Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bubbly & Port Wine-Influenced Spirit Take Top Honors
San Diego (Feb. 10, 2023) -- The 2023 San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge’s 41st 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.
Australia’s Dandelion Vineyards took the high score with their sensational 2019 Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz, wowing the judges with both near-term approachability and age-worthy structure. Chief Wine Judge Michael Franz called our Import Wine of the Year “Wicked good wine now, and likely better and better over the next two decades."
On the home front, two wines tied for Domestic Wine of the Year honors; the Le Vigne 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon “di Domenico” from Paso Robles and the Gloria Ferrer 2015 Royal Cuvee Sparkling Wine from Sonoma both achieved 96-point scores from our judges. Sonoma basked in more of the spotlight with St. Francis Winery taking the Domestic Winery of the Year prize, achieving an impressive “slugging percentage” heavy on Gold and Platinum awards. Heirloom Vineyards of Australia got the nod for Import Winery of the Year with their usual strong portfolio.
Two companies that focus on wide-ranging portfolios garnered top awards. Our Wine Company of the Year, Frexinet-Mionetto, focuses on high quality across a range of sparkling and still wines from California, Italy and Spain. Vineyard Brands showed off a small but very impressive collection of wines from South Africa, Italy and Spain to take the Importer of the Year prize – their second consecutive win.
On the spirits front, Garrison Brothers of Texas grabbed Spirit of the Year accolades for their “Guadalupe” Port Cask Finished Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey – a mouthful in more ways than one! Weldon Mills Distillery of Weldon, North Carolina captured their second straight Distillery of the Year award thanks to a strong (and stronger!) set of Bourbon Whiskeys. Other top performers: Redemption nabbed Best Rye and Best High-Proof Bourbon; Tiger Gin came out on top of the Gin pile with their Premium Gin No. 1; Earl Stevens Selections’ E. Cuarenta Tequila Blanco and The Bad Stuff’s La Mala Reposado Tequila scored big; and Courvoisier Cognac wowed with their new “XO Royal” Cognac.
Consumers - you’ll find complete results for wine and spirits as well as full reviews of all of our platinum winners by clicking here.
Finally, a special thanks to all of our entrants – your products make our work a pleasure, and we look forward to showcasing your best again in 2024 at the 42nd San Diego International Wine & Spirits Challenge.
Rich Cook, Competition Director