44th Annual Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition Awards
Thursday, August 3rd, 2023 — Distinguished wine judges gathered in the small, yet busy, Mendocino County town of Hopland to judge the 44th annual Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition, one of the oldest regional wine competitions in California. This year, there were 195 wine entries from 36 wineries. An outstanding number of gold medals were awarded: 38 double golds and 44 gold medals. This year’s judges were Dan Berger, Barry Herbst, Laura Ness, Greg Richtarek, Monique Soltani, Emily Martin, Ziggy Eschliman, Jonathan Darrow and Miguel Marquez.
The Best of Show awards are:
Best of Show Sparkling Wine – Pennyroyal Farm 2019 Blanc de Noir, Anderson Valley
Charlie Barra Award / Best of Show White Wine – Pennyroyal Farm 2022 PinoTrio, Anderson Valley
Best of Show Rosé Wine – Pleiades Wine Company 2022 Rosé of Sangiovese, Mendocino
John Parducci Award / Best of Show Red Wine – Greenwood Ridge Vineyards 2021 Syrah, Mendocino
Best of Show Dessert – Enotria (by Graziano Family of Wines) 2022 Moscato, Mendocino
Pennyroyal Farm was a big winner at the wine competition with all their entries receiving medals: two Best of Show awards, one double gold, three golds and five silver medals. A first time entry, and Pleiades Wine Company’s only entry scored highly amongst the judges, winning Best of Show Rosé Wine. This 100% rosé of Sangiovese comes from Gibson Ranch in Hopland.
Pinot Noir continues to be a big player in the Mendocino County Fair Wine Competition with a total of 29 entries for vintages ranging from 2019-2022 and one vintage from 2014. However, for the first time in six years, the Best of Show red wine is not Pinot Noir, instead a bold, and herbaceous Syrah by Greenwood Ridge Vineyards. Judges commented that this competition displayed “great examples of diversity and complexity of Mendocino County wines, as well as the proficiency of the winemakers.”
Judges thoroughly enjoyed the “Blended Whites” category, this year. The majority of entries scored gold or better, including the Best of Show white wine, another win by Pennyroyal Farm. It was noted by many judges and volunteers that this was “no surprise, Pennyroyal’s PinoTrio is loved by many”. A fantastic representation of Anderson Valley’s coastal winegrowing region, this blend is 37% Pinot Noir, 37% Pinot Blanc, and 26% Pinot Gris.
The sweepstakes winner of the competition was Navarro Vineyards with all 27 of their wines taking home medals, eight of which were double gold medal wines, ten gold and nine silver.
Gold medal wines will be poured at the Mendocino County Fair in Boonville, September 22-24, 2023.