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After taste, cost defines a winning wine

Consumers, retailers, restaurant owners and distributors — we are all faced with thousands of choices when it comes to buying a wine.

Last month I was honored to judge for the Professional Wine Buyers Competition in Santa Rosa, Calif. With more than 400 wines and 16 judges, our appraisal offered a unique methodology compared with that at other competitions. In addition to the wines’ overall quality, the retail price was also considered in the scoring, a crucial factor in any buyer’s recommendation of a wine.

The competition concluded with a similar opinion resonating among all the judges: Buyers are looking for wines they would recommend to a friend because it tastes great and is a great value.

Below are a few winning wines available in Arkansas (with two Arkansas wines making the winners list). For a complete listing of results visit ProWineBuyersComp.com.

  • 2008 Duck Pond Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $12 retail)
  • 2007 Duck Pond Syrah, Oregon (about $12 retail)
  • 2008 Eola Hills Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $17 retail)
  • 2008 Eola Hills Chardonnay, Oregon (about $14 retail) 2008 Vertikal Riesling, Germany (about $10 retail)
  • 2007 Vertikal Spatlese Riesling, Germany (about $12 retail)
  • NV Post Familie Vineyards White Muscadine, Arkansas (about $10 retail)
  • NV Post Familie Vineyards Red Muscadine, Arkansas (about $10 retail)
  • 2005 Beaucanon Estate L’Cuvee Cabernet Franc, California (about $30 retail)
  • 2006 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Chardonnay, California (about $24 retail)
  • 2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon, Oregon (about $22 retail)
  • 2008 Erath Vineyards Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $18 retail)
  • 2008 Columbia Crest Grand Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington (about $18 retail)
  • 2008 Turnbull Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $20 retail)

Double gold from way down under

The results are soon to be posted for the Professional Wine Buyer’s Competition, but I thought we should take a sneak peak.

Searching out stellar wine values has always been my mission, so with 400 wines in the competition and prices across the board; I knew it would be long day of stained teeth and aching gums.  Not talked about many tasters, but for me crucial to any social interaction following these events.  When you taste 40-60–100 wines throughout a few days, your teeth and gums take a beating.  I usually leave with black teeth and a paranoia of drinking anything extra hot or cold.

As judges, we tasted blind (not a blind fold… just did not know the producers).  The wines were scored Bronze, Silver or Gold and the extraordinary Double Gold.

Awarding a double gold was not an easy task for any of the judging panels.  Not that we were a tough crowd, but knowing our collective scores would be compiled into a list of awarded wines and handed on to you the consumer to decide for yourself.  My panel only awarded one the entire competition, the 2009 Crossroads Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

I think all buyers are looking for a wine they would recommend to a friend because it taste great and is a great value for your money.  This wine delivered both and had all of the benchmark qualities you would expect from a well-made New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

For final results go to the Professional Wine Buyers Competition website.

Early results are in

Professional Wine Judges Award Gold to Three California Wines and One New Zealand Pinot Noir in Early Morning at Second U.S. Professional Wine Buyers Competition™.

Santa Rosa, CA —  In early results at the second U.S. Professional Wine Buyers Competition, Judges awarded Gold medals to the following wines:


  • Big Dog  Vineyards, San Francisco Bay, California 2006 Cabernet Franc, $29.50
  • Forchini Vineyards & Winery, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley Estate Grown Proprietor’s Reserve 2007 Pinot Noir, $32.00
  • Summerland Winery, Santa Maria Valley, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Single Vineyard Collection, 2008 Pinot Noir, $45.00

New Zealand

  • Crown Range, South Pacific Wines LLC, New Zealand, Central Otago, 2008 Pinot Noir, $19.99

“The purpose of this competition is to allow professional wine buyers an opportunity to determine which wines should be on the retail shelf, restaurant wine lists, and in the hands of private collectors,” said Lea Pierce, Founder and Managing Director of Wine Competition Management, LLC.  Wine Competition Management also produces The National Women’s Wine Competition (March 22-23, 2010), the new Organic & Biodynamic Wine Competition, May 17, 2010, and the new NextGen Wine Competition for Millennial Wine Drinkers, to be held June 13-15, 2010.  All competitions are held at the Fountaingrove Hotel in Santa Rosa.  St. Gobain Containers and Fountaingrove Inn and Hotel are sponsors of the event.

The Buyer’s Guide™ will be available January 25 as a free download at www.prowinebuyerscomp.info or by email request to info@prowinebuyerscomp.info.  For answers to your questions, please call the competition at +1 707-568-3900.

My teeth are very stained!

I am in California today judging for the Professional Wine Buyers Competition.  We are finishing up, and I am eagerly awaiting the results.

This competition is unique in that the wines are scored based on recommendation to consumers.  The recommendations are scored on quality and (as I always preach)  price! Will post results as soon as they are in my hand!