I'll get to those stories in due time, but this post is about the NextGen Wine Competition. For the second year, I was invited by Vineyard and Winery Management (VWM) to judge at the NextGen Wine Competition. The competition was designed specifically with younger (and increasingly more important) wine consumers in mind, and was judged by qualified and knowledgeable wine industry millennials aged 21-35. Most of the judges were from California, but there were a handful from the likes of Colorado, Wisconsin and Illinois. One of the things that Rob Merletti, CEO/Publisher of VWM, mentioned in his speech at the judges' dinner was that he wanted to use the NextGen (and the other 5 competitions VWM owns) as a way to introduce the rest of the wine industry to the grapes and wines of the other 47 states not named California, Oregon and Washington. Being from the east coast, Rob explained that he was introduced to wine via the likes of Chambourcin, Norton and Baco Noir and he hopes that many of America's new wine consumers will discover wine via a similar path of non-traditional varieties from their local wine regions. I was pleasantly surprised that a few of the Cali judges knew what traminette was, but still too many were not aware of how brianna, muscadine and cayuga should be judged. Nevertheless, I applaud Rob and VWM for being so progressive with their vision of the future of the American wine industry. Oh, and vidal blanc made it to the sweepstakes tasting!
|Judges with Maximilian Riedel and Rob Merletti toasting.|
“I would have to say that the results from our lineup of millennial judges mirror very closely what is trending in the marketplace today,” said Traverso. “The 2012 NextGen Wine Competition was an incredible success,” declared Chief Judge Giovanni Balistreri. I must agree. The wines were much better this year and (for the most part) the judges were very knowledgeable and professional.
From a field of 750 entries, judges awarded a total of 17 Double Gold, 63 Gold, 253 Silver, and 249 Bronze medals. Of the 120 or so wines my table tasted, we awarded about 10 Gold medals and less than 5 no medals. The remainder were split between Silver and Bronze medals.
One thing that I did not know until just last week was that one Colorado wine was awarded a Best of Show - Rosé. Sadly, I must confess that I did not vote for it as overall Best of Show. Nevertheless, congrats to Anemoi, Canyon Wind Cellars and Garrett Estates for all showing very well!
Sweepstakes awards were bestowed as follows:
Best of Show
Lago di Merlo Vineyards and Winery
2009 Sangiovese, Lago di Merlo Vineyard
Dry Creek Valley, California
Best of Show Dessert/Late Harvest
Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery
2010 Vidal Blanc
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Best of Show Fruit
Apple Barn Winery
2011 Apple Cranberry
Best of Show Rosé
Canyon Wind Cellars
2011 47-Ten Rosé
Grand Valley, Colorado
Best of Show Sparkling
E & J Gallo Winery
Barefoot Bubbly, NV Moscato Spumante
Best of Show White
White Tie Wines