Sunset Announces the Winners of the Western Wine Awards at Ocean-Front Gala
Sunset editors and the who’s who of Western wine gathered at Sunset Savor the Central Coast for a gala presentation of these prestigious awards.
On a perfect evening set in a glamorous clear tent on the Pismo Beach Pier Sunset magazine editors, celebrity guests, and some of the region’s most talented winemakers gathered at the Sunset Western Wine Awards Gala to celebrate the best in Western wine.
As the setting sun send it last rays of the day across the ocean , Liam Mayclem, Emmy Award-winning host and a producer for CBS5’s “Eye on The Bay” Emceed the Awards . This star studded event attended by hundreds of industry insiders and Western wine lovers alongside Sunset editor-in-chief Katie Tamony and Sunset wine editor Sara Schneider.
The Sunset Western Wine Awards, which were established in 2005, are recognized as the biggest honor for Western winemakers, focusing solely on the best wine producers in the West. Sunset’s panel of professional judges includes Western wine writers, sommeliers, and wine instructors, who nominate wines they have tasted in the past year. The winners in each category are selected by the judges during a blind tasting at Sunset’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. This year more than 500 nominated wines were tasted before narrowing the field to 32 finalists.
And the winner is…
2011 Sunset Western Wine Awards were awarded to the following wines, winemakers, and wine venues:
Steal of the year
$15 and under
Gruet Nonvintage Blanc de Noirs (Lower Rio Grande, New Mexico; $15)
Project Paso 2009 Red Wine Blend by Don Sebastiani & Sons (Paso Robles;
$16 to $25
Navarro 2010 Estate Dry Gewürztraminer (Anderson Valley; $19)
Qupé 2009 Syrah (Central Coast; $17)
$26 to $40
Robert Sinskey 2010 Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard "Abraxas" Vin de Terroir (Los Carneros; $34)
St. Innocent 2009 Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills; $36)
$41 to $60
Woodward Canyon 2010 Chardonnay (Washington State; $44)
Villa Creek 2009 "Willow Creek Cuvée" (Paso Robles; $42)
Robert Mondavi 2009 To Kalon Vineyard "I Block" Fumé Blanc (Napa Valley; $75)
Anomaly 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena, Napa Valley; $85)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Allen Shoup, managing partner of Long Shadows Vintners, managing partner of The Benches at Wallula Gap
Winemaker of the Year
Isabelle Meunier, Evening Land Vineyards, Oregon
Sommelier of the Year
Terry Threlfall, Wine Director, Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver, B.C.
Best Winery Tasting Rooms (three categories)
Denner Vineyards, Paso Robles
Entertainment Value – Sense of Humor
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Sonoma County
Added Value-Experience Beyond Tasting
Raymond Vineyards, Napa Valley
Best New Wine Bars (three categories)
For the Wine Geek
Covell, Los Angeles
For the Foodie
The Local Vine, Seattle
For Super-Local Wines
Urban Enoteca, Seattle
The Western Wine Awards winners will be featured in the November issue of Sunset magazine. If the excitment of the awards were not enough , guests had the opportunity to taste many of the 32 nominated wines, which were passed throughout the tables. The wines were paired with seasonal cuisine, prepared by the Central Coast’s top chefs from the area’s most exciting restaurants, including Lido Restaurant at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Marisol at The Cliffs, and Ventana Grill.