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The Chronicle Wine Competition

February 8, 2019

glasses of red and white wine

The ultimate wine-tasting experience is entering the Bay Area once again. This time around, it includes Canada and Mexico to make it the largest wine competition in North America. Enthusiasts and aficionados alike will pour out of the apartments in the Bay Area to get their hands-on award-winning bottles. If you plan on attending this stellar event, then here’s everything you need to know.

What is the Chronicle Wine Competition?

The Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest of its kind in North America, taking place right here in San Francisco. Entrants send in their wines from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico to compete against one another for various awards and recognition in the San Francisco Chronicle.

A panel of professional judges come together from various North American wine regions, bringing their unique tastes and diverse expertise to the table. All competitors are from bonded wineries, simply meaning they sell their products commercially. Their grapes cannot be foreign to North America, either. While you won’t see any amateur wines on the list, there are still hundreds to taste and enjoy at this event.

Dates and Times: Wineries

Wines have already been judged for this year, but the competition and public event are two different activities. Judging took place from January 8th to the 11th, giving out the following awards to exceptional wines:

  • Best of Class
  • Gold
  • Double Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze
  • Red Sweepstake
  • Rose Sweepstake
  • Specialty Sweepstake
  • White Sweepstake
  • Sparkling Sweepstake
  • and Wine Label Sweepstake

A panel of over 60 professionals ranging from lead sommeliers to retail makers and professors carefully hand out these awards after much deliberation. The judge’s dinner is held at Coyote Sonoma, offering a laid-back space for this panel to do their work. The real treat, however, is when these wines become available for public tasting.

Dates and Times: Public

The public tasting event will be held on February 16th this year. You can enjoy various wines paired with delicious eats from one o’clock to 4 p.m., with the last wine pour taking place at 3:30 p.m. The event takes place in the Festival Pavillion at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco.

Advance tickets are currently on sale for $70 apiece at the time of this writing, a 25% discount, with a $5 processing fee. Any tickets bought at the door cost $90. Online sales close on February 15th at 5 p.m. Here are a few things to know before purchasing your tickets:

  • This event is for adults ages 21 and up only.
  • No strollers are allowed inside.
  • Accompanied babies are allowed, but they must be in a harness attached your body.
  • The event organizer will be taking photos, so you ticket purchase includes your consent to be photographed for promotional materials relating to the Chronicle Wine Competition.
  • There are only general admission tickets available for this event.

With over 7,200 entries, you can try everything from your favorite styles of wine to something entirely new. Wineries purchase tasting tables in advance, making it easy to locate a specific winery you would like to try. This also allows you to meet some of the winemakers as you learn more about your favorite drinks and discover current trends in the industry. Judges walk around the event as well, happy to answer questions you might have about the winners or the competition.

Throughout the day, you’ll find a decadent selection of savory meats, hand crafted cheeses, and exotic oils to pair with your tastings. Desserts and other goodies are also in abundance. It’s an excellent chance to learn the intricacies of wine and food pairing or discover a pairing you never knew existed.

A few of the vendors and their food items this year include:

  • Cypress Grove’s award-winning cheeses
  • Stella Cadente’s unique artisan olive oils
  • Wild Planet’s 100% sustainably caught seafood
  • CC Made’s caramel delights
  • Marlo’s Bakeshop and their handcrafted cookies
  • and Valley Lahvosh with their traditional flatbreads

Where to Stay

If you already live in the San Francisco area, then the city’s public transportation makes it easy to enjoy this event and make it back home. If you or your friends are attending from elsewhere, there are a number of excellent hotels nearby. The Argonaut Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, and Fairmont Heritage Place tend to be the most popular choice amongst attendees.

2019’s Winners

The full list of awards is far too extensive to list in one article. You can view the award winners by category this year though the event’s website page. There are, however, nine sweepstake winners to be aware of. Awards are arranged by selection of wine, price point, and unique categories.

First, there are two sparkling sweepstake winners this year. Trump Winery’s Monticello Blanc de Blanc, and Goose Watch Winery’s Finger Lakes Brut Rose took first place in their respective categories. Both Texas Nectar Nero from 4R Ranch Vineyards & Winery and Napa Valley Noble Companion by Prager Winery and Port Works landed a winning position in the specialty sweepstakes as well.

Castello di Amorosa’s Napa Valley Chardonnay secured their spot as winner of the white sweepstake, while Yolo County Rose of Grenache from Turkovich Family Wines landed a winning place in the rose sweepstake. Both Dry Creek Valley The Ranch Zinfandel from St. Anne’s Crossing and Las Positas Vineyards’ Livermore Valley Malbec took home the title of red sweepstake winner.

Finally, winner of the label contest sweepstake went to Bonterra Organic Vineyards for their 2016 California Equinox Red. With its sleek, blue bottle and subtle yet mysterious design, it’s easy to see how this masterpiece of graphic design took the cake.

Apartments in the Bay Area

When the festivities are over, there’s nothing like returning home the comforts of luxury. The Towers at Rincon find their home in downtown San Francisco, boasting a new air of excellence in the Bay Area. Each apartment features a uniquely modern layout, views like no other, and access to a plethora of community amenities designed to cater to every facet of life.

Welcome to the hub of exceptional living. Welcome to The Towers at Rincon.