The 2024 American Fine Wine Competition Results

THE INVITATIONAL “One Thousand Bottles, Sipping Through America”

By Fred Bollaci

This past January, I had the honor and privilege of returning to The Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami, as one of 34 esteemed wine judges for the 17th annual invitation-only wine contest. The AFWC is one of the most influential and elite wine judging competitions in the country, with all wines being vetted and invited to compete, ensuring a very high-caliber field of competitors. Wines that win here are truly superb, besting the very best!

This year, our judges evaluated some 600 wines from over 130 wineries from 14 different states. Judges include top sommeliers, wine industry educators, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine journalists from across the country. The competition took place over three days and included the immensely popular 1000 Bottles Sipping Through America after party, where members of the public could sample hundreds of different wines that were part of the competition, while enjoying live entertainment, great food, raffles, a silent auction, and meeting top winemakers who came to showcase their wines!

Some of the “surprising” results included two dual winners in two out of four “Best-of-Show” categories. These included two winners from the Sparkling wine category and two among red wines. The room of judges was truly a-buzz (not from imbibing) but with excitement over this competition first! When several dozen experts raise their glasses and declare a tie for not one, but two “Best of Show” categories, it shows me that the AFWC is truly inviting and recognizing the very best. The competition also saw strong showings by wineries outside of the “big four” wine states, which is an exciting trend in the breadth of winery talent and wine quality in a wider range of wine varietals from many exciting areas that may be considered “under the radar” to many consumers.

Co-founder and President Shari Gherman said, “The AFWC searches for the very best wines produced in America. We scout the wines through our elite acquisition team, tasting thousands of wines from across America before inviting the top contenders to compete.” This extensive vetting process is unique and sets the AFWC apart from other competitions. It also makes our job as judges both easier—we end up evaluating wines that have already been deemed excellent, and harder—we have to evaluate, score, and rank wines—and ultimately determine winners, from among the very best wines in the country. “Seventeen years of careful screening and judging means this competition starts where others end” observed Greg Miseyko, Chief Judge and Judging Coordinator. “Our four panels of judges evaluate, describe, debate, and assign medals and scores, taking their time and caring about getting it right.” Wines earn Gold, Silver, or Bronze Medals. We award “Double Gold” when every judge agrees that a wine deserves a Gold Medal, refining the results using a 100-point scale. While judging, it is quite common for a panel of judges to score an entire flight (often six wines) at 90 points or higher, meaning the wines all earned Double Gold Medals, making them eligible to compete for “Best of Class” in their varietal, and ultimately for “Best of Show.” Another great part of being a Judge is that we are asked to recommend wineries and wines we discover in our travels to be considered for invitation after further vetting. I am proud to have recommended a wonderful boutique producer, Domaine de la Rivière in Russian River Valley, owned by friends Marla and Geoff Bedrosian, which was ultimately invited and won Best-of-Class for Pinot Noir, and two Double Golds for their Chardonnays! The American Fine Wine Competition has become a trusted, valuable resource for consumers and collectors at every level who are looking to discover top-quality U.S. wines and winemakers from across the country, including many small boutique producers that offer excellent quality and value. It has never been a more exciting time for American wine, and with the AFWC as your guide, you have access to the very best. Congratulations to all the winners! ☐

To learn more about The American Fine Wine Competition, and for a complete list of wines and scores from the competition, please visit www.americanfinewinecompetition.org

 

BEST OF SHOW WINNERS

Sparkling (TIE):

Sparkling  96pts  Mumm Napa, DVX, Napa Valley, 2016 $85

Sparkling  96pts  Mumm Napa, Blanc de Blancs Reserve, Napa Valley, 2018 $50

White   95pts  DeLoach Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2021 $75

Red (TIE) :

Red  96pts Tedeschi Family Winery, Syrah, Russian River Valley, 2020 $48

Red  96pts Wilson Winery of Dry Creek Molly’s Petite Sirah, Estate Reserve Dry Creek, 2020  $50

Sweet 94pts St. Amant Winery, Tawny Port, Amador County, NV  $50

BEST OF CLASS WINNERS

Cabernet Sauvignon 97pts Ledson Winery and Vineyards, Estate Grown, Produced and Bottled, Howell Mountain, 2019 $130

Pinot Noir 96pts Domaine de la Rivière, Estate, Middle Reach Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 2020 $75

Red Bordeaux Style Blend 96pts PEJU Winery, Fifty/Fifty, Napa Valley, 2019 $120

Cabernet Franc 95pts Majuscule Wine, Singel Vineyard, Conn Valley, Napa Valley, 2021 $90

Zinfandel 95pts Carol Shelton Wines, Monga Zin, Cucamonga Valley, 2021 $28

Syrah 96pts Tedeschi Family Wines, Russian River Valley, 2020 $48

Merlot 97pts V. Sattui Winery, Napa Valley, 2021 $47

Petite Sirah 96pts Wilson Winery of Dry Creek, Molly’s Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley, 2020 $50

Other Red Blend 94pts Koenig Vineyards, Estate Bottled, Cabernet/Syrah, Snake River Valley, ID, 2020 $36

Red Single Varietals 94pts J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Gesture Mourvedre, Paso Robles, 2021 $35

Chardonnay 95pts DeLoach Vineyards, Estate Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2021 $75

Sauvignon Blanc 96pts. Covenant Winery, Solomon Blanc, Bennett Valley, 2022 $75

Riesling, Dry 96pts Brengman Brothers, Estate Grown, Trocken Wild Ferment, Leelanau Peninsula, MI, 2022 $32

Riesling, Off-dry 93pts Bel Lago, Semi Dry Riesling, Leelanau Peninsula, MI, 2022 $17

Viognier 95pts McKahn Family Cellars, Russian River Valley, 2022, $42

White Blend 94pts Cathedral Ridge Winery, Necessity White, Columbia Gorge, OR, 2022 $32

White single varietal 95pts Oak Farm Vineyards, Estate Grown Fiano, Lodi, Mokelumne River, 2022, $28

Sparkling (tie) 96pts Mumm Napa, DVX, Napa Valley, 2016, $85

Sparkling (tie) 96pts Mumm Napa, Bland de Blancs Reserve, Napa Valley, 2018, $50

Sweet 94pts St. Amant Winery, Tawny Port, Amador County, NV $50

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