The Sunset International Wine Competition has been a competition that was established in 2014. The competition is open to wines that are between the years of 2014 and 2021. This competition is held annually and is the largest of its kind in the world. The competition consists of two major categories, Golden Wine Awards and Silver Wine Awards. The competition is held in three to four locations in the United States, as well as a location in Europe.

The Sunset International Wine Competition, or simply the “Sunset”, is one of the world’s most coveted wine competitions. It is said to be the “Olympics” of wine and has been held annually since 1927.

Each year, the Sunset International Wine Competition recognizes the world’s best wines, the best in California and beyond, with awards that recognize the best in design, tradition, innovation, and excellence. This year, we’re turning our attention to the future, to the very first Sunset Competition, which took place at the end of the 19th century, and resulted in the first-ever awards for the best in California wines.

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Best Red and Best Show – 2019 Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha Grenache/Syrah, Chevalier Vineyard, Mendocino.

Best White – 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ; Best Rosé – 2020 Roaming Dog Cabernet Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA; Best Sparkling – 2019 Maison Jussiaume Oeil de Perdrix, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon; Best Desert – 2017 Husch Late Harvest Gewürztraminer, Anderson Valley, Mendocino.

Santa Rosa, CA – June 21, 2021– With a record number of entries, the 2021 Sunset International Wine Competition awarded Best Red and Best Show to an exceptional blend of Grenache (85%) and Syrah (15%) from Mendocino, created by winemaker Miro Cholakov of Miro Cellars and Trentadue Winery. At $26, this affordable wine is an example of why blends are so popular with wine drinkers. It can be the perfect backyard wine to relax with at sunset and pair with anything that brings joy.

The best white wine at the show was the 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc, made by winemaker Nick Goldschmidt from a vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand, $20, 99 points. Fresh, grassy, grapefruit and assertive, this is a stainless steel cold fermented wine.

The best rosé of the show went to the 2020 Roaming Dog Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, which contains 1% malbec for strawberry and cherry flavors, $15, 98 points. He hails from the Columbia Valley in Washington State.

Maison Jussiaume’s 2019 Oeil de Perdrix, a 50-50 blend of brut Méthode Champenoise pinot noir and chardonnay from the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon, was voted best sparkling wine. At $75, it is perfectly balanced with bright, tart apple notes and a subtle mousse. This is the first time an Oregon sparkling wine has won the title of best sparkling wine at the Sunset Wine Competition.

Husch Vineyards was named best dessert wine for a juicy apricot wine with citrus notes, 2017 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer from Anderson Valley, $25. For the second consecutive year, Husch won the Best Dessert category at Sunset with his Gewürztraminer LH, again beating out port and creamy sherry.

The best port was the Ficklin Vineyards NV Old Vine Tinta Port, made from 100% Portuguese grapes grown in Madera ($20). It is the most awarded port in America.

Best Cream Sherry was awarded to Rancho de Philo’s NV Triple Cream California Sherry, made from Mission grapes from the Cucamonga Valley (San Bernardino, CA), $42.95.

Portland Cider Company’s NV Sorta Sweet was voted best cider.

Modern cider made from apples from Oregon and Washington, $11.99.

Best mead went to The Mead Works of Puget Sound, Washington, for Fallen Cyser, a semi-sweet mead of apple and blackberry with honey blossoms, $23.

To win the award for best red at the show, the Grenache-Syrah Cuvée from Miro Cellars had to compete against 14 other reds in the red competition, including the Trentadue Sangiovese, also produced by Cholakov. In the first round of voting for Cuvée Sasha, the 2018 Pinot Noir wine from Carneros Estate had strong competition with 15 votes, followed by Livermore’s 2017 Cabernet Franc Garré and Napa’s 2017 Rapp Ranch Cutter’s Reserve Bordeaux-style blend with 11 votes each. Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha won the final vote with 18 votes, while Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir received 8 votes.

Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc 2020 and the elegant yet expressive Alexandria Nicole Cellars Shepherds Mark Rhone Blend 2020 from Horse Heaven Hills, Washington, competed in the Best White Wine category. Each received 15 votes in the first round of acclimation. The excellent 2020 Earl Grey from Lewis Grace Torrontes (Alta Mesa) received 12 votes and the lively lemon-lime 2020 from Oak Farm Fiano (Lodi) received 11 votes. The final vote was 14-12. This placed the Forefathers Sauv Blanc in front of the Shepherds Mark Rhone, composed of 43% Roussanne, 38% Viognier and 19% Marsanne, a serious effort with perfect balance, $28 (98 points).

In the final round of the Best of Show competition, Miro Cellars’ Cuvée Sasha beat its competitors for Best White, Best Pink and Best Dessert by 20 votes out of a possible 26. The Rosé received 3 points, the Sauv Blanc 2 and the Gewürztraminer Spätlese 1.

Debra Del Fiorentino, president of Wine Competitions Production & Management (WCP&M), which owns and operates the Sunset International Wine Competition, stated: Once again we are grateful for the support of the local health department, which has enabled us to run this race safely for the past two years. We are also very grateful to all the wineries that presented wines from around the world. This year, 52 new wineries participated in the competition. Entries increased in the rosé and unblended chardonnay categories, as well as in all types of blends.  It was very difficult for the judges to make a decision when faced with 33 final entries!

