Award-Winning Wines on Father’s Day: The North Coast Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting

North Coast Wine ChallengeInstead of a tie, why not buy Dad (or yourself) a ticket for the North Coast Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting (featuring wines from Napa, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Solano and Sonoma Counties) next weekend?  Now in its second year, the Invitational Tasting  provides the opportunity to taste the highest scoring winners at the recent Press Democrat competition. So, come spend the afternoon of Father’s Day enjoying wines that achieved Gold Medal status (and 90+ points) paired with dishes from some of the North Coast’s best Chefs.

There were 167 Gold Medals awarded at the Wine Challenge from a field of almost 900 entries.  On Sunday, June 15, between 1:00 and 5:00 pm in the legendary Barrel Room at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (2555 Main Street, St. Helena) you can taste the winners and decide for yourself how well the judges did.  If you feel like concentrating on one varietal, Gold Medals were awarded to 30 Chardonnays, 29 Pinot Noirs and 26 Cabernet Sauvignons.  If you’d rather sample a range of varietals, the other 1/2 of the winning wines included Albariño, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Zinfandel.

Chef Crista Luedtke

Chef Crista Luedtke

The Invitational Tasting is more than just a walk-around wine tasting.  There will also be interesting seminars offered simultaneously such as a Blind Tasting Challenge with Sonoma County Vintners, a discussion panel hosted by Clark Wolf (2009 Inductee into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America), and a Cigar Bar.  Or, you can conduct your own food-and-wine pairing tests as you enjoy delicious small bites from these local Chefs:

  • Duskie Estes – Zazu Kitchen + Farm,  Black Pig Meat Company
  • John Franchetti – Rosso Pizzeria + Winebar, Rosso Pizzeria and Mozzerella Bar, Rosso Rosticceria and Eventi
  • Liza Hinman – The Spinster Sisters
  • Daniel Kedan – Backyard Restaurant
  • Christopher Ludwick – Earth’s Bounty Kitchen and Wine Bar
  • Crista Luedtke – Boon Eat + Drink, Big Bottom Market
  • Shawn Montgomery – Siena Restaurant at The Meritage Resort and Spa

North Coast Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting TicketsAll-inclusive tickets (wine tasting, food, and seminars) are $125 per person and can be purchased by going here.  Designated Driver tickets are just $35 and provide him/her access to the food and seminars.  Keep reading and we’ll list some of the North Coast Wine Challenge winners that should be at the Invitational Tasting next Sunday.

North Coast Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting – The “Best of” Winners

BEST OF THE BEST at the North Coast Wine Challenge was the W.H. Smith 2010 Maritime Vineyard Pinot Noir (which also won in the Best of Sonoma County and Best of Show Red Wine categories).

Husch 2013 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer LabelBEST OF SHOW winners were Domaine Carneros 2010 Brut Rosé (Sparkling Wine), Charles Creek Vineyard 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay (White Wine), Kokomo 2013 Pauline’s Vineyard Grenache Rosé (Rosé), W.H. Smith 2010 Maritime Vineyard Pinot Noir (Red Wine), and the Husch Vineyards 2013 Late Harvest Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer (Dessert/Late Harvest).

BEST OF COUNTY winners were Dalliance 2011 Lake County Red Wine (Lake County), Husch Vineyards 2013 Late Harvest Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer (Mendocino County), B Side 2010 Napa Valley Red Wine Blend (Napa County) and W. H. Smith 2010 Maritime Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma County).


Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting – The Gold Medals

Imagery Estate Winery

Imagery Estate Winery, Winner of 3 Gold Medals for their Rosé, Malbec, and Tempranillo

Here are just some of the 167 Gold Medal Winners from the 2014 North Coast Wine Challenge that you should be able to try at the Invitational Tasting:


  • W. Donaldson, nv Blanc de Blancs
  • Gloria Ferrer, nv Blanc de Noirs
  • McFadden Vineyard, 2009 Reserve Cuvée Brut


  • Black Knight Vineyards, 2012 Chardonnay
  • Danais, 2012 Chardonnay
  • ROX Scott Peterson, 2012 Chardonnay


  • Black Stallion Winery, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Souverain, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Trione Vineyards & Winery, 2012 Sauvignon Blanc


Gordian Knot Winery

Gordian Knot Winery 2012 Albariño

  • Campovida, 2013 Campo di Stelle, White Bordeaux Blend (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon)
  • Gordian Knot Winery, 2012 Albariño
  • Handley Cellars, 2013 Gewürztraminer


  • Imagery Estate Winery, 2013 Aleatico Rosé
  • Inman Family Wines, 2013 Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir
  • Yorkville Cellars, 2013 Rosé of Malbec


  • Acorn Winery, 2010 Cabernet Franc
  • Peju Province Winery, 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserve
  • Two Jakes of Diamonds, 2011 Cabernet Franc


  • Forefathers Wines, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Joseph Cellars Winery, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Roth Estate Winery, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon


  • Bonterra Organic Vineyards, 2012 Merlot
  • MacLeod Family Vineyard, 2011 Merlot
  • St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery, 2010 Merlot



Balletto 2012 BCD Vineyard Pinot Noir

  • Balletto Vineyards, 2012 BCD Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, 2011 Pinot Noir
  • Sterling Vineyards, 2011 Pinot Noir


  • St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, 2011 Zinfandel
  • Trentadue, 2012 La Storia Zinfandel
  • Wilson Winery, 2011 Bramble Zinfandel


  • Brassfield Estate Winery, 2012 Eruption, Red Blend
  • Fidelity, 2012 Red Wine, Bordeaux Blend
  • Seaton Family Vineyards, 2011 Red Buzz, Bordeaux Blend


  • La Chertosa Wines, 2012 Sangiovese
  • Ledson Winery & Vineyards, 2011 Barbera
  • Occidental Road Cellars, 2011 Syrah

For a complete listing of the Gold Medal Winners at the 2014 North Coast Wine Challenge please go here. 


North Coast Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting – The Wine Challenge

The 2014 North Coast Wine Challenge judging took place April 29 and 30, 2014 and wines were designated with the rankings of Best of Class by Category, Best of County, and ultimately the Best of the Best as the top award.

Over two dozen judges were involved, including Columnist Dan Berger, Master Sommelier Fred Dame, and Press Democrat Wine Critic Peg Melnik.  Wine Buyer judges included Ben Pearson (Bottle Barn), Rhett Gadke (Bounty Hunter Rare Wine Company) and Carrie Boyle (Total Wine and More).   Some of the winemakers who helped judge were Heidi Barrett (Barrett & Barrett Wines), Sara Fowler (Peju Province Winery), Daryl Groom (Groom Wines), Nick Goldschmidt (Goldschmidt Vineyards) and Mick Schroeter (Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards).

Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

Part of the proceeds from the North Coast Wine Challenge Invitational Tasting will go to support the nonprofit Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.  The CIA has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education since 1946 as an independent, not-for-profit college offering degrees and certificate programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science.

So, buy a ticket (or two, or more) and celebrate Father’s Day with gold-medal wines and delectable bites to celebrate the bounty of choices available in the North Coast area.  Once again, for complete details, please go here. 


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