WENATCHEE — Soft jazz by Tracy Warner and the Confluence Jazz Trio, bubbly conversation, delectable food and free-flowing fine wine in a theater filled with gold, silver and bronze helium-filled balloons: Saturday evening’s Winemakers Invitational was a relaxed but decidedly celebratory environment as awards were announced for the first North Central Washington Wine Awards.
Some 42 NCW wineries were involved in the regional competition. Nearly all of them came away with awards judged by an outside team of professional wine experts. Twenty-eight of the wineries brought their award-winning wines to pour for about 150 guests at the long-awaited event at the Wenatchee Performing Arts Center. The actual judging was held June 30 with the results kept tightly under wraps until Saturday’s event. The competition was organized by Foothills magazine, published by World Publishing.
The August-September issue of Foothills, which includes complete coverage of the wine awards, will be distributed state-wide to promote the region’s great wines.
Big winners included the well-knowns and the unknowns. Chateau Faire Le Pont lived up to its promotions as a producer of “ultra premium wines” by taking home five gold medals for its Syrah — two of them — Pinot Noir, Malbec and Tre Amore red blend. Beaumont Cellars, one of the newest and smallest wineries in the region, won Best of Show and Best Red for its 2009 Syrah. Pete Beaumont’s 2009 Sangiovese also won a gold medal and was the runner up for Best of Show award.
Beaumont, of Quincy, tipped his hat to his mentor Mike Scott of Martin-Scott Winery, which won two gold medals including a double gold for its 2010 Viognier.
There were other big winners: Cave B Estate Winery, Jones of Washington, Saint Laurent Estate Winery, Wedge Mountain Winery, Tsillan Cellars, Rock Wall Cellars; the list goes on and on. There were no losers in this youthful but precocious wine-producing area. Out of 240 wine entries, 186 were medal winners, 30 of which were gold or double gold winners.
Several winery owners at the event said the judging was a great way to promote all of the region’s wines and the region itself.
Andy Perdue, editor of Wine Press Northwest magazine, which coordinated the double-blind judging, said North Central Washington has in a very short time developed a reputation as an important wine producing area that will only spread. Fine wine and winery recreation will be a strong asset for Chelan County, with its natural beauty and well-developed tourist magnets, Leavenworth and Lake Chelan, he said.
Congratulations to all the award winners and to all of NCW’s wineries, winemakers and bold wine entrepreneurs. The future looks bright.
This story was originally published in Rick Steigmeyer’s blog: Winemaker’s Journal: www.wenatcheeworld.com/weblogs/winemakers-journal