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The San Diego Challenge

San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge
April 1 & 2, 2017

The 2017 San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge is our ultimate challenge competition, bringing together winemakers, sommeliers, wine critics and seasoned wine professionals to evaluate new releases in early spring.

Once again we have lined up an all-star cast, with some of the most prominent names in the wine industry, led by our Chief Judge, Michael Franz, who is Editor of the online wine publication Wine Review Online.

Behind the scenes wine & spirits competition veterans Robert Whitley, nationally syndicated wine columnist and Publisher of Wine Review Online, and Rich Cook, a contributing reviewer for Wine Review Online, are working hard to ensure your wines and spirits will be presented to the judges in a well-organized professional blind tasting to ensure your entries are seen in the best light.

2017 entry forms are available now on Entry Form page.


Trinchero 2012 Forte Red Wine
Steals the Show in San Diego


Creators Syndicate

When the Trinchero family moved from New York to the Napa Valley of California in 1947, there were probably as many prune orchards in the valley as vineyards. The modern era of California wine hadn't yet begun.

Brothers John and Mario Trinchero purchased the Sutter Home winery and crushed their first harvest in 1948. Their small, family-run winery became part of the great California wine boom. Today, Trinchero Family Estates stands as one of the largest wine companies in the United States, with many popular value brands, such as Menage a Trois, Napa Cellars and Sutter Home.

With its vast resources, including more than 200 acres of vineyards in many of Napa's finest sub-appellations, it was only a matter of time before TFE took on its neighbors in the rarefied air of ultra-premium Napa Valley red wine.

The company purchased the Folie a Deaux Winery in 2004, built a state-of-the-art winery in 2007 and created a new project it calls Trinchero Napa Valley. This year, Trinchero Napa Valley released its benchmark red wine, the 2012 Forte, a $70 Bordeaux-style blend of malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot. This is the first vintage, and only 53 barrels (approximately 1,300 cases) were produced.

Forte was just named Wine of the Year at the San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge, staged over the Memorial Day weekend in downtown San Diego, California. More than 1,500 wines were entered. Forte was judged by a panel of three wine professionals, and it emerged with a platinum award. (Worthy wines are awarded silver, gold or platinum medals.)

As a platinum winner, Forte was reviewed by the Director's panel, which included yours truly, Chief Judge Michael Franz, editor of Wine Review Online, and Assistant Director Rich Cook, member of the tasting panel at California Grapevine and reviewer for Wine Review Online.

Among the wines that were awarded platinum, Forte emerged from the Director's panel evaluation with the highest score, 97 points, and thus became the consensus pick as Wine of the Year. The final vote was unanimous.

If the goal was to make a statement that Trinchero can now play on equal footing with anyone in Napa Valley, I would say mission accomplished. Preliminary results from the competition can be found at Best of Show, Best of Class and spirits winners will be identified later this week.






Sommelier Challenge
Wine & Spirits Competition

17 & 18, 2016

International Wine Competition
January 28 & 29, 2017


Critics Challenge
International Wine
& Spirits Comp
May 27 & 28, 2017




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