One of the first major wine competitons of 2010 in our area is underway as the 25th Annual Pacific Rim Wine Competition judging commences April 21st and 22nd at the National Orange Show Events Center located less than an hour away from Palm Springs. The news here is that for the first time, this competition has opened to include wines from all over the world!
Last year there were over 2000 entries from countries all around the Pacific. Acclaimed wines from all over California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada were evaluated and judged along with those from Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. This year, the event organizers felt it was no longer fair to exclude the rest of the world from this major competition, especially, the fact is that so much good wine is being produced everywhere. The word came down and the world was invited.
As wine shoppers and consumers, we all seek out any accolades that alert us to the quality of a wine. Any local wine contest is surely of interest; If it’s a state-wide contest, even more so; an international competition, well, bring on the results—we like knowing the best in show. There will be several Best in Class wine category awards, and thereafter, gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded. The Grand Champion Award will go to the “Wine of the Event”, this wine must receive a majority vote of all the judges present.
And some more good news is that I’ll be covering the event for you beepwire.com readers. My press credentials will get me in and out of the evaluations and tastings and get me up close and personal with the judges to get their take and comments of the wines, the landscape of the industry, and what’s on the horizon.
On hand for the judging are over 30 wine industry professionals, winemakers, merchants, writers, consultants, marketers , and many of them may be quite familiar to our desert dwelling wine community: The Chief Judge is Don Galleano, owner and winemaker at the Historic Galleano Winery in Mira Loma; Rene Chazottes, Maitre Sommelier at the Pacific Club, Newport Beach; Dr. Robert Small, Professor Emeritus, Cal Poly Pomona, and Cindy Juneau, Wine Evaluator at the Citrus City Grille in Riverside.
For you Temecula Valley wine fans, winemaker and owner Joe Hart, of Hart Winery, and Jon McPherson, Master Winemaker at the South Coast Winery and Resort, will be in the building. And you may already be aware that not only was the South Coast Winery declared Winery of the Year by Inland Empire Magazine, April 2010, both Jon McPherson and Javier Flores (who has served previously as a judge) were awarded Wine Makers of the Year. Congratulations guys!
Over half of the judges will be coming down from our favorite wine counties up north. It’ll be great to see Ann Littlefield again, our go-to wine marketing consultant in Napa and Dennis Martin, Director of Winemaking at Fetzer Vineyards, Mendocino. I still have a signed magnum of an 83’ Petite Syrah by winemaker Gary Eberle, Paso Robles, who’ll be there sipping and spiting. And let’s add a big thanks to event coordinator Yolanda Daly and her staff who are a kick to hang with.
One of the lovely dynamics of the Pac-Rim has always been the Wine Label Competition. The allure of the wine bottle both anticipates the wine we’ll enjoy and sparks an esthetic understanding of the winery’s artistic bent. The categories include: Most Unique Label, vying for out of the ordinary, humorous, and/or whimsical; Best Label Series, where at least 3 bottles have a unifying theme of color, design, and composition; and, the Best Individual Label, the best in show as the “attention grabber”. I’ll snap a photo of the winners for my next article revealing the results of the competition.
Good Luck, place your bets, and CHEERS to the winners!!