At the end of October I had a chance to taste a selection of Double Gold winners from the 2016 and 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition and the 2016 and 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The San Francisco Competitions 2017 Double Gold Tour gives wine and spirits professionals a unique opportunity to taste the Competitions’ top winners and to discover the next trending tastes, styles, and varietals we’ll be seeing in 2018. 
At the LA stop on this year's multi-city tour, the San Francisco Competitions are proud to also offer a seated seminar showcasing Double Gold winning wines and spirits. Join Executive Director Anthony Dias Blue as he gives you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of the SF Competitions and walks you through the complexities of tasting wines and spirits like a competition judge. 

Wine and Spirits…That I Took the Time to Taste and Loved (I did skip those I’ve already tasted too.)

Cakebread Cellars 2014 Chardonnay, Reserve Family Vineyards, Carneros, Napa Valley; Goodmills Family Winery 2013 Teroldego, Lodi; 1849 Wine Company 2014 Declaration Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley; DeLille Cellars 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Four Flags Red Mountain; J. Lohr Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Signature and Premium Bordeaux Blend Cuvee St. E, both Paso Robles; Ordaz Family Wines 2014 Zinfandel, Montecillo Vineyard, Sonoma Valley; IPPIN Junmai Sake, Tamasakee, Shiga Japan and Junmai Daiginjo Sake, Yamada Nishiki, both from Hyogo, Japan.

Mission Vodka, Arizona; Frey Ranch Gin, Nevada; Belle of Dayton Gin, Dayton Ohio; New Holland Brewing Knickerbocker Gin, Michigan; Vanagandr London Dry Gin, A Coruna-Galicia, Spain; Conniption Navy Strength Gin, North Carolina; Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin, Vermont; Tattersall Distilling Barreled Gin, Minnesota; Springfield Manor Lavender Gin, Maryland; Mad March Hare Small Batch Poitin, Ireland; Hyde 10 Year Old Pure Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Ireland; Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey, Oregon; Whiskey Del Bar Classic Cask Strength Single Malt, Arizona; from Paul John: Bold Indian Single Malt, Edited Indian Single Malt and the Peated Select Cask Indian Single Malt all from Goa, India; Starward Single Malt Wine Cask Whisky, Melbourne, Australia; Kings County Distillery Peated Bourbon, New York; J Henry and Sons 5 Year old Bellefontaine and Cask Strength Patton Road, both reserve straight bourbons from Wisconsin; One Eight Distilling United Whiskey No. 6, Washington D.C.; two Whistle Pig: the Old World Cask Finish Rye Whiskey and the 15 Year Old Rye Whiskey, both from Vermont; Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Rye Whiskey, Baltimore.

Behind the Scenes with Anthony Dias Blue

Granted, I have judged a couple of times, as I’m sure some of the students in Blue’s class have done, but it’s good to be reminded just how serious the judging is.

  • When the competition began they had a scant 300 entries, now they are up to 2,400.
  • There are 60 judges in the process, and they are made up of experts (reviewers, writers, restauranteurs, somms, etc.) allowing each group to have a good representation in which to judge merits.
  • There are 28 countries from the current competitions.
  • While they usually receive more wine to review, there are still 80 - 100 spirits.
  • Judging is done blind, the bottles are not seen, and they don’t know the price or the area they came from - only the varietal is known.
  • As price is sometimes a factor to the general public, and more expensive is perceived as more valuable, the price points of the wine and spirits are not revealed.
  • After the Double Gold winners are awarded, then all of the judges get to taste all of the Double Golds to determine the sweepstake’s winner.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a "certification in first globally-recognized course" as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com