TOTAL WINE

  • Best in Show and Best in Show Red: 2019 Miro Cellars Cuvée Sasha, (Grenache/Syrah), Chevalier Vineyard, Mendocino, $25, 97pts.
  • Best of Show White: 2020 Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc, Wax Eye Vineyard, Marlborough, New Zealand, $20, 99pts.
  • Best of Show Sparkling: 2019 Maison Jussiaume Oeil de Perdrix, 50-50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Méthode Champenoise, Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon, $75, 99pts.
  • Best Rosé of the Show: 2020 Roaming Dog Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA, $15, 99pts.
  • Best dessert wine: 2017 Husch Vineyards Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, from Anderson Valley, $25, 98pts.
  • Best Cider Show: NV Portland Cider Company Sorta Sweet Modern Cider, OR/WA, $11.99, 97pts
  • Best of Show With: The Mead Works Fallen Cyser: semi-sweet apple mead with flowering blackberry honey, WA, $23, 95pts.
  • Best of Show Sherry: Rancho De Philo, California Triple Cream Sherry, Mission Grape, Cucamonga Valley, (San Bernardino, CA), $42.95, 95pts
  • Best of show: Ficklin Vineyards, Old Vine Tinta Port, Portuguese grape variety, Madera, California, $20, 100pts.

OTHER LARGE WINES IN THE BAG

  • NV Trecini Spumante (Chardonnay and Cortese), Méthode Champenoise Piedmonte, Italy, $20, 99pts.
  • 2019 Peller Estates Niagara Peninsula Riesling VQA, $12.95, 99pts.
  • 2019 King Estate Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, OR, $19, 98pts.
  • 2020 Baron Duke Chenin Blanc, California, $10, 98pts
  • 2020 Lewis Grace Torrontes, Alta Mesa, CA, $24, 95pts.
  • 2020 Oak Farm Vineyards Estate Fiano, Lodi, Mokelumne River, CA, $26, 98pts.
  • 2020 Balletto Vineyards Teresa’s Chardonnay (Unoaked), Russian River Valley, CA,
  • Twenty dollars and ninety-seven pence.
  • 2019 Lightpost Winery Chardonnay Spanish Springs, San Luis Obispo, CA, $39,
  • 98 pnt
  • 2020 Alexandria Nicole Cellars Shepherds Mark, Horse Heaven Hills, WA, $28, 98pts.
  • 2020 Port Townsend Vineyard Viognier, Rattlesnake Hills, WA, $28, 96pts.
  • 2020 Husch Vineyards Muscat Canelli, Mendocino, CA, $16, 96pts.
  • 2018 Domaine Carneros Estate Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA, $44, 98pts.
  • 2019 Trentadue Estate Sangiovese, Alexander Valley, CA, $34, 96pts.
  • 2019 Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards Syrah, Umpqua Valley, OR, $43, 99pts.
  • 2018 Imagery Estate Teroldogo, Pine Mountain Cloverdale, CA, $42, 98pts.
  • 2018 Frank Family Vineyard Merlot, Napa, CA, $38, 98pts.
  • 2017 Garré Vineyard and Winery Estate Cabernet Franc, Livermore Valley, CA, $30, 98pts.
  • 2019 Macchia Barbera, Lodi, CA, $22, 96pts.
  • 2019 Trevor Grace Petit Verdot, El Dorado, CA, $33, 94pts.
  • 2018 Goosecross Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley, CA, $84, 99pts (100% Cabernet Sauvignon).
  • 2018 Wilson of Dry Creek Zinfandel Cypress Ridge, Dry Creek Valley, CA, $42, 99pts.
  • 2017 Cinquain Cellars Reserve Malbec, Nagengast Estate Vineyard, Paso Robles, CA, $65, 97pts.
  • 2018 Red Thread Wines Estate Red Wine Blend (47% Zinfandel, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petite Sirah), Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, CA, $78, 99pts.
  • 2017 Rapp Ranch Cutters Reserve (Bordeaux-style blend: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon; 28% Petit Verdot; 10% Cabernet Franc; 4% Merlot), Napa Valley, California, $70, 99pts.
  • 2018 J. Lohr Vineyard Series Tower Road Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, CA, $35, 99pts.
  • Rancho de Philo NV California Triple Cream Sherry, Mission Grape, Cucamonga Valley, (San Bernardino), CA, $42.95, 95pts.
  • Ficklin Vineyards NV Old Vine Tinta Port, 100% Portuguese grape variety, Madera, California, $20, 100pts.

The full list of silver medalists and above can be found here:

Sunset2021

The winners, including all gold and silver medalists, will be published in an upcoming issue of Sunset magazine. Winners receive extensive media coverage (print, online, social media and public relations).

On the management and production of wine competitions (WCMP)

The organization owns and operates several competitions including the Sunset International Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, East Meets West, International Women’s Wine Competition, Harvest Challenge, Craft Distillers Spirits Competition, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, Santé Magazine Wine Competition and Experience Rosé.

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The Sunset has always been a prestigious event held annually. It was started in 1992 by the Sunset International Trade Association, the primary purpose of which is to promote international trade of wines. Although the Sunset was first held in Miami, it shifted to Las Vegas in 1996. The event has since been held in different locations, and the current location is no longer in Vegas.. Read more about harvest challenge wine competition and let us know what you think.

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