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TForty-four reknowned wine industry professionals from every corner of the United States gathered June 12th and 13th at the San Francisco International Wine Competition at Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, to taste, score and rank nearly 4,000 wines. In its 24th year, the San Francisco International Wine Competition, the biggest competition of its kind based on number of entries, examined wines from 964 wineries, 25 states and 21 countries.

The medal count included 84 double golds -- 2.2 percent of all entries, 161 gold, 663 silver and 1,224 bronze medals. A wine receives a double gold medal when all judges on a particular panel agree that a wine deserves a gold medal.

Top winners
  • Geyser Peak Winery of Sonoma County was awarded the "13th Annual Bon Appétit Magazine Winery of the Year."
  • Best red wine: the top honor, The "Tom Stockley Best of Show" award (named in honor of the late Tom Stockley, a noted Seattle-based wine writer and a former judge at this competition), went to: Cosentino Winery's 2001 M Coz, Napa Valley, a premium Bordeaux-style blend.
  • Best white wine: Heron Hill Vineyards' 2002 Johannisberg Riesling, Ingle Vineyard, Finger Lakes.
  • Best sparkling wine: Moët & Chandon's 1996 Millésime Rosé, Épernay, France
  • Best dessert wine: Jackson Triggs Vintners Okanagan Estates' 2003 Riesling Ice Wine, Proprietors' Grand Reserve, Okanagan Valley, Canada.
  • Best single wine line: Jackson Triggs Vintners Okanagan Estates (Okanagan Valley, Canada) won the Andre Tchelistcheff "Winemaker of the Year."
  • Award of excellence: Beringer Blass Wine Estates (St. Helena, California) was recognized with the "Portfolio Award" for excellence across a wide spectrum of brands.
"Best of Varietal" winners include:

Amisfield - Lake Hayes Winery 2002 Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand; Chateau St. Jean 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County; Chumeia Vineyards 2001 Barbera, Partridge-Leigh Vineyard, Paso Robles; Edgewood Estate 2001 Malbec, Napa Valley; Fu-Ki Nonvintage Semi Dry Sake, Japan; Geyser Peak Winery 2002 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley; Goose Watch Winery 2003 Traminette, Finger Lakes; Goose Watch Winery Nonvintage Renaissance Red, Fingerlakes; Milton Vineyards 2002 Biodynamically Grown Chenin Blanc, Te Arai Vineyard, Gisborne, New Zealand; Mount Pleasant Vineyards 2001 Norton, Missouri; Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery 2001 Syrah, RC Reserve, Estate, Rutherford; Spy Valley Wines 2003 Gewürztraminer, Marlborough, New Zealand; Stone Hill Winery Nonvintage Spumante Blush, Missouri; Storrs Winery 2001 Two Creek Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley; Swedish Hill Vineyard Nonvintage Concord, Old Fashioned, Finger Lakes; Talus 2003 Pinot Grigio, California; Whitehaven 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand; Wollersheim Winery 2003 Seyval Blanc, Prairie Fumé, Walla Walla Valley; Wood Family Vineyards 2002 Zinfandel, Beyer Ranch, Livermore Valley and Yorkville Cellars 2001 Merlot, Rennie Vineyard, Yorkville Highlands, California.

"Best of Nation" awards went to:

Terrazas de Los Andes, Argentina; d'Arenberg, Australia; Manfred Felsner, Austria; Casa Valduga, Brazil; Concha y Toro, Chile; Champagne Lanson, France; Anselmann, Germany; Château Dereszla, Hungary; Yarden, Israel; Prunotto, Italy; Casa Madero, Mexico; Spy Valley Wines, New Zealand; Cortes de Cima, Portugal; Crnko Family Winery, Slovenia and Sanchez Romate, Spain.

The fact that 26 of the 84 double gold medal wines were priced at $15 or under, including the "Best Pinot Grigio" awarded to Talus 2003 Pinot Grigio, $8, proves that value wines continue to play an increasingly important role in today's market. (Click on Cellar: Great Wines $15 and Under).

For a complete list of winners, visit the San Francisco International Wine Competition's website:

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