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Sierra Foothills 2018 Sierra Starr Barbera Takes Top Honors at 2020 Harvest Challenge

Argentine Torrontes Takes Best White
by Press Release - Harvest Challenge
November 20, 2020

Santa Rosa, Calif., —November 19, 2020— The Sierra Foothills AVA took the big prize at the 2020 Harvest “Terroir” Challenge, the only competition to judge wines by American Viticultural Area. This year’s competition brought in wines from places like France, Virginia, Oregon, Washington and Australia, as well many AVAs in California, with over 52 different AVAs represented.

During a lively tasteoff in the Sweepstakes round, 29 different wines tempted judges with their many charms. Best of Show Red and Best of Show honors overall went to the 2018 Sierra Starr Barbera from Sierra Starr Vineyards, made by winemaker, Jackson Starr. The wine also took Best of Sierra Foothills, which was established as an AVA in 1987. At 2.6 million acres, it is one of the largest of the 251 AVAs currently in the US, and includes sub-AVAs like Shenandoah Valley, Amador, Calaveras, Fiddletown, El Dorado and Fair Play.

Said Starr of the win, “The Starr family is thrilled to receive this prestigious award from such a highly regarded competition.  This Sierra foothills Barbera showcases what Sierra Starr wines are all about - balance, finesse and varietal clarity.”

Taking Best of Show Sparkling was the Best of France winner, Le Chemin Du Roi AOC NV Methode Champenoise Brut Champagne, in a slick gold bottle ($165). Best White of Show went to the 2019 Finca Los Olmos Torrontes from Argentina. Best Dessert of Show went to the 2019 Navarro Late Harvest Cluster Select Riesling from Anderson Valley, with winemaker Jim Klein once again scoring Best Dessert, and Best of Anderson Valley. The 2020 Trecini Grenache Rosé from Yolo County took Best Rosé.

Sweepstakes wines also included:

  • 2019 Le Pied Marin Picpoul de Pinet, France
  • 2019 Navarro Vineyards Pinot Gris, Anderson Valley
  • 2019 Fog Break Pinot Blanc, Monterey – Best of Monterey AVA
  • 2019 Husch Vineyards Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley
  • 2019 Oak Farm Vineyards Fiano, Lodi
  • 2020 Goldridge Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand – Best of New Zealand
  • 2019 Navarro Vineyards Muscat Blanc, Anderson Valley
  • 2019 Pearmund Petit Manseng, Virginia – Best of Virginia
  • 2018 2 Hawk Winery Viognier, Rogue Valley, Oregon – Best of Rogue Valley
  • 2019 Linguist Estates Chardonnay, Central Coast
  • 2017 Perrucci Family Vineyards Sangiovese, Santa Cruz Mountains – Best of Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
  • 2017 Russian River Vineyards Horseridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley – Best of Russian River AVA
  • 2018 Posted Accord Pinotage, South Africa – Best of South Africa
  • 2015 Toro Loco Red Blend, Spain – Best of Spain
  • 2018 Rockpile Vineyards Zinfandel Petroglyph Reserve, Rockpile – Best of Rockpile AVA
  • 2018 Saturn’s Rings Malbec, Washington State – Best of Washington
  • 2019 Kawaya Cellars Merlot, North Coast – Best of North Coast
  • 2015 Sea Bird Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – Best of Napa Valley
  • 2019 Cuvée Joelle Red Blend, France
  • 2017 Garré Vineyard and Winery “Profound Secret” Red Blend, Livermore Valley – Best of Livermore Valley
  • 2017 Oak Farm Winery Petit Verdot, Lodi — Best of Lodi
  • 2018 Jaxon Keys Winery Syrah, Mendocino
  • 2018 Rockpile Vineyards Petite Sirah/Zinfandel Blend, Rockpile
  • 2018 Barra of Mendocino Petite Sirah, Mendocino – Best of Mendocino           

Congratulations to all the Best of Region winners, and to all the Double Gold, Gold and Silver-winning medalists.

The Harvest Challenge, owned and operated by Wine Competition Management & Productions, is judged by leading wine industry professionals who evaluate and rank wines based on terroir. The top scoring Best of Class and Best of Region wines are then sent to Sweepstakes, where Best Red, Best White, Best Rosé, Best Dessert and Best of Show are determined.

 “The specialized nature of this competition is what attracts our judges, and the wines submitted.  It’s always interesting to see the outcome where the smallest nuance can influence how a judge will rate a wine against another in a shared terroir,” says Debra Del Fiorentino.  “Over the course of these competitions, judges have learned to recognize when a wine's region is  - and is not - a factor of wine quality.”

This year, Del Fiorentino says that 29% of the medals awarded were Golds or Double Golds, an increase over last year’s 26%, a sure sign that the judges found a lot to appreciate in this year’s lineup.

Specialty printer, First in Print, will again offer quality point-of-sale materials with discounted pricing for winners.  See for details.


About Wine Competitions Management & Production (WCMP)

This organization owns and operates a variety of competitions including West Coast  Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition, East Meets West, International  Women’s Wine Competition, Harvest Challenge, the Craft Distillers Spirits Competition, Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge, and Experience Rosé. WCMP also manages the California Cider Competition and the Mendocino Apple Show International Cider Competition.

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