Paso Robles Wows, Clare Valley Shines, London Dry Holds Court in 2024
San Diego (Feb. 6, 2024) -- The 2024 San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge’s 42nd meeting was once again a celebration of the best that the beverage world has to offer. Here's a look at this year's top performers.
Paso Robles wines took top honors with J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery's gorgeous 2021 Cuvee ST. E landing the high score of the competition at 97 points. Named Domestic Wine of the Year, the J. Lohr wine wowwed the judges with both near-term approachability and age-worthy structure. Chief Wine Judge Michael Franz had this to say, “Wines of this caliber from California routinely ring up with three-digit prices these days, so to see a wine of such prodigious quality offered for $50 is a pleasant surprise." Neighboring Eberle Winery nosed out J. Lohr to take the Domestic Winery of the Year prize by a single medal difference and a very impressive lineup.
Wakefield (known as Taylors in its Australian homeland) was named Import Winery of the Year and also walked away with the Import Wine of the Year prize, with its 2020 St. Andrews Shiraz scoring big atop a list of remarkable Wakefield wines.
Our Wine Company of the Year, Rodney Strong, succeeds with several brands across price points ranging from $10 to $70, delivering consistent quality and genuine value in each tier.
On the spirits front, Highclere Castle of England took Spirit of the Year accolades for their London Dry Gin – a near perfect London Dry equally at home in a martini or a classic G&T. Courvoisier Cognac captured the Distillery of the Year award thanks to a very strong set of Cognacs at every age marque. Other top performers include two spectacular Raicilla offerings from Huaraches de Oro, the always fine and extremely budget friendly Silver Tequila from Familia Camarena, and whiskies from Pinhook Bourbon, Uncle Nearest and Garrison Brothers.
The growing "Ready to Drink" category saw the Tia Linda brand score with their Margarita de Spicy Jalapeño - a balanced, bright, canned cocktail that's ready for pouring into a chili salt-rimmed rocks glass.
Consumers - you’ll find complete results for wine and spirits as well as full reviews of all of our platinum winners by clicking here.
Special thanks to all of our entrants. Your products make our work a pleasure, and we look forward to showcasing your best again in 2025 at the 43rd San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge.
Rich Cook, Competition Director