine

-         Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte 2004 Vintage Brut, Champagne, $46 for Best in Show Sparkling Wine; and

-        Barboursville Vineyards 2007 Malvaxia, Virginia, $30 for Best in Show Dessert Wine.

Vincor International Inc. was recognized with "Portfolio of the Year" for excellence across a spectrum of brands. Winemaker Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville, California, won the coveted Andre Tchelistcheff "Winemaker of the Year" award. The Tasting Panel Magazine "Winery of the Year" award went to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates of Woodinville, Washington.

Director Anthony Dias Blue, renowned food and wine authority, has coordinated one of the most important and comprehensive wine competitions in the world, both for the quality of wines entered and for the high level of expertise among its judges. Blue noted that "The growth of this competition highlights the strength of the wine industry, its diversity and global impact with 29 countries submitting.  It's exciting to feel the pulse of the wine industry through the views of our judges and the entries from our wineries."

"Best of Varietal" winners were awarded in 28 different categories in 2012: Best Chardonnay: Five Rivers 2010 Chardonnay, California, $11; Best Sauvignon Blanc: South Coast Winery 2011 Musque Clone Sauvignon Blanc, Temecula Valley, $14; Best Viognier: Honey Moon 2011 Viognier, California, $6; Best Pinot Gris: Kenwood Vineyards 2011 Pinot Gris, Russian River, $16; Best Riesling Maryhill Winery 2011 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $10; Best White Blend: San Antonio 2010 Heritage Blanc White Blend, Central Coast, $19; Best Gewurztraminer: Vinarstvi Libal 2011 Select Gewurztraminer, Czech Republic, $14; Best Moscato: Cameron Hughes 2010 Lot 319 Moscato, Sori, Italy, $14; Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Parallel 2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $125; Best Merlot: Summers Estate Wines 2009 Summers Ranch Reserve Merlot, Calistoga, $30; Best Malbec: Alamos 2009 Selección Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina $20..... and more.

"Best of Nation" awards were presented to 17 wineries, showcasing the international scope of entries.  "Best of Nation" awards went to:  Alamos, Argentina, importer E & J Gallo; Wakefield Wines, Australia, importer American Wine Distributors; Ponto Nero, Brazil; Castra Rubra Winery, Bulgaria; Jackson-Triggs Okanagan, Canada, importer Vincor International; Panilonco, Chile; Pavlovin, Czech Republic; Champagne Collet, France, importer Champagne Collet USA (MHW); Lyrarakis, Greece, importer Stellar Importing Co.; Castello Banfi, Italy, importer Banfi Vintners; Japan, Okunomatsu, importer Pacific Int'l Liquor; Santo Tomas, Mexico, importer Torrey Wine; Broadbent Wines, Portugal, importer Broadbent Selections; Saint Clair Family Estate, New Zealand, importer Winesellers, LTD.; Blaauwklippen Vineyards, South Africa; Gonzalez Byass, Spain, importer SF Wine Exchange; and Pasaeli, Turkey.

This year's Label Competition awards recognized excellence in label design in the wine industry. Our professional judges selected these winning designs for their high artistic merit and brand-enhancing communicative qualities. For Series Design, a Double Gold was awarded to Telish Winery 2010 Merlot, 2010 Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon Blend, and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bulgaria, design by Philip Popoff. For Individual Design, Double Golds were awards to Dearly Beloved 2009 Forever Red, design by Stranger & Stranger, VML 2010 Pinot Noir Limited Release, Russian River, design by Stranger & Stranger, and Predator 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, design by Mark Dolin.

The 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition sponsors included The Tasting Panel Magazine, Joerg Lehmann Photography, Geoffrey Nelson Photos and Elements Design Group. Blue also thanked Hotel Nikko in San Francisco for hosting the event.

For a complete list of winners and judges, visit the San Francisco International Wine Competition's website: www.sfwinecomp.com.  Photos can be viewed online at http://j412.smugmug.com/Clients/SFIWC-2012/23694912_RF6rzp/