The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest wine competition (in the world) for American wines. The public tasting will take place at San Francisco's Ft. Mason Festival Pavilion, on Saturday, February 15th from 1:30 - 5:00 pm. Although the judging took place at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair earlier in January, this will be the first, and probably, only time most of the winners will be available to the public for tasting in one location. Up to 5,000 attendees will be able to experience the sweepstakes, best of class, double gold and other award winners. The good news is, it's not too late to get tickets. They are available for $65.00 each at winejudging.com/event_tickets.htm. This is usually a sellout but, if available, tickets are $80.00 at the door.
The Public Tasting is the only event where a very select group of the top wineries are in one place for the public to taste, talk and learn about these highly touted wines and wineries. This is the culminating point for 2014! Roughly 800 American wineries will be enthusiastically pouring their prizewinners to the always delighted attendees. This extended three and a half (3.5) hour event will feature all seven (7) of the Sweepstakes winners and many of the top medal winners from the 25 states and nearly 1,400 wineries that provided the 5,825 entries for the competition this year. That number, by the way, is a new record for this behemoth of wine competitions.
The Sweepstakes Winners were selected by the nearly 48 judges on Friday of the judging week in early January, by re-tasting all of the 88 Best of Class and Double Gold winners selected during the previous 3 days of judging. At the Public Tasting, all of the Sweepstakes winners will be located in a VIP area of the Pavilion thereby further highlighting the special nature of these wines.
The Sweepstakes winners in the 5 categories are listed below.
Domaine Carneros by Taittinger 2009 Brut (Napa, CA)
Korbel Champagne Cellars NV Brut Rosé (Sonoma, CA)
White: Baldacci Family Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay (Napa, CA)
Pink: Barnard Griffin 2013 Rosé of Sangiovese (WA)
3 Steves Winery 2011 Zinfandel (Livermore, CA)
Calcareous Vineyard 2010 Syrah (Paso Robles, CA)
Dessert: Ferrante Winery 2012 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine (Ohio)
Californians will be proud of their strong showing but one needs to recognize the continuing successes of wine growing regions around the country. Every state has some level of wine growing and wine-making. This year the Sweepstakes winner for Pink (Rosé) was from Washington State (the number 2 wine producing state) and the Dessert wine Sweeps went to an Ice Wine from Ohio (number 6).
The bottom line: The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, with principal sponsorship from BEVMO!, remains the premier competition for American wines in the world. The Public Tasting at Ft. Mason is perfectly organized to highlight the selected Gold, Double Gold and Best of Class winners for the public's enjoyment and education. Of course, the non-wine drinkers will be able to enjoy some ice cold beer provided by official sponsor Stella Artois. Stop in and you might find a local entertainment or industry celebrity. So mark your calendars now for next week's San Francisco Chronicle Public Tasting on February 15, 2014. See you there!